[From Draper The House of Stanley]
Charlotte de la Tremoüille, Countess of Derby. Ob 1663
With the memorable Restoration of the Monarchy in the person of Charles II. followed the liberation from prison and exile those surviving Royalists whose devotion and loyalty to the late unhappy Sovereign had made them obnoxious to the perpetrators and abettors of that usurpation which was now eagerly abandoned, because its representatives were no longer able to agree among themselves. Of the distinguished personages thus happily restored to liberty, was Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess Dowager of Derby, and her daughters, the Lady Henriette-Maria, the Lady Katherine, and the Lady Amelia-Anna-Sophia. The misfortunes and long imprison-ment to which the Countess had been subjected, and the gloomy meditations they had given rise to, naturally led her to seek to revenge in some manner the death of him whom she ever loved with the deepest tenderness and devotion, and whose memory was indelibly engraved on her affections.
In the month of September, a mandate, issued by Charles, the eighth Earl of Derby, dated at Lathom, ordered Captain William Christian, in the Isle of Man, to be proceeded against for his illegal actions, the indictment charging him with " being the head of an insurrection against the Countess of Derby in 1651, assuming the power unto himself~, and depriving her Ladyship, his Lordship, and heirs thereof." On this and other charges Christian was tried and condemned to be shot, which sentence was executed on the 2nd of January, 1662-3. In the later editions of Sir Walter Scotts Peveril of the Peak may be found, in the form of an Appendix to the Introduction, an elaborate defence of Christian by his descendant, Mr. Dempster Christian, and also the last speech of Christian, just before his execution. The extent of Christians guilt and the legality of his trial are, with some, subjects of dispute ; but Sir Walter Scott, who has brought his powerful mind to an investigation of the disputed points in the defence of Mr. Dempster Christian, thus expresses himself :" It must be admitted, on the other hand, that Captain Christians trial and execution were conducted according to the laws of the island. He was tried in all due form, by the Dempster, or chief judge, then named Norris, the Keys of the island, and other constitutional authorities, making what is called a Tinwald Court. ~ ~ ~ It was pleaded that the articles against Christian were found fully relevant, and as he refused to plead at the bar, that he was, according to the Laws of Man, most justly sentenced to death. It was also stated that full time was left for appeal to England, as he was apprehended about the end of September, and not executed until the 2nd of January, 1662. These defences were made for the various officers of the Isle of Man called before the Privy Council, on account of Christians death, and supported with many quotations from the Laws of the Island, and appear to have been received as a sufficient defence for their share in those proceedings." After stating that the death of Christian made a very deep impression on the minds of the islanders, Sir Walter Scott thus dismisses the subject : " Many in the island deny Christians guilt altogether, like his respectable descendant, the present Dempster ; but there are others, and those men of judgment and respectability, who are so far of a different opinion, that they only allow the execution to have been wrong in so far as the culprit died by a military rather than a civil death'. I willingly drop the vail over a transaction which took place flagrantibus ocliis at the conclusion of a civil war, when Revenge was at least awake if Justice slept."*
As might also naturally be expected, not only by her friends and admirers, but even by the delinquents themselves, Lady Derby petitioned the Peers for justice on the members of the infamous Chester tribunal, and a committee of privileges being formed, Duckinfield, Bradshaw, and others were ordered into custody. Colonel Duckinfield,f having heard of the intended confinement to which he was deservedly to be subjected, transferred the whole of his property to his son, and submitting himself to the Peers, found unexpected mercy, and after a short imprisonment returned to Chester ; but his son refused to restore to him his estates, and would only allow him a small cottage and a coal mine. He died in 1689, aged 74. The notorious " President " Bradshaw, too, after being carried to London, was also dismissed.
The Countess of Derby now retired to her seat at Knowsley, where, after witnessing the ingratitude of the King towards her family, and bowed down with affliction and so many years suffering, she died in peace on the 22nd of March, 1668, and, on the 6th of April, her body was buried by the side of the headless body of her Lord in the family vault at Ormskirk, as is recorded in the following entry in the burial register at the Church, and which, we regret to say, is the only memorial in the Church to the memory of the illustrious and heroic Charlotte de la Tremouille Countess of Derby :
Burialls Aprill 1663.
Sharlett Countess Dowager of Derby
Departed this Life at Knowsley
the xxii day of March 1663
entombed in her owne Chancell the 6th Aprill.
Post Funera Virtus.
In the collection of family portraits at Knowsley is that of the Countess, which, like that of the Earl her husband, is by Vandyke. The Countess is richly attired, has graceful and pleasant features, with the hair disposed in ringlets upon the forehead, and her features bespeak the " sagacity, prudence, loyalty, grandeur of spirit, and active heroism " which so highly distinguished her character through life, and rendered her memory so lastingly interesting to the readers of history and to the admirers of female fortitude and endurance amidst trials of persecution, affliction, and bereavement. Hers was truly a noble spirit ; and her illustrious and heroic conduct in the great struggle in the great Civil War has made the interest attached to her memory second to that of none of all the noble and gallant spirits who deemed it their duty as Christian patriots to take their part in the conflict on the side of the Throne and the Church of their country.In the Queens Gallery, at Hampton Court, there is also a portrait of the Countess by L. de Heere
The children of Earl James and his Countess were five sons and
four daughters :
1, Charles, who succeeded his father as the eighth Earl of Derby.
2, Charlotte, born 15th of March, 1628, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 4th April, 1629.
3, Henriette-Maria (or Mary), born 17th November, 1630, who married first Richard Viscount Molyneux, and secondly William Wentworth, second Earl of Strafford, and died 27th December, 1685.
4, Katherine, born 4th December, 1631, who was married to Henry Pierrepoint, Marquis of Dorchester, and an extract from"An Epithalamium upon the nuptials of the princely pair " will, no doubt, be read with interest, as it is taken from a work* of great rarity :
What objects that which I behold
Dazzling my eyes with gems of gold ?
* * * * *
My dearest Sylvius, pray unfold
Whos that rare creature I behold?
She is a princess and a bride,
Goes to the Temple to be tide
In nuptial bonds : her stars will not permit
That at the vestal fires she longer sit ;
Shes Derbys royal blood, Derby le Gran,
* * * *
She of the Princely Orange is a branch;
Impd on the high Trimouillan stem of France,
Two of the fairest kingdoms strove and tride
Their utmost to complete this lovely bride.
Tis she which makes, twixt gems and gold,
That constellation you behold.
5, Amelia-Anna-Sophia, who became the wife of John Murray, second
Earl and first Marquis of Athol, in whose descendants the Isle of Man
and the Barony of Strange became invested.
6, Henry-Frederick, born 24th February, 1634, and died 27th March, 1638, and was buried at Ormskirk.
7, James, born 2nd November, 1636, died 27th March, 1638, and buried at Ormskirk.
8, Edward, born 7th of January, 1638, died unmarried at Portsmouth, and was interred at Ormskirk on the 7th of March, 1664.
9, William, born 18th November, 1641, and also died unmarried, and was buried at Ormskirk on the 23rd of December, 1670.
The following lines by the author of " Notes on the Journal of the Siege of Lathom House," published in the Kaleidoscope, 1821, may not be deemed inappropriately introduced here to conclude this portion of the present sketch, particularly as the old castellated mansion of Lathom, at the time of the death of its heroic defender in the first siege, was merely a heap of ruins :
Fair Lathom is no more ! Her goodly towers,
Fashiond for rugged war, or gaudy state,
Her massy walls, her green and secret bowers,
Downshaken by the Roundheads ceaseless hate!
Yet the bold spirit lives ; and yet the race
Of Stanley fill their unforgotten place:
And though on Bosworth, Stoke, and Flodden Mount,
No longer we their valiant deeds recount;
Old Isis murmurs in his tuneful flood,
Of one, that late along his margin wood,
And with no vulgar skill inspiring lays,
Drawn from far distant lands, and other days.
The lands he whiome sang, the days he lovd,
That boy adventrous seeks, where time hath provd
How swift of mans exulting works the doom,
And prostrate lies great Cæsars trophied tombs
And fallen his palace, and the boasted fane
Eteard to his god, is soughtand sought in vain
Where the dull peasant sows what others reap;
And strangers (once Romes vassals) pause to weep
Her sunken name, and willing Helot state,
Of freedom, as of valour, desolate:
From scenes like these, back to thy native shire,
With brow more thoughtful, eye of temperd fire,
Wandrer, return ! and may thine onward life,
With all the glories of thy sires be rife!
The loyalty for which they fearless bled,
" The Stanley hand, Veres heart, and Cecils head."
Oh ! may Saturnian times return with thee,
And what time-bonourd Lathom was, may Knowsley be !
1 Sir Walter Scott gives the following certified extract which had been supplied to him by the Vicar of Malew :" Malew Burials, AD. 1662. Mr. William Christian of Ronaldswing, late receiver, seas shot to death at Hango Hall, the 2d January. He died most penitently and couradgeously, made a good end, prayed earnestly, made an excellent speech, and the next day was buried in the chancell of Kirk Malew."
2 Robert Duckinfield was the representative of an ancient and wealthy family resident at the village of Duckinfield, in Cheshire. He was born in 1615-6. At the commencement of the troubles he espoused the Presbyterian side, and by marrying the daughter of Sir Miles Fleetwood, of Heskin, in Lancashire, the sister of the general of that name (already noticed as the son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell), Duckinfield became firmly attached to the Cromwell faction. Whatever of principle influenced the early conduct of Duckinfield, it is clear that after the ascendancy of Cromwell, he became the unshrinking partisan of Fleetwood. He had separated himself from the Presbyterians by approving the execrable murder of King Charles I., and by opposing his son, Charles II., in 1651. He was the only Cheshire-man who sat in the Barebones Parliament.