« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
as derived from another cadet of Merchiston, who settled in England at an earlier period than the father of King James' baronet, and the cunning Richard. This cadency became highly distinguished in its various branches of Tintinhull, Puncknoll, Middlemarchall and Morecritchill. The position of their common ancestor on the Merchiston tree is thus stated in the copy of the certificate in my possession. "Sir John Napier of Merchiston and Ruskie had issue Archibald, father to Sir Alexander and James. James aforesaid, coming into England in time of King Henry VII., and first planting himself in Swire in the county of Dorsett, who had issue Edward of Oxford and Swire, James of Middlemarchall in the county of Dorsett, Nicollas Naper of Tintinhull, in the county of Summersett; from the elder brother Edward, descended the Napers of Oxford; the second brother James of Middlemarchall, was father to Sir Robert Naper of Middlemarchall, sometime Lord chiefe Barron of Ireland, and father to Sir Nathaniel Naper; James had divers others issues, being grandfather to John Naper and Robert Naper of Puncknoll, in the county of Dorsett, Esq. and divers others of that name, now living in that county. Nicollas Naper of Tintinhull in the county of Summersett, hath also divers issues."
Such, generally, was the state of that cadency in the year 1625, when Sir Archibald Napier wrote this account, and he is amply corroborated by the historical antiquities of England, at least as to the existence of the individuals whom he here mentions. Robert Naper is recorded in the Fasti Oxonienses, as of Exeter College, A. B. 1561. He became a student of law, and was by Queen Elizabeth raised to the bench as Lord Chief Baron of Ireland in 1593, and knighted. He was high sheriff of Dorsetshire in 1606, died 20th September 1615, and is buried in the church of St Andrew at Mintern-Magna. He married Magdalene, daughter of Sir Anthony Denton, and their only son was that Sir Nathaniel who is mentioned by Sir Archibald Napier as alive in 1625. He was knighted by King James at Newmarket in 1617, was high sheriff of Dorsetshire in the 18th year of that reign, and represented it in Parliament in the first year of the reign of Charles I. that is 1625. He built a splendid mansion at Morecritchill, which became the chief seat of his family. Sir Nathaniel also reposes in the church of St Andrew at Mintern-Magna, and upon his tomb is inscribed, " Here lies the body of Sir Nathaniel Napier, the only son of Sir Robert, of much esteem and honour in this county, who died the 6th of September 1635." Above his tomb, and above his father's tomb, amid the quarterings and impalements of this family, the shields which occupy the first armorial place are, Napier, a saltier engrailed between four roses.
This junior branch of the eldest English cadency from Merchiston, continued (to a comparatively modern date, when it became extinct in the male line,) through Sir Nathaniel, Sir Gerard, &c. to enjoy successively high distinction in the county of Dorset as sheriffs and representatives in Parliament,—forming alliances with the families of Gerard, Colles, Windham, Guise, Worsley, Wymondly, Phelips,and Oglander,—sufferingfor loyalty,— receiving royal progresses at Morecritchill,—and laying their bones in St Andrew's of Mintern-Magna, under the heraldic story of the St Andrew's Cross of the Le~ venax, which no one of them ever doubted.
Sir Nathaniel married Elizabeth, sole daughter and heir of John Gerard, Esq. of Hyde in the Isle of Purbeck; she died on the 7th of October 1624; all this appears upon her tomb at Mintern-Magna. Their second son, Robert, became possessed of, and established at, Puncknoll in Dorsetshire, which, as mentioned in the Merchiston certificate, had in 1625 belonged to an elder branch of the family. This Robert was master of the Hanaper office in the reigns of Charles I. and II., and enjoyed many employments at court, the family being of unshaken and devoted loyalty. His son and heir, Robert, was in his father's lifetime master of the Hanaper office; and King Charles II. sent for him to court, knighted him, and appointed him high-sheriff of Dorsetshire. Soon afterwards, in 1681, the same monarch created him a baronet. He served in the Convention Parliament, and other succeeding Parliaments, for the boroughs of Weymouth, Melcomb-Regis, and Dorchester, and died in 1700. The male line of this branch became extinct before the close of that century. Their shield di splayed argent a saltier engrailed cantoned with Jour roses gules.
From the fourth son (James) of Sir Nathaniel Napier and Elizabeth Gerard, descended Nathaniel Napier of Loghrewin the county of Meath, Ireland,—General Napier, and others. This latter was Lieutenant-General and Commander-in-chief of the Forces in Ireland, and died in 1739- Of this Irish branch James Lenox Napier became Lord Sherbourn; one of whose daughters married Viscount Andover, son and heir of Charles Earl of Suffolk, and his son married the daughter of Lord Stawel; another of his daughters married Prince Bariatinsky of the Russian Empire. This branch, too, not only carried the Lennox arms of Merchiston, but sometimes gave the name of Lennox to their children.
The branch of Tintinhull, elder than the Morecritchill branch, is represented to this day in lineal male descent by a Napier, and I believe is the only branch of all the English cadences from Merchiston of which that can be said. The manor of Tintinhull in Somersetshire, or as it is called in Domesday book " Tintehalle," was possessed by Nicholas Napier in 1625, and his lineal male descendants kept possession until very lately. The present representative is Colonel Charles George Napier, formerly of the Royal Artillery. Through the late Lord Napier I obtained from this gallant officer another copy of the certificate of cadency by Sir Archibald Napier, which precisely agrees with the copy in the Merchiston charter-chest. This family never entertained a doubt of their cadency from Merchiston, and have constantly carried argent, a saltier engrailed, cantoned with Jour roses gules. Unfortunately the estate of Tintinhull was very hastily sold in the minority of the present representative.*
Such is a meager account of that other distinguished and populous cadency from Merchiston, which the learned author of the Tracts must either hold to be a race of phantoms or of puppets. If his theory be that the first Lord Napier dictated them from his own imagination, of course he considers them phantoms. But if he mean that his Lordship, from some unaccountable whim, or all to aggrandize the " Turkey merchant," seized upon certain distinguished families in England,—haply descended from Manigarus de la Naperie, or the Venator Regis,—to bud them unnaturally upon his tree of Merchiston, then they were his puppets, for they believed him, and, while forming alliances with the best blood of England, planted his Lennox roses about their tombs, and christened their childrens' children Lennox! But the sentence by which Mr Riddell lops off this important branch, and contemptuously rejects the attestation of their chief, combines the close reasoning of a Hume (not David) with the nervous style of aCobbett."In the above attestation of the first Lord (hesays) there is a" Johnjbisted in at an earlier period, and made the ancestor of other English Napiers; but the fact is quite uninstructed ; in other transcripts he is called James,—in short, as has been observed, these garbled statements as to the supposed Scoto-English Napiers," &c. &c.
* This is the only Colonel Napier (in life,) of the many so distinguished in the battles of their country, who is not in lineal male descent a Scott of Thirlestane. The gallant seaman, too, who in piping times of peace took a fleet for pastime, is a Scott of Thirlestane. Napier of Tintinhull, as a British officer, has also added lustre to the Napiers of Merchiston, having fourteen wounds, and two limbs disabled.
Let us take a walk in Dorsetshire again, for there is a healthful scope and plentitude of record, about the Hundreds and Liberties of merry England, that serves to invigorate and enlarge the antiquarian mind.
James, (it may be John,) grandson of John Napier of Merchiston and Elizabeth Menteith, first planted himself, says Sir Archibald, in Swyre in the county of Dorset. Let us go to Swyre,—situated in the Hundred of Uggescomb, on the British channel, one mile from the sea, cold and bleak, but the air is healthy. Are there any traces to be met with in authentic records of any Napier having settled there at that early period? From such records it appears that the manor of Swyre, once the possession of Margaret Countess of Sarum, was granted by King Henry VIII. to Edward Napper. This manor of Swyre, with 17 messuages 6 cottages and 640 acres of land, he held of the King in chief by fortieth part of a knight's fee; and also the advowson