Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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I                                THE HOUSE OF MONTAGU                                7
attendance uppon us, some att one tyme and some att another as they shall agree amongst themselves ; but when strangeres are in place, then I will that in any sorte they be readye to doe such service for them as the Gentle­man Usher shall directe. I will further that they be dayly presente in the greate chamber or other place of my dyett about tenn of the clocke in the forenoone and five in the afternoone without fayle for performance of my service, unles they have license from my Stewarde or Gentleman Usher to the contrarye, which if they exceede, I will that they make knowne the cause thereof to my Stewarde, who shall acquaynte me therewithall. I will that they dyne and suppe att a table appoynted for them, and there take place nexte after the Gentlemen of my Horse and chamber, accord-inge to their seniorityes in my service.
The third Viscount Montagu was not remarkable, but his account books are quaint reading. From July, 1657, to July, 1658, his steward spent ,£1,945 10s. solely in little personal matters for his master. Among the disbursements were, on September nth, fourteen pence "for washing Will Stapler"; on November 22nd, 1s. 4d. to the Lewes carrier "for bringing a box of puddings for my mistress and my master"; on January 17th, £4 to "Mr. Fiske the dancing-master for teach­ing my master to dance, being two months " ; and on April 21st, seven shillings " for a Tooth for my Lord."
The fifth Viscount was a man of violent temper. On reach­ing Mass one day and finding it half done, he drew his pistol and shot the chaplain. The outcry all over the country was loud and vengeful, and my lord lay concealed for fifteen years in a hiding hole contrived in the masonry of Cowdray for the shelter of persecuted priests. The peer emerged only at night, when he roamed the close walks, repentant and sad. Lady Montagu would then steal out to him, dressing all in white to such good purpose that the desired rumours of a ghost soon flew about the neighbourhood.
The curse of Cowdray, which, if genuinely pronounced, has certainly been wonderfully fulfilled, dates from the gift of Battle Abbey by Henry VIII. to Sir Anthony Browne, the father of Queen Elizabeth's host and friend. Sir Anthony
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