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quabble with Macpherson, respecting the authenticity of Ossian's poems, in which he evidently had the advantage. His large great work, The Lives of the Euglish Poets, was begun in 1777 and completed in the course of somewhat less than four years. About three years subsequent to the publication of this work he was attacked by the palsy which, together with the asthma and dropsy, continued gradually to undermine his constitution, till at last he sunk into the arms of death on the 13th of December 1784. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, at the foot of Shakespeare's monument, close to the grave of Garrick; but his monument, executed by Bacon, forms one of the chief ornaments of St. Paul's cathedral.*
Whittington lies about two miles to the south east of Lichfield. The Fradley heath, Oxford and Coventry canal runs past the village. A family of the name of Everard was long in possession of the manor, which is now the property of the earl of Uxbridge. The ancient mansion of the Everard's is still standing, as are likewise several other houses formerly belonging to families of considerable repute.
To the north east of this village is Fisherwick, the late seat of the earl of Donegal, from whom it was purchased in 1810 by Richard Howard, Esq. The house, a very extensive and noble building of stone, has since been demolished for the value of the materials. The surrounding pleasure grounds were laid out in the most exquisite taste; and exhibited such variety and richness of scenery, as to entitle it to rank among the finest mansions in the kingdom.
Elford village, situated on the north bank of the Tame, de. rived its present appellation from the number of eels with which the river formerly abounded in this neighbourhood. Previous to the Conquest, this manor belonged to earl Algar; but upon that event it was seized and retained, as his own property by the Norman monarch. During the reign of Henry the third, it was in the possession of William de Arderne, whose descendants continued to enjoy it till the marriage of Maud, F ff 4
sole *Gen. Biog. Dict. Harwood Hist. Lichfield.
sole heiress of Sir John Arderne, with Thomas, second son of Sir John Stanley of Latham, carried it into that family. By a succession of females, it passed in like manner to the Stantons ; from the Stantons to the Smiths; from the Smiths to the Huddlestons; and from the Huddlestons to the Bowes, in which last family it remained for several generations; when it devolved on the honourable Craven Howard, by marriage with Mary daughter of George Bowes, Esq. ancestor to the late earl of Suffolk, upon whose death it fell to his sister, the honorable Frances Howard.
The church dedicated to St. Peter is a fine old building in the pointed style of architecture. The windows contain some fine paintings on glass, but in a very damaged state. A few ancient monuments deserve attention. In the north wall appears a painted figure, with curled hair, habited in a gown which reaches to the knee, and having buskins on his legs, a sword, and a ring on his thumb. Near it is an alabaster Lomb of an Arderne and his wife. The male figure wears a conic hele inet, mail round his neck, chin, and shoulders, and a collar of S.S. The lady has on a rich pearl bonnet, a cloak and gown : one hand is clasped in that of her husband. The figure of Sir William Smith in full armour, with a collar S. S. and beardless, lies
upon a raised tomb between figures of his two wives Isabel* and Anne, the former of whom wears a coronet on her head. Sir John Stanley is placed under an arch, in arniour, his head resting on a helm. Beside him are an eagle and child, the cognizance of the Stanleys. Under another arch near this appears the recumbent figure of a child (the eldest son of Sir John Stanley) dressed in a long robe, and having curled hair. One hand points to his ear, and the other holds a ball, which appears, from the inscription upou it, to have been the immediate instrument of his death"Ubi dolor ibi digitus.”+
At * Isabel was daughter of Juhn Nevil, marquis of Montacute, brother to the great earl of Warwick; Aoue was daughter to William Stanton, and conveyed to him this manor.
† Pennant's Journey, 160, 161.
At Elford park farm, which is situated about two miles from the village, is a barrow called Elford-low, and opposite to it, at the distance of a mile, another of smaller extent. Both of
hem are evidently sepulchral, and were probably the burying .'.ces of the slain, in some battle on or near this spot, during che Saxon heptarchy. These lows are denominated by the common people Robin Hood's shooting butts from a belief, prevalent among them, that he sometimes practised here, and was able to throw an arrow from the one to the other. Several human skeletons, a piece of a bayonet, a wooden bowl or noggin, and some other warlike utensils, were discovered in a field here about the middle of the last century. Concerning the bones it is impossible to offer even a plausible conjecture; but the remaining articles, in all probability, belonged to some soldiers at the time of the great rebellion in 1645.*
Clifton Campville, a village placed at the most eastern angle of the county, derived the latter part of its name from the Camvilles, a family who were in possession of the manor from 1200 to 1315. It is chiefly remarkable on account of its church, which is dedicated to St. Andrews, and is surmounted by one of the finest spires to be seen on any parish church in the kingdom. The interior has two chancels, which are separated by a handsome screen. Some of the windows contain several very neat paintings on glass, one of them a representation of St. Mark. The south chancel is distinguished by a very noble alabaster monument in honour of Sir John Vernon, and his lady, both of whom died in 1545. On the top are their effigies in a recumbent posture; the knight dressed in a long bonnet and gown, and his lady in a square hood, with a purse, knife, and beads, by her side.
Thorpe Constantine, situated about two miles to the south of Clifton, deserves notice, only on account of the diminutive size of its church, and as being the family residence of the late
* Shaw's Hist, Staff. Vol. I. p. 381.
William Inge, Esq. already mentioned as greatly distinguished for his public spirit and integrity as a justice of the peace.
This town is finely situated at the confluence of the river Tame and the Anker. The former runs through the town, dividing it nearly into equal parts, one of which is in Warwickshire, and the other in the county we are now describing. In the Saxon language, the name of this place was Tamanweorthe, which signifies, the island of the river Tame. It was likewise called Tameneordige, and Tamawordina, both of them terms of similar import.
Tamworth seems to have been a town of considerable note, at a very early period. In the time of the Mercians it was a royal village, and the favourite residence of their monarchs. The celebrated Offa dates a charter to the monks of Worcester, from his palace here, in 781. Several of his successors in the next century date other charters from the same place.*
At this period a vast ditch 45 feet in breadth protected the town and royal demesne on the north, west, and east; the rivers serving as a defence on the south side. Of this ditch some few vestiges can still be traced, and at two angles which it forms are two mounts, probably raised as the foundations of small towers. Many bones of men and horses, and ancient warlike instruments, have been discovered here at different times during the last fifty or sixty years.
Upon the invasion of tbis kingdom by the Danes as mentioned in the general history, Tamwortht was totally destroyed. Ethelfleda, however, the celebrated daughter of the illustrious Alfred, rebuilt it in the year 913, after she had, by her prudence and valour, succeeded in freeing her brother's do
• Pennant, 164. Gough's Camden, Vol. II. 495—504.
+ Vide Ante, p. 720—722.
minions from the grasp of the piratical invaders. This lady likewise erected a tower on a part of the artificial mount which forms the site of the present castle; and here she generally resided till the period of her death in 920. About two years posterior to this event, Tamworth witnessed the submission of all the Mercian tribes, together with the princes of Wales, to the sovereign power of her brother Edward.
Concerning the history of Tamworth from this period till the era of the Conquest, nothing of importance is recorded. St. Edith, or Editha, whom we have several times mentioned* before, is said to have founded a small monastery bere; but the truth of this statement is extremely doubtful. After the accession of the Norman conqueror to the English throne, this town continued for some time a royal demesne, but was at last let at a certain rent to the lords of the castle. In the third year of the reign of queen Elizabeth it was constituted a corporation, and two years after first sent representatives to Parliament, The right of voting is vested in the inhabitants paying scot and lot, and the members are returned jointly by the sheriffs of Warwickshire and Staffordshire, from the circumstance already noticed of the town being situated partly in both these counties. Two bailiffs, a recorder, and twenty-four capital burgesses, form the corporation. One of the bailiffs is chosen from each county. They have the power of holding a three weeks' court of record, and acting as justices of the peace within the borough. They have likewise a court leet once a year, a gaol, and a common seal. The market is held on a Saturday every week, and is plentifully supplied with provisions of all kinds.
The town of Tamworth is large and well built, and its situation uncommonly fine. This latter circumstance, joined to the advantages it enjoyed as a place of defence in ancient times, was probably the cause of its being distinguished by the residence of the Mercian monarchs. It is on all sides surrounded by
rich She was the daughter of king Edgar and abbess of Polesworth nunnery.
• Vide Ante. p. 755.