Guy’s Cliffe.details

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Guy’s Cliffe.

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A strikingly beautiful manor house, with the moat in the foreground; today it lies in ruins. There are several other pictures of the same site; see the Location link. I have included a 1680x1050 pixel resolution version, and also a 1440x900 one, for use as backgrounds or wallpapers; those two images are very slightly distorted and cropped. The full text of the book’s description is as follows:



This seat derives its double name from a person and a place, the former that of the redoubtable and famous “Guy, Earl of Warwick,” the latter a high cliff which here bounds the western side of the classic Avon.

The story of Guy is thus told by my friend Sir Bernard Burke:—“ Guy, who, like most of his brethren in the trade of knight-errantry, had much to answer for, bethinks himself at last that it is time to repent and amend, for which purpose, according to the most approved fashion of his day, he sets out upon a tedious pilgrimage. On his return to Britain he finds the country being harassed by Danish invaders, so that there was scarce a town or castle that they had not burnt or destroyed almost as far as Winchester. In the midst of their success these ferocious invaders proposed to King Athelstan three things,—either that he should resign his crown to the Danish generals; or should hold the realm of them; or that the dispute should be ended in a single combat by a champion of either side; when, if the Dane was beaten, his countrymen would free England of their presence; but if he prevailed, then the country without more ado should be given up in sovereignty to the Danes. Athelstan accepted the last of these propositions, but not one of his court felt inclined to match himself with the formidable giant Colbrand, the elected champion of the Danes. At this crisis Guy appears in his palmer’s weeds, and is, with some difficulty, persuaded by the King to undertake the combat. What it was that induced Athelstan to place his fate and that of his kingdom in that of a wayworn, unknown pilgrim, is not explained by the chronicler, but the romancer unties the knot by the usual expedient in such cases. Athelstan had a vision instructing him to trust his defence to the first pilgrim he should meet at the entrance of his palace. The day of battle arrives, when the two combatants meet in the valley of Chilticumbe. Guy appears in the customary armour of a knight, but his adversary, the giant Colbrand, comes to the field with weapons enough to supply a whole host; he was ‘so weightily harnessed that his horse could scarce carry him, and before him a cart loaded with Danish axes, great clubs with knobs of iron, square bars of steel, lances, and iron hooks to pull his adversary to him.’ At this sight, notwithstanding his valour, Guy began to quake, or, as the romancer emphatically exclaims, ‘never he was’n so sore afeard sith then he was born’

It would seem, however, as in the case of the renowned French marshal, that it was his body and not his soul that was afraid, for he fought his battle right gallantly

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