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and lost. Their lifeless remains were afterwards recovered, and buried in the churchyard of Monckton, where a tomb, erected to their memory, bears the following inscription :
“ In deep submission to the will above,
Yet with no common cause for human tears,
And for his children lost, a mourner rears.
Tore threefold from his heart the ties of earth-
And Her who gave them life, and taught them worth.
Farewell, ye broken pillars of my fate!
My life's companion, and my two first-born!
To conjugal, paternal love forlorn-
Which can alone the bleeding heart sustain-
That, to the pure in heart, to die is gain!"
It is somewhat remarkable, that the text of Scripture which they had just heard expounded in the parish church the same morning, was—“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Of the principal victim in this calamity, Campbell thus speaks in a private letter to a friend :—“We looked to Mrs. Shute as truly elevated in the scale of beings for the perfect charity of her heart. The universal feeling of lamentation for her, accords with the benign and simple-minded beauty of her character."
As the limits and object of this work do not permit us to enlarge our remarks on the particular history of Chepstow, we now proceed to that of the castle, whose roofless walls, and moss-clad ramparts, carry us back to the Norman Conquest, and fill an ample page in its subsequent history. The present structure, on a Roman or Saxon foundation, is ascribed to William Fitzosborne, Earl of Hereford, * upon whom his kinsman the Conqueror had bestowed vast
* See CASTLES AND ABBEYS, vol. i. of this work, William Fitzosborne, Earl of Hereford, Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. Upon the death of the vicegerent of the king, sewer of Normandy, that most renowned Fitzosborne, Dugdale, quoting the Monk of warlike general! Was he not, in truth, the chief and Utica, thus moralizes :—" After this short life of na- greatest oppressor of the English, and he who cherture, there is a long life of Fame, who will blow herished an enormous cause by his boldness, whereby trumpet aloud to posterity, and plainly lay open to the many thousands were brought to miserable ends! Lo! world as well the bad as good actions of the most the just Judge, beholding all things, rewardeth even potent that shall be in their highest pitch of worldly man according to his demerits. Alas, is he not now power. 'Veré ut gloria mundi flos feni,' &c. Certainly slain ? Hath not this hardy champion had his desert ? the glory of this world fadeth and withereth as the As he slew many with the sword, so he suddenly reflowers of the field; yea, it passeth away and vanisheth ceived his death by the sword."— Baronage, 67, quoteven as smoke. What,” he continues, “is become of ing Orderic Vitulis.
HEREDITARY LORDS-SIEGE AND SURRENDER.
possessions, in this and the neighbouring counties, which could only be secured by sword and stronghold. On the forfeiture of his son Roger, it passed to the Clares, another great Norman family.
The hereditary lords of the town and castle were the old Earls of Pembroke, of the house of Clare, the last of whom was the renowned Richard * Strongbow, 'Earl of Striguil, Chepstow, and Pembroke,' who died in 1176, leaving a daughter, Isabel, by whose mariage the estates and title passed into the family of Marshall, and afterwards, by a similar union, into that of Herbert. In the reign of Edward the Fourth, the castle, manor, and lordship of Chepstow, were held by Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, who was beheaded after the battle of Banbury, in 1469. By the marriage of Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of William Herbert-Earl of Huntingdon, and Lord Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow, and Gower—it descended to Sir Charles Somerset, who was afterwards created Earl of Worcester. It is now one of the numerous castles belonging to his illustrious descendant, the Duke of Beaufort.
During the wars of the Commonwealth, the castle was garrisoned by the king's troops; but, in 1645, Colonel Morgan, governor of Gloucester, at the head of a small body of horse and foot, entered the town without much difficulty; and, on the 5th October, sent the following summons to Sir Robert Fitzmaurice : “Sir, I am commanded by his Excellency, Sir Thomas Fairfax, to demand this castle for the use of the King and Parliament, which I require of you, and to lay down your arms, and to accept of reasonable propositions, which will be granted both to you and your soldiers, if you observe this summons: and further, you are to consider of what nation and religion you are; for if you refuse the summons, you exclude yourself from mercy, and are to expect for yourself and soldiers no better than Stinchcombe quarter. I expect your sudden answer, and according thereunto shall rest your friend,—Thomas MORGAN."
To this summons the governor answered: “Sir,-I have the same reason to keep this castle for my master the King, as you to demand it for General Fairfax; and until my reason be convinced, and my provisions decreased, I shall, notwithstanding my religion and menaces of extirpation, continue in my resolution, and in my fidelity and loyalty to the king. As to Stinchcombe quarter, I know not what you mean by it; nor do depend upon your intelligence for relief, which in any indigence I assure me of; and in that assurance I rest your servant, ROBERT FITZMAURICE.
“P.S.—What quarter you give me and my soldiers, I refer to the consideration of all soldiers, when I am constrained to seek for any."
* Richardus vir infracto animo et projectissimis tissimo uteretur, et nihil levi brachio ageret. Hiberbrachiis Strangbow cognominatus, quod arcu inten- niam Normannis primus sua virtute aperuit.-Camden.
Stinchcombe, near Dursley on the Sever, was a place where the Parliament accused Prince Rupert of putting their men to the sword.
In consequence of this answer the siege was commenced, and carried on with so much vigour, that, in the course of four days, the castle surrendered, and the governor and his garrison were made prisoners of war. Later in the history of that melancholy period, it was surprised by a body of royalists, under Sir Nicholas Kemeys. Cromwell then directed his whole strength upon it, and reduced the town; but, for a time, found the castle impregnable. At last, however, exhausted with fatigue, and on the verge of famine, the garrison were forced into a parley with the besiegers; and, in the surrender of the fortress, Sir Nicholas Kemeys “ was killed in cold blood.” The following is Colonel Ewer's report* on the reduction of Chepstow Castle. His letter is addressed to the Honourable William Lental, Speaker of the House of Commons :
“SIR,-Lieutenant-General Cromwell, being to march towards Pembroke Castle, left me with my regiment to take in the Castle of Chepstow, which was possessed by Sir Nicholas Kemish (or Kemeys), and with him officers and soldiers to the number of 120. We drew close about it, and kept strong guards upon them, to prevent them from stealing out, and so to make their escape. We sent for two guns from Gloucester, and two off a shipboard, and planted them against the castle. We raised (razed] the battlements of their towers with our great guns, and made their guns unusefull for them.
We also plaid with our shorter pieces into the castle. One shot fell into the governor's chamber, which caused him to remove his lodgings to the other end of the castle. We then prepared our batteries, and this morning finished them. About twelve of the clock, we made a hole through the wall, so low that a man might walk into it. The soldiers in the castle, perceiving that we were like to make a breach, cried out to our soldiers that they would yield the castle, and many of them did attempt to come away. I caused my soldiers to fire at them to keep them in. Esquire Lewis comes upon the wall, and speaks to some gentlemen of the county that he knew, and tells them that he was willing to yield to mercy. They came and acquainted me with his desire, to which I answered, that it was not my work to treat with particular men, but it was Sir Nicholas Kemish, with his officers and all his soldiers, that I aimed at; but the governor refused to deliver up the castle upon these terms that Esquire Lewis desired, but
*“A full and particular relation of the manner of that betrayed it to the King's forces, was slain in this the late besieging and taking of Chepstow Castle, in service; as also all the rest of the commanders and Wales, by the forces of his Excellency the Lord Fair- soldiers killed and taken. London: printed by Mafax, expressed in a letter from Colonel Ewer to the thew Simmons, for Henry Overton, in Paper Head Honourable William Lentall, Speaker of the House of Alley, 1648.” Commons. The governor to the said castle within,
SURRENDER OF THE CASTLE-KEMEYS.
desired to speak with me at the drawbridge, while I altogether refused to have any such speech with him, because he refused Lieutenant-General Cromwell's summons; but, being overpersuaded by some gentlemen of the were there, presently I dismounted from my horse, and went unto the drawbridge, where he through the port-hole spake with me. That which he desired was, that he, with all his officers and soldiers, might march out of the castle without anything being taken from them; to which I answered, that I would give him no other terms but that he and all that were with him should submit
which he swore he would not do. I presently drew off the soldiers from the castle, and caused them to stand to their arms; but he refusing to come out upon those terms, the soldiers deserted him, and came running out at the breach we had made. My soldiers, seeing them run out, ran in at the same place, and possesst themselves of the castle, and killed Sir Nicholas Kemmish, and likewise him that betrayed the castle, and wounded divers, and took prisoners as followeth :—Esquire Lewis, Major Lewis, Major Thomas, Captain Morgan, Captain Buckeswell, Captain John Harris, Captain Christopher Harris, Captain Mancell, Captain Pinner, Captain Doule, Captain Rossitre, Lieutenant Kemmish, Lieutenant Leach, Lieutenant Codd, Ensign Watkins, Ensign Morgan, with other officers and soldiers, to the number of 120. These prisoners we have put into the church, and shall keep them till I receive further orders from Lieutenant-General Cromwell.
“ This is all at present, but that I am your humble servant, “Chepstow, May 28, 1648."
“ Isaac EWER.” The captain who carried the news of this event to London was rewarded with fifty pounds; and Colonel Ewer, with the officers and soldiers under his command, received the thanks of parliament. This was the closing scene of its warlike history; and from that period down to the present, the Castle of Chepstow has remained a picturesque and dismantled ruin.
Of this brave but unfortunate governor of the castle, we collect the following particulars: *
Sir Nicholas Kemeps, Bart.,t the sixteenth in descent of this honourable house, “ was colonel of a regiment of horse, raised for the king's service, and governor of Chepstow Castle, which he bravely defended against the powerful efforts of Cromwell and Colonel Ewer; nor did he surrender that fortress but with his life, fighting in the most gallant manner, till death arrested his farther exertions." | There is a traditional story, that “the Parliamentary troops, as
Historical and Descriptive Account, &c., of Chep- of the Maindee, and the present J. Gardiner Kemeys, stow Castle, 1808; Heath; Burke's Commoners, &c. Esq. of Pertholy, are descended from the same family.
+ The family of Kemeys is one of the most ancient | This report is somewhat different from that given in Moninouthshire. The late William Kemeys, Esq. by another authority, already quoted.
soon as they entered the castle, in revenge for Sir Nicholas' obstinate resistanco mangled his body in the most horrid manner, and that the soldiers wore his remains in their hats, as trophies of their victory; but a branch of the Kemeys family,” says the writer, "told me they considered it as one of those acts of the times, which each party adopted to stigmatize the memory of its political opponents. Not a stone, it is said, nor other tribute of recollection, in any cemetery in Monmouthshire, records the spot in which the remains of this brave officer were deposited."*
A portrait of Sir Nicholas Kemeys was " in the possession of the late Mrs. Sewelf of Little Kemeys, near Usk, in this county, now the property of John G. Kemeys, Esq. The picture is a three-quarters length. He is drawn in armour, and seeins about forty years of age. He appears to have possessed a good perşon,
if an opinion might be formed from his portrait. He has a fine open countenance, round face, dark piercing eyes, an aquiline nose, and wore his own hair, which was black and rather curly.” According to the fashion of his day, he is represented with whiskers, and a small tuft of hair growing under the lower lip-or, in modern phraseology, an imperial. “ Although it is what an artist would pronounce a dark picture, yet, on the whole, it is in good preservation. There are two more portraits of this gentleman-one in the possession of the late Sir Charles Kemeys, Bart. of Halsewell, in Somersetshire; the other at Malpas, near Usk, probably all painted at the same time and by the same artist, but whose name has not been handed down in conjunction with his works."
The house of Kemeys, "originally De Camois, Camoes, and Camys, is of Norman extraction, and the name of its patriarch is to be found on the roll of Battle Abbey. Large possessions were granted to the family in the counties of Sussex and Surrey; and, so early as the year 1258, Ralph de Camois was a baron by tenure. He was succeeded by his son, Ralph de Camois, who was summoned to parliament in the 49th year of Henry III.; and his descendants
* If such be the fact, it wonld almost lead to the Oliver P. It is our will and pleasure that you conclusion that there was some truth in the story of permit and suffer Colonel Edward Coke, with his comthe Parliament party having disposed of his remains in pany and hounds, to hunt, kill, and dispose of a Brace some nnusual way; although, otherwise, the story of Staggs, this season, in our Parke or Woodes neer seems very improbable, as that was not the form in Chepstowe, and that you, and every of you, be aydeing which their cruelty was wont to show itself. They and assisting to him herein; and for your sue duing were likely enough to have seized his estate, his goods this shall be your sufficient warrant. and chattels, and to have turned his family out of Given at Whitehall, the 12 July, 1683. doors; but they had no respect for dignities or titles, To Major Blethan, or, in his absence, to and cared little for churches, churchyards, and dead Lieutenant Phillips, or any other of the bodies.
keepers of Chepstow Parke or WentThis lady showed Mr. Heath a document of Oliver wood Chase. Cromwell, of which the following is a copy :
| See Burke's Commoners, vol. iv.