Rotherwas, Co. Hereford.

Fig. 345. Rotherwas, Co. Hereford. - The walnut panelling in the Banquet Hall. Early seventeenth century. - C. J. Charles, Esq.

We may begin with a house on the Old Quay at Yarmouth, known for many years as Fenner's, divided at a later date into two, with the numbers 53 and 54. In the early seventeenth century it was the property of William Burton, bailiff of Yarmouth, one of those men who, without actually signing the death warrant of Charles I, did more to instigate his execution than many of those who did. Burton, however, was not the builder who carved the date, 1595, on the frieze of the overmantel shown in Fig. 319. Who he was does not appear, but he must have been a merchant, as this was the traders' quarter of a seafaring town. Having finished the house, he panelled the rooms with rich wainscotting. That from the north front room on the ground floor is shown in Figs. 317 to 319. The panels, of fine quartered oak, are large, unusually so for this period, and are divided, vertically, at each third panel, by broad fluted pilasters with carved capitals. Between each of these is a frieze of two long narrow panels. Above the wainscotting is a band of moulded plaster, with a ceiling of reeded interlaced quatre-foils, with vine tendrils and bunches of grapes as ornamentation. Elaborate pendants cover the join at each intersection of the reeded strapping. The mantel, of which the upper part is illustrated in Fig. 319, is exceptionally choice. It is in three panels, with beautifully carved figures between each, with scrolling in high relief, and undercut in a truly wonderful manner. The same paper-scrolling is employed in the frieze panels, with the date, 1595, carved to crown the achievement.

The Twenty Five Quarterings Of Bodenham Of Rotherwas

Fig. 346. The Twenty-Five Quarterings Of Bodenham Of Rotherwas - See Fig. 344.

In the panels were, formerly, painted coats of arms, but these are now nearly obliterated.

Close to Femur's is the Star Hotel, once the house of William Crowe, one of Elizabeth's Merchant Adventurers, who emblazoned the Company's Merchants' Mark on his mantel. Whether the panelling which he put in was inspired by that in Fenner's, or the reverse, or whether both of these wainscottings are from the same date, and hand, - which is the more probable, - we can only conjecture. Crowe was bailiff of Yarmouth on two occasions, in 1596 and 1606, so he must have been a man of high esteem in the town. That no more than a year or two divides the woodwork of both houses is reasonably certain.

Rotherwas, Co. Hereford.

Fig. 347. Rotherwas, Co. Hereford. - Oak panelling in the James I Room. See Fig. 348 - Early seventeenth century. C.J. Charles, Esq.

Rotherwas, Co. Hereford

Fig. 348. Rotherwas, Co. Hereford - Oak mantel in the James I Room. Early seventeenth century. - C. J Charles, Esq.

As a repetition of one's own words can hardly be regarded as plagiarism, the following, from the " Burlington Magazine," gives a description, with measurements, of the room shown in Figs. 320 to 326, written after a close examination of the panelling.

' Whether William Crowe conformed to the strictness of the Heralds' College in the carving of his mantel, and bore the arms of his Company on a ' target hollow at the chief flankes ' is difficult to say; the work is not quite in original state. Thus the dexter Sun in Splendour on the shield has disappeared together with the globe or between two arms embowed in the crest. The tail of the dolphin, sinister, has also suffered.

' The room measures 24 ft. in length by 19 ft. 7 ins. in width. The panelling, of fine quartered and ' silver figured ' oak, is in two stages, the lower with heavy bolection mouldings and fluted pilasters with Corinthian capitals and bases. Above is an arcading flanked with boldly carved caryatids, alternately male and female. In these arches will be noticed one of the few remaining suggestions of the earlier Gothic traditions. The total height of the panelling, to the classical capping moulding under the plaster frieze, is 9 ft. 10 1/2 ins. The frieze itself is of modelled plaster, with strapped and interlaced ornament, a similar motif being repeated on the beams of the ceiling. The latter is coffered and slightly groined (another Gothic tradition) in large panels enriched with moulded plaster ribs and 'pendentes.'

Rotherwas, Co. Hereford.

Fig. 349. Rotherwas, Co. Hereford. - Oak panelling and mantel in the Julius Caesar Room. Early seventeenth century. - C J. Charles, Esq.

'The chimney-piece, 8 ft. 1 in. in width and 5 ft. 2 1/2 ins. to the springing of the arch of the opening, governs the heights of the panelling stages. The detail of the overmantel, to a larger scale, is shown in Figs. 323 and 324. The designs of the carved frames surrounding and flanking the arms are the finest features of the whole room. The curious arrangement of the caryatides or carved figures resting on conventionalised bulls' heads, which are repeated all round the room, will be noticed in the larger scale photograph. The execution of the carving is very crisp and fine, entirely different from the usual crude cutting associated with Tudor work; witness the figures immediately flanking the central panel, for example. Another exceptional feature is the interior porch in the corner on the left of the chimney-piece, shown in the separate illustration. Two doors have been contrived, one in each angle, and above are two intricately moulded panels. These internal porches are rare, not more than three or four other examples being extant at the present daw One of the best-known is in the oak hall at Sherborne Castle in Dorsetshire. The idea is probably a modification of the 'Skreens' in the great halls of the Early Tudor period, where the family life was more public and primitive than in the later days of Elizabeth, when the long gallery superseded the great hall as an integral part of the country mansion of the wealthy or noble English family.