Post details: Wordless Wednesday - Guy’s Cliffe


Permalink 01:55:49 pm, by Email , 1042 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - Guy’s Cliffe

"A strikingly beautiful manor house, with the moat in the foreground; today it lies in ruins."

A History Of Guy’s Cliffe


This seat derives its double name from a person and a place, the former that of the redoubtable and famous “Guy, Earl of Warwick,” the latter a high cliff which here bounds the western side of the classic Avon.

The story of Guy is thus told by my friend Sir Bernard Burke:—“ Guy, who, like most of his brethren in the trade of knight-errantry, had much to answer for, bethinks himself at last that it is time to repent and amend, for which purpose, according to the most approved fashion of his day, he sets out upon a tedious pilgrimage. On his return to Britain he finds the country being harassed by Danish invaders, so that there was scarce a town or castle that they had not burnt or destroyed almost as far as Winchester. In the midst of their success these ferocious invaders proposed to King Athelstan three things,—either that he should resign his crown to the Danish generals; or should hold the realm of them; or that the dispute should be ended in a single combat by a champion of either side; when, if the Dane was beaten, his countrymen would free England of their presence; but if he prevailed, then the country without more ado should be given up in sovereignty to the Danes. Athelstan accepted the last of these propositions, but not one of his court felt inclined to match himself with the formidable giant Colbrand, the elected champion of the Danes. At this crisis Guy appears in his palmer’s weeds, and is, with some difficulty, persuaded by the King to undertake the combat. What it was that induced Athelstan to place his fate and that of his kingdom in that of a wayworn, unknown pilgrim, is not explained by the chronicler, but the romancer unties the knot by the usual expedient in such cases.

Athelstan had a vision instructing him to trust his defence to the first pilgrim he should meet at the entrance of his palace. The day of battle arrives, when the two combatants meet in the valley of Chilticumbe. Guy appears in the customary armour of a knight, but his adversary, the giant Colbrand, comes to the field with weapons enough to supply a whole host; he was ‘so weightily harnessed that his horse could scarce carry him, and before him a cart loaded with Danish axes, great clubs with knobs of iron, square bars of steel, lances, and iron hooks to pull his adversary to him.’ At this sight, notwithstanding his valour, Guy began to quake, or, as the romancer emphatically exclaims, ‘never he was’n so sore afeard sith then he was born’

It would seem, however, as in the case of the renowned French marshal, that it was his body and not his soul that was afraid, for he fought his battle right gallantly under every disadvantage. His horse is killed, his helmet cleft in two, and his sword broken, but he makes a prayer to the Virgin, and snatching up an axe cuts off the giant’s arm, who, for all that, ‘held out the combat till the evening of the day,’ when he fainted from loss of blood, and Guy incontinently cut off his head.”

At the dissolution of the monasteries Guy’s Cliffe was bestowed by Henry the Eighth on Andrew Flammock, of Flammock. In later times it was possessed by a family named Edwards, and next passed to Samuel Greathead, Esq., who built a new residence, and his son greatly enlarged and improved the place.

After him Bertie Bertie Greathead, Esq., left a daughter and heiress married to The Hon. Charles Bertie Percy, who thus became the owner of Guy’s Cliffe.

Dugdale thus describes the scenery around. “A place this is of so great delight in respect of the river gliding below the rock, the dry and wholesome situation, and the fair groves of lofty elms overshadowing it, that to one who desireth a retired life, either for his devotions or study, the like is not to be found.” Leland also thus,—“It is a house of pleasure, place meet for the Muses; there is silence, a pretty wood, antra’ in vivo saxo, the river rouling over the stones with a pretty noyse, “nemusculum ibidem opacum, fontes liquidi et gemmei, prata florida, antra muscosa, rivi levis et per saxa discursus, necnon solitudo et quies Musis amicissima,” that is, “a thick grove there, liquid and sparkling fountains, flowery meads, mossy caverns, the gentle flow of a river over rocks, and also solitude and quiet most friendly to the Muses.”

Within the house is a splendid collection of paintings, many of them from the easel of a young artist, Mr. Greathead, a son of the then family. The talents of the youthful painter were of such high promise, that when he visited France during the short peace, instead of sharing the fate of the other detenus, he was allowed by the special grace of Napoleon to retire to Italy. There, however, he unfortunately died of a fever, at the early age of twenty-three. In addition to his works, many paintings by the most eminent masters are to be seen here, such as Cuyp, Canaletti, Spagnoletto, Holbein, and others of no less celebrity.

The family of Percy, Earls of Beverley and Dukes of Northumberland, of the former of which is the present owner of Guy’s Cliffe, descends from Sir Hugh Smithson, who married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, the heiress of the Percies, and was created Duke of Northumberland in 1776.

The House of Percy had derived from William de Percy, one of the Norman chieftains who accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066, and deduced his name from the village of Percy, near Villedieu.

I do realise that this is not very wordless in fact it's quite wordy! However, I thought that perhaps some of the visitors here would like to know more about this exquisite image.

Happy Wordless Wednesday, and thank you for stopping by!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

To view similar images please click here



Comment from: Bridget [Visitor] Email ·
It almost resembles a sand castle but it IS strikingly beautiful!!
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 14:40
Comment from: jams o donnell [Visitor] Email ·
great post as ever. Happy WW
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 15:06
Comment from: maiylah [Visitor] Email ·
wonderful! and thank you so much for the additional info! :)
happy ww!
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 15:07
Comment from: elementaryhistoryteacher [Visitor] Email ·
Very beautiful and great background content.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 15:10
Comment from: Alison [Visitor] Email ·
It's very beautiful, the colours are amazing in this picture.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 15:23
Comment from: JennieBoo [Visitor] Email ·
BEAUTIFUL! I wish my family could've lived in something like that. Alas, we were all potato farmers (Irish).

Thanks for sharing your pic and some history!

Happy WW!
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 15:40
Comment from: Jarid Caydon\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s blog [Visitor] Email ·
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 16:16
Comment from: freelancecynic [Visitor] ·
They Just don't make beauty like that anymore...
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 16:23
Stunning Pic & fab info. Please you like visiting our WW posts, have you checked out our home page?

I've changed the caption to this weeks post & added an explanation in the comment section as people were "missing" the little sister in the photo!
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 16:53
Comment from: tasra [Visitor] Email ·
It is gorgeous. I can't even imagine living every day in a home like that.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 16:56
Comment from: MorningSong [Visitor] Email ·
Such a lovely manor.

happy ww
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 17:13
Comment from: Donna [Visitor] Email ·
It's always nice to learn something. Happy WW.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 17:43
Comment from: Angel Mama ( Pearls of Wisdom) [Visitor] Email ·
Lovely manor . Thanks for all the information on it. Happy WW.

Smiles and Blessings,

Angel Mama ():)
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 20:45
Comment from: Amy's zooo [Visitor] Email · http://http;//
Nice picture.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 22:00
Comment from: Toni [Visitor] Email ·
Very beautiful!

PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 22:17
Comment from: babs [Visitor] Email ·
Very interesting! William the Conqueror is in my blood line.
PermalinkPermalink 06/26/07 @ 23:16
Comment from: Isabelle aka Tricotine [Visitor] Email ·
Great WW Post!
Happy WW! :-)

PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 00:41
Comment from: the108 [Visitor] Email ·
Holy crap! That place is unbelievable!
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 01:20
Comment from: Healthy Diva [Visitor] Email ·
Oh how beautiful...imagining living there...
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 03:23
Comment from: Jeremy [Visitor] Email ·
Love the explanation. ww has taught yet again
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 07:23
Comment from: Melanie [Visitor] Email ·
Wow, that is so beautiful!
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 09:36
Comment from: Shirley - Choosing Voluntary Simplicity [Visitor] Email ·
Interesting photograph and interesting description, too. Thanks!
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 10:13
Comment from: Expat Mom [Visitor] Email ·
Imagine living in such a massive place? It´s beautiful, though. I do have to say that this is the wordiest Wordless Wednesday I´ve ever seen! :)
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 12:04
Comment from: Our Seven Qtpies [Visitor] Email ·
Very beautiful picture!
PermalinkPermalink 06/27/07 @ 16:47
Comment from: Liam Quin [Visitor] Email ·
Thanks, I'm glad you liked this picture from my Web site!

I was in new Orleans for the first time, on business, this winter, and saw the book in a bookstore there, agonised for a couple of days, and finally succumbed and went back and bought it.

I went to University not far from this manor-house, now a sad and gloomy ruin. There are a few other pictures of it on my Web site (search by Location from the page with that picture) but I like this the best.

PermalinkPermalink 07/03/07 @ 19:06
Comment from: Admin [Member] Email ·
Liam -> Thank you! I would still love to see it in ruin one day!
PermalinkPermalink 07/03/07 @ 19:59
Comment from: Liam Quin [Visitor] Email ·
sue, I don't think I can help you, but there's a Web site devoted to the house, and there are tours. But it's a long way from Southern Ontario!

PermalinkPermalink 07/06/07 @ 12:59

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