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Walter, d. 1240,= Margery de Braose
. Gilbert, d. v. p,=Isabel de Mareschall
(Ewyas-Lacy) | 2
11 Geoffrey de Genevil=Maud Margery=John de Verdon, d. 1273 (Ludlow)
(2), Elizabeth de Clare=Theobald,=(1), Maud, d. of Lord Mortimer
| d. 13091
=(2), Marcus Husee
1 d. 1383
(2), J. Merbury=Agnes,=(1), Sir W. Devereux
| d. 14331 Elizabeth Walter
K.G., Lord Ferrers, Walter=Anne Ferrers
ford, 1549 Walter, first Earl of Essex, 1572
Robert, beheaded 1601
Robert, last Earl of Essex, d. 1646
Earl of Winchelsea=Mary
Frances Finch=Thos. Thynne, Viscount
Weymouth, d. 1714.
As there is no mention in Domesday of any castle at “Wibelai,” we may, perhaps, conclude that none existed. The earliest mention of it is in the reign of Stephen, when so many castles were built; when it was seized on behalf of the Empress Maud either by Geoffrey (or William) Talbot, who took the Castle of Hereford, or by Fitz-Scroope in 1139; but was retaken in the following year by Stephen himself, about the same time that he retook the castles of Bristol, Gloucester, Hereford, Shrewsbury, and afterwards (though after one failure) Ludlow. In 1210 William de Braose, father of Margery Lacy, for some unexplained cause, assisted by Matthew de Gamages, lord of Dilwyn, made an inroad into Herefordshire, and burnt half the town of Leominster.2 He is said (but on what authority I know not) on his way to have seized the Castle of Weobley. Again, in 1262, the Welsh are said to have ravaged the borders as far as Weobley.3 The Castle and its chaplain are mentioned in the time of William de Blount, first husband of Margery Verdon, in the reign of Edward III.4 In 1483 Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham (connected with Lord Ferrers by the marriage of his son, John Devereux, with Cicely Bourchier, descended, like himself, from Thomas of Woodstock and Eleanor Bohun), is said to have conveyed “sundry false and traitorous proclamations against our sovereign lord (Richard III) from Brecon to Weobley.” Carte, following chiefly the Croyland continuator, says that after the discomfiture of his enterprise by the floods in the Severn, he sojourned at the house of Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers, together with the Bishop of Ely, Sir W. Knyvett, and other
| Harl. MSS. 6766; Gesta Reg. Steph., pp. 61, 69; cont. Flor. Worc., p. 106; Hist. Soc., Hoveden, p. 484; Huntingdon, p. 1028 ; Knighton, p. 2385; Hoveden, p. 389.
2 Rymer, i, 107. 3 Britton, Beauties of E. and W., p. 546 ; Wright, Hist. of Ludlow,
4 Grossi Fin. Ed. III.
conspirators; but finding himself surrounded, he departed secretly, in disguise, to the house of Banister, near Shrewsbury.1
Leland, who visited Weobley about 1533-40, says “ it is a market-town, where is a goodly castle, but somewhat in decay”; and again, “ there is a fair castle of my Lord Ferrers.”2 The Castle, from its low situation, could scarcely ever have been very defensible, and by the time of the civil wars had probably fallen into total decay ; but a plan of it has been preserved by Silas Taylor, entitled “ Ichnographia Castri antiquissimi de Weobley (olim Laciorum).” On the fly-leaf of this MS.3 is written, in pencil, “ this MS. was wrote in the y. 1655.” The site of the Castle is complete, and traceable with ease, as is also the moat; but of the buildings no remains are visible.
As Leominster was famous for wool and also for bread, so was Weobley, in former times, for cwrw or ale. It had also, not long since, some trade in gloves; but this has now disappeared. Blount, in his Collections, c. 1675, says: “The market in this town, which is not great, is held on Thursday; and three fairs it has yearly, the first upon Ascension Day; the second upon Corpus Christi Day, which is always upon Thursday next after Whitsun Week ; and the third upon the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sept. 14. There has been anciently a park (some say two), for there are yet certain grounds and the Park Meadow.” Another passage says, “one park for red, the other for fallow deer.”
In 1645, after the battle of Naseby, King Charles I visited Hereford; and the writer of the Iter Carolinum states that “on Thursday, Sept. 4, the king dined at Hereford, at the Bishop's Palace (Bp. Coke); on the 5th to Lempster, dinner at the Unicorn ; to Webley,
1 Rot. Parl. 1 Rich. III, 12, 13; Croyl. cont. ap. Gale, i, 568; Carte, Hist. of Eng., ii, 813; Jones, Hist. of Breckn., p. 184, who doubts the story. 2 Leland, iv, p. 85; vii, p. 139.
3 Harl. 6726, p. 209. 4 Magna Britannia, p. 934; Harl. MSS., 6568, 6726 ; Camden, ii, 443.
supper, the Unicorn ; Sat. 6, to Hereford.” “ Thurs. 18, to a Randezvous five miles from Ham Lacy, with intention for Worcester, Poins, and Roscester in the Passage; whereupon we marched towards Hereford, so to Lempster, then to Webly, thence to Prestene, there halted at Mr. Andrews'. This march lasted from six in the morning till midnight.”
The Diary of R. Symonds says: “Friday, Sept. 5, the king went to Lemster, and lay that night at Webley ; his guards returned to their old quarters. Sat.King determined to go to Abergany, but 'twas altered; the guards to Letton ; H. M. to Hereford.” “ Thurs. 18th.—This night to Prestayne, com. Radnor.'
The Unicorn Inn thus honoured by the king's visit is believed to be a house at the south or upper end of the town, lately occupied by Mr. Palmer, surgeon, and now (1868) by Mr. Ball, maltster.
Among miscellaneous notices of Weobley are the following:
“At Weobley are (1717) two schools ; one for twentyfive boys, of whom twenty-one are clothed, and all furnished with books. The boys are catechised in church every Lord's Day, in the afternoon. Subscriptions for the boys' school are £27: 10 per ann., and a gentleman in the neighbourhood gives £5 per ann. to the mistress of the girls' school. Four boys have been put out to husbandry by the boys' subscribers.”2
In Blount's Collections occurs the following: “Tomkins' great-grandfather had thirty-two children, all born in one chamber in Webley; in which house he kept a shop and a tan-house (which is now Cox's), joining the Market House in Webley.”
There is a tablet in the church, on which the remarkable length of Tomkins' family was recorded. This is now invisible, being covered by the new encaustic tiles of the chancel; but the following sonnet on the subject
1 Iter Carol. ap. Gutch, Coll. Car., ii, 445, 446; Lord Somers' Tr., X, 288; Symonds, Diary, pp. 233, 240.
2 Horsley, Mag. Brit., p. 952.
may, perhaps, be worth inserting. It is found in a
By graduall steps this Chamber for to view,
Babes thirty-three did from two mothers spring
To famous Tomkins,—0, admired thing!
All lived like loving Sisters and kind Brothers,
And always may this memorable Story
Be an Encomium of this Chamber's Glory.
Proclaime great Tomkins for a man of men.
Let this survive this House, and last when all
Its Beams doe tremble, and the Rafters fall.” “ The Chamber is over the Hall in the Mansion House, next adjoyning to the Market House in Weobley, yet remaining as heretofore."
The Market House, noticed in Hudson Turner's Domestic Architecture (vol. ii, p. 182) as belonging to the fourteenth or fifteenth century, was pulled down about the year 1848 ; but the house adjoining it still remains, a fine specimen of timber building; and this may, perhaps, be the mansion house mentioned above.
Turning to the parliamentary history of the Borough of Weobley, we find that it sent burgesses to Parliament throughout the reign of Edward I; but that this practice was since discontinued till 1640 (15 Charles I), when it was restored by order of the House of Commonsi The burgesses returned during the reign of Edward I were as follow :
1 B. Willis, Rot. Farl., iii; Oldfield, Repr. Hist., iv; Hill, Coll. for Herefordsh., ii; Parl. Il'rits, i, p. xci.