Imatges de pÓgina

of ancestry of noble blood." In the second place, to establish "a perpetual charity for the subsistence of veteran knights who had been reduced to poverty in the wars." Edward III. assigned lands for that purpose, and grants had also been made for its support, not only by the Crown, but by some of the most illustrious members of the Order. In the letters patent of Edward III. the institution was said to have been founded for

"Fifteen other canons and twenty-four poor knights, impotent of themselves, or inclining to poverty, to be perpetually maintained of the goods or possessions of the said chapel, perpetually serving

Christ under the command of the said custos or warden, and their cause to be received, as well as the canons and knights as other ministers of the said chapel, as was promised; and that His said Majesty thereby decreed, ordained, and by his Royal authority, as much as in him lay, established for ever."

It was necessary to observe here that the canons and the knights were placed upon an equality, and their pay, their privileges, and their perquisites were intended to be as nearly equal as possible; their dress was the same, the duties were the same, the same attendance in the chapel was required from them, and the oaths administered to them was not the one administered to the inferior officers, minor canons, and other persons of a lower description. Such appeared to have been the intentions of the Royal founder; but a very short time afterwards those intentions seem to have been frustrated, and a war to have been, in consequence, carried on, even longer than the war with which we were now threatened. For instance, there were a certain number of perquisites especially belonging to the Poor Knights and others, which they shared with the dean and chap. ter. Among them were such things as the banners, swords, mantlets, and helmets of the deceased Knight Companions, but the dean and canons had sold all this armour, &c., and put the money into their pockets. The interference of some right reverend or most reverend visitors of the charity had been sought, and all the Chancellors of England who had acted as visitors had given their awards in favour of the Poor Knights against the dean and chapter. Another perquisite to which the knights were entitled was a certain number of herrings. The town of Yarmouth was then, as now, celebrated for its herrings, and the corporation was required by Statute to supply the chapel of Windsor with a last of herrings annually in the season of The Earl of Albemarle


The dean and canons, however, deprived their military brethren of their share of even this Lenten entertainment, and ate up all the herrings themselves. Complaint was made to Adam, Bishop of St. David's, as Visitor of the Chapel, in the second year of Richard the Second, and in perpetual memory of this act of gluttony on the part of the dean and canons of that day, their successors of the present day are compelled to pay to each knight 6s. 8d. a year in lieu of a herring a day. By the 19th of the College Statutes it was provided that, after certain payments to the alms knights and others, a third part of the overplus or remainder of the revenues of the chapel and college should be set aside every year for extraordinary cases, as fire, murrain, the onera capella incumbentia, &c., or in defence of the rights of the college and chapel, or for increasing their revenues. It was desirable to know what had become of that surplus, and how far it was chargeable for the repairs of the houses of the knights, which formed a part of the chapel, and which repairs are now made at the expense of the taxpayers of England. He (the Earl of Albemarle) wished now to show that, notwithstanding the disincorporating Act of Edward the Fourth, the Knights of Windsor always had an existence. Henry VIII. appointed a man called Peter Narbonne to be one of the alms knights, and requested the dean and canons to give him a maintenance, and they gave him a pension of 20 marks per annum, on condition that he should relinquish it when the King should grant or settle lands on the college and chapel for the provision of the knights, as he had promised them to do, or given them to understand he would do; and thereupon King Henry VIII. wrote and sent to the dean and canons a letter, dated on or about the 18th day of July, 1511, giving them thanks for having conferred the pension on Peter Narbonne, and promising them not to burden them with any more requests of that sort, but to grant and settle lands for the maintenance of the said alms knights. Now, it was evident that at this time Henry VIII. did not contemplate making the dean and canons even the trustees of the lands with which he had promised to endow the Poor Knights. In the year 1546 the dean and canons, by an indenture, surrendered and conveyed the manor and rectory of Ivor, in the county of Bucks, and other hereditaments, to the

of Windsor." Now, the only paragraph in the will, which is dated 30th of December, 1546, referring to the chapel of Windsor, is as follows

"Also, we wool that, with as convenient spede as may be doon ufter our departure out of this world, if it be not doon in our liefe, that the dean and chanons of our free chapele of St. George, within our castle of Windsor, shall have manoures, landes, tenements, and spiritual promotions, to the yearly value of six hundred poundes over all charges made sure to them and their successors for ever, upon these conditions hereafter ensuing. And for the due and full accomplishment and performance of all other things contained with the same, in the forme of an indenture signed with our own hand, which shall be passed by way of covenant for that purpose, between the said deane and canons and our executors, if it pass not between us and the said deane and canons in our liefe, that is to say, the deane and canons, and their successors for ever, shall find two prestes to say masses at the said aulter, to be made where we have before appointed our tomb to be made and stand and also, after our deceasse kepe yearly four solem fine obites for us within the said college of Windsour, and at every of the same obite to cause a solempne sermon to be made, and also at several of the said obites to give to poor people in almez tenne pounds. And also to give for ever yearly to thirtene poor men, which shall be called Poor Knights,' to every of twelfpens every day, and once in the year yearly for ever a long gowne of white cloth, with the garter upon the breast embroidered with a shield and cross of Sainte George within the garter, and a mantle of red cloth; and to such one of the said thirtene poor knights as shall be appointed to be hed and governor of them 31. 63. 8d. yearly for ever, over and besides the said twelfpennies by the daye. And also to cause every Sunday in the yere, for ever, a sermon to be made for ever at Windsor aforesaid, as in the

yearly value of 160l. 2s. 4d., to King | revoked his will. This point claimed parHenry VIII. in exchange for other heredi- ticular attention, because as lately as June taments, which were to be conveyed to in last year the dean and canons of Windthem by His Majesty. On the 9th of sor had claimed the lands under the devise June, 1853, the Dean and Canons of of Henry VIII. If that claim could be Windsor state, in their Report to the Ca- substantiated, the labours of the Committhedral and Capitular Commissioners, that tee which he asked their Lordships to ap"By the will of King Henry VIII. certain point would be brought to a speedy termilands were devised to the Dean and Canons mination. From all the information he had been able to collect, it did not appear that there had been anything like a conveyance in fee to the dean and canons as was pretended. Altogether he was justified in contending that, as far as related to the reign of Henry VIII., the dean and canons had no claim to any of "the New Dotation." On the 24th of February the executors of the late King and the Ministers of the young King Edward VI., together with the Judges and the law officers of the Crown, assembled to carry into effect the wishes of the deceased monarch with respect to the Poor Knights, among other things. In pursuance thereof, on the 2nd of August, 1547, Sir Edward North, then Chancellor of the Court of Augmentation of the King's revenues, issued instructions for preparing a conveyance, in pursuance of the will of Henry VIII., and, after stating the rental of certain hereditaproments, mentioned at 8121. 12s. 9d., ceeded to declare that from that sum was to be deducted 1601. 2s. 4d. for the manor of Ivor, and 6007. for the gift in the will of Henry VIII. It was evident, therefore, that the executors of King Henry VIII. entertained no doubt as to the construction which ought to be put upon his will. The Poor Knights had always placed much reliance on an important deednamely, an indenture of King Edward VI.; but the deed could not be found, and many persons supposed that if it existed at all it was unfavourable to the case of the knights. In 1845, however, owing to the exertions of Mr. Philip Hayward, the indefatigable agent of the Poor Knights, the indenture was discovered among a mass of mouldy parchments in The the riding-house of Carlton Palace. deed bore date the 4th of August, 1547, and in it reference was made, in the sense already stated, to the two sums of 6001. and 160l. 2s. 4d. Three months afterwards a letter patent of Edward VI., dated October 7, 1547, put the dean and canons in possession of rents producing at that period 6007., in trust, for the uses assigned by King Henry VIII. That two

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said indenture of covenant shall be more fully and particularly expressed, willing, charging, and requiring our son Prince Edwarde, all our exehereafter, all other heirs and successors, which shall be kings of this realme, as they will aunswer before Almighty God at the dreadful day of judgment, that they and every of them do see that the said indenture and assurance, to be made between

cutors and counsaillors which shall be named

us and the said deane and canons, or between

them and our executors, and all things therein contained, may be duly put in execution and observed and kept for ever perpetually, according to

our last will and testament."

King Henry VIII. died on the 23rd of
January, 1547, without having altered or

dotations of the Poor Knights were in existence at that period was clear from the fact stated by Ashmole-that two treasurers, one of the old and the other of the new dotation, the Senescallus veteris and the Senescallus novæ donationis, were appointed. That these funds were misapplied, was equally clear from the fact that for some years after the dean and canons had received these lands in trust there was a Committee of inquiry into the state of the Royal College of the Chapel of St. George. He would refer their Lordships to some extracts from the Register Book of the Council of King Edward VI.

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1551, June 22.-Privy Council held at Greenwich, before King Edward VI. Present thereat -the Protector, the Duke of Somerset, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, Lord of Shrewsbury, Lord Admiral, Lord Chamberlain, Lord Cobham, Mr. Treasurer, Mr. Comptroller, Mr. Vice Chamberlain, Mr. Secretary Cecil; when it was considered and ordered that a letter of Appearance to the Dean of Windsor (inter alia) to bring with him also a note of so much money of the Poor Knights as he has in his custody.'

That appeared to be something like a trust, anyhow. Then, in 1552, there was the following extract

some of the thirteen houses in Windsor Castle, and in fitting up and repairing others for the Poor Knights, and which houses the thirteen Poor Knights at present occupied. It appeared, therefore, very evident that such property was held by the dean and canons subject to the trust of keeping the houses in repair, and that such outlay was not to be looked upon in the light of a charity. At all events, that was the question which he wished to make the subject of inquiry before a Select Committee. From the accession of Edward VI. to the death of Queen Mary certain conditions of the will of Henry VIII. had been complied with. It was still requisite to make a declaration as to the uses to which the property in question should be applied, and accordingly, by an indenture dated the 30th of August, 1559, the first year of Queen Elizabeth, made between that sovereign and the dean and canons, it was declared that the property mentioned in the schedule annexed was given and assured unto the dean and canons and their successors "to and for the intent and purpose that the revenues and profits of the same should for ever be employed and bestowed for the maintenance of thir teen Poor Knights within the Castle of Windsor." Those words were so clear that it was quite evident what the intenIf there tions of Queen Elizabeth were. was any doubt as to her meaning, she stated in her letters patent of the same date that for the advancement of the noble Order of the Garter, and especially upon the knowledge given her of the late mind and will of her most dear father of noble memory to make a special foundation and continuance of thirteen poor men decayed in the wars and such like service of the realm, to be called Thirteen Knights of Windsor, to be kept there in succession, did, by those letters patent, not only set forth and express the foundation of the thirteen Poor Knights, but declared how and in what manner the revenues of the lands given to the dean and canons by her father Henry VIII., should be bestowed and employed for the maintenance of those thirteen Knights. The property which was thus appropriated for the benefit of these Poor Knights produced, at that period, about 8201. a year; it now yielded no less than 14,7501. The sums stated in the patent as "The Queen's Majesty's Ordinance for the continual charges," consisted of twenty-nine items, amounting, in

"1552, August 7.-Privy Council held at Waltham, before King Edward VI. Present thereat -the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, the Duke of Suffolk, the Lord Chamberlain, Mr. Treasurer, Mr. Secretary Cecil, the Lord Great Chamberlain, and the Vice Chamberlain; when the subject of complaint to the Crown in the letter of the 1st of August, then instant, from Sir Philip Hoby to the Lord Treasurer was taken into the consideration of the Council, and it was thereupon ordered that a letter to the Commissioners (the Earl of Warwick, Sir Philip Hoby, and others) appointed for the inquiry at Windsor, to examine the prebendaries (meaning the dean and canons) there-particularly according to the instructions given them, and to get as much as they can of that hath been embezzled, or the value thereof, and to certify hither of their proceedings in their behalf.'

Here was evidence of the Crown exercising supreme authority by virtue of its Royal prerogative as Sovereign of the Order of the Garter, and that authority was exercised through the Privy Council. It also afforded evidence that the dean and canons were trustees, and were not possessed of the property in fee. From the year 1553 down to 1558, during the reign of Queen Mary, the whole of the rents and profits were paid over to the Lord High Treasurer, the Marquess of Winchester, and such sums were expended in building The Earl of Albemarle

the whole, to 4291. 13s. 2d.; so that the difference, after deducting those charges, was, according to the indenture and the patent of the 30th of August, 1559, to be bestowed and employed for the maintenance of these Poor Knights. It appeared that the rents of the said lands of the new dotation exclusively of the rectories and prebends, were for several years, from 1558 to 1564, or later, applied according to such indenture and letters patent. He then came to King James I., who, on the 5th of October, 1603, confirmed the rights of, and granted an additional shilling a day to, the Poor Knights. Charles I., in 1623, also confirmed the ordinance of Queen Elizabeth. By an Act of what was commonly called the Long Parliament, passed in 1649, for abolishing deans, deans and chapters, canons, prebends, and other offices and titles of or belonging to cathedral or collegiate churches, and settling their property in certain trustees, the said deans and canons of Windsor were purported to be abolished, and the leases granted by them since the 1st of December, 1641, were made void; but it was provided that all rents and sums of money which before that date had been, or ought to have been paid towards any charitable use should be continued to be paid as they were before the 1st of December, 1641. But at the restoration of King Charles II. the dean and canons returned to their old place as trustees. Well, it appeared that, from the time of Charles II. to the reign of George II., the persons appointed to the places of the Poor Knights were generally of a lower grade or rank than were the persons who before or since that time had been appointed to such places, and, as well by reason of their poverty as of ignorance of their rights, were prevented from asserting, and they did not assert, their claim, to a share of the increased rents of the lands of the new dotation. But a great movement took place in the reign of George II. in reference to the position of these Poor Knights. Among those who interested themselves on their behalf was his (the Earl of Albemarle's) great-grandfather, who presented a petition on the subject in the year 1734, a counterpart of that which he himself had laid upon the table of the House a few days before. The case was referred to the law officers of the Crown, and the dean and canons were summoned to appear before them. The existence of the indenture of Queen Elizabeth was then denied, and as VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]

there were then no means of proving its existence, the matter went no further. The opinion of counsel was taken on one point, to which he wished to call the attention of the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack. On a former occasion he asked his noble and learned Friend whether the Court of Chancery had any jurisdiction over the question relating to the claims of the Poor Knights of Windsor, and his noble and learned Friend declined giving any opinion. With great submission, he thought his noble and learned Friend was wise in so declining, because it was a question by no means clear, and one upon which another Member of Her Majesty's Government had expressed an opinion contrary to that which it might be presumed was the opinion of his noble and learned Friend. He was aware that it was very improper to allude to what took place in the other House of Parliament, but he thought he might do it as a matter of history. When an hon. Member asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department a question concerning the claims of the Military Knights of Windsor, Lord Palmerston said that "the natural course of bringing to a decision a question of the kind which was pending between the Military Knights and the dean and canons of Windsor would be a suit in Chancery; and he hoped he might be able to propose to the parties a method of bringing the question to an issue by a reference, which might save them from the expense and trouble of a Chancery suit, and he should endeavour to propose some such arrangement. Now, if he (the Earl of Albemarle) did not know his noble Friend to be one of the best-hearted men in all Christendom, he should say that that reply looked very like a threat of a suit in Chancery if the present expedient should not succeed. He would now refer to cases in support of his view of the case. The first authority he should bring forward was the opinion of William Fortescue, afterwards Sir William Fortescue, Master of the Rolls. In, or shortly before the year 1733, the Poor Knights of Windsor submitted a statement of their case to that gentleman, who gave his written opinion to this effect

"I conceive, if this was a case wherein the Crown was not concerned, that a court of equity would decree the Poor Knights to have an equal share in proportion with the other of the said chathat the King may himself direct in what manner, rities; but, in the present case, it seems to me and to which of the said charities the said improvements shall be applied, or may name and

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