« PreviousContinue »
I will rebuild them, while he leaves me a shilling in my pocket *.”
As early as July, 1649, she visited Skipton and Barden for a few days, and, returning to the former place in the February following, continued there for nearly a twelvemonth, occupying the only parts of the castle which had not been rendered uninhabitable; namely, the long gallery and adjoining apartments. Here, in holding courts, fixing boundaries, and giving orders for immediately necessary repairs, she passed her time; but it was not until October, 1655, that she commenced the restoration of the old castle, which had been little better than a mass of half demolished walls and rubbish since the year 1648. Her task was completed in about three years, and the following inscription over the entrance into the modern fabric, remains as the record of her labours.
"THIS SKIPTON CASTLE WAS REPAYRED BY THE LADY ANNE CLIFFORD, COUNTESS DOWAGER OF PEMBROKE, DORSETT AND MONTGOMERIE, BARONESS CLIFFORD, WESTMORLAND, AND VESCIE, LADYE OF THE HONOUR OF SKIPTON, IN
Royal and Noble Authors, apud Park, v. iii. p. 166.
CRAVEN, AND SHERIFFESSE BY INHERITANCE OF THE COUNTY OF WESTMORELAND, IN THE YEARES 1657 AND 1658, AFTER THIS MAINE PART OF ITT HAD LAYNE RUINOUS EVER SINCE DECEMBER 1648, AND THE JANUARY FOLLOWINGE, WHEN ITT WAS THEN PULLED Downe AND DEMOLISHED, ALMOST TO THE FOUNDATION, BY THE COMMAND OF THE PARLIAMENT, THEN SITTING AT WESTMINSTER, BECAUSE ITT HAD BEEN A GARRISON IN THE THEN CIVIL WARRES IN ENGLAND.
'Isaiah, chap. lviii. v. 12. God's Name Be Praised.”
The verse to which we are referred at the close of this inscription runs thus: "Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in ;" and certainly no one was ever better entitled to the application of this text than her whom we are now commemorating. In fact, the restoration of Skipton castle was but the commencement of her exertions in this for, in the very year of its completion, she began the repair of Barden Tower, which having been neglected by the last two earls had fallen into ruin; and here likewise, as upon almost every other edi
fice which she rebuilt, she left an inscription commemorative of her title and her labours, and concluding with the same verse from Isaiah; so that, as hath been appositely remarked, there is scarcely any English character which has been so frequently and so copiously recorded in stone and marble as the countess of Pembroke *
This queen of the North, as she was often termed, now passing from Yorkshire into Westmoreland, her castles of Brougham, Appleby, Brough, and Pendragon, three of which had long lain in a dilapidated state, again reared their dismantled heads. Pendragon celebrated for the romantic origin of its name, and not less so for the wild grandeur of the scene around it, and which, at the command of Roger de Clifford, had opened its gates in 1337 to receive Edward Baliol on his expulsion from Scotland, was completely restored by her in 1661, after having been unroofed for a hundred and twenty years; but the walls, being twelve feet thick, had resisted the assaults of time and weather, and only required once more to be covered in, in order to last for centuries. But, alas! such is the insta
* Whitaker's Craven, p. 312.
bility of all human projects, scarcely ten years had elapsed from the death of lady Pembroke, when in Westmoreland three of these castles were destroyed by her grandson, Thomas earl of Thanet, Appleby alone being preserved !
The liberal and munificent spirit of the countess, however, was not confined to the restoration of her castles; she, who had frequently declared that she would not "dwell in ceiled houses whilst the house of God laid waste," was as diligent in repairing the churches as the fortified mansions of her ancestors. It is said that not less than seven of these ecclesiastical structures rose from their ruins under her care and direction, and among them Skipton church, whose steeple, which had been nearly beaten down during the siege of the neighbouring castle, was rebuilt by her in 1655. She also endowed two hospitals, and might be considered, indeed, as through life, the constant friend and bene.. factress of the industrious poor.
With these pleasing features of charity, philanthropy and beneficence, was mingled in the disposition of lady Anne an uncommon share of occasional dignity and firmness of spirit; for whilst she was singularly kind and condescending to her
inferiors, whilst she conversed with her alms-women as her sisters, and with her servants as her humble friends, no one knew better how, in the circle of a court or the splendour of a drawing-room, to support their due consequence and state; and with what dauntless independency of mind she could repel the encroachments of corrupt power, the following memorable reply, addressed to sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state to Charles the Second, and who had written to nominate to her a member for the borough of Appleby, will sufficiently show.
"I have been bullied by an usurper; I have been neglected by a court; but I will not be dictated to by a subject: your man shan't stand.
ANNE, DORSET, PEMBROKE, and
Dr. Campbell, in his " Philosophy of Rhetoric," speaking of the spirit to be derived to composition from concinnity of expression, adduces this brief but energetic answer of lady Anne, as one of the
* This anecdote was first introduced by lord Orford into the periodical paper entitled "The World," No. 14, April 5, 1753, and afterwards repeated in his Royal and Noble Authors.