Picture of William Camden

William Camden

places mentioned

Worcestershire and Staffordshire

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THE second region of the ancient Cornavii, having now changed the name, is called in Latin Wigorniensis comitatus , in the English Saxon tongue Wire-ceaster-scyre and now commonly of the principall towne in it Worcestershire, the inhabitants whereof, togither with those who joyning unto them round about in Bedes daies, before that England was divided into Shires, were termed Wiccii. Which name, if it were not given them of the river having so many windings which they dwell by (for such turnings and curving reaches the English Saxons, as I have already said, called wic ), may seeme to have beene derived of those Salt pits that the old Englishmen in their language named wiches. For there bee here very notable Salt-pits, and many salt springs often times have beene found, which notwithstanding are stopped up because it was provided (as wee read) that for the saving of woods salt should not be boiled but in certaine places. Neither let it seeme strange that places have their names given them from Salt-pits, considering that we may meet with many such here and there in every Country, and our Ancestors the Germans, as Tacitus writeth, had a religious perswasion and beliefe that such places approch neerest to heaven, and that mens praiers were nowhere sooner heard of the Gods.

2. This County, on which Warwickshire confineth on the East, Glocestershire on the South, bounded West-ward with Herefordshire and Shropshire, North-east with Staffordshire, to say all in one word, hath so temperate an aire and soile so favourable that for healthfulnesse and plenty it is not inferiour to their neighbour countries, and in one part for deinty cheese surpasseth them, yeelding such store of peares as none other the like, and albeit they are not so pleasing to these deinty and delicate mouthes, yet out of their winish juice they make a bastard kind of wine called pyrry, which they drinke very much, although it bee (as other drinkes of that kinde) both cold and full of winde. Neither is it, if you respect waters, lesse pleasant and commodious, for in every place there be passing sweet rivers, which affoord in great abundance the most delicate kind of fishes. And to let those run by that are of lesse account, Severn that noble and renowned river carieth his streame along through the midest of the shire from North to South, and Avon, that commeth downe out of Warwickshire to meet with Severn, watereth the South part thereof.

3. Severn, first of all at his verie entry, passeth betweene Kidderminster and Beaudley. This Beawdley, worthily so called for the Beautifull site thereof, standeth most pleasantly upon the hanging of an hill, and hovereth over the river on the West side, of late daies well knowne for the admirable tallnesse of trees growing in the forest of Wyre adjoining, which now in manner bee all gone. Whence our Poet and Antiquarie Leland wrote thus:

Beawdley, a fine and deinty thing, is goodly to be seene,
All dight about with guirland fresh of Wire, that forest greene.

But now is this little towne in speech and request onely for the pleasantnesse and beauty of it selfe, and with all for the Kings house Tiken-hall, which Henry the Seventh built to bee a retyring place for Prince Arthur, at which time he granted some liberties to Beawdley. But farther from the river banke Eastward is Kidderminster over against it, called also Kidlminster, a faire towne and hath a great Mercate of all commodities, well frequented, parted in twaine by the little river Stowre that runneth through it, and the greatest ornaments now belonging thereto are, first, a passing beautifull church, wherein some of the worshipfull family of the Corkseis lie buried, and the goodly gallant house of the Blounts of Knights degree, descended from those of Kinlet. But in old time this place was of most note for the Lords thereof, the Bissets, men in their time right honorable: whose rich possessions being at length dismembred and divided among sisters, came partly to the Barons of Abergevenney and in part to a Lazarhouse of women in Wiltshire, which one of the said sisters, being her selfe infected with the Leprosie, built for them that had the same disease, and enriched it with her owne patrimony and childs part. Afterwards it came to have a Baron, for King Richard the Second created Sir John Beauchamp, Steward of his houshold, Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster by letters Patents, ?and is accounted the first Baron so created.? But hee soone after by the Barons (who togither with the Commons rose and, contemning the Kings authority, called as many as were most deere unto the KIng to give an account for their misgovernment of the Commonweale) was with other right worth persons, in malice to the King, condemned and beheaded.

4. Severn, turning his course somewhat awry from thence, saluteth Hertlebury, a Castle of the Bishops of Worcester not far distant, and goeth amaine to Holt Castle, so called of a very thick wood there belonging sometime to the Abtots; after, to the Beauchamps, who, springing from William Beauchamp surnamed the Blinde Baron, grew up afterwards to be a most honorable family, the inheritance whereof descended at length to Gyse and Penyston. From hence runneth Severne downe, feeding such a number of fresh water Lampries, as that Nature may seeme in this place to have made a very pond or Stew for them, such as the Romans devised in ancient times when they grew lavish in riotous excesse. These fishes we call Lampries of the Latin word lampetra , as one would say of licking the rocks, are like to Eeles, slippery and blakish, howbeit beneath on their bellies somewhat blew. On either side of their throats they receive and let in water at seven holes, for that they want gils altogither. Most commendable they are in the spring time, as being then very sweet, for in Summer the inner nerve or string which stands them in steed of a backbone waxeth hard. The Italians make them more delicate in tast by a speciall seasoning. For they take a Lamprie and in Malvesy [Cretan wine] kill it, the mouth they close up with a nutmeg, fill all the holes with as many cloves, and when it is rolled up round, putting thereto filbard-nut kernels stamped, crums of bread, oile, malvesey, and spices, they boyle it with great care and certaine turnings over a soft and temperate fire of coles in a frying pan. But what have I to doe with such cookery and Apicius?

5. Beneath Holt, Severn openeth his East banke to let in the river Salwarp comming apace toward him. This hath his first veines out of Lickey Hill, most eminent in the North part of this Shire, ?neare unto which at Frankeley the family of the Litletons was planted by John Litleton, alias Westcote, the famous lawier, Justice in the Kings Bench in the time of King Edward the Fourth, to whose Treatise of Tenures the students of our Common Law are no lesse beholden then the Civilians [students of civil law] to Justinians Institutes. But to returne.? The Salwarp which we speake of runneth downe by Brumesgrove, a mercate towne not of the meanest reckoning and not farre from Grafton, the seat of a yonger familie of the Talbots since King Henry the Seventh gave it to Sir Gilbert Talbot, a younger son of John, the Second Earle of Shrewsbury: whom also for his martiall valour and singular wisdome hee admitted into the society of the Order of the Garter and made Governor of Callis. Then runneth Salwarp downe to Droitwich (Durtwich some terme it, of the salt pits and the wettish ground on which it standeth, like as Hyetus in Booetia tooke name of the durty situation), where three fountaines yeelding plenty of water to make salt of, divided asunder by a little brooke of fresh water passing betweene, by a peculiar gift of nature spring out: out of which most pure white salt is boiled for sixe moneths every yeare, to wit, from Midsommer to Midwinter, in many set fornaces round about. Wherewith what a mighty deale of wood is consumed, Fekenham forest (where trees grew sometime thicker) and the woods round about it, if men hold their peace, will by their thinnesse make manifest more and more. But if I should write that the learned Canonist Richard de la Wich Bishop of Chichester, here borne, obteined with his fervent praiers these salt springs out of the bowells of the hearth, I feare mee least some might thinke me both over injurious to the providence of God, and also too credulous of old wives traditions. Yet were our ancestours in their pious devotion so hasty of beliefe that they did not onely give credit hereto, yea and record it in their writings, but in consideration also heereof yeelded unto that Prelate in some sort divine honour, when Pope Urban the Fourth had for his sanctity and sincere integrity of life canonized him a Saint. But before that ever this Richard was borne, Gervase of Tilbury wrot thus of these salt springs, though not altogether truely: In the Bishopricke of Worcester there is a country towne not farre from the City named Durtwich, in which at the foot of a certaine little hill there runneth a most fresh water, in the banke whereof are seene a few pits or wels of a reasonable depth, and their water is most salt. When this water is boiled in Caudrons, [sic] it becommeth thick and turneth into passing white salt, and all the Province fetcheth and carrieth it, for that betweene Christmas and the feast of S. John Baptists Nativity the water floweth most salt. The rest of the yeere it runneth somewhat fresh, and nothing good for to make salt, and that which I take to be most wonderfull, when this salt water is runne sufficiently for the use of the country, scarcely overfloweth it to any wast. Also when the time is once come of the saltnesse, the same is nothing at all allaied for all the vicinity of the fresh river water, neither is it found in any place neere unto the sea. Moreover in the very Kings book which we call Domesday we read thus: In Wich the King and Earle have eight salt pits, which in the whole weeke wherein they boiled and wrought yeelded on the Friday sixteene Bullions.

6. Salwarp ?having now entertained a smale brooke descending from Chedesley, where anciently the family of Foliot flourished, as afterward at Longden,? maketh hast to Severne, which hath not passed foure miles farther before he runs hard by Worcester the principall City of this Shire, where he seemeth to passe with a slower stream, as it were, admiring and wondering thereat all the whole he passeth by, and worthy it is I assure you of admiration, whether you respect either the Antiquity or the beauty thereof. Certes, for antiquity the Emperour Antonine hath made mention of it under the name of Branonium, and Ptolomee (in whom through the negligence of the transcribers it is misplaced) under the name of Branogenium, after which name the Britans call it yet Caer Wrangon. In the Catalogue of Ninnius it is named Caer Guarangon and Caer Guorcon . The old English-Saxons afterward called it Weogare-ceaster and Wire-ceaster , I dare not say of Wire that woody forrest which in old time stretched farre. Since the Conquest, the Latin writers named it Vigornia and Wigornia. Which name Joseph the Monke of Excester, a right elegant Poet in those daies, was one of the first that used (if my memory faile me not): I mean him that is published under the name of Cornelius Nepos, in these his elegant verses unto Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury:

A mitre third now waits for thee, for still thine honour growes,
Thee Wigorne still remembreth, now Canterbury knowes.
The See of Rome doth thinke of thee, and Peters ship, in feare
Of wracke, amid the boistrous stormes expects thee for to steare.

7. Probable it is that the Romans built it, what time as they planted cities at certain spaces and distances along the East banke of Severn, to keep the Britans beyond Severn, like as they did in Germany on the South banke of the Rhine to represse the incursions of the Germans. It standeth in a place rising somewhat with a gentle ascent, by the rivers side, that hath a faire bridge with a tower over it, proudly bearing it selfe in old time , as I finde it written in an ancient Manuscript roule, of the Romans wall , and even now also it is well and strongly walled. But the fame and reputation that it now hath ariseth from the Inhabitants, who are many in number, courteous and wealthy by the trade of clothing, from their faire and neat houses, from the number also of Churches, but most of all from the Bishops See which Sexwulph Bishop of the Mercians erected there in the yeere of Christ 680, having built a Cathedrall Church at the Southside of the City, which hath beene often repaired, and which the Bishops and Monkes by little and little have drawen out in length Westward, almost to the very brinke of Severn. Truly it is a passing faire and stately building, adorned with the Monuments and Tombes of King John, Arthur Prince of Wales, and divers of the Beauchamps, and in these daies it is no lesse notable by the Deane and Chapter, whom they call Prebendaries, placed therein, than it was in times past for the Monkes or the Cloister Priests. For presently upon the first foundation, like as in other religious houses of England, maried Priests were placed heere, who carying a long time a great opinion of holinesse governed the Churches, untill that Dunstane Archbishop of Canterbury had decreed in a Synode That from thence forward the religious men in England should live a single life. For then Oswald Bishop of this City, who promoted the Monasticall life as busily as any whosoever, remooved the Priests and brought in Monkes. Which King Eadgar testifieth in these words: The Monasteries as well of Monkes as of Virgins have beene destroied and quite neglected throughout England, which I have now determined to repaire to the glory of God for my soules health, and so to multiply the number of Gods servants and hand-maides. And now already I have set up seven and forty Monasteries with Monkes and Nunnes in them, and if Christ spare me life so long, I am determined in offering my devout munificence to God for to proceed to fifty, even the just number of a Jubilee. Whereupon at this present, that Monastery which the reverend Bishop Oswald in the Episcopall See of Wire-ceaster amply enlarged to the honour of Mary the holy mother of God, and by casting out those Clerks &. hath with my assent and favour appointed there Monkes, the religious servants of God, I my selfe doe by my royall authority confirme, and by the counsel and consent of my Peeres and Nobles corroborat and consigne to those religious men living a sole and single life &. Long time after, when the state of the Church and Clergy here, partly by the Danes incursion, and in part by civill dissentions, was so greatly weakened and brought upon the very knees that in lieu of that multitude of religious persons whom Oswald had heere place, skarce twelve remained, Wolstan Bishop of this Church, about the yeere of the worlds redemption 1090, put to this helping hand, raised it up againe, and brought them to the number of 50, yea and built a new Church for them. Wolstan I say, a man not so learned (the times then were such), but of that simple sincerity without all hypocrisie, so severe also and austere of life that, as he was terrible to the wicked, so he was venerable to the good, and after his death the Church registred him in the number of Saints. But King Henry the Eighth suppressed and expelled the Monks after they had in all plenty and fulnesse lived more than 500 yeeres, and in their roomes he substituted a Deane and Prebendaries, and withall erected a Grammar-schoole for the raising up of youth. Hard by this Church the bare name and plot of a Castle remaineth, which (as wee read in William of MalmesburiesBooke of Bishops ), Ursus, appointed Sheriffe of Worcester by William the Conqueror, built under the very nose and in the mouth well neare of the Monkes, in so much as he cut away from them a part of their Church-yard. But this Castle through the iniquity of time and casualty of fire was consumed many yeeres ago. The City it selfe also hath been burnt more than once, as being set one fire in the yeere of Christ 1040 by Hardy-Cnute, who, exceedingly incensed against the Citizens because they had slaine his huscarles (for so they tearmed those domesticall gatherers of the Danes tribute), did not onely set fire on the City, but slew the Citizens every mothers sonne, unlesse it were those that saved themselves in Beuerley, an Iland compassed in with the river. Howbeit, as we finde written in King William the Conquerors booke, in King Edward the Confessours time, It had many Burgesses, and for fifteene Hides discharged it selfe: when the Mint went, every Minter gave twenty shillings at London for to receive coyning stamps of mony. In the yeere 1113 a skarfire that came no man knew how burnt the Castle, caught also with the flames to the roofes of the Church. Likewise in the reigne of Stephen, in the time of civill wars it was twice on fire, but most dangerously when King Stephen, who had to his owne damage given this City unto Wallerand Earle of Mellent, seized it into his owne hands: howbeit he was not able at that time to win the Castle. Neverthelesse it raised it selfe up againe out of the ashes in a goodlier forme alwaies than it had before, and flourished in a right good state of civill government, governed by two Bailifes chosen out of 24 Citizens, two Aldermen, and two Chamberlaines, with a Common counsell consisting of 48 Citizens. As touching the Geographicall position of this Citie, it is distant in Longitude from the West Meridian 21 degrees and 2 minutes, and the North pole is elevated 52 degrees and 12 Minutes.

8. From Worcester the river Severn, running on still Southward, passeth beside Powicke, the seat in times past of Sir John Beauchamp, whom King Henrie the Sixth raised up to the state of a Baron, and within a small time the femall heires brought the inheritance to the Willoughbies of Broke, the Reads, and the Lygons. Then runneth it through most rich and redolent medowes by Hanley Castle, belonging sometimes to the Earles of Glocester, and by Upton, a mercate towne of great name where peeces of Romane money are oftentimes found. Not farre from hence upon the banke on the right hand, the Severn beholdeth Malvern-Hills, hills indeed, or rather great and high mountaines, which for the space of seven miles or thereabout doe as it were by degrees rise higher and higher, dividing this shire from the County of Hereford. On the brow of which Hills, Gilbert Clare Earle of Glocester did cast a ditch in times past to make a partition betweene his possessions and the lands of the Church of Worcester, a peece of worke which is at this day seene not without wonder. Over against those hils, and in like distance almost from the other banke, Bredon Hills, being far lesse, yet in emulation, as it were, to match them, mount aloft: among wich Elmsley Castle, belonging sometimes to Ursus or Urso D' Abtot maketh a goodly shew, by whose daughter and heire Emeline it came hereditarily to the Beauchamps. At the foote of these hils lieth Bredon a vilage, concerning the Monasterie whereof Offa King of the Mercians saith thus: I Offa King of the Mercians will give land containing seven times five acres of Tributaries unto the Monasterie that is named Breodun in the Province of the Wiccii, and to the Church of blessed Saint Peter Prince of the Apostles there in that place standing, which Church Eanwulph my grandfather erected to the praise and glory of the everliving God.

9. Under these Bredon hils Southward you see two villages named Washborns (whence came the surname to a very ancient and worshipfull family in this tract) standing in a parcell of this province dismembred as it were from the rest of the bodie: of which kind there be other parcels heere and there skattering all about. But what should be the cause I am not able to resolve, unlesse haply those that in old time were governours adjoined to their government their owne lands that lay neere unto the region which they then governed. Now Avon from above runneth downe and speeds himselfe to Severn, who in this shire watereth Eovesham, so called, as the Monkes write, of one Eoves, Swineheard to Egwin Bishop of Worcester, whereas before time the name of it was Eath-home and Health-field, a very proper towne situate upon an hill arising from the river, in the Suburb, as it were, whereof was sometimes Bengeworth Castle at the bridge head: which Castle William de Audevill the Abbot recovered by law against William Beauchamp, utterly rased it, and caused the place to be hallowed for a Church-yard. A towne this is well knowen by reason of the Abbay which the noble Egwin, with the helpe of King Kenred the sonne of Wolpher King of the Mercians founded about the yeere of our Lord 700, knowen likewise for the vale under it, named thereof The vale of Evesham, which for plentifull fertilitie hath well deserved to be called the Granary of all these countries, so good and plentifull is the ground in yeelding the best corne abundantly. But most knowen in elder time by occasion of the great overthrow of the Barons and our Catiline, Simon Montfort, Earle of Leicester. For this man, being of a lewd disposition and profound perfidiousnesse, hath taught us that which another truly said, That good turnes are so long acceptable as they may be requitable. F or when King Henrie the Third had with full hand heaped upon him all the benefits he could, yea and given him his owne sister in marriage, what other fruit reaped he of his so great bounty but most bitter deadly hatred? For hee raised a most dangerous warre, hee spoiled shamefully a great part of England under pretense of restoring the common-wealth and maintaining liberty. Neither left he any thing undone to bring the King under, to change the State, and of a Monarchie to bring in an Oligarchie. But in the end, after that fortune had for a good while favourably smiled upon him, he was slaine at this place with many others of his complices by the prowess of Prince Edward, and forthwith the sinke of lawlesse rebels, being as it were pumped and emptied out of the common-weale, joifull peace which hee had banished shone againe most comfortably on every side. Upon the same river hard by standeth Charleton, the possession sometime of the ancient familie of Hansacres, Knights, but now of the Dinleies or Dingleies, who being descended from that ancient stocke of the Dinleies in Lancashire, came unto this by hereditary succession. More beneath, in the primitive Church of our English nation, there was another place wherein religious men lived to God, then called Fleodanbyrig , now Flatbury, and neere unto it Pershor, in the English Saxons language Perircoran , taking the name from Peares, which, as we read in that worthy Historiographer William of Malmesburie, Egeldward Duke of Dorset, a man bearing no nigardly mind, but exceeding liberall, founded and finished in King Eadgars time. But what detriment hath it sustained! One part of it the ambition of the rich seised upon, another part oblivion hath buried, but the greatest portion King Edward the Confessour and King William bestowed upon the Church of Westminster. ?Then receiveth Avon a riveret from the North, upon which standeth Hodington a seat of the Winters, out of which were Robert Winter and his brother Thomas, who whenas they were of the hellish damned crew of the Gunpouder treason, let their memorie lie damned.? From thence Avon, running gently downe by Strensham the habitation of the Russels, Knights by degree of ancient descent, in the end out-ladeth his owne streame into Severne.

10. Neere to these places on this South-side is Oswaldlaw Hundred, so called of Oswald Bishop of Worcester, who obtained it for himselfe of King Eadgar. The immunity whereof, when William Conquerour made a survey and taxation of all England, was registred in the Domesday booke after this manner; The Church of Saint Mary of Wircester hath the Hundred called Oswaldslaw, herein lie 300 Hides, out of which the Bishop of the same Church by ancient order and custome hath all the revenewes of Soches and all customes or duties there appertaining to the Lords victuall and the Kings service and his owne, so that no Sherife may hold there any action or suit, neither in any plea nor in any other cause whatsoever. This witnesseth the whole Countie. A place there is about this shire, but precisely where it should be is not certainly knowen, called Augustynes-ace , that is Augustines oke , at which Augustine the Apostle of the Englishmen and the Bishops of Britaine met, and after they had disputed and debated the matter hotely for a good while touching the celebration of Easter, preaching Gods Word also to the English nation, and of administering Baptisme according to the rites of the Romane Church, in the end, when the could not agree, they departed on both sides with discontented minds, upon their dissenting opinions.

11. This Province since the Normans comming in had for the first Sheriffe Ursus or Urso de Abtot, unto whom and his heires King William the Conquerour granted that office together with faire and large possessions. After him succeeded his sonne Roger, who (as William of Malmesbury the Historiographer reporteth), enjoying his fathers possessions, through the high displeasure and indignation of King Henrie the First, was disseized [dispossessed] thereof, because in a furious fit of anger he had commanded one of the Kings officers to be killed. But this Sherifedome was by Emeline this Rogers sister translated hereditarily into the family of the Beauchamps. For she was married to Walter Beauchamp, whom King Stephen, after he had put downe MIles of Glocester, ordained Constable of England. Within some few yeeres King Stephen created Walleran Earle of Mellent twin-brother to Robert Bossu Earle of Leicester, the first Earle of Worcester, having given unto him the Citie of Worcester: who afterwards became a Monke and died at Pratellae in Normandie in the yeere 1166. As for his sonne Robert, who had wedded the daughter of Reginald Earle of Cornwall and advanced the Standard of rebellion against King Henrie the Second, and Peter his sonne, who in the yeere 1203 revolted to the French, neither of them used the title of Worcester, but onely of Mellent, so farre as ever I could yet read. For King Henrie the Second, who succeeded Stephen, would not easily suffer that any under him should enjoy the honors received from Stephan, an usurper and his enimie. For (as I find in the Annales of Waverley Abbay) hee put downe those imaginary and counterfait Earles, among whom King Stephen had inconsideratly distributed and given away all the revenewes pertaining to the Exchequer. Neither to my knowledge was there any one that bare the title of the Earldome of Worcester untill the daies of King Richard the Second. For he bestowed it upon Sir Thomas Percy, who, when he conspired against King Henrie the Fourth, was taken at the battaile of Shrewsbury, and there beheaded. Then Sir Richard Beauchamp, descended from the Abtots, received afterward this honor at the hands of King Henrie the Fifth. Who shortly after in the French warre lost his life at the siege of Meaux in Brye, leaving one onely daughter married to Sir Edward Nevil, from whom descended the late Lords of Abergevenny. Afterward King Henrie the Sixth created John Tiptoft Earle of Worcester. But when he, presently taking part with King Edward the Fourth, had applied himselfe in a preposterous obsequiousnesse to the humor of the said King, and being made Constable of England and plaid the part, as it were, of the butcher in the cruell execution of diverse men of qualitie, himselfe, whenas King Henry the Sixth was now repossessed of the crowne, came to the block. Howbeit his sonne Edward recovered that honor when King Edward recovered his Kingdome. But after that this Edward died without issue, and the inheritance became divided among the sisters of the said John Tiptoft Earle of Worcester, of whom one was married to the Lord Roos, another to Sir Edmund Ingoldesthorpe, and the third to the Lord Dudley, Sir Charles Somerset, naturall sonne to Henrie Duke of Somerset, Lord Herbert and Lord Chamberlaine to King Henrie the Eighth was by him created Earle of Worcester. After whom succeeded in lineall descent Henrie, William, and Edward, who now flourisheth, and among other laudable parts of virtue and nobility, highly favoureth the studies of good literature.

There are in this Shire Parishes 152.


THE third region of the old Cornavii, now called Stafford-Shire, in the English Saxons language Statford-scyre , the inhabitants whereof, because they dwelt in the middest of England, are in Bede termed Angli mediterranei , that is, Midland Englishmen , having on the East Warwickshire and Darbyshire, on the South side Worcestershire, and Westward Shroppshire bordering upon it, reacheth from South to North in forme of a Lozeng, broader in the midest and growing narrower at the ends. The North part is full of hils and so less fruitfull. The middle being watered with the river Trent is more plentifull, clad with woods and embrodered galantly with corne fields and medowes, as is the South part likewise, which hath coles also digged out of the earth and mines of Iron. But whether more for their commoditie or hinderance, I leave to the inhabitants who doe or shall best understand it.

2. In the South part in the verie confines with Worcestershire, upon the river Stour standeth Stourton Castle, sometimes belonging to the Earles of Warwicke, ?the natall place of Cardinall Pole,? and then Dudley Castle towereth up upon an hill built and named so of one Dudo or Dodo, an English Saxon, about the yeere of our salvation 700. In King William the Conquerours daies, as we finde in his Domesday Booke, William Fitz-Ausculph possessed it: afterwards it fell to noble men surnamed Somery, and by an heire generall of them to Sir Richard Sutton knight descended from the Suttons of Nottinghamshire, whose posterity commonly called from that time Lords of Dudley, but summoned to Parliament first by King Henry the Sixth, grew up to a right honorable familie. ?Under this lieth Pensneth chace, in former times better stored with game, wherein are many cole-pits, in which, as they reported to me, there continueth a fire begunne by a candle long since through the negligence of a grover or digger. The smoke of this fire and sometime the flame is seene, but the savour oftener smelt, and others the like places were shewed unto me not farre off. North-west-ward upon the confines of Shropshire I saw Pateshull, a seat of the Astleies descended from honorable progenitours, and Wrotesley an habitation of a race of Gentlemen so surnamed, out of which Sir Hugh Wrotesley for his approved valor was chosen by King Edward the Third Knight of the Garter at the first institution, and so accounted one of the founders of the said honorable Order.? Next after this, the memorable places that we meet with in this tract more inwardly are these: Chellington, a faire house and mannour of the ancient familie of the Giffards, which in the reigne of Henry the Second Peter Corbuchin gave to Peter Giffard, upon whom also Richard Strongbow, that Conquerour of Ireland, bestowed in free gift Tachmelin and other possessions in Ireland. Theoten Hall, which is by interpretation The habitation of Heathens or Pagans , at this day Tetnall, embrued with Danish bloud in the yeere 911 by King Edward the Elder in a bloudy battaile; Ulfrunes Hampton, so called of Wulfruna a most godly and devout woman, who enriched the town (called before simply Hampton) with a religious house, and so for Wulfrunes-hampton it is corruptly called Wulver Hampton. The greatest name and note whereof ariseth by the Colledge there, annexed to the Deane of Winsor. Weadesbury, in these daies Weddsborrow, fortified in old time by Aethelfled Lady of the Mercians, and Walshall a mercate towne, none of the meanest. Neere unto which the river Tame carrieth his streame, which, rising not farre off, for certaine miles wandereth through the East part of this shire seeking after Trent, neere unto Draiton Basset, the seat of the Bassets, who springing out from Turstan Lord of this place in the reigne of Henrie the First, branched forth into a great and notable familie. For from hence as from a stocke flourished the Bassets of Welleden, of Wiccomb, of Sapcot, of Cheddle, and others. But of this of Draiton, Raulph was the last, who beeing a right renowned baron had married the sister of John Mont-fort Duke of Britain, and in the reigne of Richard the Second died without issue.

3. Then Tame, passing through the bridge at Falkesley (over which an ancient high way of the Romans went) runneth hard under Tamworth, in the Saxon tongue Tamaweord , Marianus calleth Tamawordia , a towne so placed in the confines of the two shires that the one part, which belonged sometime to the Marmions, is counted of Warwickshire, the other, which perteined to the Hastings, of Staffordshire. As for the name, it is taken from Tame the river running beside it, and of the English Saxon word weorth , which signifieth a Barton, Court, or Ferme-house , and also an Holme or River-yland , or any place environed with water: seeing that Keyserwert and Bomelswert in Germanie betoken as much as Caesars Isle and Bomels Isle. While the Mercians kingdome stood in state, this was a place of their Kings resiance [retreat] and, as wee find in the Leiger Booke of Worcester, a towne of very great resort and passing well frequented. Afterward, when in the Danes warre it was much decaied, Aethelfled the Lady of Mercia repaired and brought it againe to the former state: also Edith King Eadgars daughter, who, refusing marriage, for the opinion that went of her for holinesse was registered in the roll of Saints, founded here a little house for Nuns or veiled Virgins, which after some yeeres was translated to Pollesworth by the Marmions of Normandie, Lords hereof, at what time they erected heere a Collegiat Church, wherein are seene som of their sepulchres, and builded a faire Castle, which from them by the Frevills came to the house of those Ferrars that descended from a younger brother of the Barons Ferrars of Groby. Those Marmions, as we finde written, were by inheritance the Kings Champions of England. For whensoever any new King of England is crowned, the heire of this familie was bound to ride armed in complet harneis upon a barbed horse into the Kings hall, and in a set forme of words challenge to combat with whosoever durst oppose himself against the Kings right and title. And verily it appeareth upon Records that Alexander Frevil under King Edward the Third by the same service held this Castle. Howbeit at the Coronation of King Richard the Second, ?when Baldwin Frevil exhibited his petition for the same, it was ajudged from this familie to Sir John Dimock his competitor, descended also from Marmon, as producing better Records and evidences.?

4. At Falkesley bridge aforesayd (that I may retyre a little) that Romane High way Watling street, of which I have already spoken and must often speake, entreth into this shire and, cutting it through (as it were by a streight line) goeth Westward into Shroppshire. Which streete I have I assure you throughly viewed and perused to finde out that Etocetum which Antonine the Emperour setteth downe for the next station from Manvessedum or Mancester in Warwickshire, and surely by good happe I have now found it, and freely confesse that heretofore I was farre wide and quite out of the way. For just at the same distance that Antonine setteth betweene Manvessedum and Etocetum, I lighted upon the carkasse of an old little towne upon the said High way, and scarce a mile Southward from Lichfield, a Bishops See right well knowne. The name of the place at this daie is in our common language Wall, of the reliques of an old wall there remaining and taking up much about two acres of ground, which they call Castle croft, as one would say The Castle field. Over against which on the other side of the streete the inhabitants relate by a tradition from their forefathers that there stood an ancient towne, destroied long before the Conquest. And they shewe the verie place, where by the maine foundation they ghesse the Temple there stood, and withall they produce peeces of money coined by the Romane Emperors and found there, as most certaine testimonies in this behalfe. But (that which maketh most for the proofe hereof) from hence leadeth the Romane way called Watling street, with a faire, apparent, and continued causey, in a maner, throughout, untill it bee broken off with the river Penck, and hath upon it a Stone-bridge at Pennocrucium, so named of the river, just at the same distance that Antonine setteth downe. Which hath not yet laied away so much as the name, for in steed of Pennocrucium it is now called Penck-ridge. But at this day it is little better than a village, famous for an horse faire which the Lord of the place Hugh Blunt obtained of King Edward the Second. From hence that way hath nothing memorable upon it in this shire, but a little way off is Brewood a mercat towne, where the Bishops of this Diocese had an habitation before the Conquest, and then neere unto Weston is a cleere poole spred very broad, by which that notable way holdeth on a direct course to Oken-Yate in Shropshire. Now are wee to visite the middle part of this shire, which Trent watereth, in the description whereof I purpose to follow the course and windings of the river from the very spring and head thereof, as my best guide.

5. Trent, that by his due right challengeth to himselfe the third place among all the rivers of England, runneth out of two fountaines being neere neighbours together in the North part of this shire among the moores. Certaine Unskilfull and idle headed have dreamed that it was so named of trent , a French word that signifieth Thirty , and thereupon also have feigned that thirty rivers runne into it, and as many kindes of fishes live therein, the names whereof the people dwelling thereby were wont to sing in an English rhime, neither make they doubt to ascribe that unto this Trent which the Hungarians avouch of their river Tibiscus, namely that two parts of it are water, and the third fish., From those moores Trent trickleth downe first Southward, fetching many a compasse, not farre from New Castle under Lime, so called of another more ancient Castle that flourished in times past hard by at Chesterton under Lime, where I saw tottered and torne the walls of a Castle, which by the gift of King John belonged first unto Ranulph Earle of Chester, and afterwards, by the bounteous favour of King Henrie the Third, unto the house of Lancaster. Thence by Trent-ham, sometime Tricing-ham, a little monasterie of that holy virgin Saint Werburg of the bloud roiall, hee hastneth to Stone a mercat towne, which, having the beginning in the Saxons time, tooke that name of the Stones that our Ancesters after a solemne sort had cast on a heape to notifie the place where Wolpher that heathenish king of the Mercians most cruelly slew his two sonnes Wulfald and Rufin, because they had taken upon them the profession of Christianity. In which place, when posterity in memoriall of them had consecrated a little Church, streight waies there arose and grew up a towne, which of those stones had the name Stone given unto it, as the Historie of Peterborrough hath recorded. Beyond Stone runneth Trent mildly by Sandon, the seat in times past of the Staffords, most worthie knights, but lately by inheritance from them of Sampson Erdeswick, a verie great lover and diligent searcher of venerable Antiquity, and in this regard no lesse worthy of remembrance than for that he is directly in the male line descended from Sir Hugh Vernon Baron of Shipbrock, the name beeing changed by the usage of that age according to sundrie habitations, first into Holgrave, and afterwards into Erdeswicke.

6. Heere Trent turneth his course aside Eastward, and on the South hath Canocwood, commonly called Cankwood, spred farre and wide, and at length interteineth the river Sow, which breaketh out in a hard country heere Healy Castle, built by the Barons of Aldalegh or Audley, unto whom Hervey Lord Stafford gave that place, like as Theobald Verdon gave Adelegh it selfe. This hath beene a familie of high respect an great honour, and of the same stem out of which the Stanleies Earles of Darby derive their descent. ?Strange it is to read what lands King Henry the Third the Third confirmed unto Henry Audeley, which were bestowed upon him by the bountie of the Peres, yea and private Gentlemen, not onely in England, but also in Ireland, where Hugh Lacy Earle of Ulster gave him lands with the Constableship of Ulster. So that doubtlesse he was either a man of rare vertue, or a gracious favourite, or a great Lawyer, or else all jointly. His posteritie matched in mariage with the heires of the Lord Giffard of Brimsfield, of Baron Martin Lord of Keimeis and Barstaple, and a younger brother of this house with one of the heires of the Earles of Glocester, and was by King Edward the Third created Earle of Glocester. About which time James Lord Audley flourished in chivalrie, who (as the French write) being grievously wounded in the battaile at Poitiers, when the blacke Prince with many comfortable commendations had given him 400 markes of yeerely revenues, he bestowed the same forthwith upon his foure Esquiers, who alwaies valiantly attended him, and satisfied the Prince, doubting that his gift was too little for so great service, with this answere, dutifully acknowledging his bountie: It is meete that I doe well for them who deserved best of me. These my Esquiers saved my life amidst my enimies, and God be thanked, my ancestors have left me sufficient revenues to maintaine me in your service. Whereupon the Prince, approving this prudent liberality, both confirmed his gift to the Esquiers and assigned him moreover lands to the valew of six hundred Marks yeerely. But by his daughter, one of the coheires to her brother, the title of Lord Audley came afterward to the Touchets, and in them continueth.? Neither must I heere passe over in silence an house in this tract called Geralds Bromley, both for the magnificence thereof, and also because it is the principall seat of Sir Thomas Gerard, whom King James in the first yeere of his reigne created Baron Gerard of Gerards Bromley.

7. The Sow, as it were a parallel river unto Trent, runneth even with him, and keeping an equall distance still from him, by Chebsey, which had in times past for Lords thereof the Hastings reputed among the prime Nobilitie in the time of King Edward the First, not farre from Eccleshall the habitation of the Bishop of Lichfeld, and Ellenhall which was sometime the seat of the Noels, a worshipfull house who founded heere a Monasterie at Raunton, and from whom it descended hereditarily to the Harcourts, who being of the ancient Norman nobility, flourished a long time in great dignitie. But yet of the male heires of the Noels there remaine still Sir Edward Noel in Leicestershire and the Noels of Wellesborow in Leicestershire, with others. Then runneth Sow under Stafford, in times past called Statford, and before time Betheney, where Bertelin reputed a very holy man led in ancient times an Eremits life in serving God. And King Edward the Elder built on the South banke of the river a Castell in the yeere of Christ 914. What time as King William the Conquerour registred the survey of all England, as we read in his Domesday Booke, the King had in it onely 18 Burgesses in his owne domaine, and 30 mansions of the honor of the Earle. It paid for all customes nine pounds of deniers, and had thirteene Chanons, Praebendaries who held in franke Almoine. And the King commanded a Castle to bee made, which now is destroyed. But then, as now also, it was the head towne of the whole Shire, howbeit the greatest credite and honor thereof came from Stafford Castle adjoining, which the Barons of Stafford, of whose progenie were the Dukes of Buckingham, built for their owne seat, ?who procured of King John that it was made a Burrough with ample liberties, caused it to be partly fensed with a wall, and erected a Priorie of Blacke chanons to the honor of Saint Thomas of Canterbury.? Beneath which the riveret Penke, which gave name to Pennocrucium or Penkridg, whereof I have already spoken, joineth with that Sow aforesaid. And neere unto the confluence of Sow and Trent standeth Ticks Hall, the dwelling place of the Astons, a family which for antiquity, kinred and alliance, is in these parts of great name.

8. Trent, having harboured these rivers in his chanell, passeth now through the mids of the Shire with a gentle streame, taking a view of Chartley Castle standing two miles aside from the banke on the left hand: which Castle came from Raulph Earle of Chester, who built it, unto the Ferrars by Agnes his sister, whom William Ferrars Earle of Darby had married, out of whose race the Lords Ferrars of Chartley flourished, and Anne the daughter of the last of them brought this honour as her dowry unto Sir Walter D' Eureux her husband, from whom Robert D' Eureux Earle of Essex and Lord Ferrars of Chartley is lineally descended. On the right side of the river, about the same distance, standeth most pleasantly among the woods Beaudesert, the lodge in times past of the Bishops of Lichfield, but now the house of the Lord Paget. For Sir William Paget, who for his approved wisdom both at home and abroad stood in high favour with King Henrie the Eighth and King Edward the Sixth, and obteined at their hands faire possessions, was by the said King Edward the Sixth created Lord Paget of Beaudesert. ?He was (that I may note so much out of his Epitaph) Secretarie and privie Counsellour to King Henry the Eighth, and appointed by his Testament Counsellour and aidor to King Edward the Sixth during his minority. To whom he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Controller of the house, and by him made, as I said, Baron and Knight of the Garter, as by Queene Marie Lord Privy Seale.? Whose grandsonne William is now the fourth Baron Pagets, and for his vertue and studies of the best arts is an honour to his house, and in this respect deserveth to be honorably remembred.

9. From thence you may descrie Lichfield, scarce foure miles from this right-side bank of Trent. Bede calleth it Licidfeld , which Rosse of Warwick interpreteth Cadaverum campus , that is, The field of dead bodies , and reporteth that a number of Christians were there martyred under the persecutor Dioclesian. This City is low seated, of a good largenes and faire withal, divided into two parts with a shallow poole of cleere water, which parts notwithstanding joyne in one by the meanes of two bridges or causeies made over, that have their sluces to let out the water. The South part, which is on the hither side, is the greater, consisting of divers streets, hath in it the schole and an hospital of St. John founded for reliefe of the poore. The farther part is the lesse, but beautified with a very goodly Cathedrall Church, which beeing round about compassed with a faire wall castle-like, and garnished beside with faire houses of Prebendaries, and with the Bishops palace also, doth mount up on high with three pyramids or spires of stone making an excellent shew, and for elegant and proportionall building yeeldeth to few Cathedrall Churches. In this place many ages past a Bishops See was established, for in the 606 yeere after the worlds redemption, Oswic King of Northumberland, having vanquished the Mercians, as then Pagans, for the propagation of Christs true religion built heere a Church, and ordeined Duina the first Bishop: whose successours found such favour at their Princes hand that they had not onely the preheminence among all the Bishops of the Mercians, and the greatest possessions given unto them for their use, as Cankwood or Canock a very great wood, and other faire lands and Lordships, but also this Church had an Archbishop that sat in it, namely Eadulph, unto whome Pope Adrian granted an Archiepiscopall Pall and subjected under him all the Bishoppes of the Mercians and East Angles, mooved thereunto with golden reasons by Offa King of the Mercians, to spite Lambert the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had promised to aide Charles the Great if hee would invade England. But this Archiepiscopall dignity died together with Offa and Eadulph. But among all the Bishops of this See Chadd was of greatest fame, and canonized a Saint for his holinesse, who, as Bede saith, when riotous excesse had not yet possessed the hearts of Bishops, made himselfe a mansion house standing not farre remote from the Church, wherein hee was wont secretly to pray and reade, together with a few, that is to say, seven or eight religious men, as oft as hee had any vacant time from painefull preaching and ministery of the Word unto the people. In those daies, Lichfield was a small towne farre short of the frequency of Cities; the County about it full of woods, and a little river runneth hard by it. The Church was seated in a narrow roome, evidently shewing the meane estate and abstinence of our ancestours. When as in the Synode holden in the yeere of our Lord 1075 it was forbidden that Bishops Sees should lie obscure in meane and small townes, Peter Bishop of Lichfield translated his See to Chester, but Robert Linsey his successour removed the same unto Coventry. A little after, Roger Clinton brought it backe againe to Lichfield, and beganne to build in the yeere of Christ this most beautifull Church in the honour of the blessed virgin Mary at Saint Ceda, or Chad, and repaired the Castle which now is utterly vanished. As for the towne, it was made first an Incorporation in our fathers remembrance by King Edward the Sixth, by the name of Baliffs and Burgesses. It seeth the Pole Artick elevated two and fiftie degrees and two and fortie minutes, and from the farthest point of the West counteth one and twenty degrees and twenty minutes.

10. This Poole of Lichfield, being by and by kept and restreined within bankes, and spreading broader the second time, but gathering againe into a chanell, is quickly swallowed into Trent, who continueth his course East-ward untill hee meeteth with the river of Tame from the South: with whom Trent being now coupled, turneth aside his streame Northward and through places that yeeld great store of Alabaster, that hee might the sooner entertaine Dow, and so almost insulateth or encompasseth Burton, a towne in times past of name by reason of workers in Alabaster, a Castle of the Ferrars built in the Conquerors time, an ancient Abbay founded by Ulfrick Spot Earle of Mercia, and the retyring place of Modwen that holy Irish woman, who there dedicated her selfe first to the service of God. Concerning which Abbay, the Leger-Booke of Abingdon recorded thus: A certaine servitour of King Aetheldred named Ulfrick Spot built the Abbay of Burton, and gave unto it al the inheritance that came by his father, esteemed worth seaven hundred pounds, and that this his donation might stand good and sure, he gave unto King Aetheldred three hundred Mankus of gold for his confirmation, and to every Bishop five mankus, and beside to Alfrick Archbishop of Canterbury the towne Dumbleton. Whereby we may understand that there was a golden world then, and that gold swaied much, yea in Church matters and among churchmen. In this Abbay the said Modwen, whose holiness was much celebrated in this tract, lay buried, and upon her tombe were engraven for an Epitaph these verses:

In Ireland Modwen who began, in Scotland tooke her end.
England on her a tombe bestow' d, to heaven God did her send.
The first of these lands gave her life, the second wrought her death,
And earth to earth in decent sort the third land did bequeath.
Lanfortin taketh that away which once Tir-Conell gave,

[And ] Burton blest, whose hap it is this virgines bones to have.

Nere unto this Burton betwixt these three rivers Dove, Trent and Bloth, the which watereth and nameth Blithfield, a faire house of the ancient and worthy family of the Bagots, Needwood a very large wood and full of parks spreadeth it selfe. Wherein the nobility and gentlemen dwelling there about take their jolly pleasure and disport themselves in hunting. Thus much of the places in the midle part of this shire.

11. The North part riseth up and swelleth somewhat mountainous, with moores and hilles, but of no great bignesse, which beginning here, runs like as Apennine doth in Italie, through the midest of England with a continued ridge, rising more and more with divers tops and cliffs one after another even as far as Scotland, although oftentimes they change their name. For here they are called Mooreland, after a while the Peak, Blackstone Edge, then Craven, anon as they go further Stanmore, and at length being parted diversly, as it were, into hornes, Cheviot. This Mooreland, so called for that it riseth higher ito hils and mountaines, and is withall lesse fruitfull (which kinde of places we cal in our language Moores) is a small country verily, so hard, so comfortlesse, bare, and cold that it keepeth snow lying upon it a long while, in so much as that of a little country village named Wotton lying here under Weverhil the neighbor inhabitants have this rime rise in the mouth, as if God, forsooth, had never visited that place:

Wotton under Wever,
Where God came never.

Yet in so hard a soile it breedeth and feedeth beasts of large bulke and faire spread. The people heere dwelling observe that when the winde sitteth West, it is alwaies raine, but the East and Southwind, which in other places brew and broach raine, bring faire weather, unlesse the winde turne from West into the South, and this they ascribe unto the vicinity of the Irish sea. Out of these Moores most rivers in this shire doe spring, but the chiefe are Dove, Hanse, Churnet, Teyn, Blith, and Trent himselfe, who receiveth every one of than and conveieth them all to the sea. Dow or Dove, whose bankes are reared out of solid hard lime stone, which they burne and use for compast to manure and enrich their fields withall, doth swiftly run along the most part of the East side of this County and separateth it from Darbyshire, holding on his course in a Cleyish channell without any beds or shelves of mudde, through a soile consisting of the said Lime-stone: from whence it sucketh out such fertility that in the very middest of Winter the Medowes on both the bankes sides carry a most pleasant and fresh greene hew. But if it chance to swel above the bankes and overflow the Medows in April, it battelleth [fertilizes] them like another Nilus and maketh them so fruitfull that the inhabitants use commonly to chant this joyfull note:

In April Doves flood
Is worth a Kings good.

12. This river in twelve houres space useth so to rise that it harieth and carrieth away with it sheepe and other cattaile, to the great terrour of the people dwelling thereby, but within the same time againe it falleth and returnes within his owne bankes, whereas Trent, being once up and over his bankes, floweth upon the fields fower or five daies together. But now come we to the rivers that run into it. The first is Hand, which being swallowed up under the ground, breaketh up againe three miles off. Then admitteth he the fellowship of the river Churnet, who passeth by De-la-Cres Abbay, built by Ranulph the third of that name Earle of Chester; by Leike also, a well knowen Mercat towne; and by Aulton, a Castle in times past belonging to the Barons Verdon (who founded heere the Abbay of Croxden), from whom by the Furnivals it descended to the Talbots Earles of Shrewsbury. A little below runneth Teyn a small brooke into Dove, which, having his head not far from Cheddle the ancient seat of the Bassets, who derive their pedigree from the Bassets of Draiton, creepeth on in such a winding and crooked chanell that within one mile I was faine to passe over it foure times. Neere unto it in Checkly Church-yard there stand three stons upright erected in maner of Pyramides; two of them have little images engraven upon them, but that in the middest is highest. The inhabitants report by tradition that a battaile was fought there between two hosts, of which the one was armed, the other unarmed, and that in it were three Bishops slaine, in memorial of whom these stons were set up. But what Historical truth indeede lieth heerein enfolded I know not as yet. ?As for Blith, it hath in this Moreland Careswell, a Castlet situate upon it, which Sir William Careswell built with great ponds having their heads made of square stone, and Draicot, which gave surname to a family of great antiquity in this Country.?

13. But Dove, after it hath received Tine, having a faire bridge made over it of most hard stone, and defended with piles, runneth under Utcester, in the Saxons tongue Uttokcester ?and Uttoxather ,? situate upon the side of an hill with a gentle ascent, a towne more rich in gay flowring medowes and in cattaile than faire built, which before I saw it (the name was so favourable to my conjecture) I thought, in vaine, to have beene the ancient Etocetum. But now time hath taught me more certeinty. After this, when Dove is now come neere unto Trent, it visiteth Tutbury Castle, in times past a large and stately thing, which also is called Stutesbury, and from an Alabaster hilltop on which it stands, threatneth, as it were, the whole country underneath. It was built together with a little Monastery by Henry de Ferrars a Noble man of Normandy, unto whom King William the First had given great lands and revenewes in this shire, all which Robert de Ferrars Earle of Darby lost after he had revolted a second time from King Henry the Third. For this Robert, when after many troubles which he had raised in the Barons war, he was received into the Kings favour, and had bound himselfe with a corporall oth in expresse and formal words that he would continue ever after loiall to his liege Lord, yet was the man of such a stirring and restlesse spirit that to breake and knap in peeces quit that fortune which he could not bend, he put on armes against his Soveraigne, and being at length taken prisoner (that I may use the very words of the Record, according to the forme of his obligation ), made this great forfaiture both of his fortunes and dignities. There is in some place of this shire a lake, if Alexander Necham deceive us not, into which no wild beast will in any wise enter, but since the place is uncertaine and the thing it selfe more uncertaine, I will onely put downe underneath these his verses, before which he prefixed this Title:

Of a Lake in Staffordshire

A Lake there is that roreth loud, whereby things are fore-showne,
The water whereof once to take wild beasts were never knowne.
Let hounds, let death pursue apace them for to overtake,
For all this chase and hot pursuite, non enter will the Lake.

Of another Poole or Lake also in this Country, thus writeth Gervase of Tilbury in his Otia Imperialia unto Otho the Fourth: In the Bishopricke of Coventry and County of Stafford, at the foot of an hill which the inborne people of the Country have named Mahull, there is a water spred abroad in maner of a Meere, in the territory of a Village which they tearme Magdalea. In this Meere or Marsh there is a most cleere water (and an infinite number of woods beside joyning one unto another) which hath such an effectuall vertue in refreshing of bodies, that so often as hunters have chased Stagges and other Deere untill their horses, be tired, if in the greatest heat of the scortching sunne they tast of this water and offer it unto their horses for to drinke, they recover their strength of running againe which they had lost, and become so fresh as one would thinke they had not run at all. but whereabout this is I cannot yet learne by all my diligent inquiry.

14. As for the title of Stafford, it remaineth ever since Robert de Stafford, whom King William or Normandy enriched with great possessions, even untill our time in his line and progeny. A family as noble and ancient as any other, but upon which fortune hath otherwhiles by turnes both frowned and favoured. For first they were Barons of Stafford, ?then five of them Earles of Stafford, Ralfe created by King Edward the Third Earle of Stafford, who married the heire of Sir Hugh Audley Earle of Glocester; Hugh his sonne, who died in Pilgrimage at Rhodes; and his three sonnes successively, Thomas and William, both issuelesse, and Edmund, who married the daughter and heire of Thomas of Woodstock Duke of Buckingham.? Afterward three of them were Dukes of Buckingham and Earles of Stafford, &., ?as is before shewed.? By the attainder of the last of them, those so great inheritances which their most honourable mariages brought unto them floted away, as it were, and scattered heere and there. In lieu whereof hath ensued a more secure quietnesse, which can never cohabite with Greatnesse.

There are accounted in this shire Parishes 130.

William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610) Copyright 2004 by Dana F. Sutton. This text was transcribed by Professor Sutton, of the University of California, Irvine, from Philemon Holland's 1610 translation [British Library Short Title Catalogue 4509, Early English Books reel 911:1]. For a full critical edition presenting Camden's original Latin text in parallel with Holland's translation, visit Professor Sutton's site at:


Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall.

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