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mandy, whilst his son, Sir Adam, remained in England, received a grant of Wimpstone, and became founder of the English family. However the truth may be, we have here at any rate a curious and early instance of the continuance of a 'byename' as that of a family. It is found on either side of the Channel. Wimpstone became the cradle of a numerous race. There were Fortescues of Preston, of Spridlestone, of Wood, and of Falla pit, all which places lic near together in that part of Devonshire between the Dart and the Yealm ; and in Lord Clermont's words, that retired region must have been almost • peopled by families of Fortescues, held together both by neigh• bourhood and frequent intermarriages. In the same manner the Fortescues of Normandy were clustered in a corner of the Côtentin-the cradle of so many Anglo-Norman families—a region of apple-orchards, steep hills, and winding valleys, much like that in which their English cousins increased and prospered. One branch became Seigneurs of St. Evremund—a noticeable name; and another was of St. Marie du Mont. None of their older possessions in South Devon remain to the Fortescues, and Wimpstone, with the rest of their houses (except Fallapit) have sunk into farms deep set in orchards, showing only by an occasional carved portal or moulded chimney that they have fallen from a higher estate. But in England the old seats were abandoned in order that the family might flourish elsewhere. In Normandy, although the race still exists, and is recognised as • d'une vieille et bonne • noblesse,' it has sunk into poverty, and retains but few records of its former importance. It is remarkable that the shield of arms borne by these Norman Fortescues, although not exactly the same as that of the English house, has so much resemblance to it that it is difficult to suppose but that one must have affected the other.
Wimpstone itself can never have been a large estate, and the house, at its best, was but small. The life, indeed, in these lesser manor houses must always have been poor and rough, and the joys of the chase, to which the country lent itself, must have been greatly checked in those early days by the
The shield of the English Fortescues is azure, a bend engrailed, argent, between two bendlets, or. That of the Norman Fortescues varies. Guillaume Fortescu, killed at Agincourt, bore argent 3 bends azure.
Fortescu, Seigneur de Corainville, has the bends gules. The Sieur de Tailly has the field azure, like that of the English Fortescues, with the bends argent; and Tristain Fortescu of MesnilAngot, has the field argent with a single bend azure, thus coming nearest to the English coat.
operation of the forest laws. The first Fortescues of Wimpstone can hardly have roused the red deer from his lair' with half the freedom and delight that their successors enjoyed in more recent times, when riding to hounds' over the same pleasant hills and uplands. But at the beginning of the fifteenth century, William Fortescue, of Wimpstone, is reported as master of broad lands in various parts of South Devon; and after his death occurs the first offset from the main trunk. His eldest son continued to represent the race at Wimpstone; his second, Sir John, became, through his sons, the founder of at least three distinct houses. He is generally known in the family records as Sir John of Meaux, of which strong place, the capital of the province of La Brie, he was made Captain after it was taken by the English in 1422. Sir John, according to Westcote, was a worthy and fortunate 6 commander under that terror of France and Mirror of Mar'tialists, Henry V.' He fought at Agincourt, where his third son, then a mere youth, was present with him; and where also fought and fell, of course in the French ranks, one of his Norman cousins, Guillaume Fortescue, lord of St. Evremond. Sir John married Eleanor, daughter and heiress of William Norreis of Norreis--a house in the valley of the Avon, at no great distance from Wimpstone. Here, as it seems most probable, their three sons were born, the second of whom was the famous Chief Justice and Chancellor. With the recollection of his life and of his writings full upon us, it is hardly possible to look without much interest on even the comparatively modern walls and roofs of the farm which now represents the ancient dwelling. But the site is the same. The low, green hills sheltered the old house as they shelter its successor; and the river sparkles onward as freshly as when the future lawyer caught (as we take it for granted he did catch) his first trout among its stickles.'
Sir Henry Fortescue, eldest son of the Captain of Meaux, became Chief Justice of Ireland; where, if Fuller is to be trusted, he was justly of great esteem for his many virtues, especially • for his sincerity in so tempting a place.' He seems to have brought back with him into Devonshire a number of Irish retainers; for a bill filed in Chancery in 1431, at the suit of Richard Sackville, complains that · Herry Fortescue, late Jus* tice of Irlond,' wrongfully dispossessed Sackville and his wife of ‘ land and houssing' at Nethercombe (now Combe in the parish of Holbeton), coming to the house with 'grete peuple of * Irysshemen and others in the manore of werre arraied,' where Sackville, hys wyfe, here moder and here children beynge in thair bedde, he brake thair dores and cofres, with horrible gov-'naunce (?) cryinge and shotte,' frightened the women out of their wits, and carried off Sackville himself prisoner to Exeter. The whole gives us a curious picture of the lawlessness of the times, and indicates that the Justice's many virtues were not inconsistent with an occasional recourse to the strong hand; a result, perhaps, of Irish experiences. The life of his second brother, the English Chief Justice and Chancellor, must be dwelt upon at somewhat greater length.
Sir John Fortescue was born at Norreis about 1394. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford; and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn. In 1430 he was made Sergeant; and soon afterwards married Isabella Jamyss, of Norton St. Philips in Somersetshire, where the Fortescue arms may still be seen on one of the houses in the village. His practice was large, and his knowledge of English law so conspicuous that, without any intermediate steps, he was raised in 1442 to the high place of Lord Chief Justice. He was an ardent Lancastrian; but this did not interfere with his zeal for truth and justice, and Fuller, comparing him with Chief Justice Markham, his immediate successor, says, “ These I may call two Chief • Justices of the Chief Justices, for their signal integrity ; for 'though the one of them favoured the house of Lancaster and
the other the house of York in their titles to the Crown, both of them favoured the house of Justice in matters betwixt ‘ party and party.' In 1461, after the defeat of the Yorkists at St. Alban’s, Fortescue, who had nearly reached his seventieth year, passed with King Henry to the north of England, where they joined the queen and her forces; and in spite of his years the Chief Justice fought bravely in the terrible battle of Towton-one of the most fatal and destructive that has ever been fought on English soil. The Lancastrians never recovered the loss of this battle. Henry, Margaret, and the young Prince fled from York to Berwick, and soon afterwards took refuge with the King of Scots at Edinburgh. Fortescue accompanied them; but not before he had again shown his prowess in two lesser encounters with the Yorkists, at Brauncepeth and at Ryton near Newcastle. Two months after Towton he was superseded as Chief Justice by King Edward. It must have been at this time that Henry VI. made him his Chancellor. He was with the king and queen in the campaign
It has been doubted whether Fortescue was ever Chancellor within the realm of England, although it is not questioned that he acted as Henry VI.'s Chancellor after the flight from Bamborough. of Hexham, where the Lancastrians were finally and totally defeated ; escaped with Margaret and the Prince to the strong fortress of Bamborough, still in the hands of their party; and sailed thence with them to Flanders. His name, and the name of Doctor John Morton,' afterwards Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury, occur in the list of these exiles preserved by William of Worcester. They landed at Sluys, and were hospitably received by the Count of Charolais, but soon passed into Lorraine, of which duchy Margaret's father, Réné of Anjou, was in possession. He assigned them, as a place of retreat, the little town of St. Mighel in the valley of the Meuse; picturesque with strange cylindrical rocks rising above the narrow gorge of the river. There was a castle, in which the English exiles were lodged, and where, two centuries later, Cardinal de Retz wrote some part of his famous memoirs.
For nearly seven years—from the end of 1464 to the beginning of 1471--Queen Margaret, surrounded by those of the Lancastrian leaders who had fled with, or afterwards joined her, kept her sad state in the castle of St. Mighel. Her father, King Réné (we all remember the excellent picture of him in Sir Walter Scott's • Anne of Geierstein), could do little beyond finding her a shelter. Supplies from other sources were but slender; and it is not surprising to find Chancellor Fortescue (as he must now be called), writing to the Earl of Ormond
We buthe alle in grete poverte, but yet the quene susteynethe ' us in mete and drinke, so as we buthe vot in extreme neces* site. Here highnesse may do no more to us thanne she
dothe.' Among the English exiles, besides Doctor Morton, were the Dukes of Somerset and of Exeter, and Sir John Courtenay; the two latter, like Fortescue, closely connected with Devonshire. We can but imagine the weary life in a strange land, the anxious waiting for news, and the devices for passing the time to which all must have been reduced. Now and then an attempt was made to enlist the sympathies of the king of France, or of Portyngale' on behalf of the red rose; and Lord Clermont prints for the first time a letter, imploring
But there was a period, after the battle of St. Alban’s, during which Henry was still in England, and in possession of some, though but a small part of his dominions. It is probable that at this time Fortescue was created Chancellor ; the very presence,' as Lord Clermont remarks, ' in Henry's retinue of the venerable and famous Lord Chief * Justice of England would in itself naturaliy suggest such an appoint'ment.' It is certain also that Henry had a great seal after his expulsion.
aid from the latter, who was grandson of Philippa, daughter of
'Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster.' This letter, written in the name of the young Prince Edward, was composed by Fortescue, and is rich in highsounding Latin phrases, with references, after the fashion of the time, to Babylon and Rome, the Scipios and the Fabii, Hercules, Hector, and Achilles. The last words of the letter are in the bold but unformed writing of the prince;' and a shorter letter to the Earl of Ormond is entirely written by him. “Writen,' it concludes, 'at Seynt Mychael in Barr,
wț myn awn hand, that ye mey se how gode wrytare I am. Edward was at this time cleven years old. The Chancellor must have been seventy-two or three; and the weight of the Prince's education fell solely upon him. Fortescue's endeavours were directed towards teaching him the nature of the laws of his country, and fitting him to become king of England. It was for him, during the long detention at St. Mighel, that the treatise · De Laudibus Legum Angliæ' was written; and the introduction gives us an interesting picture of the young Prince undergoing all the necessary instruction of the manège, delighting to back and to rein fierce and unbroken horses, and joining his companions and attendants in the games of mimic war.* An old knight, we are told (miles quidam grandavus), Chancellor of his father the king of England, seeing all this, took occasion to insist on the advantages of a knowledge of law as well as of arms. Then follows, in the manner of a conversation between the Chancellor and the Prince, the treatise to which we must presently return.
As the years went on, the hopes of the Lancastrians grew brighter. The Nevilles rose against King Edward; and Warwick, with his son-in-law the Duke of Clarence, took refuge in France, where they were well received by Lewis. At this juncture Fortescue presented to the French king a memoir, in
, which he refuted (as he considered), the claim of Edward to the crown of England; and afterwards endeavoured to alarm Lewis by telling him of King Edward's declared resolution to invade France in person.
Warwick and Clarence were accordingly invited to the French court at Amboise. There
Princeps ille, mox ut factus est adultus, militari se totum contulit discipline, et sepe ferocibus et quasi indomitis insedens caballis, cos calcaribus urgens, quandoque lancea, quandoque mucrone, altis quoque instrumentis bellicis, sodales suos, juvenes sibi servientes. bellancium more invadere, ferireque, juxta martis gymnasii rudimenta, delectabatur.'