Author : Augustus John Cuthbert Hare
Category : Biography & Autobiography
Publisher : Library of Alexandria
Published : 2020-09-28
ISBN : 9781465581969
Type : PDF & EPUB
Page : 1046 Download →
Reviews book: IN 1727, the year of George the First's death, Miss Grace Naylor of Hurstmonceaux, though she was beloved, charming, and beautiful, died very mysteriously in her twenty-first year, in the immense and weird old castle of which she had been the heiress. She was affirmed to have been starved by her former governess, who lived alone with her, but the fact was never proved. Her property passed to her first cousin Francis Hare (son of her aunt Bethaia), who forthwith assumed the name of Naylor. The new owner of Hurstmonceaux was the only child of the first marriage of that Francis Hare, who, through the influence first of the Duke of Marlborough (by whose side, then a chaplain, he had ridden on the battle-fields of Blenheim and Ramilies), and afterwards of his family connections the Pelhams and Walpoles, rose to become one of the richest and most popular pluralists of his age. Yet he had to be contented at last with the bishoprics of St. Asaph and Chichester, with each of which he held the Deanery of St. Paul's, the Archbishopric of Canterbury having twice just escaped him. The Bishop's eldest son Francis was "un facheux détail de notre famille," as the grandfather of Madame de Maintenon said of his son. He died after a life of the wildest dissipation, without leaving any children by his wife Carlotta Alston, who was his stepmother's sister. So the property of Hurstmonceaux went to his half-brother Robert, son of the Bishop's second marriage with Mary-Margaret Alston, heiress of the Vatche in Buckinghamshire, and of several other places besides. Sir Robert Walpole had been the godfather of Robert Hare-Naylor, and presented him with a valuable sinecure office as a christening present, and he further made the Bishop urge the Church as the profession in which father and godfather could best aid the boy's advancement. Accordingly Robert took orders, obtained a living, and was made a Canon of Winchester. While he was still very young, his father had further secured his fortunes by marrying him to the heiress who lived nearest to his mother's property of the Vatche, and, by the beautiful Sarah Selman (daughter of the owner of Chalfont St. Peter's, and sister of Mrs. Lefevre), he had two sons—Francis and Robert, and an only daughter Anna Maria, afterwards Mrs. Bulkeley. In the zenith of her youth and loveliness, however, Sarah Hare died very suddenly from eating ices when overheated at a ball, and soon afterwards Robert married a second wife—the rich Henrietta Henckel, who pulled down Hurstmonceaux Castle. She did this because she was jealous of the sons of her predecessor, and wished to build a large new house, which she persuaded her husband to settle upon her own children, who were numerous, though only two daughters lived to any great age. But she was justly punished, for when Robert Hare died, it was discovered that the great house which Wyatt had built for Mrs. Hare, and which is now known as Hurstmonceaux Place, was erected upon entailed land, so that the house stripped of furniture, and the property shorn of its most valuable farms, passed to Francis Hare-Naylor, son of Miss Selman. Mrs. Henckel Hare lived on to a great age, and when "the burden of her years came on her" she repented of her avarice and injustice, and coming back to Hurstmonceaux in childish senility, would wander round and round the castle ruins in the early morning and late evening, wringing her hands and saying—"Who could have done such a wicked thing: oh! who could have done such a wicked thing, as to pull down this beautiful old place?"