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about that time was infested by a wild boar, which was at last slain by a huntsman, named Nigel, to whom, in reward, the King granted some lands to be held by cornage, or the service of a horn; a mode of livery which in that age appears to have been common. On the land thus given, Nigel erected a large manor-house, and named it Bore-stall, or Boar-stall, memory of the event through which he obtained possession. These circumstances are corroborated by
BORSTALL is situated on the western side of Buck-
various transcripts relating to the manor, which are | visions and obstructing the intercourse from the contained in a manuscript volume, in folio, composed neighbouring country, soon became as great a nuisabout the time of Henry VI., and now in the posses-ance to the king's garrison at Oxford, as their former sion of Sir Thomas Aubrey, Bart., the owner of this neighbours had been to them; in consequence of estate. It contains a rude delineation of the site of which, Colonel Gage undertook to reduce it, and Borstall House, and its contiguous grounds; beneath having, after a slight resistance, obtained possession which is the figure of a man on one knee, presenting of the church and outworks on the eastern side, he a boar's head to the King, who is returning him a coat opened such a heavy fire against the manor-house and of arms.* tower that it was shortly surrendered. On this oc
Sir Edward Walker, the Lady Denham, the then owner, being conscious of her disaffection, stole away in disguise. In the following year, two attacks were made on the royalists, at Borstall House, (the first by General Skippon, and the next by Fairfax,) but both were unsuccessful. In 1646, on the 10th of June, General Fairfax reduced it after an investiture of eighteen hours only, it being surrendered to him by the governor, Sir Charles Campion, who was subsequently slain at Colchester.
From an inquisition taken in the year 1265, it ap-casion, according to the "Historical Discourses” of pears that Sir John Fitz-Nigel, or Fitz-Neale, then held a hide of arable land, called the Dere-hide, at Borstall, and a wood, called Hull Wood, by grand serjeantry, as Keeper of the forest of Bernwood; that his ancestors had possessed the same lands and office prior to the Conquest, holding them by the service of a horn; and that they had been unjustly withheld by the family of Lazures, of whom William Fitz-Nigel, father of John, had been obliged to purchase them.† Prior to this, William Fitz-Nigel had been obliged to pay King John eleven marks for the enjoyment of his father's office, and for liberty to marry at his own pleasure. Į
In the 28th of Edward I., anno 1300, John FitzNigel gave his daughter in marriage to John, son of Richard de Handlo, who, in consequence of this match, became in a few years Lord of Borstall, and in 1322, (6th of Edward II.) he obtained license from the King, to fortify his mansion at Borstall, and make a castle of it." In 1327, (2nd of Edward III.) the said John was summoned to parliament as a baron, but his son, or grandson, Edmund, dying in his minority, in 1356, this estate afterwards passed, by heirs female, into the families of De la Pole, James, Rede, Denham, Banistre, Lewis, and Aubrey. The latter has been in possession nearly a century and a half. Sir Thomas Aubrey, Bart. the present owner, resides at his seat, near Aylesbury. Bernwood was not disafforested until the reign of James I.
At an early period of the Civil Wars, Borstall House was garrisoned for King Charles, but in the spring of 1644, when it was thought expedient to abandon some of the lesser garrisons, this mansion was evacuated, and the fortifications were partly dismantled. This, however, had scarcely been effected, than the parliamentary garrison at Aylesbury, which had experienced much inconvenience by the incursions from Borstall, took possession, and by seizing pro
* Vide “ Archæologia,” vol. iii. where the plan is engraved.
+ Vide Bishop Kennet's "Parochial Antiquities of Ambrosden," &c., p. 265.
Ibid, p. 166.
BORSTALL TOWER, the north front of which is represented in the annexed cut, is a good specimen of the castellated architecture of the time of Edward II. Its form is square, with embattled turrets at each angle; the entrance to the tower is over a bridge of two arches, which supplies the place of the ancient drawbridge, destroyed by order of parliament, when the tower and house were dismantled, in the year 1644. The gateway is secured by massive, doors, strengthened with studs and plates of iron. Each of the northern turrets contains three apartments, which are light and lofty; the southern turrets contain spiral staircases, with stone steps leading to the upper apartments; the space over the gateway includes two large rooms, but the principal apartment is on the second story, and occupies the whole space between the tur
Modern improvement has somewhat decreased its dimensions, by cutting off the recesses, formed by the bay windows, at each end and over the gateway, but it is still a noble room; the bay window last mentioned still retains part of the stained glass it was formerly decorated with, particularly an escutcheon of the De Lazures and the De Handloos. The roof is nearly flat, and forms a beautiful terrace; it was formerly covered with lead, which has since been replaced by copper, thinly leaded, to preserve it from corrosion. The south front, as seen from the pleasure ground, is peculiarly light and pleasing. Since the demolition of the old mansion by the late Sir John Aubrey, (who died a few years ago, at the age of eighty-seven,) one side of the moat has been filled up, but the other three sides still remain. A neat pa
rochial chapel was erected in 1819, on the ancient site, by the late Sir John Aubrey; the chancel is lit by a handsome window, and contains an elegant monument in dove-coloured and white marble, to the memory of the two wives of Sir John; and another, a very chaste specimen, in the perpendicular Gothic style, has been erected to the memory of Sir John Aubrey himself, who is buried in the vault beneath the chancel.
ON THE COMPARATIVE MERITS OF THE CLASSIC STYLES
It forms a happy sign of improvement in the national taste, that we may now be allowed to institute a comparison of the ancient architecture of Greece and Rome with that of the middle ages in our own country and others adjacent-a permission, which to have asked a century ago would have been thought to stamp any one as an ignorant barbarian. That the case, however, is one not thus easily to be set aside by an affectation of classical accomplishment, (a feeling, perhaps, naturally enough attending the revival of classic literature,) will be evident upon a review of those qualities which are admitted by all to be decisive upon the value of an architectural system.
its being more expensive than that of the others. This objection may be met by the same reply as before, that it is not to the style itself, but to the degree of judgment with which it is treated, that the expense is attributable. Of this we have a perfect demonstration in the instances of three or four churches erected in this style, within the last few years, and which do honour to the metropolis, whose cost has not exceeded the moderate limits of expenditure, that were thought to constitute the great excellence of the modern Grecian system of church-making.
It is not to be denied, indeed, that an architect who thinks it impossible, consistently, to imitate the style of the middle ages without filling his windows with elaborate tracery, loading his cornices or stringmouldings with foliage, and vaulting his interiors with large groined ceilings, will find such a scheme altogether incompatible with limited means; but it is equally certain that if he apply an analogous rule of proceeding to the treatment of the other styles he will find himself involved in no less a difficulty. It may be granted further that the old English mode is not quite so manageable as to admit of the square openings and wide sashes, of the flat copings and level ceilings of modern domestic architecture; but it must be allowed in return, that in the former case the production however simplified bears a distinctive character, whereas, in the latter, we frequently cannot apply any epithet of classification to the mass of structures that are, indeed, mere brick boxes to hold human creatures.
If the praise of convenience be claimed for the Italian and Greek modes, it would be difficult to prove But, the considerations of convenience and ecothat the Pointed style is in this particular at all their nomy being disposed of, to what extent do the three inferior. The difficulties experienced in the treat- styles in question relatively promote the ends of ment of the latter are almost wholly accidental, and architecture as an ornamental science? That the not such as grow out of any natural intractability of great characteristic of the ancient Greek remains is that style. These difficulties, perhaps, may be as- extreme beauty, both in the detail and in the mass, signed to two causes; the one, that our forefathers must on all hands be admitted. It seems, however, were alike ignorant and careless of the refinements to be a beauty inseparable from strict simplicity of of modern luxury, and consequently have not left arrangement; and accordingly we find in none of the us examples for all those conveniencies of arrange-much-admired remains of Grecian temples, any conment, which modern habits and superfluous luxuries siderable diversity of plan, or variation of form from require, the other, that our architects have for cen- that of the original parallelogram. This simplicity turies made so little use of the Pointed style, that was indeed so general, that, but for the varied they have failed from neglect of study to become ac-decorations of sculpture, it would probably have soon quainted with its resources. Let the latter occupy as much of their efforts and attention as the exotic styles have done, and it will soon be found to be destitute of no quality of convenience, whether in public or domestic edifices.
An objection is frequently raised against the adoption of the old English mode, on the supposition of
been attended with satiety and change.
The Romans, as if desirous of having a world of their own in architecture as in arms, borrowed from the Greeks only a few crude ideas of component parts, and forthwith struck out for themselves a variety of bold attempts, deriving new and valuable aid in their execution from the great discovery of the