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that it was from pure ignorance of the sources of information ; and the question naturally arises—What did they read? This inquiry I hope to pursue, and to begin by shewing that there were some persons, at least—perhaps a good many—who read the Bible,

Parish Churches.

STOURTON, WILTSHIRE. The parish of Stourton lies principally on the right-hand side of the road between Bath and Poole, about midway between them. The church does not meet the traveller's eye from the main road, as it lies concealed in a hollow or dell to the right, and is reached by a cross-road, which passes the rectory house on the left hand, a substantial, square, brick building, lately erected near the site of the former house, and, from its elevated situation, commanding an extensive prospect of the surrounding country. The approach to the church is enclosed on each side with steep banks, clothed thickly with laurels, and crowned at their summits with a luxuriant grove of beech and other timber trees, the former of which give a verdure and cheerfulness to the landscape throughout the year.

The parish church of Stourton is dedicated to St. Peter, and was formerly under the patronage of the Stourton family, and at present under that of Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. It is a turretted building of stone, with a square tower, and an open cornice surrounding the summit of the body of the church.

Few parish church-yards possess a more beautiful prospect from their enclosure than that of Stourton, extending over a well-wooded and undulated scenery, thickly covered with laurel. Immediately in front of the church is a row of neatly-ornamented cottages, having their walls clothed with jasmine and other creepers, and their immediate approach decorated with well-trimmed flower borders.

The church itself stands nearly at the foot of a bank of laurels, and is approached by a path, bordered on one side by a row of beech trees. The church consists of a nave, extending, from the turret and belfry to the chancel, forty-three-and-a-half feet, and from thence to the altar twenty-eight and three-quarters feet, making the whole length seventy-two-and-a-quarter feet. Its total breadth is thirty-one feet from the north door.

It has one side aisle to the north, and a family pew, for the use of the proprietor of Stourhead, projecting to the south. It contains many memorials to the family of Stourton; but one tomb only deserves notice—viz., two effigies, sculptured in stone, and recumbent on a richly-decorated base. This is the most sumptuous and only costly monument erected to the memory of this noble and ancient family. It stands in the north aisle, and bears no inscription; but from the shield of arms at the east end of the tomb, we are enabled to ascertain its date, and to ascribe it to the memory of Edward Lord Stourton, the fifth baron; and Agnes, daughter of John Fauntleroy, of Marsh, in the county of Dorset. This Edward succeeded his brother William, as fifth baron of Stourton, on failure of issue, A.D. 1524. He was summoned to parliament 21 Hen. VIII., A.D. 1530; died A.D. 1536; and was buried at Stourton. He married Agnes, above mentioned, daughter of John Fauntleroy, of Marsh, near Sherborne, in the county of Dorset.

For farther particulars of the family of Stourton, I must refer the reader to Sir Richard C. Hoare's History of Modern Wiltshire, to which I am indebted for the above account. I shall only add from that work, “ that the family of Stourton, deriving its name from the river Stour, is of very high antiquity, and is supposed to have settled in the west of England previous to the Conquest ; at which time lived one Botolph, who, according to tradition, when William the Conqueror invaded England, broke down the sea walls of the Severn, and, retreating to Glastonbury, guarded the pass by land, until the Conqueror acceded to the terms that were required. [Collins's Peerage, sub. Stourton.] But Mr. Edmondstone, in his Baronagium, places Bartholomew at the head of the genealogical tree, whom I imagine to be the same person as was mentioned under the name of Botolph.”

Besides the monuments above mentioned, there are three to the memory of members of the family of Hoare, deserving of notice; one to Henry Hoare, the first of that family who settled at Stourton, the manors and estates of the Stourton family having been purchased A.D. 1714. The second memorial to the family of Hoare, is one to Henry Hoare, son of the former. This monument consists of a large tablet, bearing an inscription, and surmounted by two children, one of whom is represented entwining a wreath round a sepulchral urn; the other, weeping, holds a funereal torch in one hand, and a scroll in the other, on which are the following lines, written by William Hayley, Esq.:

Ye who have viewed, in Pleasure's choicest hour,
The earth embellished on these banks of Stour,
Will grateful reverence to this marble lean,
Rais'd to the friendly founder of the scene.
Here with pure love of smiling Nature warm’d,
This far-fam'd demi-paradise he form’d;
And, happier still, here learn'd from heaven to find
A sweeter Eden in a bounteous mind.
Thankful these fair and flow'ry paths he trod,

And priz'd them only as they lead to God. The third and remaining monument, which is placed within the rails of the altar, records the memory of Hester Lyttleton, daughter of William Henry Lord Westcote, since created Lord Lyttleton, and wife of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. This monument was sent from Italy, and represents a sarcophagus of Egyptian granite, surmounted by an urn of foreign marble, with two weeping boys. Besides the foregoing memorials to the families of Stourton and Hoare, there are a few others dispersed in various parts of the church. One, on account of its antiquity, and from its commemorating a former rector of the church, is deserving of notice. This is a small tablet of brass, inlaid in a stone on the pavement in the centre of the chancel, consisting of two lines written in old characters, which I read thus :

Hic jacet Johannes Winford, quondam hujus rector ecclesiæ, qui obiit x° die mensis Julii anno MCCCCLXXIII. cujus anime propitietur Deus. Amen.*

Against the north wall within the chancel, is a tablet bearing the following inscription :

Dormitoria sub hoc pariete (sed resurgent) Caroli et Frances liberorum Caroli Crolie, Arm' et uxoris ejus Mariæ, an'o redemptionis 1666. Oremus - Vigilemus - Do'c'e cito.

There are two more inscriptions to former rectors of this parish, which perhaps may not be unacceptable in a history of the church. The first is to the following effect, and is inscribed on the pavement:

Dormitorium Nathanielis Feild, hujus quondam ecclesie Pastoris, qui diem clausit extremum Martis, Anno Domini 1665.

Depositum Rachelis Feild, quæ obiit Martii 30, Anno Domini 1664. Mors etiam saxis nominibus que venit. The other, of a recent date, is on a marble tablet, in the nave of the church :

M. S. Montagu Barton, hujusce ecclesiæ per annos triginta et sex Rectoris, E familiâ de Plantagenet oriundi. Montagu Barton filius carissimo parenti Mærens posuit.

In the church windows are several fragments of old painted glass-viz., in the window north of the altar, a crucifixion; in the north aisle, the six fountains, the arms of Stourton; and in several places are to be seen their original crest or badge, a sledge; also another device, somewhat similar in design, but of different colours.

I have only farther to add, that Stourton may number among its former rectors the late Archdeacon Coxe, Editor of the Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole, and other literary works; but as he did not make Stourton his residence, I know of no circumstances of a topical nature which would be attended with interest to the reader, as relating to a person of his notoriety in the literary world,

It will be seen, by the Institutiones, that John Edmunde succeeded to the living of Stourton in 1473, upon the death of Johannes Winford, and that William, Lord Stourton was patron.

+ By the Institutiones in the Register Office, I find that Nathaniel Feild was presented to the living of Stourton (Edward, Lord Stourton, Patron), a.d. 1631, and that John Derby succeeded him.

21

MEMORIALS OF THE INQUISITION.

(Continued from vol. viii. p. 626.)

CHAP. VI.

Treatment of a Prisoner in the Dungeons and Hall of Audience. In the last chapter some account was given of the consequences of an arrest by the holy office, as far as these affected the party arrested. It was not, however, in his person alone that the accused was doomed to suffer. No sooner was the fearful warrant executed, than one of the inquisitors, attended by a body of officials, repaired to the captive's dwelling. With the most unsparing scrutiny, every hiding-place, every chest, every closet was searched for matter out of which to convict the prisoner; or, at least, for such papers and documents as might serve to justify the tribunal in dealing with him to the utmost extent of its own most cruel usage. Whether the search proved successful or not, the inquisitor made of his books, papers, and effects, the most exact catalogue. All his property, indeed, was registered; and such were the effects of fear on the minds of his relatives, that they not only made no attempts to keep anything back, but they positively volunteered information often when there was no natural clue to lead to it. When this was done, the inquisition proceeded to seize for its own use, either the whole or a large portion of the goods of its captive, under the pretext of securing a fund, out of which the expenses incident on the investigation might be defrayed. And to such an extreme was this system carried, that, with men of moderate fortune, an arrest amounted virtually to absolute ruin, while the wealthy were thankful to escape with the loss of a full moiety of their estates.

The property of the accused being thus disposed of, proceedings against himself began, which were for the most part so tedious, that weeks, sometimes months, elapsed ere the captive was so much as made aware of the grounds of his captivity. All this while he was the inmate of a dungeon, so terrible, both in itself and in its adjuncts, as to dispose the mind, however strong, to the influence of absolute despondency. The prisons of the Inquisition were, indeed, mere caves or cells, approachable by winding passages or steep stairs, and so completely embowelled in the heart of the earth, that the wailings of their miserable tenants never reached the ears of those who trod its surface. Scarce a ray of light broke in upon the captive's darkness; so that, being destitute of all other means of occupation, he gave up his thoughts continually, and of necessity, to a consideration of his own immediate sorrows,and of the terrible prospects that threatened him. Conversation, likewise, even with the jailor, was prohibited; and if by chance he overheard the cries of some wretched creatures whose cells adjoined to his own, any attempt to converse with them was immediately put down by heavy blows with a whip or stick from an official. "Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention, and so, it appears, is misery; for the prisoners of the Inquisition at last fell upon a method by which, in spite of the vigilance of their keepers, they contrived to carry on a limited conversation. They rapped one to another through the wall, making one blow stand for the first letter in the alphabet, two for the second, and so on,-a rude but ingenious contrivance, by means of which their feelings and condition were mutually described, while the very effort to describe them served to amuse, and of course to withdraw the mind from the contemplation of its griefs.

When the prisoner had thus dragged out his appointed term of days, or weeks, or months, in absolute ignorance, as well of the crime with which he was charged as of the kind of evidence which would be brought against him, his jailor, not officially, but as if instigated by a sense of personal compassion, would ask whether or not he were anxious to obtain an audience of the inquisitors. Be it observed that this proceeding was in perfect agreement with the system of hypocrisy and cruelty which prevailed throughout. It was a point of policy with the holy office to treat the accused under all circumstances as a petitioner ; and hence his very trial, with the consequences, whatever those might be, arising out of it, were made to flow out of his own requisition. Accordingly, when the prisoner came before his judges, they, as if they were entirely ignorant both of himself and of his offence, would ask who he was, whence he came, and whether he had anything to say. Thus situated, the wretched being had before him only a choice of dangers and of difficulties. If his memory supplied the record of some word or action against which the terrors of the office were especially directed, or if he were of a timid and desponding temper, on which long confinement had operated, he was not unapt to pronounce himself guilty of crimes from the bare contemplation of which he would, under other circumstances, have turned away with horror. In this case, supposing him now to have been brought for the first time to trial, his life was usually spared; but his property was confiscated, his family declared infamous, and he himself pronounced incapable of filling any office either in the church or the state. On the other hand, if his conscience entirely acquitted him, and his courage were great, his wisest course would be to declare that he had nothing whatever to say, for the Inquisition rarely ventured to convict without some show of proof; and supposing none such to be adduced, and none would be adduced unless in the opinion of the judges it was sufficient, the prisoner received his discharge.

But an escape from the dungeons of the Inquisition under such circumstances afforded very slender grounds of rejoicing. Let

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