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Queen Margaret, with the young Prince and the Chancellor Fortescue, joined them; and after some negotiation it was arranged that Prince Edward should marry Warwick's second daughter, the Lady Anne Neville, which ladie,' says Holinshed, * came with her mother into France;' that Clarence and Warwick should endeavour to restore Henry to the throne; and that Lewis should assist them with money and troops. The marriage accordingly took place, some time in the year 1470. Warwick landed in England unopposed by Edward, who fled to Holland; and (Oct. 6, 1470), King Henry was released from the Tower and replaced on the throne. It was, as we know, a brief triumph. Edward returned. ,
Clarence went over to him with 12,000 men; and on Easter Sunday (April 14, 1471), the two armies met at Barnet, where the Lancastrians were entirely defeated, and Warwick himself was killed. It was on this same Easter Sunday that Margaret and the Prince, attended by Sir John Fortescue, landed at Weymouth after a voyage of three weeks. They knew nothing of the return of Edward, and the sudden news of the fatal battle must have been overwhelming. Fortescue at first advised a return to France.
But troops came up from the Western counties, where the Lancastrians were still powerful; and they marched without opposition to Tewkesbury, where they encountered the army of King Edward. The result need hardly be told. • There was slain Prince Edward, crying on the Duke of • Clarence, his brother-in-law, for help.' Queen Margaret, with the lady Anne, were made prisoners; and among the ‘ men of name who were taken and not slain,' is included Sir John Fortescue, who appeared in arms for the last time on this bloody field.
His imprisonment was not a long one. Henry VI. was murdered in the Tower the night before Edward's return from Tewkesbury. The Prince was dead; and the house of York had now nothing to fear from the few remaining adherents of that of Lancaster. Fortescue was accordingly released ; but ordered, as it would seem, to remain at Ebrington, a manor near Campden in Gloucestershire, of which he had bought the reversion in 1457. On his attainder, Ebrington had been granted to Sir John Brugge, who died in possession of it
, shortly before the battle of Tewkesbury. It was then re-granted to Fortescue, and has ever since remained in the family. The first Earl Fortescue was also created (1789) Viscount Ebrington; and that title is accordingly now borne by the eldest son of the house.
The full pardon of Sir John Fortescue was bestowed by the
advice of the Yorkist Chief Justice Billing. But it was only granted on the condition that he should put forth a new treatise to refute that which he had before composed, proving the right of the house of Lancaster to the throne. This he was compelled to do, using devices at which he must himself have smiled, to explain away his former arguments. For the rest of his life he remained quietly at Ebrington, where he died, as the local tradition asserts, at the age of ninety, leaving, in Lord Campbell's words, a great and venerable name to his posterity and his country.' He was buried in the village church, which closely adjoins the old manor-house, and stands like that on high ground, overlooking a quiet country, broken into low green hills, on the extreme north-eastern border of Gloucestershire. The manor-house, as it now exists, is perhaps of the seventeenth century; but it contains more ancient
ortions; and let its date be what it may, the figure which fills the mind's eye' of the wanderer who finds his way to Ebrington is that of the miles grandævus,' the aged chancellor, whose 'good white head, before it found its final resting-place, experienced so great and so sudden changes of fortune. The effigy on his tomb represents him in the scarlet robes, ermine tippet, and coif of a judge. This is to all appearance of his own time or but little later. On the wall above is a tablet with a long Latin inscription, placed there in 1677 by Colonel Robert Fortescue, who was then owner of the property, Within the last few years the whole has been restored and newly painted; perhaps a necessary precaution, although the feeling of grey antiquity is thus somewhat rudely disturbed.*
The two really important treatises of Fortescue which remain to us are the 'De Naturâ Legis Naturæ’and the De Lau
dibus Legum Angliæ,' and of these the latter is by far the best. Both seem to have been written for the benefit, present or prospective, of the unfortunate Prince Edward ;-the former during the chancellor's stay at Edinburgh after Towton; the latter at Saint Mighel. The real object of the former was to set forth the natural rights, as Fortescue considered them, of the house of Lancaster to the throne. That of the latter is much wider and more remarkable. The main object of the
. writer is to contrast the fundamental principles of the common
There had been an earlier restoration.' Colonel Fortescne of Filleigh bequeaths (1677) - fifty or sixty pounds to be employed by my * trustees in the new polishing and adorning the monument in the parish "church of Ebrington, of Sir John Fortescue, Knight, sometime Lord "Chancellor of England, my worthy and renowned ancestor.'
law of England with those of the civil law, mainly as he found them exemplified in France. The king of England, he maintains, is a 'rex politicè regens'-a king whose power is not absolute, since he can neither impose taxes nor make laws without the consent of Parliament; and the liberties of the subject, as he goes on to insist, are maintained more completely than in any other kingdom by that trial by jury which in Fortescue's time had been fully developed into its modern form. The historical arguments, throughout the treatise, are curious enough. What is now England, we are told, had never been otherwise ruled than by a constitutional king (rex politicus). Under Britons, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans the same rule prevailed. Whatever the race and whoever the kings, the country was always ruled by the saine customs--an abiding proof of their excellence. Even the Romans, who imposed their own laws on the rest of the world, recognised the ancient customs of Britain.* The origin of a “rex politicus,' so far as this country is concerned, is found in Brutus of Troy, whom his followers, when they landed on the shore of Britain, chose for their king, but retained a share of the power in their own hands. As a Devonshire man, Fortescue was not likely to forget that the landing of Brutus' had long been traditionally fixed at Totness, in his own county, and at no great distance from his birthplace. But Brutus was the recognised 'fundator Angliæ ' among the lawyers of his time, just as St. Alban is hailed as the protomartyr Anglorum;' and this strange confusion of races, and mixture of truth with legend, in no way detract from the real value of the treatise. Very interesting notices of the condition of England, of the schools of law then existing in London, and of the manners and society of the age, occur more or less incidentally; and if we are to accept as a faithful picture the description of the classes from whom English juries were made up, we must believe that the golden
* "Et in omnibus nationum harum et regum eorum temporibus, regnum illud cisdem, quibus jam regitur, consuetudinibus continue regulatum est. Que, si optime non extitissent, aliqui regum illorum justitia, ratione, vel affectione concitati, eas mutassent, aut omnino delevissent; et maxime Romani, qui legibus suis, quasi totum orbis reliquum judicabant.' Cap. xvii.
+Regio enim illa' (Anglia) ita respersa refertaque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea villula tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non est miles, armiger, vel paterfamilias, qualis ibidem Frankelayn vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis ditatus possessionibus; necnon libere tenentes alii et Valecti plurimi, suis patrimoniis cufficientes ad faciendum juratum in forma prenotata.' Cap. xxix.
age of plenty and of comfort which Mr. Froude assigns to the earlier years of Henry VIII., had at that time been long established. How far the wars of the Roses interfered with this true well-being of the people is a question to which Fortescue's book affords no answer. It is probable that they weighed far more heavily on knights and nobles, and on the great landowners, than on the lesser folk of franklins and yeomen.
To Chancellor Fortescue was born but one son, Martin, who died in 1472, before his father, whom however he probably saw restored to Ebrington after his long exile. Martin Fortescue married Elizabeth Denzille, heiress of Filleigh, Weare Giffard, and Buckland-Filleigh, all in North Devon. In that part of the county he became the founder of a new colony of Fortescues; and the house of Castle Hill claims him as its direct ancestor. Little is recorded of him ; but he has left one very interesting memorial of himself. He partly rebuilt, and left much in the condition in which we now see it, the manorhouse of Weare Giffard, which groups picturesquely with the church and hamlet on the right
bank of the Torridge. The house stands low, like many old Devonshire mansions, and the river-meadows eastward lie close under its walls; but the country is so varied with hill and wood, the oaks of all the district are so wide-branched and so venerable, and the whole scene wears so completely the air of that companionable solitude' which Sidney praises in the · Arcadia,' that it is hardly possible to wish it different in any respect from the reality. As was usual with manor houses of that period, Weare Giffard stood at first within an enclosing wall, fronted by a gate-house. This remains; but the wall itself was destroyed during the troubles of the Civil War, when there was much skirmishing with attacking and defending of houses throughout the neighbourhood. The long, low house, with deeply projecting wings and gables, is now open to all the breezes, and the myrtles and evergreens which clothe its walls show how little cause there is, in that sheltered valley, for dreading the attacks of even 'winter and rough weather.' The hall, still perfect, was built by Martin Fortescue about 1460. Its roof, rich with hammer beams, tracery, cusping, and pendants, is one of the most elaborate and most highly ornamented not only in the county but in England; and over the wide fireplace, which speaks of welcome and of wassail, are the arms of Fortescue, impaling those of Denzille, Weare, and Filleigh. Castle Hill, which
England was, he adds, more a pastoral than an agricultural country. The whole chapter is very noticeable.
represents the Filleigh also acquired by Martin Fortescue, has long been the principal seat of the family; but the house of Weare Giffard remains the truest memorial of the first Fortescue of North Devon.
To this branch we must return. It will first be well to trace the fortunes of the parent house, and of those offsets from it which were established in the South Hams. Wimpstone remained in direct descent from the earliest Fortescue holder until the beginning of the seventeenth century, but had been • totally alienated' when Westcote wrote in 1630.
Its owners seem to have been content to lead the lives of quiet country gentlemen, and left the distinction of the family to younger branches. Of these, the Fortescues of Fallapit are by far the most noticeable. They were descended from that Sir Henry Fortescue, eldest son of Sir John of Meaux, brother of the Chancellor, and Chief Justice of Ireland, whose violent attack on Combe has already been noticed. He married the heiress of Fallapit, and when his direct line in 1595 ended in a daughter, she became the wife of a cousin, and thus continued the line of the Fortescues of Fallapit, now a modern house in the neighbourhood of Kingsbridge. They were ardent royalists; and the name of Sir Edmund Fortescue, the defender of the last fort in Devonshire which held out for the king, is still remembered in the West. He died before his father, who had been in trouble' for the same cause, and was imprisoned for some time in the “Clinke' or Winchester House, in London. Edmund Fortescue must have given proof that he was well fitted for the post, when he was appointed by the king, in 1642, High Sheriff of Devonshire. In the same year he was made prisoner, with many others of note, at Modbury, where the royalists had fortified themselves in a strong house of the Champernownes, and were attacked by a body of Parliamentarian troops from Plymouth. The prisoners were all despatched by sea from Dartmouth; and a contemporary, writing to his
loving friend,'one Master Stock, wishes a faire wind for these 'great malignants, to bring them to Winchester House or
some such place.' Thither Sir Edmund was eventually removed; but he was at first sent to Windsor Castle, where, on the wall of a chamber near the Round Tower, some inscriptions have been found which identify it as the place of his detention. There are the words--- Sir Edmund Fortescue, prisoner in this chamber. The 12th day of Annarie (sic), 1642. Pour le
Roy C.,' with a rude outline of the family arms, the motto, and a second inscription, 'Sa. E. F. 1643, 22nd of May. He must have been released soon after this last date; and again