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Graham's Magazine Vol. XXXII No. 2. February 1848   By:

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GRAHAM'S MAGAZINE.

VOL. XXXII. PHILADELPHIA, FEBRUARY, 1848. No. 2.

STOKE CHURCH AND PARK.

THE SCENE OF GRAY'S ELEGY, AND RESIDENCE OF THE PENNS OF PENNSYLVANIA

BY R. BALMANNO.

[Illustration: Manor of Stoke]

The Manor of Stoke, with its magnificent mansion and picturesque park, is situate near the village of Stoke Pogeys, in the county of Buckingham, four miles north west of Windsor.

About two miles distant from Stoke lies the village of Slough, rendered famous by the residence of the celebrated astronomer, Sir William Herschel, and a short way further, on a gentle slope continued the whole way from Stoke, stand the venerable towers of time honored Eton, on the bank of the Thames, directly opposite, and looking up to the proud castle of the kings of England, unmatched in its lofty, commanding situation and rich scenery by that of any royal residence in Europe.

Stoke, anciently written Stoches, belonged, in the time of William the Conqueror, A. D. 1086, to William, son of Ansculf, of whom it was held by Walter de Stoke. Previous thereto, it was in part held by Siret, a vassal of Harold, and at the same time, a certain Stokeman, the vassal of Tubi, held another portion. Finally, in the year 1300, during the reign of King Edward the First, it received its present appellation by the intermarriage of Amicia de Stoke, the heiress, with Robert de Pogeys. Under the sovereignty of Edward the Third, 1346, John de Molines, originally of French extraction, and from the town of that name in Bourbonnais, married Margaret de Pogeys; and, in consequence of his eminent services, obtained license of the king to make a castle of his manor house of Stoke Pogeys, fortify with stone walls embattled, and imparke the woods; also that it should be exempt from the authority of the marshal of the king's household, or any of his officers; and in further testimony of the king's favor, he had summons to Parliament among the barons of the realm.

During the wars of the rival Roses, the place was owned by Sir Robert Hungerford, commonly called Lord Moleyns, by reason of his marriage with Alianore, daughter of William, Lord Moleyns.

This Lord Robert, siding with the Lancasterians, or the Red Roses, upon the loss of the battle of Towton, fled to York, where King Henry the Sixth then was, and afterward with him into Scotland. He was attainted by the Parliament of Edward the Fourth; but the king took compassion on Alianore, his wife, and her children, committing her and them to the care of John, Lord Wenlock, to whom he had granted all her husband's manors and lands, granting them a fitting support as long as her said husband, Lord Robert, should live. But the Lancasterians making head in the north, he "flew out" again, being the chief of those who were in the castle of the Percys, at Alnwick, with five or six hundred Frenchmen, and being taken prisoner at the battle of Hexham, he was beheaded at Newcastle on Tyne, but buried in the north aisle of the cathedral of Salisbury.

Lady Alianore, his widow, lies buried in the church of Stoke Pogeys; and her monument may still be seen, with an epitaph commencing thus:

Hic, hoc sub lapide sepelitur Corpus venerabilis Dominæ Alianoræ Molins, Baronissiæ, quam prius desponsavit Dominus Robertus Hungerford, miles et Baro. &c. &c.

Notwithstanding the grant to Lord Wenlock, Thomas, the son and heir of Lord Robert Hungerford, succeeded to the estate. For a time he sided with the famous Earl of Warwick, the king maker, who took part with Edward the Fourth, but afterward "falling off," and endeavoring for the restoration of King Henry the Sixth, was seized on, and tried for his life at Salisbury, before that diabolical tyrant, crook back Duke of Gloucester, afterward Richard the Third, where he had judgment of the death of a traitor, and suffered accordingly the next day.

But during the reign of Henry the Seventh, in 1485, when the Red Roses became triumphant at the decisive battle of Bosworth, and these unnatural and bloody wars which had devastated England for nearly thirty years, being brought to a close, by the union of Henry with Elizabeth of York, representative of the White Roses, the attainder of Thomas, as well as that of his father, Lord Robert, being reversed in Parliament, his only child and heir, called Mary, succeeded to the estate... Continue reading book >>




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