The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

Tilting.  Tilting was much used at Wilton in the times of Henry Earle of Pembroke and Sir Philip Sydney.  At the solemnization of the great wedding of William, the second Earle of Pembroke, to one of the co-heires of the Earle of Shrewsbury, here was an extraordinary shew; at which time a great many of the nobility and gentry exercised, and they had shields of pastboard painted with their devices and emblemes, which were very pretty and ingenious.  There are some of them hanging in some houses at Wilton to this day but I did remember many more.  Most, or all of them, had relation to marriage.  One, I remember, is a man standing by a river’s side angling, and takes up a rammes-horne:  the motto “Casus ubiq{ue} valet”. — (Ovid de Arte Amandi.’) Another hath the picture of a ship at sea sinking in a storm, and a house on fire; the motto “Tertia pestis abest”; meaning a wife.  Another, a shield covered with black velvet; the motto “Par nulla figura dolori”.  This last is in the Arcadia, and I believe they were most of them contrived by Sir Philip Sydney.  Another was a hawke lett off the hand, with her leashes hanging at her legges, which might hang her where’ere she pitcht, and is an embleme of youth that is apt to be ensnared by their own too plentifull estates.

’Tis certain that the Earles of Pembroke were the most popular peers in the West of England; but one might boldly say, in the whole kingdome.  The revenue of his family was, till about 1652, 16,000li. per annum; but, with his offices and all, he had thirty thousand pounds per annum, and, as the revenue was great, so the greatnesse of his retinue and hospitality was answerable.  One hundred and twenty family uprising and down lyeing, whereof you may take out six or seven, and all the rest servants and retayners.

For his lordship’s musick.  Alphonso Ferrabosco, the son, was Lord Philip (the first’s) lutenist.  He sang rarely well to the theorbo lute.  He had a pension and lodgings in Baynard’s Castle.


        Oflearned men that had pensions granted to them
        by the earles of Pembroke.

In the former Chapter I endeavoured to adumbrate Wilton House as to its architecture.  We are now to consider it within, where it will appeare to have been an academie as well as palace; and was, as it were, the apiarie to which men that were excellent in armes and arts did resort and were caress’t, and many of them received honourable pensions.

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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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