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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/512

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504


NOTES AND QUERIES.


ix. JUNE 28, 1902.


yet much interest is attached to its possessors, who discharged the office at the coronation of most of the English sovereigns. Even prior to the Conquest it is said that the Marmions were hereditary champions to the Dukes of Normandy as Lords of Fontenaye, and the Dymokes claimed descent from them. Sir Baldwin Freville claimed the office as "Lord of Tarn worth Tower and Town "; but his claim was disallowed in favour of John Dymmok as the name was then spelt lord of the manor of Scrivelsby.

Sir Walter Scott, in ' Redgauntlet,' has given a graphic description of the banquet in Westminster Hall after the coronation of George III., and of Lilias Redgauntlet taking up the Champion's gage of battle. He men- tions Lord Erroll " rearing his gigantic form in the presence of the grandson of his father's murderer," of course, referring to Lord Kilmar- nock, beheaded on Tower Hill for his share in the rebellion of 1745. The earl was six feet four inches in height, and towered over all the rest. Horace Walpole notices this cir- cumstance also ; but whether the gage of battle was taken up and another gauntlet deposited in its place is very doubtful. Another legend runs that Prince Charles Edward was himself present in London at the time of the coronation.

There is a very interesting account of the coronation of King George III. and Queen Charlotte, on 22 September, 1761, in the ap- pendix to ' Tenures of Land and Customs of Manors,' by W. C. Hazlitt, published in 1874, a book of which only 325 copies were printed, and the names of the distinguished lords who were present are appended in the notes, and add much to the interest. The banquet took place in Westminster Hall rather late in the day, and three thousand wax lights were all kindled in less than five minutes. After the second course the Champion was brought up between the High Constable and the Earl Marshal. In the Universal Magazine of that date are two large folding plates representing the coronation in the Abbey, and the subse quent banquet in the Hall, with the Cham- pion riding up the middle of the Hall, armed cap-a-pie.

For a good account of the family of Dymoke of Scrivelsby let me refer to Burke's ' History of the Commoners,' vol. i. pp. 32-37, published in 1836, in which there are inserted many interesting anecdotes of the ancient house. This work, though abounding with errors, yet contains much curious information and antiquarian knowledge not to be found elsewhere. In many points it much sur- passes the 'History of the Landed Gentry.'


A list is appended to the pedigree of fourteen quarterings of the Dymoke family. Their coat is engraved, Sable, two lions passant arg., crowned or. Crests : first, a sword erect arg., hilt and pommel or ; second, a lion passant arg., crowned or ; third, the scalp of a hare, ears erect, ppr. Motto, " Pro rege dimico."

This interests me in many ways by remind- ing me of the past, for I can remember in 1866, when on a visit to a friend in Lin- colnshire, meeting and being introduced to the Rev. John Dymoke, who in former years was rector of Scrivelsby, and at that time, owing to the death of his elder brother, Sir Henry Dymoke, was styled the Champion, and resided at Scrivelsby Court, near Horn- castle. He and his only son, Henry Lionel Dymoke, have long since passed away. He did not remind me of, or look much like, the stately Lord Marmion of whom Sir Walter Scott says :

His square-turned joints and strength of limb Showed him no carpet-knight so trim, But in close fight a champion grim, In camps a leader sage.

My late friend Thomas Adolphus Trollope, whose loss, with that of many other old and valued correspondents, *N. & Q.' has to deplore, tells the following anecdote of meet- ing the Champion at Florence in his * What I Remember ' :

"I dare say that there be many now who do not know without being told that Dymock [.sic], the last Champion as I am almost afraid I must call him, though doubtless Scrivelsby must still be held by the ancient tenure was a very small old man, a clergyman, and not at all the sort of individual to answer to the popular idea of a champion. He was sitting in a nook all alone by himself and not look- ing very heroic or very happy as we passed, and, nudging my companion's arm, I whispered, 'That is the Champion.' The interest excited was greater than I had calculated on, for the lady made a dead stop, and, facing round to gaze at the old gentle- man, said, ' Why, you don't tell me so ! I should never have thought that that could be the fellow who licked Heenan ! But he looks a plucky little chap ! '" Vol. ii. p. 103.

Perhaps this occurred in 1860. But I can give an almost similar instance from my own experience in this neighbourhood. Once, when I mentioned to a friend having met Champion Dymoke in Lincolnshire, he asked whether his office was to fight with his fists a la Sayers and Heenan. But, as a rule, we are not literary characters in East Anglia " The wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure, and he that hath little business will become wise" (Ecclus. xxxviii. 24). JOHN PICKFORD, M.A.

Newbourne Rectory, Woodbridge.