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HER STORY OF HER LIFE.
I HEARD it asserted once in a mixt company that few men of ever so good a family could recollect, immediately on being challenged, the maiden names of their four great grandmothers: they were not Welsh men. My father's two grandames were Bridget Percival, daughter to a then Lord Egmont, and Mary Pennant of Downing, great aunt to the great naturalist. My mother claimed Hester Salusbury, heiress of Lleweney Hall, as one of her grandmothers by marriage with Sir Robert Cotton; Vere Herbert, only daughter of Lord Torington, was the other.
The Salusbury pedigree is, indeed, perpetually referred to by Pennant in the course of his numerous volumes. It begins, I remember, with Adam de Saltzburg, son to Alexander, Duke and Prince of Bavaria, who came to England with the Conqueror, and in 1070 had obtained for his valour a faire House in Lancashire, still known by the name of Saltsbury Court. I showed an abstract of it to the Heralds in office at Saltzbourg, when there; and they acknowledged me a true descendant of their house, offering me all possible honours, to the triumphant delight of dear Piozzi, for whose amusement alone I pulled out the schedule. You will find a
modest allusion to the circumstance in page 283 of the Travel Book, 2nd vol.*
Among my immediate ancestors, third, fourth, or fifth, I forget which, from this Father Adam, was Henry Salusbury surnamed the Black; who having taken three noble Saracens with his own hand in the first Crusade, Cour de Lion knighted him on the field, and to the old Bavarian Lion (see "Retrospection," p. 116) which adorned his shield, added three crescents for coat
On his return the king permitted him to settle where he married in Wales. He built Lewenney Hall, naming it Lew,- the Lion, and an ny,--for us ; and set a brazen one upon its highest tower.
Among our popular Cambrian ballads, is one to the honour of this hero'; still known to the harpers by name of Black Sir Harry. The civil wars of York and Lancaster called into public notice an immediate descendant of this warrior. His name, which also was Henry,
, stood recorded on a little obelisk, or rather cippus, by the road-side at Barnet, where the great battle was fought so long, that I remember my father taking me out of the carriage to read it when I was quite a child.
* “ There is a Benedictine convent seated on the top of a hill above the town (Salzbourg), under which lie its founders and protectors, the old dukes of Bavaria, which they are happy to shew travellers, with the registered account of their young prince Adam, who came over to our island with William, and gained a settlement. They were pleased when I observed to them that his blood was not yet wholly extinct amongst us.” Observations and Reflections, 8c. This quotation is added by the Editor, and all notes and references, not expressly mentioned as by others, are by him.
He had shewn mercy to an enemy on that occasion, who looking on his device or imprese, flung himself at his feet with these words:
Sat est prostrasse Leoni.
Our family have used that Leggenda as motto to the coat armour ever since. *
I guess not why this man was a Yorkist. The other party was natural to the inhabitants of North Wales, where the proud Duke of Somerset had married a daughter of his to the son of Owen Tudor by the Princess Katherine of France; another of whose sons, Fychan Tudor de Beraine, married his son to Jasper the Earl of Pembroke's daughter.f These were immediate parents to the father of Katherine de Berayne by Constance d’Aubigné, Dame d'Honneur to Anne de Bretagne. She brought him this one only child, an heiress, who was ward to Queen Elizabeth, and in her fifteenth year married, with her Majesty's consent, to Sir John Salusbury f, of Llewenney Hall, eldest of fourteen child
After his demise fair Katherine gave her hand to Sir Richard Clough, the splendid merchant, mentioned in a note to “Retrospection," I, whose daughter inherited Bachygraig, and married Roger Salusbury, youngest brother of Sir John, first husband to her mother. He quarrelling with the House of Lleweney, tore down the Lion and set it on his wife's seat called
* See “British Synonymy,” vol. ii. p. 218. — Mrs. P.
Bachygraig, where it stood, newly gilt by Mr. Piozzi, two years ago (1813).
My father was lineally descended from this pair, and died possessed of dear old Bachygraig, while Sir John Salusbury's family soon finished in a daughter Hester, who, marrying Sir Robert Cotton of Combermere, gave him, and all her progeny by him, the name of Salusbury Cotton. She was immediate grandame to my dear mother; and thus in your little friend the two families remain united.
Will it amuse you to be told that Katherine de Berayne, after Sir Richard Clough's death, married Maurice Wynne, of Gwydir, whose family and fortune merged in that of the Berties? He was not, however, her last husband. She wedded Thelwall, of Plasyward, after she was quite an old woman. But the Berayne estate she left to my mother's great-grandfather, as heir to her first husband, Sir John Salusbury of Lleweney. My uncle sold it to Lord Kirkwall's father.*
But it will bring matters nearer home to tell you that my mother, who had 10,0001., an excellent fortune in those days, besides an annuity for her mamma's life of 125l. per annum, who was living gaily with her brother, Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton, and his wife, Lady Betty Tollemache, refused all suitors attracted by
* Lord Kirkwall sold the property to the Rev. Edward Hughes, whose son, William Lewis Hughes, the present possessor, was created Baron Dinorben, in 1831, of Kinmel Park, Denbighshire. The house was burnt down in 1840. - Sir J. F. Lord Dinorben was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Hugh Robert Hughes, Esq.
her merits and beauty for love of her rakisk cousin, John Salusbury of Bachygraig. He, unchecked by care of a father who died during the infancy of his sons, ran out the estate completely to nothing. So completely that the 10,0001. would scarcely pay debts and furnish them out a cottage in Caernarvonshire, where after two or three dead things — I was born alive, and where they were forced by circumstances to remain, till my grandmother Lucy Salusbury — an exemplary creature – should die, and leave them free at least to mortgage or to sell, or to do something towards reinstating themselves in a less unbecoming situation.
Meanwhile I was their joint plaything, and although education was a word then unknown as applied to females, they had taught me to read and speak and think and translate from the French, till I was half a prodigy*; and my father's brother Thomas, who was bred up for the ecclesiastical courts with poor papa's money, and who lived in London among the gay and great, said how his friends the Duke of Leeds, Lord Halifax, &c., would be delighted could they but see little Hester. My mother, however, thought it would be best to conciliate her own relations, and made me, I know not at how early an age, write a letter to my uncle Robert who had lately lost Lady Betty. The scheme prospered: grandmamma Salusbury
* There is a tradition in the Cotton family that she could repeat the names of most of the rivers in the world, but when asked the name of the river at the bottom of the garden (the Thames) she could not tell it.