The Story of a Family through Eleven Centuries, Illustrated by Portraits and Pedigrees: Being a History of the Family of Gorges

The Story of a Family through Eleven Centuries, Illustrated by Portraits and Pedigrees: Being a History of the Family of Gorges

The Story of a Family through Eleven Centuries, Illustrated by Portraits and Pedigrees: Being a History of the Family of Gorges

The Story of a Family through Eleven Centuries, Illustrated by Portraits and Pedigrees: Being a History of the Family of Gorges

Excerpt

This book contains the story of a family from the eleventh to the twentieth century. It has been told as simply as possible, in order to make it acceptable to those who are not students of genealogy. Wherever, therefore, down the long stream of life I have caught a glimpse of human personality, I have tried to record it, in order to give life to the written page, to preserve, as it were, the fleeting fragrance Of rosemary from the old garden. Every family portrait I could discover has been reproduced, as well as many pictures of places.

Of voices echoed from the past, the most delightful are those of old letters and wills. One can almost see Agnes disposing of her mantles and hoods--"one furred with miniver, one wrought with pearls"--in the very year in which Henry V was laying plans for the re-conquest of Normandy. Sir Arthur admires Prince Henry, but not his father, James I. Sober Thomas writes from the Parliament House, in which he has just been present at the Session at which Richard Cromwell was recognized as Lord Protector of England. Through the eyes of octogenarian Lady Gorges one observes the shameless husband of lady Castlemaine dash up to the Palace of Whitehall in his glittering equipage. We hear of the new stables and gardens and bowling alley at Kilbrew. Before the century is out there is a rumble of unpaid debts. Curses come home to roost, and the Protestant family who in the name of law and loyalty once ousted the Catholic owners, fare forth from their too hospitable house never to set foot on its threshold again. And Kilbrew is left to fight a losing battle with storms from the north and rains from the west, its chambers and halls the silent abode of bats.

The records that form the intimate interest of family history are gradually disappearing. Under increasing social and economic pressure, portraits are scattered, relics dispersed to the four quarters of the globe. Time and indifference are working hand in hand, helped on by the destroyer fire. Inscriptions on monuments are gradually becoming effaced; damp has blurred heraldic colours. Cathedral records fall to dust under the touch of the hand. The synthetic jewels of the Oxford Movement that glitter in chancel windows give little comfort to the seeker after the relics of other days. For Dogma, not for the first time in the history of the English Church, turned iconoclast. It tore down the memorials of worthies of another time. Ugly they were, no doubt; but they were garnished with cherubs' heads, and commemorated superlative ancestral qualities. One seeks them now in vain, for Dogma is final, and whitewashed . . .

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