"Out of the Long Ago" by Maud Milgate

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Naturally I have read a great deal of the history of the Cornwallis family and when in Norfolk I have gone down many a bye-way that had nothing to do with my search, for no other reason, than my love of history and to find out more about them.

The Cornwallises were one of those families which rose from the squirearchy to the peerage, under the Tudors and the Stuarts, by cultivating a connection with the Court over several generations. They acquired So to speak, a hereditary interest in a household office, and they seem to have had the qualities of bravery, tact and competence that were needed to catch the sovereign's eye. I have already mentioned that they were descended from Phillipe de Cornwalles natural son of Richard Duke of Cornwall, the second son of King John. They held a number of posts at Court over the years. Edward Cornwallis was Groomporter to Edward 6th and Sir Charles was Ambassador at the Court of Spain and died in 1603. Sir Thomas Cornwallis who died in 1618 was Groomporter to Queen Elizabeth 1st. Frederick 1st Lord Cornwallis suffered the confiscation of his property under the Commonwealth and followed Charles II into exile. Charles, the 3rd Lord was First Commissioner of Admiralty and married Anne. Duchess of Buecleuch, widow of James Duke of Monmouth following his execution at the age of 36 for the Monmouth Rebellion. I was very interested to visit Moor Park Hertfordshire and had the privilege of seeing inside the mansion which had been the early home of the young Duke of Monmouth when he married Anne Duchess of Bucclcuch.

The 4th Lord Cornwallis was Postmaster General of the Forces and the 5th Lord and 1st Earl was Constable of the Tower. His brother Edward was Governor of Nova Scotia and Gibraltar. Another brother Frederick became Bishop of Lichfield and later Archbishop of Canterbury 1768-83. But the greatest of them all was Charles the 1st Marquis. A General in the Army he fought in the American War of Independence and is remembered as being forced to surrender at York Town in 1781. He was Constable of the Tower, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Governor of India where he died at Ghazepore in 1805. His son Charles who succeeded him, had 5 daughters so that at his death in 1823 the Suffolk Cornwallises died out for lack of a male heir. The Brome and Oakley Estates were sold together with property in Hoxme and other places. Lady Jane the eldest of the 5 daughters married the 3rd Lord Braybrooke of Audley End Essex and took the family portraits from Brome Hall with her. That is how I 7 of them are on view at Audley End to this day. I think perhaps the sale of all this property, which no doubt took a long time. may have caused John and William Bilham to look into their mothers connection with the Cornwallis family, which I do not think was too far back.

From Mrs. Storeys book on Culford I learned of many of the incidents in the private lives of the Cornwallises which enchanted me. The Cornwallises lived at Brome until Culford came into the family through the marriage of Lady Jane Cornwallis to Nathaniel Bacon. after that they lived mainly at Culford. and only lived at Brome Hall during the Parliamentary elections for the Borough of Eye which belonged to the Cornwallis family. The joining of the two estates came about by Sir William Cornwallis marrying as his second wife Jane Meautys in 1608. She was 27. a quiet and very capable woman.

When he died 3 years later he left her the manors of Brome, Oakley, Stuston and Palgrave and she continued to live at Brome. bringing up her only son. Frederick in its peaceful surroundings. She had one very close friend at Court, Lucy, Countess of Bedford, who was Woman of the Bedchamber to Anne of Denmark, wife of James 1st. They corresponded regularly and visited each other and when Lady Bedford retired to Moor Park in Hertfordshire she laid out a beautiful garden there and asked Lady Jane to send her some of the little white single rose roots I saw at Brome". These little white roses were still growing at Brome when I first saw it in 1958. They were in wild profusion over the windows, and this I have tried to portray in my oil painting of Brome Hall as I saw it one misty autumn day.

In 1613 Nathaniel Bacon of Culford Hall near Bury St. Edmunds began to be interested in the widowed Lady Jane whose sister -in-law Elizabeth Cornwallis had married Sir Thomas Kitson of Hengrave Hall which was 2 miles distant from Culford. What more natural than Jane should visit her sister-in-law and that Mr. Bacon should ride over from Culford to visit his fathers neighbour. However it was, he began to pay court to Lady Jane with the help of the Rev. Elnathan Parr. Rector of Palgrave who was a friend of the Bacons and the Cornwallis family in whose benefice was Palgrave. If this old world courtship enchants me it is because I know all the places where it took place. I have passed the wooded entrance to Hengrave Hall. I know the beautiful park which surrounds Culford. I have worshiped in Palgrave Church and stood before the long list of its Rectors. I have gazed on the last remnants of Brome Hall and felt the peace of its gardens. and I have stood on the terrace at Moor Park Hertfordshire and seen its wonderful park made by Capability Brown and could imagine Lady Bedford receiving the little white rose roots from Brorne and making her garden. I could picture all these places with their long gone owners.

In the end Lady Jane married Nathaniel Bacon in 1614 thus uniting Brome and Culford.

Over the years the great and the famous have come to Culford. James I visited Culford taking Prince Charles (afterwards Charles 1st) with him. Edward 7th and Queen Alexander visited Culford in 1904 as did Edward 1st 600 years before. Princess Mary (Princess Royal) visited Culford in July 1926.


Owner of original Maud Milgate via Gerry Langford
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