SIR — I find so much left to speak of, and so many things to say in every part of England, that my journey cannot be barren of intelligence, which way soever I turn; no, tho’ I were to oblige myself to say nothing of any thing that had been spoken of before.
I intended once to have gone due west this journey; but then I should have been obliged to croud my observations so close, (to bring Hampton-Court, Windsor, Blenheim, Oxford, the Bath and Bristol, all into one letter; all those remarkable places lying in a line, as it were, in one point of the compass) as to have made my letter too long, or my observations too light and superficial, as others have done before me.
This letter will divide the weighty task, and consequently make it fit lighter on the memory, be pleasanter to the reader, and make my progress the more regular: I shall therefore take in Hampton-Court and Windsor in this journey; the first at my setting out, and the last at my return, and the rest as their situation demands.
As I came down from Kingston, in my last circuit, by the south bank of the Thames, on the Surrey side of the river; so I go up to Hampton Court, now, on the north bank, and on the Middlesex side, which I mention, because as the sides of the country bordering on the river, lie parallel, so the beauty of the country, the pleasant situations, the glory of innumerable fine buildings, noblemens and gentlemens houses, and citizens retreats, are so equal a match to what I had described on the other side, that one knows not which to give the preference to: But as I must speak of them again, when I come to write of the county of Middlesex, which I have now purposely omitted; so I pass them over here, except the palace of Hampton only, which I mentioned in Middlesex, for the reasons above.
Hampton Court lyes on the north bank of the river Thames, about two small miles from Kingston, and on the road from Stanes to Kingston Bridge; so that the road straightening the parks a little, they were obliged to part the parks, and leave the Paddock, and the Great Park, part on the other side the road; a testimony of that just regard that the Kings of England always had, and still have, to the common good, and to the service of the country, that they would not interrupt the course of the road, or cause the poor people to go out of the way of their business, to or from the markets and fairs, for any pleasure of their own whatsoever.
The palace of Hampton-Court was first founded, and built from the ground, by that great statesman, and favourite of King Henry VIII. Cardinal Wolsey; and if it be a just observation any where, as is made from the situation of the old abbies and monasteries, the clergy were excellent judges of the beauty and pleasantness of the country, and chose always to plant in the best; I say, if it was a just observation in any case, it was in this; for if there be a situation on the whole river between Stanes-Bridge and Windsor-Bridge, pleasanter than another, it is this of Hampton; close to the river, yet not offended by the rising of its waters in floods, or storms, near to the reflux of the tides, but not quite so near as to be affected with any foulness of the water, which the flowing of the tides generally is the occasion of. The gardens extend almost to the bank of the river, yet are never overflow’d; nor are there any marshes on either side the river to make the waters stagnate, or the air unwholesome on that account. The river is high enough to be navigable, and low enough to be a little pleasantly rapid; so that the stream looks always chearful, not slow and sleeping, like a pond. This keeps the waters always clear and clean, the bottom in view, the fish playing, and in sight; and, in a word, it has every thing that can make an inland; or, as I may call it, a country river, pleasant and agreeable.
I shall sing you no songs here of the river in the first person of a water nymph, a goddess, (and I know not what) according to the humour of the ancient poets. I shall talk nothing of the marriage of old Isis, the male river, with the beautiful Thame, the female river, a whimsy as simple as the subject was empty, but I shall speak of the river as occasion presents, as it really is made glorious by the splendor of its shores, gilded with noble palaces, strong fortifications, large hospitals, and publick buildings; with the greatest bridge, and the greatest city in the world, made famous by the opulence of its merchants, the encrease and extensiveness of its commerce; by its invincible navies, and by the innumerable fleets of ships sailing upon it, to and from all parts of the world.
As I meet with the river upwards in my travels thro’ the inland country, I shall speak of it, as it is the chanel for conveying an infinite quantity of provisions from remote counties to London, and enriching all the counties again that lye near it, by the return of wealth and trade from the city; and in describing these things I expect both to inform and divert my readers, and speak, in a more masculine manner, more to the dignity of the subject, and also more to their satisfaction, than I could do any other way.
There is little more to be said of the Thames, relating to Hampton-Court, than that it adds, by its neighbourhood, to the pleasure of the situation; for as to passing by water too and from London; tho’ in summer ’tis exceeding pleasant, yet the passage is a little too long to make it easy to the ladies, especially to be crowded up in the small boats, which usually go upon the Thames for pleasure.
The prince and princess, indeed, I remember came once down by water, upon the occasion of her royal highnesses being great with child, and near her time; so near, that she was delivered within two or three days after: But this passage being in the royal barges, with strength of oars, and the day exceeding fine, the passage, I say, was made very pleasant, and still the more so, for being short. Again, this passage is all the way with the stream, whereas, in the common passage, upwards, great part of the way is against the stream, which is slow and heavy.
But be the going and coming how it will by water, ’tis an exceeding pleasant passage by land, whether we go by the Surrey side or the Middlesex side of the water, of which I shall say more in its place.
The situation of Hampton-Court being thus mention’d, and its founder, ’tis to be mention’d next, that it fell to the Crown in the forfeiture of his eminence the cardinal, when the king seiz’d his effects and estate, by which this and Whitehall, another house of his own building also, came to King Henry VIII. two palaces fit for the Kings of England, erected by one cardinal, are standing monuments of the excessive pride, as well as the immense wealth of that prelate, who knew no bounds of his insolence and ambition, till he was overthrown at once by the displeasure of his master.
Whoever knew Hampton-Court before it was begun to be rebuilt, or alter’d, by the late King William, must acknowledge it was a very compleat palace before, and fit for a king; and tho’ it might not, according to the modern method of building, or of gardening, pass for a thing exquisitely fine; yet it had this remaining to itself, and perhaps peculiar; namely, that it shewed a situation exceedingly capable of improvement, and of being made one of the most delightful palaces in Europe.
This Her Majesty Queen Mary was so sensible of, that while the king had order’d the pulling down the old apartments, and building it up in that most beautiful form, which we see them now appear in, her majesty, impatient of enjoying so agreeable a retreat, fix’d upon a building formerly made use of chiefly for landing from the river, and therefore call’d the Water Gallery; and here, as if she had been conscious that she had but a few years to enjoy it, she order’d all the little neat curious things to be done, which suited her own conveniences, and made it the pleasantest little thing within doors that could possibly be made, tho’ its situation being such, as it could not be allowed to stand after the great building was finished; we now see no remains of it.
The queen had here her gallery of beauties, being the pictures, at full length, of the principal ladies attending upon her majesty, or who were frequently in her retinue; and this was the more beautiful sight, because the originals were all in being, and often to be compar’d with their pictures. Her majesty had here a fine apartment, with a sett of lodgings, for her private retreat only, but most exquisitely furnish’d; particularly a fine chints bed, then a great curiosity; another of her own work, while in Holland, very magnificent, and several others; and here was also her majesty’s fine collection of Delft ware, which indeed was very large and fine; and here was also a vast stock of fine China ware, the like whereof was not then to be seen in England; the long gallery, as above, was fill’d with this china, and every other place, where it could be plac’d, with advantage.
The queen had here also a small bathing-room, made very fine, suited either to hot or cold bathing, as the season should invite; also a dairy, with all its conveniences, in which her majesty took great delight: All these things were finish’d with expedition, that here their majesties might repose while they saw the main building go forward. While this was doing, the gardens were laid out, the plan of them devised by the king himself; and especially the amendments and alterations were made by the king, or the queen’s particular special command, or by both; for their majesties agreed so well in their fancy, and had both so good judgment in the just proportions of things, which are the principal beauties of a garden, that it may be said they both order’d every thing that was done.
Here the fine parcel of limes, which form the semi-circle on the south front of the house, by the iron gates, looking into the park, were by the dextrous hand of the head gardener, remov’d, after some of them had been almost thirty years planted in other places, tho’ not far of. I know the King of France, in the decoration of the gardens of Versailles, had oaks remov’d, which, by their dimensions, must have been above an hundred years old, and yet were taken up with so much art, and by the strength of such engines, by which such a monsterous quantity of earth was raised with them, that the trees could not feel their remove; that is to say, their growth was not at all hinder’d. This I confess, makes the wonder much the less in those trees at Hampton-Court gardens; but the performance was not the less difficult or nice, however, in these, and they thrive perfectly well.
While the gardens were thus laid out, the king also directed the laying the pipes for the fountain and jette d’eau’s; and particularly the dimensions of them, and what quantity of water they should cast up, and encreas’d the number of them after the first design.
The ground on the side of the other front, has receiv’d some alterations since the taking down the water gallery; but not that part immediately next the lodgings: The orange trees, and fine Dutch bays, are plac’d within the arches of the building under the first floor: so that the lower part of the house was all one as a green house for some time: Here stands advanced, on two pedestals of stone, two marble vases, or flower pots, of most exquisite workmanship; the one done by an Englishman, and the other by a German: ’Tis hard to say which is the best performance, tho’ the doing of it was a kind of tryal of skill between them; but it gives us room, without partiality, to say they were both masters of their art.
The parterre on that side descends from the terrass walk by steps, and on the left a terrass goes down to the water-side, from which the garden on the eastward front is overlook’d, and gives a most pleasant prospect.
The fine scrolls and bordure of these gardens were at first edg’d with box; but on the queen’s disliking the smell, those edgings were taken up, but have since been planted again, at least in many places, nothing making so fair and regular an edging as box, or is so soon brought to its perfection.
On the north side of the house, where the gardens seem’d to want skreening from the weather, or the view of the chapel, and some part of the old building requir’d to be cover’d from the eye; the vacant ground, which was large, is very happily cast into a wilderness, with a labyrinth, and espaliers so high, that they effectually take off all that part of the old building, which would have been offensive to the sight. This labyrinth and wilderness is not only well design’d, and compleatly finished, but is perfectly well kept, and the espaliers fill’d exactly, at bottom to the very ground, and are led up to proportion’d heights on the top; so that nothing of that kind can be more beautiful.
The house itself is every way answerable on the outside to the beautiful prospect, and the two fronts are the largest, and, beyond comparison, the finest of the kind in England: The great stairs go up from the second court of the palace on the right hand, and lead you to the south prospect.
I hinted in my last that King William brought into England the love of fine paintings, as well as that of fine gardens; and you have an example of it in the cartoons, as they are call’d, being five pieces of such paintings, as, if you will believe men of nice judgment and great travelling, are not to be match’d in Europe: The stories are known, but especially two of them, viz. that of St. Paul preaching on Mars-Hill to the self-wise Athenians, and that of St. Peter passing sentence of death on Ananias; I say, these two strike the mind with the utmost surprize; the passions are so drawn to the life, astonishment, terror and death in the face of Ananias; zeal and a sacred fire in the eyes of the blessed apostle; fright and surprize upon the countenances of the beholders in the piece of Ananias; all these describe themselves so naturally, that you cannot but seem to discover something of the like passions, even in seeing them.
In the other, there is the boldness and courage with which St. Paul undertook to talk to a sett of men, who he knew despis’d all the world, as thinking themselves able to teach them any thing: In the audience, there is anticipating pride and conceit in some, a smile or fleer of contempt in others, but a kind of sensible conviction, tho’ crush’d in its beginning, on the faces of the rest; and all together appear confounded, but have little to say, and know nothing at all of it, they gravely put him off to hear him another time; all these are seen here in the very dress of the face; that is, the very countenances which they hold while they listen to the new doctrine, which the apostle preached to a people at that time ignorant of it.
The other of the cartoons are exceeding fine; but I mention these as the particular two which are most lively, which strike the fancy the soonest at first view: ’Tis reported, but with what truth I know not, that the late French king offer’d an hundred thousand louis d’ors for these pictures; but this, I say, is but a report: The king brought a great many other fine pieces to England, and with them the love of fine paintings so universally spread itself among the nobility and persons of figure all over the kingdom, that it is incredible what collections have been made by English gentlemen since that time; and how all Europe has been rumag’d, as we may say, for pictures to bring over hither, where, for twenty years, they yielded the purchasers, such as collected them for sale, immense profit: But the rates are abated since that, and we begin to be glutted with the copies and frauds of the Dutch and Flemish painters, who have imposed grossly upon us. But to return to the palace of Hampton-Court: Queen Mary liv’d not to see it compleatly finished; and her death, with the other difficulties of that reign, put a stop to the works for some time, till the king reviving his good liking of the place, set them to work again, and it was finished, as we see it: But I have been assur’d, that had the peace continu’d, and the king liv’d to enjoy the continuance of it, his majesty had resolv’d to have pull’d down all the remains of the old building; such as the chapel, and the large court within the first gate, and to have built up the whole palace after the manner of those two fronts already done. In these would have been an entire sett of rooms of state for the receiving, and, if need had been, lodging, and entertaining any foreign prince, with his retinue; also offices for all the Secretaries of State, Lords of the Treasury, and of trade; to have repair’d to for the dispatch of such business, as it might be necessary to have done there upon the king’s longer residence there than ordinary; as also apartments for all the great officers of the houshold; so that had the house had two great squares added, as was design’d, there would have been no room to spare, or that would not have been very well fill’d: But the king’s death put an end to all these things.
Since the death of King William, Hampton-Court seem’d abandon’d of its patron: They have gotten a kind of proverbial saying relating to Hampton-Court, viz. That it has been generally chosen by every other prince, since it became a house of note. King Charles was the first that delighted in it since Queen Elizabeth’s time; as for the reigns before, it was but newly forfeited to the Crown, and was not made a royal house till King Charles I. who was not only a prince that delighted in country retirements, but knew how to make choice of them by the beauty of their situation, the goodness of the air, &c. he took great delight here, and, had he liv’d to enjoy it in peace, had purposed to make it another thing than it was: But we all know what took him off from that felicity, and all others; and this house was at last made one of his prisons by his rebellious subjects.
His son, King Charles II. may well be said to have an aversion to the place, for the reason just mention’d, namely, the treatment his royal father met with there; and particularly that the rebel and murtherer of his father, Cromwell, afterwards possess’d this palace, and revel’d here in the blood of the royal party, as he had done in that of his sovereign; King Charles II. Therefore chose Windsor, and bestow’d a vast sum in beautifying the castle there, and which brought it to the perfection we see it in at this day; some few alterations excepted, done hi the time of King William.
King William, for King James is not to be nam’d as to his choice of retir’d palaces, his delight running quite another way; I say, King William fix’d upon Hampton Court; and it was in his reign that Hampton Court put on new cloaths, and being dress’d gay and glorious, made the figure we now see it in.
The late queen, taken up for part of her reign in her kind regards to the prince her spouse, was oblig’d to reside where her care of his health confin’d her, and in this case kept for the most part at Kensington, where he died; but her majesty always discovered her delight to be at Windsor, where she chose the little house, as ’twas call’d, opposite to the castle, and took the air in her chaise in the parks and forest, as she saw occasion.
Now Hampton Court, by the like alternative, is come into request again; and we find his present majesty, who is a good judge too of the pleasantness and situation of a place of that kind, has taken Hampton-Court into his favour, and has made it much his choice for the summer’s retreat of the Court, and where they may best enjoy the diversions of the season: When Hampton Court will find such another favourable juncture as in King William’s time, when the remainder of her ashes shall be swept away, and her compleat fabric, as design’d by King William, shall be finish’d, I cannot tell; but if ever that shall be, I know no palace in Europe, Versailles excepted, which can come up to her, either for beauty and magnificence, or for extent of building, and the ornaments attending it.
From Hampton Court I directed my course for a journey into the south west part of England; and, to take up my beginning where I concluded my last, I cross’d to Chertsey on the Thames, a town I mentioned before; from whence crossing the Black Desert, as I call’d it, of Bagshot-Heath, I directed my course for Hampshire, or Hantshire, and particularly for Basingstoke; that is to say, that a little before I pass’d into the great western road upon the heath, somewhat west of Bagshot, at a village called Blackwater, and enter’d Hampshire, near Hartleroe.
Before we reach Basingstoke, we get rid of that unpleasant country, which I so often call a desart, and enter into a pleasant fertile country, enclosed and cultivated like the rest of England; and passing a village or two, we enter Basingstoke, in the midst of woods and pastures, rich and fertile, and the country accordingly spread with the houses of the nobility and gentry, as in other places: On the right hand, a little before we come to the town, we pass at a small distance the famous fortress, so it was then, of Basing, being a house belonging then to the Marquis of Winchester, the great ancestor of the present family of the Dukes of Bolton.
This house, garrison’d by a resolute band of old soldiers, was a great curb to the rebels of the Parliament Party, almost thro7 that whole war; till it was, after a vigorous defence, yielded to the conquerors, by the inevitable fate of things at that time. The old house is indeed demolish’d; but the successor of the family, the first Duke of Bolton, has erected a very noble fabrick in the same place, or near it, which, however, is not equal to the magnificence which fame gives to the ancient house, whose strength of building only, besides the out-works, withstood the battery of cannon in several attacks, and repuls’d the Roundheads, three or four times, when they attempted to besiege it: ’Tis incredible what booty the garrison of this place pick’d up, lying, as they did, just on the great western road, where they intercepted the carriers, plundered the waggons, and suffer’d nothing to pass; to the great interruption of the trade of the city of London.
Basingstoke is a large populous market town, has a good market for corn, and lately, within a very few years, is fallen into a manufacture, viz. of making druggets and shalloons, and such slight goods, which, however, employs a good number of the poor people, and enables them to get their bread, which knew not how to get it before.
From hence the great western road goes on to Whitchurch and Andover, two market towns, and sending members to Parliament; at the last of which, the Downs, or open country, begins, which we in general, tho’ falsly, call Salisbury-Plain: But my resolution being to take in my view what I had pass’d by before; I was oblig’d to go off to the left hand, to Alresford and Winchester.
Alresford was a flourishing market town, and remarkable for this; That tho’ it had no great trade, and particularly very little, if any manufactures, yet there was no collection in the town for the poor, nor any poor low enough to take alms of the parish, which is what I do not think can be said of any town in England besides.
But this happy circumstance, which so distinguish’d Alresford from all her neighbours, was brought to an end in the year ——— when, by a sudden and surprizing fire, the whole town, with both the church and the market-house, was reduc’d to a heap of rubbish; and, except a few poor hutts at the remotest ends of the town, not a house left standing: The town is since that very handsomely rebuilt, and the neighbouring gentlemen contributed largely to the relief of the people, especially, by sending in timber towards their building; also their Market-house is handsomely built; but the church not yet, tho’ we hear there is a fund raising likewise for that.
Here is a very large pond, or lake of water, kept up to a head, by a strong batterd’eau, or dam, which the people tell us was made by the Romans; and that it is to this day part of the great Roman highway, which leads from Winchester to Alton, and, as ’tis supposed, went on to London, tho’ we no where see any remains of it, except between Winchester and Alton, and chiefly between this town and Alton.
Near this town, a little north-west, the Duke of Bolton has another seat, which, tho’ not large, is a very handsome beautiful palace, and the gardens not only very exact, but very finely situate, the prospect and visto’s noble and great, and the whole very well kept.
From hence, at the end of seven miles over the Downs, we come to the very ancient city of Winchester; not only the great church, which is so famous all over Europe, and has been so much talk’d of, but even the whole city has, at a distance, the face of venerable, and looks ancient a far off; and yet here are many modern buildings too, and some very handsome; as the college schools; with the bishop’s palace, built by Bishop Morley, since the late wars; the old palace of the bishop having been ruin’d by that known church incendiary, Sir William Waller, and his crew of plunderers; who, if my information is not wrong, as I believe it is not, destroyed more monuments of the dead, and defac’d more churches, than all the Round-heads in England beside.
This church, and the schools, also are accurately described by several writers, especially by the Monasticon, where their antiquity and original is fully set forth: The outside of the church is as plain and course, as if the founders had abhor’d ornaments, or that William of Wickham had been a Quaker, or at least a Quietist: There is neither statue, or a nich for a statue, to be seen on all the outside; no carv’d work, no spires, towers, pinacles, balustrades, or any thing; but meer walls, buttresses, windows, and coins, necessary to the support and order of the building: It has no steeple, but a short tower covered flat, as if the top of it had fallen down, and it had been cover’d in haste to keep the rain out, till they had time to build it up again.
But the inside of the church has many very good things in it, and worth observation; it was for some ages the burying place of the English Saxon kings; whose reliques, at the repair of the church, were collected by Bishop Fox, and, being put together into large wooden chests, lin’d with lead, were again interr’d at the foot of the great wall in the choir, three on one side, and three on the other; with an account whose bones are in each chest, whether the division of the reliques might be depended upon, has been doubted, but is not thought material, so that we do but believe they are all there.
The choir of the church appears very magnificent; the roof is very high, and the Gothick work in the arch’d part is very fine, tho’ very old; the painting in the windows is admirably good, and easy to be distinguished by those that understand those things: The steps ascending to the choir make a very fine show, having the statues of King James, and his son King Charles, in copper, finely cast; the first on the right hand, and the other on the left, as you go up to the choir.
The choir is said to be the longest in England; and as the number of prebendaries, canons, &c. are many, it required such a length. The ornaments of the choir are the effects of the bounty of several bishops; the fine altar (the noblest in England by much) was done by Bishop Morley; the roof, and the coat of arms of the Saxon and Norman kings, were done by Bishop Fox; and the fine throne, for the bishop in the choir, was given by Bishop Mew, in his life-time; and it was well it was; for if he had order’d it by will, there is reason to believe it had never been done. That reverend prelate, notwithstanding he enjoy’d so rich a bishoprick, scarce leaving money enough behind him, to pay for his coffin.
There are a great many persons of rank bury’d in this church, besides the Saxon kings, mentioned above; and besides several of the most eminent bishops of the see: Just under the altar lyes a son of William the Conqueror, without any monument; and behind the altar, under a very fine and venerable monument, lyes the famous Lord Treasurer, Weston, late Earl of Portland, Lord High Treasurer of England under King Charles I. His effigy is in copper armour, at full length, with his head rais’d on three cushions of the same, and is a very magnificent work: There is also a very fine monument of Cardinal Beaufort, in his cardinal’s robes and hat.
The monument of Sir John Cloberry is extraordinary, but more, because it puts strangers upon enquiring into his story, than for any thing wonderful in the figure, it being cut in a modern dress; the habit gentlemen wore in those times, which, being now so much out of fashion, appears mean enough: But this gentleman’s story is particular, being the person solely entrusted with the secret of the Restoration of King Charles II. as the messenger that pass’d between General Monk on one hand, and Mr. Montague, and others entrusted by King Charles II. on the other hand; which he manag’d so faithfully, as to effect that memorable event, to which England owes the felicity of all her happy days since that time; by which faithful service, Sir John Cloberry, then a private musqueteer only, rais’d himself to the honour of a knight, with the reward of a good estate from the bounty of the king.
Every body that goes into this church, and reads what is to be read there, will be told, that the body of the church was built by the famous William of Wickham; whose monument, intimating his fame, lyes in the middle of that part, which was built at his expence.
He was a courtier before a bishop; and tho’ he had no great share of learning, he was a great promoter of it, and a lover of learned men: His natural genius was much beyond his acquir’d parts, and his skill in politicks beyond his ecclesiastick knowledge: He is said to have put his master, King Edward III. to whom he was Secretary of State, upon the two great projects which made his reign so glorious, viz. First, upon setting up his claim to the crown of France, and pushing that claim by force of arms, which brought on the war with France, in which that prince was three times victorious in battle. (2.) Upon setting up, or instituting the Order of the Garter; in which he (being before that made Bishop of Winchester) obtain’d the honour for the Bishops of Winchester, of being always prelates of the Order, as an appendix to the bishoprick; and he himself was the first prelate of the Order, and the ensigns of that honour are joyn’d with his episcopal ornaments, in the robing of his effigy on the monument above.
To the honour of this bishop, there are other foundations of his, as much to his fame as that of this church, of which I shall speak in their order; but particularly the college in this city, which is a noble foundation indeed: The building consists of two large courts, in which are the lodgings for the masters and scholars, and in the center a very noble chapel; beyond that, in the second court, are the schools, with a large cloyster beyond them, and some enclosures laid open for the diversion of the scholars. There also is a great hall, where the scholars dine: The funds for the support of this college are very considerable; the masters live in a very good figure, and their maintenance is sufficient to support it: They have all seperate dwellings in the house, and all possible conveniences appointed them.
The scholars have exhibitions at a certain time of continuance here, if they please to study, in the new college at Oxford, built by the same noble benefactor, of which I shall speak in its order. The clergy here live at large, and very handsomely, in the close belonging to the cathedral; where, besides the bishop’s palace, mention’d above, are very good houses, and very handsomely built, for the prebendaries, canons, and other dignitaries of this church: The deanary is a very pleasant dwelling, the gardens very large, and the river running thro’ them; but the floods in winter sometimes incommode the gardens very much.
This school has fully answer’d the end of the founder, who, tho’ he was no great scholar, resolv’d to erect a house for the making the ages to come more learned than those that went before; and it had, I say, fully answer’d the end, for many learned and great men have been rais’d here, some of whom we shall have occasion to mention as we go on.
Among the many private inscriptions in this church, we found one made by Dr. Over, once an eminent physician in this city, on a mother and child, who, being his patients, died together, and were bury’d in the same grave, and which intimate, that one died of a fever, and the other of a dropsy.
Surrepuit natum febris matrem Abstulit Hydrops,
Igne Prior fatis, altera Cessit Aqua.
As the city it self stands in a vale on the bank, and at the conjunction of two small rivers, so the country rising every way, but just as the course of the water keeps the valley open, you must necessarily, as you go out of the gates, go up hill every way: But when once ascended, you come to the most charming plains, and most pleasant country of that kind in England; which continues, with very small intersections of rivers and valleys, for above fifty miles, as shall appear in the sequel of this journey.
At the west gate of this city was anciently a castle, known to be so by the ruins, more than by any extraordinary notice taken of it in history: What they say of it, that the Saxon kings kept their Court here, is doubtful, and must be meant of the West Saxons only; and as to the tale of King Arthur’s round table, which, they pretend, was kept here for him, and his two dozen of knights; which table hangs up still, as a piece of antiquity, to the tune of 1200 years, and has, as they pretend, the names of the said knights in Saxon characters, and yet such as no man can read: All this story I see so little ground to give the least credit to, that I look upon it, and it shall please you, to be no better than a FIBB.
Where this castle stood, or whatever else it was, for some say there was no castle there, the late King Charles II. mark’d out, a very noble design; which had he livd, would certainly have made that part of the country, the New-Market of the ages to come; for the country hereabout far excels that of New-Market Heath, for all kinds of sport and diversion, fit for a prince, no body can dispute; and as the design included a noble palace, sufficient like Windsor, for a summer residence of the whole Court, it would certainly have diverted the king from his cursory journeys to New-Market.
The plan of this house has received several alterations; and as it is never like to be finish’d, ’tis scarce worth recording the variety: The building is begun, and the front next the city carry’d up to the roof, and cover’d; but the remainder is not begun: There was a street of houses design’d from the gate of the palace down to the town, but it was never begun to be built; the park mark’d out was exceeding large, near ten miles in circumference, and ended west upon the open downs, in view of the town of Stockbridge.
This house was afterwards settled with a royal revenue also, as an appenage, establish’d by Parliament upon Prince George of Denmark for his life, in case he had out-liv’d the queen: But his royal highness dying before her majesty, all hope of seeing this design perfected, or the house finished, is now vanish’d.
I cannot omit that there are several publick edifices in this city, and in the neighbourhood; as the hospitals, and the building adjoining near the east gate; and towards the north, a piece of an old monastry undemolish’d, and which is still preserved to the religion, being the residence of some private Roman Catholick gentlemen, where they have an oratory, and, as they say, live still according to the rules of St. Benedict. This building is call’d Hide-House; and, as they live very usefully and, to the highest degree, obliging among their neighbours, they meet with no obstruction or disturbance from any body.
Winchester is a place of no trade, other than is naturally occasion’d by the inhabitants of the city and neighbouring villages, one with another: Here is no manufacture, no navigation; there was indeed an attempt to make the river navigable from Southampton; and it was once made practicable, but it never answer’d the expence, so as to give encouragement to the undertakers.
Here is a great deal of good company; and abundance of gentry being in the neighbourhood, it adds to the sociableness of the place: The clergy also here are, generally speaking, very rich, and very numerous.
As there is such good company, so they are gotten into that new-fashion’d way of conversing by assemblies: I shall do no more than mention them here; they are pleasant and agreeable to the young people, and some times fatal to them, of which, in its place; Winchester has its share of the mirth: May it escape the ill consequences.
The hospital on the south of this city, at a miles distance on the road to Southampton, is worth notice:?Tis said to be founded by King William Rufus, but was not endow’d or appointed till later times by Cardinal Beaufort. Every traveller that knocks at the door of this house, in his way, and asks for it, claims the relief of a piece of white bread and a cup of beer; and this donation is still continued; a quantity of good beer is set apart every day to be given away; and what is left, is distributed to other poor, but none of it kept to the next day.
How the revenues of this hospital, which should maintain the master and thirty private gentlemen, who they call Fellows, but ought to call Brothers, is now reduc’d to maintain only fourteen, while the master lives in a figure equal to the best gentleman in the country, would be well worth the enquiry of a proper visitor, if such can be nam’d:?Tis a thing worthy of complaint, when publick charaties, design’d for the relief of the poor, are embezzel’d and depredated by the rich, and turn’d to the support of luxury and pride.
From Winchester, is about 25 miles, and over the most charming plains that can any where be seen, (far in my opinion) excelling the plains of Mecca, we come to Salisbury; the vast flocks of sheep, which one every where sees upon these downs, and the great number of those flocks, is a sight truly worth observation; ’tis ordinary for these flocks to contain from 3 to 5000 in a flock; and several private farmers hereabouts have two or three such flocks.
But ’tis more remarkable still; how a great part of these downs comes by a new method of husbandry, to be not only made arable, which they never were in former days, but to bear excellent wheat, and great crops too, tho’ otherwise poor barren land, and never known to our ancestors to be capable of any such thing; nay, they would perhaps have laugh’d at any one that would have gone about to plough up the wild downs and hills, where the sheep were wont to go: But experience has made the present age wiser, and more skilful in husbandry; for by only folding the sheep upon the plow’d lands, those lands, which otherwise are barren, and where the plow goes within three or four inches of the solid rock of chalk, are made fruitful, and bear very good wheat, as well as rye and barley: I shall say more of this when I come to speak of the same practice farther in the country.
This plain country continues in length from Winchester to Salisbury 25 miles, from thence to Dorchester 22 miles, thence to Weymouth 6 miles, so that they lye near 50 miles in length, and breadth; they reach also in some places 35 to 40 miles: They who would make any practicable guess at the number of sheep usually fed on these downs, may take it from a calculation made, as I was told, at Dorchester, that there were 600000 sheep fed within 6 miles of that town, measuring every way round, and the town in the center.
As we pass’d this plain country, we saw a great many old camps, as well Roman as British, and several remains of the ancient inhabitants of this kingdom, and of their wars, battles, entrenchments, encampments, buildings, and other fortifications, which are indeed very agreeable to a traveller, that has read any thing of the history of the country. Old Sarum is as remarkable as any of these, where there is a double entrenchment, with a deep graffe, or ditch, to either of them; the area about 100 yards in diameter, taking in the whole crown of the hill, and thereby rendering the ascent very difficult: Near this, there is one farm house, which is all the remains I could see of any town in or near the place, for the encampment has no resemblance of a-town; and yet this is called the borough of Old Sarum, and sends two members to Parliament, who, those members can justly say, they represent, would be hard for them to answer.
Some will have it, that the old city of Sorbiodunum, or Salisbury, stood here, and was afterwards, for I know not what reasons, remov’d to the low marshy grounds, among the rivers, where it now stands: But as I see no authority for it, other than mere tradition, I believe my share of it, and take it ad referendum.
Salisbury itself is indeed a large and pleasant city; tho’ I do not think it at all the pleasanter for that which they boast so much of; namely, the water running thro’ the middle of every street, or that it adds any thing to the beauty of the place, but just the contrary; it keeps the streets always dirty, full of wet and filth, and weeds, even in the middle of summer.
The city is plac’d upon the confluence of two large rivers, the Avon and the Willy, either of them considerable rivers, but very large, when joyn’d together, and yet larger when they receive a third river, viz. the Naddir, which joyns them near Clarendon Park, about three miles below the city; then, with a deep channel, and a current less rapid, they run down to Christ Church, which is their port, and where they empty themselves into the sea; from that town upwards, towards Salisbury, they are made navigable too within two miles, and might be so quite into the city, were it not for the strength of the stream.
As the city of Winchester is a city without trade, that is to say, without any particular manufactures; so this city of Salisbury, and all the county of Wilts, of which it is the capital, are full of a great variety of manufactures; and those some of the most considerable in England; namely, the cloathing trade, and the trade of flannels, drugets, and several other sorts of manufactures, of which in their order.
The city of Salisbury has two remarkable manufactures carried on in it, and which employ the poor of great part of the country round; namely, fine flannels, and long cloths for the Turkey trade, call’d Salisbury Whites: The people of Salisbury are gay and rich, and have a flourishing trade; and there is a great deal of good manners and good company among them; I mean, among the citizens, besides what is found among the gentlemen; for there are many good families in Salisbury, besides the citizens.
This society has a great addition from the Closs, that is to say, the circle of ground wall’d in adjacent to the cathedral; in which the families of the prebendaries and commons, and others of the clergy belonging to the cathedral have their houses, as is usual in all cities where there are cathedral churches. These are so considerable here, and the place so large, that it is (as it is call’d in general) like another city.
The cathedral is famous for the height of its spire, which is without exception the highest, and the handsomest in England, being from the ground 410 foot, and yet the walls so exceeding thin, that at the upper part of the spire upon a view made by the late Christopher Wren, the wall was found to be less than five inches thick; upon which a consultation was had, whether the spire, or at least the upper part of it should be taken down, it being suppos’d to have receiv’d some damage by the great storm in the year 1703; but it was resolv’d in the negative, and Sir Christopher order’d it to be so strengthened with bands of iron plates, as has effectually secur’d it; and I have heard some of the best architects say, it is stronger now than when it was first built.
They tell us here long stories of the great art us’d in laying the first foundations of this church; the ground being marshy and wet, occasioned by the channels of the rivers; that it was laid upon piles according to some, and upon woolpacks according to others; but this is not suppos’d by those who know, that the whole country is one rock of chalk, even from the tops of the highest hills, to the bottom of the deepest rivers.
They tell us, this church was 40 years a building, and cost an immense sum of money, but it must be acknowledged that the inside of the work is not answerable in the decoration of things, to the workmanship without; the painting in the choir is mean, and more like the ordinary method of common drawing room, or tavern painting, than that of a church; the carving is good, but very little of it, and it is rather a fine church than finely set off.
The ordinary boast of this building, that there were as many gates as months, as many windows as days, as many marble pillars as hours in the year, is now no recommendation at all. However the mention of it must be preserved.
As many days as in one year there be,
So many windows in one church we see;
As many marble pillars there appear,
As there are hours throughout the fleeting year;
As many gates as moons one year do view:
Strange tale to tell, yet not more strange than true.
There are however some very fine monuments in this church; particularly one belonging to the noble family of Seymours, since Dukes of Somerset, (and ancestors of the present flourishing family,) which on a most melancholly occasion has been now lately open’d again to receive the body of the late Dutchess of Somerset, the happy consort for almost 40 years of his grace the present duke; and only daughter and heiress of the antient and noble family of Piercy, Earls of Northumberland, whose great estate she brought into the family of Somerset, who now enjoy it.
With her was bury’d at the same time her graces daughter the Marchioness of Caermarthen, being married to the Marquess of Caermarthen, son and heir apparent to the Lord of Leeds, who dy’d for grief at the loss of the dutchess her mother, and was buried with her; also her second son the Duke Piercy Somerset, who dyed a few months before, and had been buryed in the abby-church of Westminster, but was order’d to be remov’d and laid here with the ancestors of his house; and I hear his grace designs to have a yet more magnificent monument erected in this cathedral for them, just by the other, which is there already.
How the Dukes of Somerset came to quit this church for their burying-place, and be laid in Westminster-Abbey, that I know not; but ’tis certain that the present duke has chosen to have his family laid here with their ancestors, and to that end has caused the corps of his son the Lord Piercy, as above, and one of his daughters who had been buryed in the Abbey, to be remov’d and brought down to this vault, which lyes in that they call the Virgin Mary’s Chappel behind the altar. There is, as above, a noble monument for a late Duke and Dutchess of Somerset in the place already; with their pourtraits at full length, their heads lying upon cushions, the whole perfectly well wrought in fine polish’d Italian marble, and their sons kneeling by them; those I suppose to be the father of the great Duke of Somerset, uncle to King Edward IV, but after this the family lay in Westminster-Abbey, where there is also a fine monument for that very duke who was beheaded by Edward VI, and who was the great patron of the Reformation.
Among other monuments of noble men in this cathedral they show you one that is very extraordinary, and to which there hangs a tale: There was in the reign of Philip and Mary a very unhappy murther committed by the then Lord Sturton, or Stourton, a family since extinct, but well known till within a few years in that country.
This Lord Stourton being guilty of the said murther, which also was aggravated with very bad circumstances, could not obtain the usual grace of the Crown, (viz.) to be beheaded, but Queen Mary positively ordered that like a common malefactor he should die at the gallows: After he was hang’d, his friends desiring to have him bury’d at Salisbury, the bishop would not consent that he should be buryed in the cathedral, unless as a farther mark of infamy, his friends would submit to this condition (viz.) That the silken halter in which he was hang’d should be hanged up over his grave in the church, as a monument of his crime; which was accordingly done, and there it is to be seen to this day.
The putting this halter up here, was not so wonderful to me as it was, that the posterity of that lord, who remain’d in good rank sometime after, should never prevail to have that mark of infamy taken off from the memory of their ancestor.
There are several other monuments in this cathedral, as particularly of two noblemen of antient families in Scotland, one of the name of Hay, and one of the name of Gordon; but they give us nothing of their history, so that we must be content to say there they lye, and that’s all.
The cloyster, and the chapter-house adjoyning to the church, are the finest here of any I have seen in England; the latter is octogon, or eight square, and is 150 foot in its circumference; the roof bearing all upon one small marble pillar in the center, which you may shake with your hands; and it is hardly to be imagin’d it can be any great support to the roof, which makes it the more curious, it is not indeed to be match’d I believe in Europe.
From hence directing my course to the sea-side in pursuit of my first design, viz. of viewing the whole coast of England, I left the great road, and went down the east side of the river towards New-Forest, and Lymington; and here I saw the antient house and seat of Clarendon, the mansion of the antient family of Hide, ancestors of the great Earl of Clarendon, and from whence his lordship was honoured with that title, or the house erected into an honour in favour of his family.
But this being a large county, and full of memorable branches of antiquity, and modern curiosity, I cannot quit my observations so soon, but being happily fix’d by the favour of a particular friend at so beautiful a spot of ground as this of Clarendon Park, I made several little excursions from hence to view the northern parts of this county; a county so fruitful of wonders, that tho’ I do not make antiquity my chief search, yet I must not pass it over entirely, where so much of it, and so well worth observation is to be found, which would look as if I either understood not the value of the study, or expected my readers should be satisfy’d with a total omission of it.
I have mention’d that this county is generally a vast continued body of high chalky hills, whose tops spread themselves into fruitful and pleasant downs and plains, upon which great flocks of sheep are fed, &c. But the reader is desir’d to observe these hills and plains are most beautifully intersected, and cut thro’ by the course of divers pleasant and profitable rivers; in the course, and near the banks, of which there always is a chain of fruitful meadows, and rich pastures, and those interspers’d with innumerable pleasant towns, villages, and houses, and among them many of considerable magnitude; so that while you view the downs, and think the country wild and uninhabited; yet when you come to descend into these vales you are surprised with the most pleasant and fertile country in England.
There are no less than four of these rivers which meet all together, at, or near the city of Salisbury, especially the waters of three of them run thro’ the streets of the city; the Nadder and the Willy, and the Avon, and the course of these three lead us thro’ the whole mountainous part of the county, the two first joyn their waters at Wilton; the shire-town, tho’ a place of no great notice now; and these are the waters which run thro’ the canal, and the gardens of Wilton House, the seat of that ornament of nobility and learning, the Earl of Pembroke.
One cannot be said to have seen any thing that a man of curiosity would think worth seeing in this county, and not have been at Wilton House; but not the beautiful building, not the antient trophy of a great family, not the noble scituation, not all the pleasures of the gardens, parks, fountains, hare-warren, or of whatever is rare either in art or nature are equal to, that yet more glorious sight, of a noble princely palace, constantly filled with its noble and proper inhabitants; viz. the lord and proprietor, who is indeed a true patriarchal monarch, reigns here with an authority agreeable to all his subjects (family); and his reign is made agreeable, by his first practising the most exquisite government of himself, and then guiding all under him by the rules of honour and vertue; being also himself perfectly master of all the needful arts of family government; I mean needful to make that government, both easy, and pleasant to those who are under it, and who therefore willingly, and by choice conform to it.
Here an exhaulted genius is the instructor, a glorious example the guide, and a gentle well directed hand the governour and law-giver to the whole; and the family like a well govern’d city appears happy, flourishing and regular, groaning under no grievance, pleas’d with what they enjoy, and enjoying every thing which they ought to be pleas’d with.
Nor is the blessing of this noble resident extended to the family only, but even to all the country round, who in their degree feel the effects of the general beneficence; and where the neighbourhood, however poor, receive all the good they can expect, and are sure to have no injury, or oppression.
The canal before the house lyes parallel with the road, and receives into it the whole river Willey, or at least is able to do so; it may indeed be said, that the river is made into a canal; when we come into the court-yards before the house there are several pieces of antiquity to entertain the curious; as particularly, a noble column of porphyry, with a marble statue of Venus on the top of it. In Italy, and especially at Rome and Naples, we see a great variety of fine columns, and some of them of excellent workmanship, and antiquity, and at some of the Courts of the Princes of Italy the like is seen; as especially at the Court of Florence; but in England I do not remember to have seen any thing like this, which as they told me is two and thirty foot high and of excellent workmanship, and that it came last from Candia, but formerly from Alexandria; what may belong to the history of it any further, I suppose is not known, at least they could tell me no more of it, who shew’d it me.
On the left of the court was formerly a large grotto, and curious water-works, and in a house, or shed, or part of the building which open’d with two folding doors, like a coach-house, a large equestrian statue of one of the ancestors of the family in compleat armour, as also another of a Roman emperor in brass, but the last time I had the curiosity to see this house, I mist that part; so that I supposed they were remov’d.
As the present Earl of Pembroke, the lord of this fine palace, is a nobleman of great personal merit, many other ways; so he is a man of learning, and reading, beyond most men of his lordship’s high rank in this nation, if not in the world; and as his reading has made him a master of antiquity, and judge of such pieces of antiquity, as he has had opportunity to meet with in his own travels, and otherwise in the world; so it has given him a love of the study, and made him a collector of valuable things, as well in painting as in sculpture, and other excellencies of art, as also of nature; in so much that Wilton-House is now a meer musaeum, or a chamber of rarities, and we meet with several things there, which are to be found no where else in the world.
As his lordship is a great collector of fine paintings; so I know no nobleman’s house in England, so prepar’d, as if built on purpose to receive them; the largest, and the finest pieces that can be imagin’d extant in the world, might have found a place here capable to receive them; I say, they might have found, as if they could not now, which is in part true; for at present the whole house is so compleatly fill’d, that I see no room for any new peice to crowd in, without displacing some other fine piece that hung there before; as for the value of the piece, that might so offer to succeed the displac’d, that the great judge of the whole collection, the earl himself, must determine, and as his judgment is perfectly good, the best picture would be sure to possess the place. In a word: Here is without doubt the best, if not the greatest collection of rarities, and paintings, that are to be seen together, in any one nobleman’s, or gentleman’s house in England. The piece of our Saviour washing his disciples feet, which they shew you in one of the first rooms you go into, must be spoken of by every body that has any knowledge of painting, and is an admirable piece indeed.
You ascend the great stair case, at the upper end of the hall, which is very large; at the foot of the stair-case you have a Bacchus large as the life, done in fine Peloponesian marble; carrying a young Bacchus on his arm, the young one eating grapes, and letting you see by his countenance, that he is pleas’d with the tast of them; nothing can be done finer, or more lively represent the thing intended; namely the gust of the appetite, which if it be not a passion, ’tis an affection, which is as much seen in the countenance, perhaps more than any other: One ought to stop every two steps of this stair-case, as we go up, to contemplate the vast variety of pictures, that cover the walls, and of some of the best masters in Europe, and yet this is but an introduction to what is beyond them.
When you are entered the appartments, such variety seizes you every way, that you scarce know to which hand to turn your self: First, on one side you see several rooms fill’d with paintings, as before, all so curious, and the variety such, that ’tis with reluctance, that you can turn from them; while looking another way, you are call’d off by a vast collection of busto’s, and pieces of the greatest antiquity of the kind, both Greek, and Romans; among these, there is one of the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius in basso relievo; I never saw any thing like what appears here, except in the chamber of rarieties at Munick in Bavaria.
Passing these, you come into several large rooms, as if contriv’d for the reception of the beautiful guests that take them up; one of these is near 70 foot long and the ceiling 26 foot high, with another adjoyning of the same height, and breadth, but not so long: Those together might be call’d the Great Gallery of Wilton, and might vie for paintings with the gallery of Luxemburg in the Fauxbourg of Paris.
These two rooms are fill’d with the family pieces of the house of Herbert, most of them by Lilly, or Vandyke, and one in particularly, out does all that ever I met with, either at home, or abroad, ’tis done, as was the mode of painting at that time, after the manner of a family piece of King Charles I. with his queen, and children, which before the burning of White-Hall, I remember to hang at the east end of the Long Gallery in the palace.
This piece fills the farther end of the great room which I just now mention’d, it contains the Earl of Montgomery, ancestor of the house of Herbert, not then Earls of Pembroke, and his lady, sitting, and as big as the life; there are about them, their own five sons, and one daughter, and their daughter-in-law, who was daughter of the Duke of Buckingham, marry’d to the elder Lord Herbert, their eldest son; it is enough to say of this piece, ’tis worth the labour of any lover of art to go 500 miles to see it; and I am inform’d several gentlemen of quality have come from France almost on purpose; It would be endless to describe the whole set of the family pictures, which take up this room, unless we would enter into the roof-tree of the family; and set down a genealogical line of the whole house.
After we have seen this fine range of beauties, for such indeed they are; far from being at an end of your surprize, you have three or four rooms still upon the same floor, fill’d with wonders, as before: Nothing can be finer than the pictures themselves, nothing more surprising than the number of them; at length you descend the back-stairs, which are in themselves large, tho’ not like the other: However, not a hands breadth is left to crowd a picture in of the smallest size, and even the upper rooms, which might be call’d garrets, are not naked, but have some very good pieces in them.
Upon the whole, the genius of the noble collector may be seen in this glorious collection, than which, take them together, there is not a finer in any private hand in Europe, and in no hand at all in Britain, private or publick.
The gardens are on the south of the house, and extend themselves beyond the river, a branch of which runs thro’ one part of them, and still south of the gardens in the great park, which extending beyond the vale, mounts the hill opening at the last to the great down, which is properly call’d by way of distinction, Salisbury-Plain, and leads from the city of Salisbury, to Shaftesbury; here also his lordship has a hare-warren (as ’tis call’d) tho’ improperly; it has indeed been a sanctuary for the hares for many years; but the gentlemen complain that it marrs their game, for that as soon as they put up a hare for their sport, if it be any where within two or three miles, away she runs for the warren, and there is an end of their pursuits; on the other hand, it makes all the countrymen turn poachers, and destroy the hares, by what means they can; but this is a smaller matter, and of no great import one way or other.
From this pleasant and agreeable days work, I return’d to Clarendon, and the next day took another short tour to the hills, to see that celebrated piece of antiquity, the wonderful Stone-Henge, being six miles from Salisbury north, and upon the side of the river Avon, near the town of Amesbury: ’Tis needless, that I should enter here into any part of the dispute about which our learned antiquaries have so puzzl’d themselves, that several books, and one of them, in folio, has been published about it; some alledgmg it to be a heathen, or pagan temple, and altar, or place of sacrifice, as Mr. Jones; others, a monument, or trophy of victory; others a monument for the dead, as Mr. Aubury, and the like: Again, some will have it be British, some Danish, some Saxon, some Roman, and some before them all, Phenician.
I shall suppose it, as the majority of all writers do, to be a monument for the dead, and the rather, because men’s bones have been frequently dug up in the ground near them. The common opinion that no man could ever count them, that a baker carry’d a basket of bread, and laid a loaf upon every-stone, and yet could never make out the same number twice; This, I take, as a meer country fiction, and a ridiculous one too; the reason why they cannot easily be told, is, that many of them lye half, or part buryed in the ground, and a piece here, and a piece there, only appearing above the grass, it cannot be known easily, which belong to one stone, and which to another, or which are separate stones, and which are joyned under ground to one another; otherwise, as to those which appear, they are easie to be told, and I have seen them told four times after one another, beginning every time at a different place, and every time they amounted to 72 in all; but then this was counting every peice of a stone of bulk, which appear’d at above the surface of the earth, and was not evidently part of, and adjoining to another, to be a distinct and separate body, or stone by it self.
The form of this monument is not only described but delineated in most authors, and indeed ’tis hard to know the first, but by the last; the figure was at first circular, and there were at least four rows or circles, within one another; the main stones were placed upright, and they were joyn’d on the top by cross stones, laid from one to another, and fastn’d with vast mortices and tenants: Length of time has so decay’d them, that not only most of the cross stones which lay on the top are fallen down, but many of the upright also, notwithstanding the weight of them is so prodigious great: How they came thither, or from whence, no stones of that kind being now to be found in any part of England near it, is still the mistery, for they are of such immense bulk that no engines, or carriages which we have in use in this age could stir them.
Doubtless they had some method in former days in foreign countries, as well as here, to move heavier weights than we find practicable now; How else did Solomons workmen build the battlement, or additional wall to support the precipeice of Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built? which was all built of great stones of Parian marble, each stone being forty cubits long, and fourteen cubits broad, and eight cubits high, or thick, which reckoning each cubit at two foot and half of our measure, as the learned agree to do, was 100 foot long, 35 foot broad, and 20 foot thick.
These stones at Stonehenge, as Mr. Cambden describes them, and in which others agree, were very large, tho’ not so large, the upright stones 24 foot high, 7 foot broad, 16 foot round; and weight 12 ton each; and the cross stones on the top, which he calls coronets, were 6 or 7 ton, but this does not seem equal, for if the cross stones weigh’d six, or seven ton, the others, as they appear now, were at least 5 or 6 times as big, and must weigh in proportion; and therefore, I must think their judgment much nearer the case who judge the upright stones at 16 ton, or thereabouts, supposing them to stand a great way into the earth, as ’tis not doubted but they do; and the coronets, or cross stones, at about two ton, which is very large too, and as much as their bulk can be thought to allow.
Upon the whole, we must take them as our ancestors have done; Namely, for an erection, or building so antient, that no history has handed down to us the original, as we find it then uncertain, we must leave it so: ’Tis indeed a reverend piece of antiquity, and ’tis a great loss that the true history of it is not known; But since it is not, I think the making so many conjectures at the reality, when they know they can but guess at it, and above all the insisting so long, and warmly on their private opinions, is but amusing themselves and us with a doubt, which perhaps lyes the deeper for their search into it.
The downs and plains in this part of England being so open, and the surface so little subject to alteration, there are more remains of antiquity to be seen upon them, than in other places; for example, I think they tell us there are three and fifty antient encampments, or fortifications to be seen in this one county, some whereof are exceeding plain to be seen, some of one form, some of another; some of one nation, some of another, British, Danish, Saxon, Roman, as at Ebb-down, Burywood, Oldburgh-Hill, Cummerford, Roundway-Down, St. Ann’s -Hill, Bratton-Castle, Clay-Hill, Stournton-Park, Whitecole-Hill, Battlebury, Scrathbury, Yanesbury, Frippsbury, Suthbury-Hill, Amesbury, Great Bodwyn, Easterley, Merdon, Aubery, Martenscil-Hill, Barbury-Castle, and many more.
Also the Barrows, as we all agree to call them, are very many in number in this county, and very obvious, having suffered very little decay. These are large hillocks of earth cast up, as the antients agree, by the soldiers over the bodies of their dead comrades slain in battle; several hundreds of these are to be seen, especially in the north part of this county, about Marlbro’ and the downs, from thence to St. Ann’s -Hill, and even every way, the downs are full of them.
I have done with matters of antiquity for this county, unless you will admit me to mention the famous parliament in the reign of Hen. II. held at Clarendon, where I am now writing, and another intended to be held there in Rich. 2d’s time, but prevented by the barons, being then up in arms against the king.
Near this place at Farlo was the birth-place of the late Sir Stephen Fox, and where the town sharing in his good fortune, shews several marks of his bounty, as particularly, the building a new church from the foundation, and getting an Act of Parliament past, for making it parochial, it being but a chappel of ease before to an adjoyning parish: Also Sir Stephen built and endow’d an alms-house here for six poor women, with a master and a free-school; the master is to be a clergyman, and to officiate in the church, that is to say, is to have the living, which including the school is very sufficient.
I am now to pursue my first design, and shall take the west part of Wiltshire in my return, where are several things still to be taken notice of, and some very well worth our stay. In the mean time I went on to Langbro’ a fine seat of my Lord Colerain, which is very well kept, tho’ the family it seems is not much in this country, having another estate, and dwelling at Tottenham-High-Cross near London.
From hence in my way to the sea-side I came to New-Forest, of which I have said something already with relation to the great extent of ground, which lyes wast, and in which there is so great a quantity of large timber, as I have spoken of already.
This wast and wild part of the country was, as some record, lay’d open, and wast for a forest, and for game, by that violent tyrant William the Conqueror, and for which purpose he unpeopled the country, pull’d down the houses, and which was worse, the churches of several parishes or towns, and of abundance of villages, turning the poor people out of their habitations, and possessions, and laying all open for his deer: The same histories likewise record that two of his own blood and posterity, and particularly his immediate successor William Rufus lost their lives in this forest: One (viz.) the said William Rufus being shot with an arrow directed at a deer, which the king, and his company were hunting, and the arrow glancing on a tree, chang’d his course and struck the king full on the breast, and kill’d him; This they relate as a just judgment of God on the cruel devastation made here by the Conqueror; Be it so or not, as heaven pleases; but that the king was so kill’d, is certain, and they show the tree, on which the arrow glanc’d, to this day; in King Charles II. time, it was ordered to be surrounded with a pale, but as great part of the paleing is down with age; whether the tree be really so old, or not, is to me a great question; the action being near 700 year ago.
I cannot omit to mention here a proposal made a few years ago to the late Lord Treasurer, Godolphin, for re-peopling this forest, which for some reasons I can be more particular in, than any man now left alive, because I had the honour to draw up the scheme, and argue it before that noble lord, and some others who were principally concern’d at that time in bringing over, or rather providing for when they were come over, the poor inhabitants of the Palatinate; a thing in it self commendable, but as it was manag’d, made scandalous to England, and miserable to those poor people.
Some persons being ordered by that noble lord, above mention’d, to consider of measures, how the said poor people should be provided for, and whether they could be provided for, or no, without injury to the publick: The answer was grounded upon this maxim, that the number of inhabitants is the wealth and strength of a kingdom, provided those inhabitants were such, as by honest industry applied themselves to live by their labour, to whatsoever trades, or employments they were brought up: In the next place it was inquir’d, what employments those poor people were brought up to? It was answer’d, there were husbandmen, and artificers of all sorts, upon which the proposal was as follows.
NEW FOREST in Hampshire was singl'd out to be the place.
Here it was propos’d to draw a great square-line, containing four thousand acres of land, marking out two large highways, or roads thro’ the center, crossing both ways, so that there should be a thousand acres in each division, exclusive of the land contain’d in the said cross roads.
Then it was propos’d to single out twenty men, and their families, who should be recommended as honest industrious men, expert in, or at least capable of being instructed in husbandry, curing and cultivating of land, breeding and feeding cattle, and the like; To each of these should be parcell’d out in equal distributions, two hundred acres of this land, so that the whole four thousand acres should be fully distributed to the said twenty families, for which they should have no rent to pay, and be liable to no taxes, but such as provided for their own sick or poor, repairing their own roads, and the like: This exemption from rent and taxes, to continue for twenty years, and then to pay each 50l . a year to the queen; that is to say, to the Crown.
The form of the several farms would be laid out thus.
a the church, b the shambles, c the market house, d a town hall, e a conduit with stocks, &c. F the conduits, or wells, G houses, H the lands enclosed behind, I streets of houses for tradesmen.
To each of these families, who I wou’d now call farmers, it was propos’d to advance 200l . in ready money, as a stock to set them to work, to furnish them with cattle, horses, cows, hogs, &c. and to hire and pay labourers, to enclose, clear, and cure the land; which it would be supposed the first year would not be so much to their advantage as afterwards; allowing them timber out of the forest to build themselves houses, and barns, sheds, and offices, as they should have occasion; also for carts, waggons, ploughs, harrows, and the like necessary things, care to be taken, that the men and their families went to work forthwith according to the design.
Thus twenty families would be immediately supplyed, and provided for, for there would be no doubt, but these families with so much land given them gratis, and so much money to work with, would live very well; but what would this do for the support of the rest? who were suppos’d to be to every twenty farmers, forty or fifty families of other people; some of one trade, some of another, with women and children? to this it was answer’d, that these twenty farmers would by the consequence of their own settlements, provide for, and employ such a proportion of others of their own people, that by thus providing for twenty families in a place, the whole number of Palatinates would have been provided for, had they been 20000 more in number than they were, and that without being any burthen upon, or injury to the people of England; on the contrary, they would have been an advantage, and an addition of wealth and strength to the nation, and to the country in particular where they should be thus seated: For example;
As soon as the land was mark’d out, the farmers put in possession of it, and the money given them, they should be oblig’d to go to work, in order to their settlement; suppose it then to be in the spring of the year, when such work was most proper; First all hands would be requir’d, to fence, and part off the land, and clear it of the timber, or bushes, or what ever else was upon it, which requir’d to be remov’d: The first thing therefore which the farmers would do, would be to single out from the rest of their number, every one three servants, that is to say, two men, and a maid; less cou’d not answer the preparations they would be oblig’d to make, and yet work hard themselves also; by the help of these, they would with good management soon get so much of their land cur’d, fenc’d off, plow’d, and sow’d, as should yeild them a sufficiency of corn and kitchin stuff, the very first year, both for horse-meat, hog-meat, food for the family, and some to carry to market too, by which to bring in money to go farther on, as above.
At the first entrance, they were to have the tents allow’d them to live in, which they then had from the Tower; but as soon as leisure, and conveniences admitted, every farmer was obliged to begin to build him a farm house, which he would do gradually, some and some, as he could spare time from his other works, and money from his little stock.
In order to furnish himself with carts, waggons, plows, harrows, wheel-barrows, hurdles, and all such necessary utentisils of husbandry; there would be an absolute necessity of wheelwrights, or cartwrights, one at least to each division.
Thus by the way, there would be employed three servants to each farmer, that makes sixty persons.
Four families of wheelwrights, one to each division: which suppose five in a family, makes 20 persons; suppose four head carpenters, with each three men, and as at first all would be building together, they would to every house building have at least one labourer, four families of carpenters, five to each family, and three servants, is thirty two persons, one labourer to each house building, is twenty persons more.
Thus here would be necessarily brought together, in the very first of the work 132 persons, besides the head farmers, who at five also to each family are hundred more, in all two hundred thirty two.
For the necessary supply of these with provisions, cloaths, houshold-stuff, &c. for all should be done among themselves; first, they must have at least four butchers with their families; twenty persons, four shoemakers with their families, and each shoemaker two journeymen for every trade; would encrease the number of customers to every trade: This is twenty eight persons more.
They would then require a hatmaker, a glover, at least two ropemakers, four taylors, three weavers of woollen, and three weavers of linnen, two basketmakers, two common brewers, ten or twelve shop-keepers to furnish chandlery and grocery wares; and as many for drapery and mercery, over and above what they could work, this makes two and forty families more, each at five in a family, which is two hundred and ten persons; all the labouring part of these must have at least two servants, the brewers more, which I cast up at forty more.
Add to these two ministers, one clerk, one sexton, or gravedigger with their families, two physicians, three apothecaries, two surgeons, less there could not be, only that for the beginning it might be said the physicians should be surgeons, and I take them so; this is forty five persons, besides servants; so that in short, to omit many tradesmen more who would be wanted among them, there would necessarily, and voluntarily follow, to these twenty families of farmers at least six hundred more of their own people.
It is no difficult thing to show that the ready money of 4000l. which the government was to advance to those twenty farmers, would employ and pay, and consequently subsist all these numerous dependants, in the works which must severally be done for them, for the first year; after which the farmers would begin to receive their own money back again; for all these tradesmen must come to their own market to buy corn, flesh, milk, butter, cheese, bacon, &c. which after the first year the farmers having no rent to pay, would have to spare sufficiently, and so take back their own money with advantage; I need not go on to mention, how by consequence provisions encreasing, and money circulating, this town should encrease in a very little time.
It was propos’d also that for the encouragement of all the handicraftsmen, and labouring poor, who either as servants, or as labourers for day-work, assisted the farmers or other tradesmen, they should have every man three acres of ground given them, with leave to build cottages upon the same, the allotments to be upon the waste, at the end of the cross-roads where they entered the town.
In the center of the square was laid out a circle of twelve acres of ground, to be cast into streets for inhabitants to build on, as their ability would permit; all that would build to have ground gratis for twenty years, timber out of the forest, and convenient yards, gardens and orchards allotted to every house.
In the great streets near where they cross each other, was to be built a handsome market-house, with a town-hall for parish or corporation business, doing justice and the like; also shambles, and in a handsome part of the ground mention’d to be laid out for streets, as near the center as might be, was to be ground laid out for the building a church, which every man should either contribute to the building of, in money, or give every tenth day of his time to assist in labouring at the building.
I have omitted many tradesmen, who would be wanted here, and would find a good livelihood among their country folks; only to get accidental work, as daymen, or labourers; of which such a town would constantly employ many, as also poor women for assistance in families, such as midwives, nurses, &c.
Adjacent to the town was to be a certain quantity of common land, for the benefit of the cottages; that the poor might have a few sheep, or cows as their circumstances required; and this to be appointed at the several ends of the town.
There was a calculation made of what encrease here would be, both of wealth and people in twenty years in this town; what a vast consumption of provisions they would cause, more than the four thousand acres of land given them would produce; by which consumption and encrease, so much advantage would accrue to the publick stock, and so many subjects be added to the many thousands of Great Britain; who in the next age would be all true born Englishmen, and forget both the language, and nation from whence they came; and it was in order to this that two ministers were appointed, one of which should officiate in English, and the other in High Dutch; and withal to have them oblig’d by a law to teach all their children both to speak, read and write the English language.
Upon their encrease they would also want barbers, and glasiers, painters also, and plumbers; a wind-mill or two, and the millers and their families, a fulling-mill, and a cloth worker; as also a master clothier, or two, for making a manufacture among them for their own wear, and for employing the women and children; a dyer or two, for dying their manufactures; and, which above all, is not to be omitted, four families at least of smiths, with every one two servants; considering that besides all the family work, which continually employs a smith, all the shoeing of horses, all the iron-work of plows, carts, waggons, harrows, &c. must be wrought by them.
There was no allowance made for inns, and ale-houses, seeing it would be frequent that those who kept publick houses of any sort, would likewise have some other employment to carry on.
This was the scheme for settling the Palatinates, by which means twenty families of farmers, handsomely set up, and supported, would lay a foundation, as I have said, for six or seven hundred of the rest of their people; and as the land in New Forest is undoubtedly good, and capable of improvement by such cultivation, so other wastes in England are to be found as fruitful as that; and twenty such villages might have been erected, the poor strangers maintain’d, and the nation evidently be better’d by it; as to the money to be advanced, which in the case of twenty such settlements, at 4000l. each, would be 80000l. two things were answer’d to it.
That the annual rent to be received for all those lands after twenty years, would abundantly pay the publick for the first disbursses on the scheme above, that rent being then to amount to 40000l . per ann.
More money than would have done this, was expended, or rather thrown away upon them here, to keep them in suspense, and afterwards starve them; sending them a begging all over the nation, and shipping them off to perish in other countries: Where the mistake lay, is none of my business to enquire.
I reserv’d this account for this place, because I pass’d in this journey over the very spot where the design was laid out; namely, near Lindhurst, in the road from Rumsey to Limington, whither I now directed my course.
Limington is a little, but populous sea port, standing opposite to the Isle of Weight, in the narrow part of the streight, which ships some times pass thro’, in fair weather, call’d, the Needles; and right against an ancient town of that island call’d Yarmouth, and which, in distinction from the great town of Yarmouth in Norfolk, is call’d South Yarmouth: This town of Limington is chiefly noted for making fine salt, which is indeed excellent good; and from whence all these south parts of England are supply’d, as well by water as by land carriage; and sometimes, tho’ not often, they send salt to London, when contrary winds having kept the northern fleets back, the price at London has been very high; but this is very seldom and uncertain. Limington sends two members to Parliament, and this and her salt trade is all I can say to her; for tho’ she is very well situated, as to the convenience of shipping, I do not find they have any foreign commerce, except it be what we call smugling, and roguing; which, I may say, is the reigning commerce of all this part of the English coast, from the mouth of the Thames to the Land’s End of Cornwall.
From hence there are but few towns on the sea coast west, tho’ there are several considerable rivers empty themselves into the sea, nor are there any harbours, or sea ports of any note, except Pool: As for Christ Church, tho’ it stands at the mouth of the Avon, which, as I have said, comes down from Salisbury, and brings with it all the waters of the south and east parts of Wiltshire; and receives also the Stour and Piddle, two Dorsetshire rivers, which bring with them all the waters of the north part of Dorsetshire; yet it is a very inconsiderable poor place, scarce worth seeing, and less worth mentioning in this account; only, that it sends two members to Parliament, which many poor towns in this part of England do, as well as that.
From hence I stept up into the country north-west, to see the ancient town of Wimburn, or Wimburnminster; There I found nothing remarkable, but the church, which is indeed a very great one, ancient, and yet very well built, with a very firm strong square tower, considerably high; but was, without doubt, much finer, when on the top of it, stood a most exquisite spire, finer and taller, if fame lyes not, than that at Salisbury, and, by its situation, in a plainer, flatter country, visible, no question, much farther: But this most beautiful ornament was blown down by a sudden tempest of wind, as they tell us, in the year 1622.
The church remains a venerable piece of antiquity, and has in it the remains of a place, once, much more in request than it is now; for here are the monuments of several noble families; and in particular of one king, viz. King Etheldred, who was slain in battle by the Danes: He was a prince fam’d for piety and religion, and, according to the zeal of these times, was esteem’d as a martyr; because venturing his life against the Danes, who were heathens, he died fighting for his religion and his country. The inscription upon his grave is preserv’d, and has been carefully repair’d, so as to be easily read, and is as follows:
In hoc loco quiescit Corpus S. Etheldredi, Regis West Saxonum, Martyris, qui Anno Dom. DCCCLXXII. xxiii. Aprilis per Manus Danorum Paganorum Occubuit.
In English thus:
Here rests the body of Holy Etheldred, King of the West Saxons, and martyr, who fell by the hands of the pagan Danes, in the year of our Lord 872, the 23d of April.
Here are also the monuments of the great Marchioness of Exeter, mother of Edward Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, and last of the family of Courtneys who enjoy’d that honour; as also of John de Beaufort Duke of Somerset, and his wife, grand-mother of King Henry VII. by her daughter Margaret, Countess of Richmond.
This last lady I mention, because she was foundress of a very fine free-school, which has since been enlarg’d, and had a new benefactress in Queen Elizabeth, who has enlarg’d the stipend and annex’d it to the foundation: The famous Cardinal Pool was dean of this church before his exaltation.
Having said this of the church, I have said all that is worth naming of the town; except that the inhabitants, who are many, and poor, are chiefly maintained by the manufacture of knitting stockings, which employs great part indeed of the county of Dorset, of which this is the first town eastward.
South of this town, over a sandy wild and barren country, we came to Pool, a considerable sea-port, and indeed the most considerable in all this part of England; for here I found some ships, some merchants, and some trade; especially, here were a good number of ships fitted out every year to the Newfoundland fishing, in which the Pool men were said to have been particularly successful for many years past.
The town sits in the bottom of a great bay, or inlet of the sea, which entring at one narrow mouth opens to a very great breadth within the entrance, and comes up to the very shoar of this town; it runs also west up almost to the town of Wareham, a little below which, it receives the rivers Froom and Piddle, the two principal rivers of the county.
This place is famous for the best, and biggest oysters in all this part of England, which the people of Pool pretend to be famous for pickling, and they are barrell’d up here, and sent not only to London, but to the West Indies, and to Spain, and Italy, and other parts. ’Tis observed more pearl are found in the Pool oysters, and larger than in any other oysters about England.
As the entrance into this large bay is narrow, so it is made narrower by an island, call’d Branksey, which lying in the very mouth of the passage, divides it into two, and where there is an old castle, call’d Branksey Castle, built to defend the entrance, and this strength was very great advantage to the trade of this port, in the time of the late war with France.
Wareham is a neat town, and full of people, having a share of trade with Pool it self, it shows the ruins of a large town, and ’tis apparent has had eight churches, of which they have three remaining.
South of Wareham, and between the bay I have mentioned and the sea, lyes a large tract of land, which being surrounded by the sea, except on one side is call’d an island, tho’ it is really what should be call’d a peninsula; this tract of land is better inhabited than the sea coast of this west end of Dorsetshire generally is, and the manufacture of stockings is carry’d on there also; it is called the Isle of Purbeck, and has in the middle of it a large market-town, call’d Corf, and from the famous castle there, the whole town is now call’d Corf-Castle, it is a corporation, sending members to Parliaments.
This part of the country is eminent for vast quarreys of stone, which is cut out flat, and us’d in London in great quantities for paving court-yards, alleys, avenues to houses, kitchins, footways on the sides of the high-streets, and the like; and is very profitable to the place, as also in the number of shipping employed in bringing it to London. There are also several rocks of very good marble, only that the veins in the stone are not black and white, as the Italian, but grey, red, and other colours.
From hence to Weymouth, which is ——— miles we rode in view of the sea; the country is open, and in some respects pleasant, but not like the northern parts of the county, which are all fine carpet ground, soft as velvet, and the herbage, sweet as garden herbs, which makes their sheep be the best in England, if not in the world, and their wool fine to an extream.
I cannot omit here a small adventure, which was very surprising to me on this journey; passing this plain country, we came to an open piece of ground where a neighbouring gentleman had at a great expence laid out a proper piece of land for a Decoy, or Duck-coy, as some call it; the works were but newly done, the planting young, the ponds very large, and well made; but the proper places for shelter of the fowl not cover’d, the trees not being grown, and men were still at work improving, and enlarging, and planting on the adjoyning heath, or common: Near the decoy keeper’s house, were some places where young decoy-ducks were hatch’d, or otherwise kept to fit them for their work; To preserve them from vermin, polecats, kites, and such like, they had set traps, as is usual in such cases, and a gibbet by it, where abundance of such creatures as were taken were hang’d up for show.
While the decoy man was busy showing the new-works, he was alarm’d with a great cry about this house for Help, Help, and away he run, like the wind, guessing, as we suppos’d, that something was catch’d in the trap.
It was a good big boy about 13 or 14 year old, that cry’d out, for coming to the place, he found a great fowl catch’d by the leg in the trap, which yet was so strong, and so outrageous, that the boy going too near him, he flew at him, and frighted him, bit him, and beat him with his wings, for he was too strong for the boy; as the master ran from the decoy, so another man-servant ran from the house, and finding a strange creature fast in the trap, not knowing what it was, laid at him with a great stick; the creature fought him a good while, but at length he struck him an unlucky blow, which quieted him; after this we all came up to see what was the matter, and found a monstruous eagle caught by the leg in the trap, and kill’d by the fellow’s cudgel, as above.
When the master came to know what it was, and that his man had kill’d it, he was ready to kill the fellow for his pains, for it was a noble creature indeed, and would have been worth a great deal to the man to have it shown about the country, or to have sold to any gentleman curious in such things; but the eagle was dead, and there we left it:?Tis probable this eagle had flown over the sea from France, either there, or at the Isle of Weight, where the Channel is not so wide; for we do not find that any eagles are known to breed in those parts of Britain.
From hence we turn’d up to Dorchester, the county town, tho’ not the largest town in the county; Dorchester is indeed a pleasant agreeable town to live in, and where I thought the people seem’d less divided into factions and parties, than in other places; for though here are divisions and the people are not all of one mind, either as to religion, or politicks, yet they did not seem to separate with so much animosity as in other places: Here I saw the Church of England clergymen, and the Dissenting minister, or preacher drinking tea together, and conversing with civility and good neighbourhood, like catholick Christians, and men of a catholick, and extensive charity: The town is populous, tho’ not large, the streets broad, but the buildings old, and low; however, there is good company and a good deal of it; and a man that coveted a retreat in this world might as agreeably spend his time, and as well in Dorchester, as in any town I know in England.
The downs round this town are exceeding pleasant, and come up on every side, even to the very streets end; and here it was that they told me, that there were 600 thousand sheep fed on the downs, within six miles of the town; that is, six miles every way, which is twelve miles in diameter, and thirty six miles in circumference. This I say, I was told, I do not affirm it to be true; but when I viewed the country round, I confess I could not but incline to believe it.
It is observable of these sheep, that they are exceeding fruitful, and the ews generally bringing two lambs, and they are for that reason bought by all the farmers thro’ the east part of England, who come to Burford Fair in this country to buy them, and carry them into Kent and Surry eastward, and into Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire, and Oxfordshire north, even our Bansted Downs in Surrey, so fam’d for good mutton, is supply’d from this place: The grass, or herbage of these downs is full of the sweetest, and the most aromatick plants, such as nourish the sheep to a strange degree, and the sheeps dung again nourishes that herbage to a strange degree; so that the valleys are render’d extreamly fruitful, by the washing of the water in hasty showers from off these hills.
An eminent instance of this is seen at Amesbury in Wiltshire, the next county to this, for it is the same thing in proportion over this whole county: I was told that at this town there was a meadow on the bank of the river Avon, which runs thence to Salisbury, which was let for 12/. a year per acre for the grass only: This I enquired particularly after, at the place, and was assur’d by the inhabitants as one man, that the fact was true, and was shew’d the meadows; the grass which grew on them was such as grew to the length of ten or twelve foot, rising up to a good height, and then taking root again, and was of so rich a nature as to answer very well such an extravagant rent.
The reason they gave for this, was the extraordinary richness of the soil, made so, as above, by the falling, or washing of the rains from the hills adjacent, by which tho’ no other land thereabouts had such a kind of grass, yet all other meadows, and low grounds of the valley were extreamly rich in proportion.
There are abundance of good families, and of very antient lines in the neighbourhood of this town of Dorchester, as the Napiers, the Courtneys, Strangeways, Seymours, Banks, Tregonells, Sedenhams, and many others, some of which have very great estates in the county, and in particular Colonel Strangeways, Napier, and Courtney. The first of these is master of the famous swannery, or nursery of swans, the like of which I believe is not in Europe; I wonder any man should pretend to travel over this country, and pass by it too, and then write his account, and take no notice of it.
From Dorchester it is six miles to the sea side south, and the ocean in view almost all the way: The first town you come to is Weymouth, or Weymouthand Melcomb, two towns lying at the mouth of a little rivulet, which they call the Wey, but scarce claims the name of a river; however, the entrance makes a very good, tho’ small harbour, and they are joyn’d by a wooden bridge; so that nothing but the harbour parts them; yet they are seperate corporations, and choose each of them two Members of Parliament, just as London and Southwark.
Weymouth is a sweet, clean, agreeable town, considering its low situation, and close to the sea; ’tis well built, and has a great many good substantial merchants in it; who drive a considerable trade, and have a good number of ships belonging to the town: They carry on now, in time of peace, a trade with France; but besides this, they trade also to Portugal, Spain, Newfoundland, and Virginia; and they have a large correspondence also up in the country for the consumption of their returns; especially the wine trade, and the Newfoundland trade are considerable here.
Without the harbour is an old castle, call’d Sandfoot Castle, and over-against them, where there is a good road for ships to put in on occasions of bad weather, is Portland Castle, and the road is call’d Portland Road: While I was here once, there came a merchant ship into that road, call’d Portland Road, under a very hard storm of wind; she was homeward bound from Oporto for London, laden with wines, and as she came in, she made signals of distress to the town, firing guns for help, and the like, as is usual in such cases; it was hi the dark of the night that the ship came in, and, by the help of her own pilot, found her way into the road, where she came to an anchor, but, as I say, fir’d guns for help.
The venturous Weymouth-men went off, even before it was light, with two boats to see who she was, and what condition she was in, and found she was come to an anchor, and had struck her top-masts; but that she had been in bad weather, had lost an anchor and cable before, and had but one cable to trust to, which did hold her, but was weak; and as the storm continued to blow, they expected every hour to go on shore, and split to pieces.
Upon this, the Weymouth boats came back with such diligence, that, in less than three hours, they were on board them again with an anchor and cable, which they immediately bent in its place, and let go to assist the other, and thereby secur’d the ship:?Tis true, that they took a good price of the master for the help they gave him; for they made him draw a bill on his owners at London for 12l. for the use of the anchor, cable, and boat, besides some gratuities to the men: But they sav’d the ship and cargo by it, and in three or four days the weather was calm, and he proceeded on his voyage, returning the anchor and cable again; so that, upon the whole, it was not so extravagant as at first I thought it to be.
The Isle of Portland, on which the castle I mentioned stands, lies right against this port of Weymouth: Hence it is, that our best and whitest free stone comes, with which the cathedral of St. Paul’s, the Monument, and all the publick edifices in the city of London, are chiefly built; and ’tis wonderful, and well worth the observation of a traveller to see the quarries in the rocks, from whence they are cut out, what stones, and of what prodigious a size are cut out there.
The island is indeed little more than one continued rock of free stone, and the height of the land is such, that from this island they see, in clear weather, above half over the Channel to France, tho’ the Channel here is very broad; the sea off of this island, and especially to the west of it, is counted the most dangerous part of the British Channel: Due south, there is almost a continued disturbance in the waters, by reason of what they call two tides meeting, which I take to be no more than the setts of the currents from the French coast, and from the English shore meeting: This they call Portland Race; and several ships, not aware of these currents, have been embay’d to the west of Portland, and been driven on shore on the beach, (of which I shall speak presently) and there lost.
To prevent this danger, and guide the mariner in these distresses, they have, within these few months, set up two light-houses on the two points of that island; and they had not been many months set up, with the directions given to the publick for their bearings, but we found three outward-bound East-India ships which were in distress in the night, in a hard extream gale of wind, were so directed by those lights, that they avoided going on shore by it, which, if the lights had not been there, would inevitably happened to their destruction.
This island, tho’ seemingly miserable, and thinly inhabited, yet the inhabitants being almost all stone-cutters, we found there was no very poor people among them; and when they collected money for the rebuilding St. Paul’s, they got more in this island than in the great town of Dorchester, as we were told.
Tho’ Portland stands a league off from the main land of Britain, yet it is almost joyn’d by a prodigious riffe of beach, that is to say, of small stones cast up by the sea, which runs from the island so near the shore of England, that they ferry over with a boat and a rope, the water not being above half a stones throw over; and the said rifle of beach ending, as it were, at that inlet of water, turns away west, and runs parallel with the shore quite to Abbotsbury, which is a town about seven miles beyond Weymouth.
I name this for two reasons; first, to explain again what I said before, of ships being embay’d and lost here: This is when ships coming from the westward omit to keep a good offing, or are taken short by contrary winds, and cannot weather the high land of Portland, but are driven between Portland and the main land; if they can come to an anchor, and ride it out, well and good, and if not, they run on shore on that vast beach, and are lost without remedy.
On the inside of this beach, and between it, and the land, there is, as I have said, an inlet of water, which they ferry over, as above, to pass and repass to and from Portland: This inlet opens at about two miles west, and grows very broad, and makes a kind of lake within the land of a mile and a half broad, and near three miles in length, the breadth unequal. At the farthest end west of this water is a large duck-coy, and the verge of the water well grown with wood, and proper groves of trees for cover for the foul; in the open lake, or broad part, is a continual assembly of swans: Here they live, feed and breed, and the number of them is such, that, I believe, I did not see so few as 7 or 8000. Here they are protected, and here they breed in abundance; we saw several of them upon the wing, very high in the air, whence we supposed, that they flew over the riffe of beach, which parts the lake from the sea to feed on the shores as they thought fit, and so came home again at their leisure.
From this duck-coy west, the lake narrows, and at last almost closes, till the beach joyns the shore; and so Portland may be said not to be an island, but part of the continent; and now we came to Abbotsbury, a town anciently famous for a great monastery, and now eminent for nothing but its ruins.
From hence we went on to Bridport, a pretty large corporation town on the sea shore, tho’ without a harbour: Here we saw boats all the way on the shore fishing for mackerell, which they take in the easiest manner imaginable; for they fix one end of the net to a pole, set deep into the sand, then the net being in a boat, they row right out into the water some length, then turn, and row parallel with the shore, vering out the net all the while, till they have let go all the net, except the line at the end, and then the boat rows on shore, when the men haling the net to the shore at both ends, bring to shore with it such fish, as they surrounded in the little way they rowed; this, at that time, proved to be an incredible number, insomuch, that the men could hardly draw them on shore: As soon as the boats had brought their fish on shore, we observed a guard, or watch, placed on the shore in several places, who we found had their eye not on the fishermen, but on the country people, who came down to the shore to buy their fish; and very sharp we found they were; and some that came with small carts were obliged to go back empty, without any fish. When we came to enquire into the particulars of this, we found, that these were officers placed on the shore by the justices and magistrates of the towns about, who were order’d to prevent the country farmers buying the mackerell to dung their land with them, which was thought to be dangerous, as to infection: In short, such was the plenty of fish that year, that mackerell, the finest and largest I evei saw, were sold at the sea side a hundred for a penny.
From Bridport, a town in which we see nothing remarkable, we came to Lime, the town particularly made famous by the landing of the Duke of Monmouth, and his unfortunate troop, in the time of King James II. of which I need say nothing, the history of it being so recent in the memory of so many living.
This is a town of good figure, and has in it several eminent merchants, who carry on a considerable trade to France, Spain, Newfoundland, and the Streights; and tho’ they have neither creek or bay, road, or river, they have a good harbour; but ’tis such a one as is not in all Britain besides, if there is such a one in any part of the world.
It is a massy pile of building, consisting of high and thick walls of stone, rais’d, at first, with all the methods that skill and art could devise, but maintained now with very little difficulty: The walls are rais’d in the main sea, at a good distance from the shore; it consists of one main and solid wall of stone, large enough for carts and carriages to pass on the top, and to admit houses and ware houses to be built on it; so that it is broad as a street; opposite to this, but farther into the sea, is another wall of the same workmanship, which crosses the end of the first wall, and comes about with a tail, parallel to the first wall.
Between the point of the first or main wall, is the entrance into the port, and the second, or opposite wall, breaking the violence of the sea from the entrance, the ships go into the basin, as into a peer, or harbour, and ride there as secure as in a mill pond, or as in a wet dock.
The town’s people have the benefit of this wonderful harbour, and it is carefully kept in repair, as indeed it behoves them to do; but they could give me nothing of the history of it; nor do they, as I could perceive, know anything of the original of it, or who built it; it was lately almost beaten down by a storm, but is repair’d again.
This work is call’d the COBB: The custom-house officers have a lodge and warehouse upon it, and there were several ships of very good force, and rich in value, in the basin of it when I was there: It might be strengthen’d with a fort, and the walls themselves are firm enough to carry what guns they please to plant upon it; but they did not seem to think it needful; and as the shore is convenient for batteries, they have some guns planted in proper places, both for the defence of the COBB, and the town also.
This town is under the government of a mayor and aldermen, and may pass for a place of wealth, considering the bigness of it: Here we found the merchants began to trade in the pitchard fishing, tho’ not to so considerable a degree as they do farther west; the pitchards seldom coming up so high eastward as Portland, and not very often so high as Lime.
It was in sight of these hills that Queen Elizabeth’s fleet, under the command of the Lord Howard of Effingham, then admiral, began first to engage in a close, and resolv’d fight with the invincible Spanish Armada, in 1588: Maintaining the fight, the Spaniards making eastward, till they came the length of Portland Race, where they gave it over; the Spaniards having receiv’d considerable damage, and keeping then closer together. Off of the same place was a desperate engagement in the year 1672, between the English and Dutch, in which the Dutch were worsted, and driven over to the coast of France, and then glad to make home to refit and repair.
While we stay’d here some time viewing this town and coast, we had opportunity to observe the pleasant way of conversation, as it is manag’d among the gentlemen of this county, and their families, which are without reflection some of the most polite and well bred people in the isle of Britain: As their hospitality is very great, and their bounty to the poor remarkable, so their generous friendly way of living with, visiting, and associating one with another is as hard to be describ’d, as it is really to be admir’d; they seem to have a mutual confidence in, and friendship with one another, as if they were all relations; nor did I observe the sharping tricking temper, which is too much crept in among the gameing and horse-racing gentry in some parts of England, to be so much known among them, any otherwise than to be abhorr’d; and yet they sometimes play too, and make matches, and horse-races, as they see occasion.
The ladies here do not want the help of assemblies to assist in match-making; or half-pay officers to run away with their daughters, which the meetings, call’d assemblies in some other parts of England, are recommended for: Here’s no Bury Fair, where the women are scandalously said to carry themselves to market, and where every night they meet at the play, or at the assembly for intreague, and yet I observ’d that the women do not seem to stick on hand so much in this country, as in those countries, where those assemblies are so lately set up; the reason of which I cannot help saying, if my opinion may bear any weight, is, that the Dorsetshire ladies are equal in beauty, and may be superiour in reputation; In a word, their reputation seems here to be better kept; guarded by better conduct, and manag’d with more prudence, and yet the Dorsetshire ladies, I assure you, are not nuns, they do not go vail’d about streets, or hide themselves when visited; but a general freedom of conversation, agreeable, mannerly, kind, and good runs thro’ the whole body of the gentry of both sexes, mix’d with the best of behaviour, and yet govern’d by prudence and modesty; such as I no where see better in all my observation, thro’ the whole isle of Britain. In this little interval also I visited some of the biggest towns in the north-west part of this county, as Blandford, a town on the river Stour in the road between Salisbury and Dorchester, a handsome well built town, but chiefly famous for making the finest bonelace in England, and where they shew’d me some so exquisitely fine, as I think I never saw better in Flanders, France or Italy, and which they said, they rated at above 30l . sterling a yard; but I suppose there was not much of this to be had, but ’tis most certain, that they make exceeding rich lace in that county, such as no part of England can equal.
From thence I went west to Stourbridge, vulgarly call’d Strabridge; the town, and the country round is employ’d in the manufacture of stockings, and which was once famous for making the finest, best, and highest priz’d knit stockings in England; but that trade now is much decay’d by the encrease of the knitting-stocking engine, or frame, which has destroyed the hand knitting-trade for fine stockings thro’ the whole kingdom, of which I shall speak more in its place.
From hence I came to Shireburn, a large and populous town, with one collegiate, or conventual church, and may properly claim to have more inhabitants in it than any town in Dorsetshire, tho’ it is neither the county town, or does it send members to Parliament; the church is still a reverend pile, and shews the face of great antiquity. Here begins the Wiltshire medley cloathing, tho’ this town be in Dorsetshire; of which I shall speak at large in its place, and therefore I omit any discourse of it here.
Shaftsbury is also on the edge of this county, adjoyning to Wiltshire and Dorsetshire, being 14 miles from Salisbury, over that fine down or carpet ground, which they call particularly, or properly Salisbury Plain. It has neither house or town in view all the way, and the road which often lyes very broad, and branches off insensibly, might easily cause a traveller to loose his way, but there is a certain never failing assistance upon all these downs for telling a stranger his way, and that is the number of shepherds feeding, or keeping their vast flocks of sheep, which are every where in the way, and who, with a very little pains, a traveller may always speak with. Nothing can be like it, the Arcadians plains of which we read so much pastoral trumpery in the poets, could be nothing to them.
This Shaftsbury is now a sorry town, upon the top of a high hill, and which closes the plain, or downs, and whence nature presents you a new scene or prospect, (viz.) of Somerset and Wiltshire, where ’tis all enclosed, and grown with woods, forests, and planted hedge-rows: The country rich, fertile and populous, the towns and houses standing thick, and being large and full of inhabitants, and those inhabitants fully employed in the richest and most valuable manufacture in the world, (viz.) the English cloathing, as well, the medley, or mixt clothing, as whites; as well for the home trade, as the foreign trade; of which I shall take leave to be very particular in my return thro’ the west and north part of Wiltshire, in the latter part of this work.
In my return to my western progress, I pass’d some little part of Somersetshire, as thro’ Evil, or Yeovil, upon the river Ivil, in going to which we go down a long steep hill, which they call Babylon-Hill; but from what original I could find none of the country people to inform me.
This Yeovil is a market town of good resort, and some clothing is carry’d on, in, and near it, but not much, its main manufacture at this time is making of gloves.
It cannot pass my observation here, that when we are come this length from London, the dialect of the English tongue, or the country way of expressing themselves is not easily understood, it is so strangely altered; it is true, that it is so in many parts of England besides, but in none in so gross a degree as in this part; This way of boorish country speech, as in Ireland, it is call’d the brogue upon the tongue; so here ’tis call’d jouring and ’tis certain, that tho’ the tongue be all meer natural English, yet those that are but a little acquainted with them, cannot understand one half of what they say: It is not possible to explain this fully by writing, because the difference is not so much in the orthography of words, as in the tone, and diction; their abridging the speech, cham for I am, chil for I will, don, for put on, and doff, for put off, and the like. And I cannot omit a short story here on this subject; coming to a relations house, who was a school-master at Martock in Somersetshire, I went into his school to beg the boys a play day, as is usual in such cases; I should have said to beg the master a play day, but that by the way; coming into the school, I observed one of the lowest scholars was reading his lesson to the usher, which lesson it seems was a chapter in the Bible, so I sat down by the master, till the boy had read out his chapter: I observed the boy read a little oddly in the tone of the country, which made me the more attentive, because on enquiry, I found that the words were the same, and the orthography the same as in all our Bibles. I observed also the boy read it out with his eyes still on the book, and his head like a meer boy, moving from side to side, as the lines reach’d cross the columns of the book; his lesson was in the Cant. 5. 3. of which the words are these,
“I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on, I have wash’d my feet, how shall I defile them?” The boy read thus, with his eyes, as I say, full on the text.
“Chav a doffed my cooat, how shall I don’t, chav a wash’d my veet, how shall I moil’em?”
How the dexterous dunce could form his mouth to express so readily the words, (which stood right printed in the book) in his country jargon, I could not but admire; I shall add to this another piece as diverting, which also happened in my knowledge at this very town of Yeovil, tho’ some years ago.
There liv’d a good substantial family in the town, not far from the Angel Inn, a well known house, which was then, and I suppose is still the chief inn of the town. This family had a dog, which among his other good qualities, for which they kept him (for he was a rare house dog) had this bad one, that he was a most notorious thief; but withal, so cunning a dog, and managed himself so warily, that he preserved a mighty good reputation among the neighbourhood; as the family was well beloved in the town, so was the dog; he was known to be a very useful servant to them, especially in the night, when he was fierce as a lion, but in the day the gentlest, lovingest creature that could be, and as they said, all the neighbours had a good word for this dog.
It happen’d that the good wife, or mistress at the Angel Inn, had frequently missed several pieces of meat out of the pail, as they say, or powdering-tub, as we call it; and that some very large pieces; ’tis also to be observ’d the dog did not stay to eat (what he took) upon the spot, in which case some pieces, or bones, or fragments might be left, and so it might be discovered to be a dog; but he made cleaner work, and when he fastened upon a piece of meat he was sure to carry it quite away, to such retreats as he knew he could be safe in, and so feast upon it at leisure.
It happen’d at last, as with most thieves it does, that the inn-keeper was too cunning for him, and the poor dog was nabb’d, taken in the fact, and could make no defence.
Having found the thief, and got him in custody, the master of the house, a good humour’d fellow, and loth to disoblige the dog’s master, by executing the criminal, as the dog-law directs; mitigates his sentence, and handled him as follows; first taking out his knife, he cut off both his ears, and then bringing him to the threshold, he chop’d off his tail; and having thus effectually dishonour’d the poor cur among his neighbours, he tyed a string about his neck, and a piece of paper to the string directed to his master, and with these witty west country verses on it.
Hail master a cham a’ com hoam
So cut as an ape, and tail have I noan,
For stealing of beef, and pork, out of the pail,
For thease they’v cut my ears, for th’ wother my tail;
Nea measter, and us tell thee more nor that
And’s come there again, my brains will be flat.
I could give many more accounts of the different dialects of the people of this country, in some of which they are really not to be understood, but the particulars have little or no diversion in them, they carry it such a length, that we see their j curing speech even upon their monuments, and grave-stones; As for example, even in some of the church-yards of the city of Bristol, I saw this excellent poetry after some other lines ——
And when that thou doest hear of thick,
Think of the glass that runneth quick.
But I proceed into Devonshire, from Evil we came to Crookorn, thence to Chard, and from thence into the same road I was in before at Honiton.
This is a large and beautiful market-town, very populous, and well built, and is so very remarkably pav’d with small pebbles, that on either sides the way a little channel is left shouldered up on the sides of it; so that it holds a small stream of fine clear running water with a little square dipping place left at every door, so that every family in the town has a clear clean running river, (as it may be call’d) just at their own door, and this so much finer, so much pleasanter, and agreeable to look on, then that at Salisbury, which they boast so much of, that in my opinion, there is no comparison.
Here we see the first of the great serge manufacture of Devonshire, a trade too great to be described in miniature, as it must be, if I undertake it here; and which takes up this whole county, which is the largest and most populous in England, Yorkshire excepted, (which ought to be esteem’d three counties, and is indeed divided as such into the East, West and North Riding;) but Devonshire one entire county, is so full of great towns, and those towns so full of people, and those people so universally employ ‘d in trade, and manufactures, that not only it cannot be equall’d in England, but perhaps not in Europe.
In my travel thro’ Dorsetshire, I ought to have observ’d that the biggest towns in that county sent no members to Parliament, and that the smallest did; that is to say, that Sherborn, Blandford, Winbornminster, Sturmister, and several other towns choose no members, whereas Weymouth, Melcom, and Bridport, were all burgess towns; but now we come to Devonshire, we find almost all the great towns, and some smaller choosing members also; It is true, there are some large populous towns that do not choose, but then there are so many that do, that the county seems to have no injustice, for they send up six and twenty members.
However, as I say above, there are several great towns which do not choose Parliament men, of which Bidiford is one, Crediton or Kirton another, Ilfracomb a third, but those excepted the principal towns in the county do all choose Members of Parliament.
Honiton is one of those, and may pass not only for a pleasant good town, as before, but stands in the best and pleasantest part of the whole county; and I cannot but recommend it to any gentlemen that travel this road, that if they please to observe the prospect for half a mile, till their coming down the hill, and to the entrance into Honiton, the view of the country is the most beautiful landskip in the world, a meer picture; and I do not remember the like in any one place in England; ’tis observable that the market of this town was kept originally on the Sunday, till it was chang’d by the direction of King John.
From Honiton the country is exceeding pleasant still, and on the road they have a beautiful prospect almost all the way to Exeter, which is twelve miles; on the left hand of this road lyes that part of the county, which they call the South Hams, and which is famous for the best cyder in that part of England; also the town of St. Mary Oterey, commonly call’d St. Mary Autree: They tell us the name is deriv’d from the river Ottery, and that, from the multitude of otters found always in that river, which however to me seems fabulous; nor does there appear to be any such great number of otters in that water, or in the county about, more than is usual in other counties, or in other parts of the county about them; they tell us they send 20000 hogsheds of cyder hence every year to London, and which is still worse, that it is most of it bought there by the merchants to mix with their wines, which if true, is not much to the reputations of the London vintners; but that by the by.
From hence we came to Exeter, a city famous for two things, which we seldom find unite in the same town, (viz.) that ’tis full of gentry, and good company, and yet full of trade and manufactures also; the serge market held here every week is very well worth a strangers seeing, and next to the Brigg-Market at Leeds in Yorkshire, is the greatest in England. The people assur’d me that at this market is generally sold from 60 to 70 to 80, and sometimes a hundred thousand pounds value in serges in a week. I think ’tis kept on Mondays.
They have the river Esk here, a very considerable river, and principal in the whole county; and within three miles, or thereabouts, it receives ships of any ordinary burthen, the port there being call’d Topsham; but now by the application, and at the expence of the citizens, the channel of the river is so widened, deepen’d, and cleans’d from the shoal, which would otherwise interrupt the navigation, that the ships come now quite up to the city, and there with ease both deliver and take in their lading.
This city drives a very great correspondence with Holland, as also directly to Portugal, Spain and Italy; shipping off vast quantities of the woollen-manufactures, especially, to Holland, the Dutch giving very large commissions here for the buying of serges perpetuan’s, and such goods; which are made not only in and about Exeter, but at Crediton, Honiton, Culliton, St. Mary Autry, Newton-Bushell, Ashburton and especially at Tiverton, Cullumbton, Bampton, and all the north east part of the county, which part of the county is, as it may be said, fully employed, the people made rich, and the poor that are properly so call’d, well subsisted, and employ’d by it.
Excester is a large rich, beautiful, populous, and was once a very strong city; but as to the last, as the castle, the walls, and all the old works are demolished, so were they standing, the way of managing seiges, and attacks of towns is such now, and so alter’d from what it was in those days, that Excester in the utmost strength it could ever boast, would not now hold out five days open trenches; nay, would hardly put an army to the trouble of opening trenches against it at all. This city was famous in the late civil unnatural war, for its loyalty to the king, and for being a sanctuary to the queen, where her majesty resid’d for sometime, and here she was delivered of a daughter, being the Princess Henrietta Maria, of whom our histories give a particular account, so I need say no more of it here.
The cathedral church of this city is an antient beauty, or as it may be said, it is beautiful for its antiquity; But it has been so fully, and often described that it would look like a meer coppying from others to mention it: There is a good library kept in it, in which are some manuscripts, and particularly an old missal, or mass-book, the leaves of velum, and famous for its most exquisite writing.
This county, and this part of it in particular, has been famous for the birth of several eminent men, as well for learning, as for arts, and for war, as particularly:
Sir William Petre, who the learn’d Dr. Wake, now Archbishop of Canterbury, and author of the Additions to Mr. Cambden, says, was Secretary of State, and Privy Counsellor to King Hen. VIII. Ed. VI. Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, and seven times sent ambassador into foreign countries.
Sir Thomas Bodley, famous, and of grateful memory to all learned men, and lovers of letters, for his collecting, and establishing, the best library in Britain; which is now at Oxford, and is call’d after his name the Bodleian Library to this day.
Also Sir Francis Drake, born at Plymouth.
Sir Walter Raleigh, of both those I need say nothing: Fame publishes their merit upon every mention of their names.
That great patron of learning —— Hooker, author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, and of several other valuable pieces.
Of Dr. Arthur Duck, a fam’d civilian, and well known by his works among the learned advocates of Doctors Commons.
Dr. John Moreman of Southold, famous for being the first clergyman in England, who ventured to teach his parishoners the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments in the English tongue; and reading them so publickly in the parish church of Mayenhennet, in this county, of which he was vicar.
Dr. John De Brampton, a man of great learning, who flourished in the reign of Hen. VI. was famous, for being the first that read Aristotle publickly in the University of Cambridge, and for several learned books of his writing, which are now lost.
Peter Blundel, a clothier, who built the free-school at Tiverton, and endowed it very handsomely, of which in its place.
Sir John Glanvill, a noted lawyer, and one of the judges of the Common Pleas.
Sergeant Glanvill his son, as great a lawyer as his father.
Sir John Maynard, an eminent lawyer of later years; one of the Commissioners of the Great Seal under King William III. all these three were born at Tavistock.
Sir Peter King, the present Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and many others.
I shall take the north part of this county in my return from Cornwall; so I must now lean to the south, that is to say, to the south coast, for in going on indeed, we go south west. About 22 miles from Excester we go to Totness, on the river Dart. This is a very good town; of some trade, but has more gentlemen in it than tradesmen of note; they have a very fine stone-bridge here over the river, which being within seven or eight miles of the sea, is very large, and the tide flows 10 or 12 foot at the bridge. Here we had the diversion of seeing them catch fish, with the assistance of a dog. The case is this, on the south side of the river, and on a slip, or narrow cut or channel made on purpose for a mill, there stands a corn-mill; the mill tayl, or floor for the water below the wheels is wharft up on either side with stone, above high-water mark, and for above 20 or 30 foot in length below it, on that part of the river towards the sea; at the end of this wharfing is a grating of wood, the cross-bars of which stand bearing inward, sharp at the end, and pointing inward towards one another, as the wyers of a mouse-trap.
When the tide flows up, the fish can with ease go in between the points of these cross-bars, but the mill being shut down they can go no farther upwards; and when the water ebbs again, they are left behind, not being able to pass the points of the grating, as above, outwards; which like a mouse-trap keeps them in, so that they are left at the bottom with about a foot, or a foot and half water. We were carryed hither at low water, where we saw about 50 or 60 small salmon, about 17 to 20 inches long, which the country people call salmon peal, and to catch these, the person who went with us, who was our landlord at a great inn next the bridge, put in a net on a hoop at the end of a pole, the pole going cross the hoop, which we call in this country a shove net: The net being fix’d at one end of the place they put in a dog, who was taught his trade before hand, at the other end of the place, and he drives all the fish into the net, so that only holding the net still in its place, the man took up two or three and thirty salmon peal at the first time.
Of these we took six for our dinner, for which they ask’d a shilling, (viz.) two pence a piece, and for such fish not at all bigger, and not so fresh, I have seen 6s . 6d. each given at a London fish-market, whither they are some time brought from Chichester by land carriage.
This excessive plenty of so good fish, and other provisions being likewise very cheap in proportion, makes the town of Totness a very good place to live in; especially for such as have large families, and but small estates, and many such are said to come into those parts on purpose for saving money, and to live in proportion to their income.
From hence we went still south about seven miles, (all in view of this river) to Dartmouth, a town of note, seated at the mouth of the river Dart, and where it enters into the sea at a very narrow, but safe entrance; The opening into Dartmouth Harbour is not broad, but the channel deep enough for the biggest ship in the royal navy; the sides of the entrance are high mounded with rocks; without which just at the first narrowing of the passage, stands a good strong fort without a platform of guns, which commands the port.
The narrow entrance is not much above half a mile, when it opens and makes a basin, or harbour able to receive 500 sail of ships of any size, and where they may ride with the greatest safety, even as in a mill-pond, or wet-dock: I had the curiosity here with the assistance of a merchant of the town to go out to the mouth of the haven in a boat to see the entrance, and castle, or fort that commands it; and coming back with the tide of flood, I observ’d some small fish to skip, and play upon the surface of the water, upon which I ask’d my friend what fish they were; immediately one of the rowers or seamen starts up in the boat, and throwing his arms abroad, as if he had been betwitch’d, cryes out as loud as he could baul, “a scool, a scool.” The word was taken to the shore as hastily as it would have been on land if he had cry’d fire; and by that time we reach’d the keys, the town was all in a kind of an uproar.
The matter was, that a great shoal, or as they call it a scool of pilchards came swimming with the tide of flood directly, out of the sea into the harbour. My friend whose boat we were in, told me this was a surprize which he would have been very glad of, if he could but have had a days or two’s warning, for he might have taken 200 tun of them, and the like was the case of other merchants in town; for in short, no body was ready for them, except a small fishing boat, or two; one of which went out into the middle of the harbour, and at two or three hawls, took about forty thousand of them. We sent our servant to the key to buy some, who for a half-penny, brought us seventeen, and if he would have taken them, might have had as many more for the same money; with these we went to dinner; the cook at the inn broil’d them for us, which is their way of dressing them, with pepper and salt, which cost us about a farthing; so that two of us, and a servant din’d, and at a tavern too, for three farthings, dressing and all, and this is the reason of telling the tale; What drink, wine, or beer we had, I do not remember, but whatever it was, that we paid for by it self; but for our food we really din’d for three farthings, and very well too: Our friend treated us the next day with a dish of large lobsters, and I being curious to know the value of such things, and having freedom enough with him to enquire; I found that for 6d. or 8d. they bought as good lobsters there, as would have cost in London 3s. to 3s. 6d. each.
In observing the coming in of those pilchards, as above, we found that out at sea, in the offing, beyond the mouth of the harbour there was a whole army of porpuses, which as they told us pursued the pilchards, and ’tis probable drove them into the harbour, as above. The scool it seems drove up the river a great way, even as high as Totness Bridge, as we heard afterwards; so that the country people who had boats, and nets, catch’d as many as they knew what to do with, and perhaps liv’d upon pilchards for several days; but as to the merchant’s and trade, their coming was so suddain, that it was no advantage to them.
Round the west side of this basin, or harbour in a kind of a semicircle, lyes the town of Dartmouth, a very large and populous town, tho’ but meanly built, and standing on the side of a steep hill; yet the key is large, and the street before it spacious. Here are some very flourishing merchants, who trade very prosperously, and to the most considerable trading ports of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Plantations; but especially, they are great traders to Newfoundland, and from thence to Spain, and Italy with fish, and they drive a good trade also, in their own fishery of pilchards, which is hereabouts carried on with the greatest number of vessels of any port, in the west, except Falmouth.
A little to the southward of this town, and to the east of the port, is Torbay, of which I know nothing proper to my observation, more than that it is a very good road for ships, tho’ sometimes, especially with a southerly, or S.E. wind, ships have been oblig’d to quit the bay, and put out to sea, or run into Dartmouth for shelter.
I suppose I need not mention, that they had from the hilly part of this town, and especially from the hills opposite to it, the noble prospect, and at that time particularly delightful, of the Prince of Orange’s fleet, when he came to that coast, and as they entered into Torbay, to land; the prince and his army being in a fleet of about 600 sail of transport ships, besides 50 sail of men of war of the line, all which with a fair wind, and fine weather came to an anchor there at once.
This town as most of the towns of Devonshire are, is full of Dissenters, and a very large meeting-house they have here; how they act here with respect to the great dispute about the doctrine of the Trinity, which has caus’d such a breach among those people at Excester, and other parts of the county, I cannot give any account of. This town sends two members to Parliament.
From hence we went to Plympton, a poor and thinly inhabited town, tho’ blest with the like privilege of sending members to the Parliament; of which I have little more to say, but that from thence the road lyes to Plymouth, distance about six miles.
Plymouth is indeed a town of consideration, and of great importance to the publick. The situation of it between two very large inlets of the sea, and in the bottom of a large bay, which is very remarkable for the advantage of navigation. The Sound, or bay is compass’d on every side with hills, and the shear generally steep and rocky, tho’ the anchorage is good, and it is pretty safe riding: In the entrance to this bay, lyes a large and most dangerous rock, which at high-water is covered, but at low-tide lyes bare, where many a good ship has been lost, even in the view of safety, and many a ships crew drown’d in the night, before help could be had for them.
Upon this rock, which was call’d the Edystone, from its situation, the famous Mr. Winstanley undertook to build a light-house for the direction of sailors, and with great art, and expedition finished it; which work considering its height, the magnitude of its building, and the little hold there was, by which it was possible to fasten it to the rock, stood to admiration, and bore out many a bitter storm.
Mr. Winstanly often visited, and frequently strengthened the building, by new works, and was so confident of its firmness, and stability, that he usually said, he only desir’d to be in it when a storm should happen, for many people had told him, it would certainly fall, if it came to blow a little harder than ordinary.
But he happen’d at last to be in it once too often; Namely, when that dreadful tempest blew, Nov. the 27, 1703. This tempest began on the Wednesday before, and blew with such violence, and shook the light-house so much, that as they told me there, Mr. Winstanly would fain have been on shoar, and made signals for help, but no boats durst go off to him; and to finish the tragedy, on the Friday, Nov. 26, when the tempest was so redoubled, that it became a terror to the whole nation; the first sight there seaward, that the people of Plymouth, were presented with in the morning after the storm, was the bare Eddystone, the light-house being gone; in which Mr. Winstanly, and all that were with him perish’d, and were never seen, or heard of since: But that which was a worse loss still, was, that a few days after a merchant’s ship call’d the Winchelsea homeward bound from Virginia, not knowing the Eddystone lighthouse was down; for want of the light that should have been seen run foul of the rock it self, and was lost with all her lading, and most of her men, but there is now another light-house built on the same rock.
What other disasters happen’d at the same time, in the Sound, and in the roads about Plymouth, is not my business: They are also publish’d in other books, to which I refer.
One thing, which I was a witness too, on a former journey to this place, I cannot omit: It was the next year after that great storm, and but a little sooner in the year, being in August, I was at Plymouth, and walking on the Hoo, which is a plain on the edge of the sea, looking to the road, I observed the evening so serene, so calm, so bright, and the sea so smooth, that a finer sight, I think, I never saw; there was very little wind, but what was, seem’d to be westerly; and, about an hour after, it blew a little breeze at south west, with which wind there came into the Sound, that night, and the next morning, a fleet of fourteen sail of ships, from Barbadoes; richly loaden, for London: Having been long at sea, most of the captains and passengers came on shore to refresh themselves, as is usual, after such tedious voyages, and the ships rode all in the Sound on that side next to Catwater: As is customary, upon safe arriving to their native country, there was a general joy and rejoycing, both on board and on shore.
The next day the wind began to freshen, especially in the afternoon, and the sea to be disturbed, and very hard it blew at night, but all was well for that time; but the night after it blew a dreadful storm, not much inferior, for the time it lasted, to the storm mentioned above, which blew down the light-house on the Eddy Stone; about midnight the noise indeed was very dreadful, what with the roaring of the sea, and of the wind, intermixed with the firing of guns for help from the ships, the cries of the seamen and people on shore, and, which was worse, the cries of those, which were driven on shore by the tempest, and dash’d in pieces. In a word, all the fleet, except three, or thereabouts, were dash’d to pieces against the rocks, and sunk in the sea, most of the men being drowned: Those three, who were sav’d, received so much damage, that their lading was almost all spoil’d: One ship in the dark of the night, the men not knowing where they were, run into Catwater, and run on shore there, by which she was however sav’d from shipwreck, and the lives of her crew were saved also.
This was a melancholly morning indeed; nothing was to be seen but wrecks of the ships, and a foaming furious sea, hi that very place where they rode all in joy and triumph, but the evening before: The captains, passengers and officers who were, as I have said, gone on shoar, between the joy of saving their lives, and the affliction of having lost their ships, their cargoes, and their friends, were objects indeed worth our compassion and observation; and there was a great variety of the passions to be observed in them: Now lamenting their losses, then giving thanks for their deliverance, many of the passengers had lost their all, and were, as they expressed themselves, utterly undone; they were, I say, now lamenting their losses, with violent excesses of grief; then giving thanks for their lives, and that they should be brought on shore, as it were, on purpose to be sav’d from death; then again in tears for such as were drowned; the various cases were indeed very affecting, and, in many things, very instructing.
As, I say, Plymouth lyes in the bottom of this Sound, in the center between the two waters, so there lies against it, in the same position, an island, which they call St. Nicholas, on which there is a castle, which commands the entrance into Ham-Oze, and indeed that also into Catwater in some degree: In this island the famous General Lambert, one of Cromwell’s great agents, or officers in the Rebellion was imprison’d for life, and liv’d many years there.
On the shore, over-against this island, is the citadel of Plymouth, a small, but regular fortification, inaccessible by sea, but not exceeding strong by land, except that they say the works are of a stone, hard as marble, and would not soon yield to the batteries of an enemy: But that is a language our modern engineers now laugh at.
The town stands above this, upon the same rock, and lyes sloping on the side of it, towards the east; the inlet of the sea, which is call’d Catwater, and which is a harbour, capable of receiving any number of ships, and of any size, washing the eastern shore of the town, where they have a kind of natural mole, or haven, with a key, and all other conveniencies for bringing in vessels for loading and unloading; nor is the trade carried on here inconsiderable in it self, or the number of merchants small.
The other inlet of the sea, as I term it, is on the other side of the town, and is call’d Ham-Oze, being the mouth of the river Tamar, a considerable river, which parts the two counties of Devon and Cornwall: Here the war with France making it necessary that the ships of war should have a retreat nearer hand than at Portsmouth, the late King William order’d a wet dock, with yards, dry docks, launches, and conveniencies of all kinds for building, and repairing of ships to be built; and with these followed necessarily the building of store-houses and warehouses, for the rigging, sails, naval and military stores, &c. of such ships as may be appointed to be laid up there, as now several are, with very handsome houses for the commissioners, clerks, and officers of all kinds usual in the kings yards, to dwell in: It is in short, now become as compleat an arsenal, or yard, for building and fitting men of war as any of the government are masters of, and perhaps much more convenient than some of them, tho’ not so large.
The building of these things, with the addition of rope walks, and mast-yards, &c. as it brought abundance of trades-people, and workmen to the place, so they began by little and little to build houses on the lands adjacent, till at length there appeared a very handsome street, spacious and large, and as well inhabited, and so many houses are since added, that it is become a considerable town, and must of consequence in time draw abundance of people from Plymouth it self.
However, the town of Plymouth is, and will always be a very considerable town, while that excellent harbour makes it such a general port for the receiving all the fleets of merchants ships from the southward, as from Spain, Italy, the West-Indies, &c. who generally make it the first port to put in at for refreshment, or safety, from either weather or enemies.
The town is populous and wealthy, having, as above, several considerable merchants, and abundance of wealthy shop-keepers, whose trade depends upon supplying the sea-faring people, that upon so many occasions put into that port; as for gentlemen, I mean those that are such by family, and birth, and way of living, it cannot be expected to find many such in a town, meerly depending on trade, shipping and sea-faring business, yet I found here some men of value, persons of liberal education, general knowledge, and excellent behaviour, whose society obliges me to say, that a gentleman might find very agreeable company in Plymouth.
From Plymouth we pass the Tamar, over a ferry to Saltash, a little poor shattered town, the first we sat foot on in the county of Cornwall. The Tamar here is very wide, and the ferry boats bad, so that I thought my self well escap’d, when I got safe on shore in Cornwall.
Saltash seems to be the ruins of a larger place, and we saw many houses as it were falling down, and I doubt not but the mice and rats have abandoned many more, as they say they will, when they are likely to fall; yet this town is govern’d by a mayor and aldermen, has many privileges, sends members to Parliament, takes toll of all vessels that pass the river, and have the sole oyster fishing in the whole river, which is considerable. Mr. Carew, author of the Survey of Cornwall, tells us a strange story of a dog in this town, of whom it was observ’d, that if they gave him any large bone, or piece of meat, he immediately went out of doors with it, and after having disappeared for some time, would return again, upon which after some time they watch’d him, when to their great surprise they found that the poor charitable creature carryed what he so got to an old decrip’d mastiff, which lay in a nest that he had made among the brakes a little way out of the town, and was blind; so that he could not help himself, and there this creature fed him; he adds, also, that on Sundays, or hollydays, when he found they made good chear in the house, where he liv’d, he would go out, and bring this old blind dog to the door, and feed him there till he had enough, and then go with him back to his habitation in the country again, and see him safe in; if this story is true, it is very remarkable indeed, and I thought it worth telling, because the author was a person, who they say might be credited.
This town has a kind of jurisdiction upon the river Tamar down to the mouth of the port, so that they claim anchorage of all small ships that enter the river, their coroner sits upon all dead bodies that are found drown’d in the river, and the like, but they make not much profit of them. There is a good market here, and that is the best thing to be said of the town, it is also very much encreased since the number of the inhabitants are encreased at the new town, as I mentioned, as near the dock at the mouth of Ham Oaze, for those people choose rather to go to Saltash to market by water, then to walk to Plymouth by land for their provisions; because, first, as they go in the town boat, the same boat brings home what they buy; so that it is much less trouble, (second,) because provisions are bought much cheaper at Saltash, than at Plymouth: This I say, is like to be a very great advantage to the town of Saltash, and may in time put a new face of wealth upon the place.
They talk of some merchants beginning to trade here, and they have some ships that use the Newfoundland fishery; but I could not hear of any thing considerable they do in it, there is no other considerable town up the Tamar, till we come to Lanceston, the county town, which I shall take in my return, so I turn’d west, keeping the south shore of the county, to the Lands End.
From Saltash I went to Liskard, about 7 miles. This is a considerable town, well built, has people of fashion in it, and a very great market; it also sends two members to Parliament, and is one of the five towns, call’d Stannary Towns, that is to say, where the blocks of TINN are brought to the coinage, of which by it self; this coinage of tinn is an article very much to the advantage of the towns where it is settled, tho’ the money paid goes another way.
This town of Liskard was once eminent, had a good castle, and a large house, where the antient Dukes of Cornwall kept their Court in those days; also it enjoy’d several privileges, especially by the favour of the Black Prince, who, as Prince of Wales, and Duke of Cornwall resided here; and in return, they say this town, and the country round it, rais’d a great body of stout young fellows, who entered into his service, and followed his fortunes in his wars in France, as also in Spain; But these buildings are so decay’d, that there are now scarce any of the ruins of the castle, or of the prince’s Court remaining.
The only publick edifices they have now to show, are the guild, or town-hall, on which there is a turret with a fine clock; a very good free-school, well provided; a very fine conduit in the market-place; an antient large church, and which is something rare, for the county of Cornwall, a large new built meeting-house for the Dissenters, which I name, because they assur’d me there was but three more, and those very inconsiderable in all the county of Cornwall; whereas in Devonshire, which is the next county, there are reckoned about seventy, some of which are exceeding large and fine.
This town is also remarkable for a very great trade in all manufactures of leather, such as boots, shoes, gloves, purses, breeches, &c. and some spinning of late years is set up here, encourag’d by the woollen manufacturers of Devonshire.
Between these two towns of Saltash and Liskard, is St. Germans, now a village, decay’d, and without any market, but the largest parish in the whole county; in the bounds of which is contained, as they report, 17 villages, and the town of Saltash among them, for Saltash has no parish church, it seems of it self but as a chappel of ease to St. Germans: In the neighbourhood of these towns are many pleasant seats of the Cornish gentry, who are indeed very numerous, tho’ their estates may not be so large, as is usual in England; yet neither are they despicable in that part, and in particular this may be said of them, that as they generally live cheap, and are more at home than in other counties, so they live more like gentlemen, and keep more within bounds of their estates than the English generally do, take them altogether.
Add to this, that they are the most sociable, generous, and to one another, the kindest neighbours that are to be found; and as they generally live, as we may say, together, for they are almost always at one anothers houses, so they generally inter-marry among themselves, the gentlemen seldom going out of the county for a wife, or the ladies for a husband, from whence they say, that proverb upon them was rais’d (viz.) That all the Cornish gentlemen are cousins.
On the hills north of Liskard, and in the way between Liskard and Lanceston, there are many tinn mines, and as they told us some of the richest veins of that metal are found there, that are in the whole county; the metal when cast at the blowing houses into blocks, being as above, carry’d to Liskard to be coin’d.
From Liskard, in our course west, we are necessarily carry’d to the sea coast, because of the river Fowey, or Fowath, which empties it self into the sea, at a very large mouth, and hereby this river rising in the middle of the breadth of the county, and running south, and the river Camel rising not far from it, and running north, with a like large channel, the land from Bodmyn to the western part of the county is almost made an island, and in a manner cut off from the eastern part, the peninsula, or neck of land between, being not above twelve miles over.
On this south side we come to Foy, or Fowey, an antient town, and formerly very large; nay, not large only, but powerful and potent, for the Foyens, as they were then call’d, were able to fit out large fleets, not only for merchant’s ships, but even of men of war; and with these not only fought with, but several times vanquished, and routed the squadron of the Cinque Port men, who in those days were thought very powerful.
Mr. Cambden observes, that the town of Foy quarters some part of the arms of every one of those Cinque Ports with their own; intimating, that they had at several times trampled over them all; certain it is, they did often beat them, and took their ships, and brought them as good prizes into their haven of Foy, and carry’d it so high, that they fitted out their fleets against the French, and took several of their men of war when they were at war with England, and enrich’d their town by the spoil of their enemies.
Edward IV. favoured them much, and because the French threatened them, to come up their river with a powerful navy to burn their town, he caus’d two forts to be built at the publick charge, for security of the town and river, which forts at least some show of them remain there still, but the same King Edward was some time after so disgusted at the townsmen for officiously falling upon the French after a truce was made, and proclaim’d, that he effectually disarmed them, took away their whole fleet, ships, tackle, apparel and furniture; and since that time we do not read of any of their naval exploits, nor that they ever recover’d, or attempted to recover their strength at sea: However, Foy, at this time, is a very fair town, it lyes extended on the east side of the river for above a mile, the buildings fair; and there are a great many flourishing merchants in it, who have a great share in the fishing trade, especially for pilchards, of which they take a great quantity here abouts. In this town, is also a coinage for the TINN, of which a great quantity is dug up in the country, north and west of the town.
The river Fowey, which is very broad and deep here, was formerly navigable by ships of good burthen as high as Lestwithiel an antient, and once a flourishing, but now a decay’d town, and as to trade and navigation quite destitute, which is occasioned by the river being fill’d up with sands, which some say, the tides drive up in stormy weather from the sea; others say ’tis by sands wash’d from the lead mines in the hills; the last of which, (by the way) I take to be a mistake, the sand from the hills being not of quantity sufficient to fill up the channel of a navigable river, and if it had, might easily have been stopped by the towns people from falling into the river; but that the sea has choak’d up the river with sand, is not only probable but true, and there are other rivers which suffer in the like manner in this same country.
This town of Lestwithiel, retains however several advantages, which support its figure, as first, that it is one of the Coinage Towns, as I call them, or Stannary Towns, as others call them. (2.) The common gaol for the whole Stannary is here, as are also the county courts for the whole county of Cornwall.
There is a mock cavalcade kept up at this town, which is very remarkable, the particulars, as they are related by Mr. Carew in his Survey of Cornwall, take as follows.
Upon little Easter Sunday, the free-holders of this town and mannoiir by themselves, or their deputies, did there assemble: Amongst whom, one (as it fell to his lot by turn) bravely apparall’d, gallantly mounted, with a crown on his head, a scepter in his hand, and a sword borne before him, and dutifully attended by all the rest also on horseback, rode thro’ the principal street to the church: The curate in his best beseen solemnly received him at the churchyard stile, and conducted him to hear divine service: After which, he repaired with the same pomp, to a house provided for that purpose, made a feast to his attendants, kept the tables-end himself, and was served with kneeling assay, and all other rights due to the estate of a prince: With which dinner, the ceremony ended, and every man returned home again. The pedigree of this usage is deriv’d from so many descents of ages that the cause and author out-reach the remembrance: Howbeit, these circumstances afford a conjecture, that it should betoken royalties appertaining to the honour of Cornwal.
Behind Foye, and nearer to the coast at the mouth of a small river, which some call Lowe, tho’ without any authority, there stand two towns opposite to one another, bearing the name of the river Loe, that is to say, distinguished by the addition of East Loe, and West Loe. These are both good trading towns, and especially fishing towns and which is very particular, are like Weymouth and Melcomb, in Dorsetshire, seperated only by the creek, or river; and yet each of them send members to Parliaments: These towns are joyn’d together by a very beautiful and stately stone bridge having fifteen arches.
East Loo, was the antienter corporation of the two, and for some ages ago the greater and more considerable town; but now they tell us West Loo is the richest, and has the most ships belonging to it: Were they put together, they would make a very handsome seaport town. They have a great fishing trade here, as well for supply of the country, as for merchandize, and the towns are not dispisable; but as to sending four members to the British Parliament, which is as many as the city of London chooses, that I confess seems a little scandalous, but to who, is none of my business to enquire.
Passing from hence, and ferrying over Foy river, or the river Foweth, call it as ye please, we come into a large country without many towns in it of note, but very well furnished with gentlemen’s seats, and a little higher up with tinn works.
The sea making several deep bays here, they who travel by land are obliged to go higher into the country to pass above the water, especially at Trewardreth Bay, which lyes very broad, above ten miles within the country, which passing at Trewardreth, a town of no great note, tho’ the bay takes its name from it, the next inlet of the sea, is the famous firth, or inlet, called Falmouth Haven. It is certainly next to Milford Haven in South Wales, the fairest and best road for shipping that is in the whole isle of Britain, when there be considered the depth of water for above twenty miles within land; the safety of riding, shelter’d from all kind of winds or storms, the good anchorage, and the many creeks, all navigable, where ships may run in and be safe, so that the like is no where to be found.
There are six or seven very considerable places upon this haven, and the rivers from it, (viz.) Grampound, Tregony, Truro, Penryn, Falmouth, St. Mawes, and Pendennis. The three first of these send members to Parliament, the town of Falmouth, as big as all the three, and richer than ten of them sends none, which imports no more than this, that Falmouth it self is not of so great antiquity, as to its rising, as those other towns are; and yet the whole haven takes its name from Falmouth too, unless as some think the town took its name from the haven, which however they give no authority to suggest.
St. Mawes and Pendennis are two fortifications placed at the points, or enterance of this haven, opposite to one another, tho’ not with a communication, or view; they are very strong; the first principally by sea, having a good plat form of guns, pointing thwart the channel, and planted on a level with the water; but Pendennis Castle is strong by land as well as by water, is regularly fortified, has good out works, and generally a strong garrison; St. Mawes, otherwise call’d St. Mary’s has a town annex’d to the castle, and is a borough, sending members to the Parliament. Pendennis is a meer fortress, tho’ there are some habitations in it too, and some at a small distance near the sea side, but not of any great consideration.
The town of Falmouth is by much the richest, and best trading town in this county, tho’ not so antient as its neighbour town of Truro; and indeed, is in some things oblig’d to acknowledge the seigniorty; Namely, that in the corporation of Truro, the person who they choose to be their mayor of Truro, is also mayor of Falmouth of course. How the jurisdiction is manag’d, is an account too long for this place; the Truro men also receive several duties collected in Falmouth, particularly wharfage for the merchandizes landed, or shipp’d off; but let these advantages be what they will, the town of Falmouth has gotten the trade, at least the best part of it from the other, which is chiefly owing to the situation, for that Falmouth lying upon the sea, but within the entrance, ships of the greatest burthen come up to the very keys, and the whole royal navy might ride safely in the road, whereas the town of Truro lying far within, and at the mouth of two fresh rivers, is not navigable for vessels of above 150 tons, or thereabouts.
Some have suggested that the original of Falmouth, was the having so large a key, and so good a depth of water at it. The merchants of Truro formerly us’d it for the place of lading and unlading their ships, as the merchants of Exceter did at Topsham, and this is the more probable in that, as above, the wharfage of those landing places is still the property of the corporation of Truro.
But let this be as it will, the trade is now in a manner wholly gone to Falmouth, the trade at Truro, being now chiefly if not only for shipping off of block TINN and copper oar, the latter being lately found in large quantities in some of the mountains between Truro, and St. Michaels, and which is much improv’d since the several mills are erected at Bristol, and other parts, for the manufactures of battery ware or, as ’tis call’d, brass, which is made out of English copper, most of it dug in these parts; the oar it self also being found very rich and good.
Falmouth is well built, has abundance of shipping belonging to it, is full of rich merchants, and has a flourishing and encreasing trade. I say encreasing, because by the late setting up the English packets between this port and Lisbon, there is a new commerce between Portugal and this town, carried on to a very great value.
It is true, part of this trade was founded in a clandestine commerce, carried on by the said packets at Lisbon, where being the king’s ships, and claiming the privilege of not being searched, or visited by the custom-house officers, they found means to carry off great quantities of British manufactures, which they sold on board to the Portuguese merchants, and they convey’d them on shoar, as ’tis supposed without paying custom.
But the government there, getting intelligence of it, and complaint being made in England also, where it was found to be very prejudicial to the fair merchant, that trade has been effectually stopp’d, but the Falmouth merchants having by this means gotten a taste of the Portuguese trade, have maintain’d it ever since in ships of their own: These packets bring over such vast quantities of gold in specie, either in moidores, which is the Portugal coin, or in bars of gold, that I am very credibly informed the carryer from Falmouth, brought by land from thence to London, at one time, in the month of January, 1722, or near it, eighty thousand moidores in gold, which came from Lisbon in the pacquet boats, for account of the merchants at London, and that it was attended with a guard of 12 horsemen well arm’d, for which the said carryer had half per cent for his hazard.
This is a specimen of the Portugal trade, and how considerable it is in it self, as well as how advantageous to England, but as that is not to the present case, I proceed; the custom-house for all the towns in this port, and the head collector is established at this town, where the duties, including the other ports is very considerable: Here is also a very great fishing for pilchards, and the merchants for Falmouth have the chief stroke in that gainful trade.
Truro is however a very considerable town too; it stands up the water north and by east from Falmouth in the utmost extended branch of the haven, in the middle, between the conflux of two rivers, which tho’ not of any long course, have a very good appearance for a port, and make a large wharf between them in the front of the town; and the water here makes a good port for small ships, tho’ it be at the influx, but not for ships of burthen. This is the particular town where the lord warden of the Stannaries always holds his famous Parliament of Miners, and for stamping of TINN. The town is well built, but shews that it has been much fuller, both of houses and Inhabitants, than it is now; nor will it probably ever rise, while the town of Falmouth stands where it does, and while the trade is settled in it, as it is. There are at least three churches in it, but no Dissenter’s meeting house, that I could hear of.
Tregony, is upon the same water north east from Falmouth, distance about sixteen miles from it, but is a town of very little trade, nor indeed have any of the towns so far within the shoar, notwithstanding the benefit of the water any considerable trade but what is carried on under the merchants of Falmouth, or Truro; the chief thing that is to be said of this town, is, that it sends members to Parliament, as does also Grandpound, a market-town, and burro’ about 4 miles farther up the water. This place indeed has a claim to antiquity, and is an appendix to the Dutchy of Cornwall, of which it holds at a fee farm rent, and pays to the Prince of Wales, as duke, 10l . 11s. 1d. per annum; it has no parish church, but only a chappel of ease to an adjacent parish.
Penryn, is up the same branch of the haven, as Falmouth, but stands four miles higher towards the west, yet ships come to it of as great a size, as can come to Truro it self; it is a very pleasant agreeable town, and for that reason has many merchants in it, who would perhaps otherwise live at Falmouth. The chief commerce of these towns, as to their sea affairs, is the pilchards, and Newfoundland fishing, which is very profitable to them all; it had formerly a conventual church, with a chantry, and a religious house, a cel to Kirton, but they are all demolish’d, and scarce the ruins of them distinguishable enough to know one part from another.
Quiting Falmouth Haven from Penryn west, we came to Helsten, about 7 miles, and stands upon the little river Cober, which however admits the sea so into its bosom as to make a tolerable good harbour for ships a little below the town. It is the fifth town, allowed for the coining TINN, and several of the ships call’d “tinn” ships are loaden here.
This town is large and populous, and has four spacious streets, a handsome church, and a good trade: This town also sends members to Parliament. Beyond this is a market town tho’ of no resort for trade, call’d Market Jew, it lyes indeed on the sea-side, but has no harbour or safe road for shipping.
At Helford is a small, but good harbour between Falmouth and this port, where many times the TINN ships go in to load for London; also here are a good number of fishing vessels for the pilchard trade, and abundance of skilful fishermen: It was from this town that in the great storm, which happened, Nov. 27, 1703, a ship loaden with tinn, was blown out to sea, and driven to the Isle of Weight, in seven hours, having on board only one man, and two boys; the story is as follows, (viz.)
The beginning of the storm, there lay a ship laden with tinn, in Helford Haven, about two leagues and a half west of Falmouth. The tinn was taken on board at a place call’d Guague Wharf, five or six miles up the river, and the vessel was come down to Helford, in order to pursue her voyage to London.
About 8 a-clock in the evening the commander, whose name was Anthony Jenkins, went on board with his mate to see that every thing was safe, and to give orders, but went both on shoar again, leaving only a man, and two boys on board, not apprehending any danger, they being in safe harbour; however, he ordered them, that if it should blow hard, they should carry out the small bower anchor, and so to moor the ship by two anchors, and then giving what other orders he thought to be needful, he went ashore, as above.
About 9 o’clock, the wind beginning to blow harder, they carryed out the anchor according to the master’s order; but the wind encreasing about 10, the ship began to drive, so they carry’d out their best bower, which having a good new cable, brought lie ship up. The storm still encreasing they let go the kedge anchor; so that they then rode by four anchors a head, which were all they had.
But between n and 12 o’clock, the wind came about west and by south, and blew in so violent and terrible a manner, that tho’ they rid under the lee of a high shore, yet the ship was driven from all her anchors, and about midnight drove quite out of the harbour (the opening of the harbour lying due east and west) into the open sea, the men having neither anchor or cable, or boat to help themselves.
In this dreadful condition, they driving, I say, out of the harbour: Their first and chief care was to go clear of the rocks, which lye on either side the harbour’s mouth, and which they perform’d pretty well; then, seeing no remedy, they consulted what to do next. They cou’d carry no sail at first, no not a knot, nor do any thing but run away afore it: The only thing they had to think on, was to keep her out at sea as far as they could, for fear of a point of land, call’d The Dead Man’s Head, which lyes to the eastward of Falmouth Haven, and then if they could escape the land, thought to run in for Plymouth, next morning, so if possible, to save their lives.
In this frighted condition they drove away at a prodigious rate, having sometimes the bonnet of their foresail a little out, but the yard lower’d almost to the deck; sometimes the ship almost under water, and sometimes above, keeping still in the offing, for fear of the land, till they might see daylight; but when the day brake they found they were to think no more of Plymouth, for they were far enough beyond it, and the first land they made was Peverel Point, being the southernmost land of the Isle of Purbeck, in Dorsetshire, and a little to the westward of the Isle of Weight; so that now they were in a terrible consternation, and driving still at a prodigious rate, by seven a clock they found themselves broad side of the Isle of Weight.
Here they consulted again what to do to save their lives; one of the boys was for running her into the Downs, but the man objected, that having no anchor or cable, nor boat to go on shore with, and the storm blowing off shore, in the Downs, they should be inevitably blown off, and lost upon the unfortunate Goodwin, which it seems the man had been on once before, and narrowly escaped.
Now came the last consultation for their lives; the other of the boys said, he had been in a certain creek in the Isle of Weight, where between the rocks he knew there was room to run the ship in, and at least to save their lives, and that he saw the place just that moment; so he desir’d the man to let him have the helm, and he would do his best, and venture it. The man gave him the helm, and he stood directly in among the rocks, the people standing on the shore, thinking they were mad, and that they would in a few minutes be dashed in a thousand pieces.
But when they came nearer, and the people found they steer’d as if they knew the place, they made signals to them to direct them, as well as they could, and the young bold fellow run her into a small cove, where she stuck fast, as it were, between the rocks on both sides, there being but just room enough for the breadth of the ship; the ship indeed giving two or three knocks stav’d, and sunk, but the man and the two youths jump’t a shore, and were safe, and the lading being tinn was afterwards secur’d. N.B. The merchants very well rewarded the three sailors, especially the lad that ran her into that place.
Pensance is the farthest town of any note west, being 254 miles from London, and within about ten miles of the promontory, call’d the Lands End; so that this promontory is from London 264 miles, or thereabouts: This town of Pensance is a place of good business, well built and populous, has a good trade, and a great many ships belonging to it, notwithstanding it is so remote. Here are also a great many good families of gentlemen, tho’ in this utmost angle of the nation; and, which is yet more strange, the veins of lead, tinn, and copper oar, are said to be seen, even to the utmost extent of land at low water mark, and in the very sea; so rich, so valuable a treasure is contained in these parts of Great Britain, tho’ they are supposed to be so poor, because so very remote from London, which is the center of our wealth.
Between this town and St. Burien, a town midway between it and the Land’s End, stands a circle of great stones, not unlike those at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, with one bigger than the rest in the middle; they stand about 12 foot asunder, but have no inscription, neither does tradition offer to leave any part of their history upon record; as whether it was a trophy, or a monument of burial, or an altar for worship, or what else; so that all that can be learn’d of them, is, That here they are: The parish where they stand is call’d Boscawone, from whence the ancient and honourable family of Boscawen derive their names.
Near Pensance, but open to the sea, is that gulph they call Mounts Bay, nam’d so from a high hill standing in the water, which they call St. Michael’s Mount; the seamen call it only, the Cornish Mount; It has been fortify’d, tho’ the situation of it makes it so difficult of access, that like the Bass in Scotland, there needs no fortification; like the Bass too, it was once made a prison for prisoners of State, but now it is wholly neglected; there is a very good road here for shipping, which makes the town of Pensance be a place of good resort.
A little up in the county towards the north west is Godolchan, which tho’ a hill, rather than a town, gives name to the noble and ancient family of Godolphin; and nearer on the northern coast is Royalton, which since the late Sydney Godolphin, Esq; a younger brother of the family, was created Earl of Godolphin, gave title of lord to his eldest son, who was call’d Lord Royalton during the life of his father. This place also is infinitely rich in tinn mines.
I am now at my journey’s end; As to the islands of Scilly, which lye beyond the Land’s End, I shall say something of them presently: I must now return sur mes pas, as the French call it; tho’ not literally so, for I shall not come back the same way I went; but as I have coasted the south shore to the Land’s End, I shall come back by the north coast, and my observations in my return will furnish very well materials for a fourth letter. I am, &c.
I HAVE ended this account at the utmost extent of the island of Great Britain west, without visiting those excressences of the island, as I think I may call them, (viz.) the rocks of Scilly, of which, what is most famous, is their infamy, or reproach; Namely, how many good ships are, almost continually dash’d in pieces there, and how many brave lives lost, in spight of the mariners best skill, or the light-houses, and other sea-marks best notice.
These islands lye so in the middle between the two vast openings of the north and south narrow seas, or as the sailors call them, the Bristol Channel, and The Channel, (so call’d by way of eminence) that it cannot, or perhaps never will be avoided, but that several ships in the dark of the night, and in stress of weather may by being out in their reckonings, or other unavoidable accidents mistake, and if they do, they are sure, as the sailors call it, to run bump a shore upon Scilly, where they find no quarter among the breakers, but are beat to pieces, without any possibility of escape.
One can hardly mention the Bishop and his Clerks, as they are call’d, or the rocks of Scilly, without letting fall a tear to the memory of Sir Cloudesly Shovel, and all the gallant spirits that were with him at one blow, and without a moments warning dash’d into a state of immortality; the admiral with three men of war, and all their men (running upon these rocks, right afore the wind, and in a dark night) being lost there, and not a man sav’d. But all our annals and histories are full of this, so I need say no more.
They tell us of eleven sail of merchant ships homeward-bound, and richly laden from the southward, who had the like fate, in the same place, a great many years ago; and that some of them coming from Spain, and having a great quantity of bullion, or pieces of eight on board, the money frequently drives on shore still, and that in good quantities, especially after stormy weather.
This may be the reason why, as we observed during our short stay here, several mornings after, it had blown something hard in the night, the sands were cover’d with country people running too and fro’ to see if the sea had cast up any thing of value. This the seamen call “going a shoring”; and it seems they do often find good purchase: Sometimes also dead bodies are cast up here, the consequence of shipwrecks among those fatal rocks and islands; as also broken pieces of ships, casks, chests, and almost every thing that will float, or roll on shore by the surges of the sea.
Nor is it seldom that the voracious country people scuffle and fight about the right to what they find, and that in a desperate manner, so that this part of Cornwall may truly be said to be inhabited by a fierce and ravenous people; for they are so greedy, and eager for the prey, that they are charg’d with strange, bloody, and cruel dealings, even sometimes with one another; but especially with poor distressed seamen when they come on shore by force of a tempest, and seek help for their lives, and where they find the rocks themselves not more merciless than the people who range about them for their prey.
Here also, as a farther testimony of the immense riches which have been lost at several times upon this coast, we found several engineers, and projectors; some with one sort of diving engine, and some with another; some claiming such a wreck, and some such and such others; where they alledg’d, they were assur’d there were great quantities of money; and strange unprecedented ways were us’d by them to come at it; Some, I say, with one kind of engine, and some another; and tho’ we thought several of them very strange impracticable methods, yet, I was assur’d by the country people, that they had done wonders with them under water, and that some of them had taken up things of great weight, and in a great depth of water; others had split open the wrecks they had found, in a manner one would have thought not possible to be done, so far under water, and had taken out things from the very holds of the ships; but we could not learn, that they had come at any pieces of eight, which was the thing they seem’d most to aim at, and depend upon; at least they had not found any great quantity, as they said they expected.
However, we left them as busy as we found them, and far from being discouraged; and if half the golden mountains, or silver mountains either, which they promise themselves, should appear, they will be very well paid for their labour.
From the tops of the hills, on this extremity of the land, you may see out into that they call the Chops of the Channel, which, as it is the greatest inlet of commerce, and the most frequented by merchant-ships of any place in the world; so one seldom looks out to seaward, but something new presents; that is to say, of ships passing, or repassing, either on the great or lesser channel.
Upon a former accidental journey into this part of the country, during the war with France, it was with a mixture of pleasure and horror that we saw from the hills at the Lizard, which is the southermost point of this land, an obstinate fight between three French-men of war, and two English, with a privateer, and three merchant-ships in their company; the English had the misfortune, not only to be fewer ships of war in number, but of less force; so that while the two biggest French ships engaged the English, the third in the mean time took the two merchant-ships, and went off with them; as to the piccaroon, or privateer, she was able to do little in the matter, not daring to come so near the men of war, as to take a broadside, which her thin sides would not have been able to bear, but would have sent her to the bottom at once; so that the English men of war had no assistance from her, nor could she prevent the taking the two merchant-ships; yet we observ’d that the English captains manag’d their fight so well, and their seamen behav’d so briskly, that in about three hours both the Frenchmen stood off, and being sufficiently bang’d, let us see that they had no more stomach to fight; after which the English, having damage enough too no doubt, stood away to the eastward, as we supposed, to refit.
This point of the Lizard, which runs out to the southward, and the other promontory mention’d above, make the two angles, or horns, as they are call’d, from whence ’tis supposed this county receiv’d its first name of Cornwall, or as Mr. Cambden says, Cornubia in the Latin, and in the British Kernaw, as running out in two vastly extended horns; and indeed it seems, as if nature had form’d this situation for the direction of mariners, as foreknowing of what importance it should be, and how in future ages these seas should be thus throng’d with merchant ships, the protection of whose wealth, and the safety of the people navigating them, was so much her early care, that she stretched out the land so very many ways, and extended the points and promontories so far, and in so many different places into the sea, that the land might be more easily discovered at a due distance, which way soever the ships should come.
Nor is the Lizard Point less useful (tho’ not so far west) than the other, which is more properly call’d the Land’s End; but if we may credit our mariners, it is more frequently, first discover’d from the sea; for as our mariners knowing by the soundings when they are in the mouth of the Channel, do then most naturally stand to the southward, to avoid mistaking the Channel, and to shun the Severn Sea, or Bristol Channel, but still more to avoid running upon Scilly, and the rocks about it, as is observ’d before: I say, as they carefully keep to the southward, till they think they are fair with the Channel, and then stand to the northward again, or north east, to make the land; this is the reason why the Lizard is generally speaking, the first land they make, and not the Land’s End.
Then having made the Lizard, they either (first) run in for Falmouth, which is the next port, if they are taken short with easterly winds, or are in want of provisions and refreshment, or have any thing out of order, so that they care not to keep the sea; or (2dly) stand away for the Ram Head, and Plymouth-Sound, or (3dly) keep an offing to run up the Channel.
So that the Lizard is the general guide, and of more use in these cases than the other point, and is therefore the land which the ships choose to make first, for then also they are sure that they are past Scilly, and all the dangers of that part of the island.
Nature has fortify’d this part of the island of Britain in a strange manner, and so as is worth a traveller’s observation, as if she knew the force and violence of the mighty ocean, which beats upon it, and which indeed, if the land was not made firm in proportion, could not withstand, but would have been wash’d away long ago.
First, there are the islands of Scilly, and the rocks about them, these are plac’d like outworks to resist the first assaults of this enemy, and so break the force of it; as the piles, or starlings (as they are call’d) are plac’d before the solid stonework of London-Bridge, to fence off the force, either of the water, or ice, or any thing else that might be dangerous to the work.
Then there are a vast number of sunk rocks, (so the seamen call them,) besides such as are visible, and above water; which gradually lessen the quantity of water, that would otherwise lye with an infinite weight and force upon the land; ’tis observ’d, that these rocks lye under water for a great way off into the sea on every side the said two horns or points of land; so breaking the force of the water, and as above lessening the weight of it.
But besides this, the whole terra firma, or body of the land, which makes this part of the isle of Britain, seems to be one solid rock, as if it was formed by Nature to resist the otherwise irresistible power of the ocean; and indeed if one was to observe with what fury the sea comes on sometimes against the shore here, especially at the Lizard Point, where there are but few, if any outworks, (as I call them) to resist it; How high the waves come rowling forward, storming on the neck of one another; particularly when the wind blows off sea, one would wonder, that even the strongest rocks themselves should be able to resist, and repel them. But, as I said, the country seems to be as it were one great body of stone, and prepared so on purpose.
And yet, as if all this was not enough, Nature has provided another strong fence, and that is, that these vast rocks are, as it were, cemented together by the solid and weighty oar of TINN and copper, especially the last, which is plentifully found upon the very outmost edge of the land, and with which the stones may be said to be soder’d together, lest the force of the sea should separate and disjoynt them, and so break in upon these fortifications of the island, to destroy its chief security.
This is certain, that there is a more than ordinary quantity of tinn, copper, and lead also, placed by the Great Director of nature in these very remote angles and, as I have said above, the oar is found upon the very surface of the rocks a good way into the sea, and that it does not only lye, as it were, upon, or between the stones among the earth, which in that case might be washed from it by the sea, but that it is even blended or mix’d in with the stones themselves, that the stones must be split into pieces to come at it; by this mixture the rocks are made infinitely weighty and solid, and thereby still the more qualified to repel the force of the sea.
Upon this remote part of the island we saw great numbers of that famous kind of crows, which is known by the name of the Cornish cough, or chough, so the country people call them: They are the same kind, which are found in Switzerland among the Alps, and which Pliny pretended, were peculiar to those mountains, and calls the Pyrrhocorax; the body is black, the legs, feet, and bill of a deep yellow, almost to a red; I could not find that it was affected for any good quality it had, nor is the flesh good to eat, for it feeds much on fish and carrion; it is counted little better than a kite, for it is of ravenous quality, and is very mischievous; it will steal and carry away any thing it finds about the house, that is not too heavy, tho’ not fit for its food; as knives, forks, spoons and linnen cloths, or whatever it can fly away with, sometimes they say it has stolen bits of firebrands, or lighted candles, and lodged them in the stacks of corn, and the thatch of barns and houses, and set them on fire; but this I only had by oral tradition.
I might take up many sheets in describing the valuable curiosities of this little Cherosonese, or neck land, call’d the Land’s End, in which there lyes an immense treasure, and many things worth notice, I mean besides those to be found upon the surface: But I am too near the end of this letter. If I have opportunity, I shall take notice of some part of what I omit here, in my return by the northern shore of the county.
SINCE the closing this volume there are several great and magnificent buildings begun to be erected, within the circuit of these letters, which however, not being finished, cannot now be fully described, (viz.)
Sir Gregory Page’s house on Black-Heath, which they tell us, will be a more magnificent work than any private gentleman’s seat in this part of Great-Britain.
The Lord Onslow’s seat, re-edifying near Guildford.
Sir John Williams’s seat all new, at Stoke, near Nayland-Bridge, in Suffolk.
A new square, almost a new town, at the east-side of Greenwich, on the Heath, in the way to Charleton.
And, lastly, the famous addition, or square begun at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, of which the foundation is but even now lay’d.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:07