We arrived at Rye, a small English seaport. Here, as soon as we came on shore, we gave in our names to the notary of the place, but not till he had demanded our business; and being answered, that we had none but to see England, we were conducted to an inn, where we were very well entertained; as one generally is in this country.
We took post-horses for London: it is surprising how swiftly they run; their bridles are very light, and their saddles little more than a span over.
Flimwell, a village: here we returned our first horses, and mounted fresh ones.
We passed through Tunbridge, another village.
Chepstead, another village: here, for the second time, we changed horses.
London, the head and metropolis of England: called by Tacitus, Londinium; by Ptolemy, Logidinium; by Ammianus Marcellinus, Lundinium; by foreigners, Londra, and Londres; it is the seat of the British Empire, and the chamber of the English kings. This most ancient city is the the county of Middlesex, the fruitfullest and wholesomest soil in England. It is built on the river Thames, sixty miles from the sea, and was originally founded, as all historians agree, by Brutus, who, coming from Greece into Italy, thence into Africa, next into France, and last into Britain, chose this situation for the convenience of the river, calling it Troja Nova, which name was afterwards corrupted into Trinovant. But when Lud, the brother of Cassibilan, or Cassivelan, who warred against Julius Caesar, as he himself mentions (lib. v. de Bell. Gall.), came to the crown, he encompassed it with very strong walls, and towers very artfully constructed, and from his own name called it Caier Lud, I.E., Lud’s City. This name was corrupted into that of Caerlunda, and again in time, by change of language, into Londres. Lud, when he died, was buried in this town, near that gate which is yet called in Welsh, Por Lud — in Saxon, Ludesgate.
The famous river Thames owes part of its stream, as well as its appellation, to the Isis; rising a little above Winchelcomb, and being increased with several rivulets, unites both its waters and its name to the Thame, on the other side of Oxford; thence, after passing by London, and being of the utmost utility, from its greatness and navigation, it opens into a vast arm of the sea, from whence the tide, according to Gemma Frisius, flows and ebbs to the distance of eighty miles, twice in twenty-five hours, and, according to Polydore Vergil, above sixty miles twice in twenty-four hours.
This city being very large of itself, has very extensive suburbs, and a fort called the Tower, of beautiful structure. It is magnificently ornamented with public buildings and churches, of which there are above one hundred and twenty parochial.
On the south is a bridge of stone eight hundred feet in length, of wonderful work; it is supported upon twenty piers of square stone, sixty feet high and thirty broad, joined by arches of about twenty feet diameter. The whole is covered on each side with houses so disposed as to have the appearance of a continued street, not at all of a bridge.
Upon this is built a tower, on whose top the heads of such as have been executed for high treason are placed on iron spikes: we counted above thirty.
Paulus Jovius, in his description of the most remarkable towns in England, says all are obscured by London: which, in the opinion of many, is Caesar’s city of the Trinobantes, the capital of all Britain, famous for the commerce of many nations; its houses are elegantly built, its churches fine, its towns strong, and its riches and abundance surprising. The wealth of the world is wafted to it by the Thames, swelled by the tide, and navigable to merchant ships through a safe and deep channel for sixty miles, from its mouth to the city: its banks are everywhere beautified with fine country seats, woods, and farms; below is the royal palace of Greenwich; above, that of Richmond; and between both, on the west of London, rise the noble buildings of Westminster, most remarkable for the courts of justice, the parliament, and St. Peter’s church, enriched with the royal tombs. At the distance of twenty miles from London is the castle of Windsor, a most delightful retreat of the Kings of England, as well as famous for several of their tombs, and for the ceremonial of the Order of the Garter. This river abounds in swans, swimming in flocks: the sight of them, and their noise, are vastly agreeable to the fleets that meet them in their course. It is joined to the city by a bridge of stone, wonderfully built; is never increased by any rains, rising only with the tide, and is everywhere spread with nets for taking salmon and shad. Thus far Paulus Jovius.
Polydore Vergil affirms that London has continued to be a royal city, and the capital of the kingdom, crowded with its own inhabitants and foreigners, abounding in riches, and famous for its great trade, from the time of King Archeninus, or Erchenvinus. Here the kings are crowned, and solemnly inaugurated, and the council of the nation, or parliament, is held. The government of the city is lodged, by ancient grant of the Kings of Britain, in twenty-four aldermen — that is, seniors: these annually elect out of their own body a mayor and two sheriffs, who determine causes according to municipal laws. It has always had, as indeed Britain in general has, a great number of men of learning, much distinguished for their writings.
The walls are pierced with six gates, which, as they were rebuilt, acquired new names. Two look westward:
1. Ludgate, the oldest, so called from King Lud, whose name is yet to be seen, cut in the stone over the arch on the side; though others imagine it rather to have been named Fludgate, from a stream over which it stands, like the Porta Fluentana at Rome. It has been lately repaired by Queen Elizabeth, whose statue is placed on the opposite side. And,
2. Newgate, the best edifice of any; so called from being new built, whereas before it was named Chamberlain gate. It is the public prison.
On the north are four:
1. Aldersgate, as some think from alder trees; as others, from Aldericius, a Saxon.
2. Cripplegate, from a hospital for the lame.
3. Moorgate, from a neighbouring morass, now converted into a field, first opened by Francetius 1 the mayor, A.D. 1414.
4. And Bishopsgate, from some bishop: this the German merchants of the Hans society were obliged by compact to keep in repair, and in times of danger to defend. They were in possession of a key to open or shut it, so that upon occasion they could come in, or go out, by night or by day.
There is only one to the east:
Aldgate, that is, Oldgate, from its antiquity; though others think it to have been named Elbegate.
Several people believe that there were formerly two gates (besides that to the bridge) towards the Thames.
1. Billingsgate, now a cothon, or artificial port, for the reception of ships.
2. Dourgate, VULGO Dowgate, I.E., Water-gate.
The cathedral of St. Paul was founded by Ethelbert, King of the Saxons, and being from time to time re-edified, increased to vastness and magnificence, and in revenue so much, that it affords a plentiful support to a bishop, dean, and precentor, treasurer, four archdeacons, twenty-nine prebendaries, and many others. The roof of this church, as of most others in England, with the adjoining steeple, is covered with lead.
On the right side of the choir is the marble tomb of Nicholas Bacon, with his wife. Not far from this is a magnificent monument, ornamented with pyramids of marble and alabaster, with this inscription:
Sacred to the memory of
Sir Christopher Hatton, son of William, grandson of John, of the most ancient family of the Hattons; one of the fifty gentlemen pensioners to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth: Gentleman of the privy chamber; captain of the guards; one of the Privy Council, and High Chancellor of England, and of the University of Oxford: who, to the great grief of his Sovereign, and of all good men, ended this life religiously, after having lived unmarried to the age of fifty-one, at his house in Holborn, on the 20th of November, A.D. 1591.
William Hatton, knight, his nephew by his sister’s side, and by adoption his son and heir, most sorrowfully raised this tomb, as a mark of his duty.
On the left hand is the marble monument of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and his lady: and near it, that of John, Duke of Lancaster, with this inscription
Here sleeps in the Lord, John of Gant, so called from the city of the same name of Flanders, where he was born, fourth son of Edward the Third, King of England, and created by his father Earl of Richmond. He was thrice married; first to Blanche, daughter and heiress of Henry Duke of Lancaster; by her he received an immense inheritance, and became not only Duke of Lancaster, but Earl of Leicester, Lincoln, and Derby, of whose race are descended many emperors, kings, princes, and nobles. His second wife was Constance, who is here buried, daughter and heiress of Peter, King of Castile and Leon, in whose right he most justly 2 took the style of King of Castile and Leon. She brought him one only daughter, Catherine, of whom, by Henry, are descended the Kings of Spain. His third wife was Catherine, of a knight’s family, a woman of great beauty, by whom he had a numerous progeny; from which is descended, by the mother’s side, Henry the Seventh, the most prudent King of England, by whose most happy marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Edward the Fourth, of the line of York, the two royal lines of Lancaster and York are united, to the most desired tranquillity of England.
The most illustrious prince, John, surnamed Plantagenet, King of Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, Leicester, and Derby, Lieutenant of Aquitain, High Steward of England, died in the twenty-first year of Richard II., A.D. 1398.
A little farther, almost at the entrance of the choir, in a certain recess, are two small stone chests, one of which is thus inscribed:
Here lies Seba, King of the East Saxons, who was converted to the faith by St. Erkenwald, Bishop of London, A.D. 677.
On the other:
Here lies Ethelred, King of the Angles, son of King Edgar,
On whom St. Dustan is said to have denounced vengeance, on his coronation day, in the following words:— “Inasmuch as thou hast aspired to the throne by the death of thy brother, against whose blood the English, along with thy infamous mother, conspired, the sword shall not pass from thy house! but rage all the days of thy life, afflicting all thy generation, till thy kingdom shall be translated to another, whose manner and language the people under thee knoweth not. Nor shall thy sin be done away till after long chastisement, nor the sin of thy mother, nor the sin of those men who assisted in thy wicked council.”
All which came to pass as predicted by the saint; for after being worsted and put to flight by Sueno King of the Danes, and his son Canute, and at last closely besieged in London, he died miserably A.D. 1017, after he had reigned thirty-six years in great difficulties.
There is besides in the middle of the church a tomb made of brass, of some Bishop of London, named William, who was in favour with Edward, King of England, and afterwards made counsellor to King William. He was bishop sixteen years, and died A.D. 1077. Near this is the following inscription:
Virtue survives the funeral.
To the memory of
Thomas Linacre, an eminent physician, John Caius placed this monument.
On the lower part of it is this inscription in gold letters:
Thomas Linacre, physician to King Henry VIII., a man learned in the Greek and Latin languages, and particularly skilful in physick, by which he restored many from a state of languishment and despair to life. He translated with extraordinary eloquence many of Galen’s works into Latin; and published, a little before his death, at the request of his friends, a very valuable book on the correct structure of the Latin tongue. He founded in perpetuity in favour of students in physick, two public lectures at Oxford, and one at Cambridge. In this city he brought about, by his own industry, the establishing of a College of Physicians, of which he was elected the first president. He was a detester of all fraud and deceit, and faithful in his friendships; equally dear to men of all ranks: he went into orders a few years before his death, and quitted this life full of years, and much lamented, A.D. 1524, on the 29th of October.
There are many tombs in this church, but without any inscriptions. It has a very fine organ, which, at evening prayer, accompanied with other instruments, is delightful.
In the suburb to the west, joined to the city by a continual row of palaces belonging to the chief nobility, of a mile in length, and lying on the side next the Thames, is the small town of Westminster; originally called Thorney, from its thorn bushes, but now Westminster, from its aspect and its monastery. The church is remarkable for the coronation and burial of the Kings of England. Upon this spot is said formerly to have stood a temple of Apollo, which was thrown down by an earthquake in the time of Antoninus Pius; from the ruins of which Sebert, King of the East Saxons, erected another to St. Peter: this was subverted by the Danes, and again renewed by Bishop Dunstan, who gave it to a few monks. Afterwards, King Edward the Confessor built it entirely new, with the tenth of his whole revenue, to be the place of his own burial, and a convent of Benedictine monks; and enriched it with estates dispersed all over England.
In this church the following things are worthy of notice:
In the first choir, the tomb of Anne of Cleves, wife of Henry VIII., without any inscription.
On the opposite side are two stone sepulchres:
(1) Edward, Earl of Lancaster, brother of Edward I.; (2) Ademar of Valence, Earl of Pembroke, son of Ademar of Valence. Joining to these is (3) that of Aveline, Countess of Lancaster.
In the second choir is the chair on which the kings are seated when they are crowned; in it is enclosed a stone, said to be that on which the patriarch Jacob slept when he dreamed he saw a ladder reaching quite up into heaven. Some Latin verses are written upon a tablet hanging near it; the sense of which is:
That if any faith is to be given to ancient chronicles, a stone of great note is enclosed in this chair, being the same on which the patriarch Jacob reposed when he beheld the miraculous descent of angels. Edward I., the Mars and Hector of England, having conquered Scotland, brought it from thence.
The tomb of Richard II. and his wife, of brass, gilt, and these verses written round it:
Perfect and prudent, Richard, by right the Second,
Vanquished by Fortune, lies here now graven in stone,
True of his word, and thereto well renound:
Seemly in person, and like to Homer as one
In worldly prudence, and ever the Church in one
Upheld and favoured, casting the proud to ground,
And all that would his royal state confound.
Without the tomb is this inscription:
Here lies King Richard,
who perished by a cruel death,
in the year 1369.
To have been happy is additional misery.
Near him is the monument of his queen, daughter of the Emperor Wenceslaus.
On the left hand is the tomb of Edward I., with this inscription:
Here lies Edward I.,
who humbled the Scots.
Be true to your engagements.
He reigned forty-six years.
The tomb of Edward III., of copper, gilt, with this epitaph:
Of English kings here lieth the beauteous flower
Of all before past, and myrror to them shall sue:
A merciful king, of peace conservator,
The third Edward, &c.
Besides the tomb are these words:
Edward III., whose fame has reached to heaven.
Fight for your country.
Here is shown his sword, eight feet in length, which they say he used in the conquest of France.
His queen’s epitaph:
Here lies Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III.
Learn to live.
At a little distance, the tomb of Henry V., with this legend:
Henry, the scourge of France, lies in this tomb.
Virtue subdues all things.
Near this lies the coffin of Catherine, unburied, and to be opened by anyone that pleases. On the outside is this inscription:
Fair Catherine is at length united to her lord.
The tomb of Henry III., of brass, gilt, with this epitaph:
Henry III., the founder of this cathedral.
War is delightful to the unexperienced.
It was this Henry who, one hundred and sixty years after Edward the Confessor had built this church, took it down, and raised an entire new one of beautiful architecture, supported by rows of marble columns, and its roof covered with sheets of lead, a work of fifty years before its completion. It has been much enlarged at the west end by the abbots. After the expulsion of the monks, it experienced many changes; first it had a dean and prebendaries; then a bishop, who, having squandered the revenues, resigned it again to a dean. In a little time, the monks with their abbot were reinstated by Queen Mary; but, they being soon ejected again by authority of parliament, it was converted into a cathedral church — nay, into a seminary for the Church — by Queen Elizabeth, who instituted there twelve prebendaries, an equal number of invalid soldiers, and forty scholars; who at a proper time are elected into the universities, and are thence transplanted into the Church and State.
Next to be seen is the tomb of Eleanor, daughter of Alphonso King of Spain, and wife of Edward I., with this inscription:
This Eleanor was consort of Edward I. A.D. 1298. Learn to die.
The tomb of Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VII.
In the middle of this chapel is the shrine of St. Edward, the last King of the Saxons. It is composed of marble in mosaic: round it runs this inscription in letters of gold:
The venerable king, St. Edward the Confessor,
A heroe adorned with every virtue.
He died on the 5th of January, 1065,
And mounted into Heaven.
Lift up your hearts.
The third choir, of surprising splendour and elegance, was added to the east end by Henry VII. for a burying-place for himself and his posterity. Here is to be seen his magnificent tomb, wrought of brass and marble, with this epitaph:
Here lies Henry VII. of that name, formerly King of England, son of Edmund, Earl of Richmond, who, ascending the throne on the twenty-second day of August, was crowned on the thirtieth of October following at Westminster, in the year of our Lord 1485. He died on the twenty-first of April, in the fifty-third year of his age, after a reign of twenty-two years and eight months wanting a day.
This monument is enclosed with rails of brass, with a long epitaph in Latin verse.
Under the same tomb lies buried Edward VI., King of England, son of Henry VIII. by Jane Seymour. He succeeded to his father when he was but nine years old, and died A.T. 1553, on the 6th of July, in the sixteenth year of his age, and of his reign the seventh, not without suspicion of poison.
Mary was proclaimed queen by the people on the 19th of July, and died in November, 1558, and is buried in some corner of the same choir, without any inscription.
Here lies Queen Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV., sister of King Edward V., wife of Henry VII., and the glorious mother of Henry VIII. She died in the Tower of London, on the eleventh of February, A.D. 1502, in the thirty-seventh year of her age.
Between the second and third choirs in the side-chapels, are the tombs of Sebert, King of the East Saxons, who built this church with stone: and
Of Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., grandmother of Henry VIII.; she gave this monastery to the monks of Winbourne, 3 who preached and taught grammar all England over, and appointed salaries to two professors of divinity, one at Oxford, another at Cambridge, where she founded two colleges to Christ and to John His disciple. She died A.D. 1463, on the third of the calends of July.
And of Margaret, Countess of Lenox, grandmother of James VI., King of Scotland.
William of Valance, half-brother of Henry III.
The Earl of Cornwall, brother of Edward III.
Upon another tomb is an honorary inscription for Frances, Duchess of Suffolk. The sense of it is,
That titles, royal birth, riches, or a large family, are of no avail:
That all are transitory; virtue alone resisting the funeral pile.
That this lady was first married to a duke, then to Stoke, a gentleman;
And lastly, by the grave espoused to CHRIST.
The next is the tomb of Lord Russell, son of the Earl of Bedford, whose lady composed the following Greek and Latin verses, and had them engraved on the marble:-
How was I startled at the cruel feast,
By death’s rude hands in horrid manner drest;
Such grief as sure no hapless woman knew,
When thy pale image lay before my view.
Thy father’s heir in beauteous form arrayed
Like flowers in spring, and fair, like them to fade;
Leaving behind unhappy wretched me,
And all thy little orphan-progeny:
Alike the beauteous face, the comely air,
The tongue persuasive, and the actions fair,
Decay: so learning too in time shall waste:
But faith, chaste lovely faith, shall ever last.
The once bright glory of his house, the pride
Of all his country, dusty ruins hide:
Mourn, hapless orphans; mourn, once happy wife;
For when he died, died all the joys of life.
Pious and just, amidst a large estate,
He got at once the name of good and great.
He made no flatt’ring parasite his guest,
But asked the good companions to the feast.
Anne, Countess of Oxford, daughter of William Cecil, Baron Burleigh, and Lord Treasurer.
Philippa, daughter and co-heiress of John, Lord Mohun of Dunster, wife of Edward, Duke of York.
Frances, Countess of Sussex, of the ancient family of Sidney.
Thomas Bromley, Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth.
The Earl of Bridgewater, 4 Lord Dawbney, Lord Chamberlain to Henry VII., and his lady.
And thus much for Westminster.
There are many other churches in this city, but none so remarkable for the tombs of persons of distinction.
Near to this church is Westminster Hall, where, besides the Sessions of Parliament, which are often held there, are the Courts of Justice; and at stated times are heard their trials in law, or concerning the king’s patrimony, or in chancery, which moderates the severity of the common law by equity. Till the time of Henry I. the Prime Court of Justice was movable, and followed the King’s Court, but he enacted by the Magna Charta that the common pleas should no longer attend his Court, but be held at some determined place. The present hall was built by King Richard II. in the place of an ancient one which he caused to be taken down. He made it part of his habitation (for at that time the Kings of England determined causes in their own proper person, and from the days of Edward the Confessor had their palace adjoining), till, above sixty years since, upon its being burnt, Henry VIII. removed the royal residence to Whitehall, situated in the neighbourhood, which a little before was the house of Cardinal Wolsey. This palace is truly royal, enclosed on one side by the Thames, on the other by a park, which connects it with St. James’s, another royal palace.
In the chamber where the Parliament is usually held, the seats and wainscot are made of wood, the growth of Ireland; said to have that occult quality, that all poisonous animals are driven away by it; and it is affirmed for certain, that in Ireland there are neither serpents, toads, nor any other venomous creature to be found.
Near this place are seen an immense number of swans, who wander up and down the river for some miles, in great security; nobody daring to molest, much less kill any of them, under penalty of a considerable fine.
In Whitehall are the following things worthy of observation:-
I. The Royal Library, well stored with Greek, Latin, Italian and French books; amongst the rest, a little one in French upon parchment, in the handwriting of the present reigning Queen Elizabeth, thus inscribed:-
To the most high, puissant, and redoubted prince, Henry VIII. of the name, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith; Elizabeth, his most humble daughter. Health and obedience.
All these books are bound in velvet in different colours, though chiefly red, with clasps of gold and silver; some have pearls and precious stones set in their bindings.
II. Two little silver cabinets of exquisite work, in which the Queen keeps her paper, and which she uses for writing boxes.
III. The Queen’s bed, ingeniously composed of woods of different colours, with quilts of silk, velvet, gold, silver, and embroidery.
IV. A little chest ornamented all over with pearls, in which the Queen keeps her bracelets, ear-rings, and other things of extraordinary value.
V. Christ’s Passion, in painted glass.
VI. Portraits: among which are, Queen Elizabeth, at sixteen years old; Henry, Richard, Edward, Kings of England; Rosamond; Lucrece, a Grecian bride, in her nuptial habit; the genealogy of the Kings of England; a picture of King Edward VI., representing at first sight something quite deformed, till by looking through a small hole in the cover which is put over it, you see it in its true proportions; Charles V., Emperor; Charles Emanuel, Duke of Savoy, and Catherine of Spain, his wife; Ferdinand, Duke of Florence, with his daughters; one of Philip, King of Spain, when he came into England and married Mary; Henry VII., Henry VIII., and his mother; besides many more of illustrious men and women; and a picture of the Siege of Malta.
VII. A small hermitage, half hid in a rock, finely carved in wood.
VIII. Variety of emblems on paper, cut in the shape of shields, with mottoes, used by the mobility at tilts and tournaments, hung up here for a memorial.
IX. Different instruments of music, upon one of which two persons may perform at the same time.
X. A piece of clock-work, an Ethiop riding upon a rhinoceros, with four attendants, who all make their obeisance when it strikes the hour; these are all put into motion by winding up the machine.
At the entrance into the park from Whitehall is this inscription:-
The fisherman who has been wounded, learns, though late, to beware;
But the unfortunate Actaeon always presses on.
The chaste virgin naturally pitied:
But the powerful goddess revenged the wrong.
Let Actaeon fall a prey to his dogs,
An example to youth,
A disgrace to those that belong to him!
May Diana live the care of Heaven;
The delight of mortals;
The security of those that belong to her! 5
In this park is great plenty of deer.
In a garden joining to this palace there is a JET D’EAU, with a sun-dial, which while strangers are looking at, a quantity of water, forced by a wheel which the gardener turns at a distance, through a number of little pipes, plentifully sprinkles those that are standing round.
Guildhall, a fine structure built by Thomas Knowles. Here are to be seen the statues of two giants, said to have assisted the English when the Romans made war upon them: Corinius of Britain, and Gogmagog of Albion. Beneath upon a table the titles of Charles V., Emperor, are written in letters of gold.
The government of London is this: the city is divided into twenty-five regions or wards; the Council is composed of twenty-four aldermen, one of whom presides over every ward. And whereas of old the chief magistrate was a portreeve, I.E., governor of the city, Richard I. appointed two bailiffs; instead of which King John gave a power by grant of choosing annually a mayor from any of the twelve principal companies, and to name two sheriffs, one of whom to be called the king’s, the other the city’s. It is scarce credible how this city increased, both in public and private buildings, upon establishing this form of government. VIDE Camden’s “Britannia,” Middlesex.
It is worthy of observation, that every year, upon St. Bartholomew’s Day, when the fair is held, it is usual for the mayor, attended by the twelve principal aldermen, to walk in a neighbouring field, dressed in his scarlet gown, and about his neck a golden chain, to which is hung a golden fleece, 6 and besides, that particular ornament 7 which distinguishes the most noble order of the garter. During the year of his magistracy, he is obliged to live so magnificently, that foreigner or native, without any expense, is free, if he can find a chair empty, to dine at his table, where there is always the greatest plenty. When the mayor goes out of the precincts of the city, a sceptre, a sword, and a cap, are borne before him, and he is followed by the principal aldermen in scarlet gowns, with gold chains; himself and they on horseback. Upon their arrival at a place appointed for that purpose, where a tent is pitched, the mob begin to wrestle before them, two at a time; the conquerors receive rewards from the magistrates. After this is over, a parcel of live rabbits are turned loose among the crowd, which are pursued by a number of boys, who endeavour to catch them, with all the noise they can make. While we were at this show, one of our company, Tobias Salander, doctor of physic, had his pocket picked of his purse, with nine crowns du soleil, which, without doubt, was so cleverly taken from him by an Englishman who always kept very close to him, that the doctor did not in the least perceive it.
The Castle or Tower of London, called Bringwin, and Tourgwin, in Welsh, from its whiteness, is encompassed by a very deep and broad ditch, as well as a double wall very high. In the middle of the whole is that very ancient and very strong tower, enclosed with four others, which, in the opinion of some, was built by Julius Caesar. Upon entering the tower, we were obliged to quit our swords at the gate and deliver them to the guard. When we were introduced, we were shown above a hundred pieces of arras belonging to the Crown, made of gold, silver, and silk; several saddles covered with velvet of different colours; an immense quantity of bed-furniture, such as canopies, and the like, some of them most richly ornamented with pearl; some royal dresses, so extremely magnificent as to raise any one’s admiration at the sums they must have cost. We were next led into the Armoury, in which are these particularities:— Spears, out of which you may shoot; shields, that will give fire four times; a great many rich halberds, commonly called partisans, with which the guard defend the royal person in battle; some lances, covered with red and green velvet, and the body-armour of Henry VIII.; many and very beautiful arms, as well for men as for horses in horse-fights; the lance of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, three spans thick; two pieces of cannon, the one fires three, the other seven balls at a time; two others made of wood, which the English has at the siege of Boulogne, in France. And by this stratagem, without which they could not have succeeded, they struck a terror into the inhabitants, as at the appearance of artillery, and the town was surrendered upon articles; nineteen cannon of a thicker make than ordinary, and in a room apart; thirty-six of a smaller; other cannon for chain-shot; and balls proper to bring down masts of ships. Cross-bows, bows and arrows, of which to this day the English make great use in their exercises; but who can relate all that is to be seen here? Eight or nine men employed by the year are scarce sufficient to keep all the arms bright.
The Mint for coining money is in the Tower.
N.B. — It is to be noted, that when any of the nobility are sent hither, on the charge of high crimes, punishable with death, such as treason, &c., they seldom or never recover their liberty. Here was beheaded Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII., and lies buried in the chapel, but without any inscription; and Queen Elizabeth was kept prisoner here by her sister, Queen Mary, at whose death she was enlarged, and by right called to the throne.
On coming out of the Tower, we were led to a small house close by, where are kept variety of creatures, viz. — three lionesses; one lion of great size, called Edward VI. from his having been born in that reign: a tiger; a lynx; a wolf excessively old — this is a very scarce animal in England, so that their sheep and cattle stray about in great numbers, free from any danger, though without anybody to keep them; there is, besides, a porcupine, and an eagle. All these creatures are kept in a remote place, fitted up for the purpose with wooden lattices, at the Queen’s expense.
Near to this Tower is a large open space; on the highest part of it is erected a wooden scaffold, for the execution of noble criminals; upon which, they say, three princes of England, the last of their families, have been beheaded for high treason; on the bank of the Thames close by are a great many cannon, such chiefly as are used at sea.
The next thing worthy of note is the Royal Exchange, so named by Queen Elizabeth, built by Sir Thomas Gresham, citizen, for public ornament and the convenience of merchants. It has a great effect, whether you consider the stateliness of the building, the assemblage of different nations, or the quantities of merchandise. I shall say nothing of the hall belonging to the Hans Society; or of the conveyance of water to all parts of the town by subterraneous pipes, nor the beautiful conduits and cisterns for the reception of it; nor of the raising of water out of the Thames by a wheel, invented a few years since by a German.
Bridewell, at present the House of Correction; it was built in six weeks for the reception of the Emperor Charles V.
A Hall built by a cobbler and bestowed on the city, where are exposed to sale, three times in a week, corn, wool, cloth, fruits, and the like.
Without the city are some theatres, where English actors represent almost every day tragedies and comedies to a very numerous audiences; these are concluded with excellent music, variety of dances, and the excessive applause of those that are present.
Not far from one of these theatres, which are all built of wood, lies the royal barge, close to the river. It has two splendid cabins, beautifully ornamented with glass windows, painting, and gilding; it is kept upon dry ground, and sheltered from the weather.
There is still another place, built in the form of a theatre, which serves for the baiting of bulls and bears; they are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs, but not without great risk to the dogs, from the horns of the one and the teeth of the other; and it sometimes happens that they are killed upon the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the places of those that are wounded or tired. To this entertainment there often follows that of whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men, standing circularly with whips, which they exercise upon him without any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain; he defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all who come within his reach and are not active enough to get out of it, and tearing the whips out of their hands and breaking them. At these spectacles, and everywhere else, the English are constantly smoking tobacco; and in this manner — they have pipes on purpose made of clay, into the farther end of which they put the herb, so dry that it may be rubbed into powder, and putting fire to it, they draw the smoke into their mouths, which they puff out again through their nostrils like funnels, along with it plenty of phlegm and defluxion from the head. In these theatres, fruits, such as apples, pears, and nuts, according to the season, are carried about to be sold, as well as ale and wine.
There are fifteen colleges within and without the city, nobly built, with beautiful gardens adjoining. Of these the three principal are:-
I. The Temple, inhabited formerly by the Knights Templars; it seems to have taken its name from the old temple, or church, which has a round tower added to it, under which lied buried those Kings of Denmark that reigned in England.
II. Gray’s Inn. And,
III. Lincoln’s Inn.
In these colleges numbers of young nobility, gentry, and others, are educated, and chiefly in the study of physic, for very few apply themselves to that of the law; they are allowed a very good table, and silver cups to drink out of. Once a person of distinction, who could not help being surprised at the great number of cups, said, “He should have thought it more suitable to the life of students, if they had used rather glass, or earthenware, than silver.” The college answered, “They were ready to make him a present of all their plate, provided he would undertake to supply them with all the glass and earthenware they should have a demand for; since it was very likely he would find the expense, from constant breaking, exceed the value of the silver.”
The streets in this city are very handsome and clean; but that which is named from the goldsmiths who inhabit it, surpasses all the rest; there is in it a gilt tower, with a fountain that plays. Near it, on the farther side, is a handsome house built by a goldsmith and presented by him to the city. There are besides to be seen in this street, as in all others where there are goldsmiths’ shops, all sorts of gold and silver vessels exposed to sale, as well as ancient and modern medals, in such quantities as must surprise a man the first time he sees and considers them.
Fitz-Stephen, a writer of English history, reckoned in his time in London one hundred and twenty-seven parish churches, and thirteen belonging to convents; he mentions, besides, that upon a review there of men able to bear arms, the people brought into the field under their colours forty thousand foot and twenty thousand horse. VIDE Camden’s “Britannia,” Middlesex.
The best oysters are sold here in great quantities.
Everybody knows that English cloth is much approved of for the goodness of the materials, and imported into all the kingdoms and provinces of Europe.
We were shown, at the house of Leonard Smith, a tailor, a most perfect looking-glass, ornamented with gold, pearl, silver, and velvet, so richly as to be estimated at five hundred ecus du soleil. We saw at the same place the hippocamp and eagle stone, both very curious and rare.
And thus much of London.
Upon taking the air down the river, the first thing that struck us was the ship of that noble pirate, Sir Francis Drake, in which he is said to have surrounded this globe of earth. On the left hand lies Ratcliffe, a considerable suburb: on the opposite shore is fixed a long pole with ram’s-horns upon it, the intention of which was vulgarly said to be a reflection upon wilful and contented cuckolds.
We arrived next at the royal palace of Greenwich, reported to have been originally built by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and to have received very magnificent additions from Henry VII. It was here Elizabeth, the present Queen, was born, and her she generally resides, particularly in summer, for the delightfulness of its situation. We were admitted, by an order Mr. Rogers had procured from the Lord Chamberlain, into the presence chamber, hung with rich tapestry, and the floor, after the English fashion, strewed with hay, 8 through which the Queen commonly passes on her way to chapel. At the door stood a gentleman dressed in velvet, with a gold chain, whose office was to introduce to the Queen any person of distinction that came to wait on her; it was Sunday, when there is usually the greatest attendance of nobility. In the same hall were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, a great number of Councillors of State, officers of the Crown, and gentlemen, who waited the Queen’s coming out; which she did from her own apartment when it was time to go to prayers, attended in the following manner:-
First went gentlemen, barons, earls, Knights of the Garter, all richly dressed and bareheaded; next came the Chancellor, bearing the seals in a red silk purse, between two, one of whom carried the Royal sceptre, the other the sword of state, in a red scabbard, studded with golden FLEURS DE LIS, the point upwards: next came the Queen, in the sixty-fifth year of her age, as we were told, very majestic; her face oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her eyes small, yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow, and her teeth black (a defect the English seem subject to, from their too great use of sugar); she had in her ears two pearls, with very rich drops; she wore false hair, and that red; upon her head she had a small crown, reported to be made of some of the gold of the celebrated Lunebourg table; her bosom was uncovered, as all the English ladies have it till they marry; and she had on a necklace of exceeding fine jewels; her hands were small, her fingers long, and her stature neither tall nor low; her air was stately, her manner of speaking mild and obliging. That day she was dressed in white silk, bordered with pearls of the size of beans, and over it a mantle of black silk, shot with silver threads; her train was very long, the end of it borne by a marchioness; instead of a chain, she had an oblong collar of gold and jewels. As she went along in all this state and magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first to one, then to another, whether foreign Ministers, or those who attended for different reasons, in English, French, and Italian; for, besides being well skilled in Greek, Latin, and the languages I have mentioned, she is mistress of Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch. Whoever speaks to her, it is kneeling; now and then she raises some with her hand. While we were there, W. Slawata, a Bohemian baron, had letters to present to her; and she, after pulling off her glove, gave him her right hand to kiss, sparkling with rings and jewels, a mark of particular favour. Wherever she turned her face, as she was going along, everybody fell down on their knees. 9 The ladies of the court followed next to her, very handsome and well-shaped, and for the most part dressed in white. She was guarded on each side by the gentlemen pensioners, fifty in number, with gilt battle-axes. In the ante-chapel, next the hall where we were, petitions were presented to her, and she received them most graciously, which occasioned the acclamation of “Long Live Queen Elizabeth!” She answered it with “I thank you, my good people.” In the chapel was excellent music; as soon as it and the service were over, which scarce exceeded half an hour, the Queen returned in the same state and order, and prepared to go to dinner. But while she was still at prayers, we saw her table set out with the following solemnity:-
A gentleman entered the room bearing a rod, and along with him another who had a table-cloth which, after they had both kneeled three times with the utmost veneration, he spread upon the table, and, after kneeling again, they both retired. Then came two others, one with the rod again, the other with a salt-cellar, a plate, and bread; when they had kneeled as the others had done, and placed what was brought upon the table, they too retired with the same ceremonies performed by the first. At last came an unmarried lady (we were told she was a countess), and along with her a married one, bearing a tasting-knife; the former was dressed in white silk, who, when she had prostrated herself three times in the most graceful manner, approached the table and rubbed the plates with bread and salt with as much awe as if the Queen had been present. When they had waited there a little while, the yeomen of the guards entered, bareheaded, clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose upon their backs, bringing in at each turn a course of twenty-four dishes, served in plate, most of it gilt; these dishes were received by a gentleman in the same order they were brought, and placed upon the table, while the lady taster gave to each of the guard a mouthful to eat of the particular dish he had brought, for fear of any poison. During the time that this guard, which consists of the tallest and stoutest men that can be found in all England, being carefully selected for this service, were bringing dinner, twelve trumpets and two kettledrums made the hall ring for half an hour together. At the end of all this ceremonial, a number of unmarried ladies appeared, who, with particular solemnity, lifted the meat off the table, and conveyed it into the Queen’s inner and more private chamber, where, after she had chosen for herself, the rest goes to the ladies of the Court.
The Queen dines and sups alone with very few attendants, and it is very seldom that anybody, foreigner or native, is admitted at that time, and then only at the intercession of somebody in power.
Near this palace is the Queen’s park, stocked with deer. Such parks are common throughout England, belonging to those that are distinguished either for their rank or riches. In the middle of this is an old square tower, called Mirefleur, supposed to be that mentioned in the romance of “Amadis de Gaul;” and joining to it a plain, where knights and other gentlemen use to meet, at set times and holidays, to exercise on horseback.
We left London in a coach, in order to see the remarkable places in its neighbourhood.
The first was Theobalds, belonging to Lord Burleigh, the Treasurer. In the gallery was painted the genealogy of the Kings of England; from this place one goes into the garden, encompassed with a ditch full of water, large enough for one to have the pleasure of going in a boat and rowing between the shrubs; here are great variety of trees and plants, labyrinths made with a great deal of labour, a JET D’EAU, with its basin of white marble, and columns and pyramids of wood and other materials up and down the garden. After seeing these, we were led by the gardener into the summer-house, in the lower part of which, built semicircularly, are the twelve Roman emperors in white marble, and a table of touchstone; the upper part of it is set round with cisterns of lead, into which the water is conveyed through pipes, so that fish may be kept in them, and in summer-time they are very convenient for bathing. In another room for entertainment, very near this, and joined to it by a little bridge, was an oval table of red marble. We were not admitted to see the apartments of this palace, there being nobody to show it, as the family was in town, attending the funeral of their lord. 10
Hoddesdon, a village.
Ware, a market town.
Puckeridge, a village; this was the first place where we observed that the beds at inns were made by the waiters.
Camboritum, Cantabrigium and Cantabrigia, now called Cambridge, a celebrated town, so named from the river Cam, which after washing the western side, playing through islands, turns to the east, and divides the town into two parts, which are joined by a bridge, whence its modern name — formerly it had the Saxon one of Grantbridge. Beyond this bridge is an ancient and large castle, said to be built by the Danes: on this side, where far the greater part of the town stands, all is splendid; the streets fine, the churches numerous, and those seats of the Muses, the colleges, most beautiful; in these a great number of learned men are supported, and the studies of all polite sciences and languages flourish.
I think proper to mention some few things about the foundation of this University and its colleges. Cantaber, a Spaniard, is thought to have first instituted this academy 375 years before Christ, and Sebert, King of the East Angles, to have restored it A.D. 630. It was afterwards subverted in the confusion under the Danes, and lay long neglected, till upon the Norman Conquest everything began to brighten up again: from that time inns and halls for the convenient lodging of students began to be built, but without any revenues annexed to them.
The first college, called Peter House, was built and endowed by Hugh Balsam, Bishop of Ely, A.D. 1280; and, in imitation of him, Richard Badew, with the assistance of Elizabeth Burke, Countess of Clare and Ulster, founded Clare Hall in 1326; Mary de St. Paul, Countess of Pembroke, Pembroke Hall in 1343; the Monks of Corpus Christi, the college of the same name, though it has besides that of Bennet; John Craudene, Trinity Hall, 1354; Edmond Gonville, in 1348, and John Caius, a physician in our times, Gonville and Caius College; King Henry VI., King’s College, in 1441, adding to it a chapel that may justly claim a place among the most beautiful buildings in the world. On its right side is a fine library, where we saw the “Book of Psalms” in manuscript, upon parchment four spans in length and three broad, taken from the Spaniards at the siege of Cadiz, and thence brought into England with other rich spoils. Margaret of Anjou, his wife, founded Queen’s College, 1448, at the same time that John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, built Jesus College; Robert Woodlarke, Catherine Hall; Margaret of Richmond, mother of King Henry VII., Christ’s and St. John’s Colleges, about 1506; Thomas Audley, Chancellor of England, Magdalen College, much increased since both in buildings and revenue by Christopher Wray, Lord Chief Justice; and the most potent King Henry VIII. erected Trinity College for religion and polite letters — in its chapel is the tomb of Dr. Whitacre, with an inscription in gold letters upon marble; Emanuel College, built in our own times by the most honourable and prudent Sir Walter Mildmay, one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council; and lastly, Sidney College, now first building by the executors of the Lady Frances Sidney, 11 Countess of Sussex.
We must note here that there is certain sect in England called Puritans; these, according to the doctrine of the Church of Geneva, reject all ceremonies anciently held, and admit of neither organs nor tombs in their places of worship, and entirely abhor all difference in rank among Churchmen, such as bishops, deans, &c.; they were first named Puritans by the Jesuit Sandys. They do not live separate, but mix with those of the Church of England in the colleges.
Potton, a village.
Ampthill, a town; here we saw immense numbers of rabbits, which are reckoned as good as hares, and are very well tasted.
We passed through the towns of Woburn, Leighton, Aylesbury, and Wheatley.
Oxonium, Oxford, the famed Athens of England; that glorious seminary of learning and wisdom, whence religion, politeness, and letters, are abundantly dispersed into all parts of the kingdom. The town is remarkably fine, whether you consider the elegance of its private buildings, the magnificence of its public ones, or the beauty and wholesomeness of its situation, which is on a plain, encompassed in such a manner with hills, shaded with wood, as to be sheltered on the one hand from the sickly south, and on the other from the blustering west, but open to the east, that blows serene weather, and to the north, the preventer of corruption, from which, in the opinion of some, it formerly obtained the appellation of Bellositum. This town is watered by two rivers, the Cherwell and the Isis, vulgarly called the Ouse; and though these streams join in the same channel, yet the Isis runs more entire and with more rapidity towards the south, retaining its name till it meets the Thame, which it seems long to have sought, at Wallingford; thence, called by the compound name of Thames, it flows the prince of all British rivers, of whom we may justly say, as the ancients did of the Euphrates, that it both sows and waters England.
The colleges in this famous University are as follows:-
In the reign of Henry III., Walter Merton, Bishop of Rochester, removed the college he had founded in Surrey, 1274, to Oxford, enriched it, and named it Merton College; and soon after, William, Archdeacon of Durham, restored, with additions, that building of Alfred’s now called University College; in the reign of Edward I., John Baliol, King of Scotland, or, as some will have it, his parents, founded Baliol College; in the reign of Edward II., Walter Stapleton, Bishop of Exeter, founded Exeter College and Hart Hall; and, in imitation of him, the King, King’s College, commonly called Oriel, and St. Mary’s Hall; next, Philippa, wife of Edward III., built Queen’s College; and Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canterbury College; William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, raised that magnificent structure called New College; Magdalen College was built by William Wainflete, Bishop of Winchester, a noble edifice, finely situated and delightful for its walks; at the same time, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, that great encourager of learning, built the Divinity School very splendidly, and over it a library, to which he gave an hundred and twenty-nine very choice books, purchased at a great price from Italy, but the public has long since been robbed of the use of them by the avarice of particulars: Lincoln College; All Souls’ College; St. Bernard’s College; Brazen-Nose College, founded by William Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, in the reign of Henry VII.; its revenues were augmented by Alexander Nowel, Dean of St. Paul’s, London; upon the gate of this college is fixed a nose of brass; Corpus Christi College, built by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester — under his picture in the College chapel are lines importing that it is the exact representation of his person and dress.
Christ’s Church, the largest and most elegant of them all, was begun on the ground of St. Frideswide’s Monastery, by Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal of York, to which Henry VIII. joined Canterbury College, settled great revenues upon it, and named it Christ’s Church; the same great prince, out of his own treasury, to the dignity of the town and ornament of the University, made the one a bishoprie, and instituted professorships in the other.
Jesus College, built by Hugh Price, Doctor of Laws.
That fine edifice, the Public Schools, was entirely raised by Queen Mary, and adorned with various inscriptions.
Thus far of the colleges and halls, which for the beauty of their buildings, their rich endowments, and copious libraries, excel all the academies in the Christian world. We shall add a little of the academies themselves, and those that inhabit them.
These students lead a life almost monastic; for as the monks had nothing in the world to do but when they had said their prayers at stated hours to employ themselves in instructive studies, no more have these. They are divided into three tables: the first is called the Fellows’ table, to which are admitted earls, barons, gentlemen, doctors, and Masters of Arts, but very few of the latter — this is more plentifully and expensively served than the others; the second is for Masters of Arts, Bachelors, some gentlemen, and eminent citizens; the third for people of low condition. While the rest are at dinner or supper in a great hall, where they are all assembled, one of the students reads aloud the Bible, which is placed on a desk in the middle of the hall, and this office every one of them takes upon himself in his turn. As soon as grace is said after each meal, every one is at liberty either to retire to his own chambers or to walk in the College garden, there being none that has not a delightful one. Their habit is almost the same as that of the Jesuits, their gowns reaching down to their ankles, sometimes lined with fur; they wear square caps. The doctors, Masters of Arts, and professors, have another kind of gown that distinguishes them. Every student of any considerable standing has a key to the College library, for no college is without one.
In an out-part of the town are the remains of a pretty large fortification, but quite in ruins. We were entertained at supper with an excellent concert, composed of a variety of instruments.
The next day we went as far as the Royal Palace of Woodstock, where King Ethelred formerly held a Parliament, and enacted certain laws. This palace, abounding in magnificence, was built by Henry I., to which he joined a very large park, enclosed with a wall; according to John Rosse, the first park in England. In this very palace the present reigning Queen Elizabeth, before she was confined to the Tower, was kept prisoner by her sister Mary. While she was detained here, in the utmost peril of her life, she wrote with a piece of charcoal the following verse, composed by herself, upon a window shutter:-
“O Fortune! how thy restless wavering state
Hath fraught with cares my troubled wit!
Witness this present prison whither fate
Hath borne me, and the joys I quit.
Thou causedest the guilty to be loosed
From bands wherewith are innocents enclosed;
Causing the guiltless to be strait reserved,
And freeing those that death had well deserved:
But by her envy can be nothing wrought,
So God send to my foes all they have thought.
Not far from this palace are to be seen, near a spring of the brightest water, the ruins of the habitation of Rosamond Clifford, whose exquisite beauty so entirely captivated the heart of King Henry II. that he lost the thought of all other women; she is said to have been poisoned at last by the Queen. All that remains of her tomb of stone, the letters of which are almost worn out, is the following:-
“ . . . Adorent,
Utque tibi detur requies Rosamunda precamur.”
The rhyming epitaph following was probably the performance of some monk:-
“Hic jacet in tumba Rosamundi non Rosamunda,
Non redolet sed olet, quae redolere solet.”
Returning from hence to Oxford, after dinner we proceeded on our journey, and passed through Ewhelme, a royal palace, in which some alms-people are supported by an allowance from the Crown.
Nettlebed, a village.
We went through the little town of Henley; from hence the Chiltern Hills bear north in a continued ridge, and divide the counties of Oxford and Buckingham.
We passed Maidenhead.
Windsor, a royal castle, supposed to have been begun by King Arthur, its buildings much increased by Edward III. The situation is entirely worthy of being a royal residence, a more beautiful being scarce to be found; for, from the brow of a gentle rising, it enjoys the prospect of an even and green country; its front commands a valley extended every way, and chequered with arable lands and pasturage, clothed up and down with groves, and watered by that gentlest of rivers, the Thames; behind rise several hills, but neither steep nor very high, crowned with woods, and seeming designed by Nature herself for the purpose of hunting.
The Kings of England, invited by the deliciousness of the place, very often retire hither; and here was born the conqueror of France, the glorious King Edward III., who built the castle new from the ground, and thoroughly fortified it with trenches, and towers of square stone, and, having soon after subdued in battle John, King of France, and David, King of Scotland, he detained them both prisoners here at the same time. This castle, besides being the Royal Palace, and having some magnificent tombs of the Kings of England, is famous for the ceremonies belonging to the Knights of the Garter. This Order was instituted by Edward III., the same who triumphed so illustriously over John, King of France. The Knights of the Garter are strictly chosen for their military virtues, and antiquity of family; they are bound by solemn oath and vow to mutual and perpetual friendship among themselves, and to the not avoiding any danger whatever, or even death itself, to support, by their joint endeavours, the honour of the Society; they are styled Companions of the Garter, from their wearing below the left knee a purple garter, inscribed in letters of gold with “HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE,” I.E., “Evil to him that evil thinks.” This they wear upon the left leg, in memory of one which, happening to untie, was let fall by a great lady, passionately beloved by Edward, while she was dancing, and was immediately snatched up by the King, who, to do honour to the lady, not out of any trifling gallantry, but with a most serious and honourable purpose, dedicated it to the legs of the most distinguished nobility. The ceremonies of this Society are celebrated every year at Windsor on St. George’s Day, the tutelar saint of the Order, the King presiding; and the custom is that the Knights Companions should hang up their helmet and shield, with their arms blazoned on it, in some conspicuous part of the church.
There are three principal and very large courts in Windsor Castle, which give great pleasure to the beholders: the first is enclosed with most elegant buildings of white stone, flat-roofed, and covered with lead; here the Knights of the Garter are lodged; in the middle is a detached house, remarkable for its high tower, which the governor inhabits. In this is the public kitchen, well furnished with proper utensils, besides a spacious dining-room, where all the poor Knights eat at the same table, for into this Society of the Garter, the King and Sovereign elects, at his own choice, certain persons, who must be gentlemen of three descents, and such as, for their age and the straitness of their fortunes, are fitter for saying their prayers than for the service of war; to each of them is assigned a pension of eighteen pounds per annum and clothes. The chief institution of so magnificent a foundation is, that they should say their daily prayers to God for the King’s safety, and the happy administration for the kingdom, to which purpose they attend the service, meeting twice every day at chapel. The left side of this court is ornamented by a most magnificent chapel of one hundred and thirty-four paces in length, and sixteen in breadth; in this are eighteen seats fitted up in the time of Edward III. for an equal number of Knights: this venerable building is decorated with the noble monuments of Edward IV., Henry VI., and VIII., and of his wife Queen Jane. It receives from royal liberality the annual income of two thousand pounds, and that still much increased by the munificence of Edward III. and Henry VII. The greatest princes in Christendom have taken it for the highest honour to be admitted into the Order of the Garter; and since its first institution about twenty kings, besides those of England, who are the sovereigns of it, not to mention dukes and persons of the greatest figure, have been of it. It consists of twenty-six Companions.
In the inward choir of the chapel are hung up sixteen coats-of-arms, swords, and banners; among which are those of Charles V. and Rodolphus II., Emperors; of Philip of Spain; Henry III. of France; Frederic II. of Denmark, &c.; of Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine; and other Christian princes who have been chosen into this Order.
In the back choir, or additional chapel, are shown preparations made by Cardinal Wolsey, who was afterwards capitally punished, 12 for his own tomb; consisting of eight large brazen columns placed round it, and nearer the tomb four others in the shape of candlesticks; the tomb itself is of white and black marble; all which are reserved, according to report, for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth; the expenses already made for that purpose are estimated at upwards of 60,000 pounds. In the same chapel is the surcoat 13 of Edward III., and the tomb of Edward Fynes, Earl of Lincoln, Baron Clinton and Say, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and formerly Lord High Admiral of England.
The second court of Windsor Castle stands upon higher ground, and is enclosed with walls of great strength, and beautified with fine buildings and a tower; it was an ancient castle, of which old annals speak in this manner: King Edward, A.D. 1359, began a new building in that part of the Castle of Windsor where he was born; for which reason he took care it should be decorated with larger and finer edifices than the rest. In this part were kept prisoners John, King of France, and David, King of Scots, over whom Edward triumphed at one and the same time: it was by their advice, struck with the advantage of its situation, and with the sums paid for their ransom, that by degrees this castle stretched to such magnificence, as to appear no longer a fortress, but a town of proper extent, and inexpugnable to any human force. This particular part of the castle was built at the sole expense of the King of Scotland, except one tower, which, from its having been erected by the Bishop of Winchester, Prelate of the Order, is called Winchester Tower; 14 there are a hundred steps to it, so ingeniously contrived that horses can easily ascend them; it is a hundred and fifty paces in circuit; within it are preserved all manner of arms necessary for the defence of the place.
The third court is much the largest of any, built at the expense of the captive King of France; as it stands higher, so it greatly excels the two former in splendour and elegance; it has one hundred and forty-eight paces in length, and ninety-seven in breadth; in the middle of it is a fountain of very clear water, brought under ground, at an excessive expense, from the distance of four miles. Towards the east are magnificent apartments destined for the royal household; towards the west is a tennis-court for the amusement of the Court; on the north side are the royal apartments, consisting of magnificent chambers, halls, and bathing-rooms, 15 and a private chapel, the roof of which is embellished with golden roses and FLEURS-DE-LIS: in this, too, is that very large banqueting-room, seventy-eight paces long, and thirty wide, in which the Knights of the Garter annually celebrate the memory of their tutelar saint, St. George, with a solemn and most pompous service.
From hence runs a walk of incredible beauty, three hundred and eighty paces in length, set round on every side with supporters of wood, which sustain a balcony, from whence the nobility and persons of distinction can take the pleasure of seeing hunting and hawking in a lawn of sufficient space; for the fields and meadows, clad with variety of plants and flowers, swell gradually into hills of perpetual verdure quite up to the castle, and at bottom stretch out in an extended plain, that strikes the beholders with delight.
Besides what has been already mentioned, there are worthy of notice here two bathing-rooms, ceiled and wainscoted with looking-glass; the chamber in which Henry VI. was born; Queen Elizabeth’s bedchamber, where is a table of red marble with white streaks; a gallery everywhere ornamented with emblems and figures; a chamber in which are the royal beds of Henry VII. and his Queen, of Edward VI., of Henry VIII., and of Anne Boleyn, all of them eleven feet square, and covered with quilts shining with gold and silver; Queen Elizabeth’s bed, with curious coverings of embroidery, but not quite so long or large as the others; a piece of tapestry, in which is represented Clovis, King of France, with an angel presenting to him the FLEURS-DE-LIS to be borne in his arms; for before his time the Kings of France bore three toads in their shield, instead of which they afterwards placed three FLEURS-DE-LIS on a blue field; this antique tapestry is said to have been taken from a King of France, while the English were masters there. We were shown here, among other things, the horn of a unicorn, of above eight spans and a half in length, valued at above 10,000 pounds; the bird of paradise, three spans long, three fingers broad, having a blue bill of the length of half an inch, the upper part of its head yellow, the nether part of a . . . colour; 16 a little lower from either side of its throat stick out some reddish feathers, as well as from its back and the rest of its body; its wings, of a yellow colour, are twice as long as the bird itself; from its back grow out lengthways two fibres or nerves, bigger at their ends, but like a pretty strong thread, of a leaden colour, inclining to black, with which, as it has not feet, it is said to fasten itself to trees when it wants to rest; a cushion most curiously wrought by Queen Elizabeth’s own hands.
In the precincts of Windsor, on the other side the Thames, both whose banks are joined by a bridge of wood, is Eton, a well-built College, and famous school for polite letters, founded by Henry VI.; where, besides a master, eight fellows and chanters, sixty boys are maintained gratis. They are taught grammar, and remain in the school till, upon trial made of their genius and progress in study, they are sent to the University of Cambridge.
As we were returning to our inn, we happened to meet some country people CELEBRATING THEIR HARVEST HOME; their last load of corn they crown with flowers, having besides an image richly dressed, by which, perhaps, they would signify Ceres; this they keep moving about, while men and women, men and maid servants, riding through the streets in the cart, shout as loud as they can till they arrive at the barn. The farmers here do not bind up their corn in sheaves, as they do with us, but directly as they have reaped or mowed it, put it into carts, and convey it into their barns.
We went through the town of Staines.
Hampton Court, a Royal Palace, magnificently built with brick by Cardinal Wolsey in ostentation of his wealth, where he enclosed five very ample courts, consisting of noble edifices in very beautiful work. Over the gate in the second area is the Queen’s device, a golden Rose, with this motto, “Dieu et mon Droit:” on the inward side of this gate are the effigies of the twelve Roman Emperors in plaster. The chief area is paved with square stone; in its centre is a fountain that throws up water, covered with a gilt crown, on the top of which is a statue of Justice, supported by columns of black and white marble. The chapel of this palace is most splendid, in which the Queen’s closet is quite transparent, having its window of crystal. We were led into two chambers, called the presence, or chambers of audience, which shone with tapestry of gold and silver and silk of different colours: under the canopy of state are these words embroidered in pearl, “VIVAT HENRICUS OCTAVUS.” Here is besides a small chapel richly hung with tapestry, where the Queen performs her devotions. In her bedchamber the bed was covered with very costly coverlids of silk: at no great distance from this room we were shown a bed, the tester of which was worked by Anne Boleyn, and presented by her to her husband Henry VIII. All the other rooms, being very numerous, are adorned with tapestry of gold, silver, and velvet, in some of which were woven history pieces; in others, Turkish and American dresses, all extremely natural.
In the hall are these curiosities:
A very clear looking-glass, ornamented with columns and little images of alabaster; a portrait of Edward VI., brother to Queen Elizabeth; the true portrait of Lucretia; a picture of the battle of Pavia; the history of Christ’s passion, carved in mother-of-pearl; the portraits of Mary Queen of Scots, who was beheaded, and her daughter; 17 the picture of Ferdinand, Prince of Spain, and of Philip his son; that of Henry VIII. — under it was placed the Bible curiously written upon parchment; an artificial sphere; several musical instruments; in the tapestry are represented negroes riding upon elephants. The bed in which Edward VI. is said to have been born, and where his mother Jane Seymour died in child-bed. In one chamber were several excessively rich tapestries, which are hung up when the Queen gives audience to foreign ambassadors; there were numbers of cushions ornamented with gold and silver; many counterpanes and coverlids of beds lined with ermine: in short, all the walls of the palace shine with gold and silver. Here is besides a certain cabinet called Paradise, where besides that everything glitters so with silver, gold, and jewels, as to dazzle one’s eyes, there is a musical instrument made all of glass, except the strings. Afterwards we were led into the gardens, which are most pleasant; here we saw rosemary so planted and nailed to the walls as to cover them entirely, which is a method exceeding common in England.
Kingston, a market town.
Nonesuch, a royal retreat, in a place formerly called Cuddington, a very healthful situation, chosen by King Henry VIII. for his pleasure and retirement, and built by him with an excess of magnificence and elegance, even to ostentation: one would imagine everything that architecture can perform to have been employed in this one work. There are everywhere so many statues that seem to breathe so many miracles of consummate art, so many casts that rival even the perfection of Roman antiquity, that it may well claim and justify its name of Nonesuch, being without an equal; or as the post sung —
“This, which no equal has in art or fame,
Britons deservedly do NONESUCH name.”
The palace itself is so encompassed with parks full of deer, delicious gardens, groves ornamented with trellis-work, cabinets of verdure, and walks so embrowned by trees, that it seems to be a place pitched upon by Pleasure herself, to dwell in along with Health.
In the pleasure and artificial gardens are many columns and pyramids of marble, two fountains that spout water one round the other like a pyramid, upon which are perched small birds that stream water out of their bills. In the Grove of Diana is a very agreeable fountain, with Actaeon turned into a stag, as he was sprinkled by the goddess and her nymphs, with inscriptions.
There is besides another pyramid of marble full of concealed pipes, which spurt upon all who come within their reach.
Returned from hence to London.
1 His name was Sir Thomas Falconer.
2 This is not true, for her legitimacy was with good reason contested.
3 This is a mistake; her epitaph says stipendia constituit tribus hoc coenobio monachis et doctori grammatices apud Wynbourne.
4 Sir Giles Dawbney; he was not Earl of Bridgewater, not a Lord.
5 This romantic inscription probably alluded to Philip II., who wooed the Queen after her sister’s death; and to the destruction of his Armada.
6 This probably alluded to the woollen manufacture; Stow mentions his riding through the Cloth Fair on the Eve of St. Bartholomew.
7 The collar of SS.
8 He probably means rushes.
9 Her father had been treated with the same deference. It is mentioned by Foxe in his “Acts and Monuments,” that when the Lord Chancellor went to apprehend Queen Catherine Parr, he spoke to the King on his knees. King James I. suffered his courtiers to omit it.
10 Lord Treasurer Burleigh died August 4, 1598.
11 She was the daughter, sister, and aunt, of Sir William, Henry, and Sir Philip Sidney.
12 This was a strange blunder to be made so near the time, about so remarkable a person, unless he concluded that whoever displeased Henry VIII. was of course put to death.
13 This is a mistake; it was the surcoat of Edward IV., enriched with rubies, and was preserved here till the civil war.
14 This is confounded with the Round Tower.
15 It is not clear what the author means by hypocaustis; I have translated it bathing-rooms; it might mean only chambers with stoves.
16 The original is optici; it is impossible to guess what colour he meant.
17 Here are several mistakes.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55