Project Gutenberg's England, Picturesque and Descriptive, by Joel Cook

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Title: England, Picturesque and Descriptive
       A Reminiscence of Foreign Travel

Author: Joel Cook

Release Date: August 24, 2009 [EBook #29787]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Sigal Alon, Janet Blenkinship and the Online
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[Pg 2] Copyright

Press of Henry B. Ashmead, Philada.
Electrotyped by Westcott & Thomson, Philada.
[Pg 3]







This Work on England,


[Pg 4]
[Pg 5]


No land possesses greater attractions for the American tourist than England. It was the home of his forefathers; its history is to a great extent the history of his own country; and he is bound to it by the powerful ties of consanguinity, language, laws, and customs. When the American treads the busy London streets, threads the intricacies of the Liverpool docks and shipping, wanders along the green lanes of Devonshire, climbs Alnwick's castellated walls, or floats upon the placid bosom of the picturesque Wye, he seems almost as much at home as in his native land. But, apart from these considerations of common Anglo-Saxon paternity, no country in the world is more interesting to the intelligent traveller than England. The British system of entail, whatever may be our opinion of its political and economic merits, has built up vast estates and preserved the stately homes, renowned castles, and ivy-clad ruins of ancient and celebrated structures, to an extent and variety that no other land can show. The remains of the abbeys, castles, churches, and ancient fortresses in England and Wales that war and time together have crumbled and scarred tell the history of centuries, while countless legends of the olden time are revived as the tourist passes them in review. England, too, has other charms than these. British scenery, though not always equal in sublimity and grandeur to that displayed in many parts of our own country, is exceedingly beautiful, and has always been a fruitful theme of song and story.

"The splendor falls on castle-walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes.
And the wild cataract leaps in glory."

Yet there are few satisfactory and comprehensive books about this land[Pg 6] that is so full of renowned memorials of the past and so generously gifted by Nature. Such books as there are either cover a few counties or are devoted only to local description, or else are merely guide-books. The present work is believed to be the first attempt to give in attractive form a book which will serve not only as a guide to those about visiting England and Wales, but also as an agreeable reminiscence to others, who will find that its pages treat of familiar scenes. It would be impossible to describe everything within the brief compass of a single book, but it is believed that nearly all the more prominent places in England and Wales are included, with enough of their history and legend to make the description interesting. The artist's pencil has also been called into requisition, and the four hundred and eighty-seven illustrations will give an idea, such as no words can convey, of the attractions England presents to the tourist.

The work has been arranged in eight tours, with Liverpool and London as the two starting-points, and each route following the lines upon which the sightseer generally advances in the respective directions taken. Such is probably the most convenient form for the travelling reader, as the author has found from experience, while a comprehensive index will make reference easy to different localities and persons. Without further introduction it is presented to the public, in the confident belief that the interest developed in its subject will excuse any shortcomings that may be found in its pages.

Philadelphia, July, 1882.[Pg 7]


Liverpool—Birkenhead—Knowsley Hall—Chester—Cheshire—Eaton Hall—Hawarden Castle—Bidston—Congleton—Beeston Castle—The river Dee—Llangollen—Valle-Crucis Abbey—Dinas Bran—Wynnstay—Pont Cysylltau—Chirk Castle—Bangor-ys-Coed—Holt—Wrexham—The Sands o' Dee—North Wales—Flint Castle—Rhuddlan Castle—Mold—Denbigh—St. Asaph—Holywell—Powys Castle—The Menai Strait—Anglesea—Beaumaris Castle—Bangor—Penrhyn Castle—Plas Newydd—Caernarvon Castle—Ancient Segontium—Conway Castle—Bettws-y-Coed—Mount Snowdon—Port Madoc—Coast of Merioneth—Barmouth—St. Patrick's Causeway—Mawddach Vale—Cader Idris—Dolgelly—Bala Lake—Aberystwith—Harlech Castle—Holyhead17
Lancashire—Warrington—Manchester—Furness Abbey—The Ribble—Stonyhurst—Lancaster Castle—Isle of Man—Castletown—Rusben Castle—Peele Castle—The Lake Country—Windermere—Lodore Fall—Derwentwater—Keswick—Greta Hall—Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge—Skiddaw—-The Border Castles—Kendal Castle—Brougham Hall—The Solway—Carlisle Castle—Scaleby Castle—Naworth—Lord William Howard51
The Peak of Derbyshire—Castleton—Bess of Hardwicke—Hardwicke Hall—Bolsover Castle—The Wye and the Derwent—Buxton—Bakewell—Haddon Hall—The King of the Peak—Dorothy Vernon—Rowsley—The Peacock Inn—Chatsworth—The Victoria Regia—Matlock—Dovedale—Beauchief Abbey—Stafford Castle—Trentham Hall—Tamworth—Tutbury Castle—Chartley Castle—Alton Towers—Shrewsbury Castle—Bridgenorth—Wenlock Abbey—Ludlow Castle—The Feathers Inn—Lichfield Cathedral—Dr. Samuel Johnson—Coventry—Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom—Belvoir Castle—Charnwood Forest—Groby and Bradgate—Elizabeth Widvile and Lady Jane Grey—Ulverscroft Priory—Grace Dien Abbey—Ashby de la Zouche—Langley Priory—Leicester Abbey and Castle—Bosworth Field—Edgehill—Naseby—The Land of Shakespeare—Stratford-on-Avon—Warwick—Kenilworth—Birmingham—Boulton and Watt—Fotheringhay Castle—Holmby House—Bedford Castle—John Bunyan—Woburn Abbey and the Russells—Stowe—Whaddon Hall—Great Hampden—Creslow House70
The Thames Head—Cotswold Hills—Seven Springs—Cirencester—Cheltenham—Sudeley Castle—Chavenage—Shifford—Lechlade—Stanton Harcourt—Cumnor Hall—Fair Rosamond—Godstow Nunnery—Oxford—Oxford Colleges—Christ Church—Corpus Christi—Merton—Oriel—All Souls—University—Queen's—Magdalen—Brasenose—New College—Radcliffe Library—Bodleian Library—Lincoln—Exeter—Wadham—Keble—Trinity—Balliol—St. John's—Pembroke—Oxford Churches—Oxford Castle—Carfax Conduit—Banbury—Broughton Castle—Woodstock—Marlborough—Blenheim—Minster Lovel—Bicester—Eynsham—Abingdon—Radley—Bacon, Rich, and Holt—Clifton-Hampden—Caversham—Reading—Maidenhead—Bisham Abbey—Vicar of Bray—Eton College—Windsor Castle—Magna Charta Island—Cowey Stakes—Ditton—Twickenham—London—Fire Monument—St. Paul's Cathedral—Westminster Abbey—The Tower—Lollards and Lambeth—Bow Church—St. Bride's—Whitehall—Horse Guards—St. James Palace—Buckingham Palace—Kensington Palace—Houses of Parliament—Hyde Park—Marble Arch—Albert Memorial—South Kensington Museum—Royal Exchange—Bank of England—Mansion House—Inns of Court—British Museum—Some London Scenes—The Underground Railway—Holland House—Greenwich—Tilbury Fort—The Thames Mouth137
Harrow—St. Albans—Verulam—Hatfield House—Lord Burleigh—Cassiobury—Knebworth—Great Bed of Ware—The River Cam—Audley End—Saffron Walden—Newport—Nell Gwynne—Littlebury—Winstanley—Harwich—Cambridge—Trinity and St. John's Colleges—Caius College—Trinity Hall—The Senate House—University Library—Clare College—Great St. Mary's Church—King's College—Corpus Christi College—St. Catharine's College—Queens' College—The Pitt Press—Pembroke College—Peterhouse—Fitzwilliam Museum—Hobson's Conduit—Downing College—Emmanuel College—Christ's College—Sidney-Sussex College—The Round Church—Magdalene College—Jesus College—Trumpington—The Fenland—Bury St. Edmunds—Hengrave Hall—Ely—Peterborough—Crowland Abbey—Guthlac—Norwich Castle and Cathedral—Stamford—Burghley House—George Inn—Grantham—Lincoln—Nottingham—Southwell—Sherwood Forest—Robin Hood—The Dukeries—Thoresby Hall—Clumber Park—Welbeck Abbey—Newstead Abbey—Newark—Hull—Wilberforce—Beverley—Sheffield—Wakefield—Leeds—Bolton Abbey—The Strid—Ripon Cathedral—Fountains Abbey—Studley Royal—Fountains Hall—York—Eboracum—York Minster—Clifford's Tower—Castle Howard—Kirkham Priory—Flamborough Head—Scarborough—Whitby Abbey—Durham Cathedral and Castle—St. Cuthbert—The Venerable Bede—Battle of Neville's Cross—Chester-le-Street—Lumley Castle—Newcastle-upon-Tyne—Hexham—Alnwick Castle—Hotspur and the Percies—St. Michael's Church—Hulne Priory—Ford Castle—Flodden Field—The Tweed—Berwick—Holy Isle—Lindisfarne—Bamborough—Grace Darling224
The Cotswolds—The River Severn—Gloucester—Berkeley Castle—New Inn—Gloucester Cathedral—Lampreys—Tewkesbury; its Mustard, Abbey, and Battle—Worcester; its Battle—Charles II.'s Escape—Worcester Cathedral—The Malvern Hills—Worcestershire Beacon—Herefordshire Beacon—Great Malvern—St. Anne's Well—The River Wye—Clifford Castle—Hereford—Old Butcher's Row—Nell Gwynne's Birthplace—Ross—The Man of Ross—Ross Church and its Trees—Walton Castle—Goodrich Castle—Forest of Dean—Coldwell—Symond's Vat—The Dowards—Monmouth—Kymin Hill—Raglan Castle—Redbrook—St. Briard Castle—Tintern Abbey—The Wyncliff—Wyntour's Leap—Chepstow Castle—The River Monnow—The Golden Valley—The Black Mountains—Pontrilas Court—Ewias Harold—Abbey Dore—The Scyrrid Vawr—Wormridge—Kilpeck—Oldcastle—Kentchurch—Grosmont—The Vale of Usk—Abergavenny—Llanthony Priory—Walter Savage Landor—Capel-y-Ffyn—Newport—Penarth Roads—Cardiff—The Rocking-Stone—Llandaff—Caerphilly Castle and its Leaning Tower—Swansea—The Mumbles—Oystermouth Castle—Neath Abbey—Caermarthen—Tenby—Manorbeer Castle—Golden Grove—Pembroke—Milford—Haverfordwest—Milford Haven—Pictou Castle—Carew Castle337
Virginia Water—Sunninghill—Ascot—Wokingham—Bearwood—The London Times—White Horse Hill—Box Tunnel—Salisbury—Salisbury Plain—Old Sarum—Stonehenge—Amesbury—Wilton House—The Earls of Pembroke—Carpet-making—Bath—William Beckford—Fonthill—Bristol—William Canynge—Chatterton—Clifton—Brandon Hill—Well—The Mendips—Jocelyn—Beckington—Ralph of Shrewsbury—Thomas Ken—The Cheddar Cliffs—The Wookey Hole—The Black Down—The Isle of Avelon—Glastonbury—Weary-all Hill—Sedgemoor—The Isle of Athelney—Bridgewater—Oldmixon—Monmouth's Rebellion—Weston Zoyland—King Alfred—Sherborne—Sir Walter Raleigh—The Coast of Dorset—Poole—Wareham—Isle of Purbeck—Corfe Castle—The Foreland—Swanage—St. Aldhelm's Head—Weymouth—Portland Isle and Bill—The Channel Islands—Jersey—Corbière Promontory—Mount Orgueil—Alderney—Guernsey—Castle Comet—The Southern Coast of Devon—Abbotsbury—Lyme Regis—Axminster—Sidmouth—Exmouth—Exeter—William, Prince of Orange—Exeter Cathedral—Bishop Trelawney—Dawlish—Teignmouth—Hope's Nose—Babbicombe Bay—Anstis Cove—Torbay—Torquay—Brixham—Dartmoor—The River Dart—Totnes—Berry Pomeroy Castle—Dartmouth—The River Plym—The Dewerstone—Plympton Priory—Sir Joshua Reynolds—Catwater Haven—Plymouth—Stonehouse—Devonport—Eddystone Lighthouse—Tavistock Abbey—Buckland Abbey—Lydford Castle—The Northern Coast of Devon—Exmoor—Minehead—Dunster—Dunkery Beacon—Porlock Bay—The River Lyn—Oare—Lorna Doone—Jan Ridd—Lynton—Lynmouth—Castle Rock—The Devil's Cheese-Ring—Combe Martin—Ilfracombe—Norte Point—Morthoe—Barnstable—Bideford—Clovelly—Lundy Island—Cornwall—Tintagel—Launceston—Liskeard—Fowey—Lizard Peninsula—Falmouth—Pendennis Castle—Helston—Mullyon Cove—Smuggling—Kynance Cove—The Post-Office—Old Lizard Head—Polpeor—St. Michael's Mount—Penzance—Pilchard Fishery—Penwith—Land's End384
The Surrey Side—The Chalk Downs—Guildford—The Hog's Back—Albury Down—Archbishop Abbot—St. Catharine's Chapel—St. Martha's Chapel—Albury Park—John Evelyn—Henry Drummond—Aldershot Camp—Leith Hill—Redland's Wood—Holmwood Park—Dorking—Weller and the Marquis of Granby Inn—Deepdene—Betchworth Castle—The River Mole—Boxhill—The Fox and Hounds—The Denbies—Ranmore Common—Battle of Dorking—Wotton Church—Epsom—Reigate—Pierrepoint House—Longfield—The Weald of Kent—Goudhurst—Bedgebury Park—Kilndown—Cranbrook—Bloody Baker's Prison—Sissinghurst—Bayham Abbey—Tunbridge Castle—Tunbridge Wells—Penshurst—Sir Philip Sidney—Hever Castle—Anne Boleyn—Knole—Leeds Castle—Tenterden Steeple and the Goodwin Sands—Rochester—Gad's Hill—Chatham—Canterbury Cathedral—St. Thomas à Becket—Falstaff Inn—Isle of Thanet—Ramsgate—Margate—North Foreland—The Cinque Ports—Sandwich—Rutupiæ—Ebbsfleet—Goodwin Sands—Walmer Castle—South Foreland—Dover—Shakespeare's Cliff—Folkestone—Hythe—Romney—Dungeness—Rye—Winchelsea—Hastings—Pevensey—Hailsham—Hurstmonceux Castle—Beachy Head—Brighton—The Aquarium—The South Downs—Dichling Beacon—Newhaven—Steyning—Wiston Manor—Chanctonbury Ring—Arundel Castle—Chichester—Selsey Bill—Goodwood—Bignor—Midhurst—Cowdray—Dunford House—Selborne—Gilbert White; his book; his house, sun-dial, and church—Greatham Church—Winchester—The New Forest—Lyndhurst—Minstead Manor—Castle Malwood—Death of William Rufus—Rufus's Stone—Beaulieu Abbey—Brockenhurst—Ringwood—Lydington—Christchurch—Southampton—Netley Abbey—Calshot Castle—The Solent—Portsea Island—Portsmouth—Gosport—Spithead—The Isle of Wight—High Down—Alum Bay—Yarmouth—Cowes—Osborne House—Ryde—Bratling—Sandown—Shanklin Chine—Bonchurch—The Undercliff—Ventnor—Niton—St. Lawrence Church—St. Catharine's Down—Blackgang Chine—Carisbrooke Castle—Newport—Freshwater—Brixton—The Needles463

[Pg 11]



Alton TowersFrontispiece.
The Old Mill, SelborneTitle-Page.
Market-place, PeterboroughAfter Contents.
The Pottergate, Alnwick16
Perch Rock Light17
St. George's Hall, Liverpool19
Chester Cathedral, Exterior21
Chester Cathedral, Interior21
Julius Cæsar's Tower, Chester22
Ancient Front, Chester22
God's Providence House, Chester23
Bishop Lloyd's Palace, Chester23
Old Lamb Row, Chester23
Stanley House, Front, Chester24
Stanley House, Rear, Chester24
Phœnix Tower, Chester25
Water Tower, Chester25
Abbey Gale, Chester26
Ruins of St. John's Chapel, Chester26
Plas Newydd, Llangollen28
Ruins of Valle-Crucis Abbey29
Pont Cysylltau30
Wrexham Tower31
The Roodee, from the Railway-bridge, Chester32
The "Sands o' Dee"33
Menai Strait36
Beaumaris Castle37
Bangor Cathedral37
Caernarvon Castle39
Conway Castle, from the Road to Llanrwst40
Falls of the Conway41
Swallow Falls42
Llanrwst Bridge43
Barmouth Estuary45
Cader Idris, on the Taly-slyn Ascent46
Owen Glendower's Parliament House, Dolgelly47
Lower Bridge, Torrent Walk, Dolgelly48
Bala Lake48
Harlech Castle50
Old Market, Warrington51
Manchester Cathedral, from the South-east53
Assize Courts, Manchester54
Royal Exchange, Manchester55
Furness Abbey56
Castle Square, Lancaster58
Bradda Head, Isle of Man59
Kirk Bradden, Isle of Man59
Rhenass Waterfall, Isle of Man60
Castle Rushen, Isle of Man61
Peele Castle, Isle of Man63
Glimpse of Derwentwater, from Scafell64
Falls of Lodore, Derwentwater65
Road through the Cathedral Close, Carlisle68
View on the Torrent Walk, Dolgelly69
Peveril Castle, Castleton71
Hardwicke Hall72
Hardwicke Hall, Elizabethan Staircase73
Bolsover Castle74
The Crescent, Buxton75
Bakewell Church76
Haddon Hall, from the Wye77
Haddon Hall, Entrance to Banquet-hall78
Haddon Hall, the Terrace79
The Peacock Inn from the Road81
Chatsworth House, from the South-west81
Chatsworth House, Door to State Drawing-room82
Chatsworth House, State Drawing-room82
Chatsworth House, State Bedroom83
Chatsworth House, the Sculpture-gallery84
Chatsworth House, Gateway to Stable85
High Tor, Matlock85
The Straits, Dovedale86
Banks of the Dove86
Tissington Spires, Dovedale87
Trentham Hall89
Trentham Hall—on the Terrace90
Shrewsbury Castle, from the Railway-station93
Head-quarters of Henry VII. on his Way to Bosworth Field, Shrewsbury94
On Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury94
Bridgenorth, from near Oldbury95
Bridgenorth, Keep of the Castle95
Bridgenorth, House where Bishop Percy was born96
Lodge of Much Wenlock Abbey96
Ludlow Castle[Pg 12]98
Ludlow Castle, Entrance to the Council-chamber99
The Feathers Hotel, Ludlow100
Lichfield Cathedral, West Front101
Lichfield Cathedral, Interior, looking West101
Lichfield Cathedral, Rear View102
Dr. Johnson's Birthplace, Lichfield103
Coventry Gateway105
Ruins of Bradgate House108
Ruins of Ulverscroft Priory109
Ruins of Grace Dieu Abbey110
Leicester Abbey111
Gateway, Newgate Street, Leicester112
Edgehill, Mill at115
Church and Market-hall, Market Harborough117
Shakespeare's House, Stratford118
Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shottery119
Warwick Castle120
Leicester's Hospital, Warwick122
Oblique Gables in Warwick122
Kenilworth Castle123
St. Martin's Church, Birmingham124
Aston Hall, Birmingham125
Aston Hall, the "Gallery of the Presence"126
The Town-hall, Birmingham127
Elstow, Bedford130
Elstow Church130
Elstow Church, North Door131
Woburn Abbey, West Front132
Woburn Abbey, the Sculpture-gallery133
Woburn Abbey, Entrance to the Puzzle garden134
Thames Head138
Dovecote, Stanton Harcourt140
Cumnor Churchyard141
Godstow Nunnery142
Magdalen College, Oxford, from the Cherwell143
Magdalen College, Stone Pulpit144
Magdalen College, Bow Window144
Gable at St. Aldate's College, Oxford144
Dormer Window, Merton College, Oxford144
Gateway of Christ Church College, Oxford145
Merton College Chapel, Oxford146
Merton College Gateway146
Oriel College, Oxford147
Magdalen College Cloisters, Oxford148
Magdalen College, Founders' Tower149
Magdalen College150
New College, Oxford, from the Garden151
New College152
The Radcliffe Library, from the Quadrangle of Brasenose, Oxford152
Dining-hall, Exeter College, Oxford153
Trinity College Chapel, Oxford153
Window in St. John's College, Garden Front, Oxford154
Tower St. John's College, Oxford154
St. Mary the Virgin, from High Street, Oxford155
All Saints, from High Street, Oxford156
Carfax Conduit157
Iffley Mill157
Iffley Church158
Cromwell's Parliament-house, Banbury159
Berks and Wilts Canal160
Chaucer's House, Woodstock161
Old Remains at Woodstock162
Blenheim Palace, from the Lake163
Bicester Priory165
Bicester Market166
Cross at Eynsham166
Entrance to Abingdon Abbey167
Radley Church168
The Thames at Clifton-Hampden170
Bray Church171
Eton College, from the Playing Fields173
Eton College, from the Cricket-ground173
Windsor Castle, from the Brocas174
Windsor Castle Round Tower, West End175
Windsor Castle, Queen's Rooms in South-east Tower176
Windsor Castle, Interior of St. George's Chapel177
Magna Charta Island178
The Monument, London180
St. Paul's Cathedral, London182
St. Paul's Cathedral, South Side183
St. Paul's Cathedral, the Choir183
St. Paul's Cathedral, Wellington Monument184
Westminster Abbey, London185
Westminster Abbey, Cloisters of186
Westminster Abbey, Interior of Choir187
Westminster Abbey, King Henry VII.'s Chapel188
The Tower of London, Views in191
The Church of St. Peter, on Tower Green193
The Lollards' Tower, Lambeth Palace, London194
St. Mary-le-Bow, London195
St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London.195
Chapel Royal, Whitehall, London196
Chapel Royal, Interior of (Banqueting-hall)197
The Horse Guards, from the Parade-ground, London198
Gateway of St. James Palace, London199
Buckingham Palace, Garden Front, London200
Kensington Palace, West Front, London201
Victoria Tower, Houses of Parliament, London203
Interior of the House of Commons204
The Marble Arch, Hyde Park, London Principal Entrance New Museum of Natural History,205
The Albert Memorial, Hyde Park206
South Kensington, London207
Royal Exchange, London208
Bank of England, London208
Mansion House, London209
The Law Courts, London[Pg 13]210
Sir Paul Finder's House, London211
Waterloo Bridge, London212
Schomberg House, London213
Statue of Sidney Herbert, Pall Mall, London213
Doorway, Beaconsfield Club, London214
Cavendish Square, London214
The "Bell Inn" at Edmonton215
The "Old Tabard Inn," London.216
Holland House, South Side217
Holland House, Dining-Room218
Holland House, the Dutch Garden218
Holland House, the Library219
Holland House, Rogers's Seat in the Dutch Garden219
Greenwich Hospital, from the River221
London, from Greenwich Park222
St. Albans, from Verulam225
Old Wall at Verulam226
Monastery Gate, St. Albans226
The Tower of the Abbey, St. Albans227
Staircase to Watching Gallery, St. Albans227
Shrine and Watching Gallery, St. Albans228
Clock Tower, St. Albans229
Barnard's Heath229
St. Michael's, Verulam230
Queen Elizabeth's Oak, Hatfield231
Hatfield House232
Hatfield House, the Corridor233
View through Old Gateway, Hatfield234
Audley End, Western Front235
Views in Saffron Walden237
Entrance to the Town.
Jetties at Harwich238
Bridge, St. John's College, Cambridge239
Hall of Trinity College, Cambridge241
St. John's Chapel, Cambridge242
Back of Clare College, Cambridge244
King's College Chapel—Interior—Cambridge245
King's College Chapel, Doorway of246
Scenes in Cambridge247
The Senate House.
The Pitt Press.
Great St. Mary's.
The Fitzwilliam Museum.
The Round Church.
Gateway, Jesus College, Cambridge249
Hengrave Hall250
Road leading to Ely Close250
Ely Cathedral, from the Railway Bridge251
Old Bits in Ely252
Old Passage from Ely Street to Cathedral Ford.
Entrance to Prior Crawdon's Chapel.
Old Houses In High Street.
Peterborough Cathedral253
Peterborough Cathedral, Aisle and Choir254
East End of Crowland Abbey255
Norwich Castle257
Norwich Cathedral258
Norwich Cathedral—the Choir, looking East259
Norwich Market-place260
Burghley House261
Lincoln Cathedral, from the South-west264
"Bits" from Lincoln265
The Cloisters.
The Angel Choir.
The High Bridge.
Nottingham Castle267
Southwell Minster and Ruins of the Archbishop's Palace268
Southwell Minster, the Nave269
Clumber Hall271
Welbeck Abbey272
Newark Castle, Front274
Newark Castle and Dungeon275
Newark Market-square276
Newark Church, looking from the North276
The Humber at Hull277
House where Wilberforce was born, Hull278
Beverley, Entrance-Gate278
Beverley, Market-square279
Manor House, Sheffield280
Entrance to the Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield281
Edward IV.'s Chapel, Wakefield Bridge282
Briggate, Leeds, looking North283
St. John's Church, Leeds284
Bolton Abbey, Gateway in the Priory286
Bolton Abbey, the Churchyard286
The Strid287
Ripon Minster288
Studley Royal Park289
Fountains Abbey, the Transept290
Fountains Abbey, Tower and Crypt291
Fountains Hall292
Richmond Castle293
The Multangular Tower and Ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, York294
Micklegate Bar and the Red Tower, York297
York Minster298
York Minster, the Choir299
York Minster, Tomb of Archbishop DeGrey300
Clifford's Tower, York301
The Shambles, York302
Castle Howard, South Front303
Castle Howard, the Obelisk304
Castle Howard, the Temple, with the Mausoleum in the distance305
Gateway, Kirkham Priory306
Scarborough Spa and Esplanade308
Scarborough, from the Sea309
Whitby Abbey311
Durham, General View of the Cathedral and Castle312
Durham Castle, Norman Doorway313
Durham Cathedral, from an old Homestead on the Wear315
Durham Cathedral, the Nave316
Durham Cathedral, the Choir, looking West317
Durham Cathedral, the Galilee and Tomb of Bede318
Lumley Castle320
Lumley Castle, Gateway from the Walk[Pg 14]321
Alnwick Castle, from the Lion bridge323
Alnwick Castle, the Barbican Gate323
Alnwick Castle, the Barbican324
Alnwick Castle, the Barbican, Eastern Angle325
Alnwick Castle, the Percy Bedstead326
Alnwick Castle, the Percy Cross326
Alnwick Castle, Constable's Tower327
Alnwick Castle, Earl Hugh's Tower328
Alnwick Castle, Draw-Well and Norman Gateway329
Alnwick Castle, Gravestone in the Churchyard of St. Michael's and All Angels329
Alnwick Castle, Font Lectern, St. Michael's Church330
Hulne Priory, Porter's Lodge330
Ford Tower, overlooking Flodden331
The Cheviots, from Ford Castle332
Flodden, from the King's Bedchamber, Ford Castle333
Ford Castle, the Crypt335
Grace Darling's Monument, Bamborough336
Gloucester Cathedral, from the South-east338
Gloucester, the New Inn340
Gloucester Cathedral, the Monks' Lavatory342
Tewkesbury Abbey344
Tewkesbury Abbey, Choir345
Worcester Cathedral, from the Severn346
Worcester Cathedral, Choir348
Ruins of the Guesten Hall, Worcester349
Close in Worcester350
St. Anne's Well, Malvern352
Butchers' Row, Hereford353
Out-house where Nell Gwynne was born, Hereford353
Hereford Cathedral354
Hereford Cathedral, Old Nave355
Ross, House of the "Man of Ross"356
Ross Market-place357
Ross Church358
Ross Church, the Tree, in358
Ruins of Goodrich Castle359
Bend in the Wye360
Symond's Yat, the Wye361
Monmouth Bridge363
Monmouth Bridge, Gate on363
Raglan Castle364
Tintern Abbey, from the Highroad365
Chepstow Castle368
Pontrilas Court370
The Scyrrid Vawr371
Llanthony Priory, looking down the Nave373
Llanthony Priory, the South Transept374
Swansea, North Dock377
Swansea Castle378
The Mumbles379
Oystermouth Castle380
Neath Abbey, ruins381
Bearwood, Berkshire, Residence of John Walter, Esq., proprietor of London Times385
Salisbury Cathedral387
Salisbury Market388
Wilton House392
Wilton House, Fireplace in Double Cube Room393
Wilton House, the Library393
Wilton House, the Library Window394
Bristol Cathedral398
Norman Doorway, College Green, Bristol399
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol400
Wells Cathedral, from the Bishop's Garden401
Wells Cathedral, from the Swan Pool402
Wells Cathedral, View under Central Tower403
Wells, Ruins of the Old Banquet-Hall404
Entrance to the Cheddar Cliffs, Wells405
High Rocks at Cheddar, Wells406
Glastonbury Tribunal408
Sedgemoor, from Cock Hill409
Weston Zoyland Church410
The Isle of Athelney412
Corfe Castle416
Studland Church418
Ruins of Old Cross in the Churchyard418
St. Aldhelm's Head419
Portland Isle420
Corbière Lighthouse, Jersey422
View from Devil's Hole, Jersey423
Exeter Cathedral, West Front425
Exeter, Ruins of Rougemont Castle426
Exeter, Old Houses in Cathedral Close426
Exeter Cathedral, from the North-west427
Exeter Cathedral, Bishop's Throne428
Exeter Cathedral, Minstrel Gallery429
Exeter, Guildhall429
Babbicombe Bay430
Austis Cove431
Totnes, from the river432
Berry Pomeroy Castle433
A Bend of the Dart434
Dartmouth Castle434
The Dewerstone435
Vale of Bickleigh436
Plympton Priory, Old Doorway[Pg 15]437
On Porlock Moor442
Doone Valley443
Bagworthy Water444
Jan Ridd's Tree444
View on the East Lyn445
Castle Rock, Lynton445
Devil's Cheese-Ring, Lynton446
Tower on Beach, Lynmouth447
Morte Point449
Bideford Bridge450
Clovelly, Main Street450
Clovelly, Old Houses on Beach451
Fowey Pier452
Pendennis Castle454
Mullyon Cove455
Lion Rock, with Mullyon in the distance456
Cave at Mullyon456
Pradenack Point457
Kynance Cove457
The Post-Office, Kynance458
Rocks near the Lizard459
St. Michael's Mount460
Old Market, Penzance461
Land's End462
High Street, Guildford464
Ruins of St. Catharine's Chapel466
Leith Hill467
Old Dovecote, Holmwood Park468
White Horse Inn, Dorking469
Pierrepoint House472
Longfield, East Sheen473
Ruins of Sissinghurst475
Tunbridge Castle476
Penshurst Place476
Penshurst Church477
Hever Castle478
Leeds Castle, Gateway478
Rochester Castle480
Canterbury, Falstaff Inn483
Sandwich, the Barbican485
Dover Castle, the Pharos487
Dover Cattle, Saluting-Battery Gate487
Rye, Old Houses488
Hurstmonceux Castle490
Arundel Castle494
Ruins of Cowdray494
Selborne, Gilbert White's House495
Selborne, Gilbert White's Sun-Dial496
Selborne Church496
Selborne, Rocky Lane to Alton497
Selborne, Wishing-Stone498
Greatham Church499
Winchester, Cardinal Beaufort's Gate and Brewery500
New Forest, from Bramble Hill502
New Forest, Rufus's Stone503
New Forest, Brockenhurst Church505
Christchurch, the Priory from the Quay and Place Mills506
Christchurch, Old Norman House and View from Priory508
Portsmouth Point510
Portsmouth, H.M.S. "Victory"511
Cowes Harbor, Isle of Wight512
The Needles, from Alum Bay, Isle of Wight513
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight513
Osborne House, from the Sea, Isle of Wight514
Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight516
The Undercliff, Isle of Wight517
Carisbrooke Castle, looking from Isle of Wight519
Tennyson's House, Isle of Wight521
The Needles, Isle of Wight522

[Pg 16]


[Pg 17]

England, Picturesque and Descriptive.



Liverpool—Birkenhead—Knowsley Hall—Chester—Cheshire—Eaton Hall—Hawarden Castle—Bidston—Congleton—Beeston Castle—The river Dee—Llangollen—Valle-Crucis Abbey—Dinas Bran—Wynnstay—Pont Cysylltau—Chirk Castle—Bangor-ys-Coed—Holt—Wrexham—The Sands o' Dee—North Wales—Flint Castle—Rhuddlan Castle—Mold—Denbigh—St. Asaph—Holywell—Powys Castle—The Menai Strait—Anglesea—Beaumaris Castle—Bangor—Penrhyn Castle—Plas Newydd—Caernarvon Castle—Ancient Segontium—Conway Castle—Bettws-y-Coed—Mount Snowdon—Port Madoc—Coast of Merioneth—Barmouth—St. Patrick's Causeway—Mawddach Vale—Cader Idris—Dolgelly—Bala Lake—Aberystwith—Harlech Castle—Holyhead.



The American transatlantic tourist, after a week or more spent upon the ocean, is usually glad to again see the land. After skirting the bold Irish coast, and peeping into the pretty cove of Cork, with Queenstown in the background, and passing the rocky headlands of Wales, the steamer that brings him from America carefully enters the Mersey River. The shores are low but picturesque as the tourist moves along the estuary between the coasts of Lancashire and Cheshire, and passes the great beacon standing up solitary and alone amid the waste of waters, the Perch Rock Light off New Brighton on the Cheshire side. Thus he comes to the world's greatest seaport—Liverpool—and the steamer finally drops her anchor between the miles of docks that front the two cities, Liverpool on the left and Birkenhead on the right. Forests of masts loom up behind the great dock-[Pg 18]walls, stretching far away on either bank, while a fleet of arriving or departing steamers is anchored in a long line in mid-channel. Odd-looking, low, black tugs, pouring out thick smoke from double funnels, move over the water, and one of them takes the passengers alongside the capacious structure a half mile long, built on pontoons, so it can rise and fall with the tides, and known as the Prince's Landing-Stage, where the customs officers perform their brief formalities and quickly let the visitor go ashore over the fine floating bridge into the city.

At Liverpool most American travellers begin their view of England. It is the great city of ships and sailors and all that appertains to the sea, and its 550,000 population are mainly employed in mercantile life and the myriad trades that serve the ship or deal in its cargo, for fifteen thousand to twenty thousand of the largest vessels of modern commerce will enter the Liverpool docks in a year, and its merchants own 7,000,000 tonnage. Fronting these docks on the Liverpool side of the Mersey is the great sea-wall, over five miles long, behind which are enclosed 400 acres of water-surface in the various docks, that are bordered by sixteen miles' length of quays. On the Birkenhead side of the river there are ten miles of quays in the docks that extend for over two miles along the bank. These docks, which are made necessary to accommodate the enormous commerce, have cost over $50,000,000, and are the crowning glory of Liverpool. They are filled with the ships of all nations, and huge storehouses line the quays, containing products from all parts of the globe, yet chiefly the grain and cotton, provisions, tobacco, and lumber of America. Railways run along the inner border of the docks on a street between them and the town, and along their tracks horses draw the freight-cars, while double-decked passenger-cars also run upon them with broad wheels fitting the rails, yet capable of being run off whenever the driver wishes to get ahead of the slowly-moving freight-cars. Ordinary wagons move upon Strand street alongside, with horses of the largest size drawing them, the huge growth of the Liverpool horses being commensurate with the immense trucks and vans to which these magnificent animals are harnessed.

Liverpool is of great antiquity, but in the time of William the Conqueror was only a fishing-village. Liverpool Castle, long since demolished, was a fortress eight hundred years ago, and afterward the rival families of Molineux and Stanley contended for the mastery of the place. It was a town of slow growth, however, and did not attain full civic dignity till the time of Charles I. It was within two hundred years that it became a seaport of any note. The first dock was opened in 1699, and strangely enough it was the African slave-trade that gave the Liverpool merchants their original start. The port[Pg 19] sent out its first slave-ship in 1709, and in 1753 had eighty-eight ships engaged in the slave-trade, which carried over twenty-five thousand slaves from Africa to the New World that year. Slave-auctions were frequent in Liverpool, and one of the streets where these sales were effected was nicknamed "Negro street." The agitation for the abolition of the trade was carried on a long time before Liverpool submitted, and then privateering came prominently out as the lucrative business a hundred years ago during the French wars, that brought Liverpool great wealth. Next followed the development of trade with the East Indies, and finally the trade with America has grown to such enormous proportions in the present century as to eclipse all other special branches of Liverpool commerce, large as some of them are. This has made many princely fortunes for the merchants and shipowners, and their wealth has been liberally expended in beautifying their city. It has in recent years had very rapid growth, and has greatly increased its architectural adornments. Most amazing has been this advancement since the time in the last century when the mayor and corporation entertained Prince William of Gloucester at dinner, and, pleased at the appetite he developed, one of them called out, "Eat away, Your Royal Highness; there's plenty more in the kitchen!" The mayor was Jonas Bold, and afterwards, taking the prince to church, they were astonished to find that the preacher had taken for his text the words, "Behold, a greater than Jonas is here."


Liverpool has several fine buildings. Its Custom House is a large Ionic structure of chaste design, with a tall dome that can be seen from afar, and richly decorated within. The Town Hall and the Exchange buildings make up the four sides of an enclosed quadrangle paved with broad flagstones. Here, around the attractive Nelson monument in the centre, the merchants meet and transact their business. The chief public building is St. George's Hall, an imposing edifice, surrounded with columns and raised high above one[Pg 20] side of an open square, and costing $2,000,000 to build. It is a Corinthian building, having at one end the Great Hall, one hundred and sixty-nine feet long, where public meetings are held, and court-rooms at the other end. Statues of Robert Peel, Gladstone, and Stephenson, with other great men, adorn the Hall. Sir William Brown, who amassed a princely fortune in Liverpool, has presented the city with a splendid free library and museum, which stands in a magnificent position on Shaw's Brow. Many of the streets are lined with stately edifices, public and private, and most of these avenues diverge from the square fronting St. George's Hall, opposite which is the fine station of the London and North-western Railway, which, as is the railroad custom in England, is also a large hotel. The suburbs of Liverpool are filled for a wide circuit with elegant rural homes and surrounding ornamental grounds, where the opulent merchants live. They are generally bordered with high stone walls, interfering with the view, and impressing the visitor strongly with the idea that an Englishman's house is his castle. Several pretty parks with ornamental lakes among their hills are also in the suburbs. Yet it is the vast trade that is the glory of Liverpool, for it is but an epitome of England's commercial greatness, and is of comparatively modern growth. "All this," not long ago said Lord Erskine, speaking of the rapid advancement of Liverpool, "has been created by the industry and well-disciplined management of a handful of men since I was a boy."


A few miles out of Liverpool is the village of Prescot, where Kemble the tragedian was born, and where the people at the present time are largely engaged in watchmaking. Not far from Prescot is one of the famous homes of England—Knowsley Hall, the seat of the Stanleys and of the Earls of Derby for five hundred years. The park covers two thousand acres and is almost ten miles in circumference. The greater portion of the famous house was built in the time of George II. It is an extensive and magnificent structure, and contains many art-treasures in its picture-gallery by Rembrandt, Rubens, Correggio, Teniers, Vandyke, Salvator Rosa, and others. The Stanleys are one of the governing families of England, the last Earl of Derby having been premier in 1866, and the present earl having also been a cabinet minister. The crest of the Stanleys represents the Eagle and the Child, and is derived from the story of a remote ancestor who, cherishing an ardent desire for a male heir, and having only a daughter, contrived to have an infant conveyed to the foot of a tree in the park frequented by an eagle. Here he and his lady, taking a walk, found the child as if by accident, and the lady, consider[Pg 21]ing it a gift from Heaven brought by the eagle and miraculously preserved, adopted the boy as her heir. From this time the crest was assumed, but we are told that the old knight's conscience smote him at the trick, and on his deathbed he bequeathed the chief part of his fortune to the daughter, from whom are descended the present family.



Not far from Liverpool, and in the heart of Cheshire, we come to the small but famous river Dee and the old and very interesting city of Chester. It is built in the form of a quadrant, its four walls enclosing a plot about a half mile square. The walls, which form a promenade two miles around, over which every visitor should tramp; the quaint gates and towers; the "Rows," or arcades along the streets, which enable the sidewalks to pass under the upper stories of the houses by cutting away the first-floor front rooms; and the many ancient buildings,—are all attractive. The Chester Cathedral is a venerable building of red sandstone, which comes down to us from the twelfth century, though it has recently been restored. It is constructed in the Perpendicular style of architecture, with a square and turret-surmounted central tower. This is the Cathedral of St. Werburgh, and besides other merits of the attractive interior, the southern transept is most striking from its exceeding length.[Pg 22] The choir is richly ornamented with carvings and fine woodwork, the Bishop's Throne having originally been a pedestal for the shrine of St. Werburgh. The cathedral contains several ancient tombs of much interest, and the elaborate Chapter Room, with its Early English windows and pillars, is much admired. In this gorgeous structure the word of God is preached from a Bible whose magnificently-bound cover is inlaid with precious stones and its markers adorned with pearls. The book is the Duke of Westminster's gift, that nobleman being the landlord of much of Chester. In the nave of the cathedral are two English battle-flags that were at Bunker Hill. Chester Castle, now used as a barrack for troops, has only one part of the ancient edifice left, called Julius Cæsar's Tower, near which the Dee is spanned by a fine single-arch bridge.




The quaintest part of this curious old city of Chester is no doubt the "Rows," above referred to. These arcades, which certainly form a capital shelter from the hot sun or rain, were, according to one authority, originally built as a refuge for the people in case of sudden attack by the Welsh; but according to others they originated with the Romans, and were used as the vestibules of the houses; and this seems to be the more popular theory with the townsfolk. Under the "Rows" are shops of all sizes, and some of the buildings are grotesquely attractive, especially the curious one bearing the motto of safety from the plague, "God's providence is mine inheritance," standing on Watergate street, and known as "God's Providence House;" and "Bishop Lloyd's Palace," which is ornamented with quaint wood-carvings. The "Old Lamb Row," where Randall Holme,[Pg 23] the Chester antiquary, lived, stood by itself, obeying no rule of regularity, and was regarded as a nuisance two hundred years ago, though later it was highly prized. The city corporation in 1670 ordered that "the nuisance erected by Randall Holme in his new building in Bridge street be taken down, as it annoys his neighbors, and hinders their prospect from their houses." But this law seems to have been enforced no more than many others are on either side of the ocean, for the "nuisance" stood till 1821, when the greater part of it, the timbers having rotted, fell of its own accord. The "Dark Row" is the only one of these strange arcades that is closed from the light, for it forms a kind of tunnel through which the footwalk goes. Not far from this is the famous old "Stanley House," where one unfortunate Earl of Derby spent the last day before his execution in 1657 at Bolton. The carvings on the front of this house are very fine, and there is told in reference to the mournful event that marks its history the following story: Lieutenant Smith came from the governor of Chester to notify the condemned earl to be ready for the journey to Bolton. The earl asked, "When would you have me go?" "To-morrow, about six in the morning," said Smith. "Well," replied the earl, "commend me to the governor, and tell him I shall[Pg 24] be ready by that time." Then said Smith, "Doth your lordship know any friend or servant that would do the thing your lordship knows of? It would do well if you had a friend." The earl replied, "What do you mean? to cut off my head?" Smith said, "Yes, my lord, if you could have a friend." The earl answered, "Nay, sir, if those men that would have my head will not find one to cut it off, let it stand where it is."


It is easy in this strange old city to carry back the imagination for centuries, for it preserves its connection with the past better perhaps than any other English town. The city holds the keys of the outlet of the Dee, which winds around it on two sides, and is practically one of the gates into Wales. Naturally, the Romans established a fortress here more than a thousand years ago, and made it the head-quarters of their twentieth legion, who impressed upon the town the formation of a Roman camp, which it bears to this day. The very name of Chester is derived from the Latin word for a camp. Many Roman fragments still remain, the most notable being the Hyptocaust. This was found in Watergate street about a century ago, together with a tessellated pavement. There have also been exhumed Roman altars, tombs, mosaics, pottery and other similar relics. The city is built upon a sandstone rock, and this furnishes much of the building material, so that most of the edifices have their exteriors disintegrated by the elements, particularly the churches—a peculiarity that may have probably partly justified[Pg 25] Dean Swift's epigram, written when his bile was stirred because a rainstorm had prevented some of the Chester clergy from dining with him:

"Churches and clergy of this city
Are very much akin:
They're weather-beaten all without,
And empty all within."


The modernized suburbs of Chester, filled with busy factories, are extending beyond the walls over a larger surface than the ancient town itself. At the angles of the old walls stand the famous towers—the Phœnix Tower, Bonwaldesthorne's Tower, Morgan's Mount, the Goblin Tower, and the Water Tower, while the gates in the walls are almost equally famous—the Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate, Bridgegate, Newgate, and Peppergate. The ancient Abbey of St. Mary had its site near the castle, and not far away are the picturesque ruins of St. John's Chapel, outside the walls. According to a local legend, its neighborhood had the honor of sheltering an illustrious fugitive. Harold, the Saxon king, we are told, did not fall at Hastings, but, escaping, spent the remainder of his life as a hermit, dwelling in a cell near this chapel and on a cliff alongside the Dee. The four streets leading from the gates at the middle of each side of the town come together in the centre at a place formerly known as the "Pentise," where was located the bull-ring at[Pg 26] which was anciently carried on the refining sport of "bull-baiting" while the mayor and corporation, clad in their gowns of office, looked on approvingly. Prior to this sport beginning, we are told that solemn proclamation was made for "the safety of the king and the mayor of Chester"—that "if any man stands within twenty yards of the bull-ring, let him take what comes." Here stood also the stocks and pillory. Amid so much that is ancient and quaint, the new Town Hall, a beautiful structure recently erected, is naturally most attractive, its dedication to civic uses having been made by the present Prince of Wales, who bears among many titles that of Earl of Chester. But this is about the only modern attraction this interesting city possesses. At an angle of the walls are the "Dee Mills," as old as the Norman Conquest, and famous in song as the place where the "jolly miller once lived on the Dee." Full of attractions within and without, it is difficult to tear one's self away from this quaint city, and therefore we will agree, at least in one sense, with Dr. Johnson's blunt remark to a lady friend: "I have come to Chester, madam, I cannot tell how, and far less can I tell how to get away from it."



The county of Cheshire has other attractions. But a short distance from Chester, in the valley of the Dee, is Eaton Hall, the elaborate palace of the Duke of Westminster and one of the finest seats in England, situated in a park of eight hundred acres that extends to the walls of Chester. This palace has recently been almost entirely rebuilt and modernized, and is now the most spacious and splendid example of Revived Gothic architecture in England. The house contains many works of art—statues by Gibson, paintings by Rubens and others—and is full of the most costly and beautiful decorations and furniture, being essentially one of the show-houses of Britain. In the extensive gardens are a Roman altar found in Chester and a Greek altar brought from Delphi.[Pg 27] At Hawarden Castle, seven miles from Chester, is the home of William E. Gladstone, and in its picturesque park are the ruins of the ancient castle, dating from the time of the Tudors, and from the keep of which there is a fine view of the Valley of the Dee. The ruins of Ewloe Castle, six hundred years old, are not far away, but so buried in foliage that they are difficult to find. Two miles from Chester is Hoole House, formerly Lady Broughton's, famous for its rockwork, a lawn of less than an acre exquisitely planted with clipped yews and other trees being surrounded by a rockery over forty feet high. In the Wirral or Western Cheshire are several attractive villages. At Bidston, west of Birkenhead and on the sea-coast, is the ancient house that was once the home of the unfortunate Earl of Derby, whose execution is mentioned above. Congleton, in Eastern Cheshire, stands on the Dane, in a lovely country, and is a good example of an old English country-town. Its Lion Inn is a fine specimen of the ancient black-and-white gabled hostelrie which novelists love so well to describe. At Nantwich is a curious old house with a heavy octagonal bow-window in the upper story overhanging a smaller lower one, telescope-fashion. The noble tower of Nantwich church rises above, and the building is in excellent preservation.

Nearly in the centre of Cheshire is the stately fortress of Beeston Castle, standing on a sandstone rock rising some three hundred and sixty feet from the flat country. It was built nearly seven hundred years ago by an Earl of Cheshire, then just returned from the Crusades. Standing in an irregular court covering about five acres, its thick walls and deep ditch made it a place of much strength. It was ruined prior to the time of Henry VIII., having been long contended for and finally dismantled in the Wars of the Roses. Being then rebuilt, it became a famous fortress in the Civil Wars, having been seized by the Roundheads, then surprised and taken by the Royalists, alternately besieged and defended afterward, and finally starved into surrender by the Parliamentary troops in 1645. This was King Charles's final struggle, though the castle did not succumb till after eighteen weeks' siege, and its defenders were forced to eat cats and rats to satisfy hunger, and were reduced to only sixty. Beeston Castle was then finally dismantled, and its ruins are now an attraction to the tourist. Lea Hall, an ancient and famous timbered mansion, surrounded by a moat, was situated about six miles from Chester, but the moat alone remains to show where it stood. Here lived Sir Hugh Calveley, one of Froissart's heroes, who was governor of Calais when it was held by the English, and is buried under a sumptuous tomb in the church of the neighboring college of Bunbury, which he founded. His armed effigy surmounts the tomb, and the inscription says he died on St. George's Day, 1394.[Pg 28]




Frequent reference has been made to the river Dee, the Deva of the Welsh, which is unquestionably one of the finest streams of Britain. It rises in the Arran Fowddwy, one of the chief Welsh mountains, nearly three thousand feet high, and after a winding course of about seventy miles falls into the Irish Sea. This renowned stream has been the theme of many a poet, and after expanding near its source into the beautiful Bala Lake, whose bewitching surroundings are nearly all described in polysyllabic and unpronounceable Welsh names, and are popular among artists and anglers, it flows through Edeirnim Vale, past Corwen. Here a pathway ascends to the eminence known as Glendower's Seat, with which tradition has closely knit the name of the Welsh hero, the close of whose marvellous career marked the termination of Welsh independence. Then the romantic Dee enters the far-famed Valley of Llangollen, where tourists love to roam, and where lived the "Ladies of Llangollen." We are told that these two high-born dames had many lovers, but, rejecting all and enamored only of each other, Lady Butler and Miss Ponsonby, the latter sixteen years the junior of the former, determined on a life of celibacy. They eloped together from Ireland, were overtaken and brought back, and then a second time decamped—on this occasion in masquerade, the elder dressed as a peasant[Pg 29] and the younger as a smart groom in top-boots. Escaping pursuit, they settled in Llangollen in 1778 at the quaint little house called Plas Newydd, and lived there together for a half century. Their costume was extraordinary, for they appeared in public in blue riding-habits, men's neckcloths, and high hats, with their hair cropped short. They had antiquarian tastes, which led to the accumulation of a vast lot of old wood-carvings and stained glass, gathered from all parts of the world and worked into the fittings and adornment of their home. They were on excellent terms with all the neighbors, and the elder died in 1829, aged ninety, and the younger two years afterward, aged seventy-six. Their remains lie in Llangollen churchyard.



Within this famous valley are the ruins of Valle-Crucis Abbey, the most picturesque abbey ruin in North Wales. An adjacent stone cross gave it the name six hundred years ago, when it was built by the great Madoc for the Cistercian monks. The ruins in some parts are now availed of for farm-houses. Fine ash trees bend over the ruined arches, ivy climbs the clustered columns, and the lancet windows with their delicate tracery are much admired. The remains consist of the church, abbot's lodgings, refectory, and dormitory. The church was cruciform, and is now nearly roofless, though the east and west ends and the southern transept are tolerably perfect, so that much of the abbey remains. It was occupied by the Cistercians, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The ancient cross, of which the remains are still standing near by, is Eliseg's Pillar, erected in the seventh century as a memorial of that Welsh prince. It was one of the earliest lettered stones in Britain, standing originally about twelve feet high. From this cross came the name of Valle Crucis, which in the thirteenth century was given to the famous abbey. The great Madoc, who lived in the neighboring castle of Dinas Bran, built this abbey to atone for a life of violence. The ruins of his castle stand on a hill elevated about one thousand feet above the Dee. Bran in Welsh means crow, so that the English know it as Crow Castle. From its ruins there is a beautiful view over the Valley of Llangollen. Farther down the valley is the mansion of Wynnstay, in the midst of a large and richly wooded park, a circle of eight miles enclosing the superb domain, within which are herds of fallow-deer and many noble trees. The old mansion was burnt in 1858, and an imposing struc[Pg 30]ture in Renaissance now occupies the site. Fine paintings adorn the walls by renowned artists, and the Dee foams over its rocky bed in a sequestered dell near the mansion. Memorial columns and tablets in the park mark notable men and events in the Wynn family, the chief being the Waterloo Tower, ninety feet high. Far away down the valley a noble aqueduct by Telford carries the Ellesmere Canal over the Dee—the Pont Cysylltau—supported on eighteen piers of masonry at an elevation of one hundred and twenty-one feet, while a mile below is the still more imposing viaduct carrying the Great Western Railway across.[Pg 31]

Pont Cysylltau PONT CYSYLLTAU.

Not far distant is Chirk Castle, now the home of Mr. R. Myddelton Biddulph, a combination of a feudal fortress and a modern mansion. The ancient portion, still preserved, was built by Roger Mortimer, to whom Edward I. granted the lordship of Chirk. It was a bone of contention during the Civil Wars, and when they were over, $150,000 were spent in repairing the great quadrangular fortress. It stands in a noble situation, and on a clear day portions of seventeen counties can be seen from the summit. Still following down the picturesque river, we come to Bangor-ys-Coed, or "Bangor-in-the-Wood," in Flintshire, once the seat of a famous monastery that disappeared twelve hundred years ago. Here a pretty bridge crosses the river, and a modern church is the most prominent structure in the village. The old monastery is said to have been the home of twenty-four hundred monks, one half of whom were slain in a battle near Chester by the heathen king Ethelfrith, who afterwards sacked the monastery, but the Welsh soon gathered their forces again and took terrible vengeance. Many ancient coffins and Roman remains have been found here. The Dee now runs with swift current past Overton to the ancient town of Holt, whose charter is nearly five hundred years old, but whose importance is now much less than of yore. Holt belongs to the debatable Powisland, the strip of territory over which the English and Welsh fought for centuries. Holt was formerly known as Lyons, and was a Roman outpost of Chester. Edward[Pg 32] I. granted it to Earl Warren, who built Holt Castle, of which only a few quaint pictures now exist, though it was a renowned stronghold in its day. It was a five-sided structure with a tower on each corner, enclosing an ample courtyard. After standing several sieges in the Civil Wars of Cromwell's time, the battered castle was dismantled.


The famous Wrexham Church, whose tower is regarded as one of the "seven wonders of Wales," is three miles from Holt, and is four hundred years old. Few churches built as early as the reign of Henry VIII. can compare with this. It is dedicated to St. Giles, and statues of him and of twenty-nine other saints embellish niches in the tower. Alongside of St. Giles is the hind that nourished him in the desert. The bells of Wrexham peal melodiously over the valley, and in the vicarage the good Bishop Heber wrote the favorite hymn, "From Greenland's Icy Mountains." Then the Dee flows on past the ducal palace of Eaton Hall, and encircles Chester, which has its race-course, "The Roodee"—where they hold an annual contest in May for the "Chester Cup"—enclosed by[Pg 33] a beautiful semicircle of the river. Then the Dee flows on through a straight channel for six miles to its estuary, which broadens among treacherous sands and flats between Flintshire and Cheshire, till it falls into the Irish Sea. Many are the tales of woe that are told of the "Sands o' Dee," along which the railway from Chester to Holyhead skirts the edge in Flintshire. Many a poor girl, sent for the cattle wandering on these sands, has been lost in the mist that rises from the sea, and drowned by the quickly rushing waters. Kingsley has plaintively told the story in his mournful poem:


"They rowed her in across the rolling foam—
The cruel, crawling foam,
The cruel, hungry foam—
To her grave beside the sea;
But still the boatmen hear her call her cattle home
Across the Sands o' Dee."


Let us now journey westward from the Dee into Wales, coming first into Flintshire. The town of Flint, it is conjectured, was originally a Roman camp, from the design and the antiquities found there. Edward I., six hundred years ago, built Flint Castle upon an isolated rock in a marsh near the river, and after a checquered history it was dismantled in the seventeenth century. From the railway between Chester and Holyhead the ruins of this castle are visible on its low freestone rock; it is a square, with round towers at three of the corners, and a massive keep at the other, formed like a double tower and detached from the main castle. This was the "dolorous castle" into which Richard II. was inveigled at the beginning of his imprisonment, which ended with abdication, and finally his death at Pomfret. The story is told that Richard[Pg 34] had a fine greyhound at Flint Castle that often caressed him, but when the Duke of Lancaster came there the greyhound suddenly left Richard and caressed the duke, who, not knowing the dog, asked Richard what it meant. "Cousin," replied the king, "it means a great deal for you and very little for me. I understand by it that this greyhound pays his court to you as King of England, which you will surely be, and I shall be deposed, for the natural instinct of the dog shows it to him; keep him, therefore, by your side." Lancaster treasured this, and paid attention to the dog, which would nevermore follow Richard, but kept by the side of the Duke of Lancaster, "as was witnessed," says the chronicler Froissart, "by thirty thousand men."

Rhuddlan Castle, also in Flintshire, is a red sandstone ruin of striking appearance, standing on the Clwyd River. When it was founded no one knows accurately, but it was rebuilt seven hundred years ago, and was dismantled, like many other Welsh castles, in 1646. It was at Rhuddlan that Edward I. promised the Welsh "a native prince who never spoke a word of English, and whose life and conversation no man could impugn;" and this promise he fulfilled to the letter by naming as the first English Prince of Wales his infant son, then just born at Caernarvon Castle. Six massive towers flank the walls of this famous castle, and are in tolerably fair preservation. Not far to the southward is the eminence known by the Welsh as "Yr-Wyddgrug," or "a lofty hill," and which the English call Mold. On this hill was a castle of which little remains now but tracings of the ditches, larches and other trees peacefully growing on the site of the ancient stronghold. Off toward Wrexham are the ruins of another castle, known as Caergwrle, or "the camp of the giant legion." This was of Welsh origin, and commanded the entrance to the Vale of Alen; the English called it Hope Castle.

Adjoining Flintshire is Denbigh, with the quiet watering-place of Abergele out on the Irish Sea. About two miles away is St. Asaph, with its famous cathedral, having portions dating from the thirteenth century. The great castle of Denbigh, when in its full glory, had fortifications one and a half miles in circumference. It stood on a steep hill at the county-town, where scanty ruins now remain, consisting chiefly of an immense gateway with remains of flanking towers. Above the entrance is a statue of the Earl of Lincoln, its founder in the thirteenth century. His only son was drowned in the castle-well, which so affected the father that he did not finish the castle. Edward II. gave Denbigh to Despenser; Leicester owned it in Elizabeth's time; Charles II. dismantled it. The ruins impress the visitor with the stupendous strength of the immense walls of this stronghold, while extensive passages and dungeons have been explored beneath the surface for long dis[Pg 35]tances. In one chamber near the entrance-tower, which had been walled up, a large amount of gunpowder was found. At Holywell, now the second town in North Wales, is the shrine to which pilgrims have been going for many centuries. At the foot of a steep hill, from an aperture in the rock, there rushes forth a torrent of water at the rate of eighty-four hogsheads a minute; whether the season be wet or be dry, the sacred stream gushing forth from St. Winifrede's Well varies but little, and around it grows the fragrant moss known as St. Winifrede's Hair. The spring has valuable medicinal virtues, and an elegant dome covering it supports a chapel. The little building is an exquisite Gothic structure built by Henry VII. A second basin is provided, into which bathers may descend. The pilgrims to this holy well have of late years decreased in numbers; James II., who, we are told, "lost three kingdoms for a mass," visited this well in 1686, and "received as a reward the undergarment worn by his great-grandmother, Mary Queen of Scots, on the day of her execution." This miraculous spring gets its name from the pious virgin Winifrede. She having been seen by the Prince of Wales, Caradoc, he was struck by her great beauty and attempted to carry her off; she fled to the church, the prince pursuing, and, overtaking her, he in rage drew his sword and struck off her head; the severed head bounded through the church-door and rolled to the foot of the altar. On the spot where it rested a spring of uncommon size burst forth. The pious priest took up the head, and at his prayer it was united to the body, and the virgin, restored to life, lived in sanctity for fifteen years afterwards: miracles were wrought at her tomb; the spring proved another Pool of Bethesda, and to this day we are told that the votive crutches and chairs left by the cured remain hanging over St. Winifrede's Well.

South of Denbigh, in Montgomeryshire, are the ruins of Montgomery Castle, long a frontier fortress of Wales, around which many hot contests have raged: a fragment of a tower and portions of the walls are all that remain. Powys Castle is at Welsh Pool, and is still preserved—a red sandstone structure on a rocky elevation in a spacious and well-wooded park; Sir Robert Smirke has restored it.


Still journeying westward, we come to Caernarvonshire, and reach the remarkable estuary dividing the mainland from the island of Anglesea, and known as the Menai Strait. This narrow stream, with its steeply-sloping banks and winding shores, looks more like a river than a strait, and it everywhere discloses evidence of the residence of an almost pre-historic people in relics of nations that inhabited its banks before the invasion of the Romans.[Pg 36] There are hill-forts, sepulchral mounds, pillars of stone, rude pottery, weapons of stone and bronze; and in that early day Mona itself, as Anglesea was called, was a sacred island. Here were fierce struggles between Roman and Briton, and Tacitus tells of the invasion of Mona by the Romans and the desperate conflicts that ensued as early as A.D. 60. The history of the strait is a story of almost unending war for centuries, and renowned castles bearing the scars of these conflicts keep watch and ward to this day. Beaumaris, Bangor, Caernarvon, and Conway castles still remain in partial ruin to remind us of the Welsh wars of centuries ago. On the Anglesea shore, at the northern entrance to the strait, is the picturesque ruin of Beaumaris Castle, built by Edward I. at a point where vessels could conveniently land. It stands on the lowlands, and a canal connects its ditch with the sea. It consists of a hexagonal line of outer defences surrounding an inner square. Round towers flanked the outer walls, and the chapel within is quite well preserved. It has not had much place in history, and the neighboring town is now a peaceful watering-place.


[Pg 37]


Across the strait is Bangor, a rather straggling town, with a cathedral that is not very old. We are told that its bishop once sold its peal of bells, and, going down to the shore to see them shipped away, was stricken blind as a punishment for the sacrilege. Of Bangor Castle, as it originally stood, but insignificant traces remain, but Lord Penrhyn has recently erected in the neighborhood the imposing castle of Penryhn, a massive pile of dark limestone, in which the endeavor is made to combine a Norman feudal castle with a modern dwelling, though with only indifferent success, excepting in the expenditure involved. The[Pg 38] roads from the great suspension-bridge across the strait lead on either hand to Bangor and Beaumaris, although the route is rather circuitous. This bridge, crossing at the narrowest and most beautiful part of the strait, was long regarded as the greatest triumph of bridge-engineering. It carried the Holyhead high-road across the strait, and was built by Telford. The bridge is five hundred and seventy-nine feet long, and stands one hundred feet above high-water mark; it cost $600,000. Above the bridge the strait widens, and here, amid the swift-flowing currents, the famous whitebait are caught for the London epicures. Three-quarters of a mile below, at another narrow place, the railway crosses the strait through Stephenson's Britannia tubular bridge, which is more useful than ornamental, the railway passing through two long rectangular iron tubes, supported on plain massive pillars. From a rock in the strait the central tower rises to a height of two hundred and thirty feet, and other towers are built on each shore at a distance of four hundred and sixty feet from the central one. Couchant lions carved in stone guard the bridge-portals at each end, and this famous viaduct cost over $2,500,000. A short distance below the Anglesea Column towers above a dark rock on the northern shore of the strait. It was erected in honor of the first Marquis of Anglesea, the gallant commander of the British light cavalry at Waterloo, where his leg was carried away by one of the last French cannon-shots. For many years after the great victory he lived here, literally with "one foot in the grave." Plas Newydd, one and a half miles below, the Anglesea family residence, where the marquis lived, is a large and unattractive mansion, beautifully situated on the sloping shore. It has in the park two ancient sepulchral monuments of great interest to the antiquarian.



As the famous strait widens below the bridges the shores are tamer, and we come to the famous Caernarvon Castle, the scene of many stirring military events, as it held the key to the valleys of Snowdon, and behind it towers that famous peak, the highest mountain in Britain, whose summit rises to a height of 3590 feet. This great castle also commanded the south-western entrance to the strait, and near it the rapid little Sciont River flows into the sea. The ancient Britons had a fort here, and afterwards it was a Roman fortified camp, which gradually developed into the city of Segontium. The British name, from which the present one comes, was Caer-yn-Arvon—"the castle opposite to Mona." Segontium had the honor of being the birthplace of the Emperor Constantine, and many Roman remains still exist there. It was in 1284, however, that Edward I. began building the present castle, and it took thirty-nine[Pg 39] years to complete. The castle plan is an irregular oval, with one side overlooking the strait. At the end nearest the sea, where the works come to a blunt point, is the famous Eagle Tower, which has eagles sculptured on the battlements. There are twelve towers altogether, and these, with the light-and dark-hued stone in the walls, give the castle a massive yet graceful aspect as it stands on the low ground at the mouth of the Sciont. Externally, the castle is in good preservation, but the inner buildings are partly destroyed, as is also the Queen's Gate, where Queen Eleanor is said to have entered before the first English Prince of Wales was born. A corridor, with loopholes contrived in the thickness of the walls, runs entirely around the castle, and from this archers could fight an approaching enemy. This great fortress has been called the "boast of North Wales" from its size and excellent position. It was last used for defence during the Civil Wars, having been a military stronghold for nearly four centuries. Although Charles II. issued a warrant for its demolition, this was to a great extent disregarded. Prynne, the sturdy Puritan, was confined here in Charles I.'s time, and the first English Prince of Wales, afterwards the unfortunate Edward II., is said to have been born in a little dark room, only twelve by eight feet, in the Eagle Tower: when seventeen years of age the prince received the homage of the Welsh barons at Chester. The town of Caernarvon, notwithstanding its famous history and the possession of[Pg 40] the greatest ruin in Wales, now derives its chief satisfaction from the lucrative but prosaic occupation of trading in slates.


At the northern extremity of Caernarvon county, and projecting into the Irish Sea, is the promontory known as Great Orme's Head, and near it is the mouth of the Conway River. The railway to Holyhead crosses this river on a tubular bridge four hundred feet long, and runs almost under the ruins of Conway Castle, another Welsh stronghold erected by Edward I. We are told that this despotic king, when he had completed the conquest of Wales, came to Conway, the shape of the town being something like a Welsh harp, and he ordered all the native bards to be put to death. Gray founded upon this his ode, "The Bard," beginning—

"On a rock whose lofty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in a sable garb of woe.
With haggard eyes the poet stood."
[Pg 41]

This ode has so impressed the Conway folk that they have been at great pains to discover the exact spot where the despairing bard plunged into the river, and several enthusiastic persons have discovered the actual site. The castle stands upon a high rock, and its builder soon after its completion was besieged there by the Welsh, but before being starved into submission was relieved by the timely arrival of a fleet with provisions. It was in the hall of Conway Castle that Richard II. signed his abdication. The castle was stormed and taken by Cromwell's troops in the Civil Wars, and we are told that all the Irish found in the garrison were tied in couples, back to back, and thrown into the river. The castle was not dismantled, but the townsfolk in their industrious quarrying of slates have undermined one of the towers, which, though kept up by the solidity of the surrounding masonry, is known as the "Broken Tower." There was none of the "bonus building" of modern times attempted in these ponderous Welsh castles of the great King Edward. The ruins are an oblong square, standing on the edge of a steep rock washed on two sides by the river; the embattled walls, partly covered by ivy, are twelve to fifteen feet thick, and are flanked by eight huge circular towers, each forty feet in diameter; the interior is in partial ruin, but shows traces of its former magnificence; the stately hall is one hundred and thirty feet long. The same architect designed both Caernarvon and Conway. A fine suspension-bridge now crosses the river opposite the castle, its towers being built in harmony with the architecture of the place, so that the structure looks much like a drawbridge for the fortress. Although the Conway River was anciently a celebrated pearl-fishery, slate-making, as at Caernarvon, is now the chief industry of the town.


There are many other historic places in Caernarvonshire, and also splendid bits of rural and coast scenery, while the attractions for the angler as well as the artist are almost limitless. One of the prettiest places for sketching, as well as a spot where the fisherman's skill is often rewarded, is Bettws-y-Coed. This pretty village, which derives its name from a religious establishment—"Bede-house in the Wood"—that was formerly there, but long ago disappear[Pg 42]ed, is a favorite resort for explorations of the ravines leading down from Mount Snowdon, which towers among the clouds to the southward. Not far away are the attractive Falls of the Conway, and from a rock above them is a good view of the wonderful ravine of Fors Noddyn, through which the river flows. Around it there is a noble assemblage of hills and headlands. Here, joining with the Conway, comes through another ravine the pretty Machno in a succession of sparkling cascades and rapids. Not far away is the wild and lovely valley of the Lledr, another tributary of the Conway, which comes tumbling down a romantic fissure cut into the frowning sides of the mountain. At Dolwyddelan[Pg 43] a solitary tower is all that remains of the castle, once commanding from its bold perch on the rocks the narrow pass in the valley. It is at present a little village of slate-quarriers. The Llugwy is yet another attractive tributary of the Conway, which boasts in its course the Rhavadr-y-Wenol, or the Swallow Fall. This, after a spell of rainy weather, is considered the finest cataract in Wales for the breadth and volume of the water that descends, though not for its height. This entire region is full of charming scenery, and of possibly what some may love even better, good trout-fishing. Following the Conway Valley still farther up, and crossing over the border into Denbigh, we come to the little market-town of Llanrwst. It contains two attractive churches, the older one containing many curious monuments and some good carvings, the latter having been brought from Maenant Abbey. But the chief curiosity of this little Welsh settlement is the bridge crossing the Conway. It was constructed by Inigo Jones, and is a three-arched stone bridge, which has the strange peculiarity that by pushing a particular portion of the parapet it can be made to vibrate from one end to the other. Gwydyr House, the seat of Lord Willoughby de Eresby, is in the neighborhood, a small part of the original mansion built in 1555 remaining. Near Trefriw lived Taliesin, the father of Welsh poetry, and a monument erected by that nobleman on the river-bank perpetuates his memory.



The recollection among the Welsh of the life and exploits of the great chieftain of former times, Madoc, is held very dear in Caernarvonshire, and is[Pg 44] preserved not only in many legends, but also in the thriving and pleasant little seaport known as Port Madoc, which has grown up out of the slate-trade. Its wharf is a wilderness of slates, and much of the land in the neighborhood has been recovered from the sea. The geology as well as the scenery here is an interesting study. In fact, the whole Caernarvon coast, which stretches away to the south-west in the long peninsula that forms Cardigan Bay, is full of pleasant and attractive locations for student and tourist, and entwined around all are weird legends of the heroes and doings of the mystical days of the dim past, when Briton and Roman contended for the mastery of this historic region.



Let us make a brief excursion south of Mount Snowdon, along the coast of the pastoral county of Merioneth, where Nature has put many crags and stones and a little gold and wheat, but where the people's best reliance is their flocks. At the place where the Mawddach joins the sea is Barmouth, where a fishing-village has of late years bloomed into a fashionable watering-place. The houses are built on a strip of sand and the precipitous hillside beyond, and[Pg 45] the cottages are perched wherever they can conveniently hold on to the crags, the devious pathways and flights of steps leading up to them presenting a quaint aspect. The bends of the Mawddach, as it goes inland among the hills, present miles of unique scenery, the great walls of Cader Idris closing the background. Several hilltops in the neighborhood contain fortifications, and are marked by the old tombs known as cromlechs and Druids' altars. On the sea-coast curious reefs project, the chief of them being St. Patrick's Causeway. The legend tells us that a Welsh chieftain fifteen hundred years ago constructed these reefs to protect the lowlands from the incursions of the sea, and on the lands thus reclaimed there stood no less than twelve fortified Welsh cities. But, unfortunately, one stormy night the guardian of the embankments got drunk, and, slumbering at the critical moment, the waves rushed in, sweeping all before them. In the morning, where had before been fortified cities and a vast population, there was only a waste of waters. St. Patrick, we are told, used his causeway to bear him dryshod as far as possible when he walked the waters to Ireland.


Let us penetrate into the interior by going up the romantic valley of the Mawddach and viewing the frowning sides of the chief Merioneth mountain, Cader Idris, which towers on the right hand to the height of 3100 feet. It is a long ridge rather than a peak, and steep precipices guard the upper portion. Two little lakes near the summit, enclosed by cliffs, afford magnificent scenery. Here is "Idris's Chair," where the grim magician, who used to make the moun[Pg 46]tain his home, sat to perform his incantations, whilst in a hollow at the summit he had his couch. According to Welsh tradition, whoever passed the night there would emerge in the morning either mad or a poet. This mountain, like Snowdon, is said to have been formerly a volcano, and legends tell of the fiery outbursts that came from its craters, now occupied by the two little lakes. But the truth of these legends, though interwoven into Welsh poetry, is denied by prosaic geologists. A rough and steep track, known as the "Fox's Path," leads to the summit, and there is a fine view northward across the valleys to the distant summits of Snowdon and its attendant peaks, while spread at our feet to the westward is the broad expanse of Cardigan Bay. Lakes abound in the lowlands, and, pursuing the road up the Mawddach we pass the "Pool of the Three Pebbles." Once upon a time three stones got into the shoe of the giant Idris as he was walking about his domain, and he stopped here and threw them out. Here they still remain—three ponderous boulders—in the lake.



We leave the Mawddach and follow its tributary, the little river Wnion, as it ripples along over its pebbly bed guarded by strips of meadow. Soon we come to the lovely "Village of the Hazels," Dolgelly, standing in the narrow valley, and probably the prettiest spot in Wales. Steep hills rise on either hand, with bare craggy summits and the lower slopes richly wooded. Deep dells running into the[Pg 47] hills vary the scenery, and thus the town is set in an amphitheatre of hills, up whose flanks the houses seem to climb. There is a little old church, and in a back court the ruins of the "Parliament House," where Owen Glendower assembled the Welsh Parliament in 1404. The Torrent Walk, where the stream from the mountain is spanned by picturesque bridges, is a favorite resort of the artist, and also one of the most charming bits of scenery in the neighborhood of this beautiful town. Pursuing the valley farther up and crossing the watershed, we come to the largest inland water of Wales, the beautiful Bala Lake, heretofore referred to in describing the river Dee, which drains it. It is at an elevation of six hundred feet, surrounded by mountain-peaks, and the possibility of making it available as a water-supply for London has been considered.



There is an attractive place on the Merioneth coast to the southward of Barmouth, at the mouth of the Rheidol, and near the estuary of the river Dovey. A ruined tower on a low eminence guards the harbor, where now is a fashionable watering-place, and is almost all that remains of the once powerful Aberystwith Castle, another stronghold of King Edward I. Portions of the entrance-gate and barbican can be traced, while the modern houses of the town are spread to the northward along the semicircular bay. The University College of Wales is located here, and the town is popularly known as the "Welsh Brighton," while among its antiquities in the suburbs is the ruined castellated mansion of Plas Crug, said to have been Glendower's home. On the northern part of the Merioneth coast is the entrance to the pleasant vale of Pfestiniog, another attractive spot to tourists. Tan-y-bwlch and Maentwrog[Pg 49] are romantic villages adjoining each other in this pretty valley full of waterfalls, among these being the renowned Black Cataract and the Raven Fall.


About twelve miles north of Barmouth the picturesque Harlech Castle stands on a promontory guarding the entrance to the Traeth. The cliff is precipitous, with just enough level surface on the top to accommodate the castle. The place is a quadrangle, with massive round towers at the corners connected by lofty curtain-walls. Circular towers, protected by a barbican, guard the entrance on the land side. Deep ditches cut in the rock surround the castle where that defence is necessary. From this fortress on the Rock of Harlech the view is magnificent. This crag is said to have supported a castle as early as the third century, when Lady Bronwen built it, and, being of most sensitive honor, died afterwards of grief because her husband had struck her. Unhappily, she was in advance of her age in her demonstration of woman's rights. Another castle replaced the first one in the sixth century, and some of its ruins were worked into the present castle, which is another achievement of the great Welsh fortress-builder, Edward I. It has stood several sieges. Owen Glendower held it five years against the English. When Edward IV. became king, Harlech still held out for the Lancastrian party, the redoubtable Welshman, David ap Ifon, being the governor. Summoned to surrender, the brave David replied, "I held a town in France till all the old women in Wales heard of it, and now I will hold a castle in Wales till all the old women in France hear of it." But David was starved into surrender, and then Edward IV. tried to break the terms of capit[Pg 50]ulation made by Sir Richard Pembroke, the besieger. Sir Richard, more generous, told the king, "Then, by Heaven, I will let David and his garrison into Harlech again, and Your Highness may fetch him out by any who can, and if you demand my life for his, take it." The song of "The March of the Men of Harlech" is a memorial of this siege. Harlech was the last Welsh fortress during the Civil Wars that held out for Charles I., and since then it has been gradually falling to decay.


We have now conducted the tourist to the chief objects in North Wales. The railway runs on to Holyhead, built on the extreme point of Holy Island on the western verge of Anglesea, where there is a fine harbor of refuge, lighthouses, and an excellent port. Here comes the "Wild Irishman," as the fast train is called that runs between London and Ireland, and its passengers are quickly transferred to the swift steamers that cross the Channel to Dublin harbor. Lighthouses dot the cliffs on the coast, and at this romantic outpost we will close the survey of North Wales.

"There ever-dimpling Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak,
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
Those Edens of the Western wave."



Lancashire—Warrington—Manchester—Furness Abbey—The Ribble—Stonyhurst—Lancaster Castle—Isle of Man—Castletown—Rushen Castle—Peele Castle—The Lake Country—Windermere—Lodore Fall—Derwentwater—Keswick—Greta Hall—Southey, Wordsworth and Coleridge—Skiddaw—The Border Castles—Kendal Castle—Brougham Hall—The Solway—Carlisle Castle—Scaleby Castle—Naworth—Lord William Howard.



The great manufacturing county of England for cotton and woollen spinning and weaving is Lancashire. Liverpool is the seaport for the vast aggregation of manufacturers who own the huge mills of Manchester, Salford, Warrington, Wigan, Oldham, Rochdale, Bolton, Blackburn, Preston, and a score of other towns, whose operatives work into yarns and fabrics the millions of bales of cotton and wool that come into the Mersey. The warehouse and factory, with the spinners' cottages and the manufacturers' villas, make up these towns, almost all of modern growth, and the busy machinery and smoking chimneys leave little chance for romance in Southern Lancashire. It was in this section that trade first compelled the use of modern improvements: here were used the earliest steam-engines; here labored Arkwright to perfect the spinning machinery, and Stephenson to build railways. To meet[Pg 52] the necessities of communication between Liverpool and Manchester, the first canal was dug in England, and this was followed afterwards by the first experimental railway; the canal was constructed by Brindley, and was called the "Grand Trunk Canal," being twenty-eight miles long from Manchester to the Mersey River, at Runcorn above Liverpool, and was opened in 1767. The railway was opened in 1830; the odd little engine, the "Rocket," then drew an excursion-train over it, and the opening was marred by an accident which killed Joseph Huskisson, one of the members of Parliament for Liverpool. Let us follow this railway, which now carries an enormous traffic out of Liverpool, eastward along the valley of the Mersey past Warrington, with its quaint old timbered market-house, and then up its tributary, the Irwell, thirty-one miles to Manchester.


The chief manufacturing city of England has not a striking effect upon the visitor as he approaches it. It is scattered over a broad surface upon a gently undulating plain, and its suburbs straggle out into the country villages, which it is steadily absorbing in its rapid growth; the Irwell passes in a winding course through the city, receiving a couple of tributaries; this river divides Manchester from Salford, but a dozen bridges unite them. No city in England has had such rapid growth as Manchester in this century; it has increased from about seventy thousand people at the beginning of the century to over half a million now; and this is all the effect of the development of manufacturing industry. Yet Manchester is one of the oldest towns in England, for there was a Roman camp at Mancunium, as the Cæsars called it, in the first century of the Christian era; and we are also told that in the days when giants lived in England it was the scene of a terrific combat between Sir Launcelot of the Lake and the giant Tarquin. A ballad tells the story, but it is easier read in prose: Sir Launcelot was travelling near Manchester when he heard that this giant held in durance vile a number of knights—"threescore and four" in all; a damsel conducts him to the giant's castle-gate, "near Manchester, fair town," where a copper basin hung to do duty as a bell; he strikes it so hard as to break it, when out comes the giant ready for the fray; a terrific combat ensues, and the giant, finding that he has met his match, offers to release the captives, provided his adversary is not a certain knight that slew his brother. Unfortunately, it happens that Sir Launcelot is the very same, and the combat is renewed with such vigor that the giant is slain, "to the great contentment of many persons."[Pg 53]


The ancient Mancunium was a little camp and city of about twelve acres, partly bounded by a tributary of the Irwell known as the Medlock. A ditch on the land-side was still visible in the last century, and considerable portions of the old Roman walls also remained within two hundred years. Many Roman relics have been discovered in the city, and at Knott Mill, the site of the giant Tarquin's castle, a fragment of the Roman wall is said to be still visible. The town in the early Tudor days had a college, and then a cathedral, and it was besieged in the Civil Wars, though it steadily grew, and in Charles II.'s time it was described as a busy and opulent place; but it had barely six thousand people. Cotton-spinning had then begun, the cotton coming from Cyprus and Smyrna. In 1700 life in Manchester, as described in a local guide-book, was noted by close application to business; the manufacturers were in their warehouses by six in the morning, breakfasted at seven on bowls of porridge and milk, into which masters and apprentices dipped their spoons indiscriminately, and dined at twelve; the ladies went out visiting at two in the afternoon, and attended church at four. Manchester was conservative in the Jacobite rebellion, and raised a regiment for the Pretender, but the royalist forces defeated it, captured the officers, and beheaded them. Manchester politics then were just the opposite of its present Liberal tendencies, and it was Byrom, a Manchester man, who wrote the quaint epigram regarding the Pretender and his friends which has been so often quoted:

"God bless the King—I mean our faith's defender!
God bless (no harm in blessing) the Pretender!
But who Pretender is, or who is King—
God bless us all!—that's quite another thing."

It was the rapid growth of manufacturing industry in Manchester that changed its politics, and it was here that was first conspicuously advocated the free-trade agitation in England which triumphed in the repeal of the Corn Laws, so as to admit food free of duty for the operatives, and in the Reform bill that changed the representation in Parliament. That fine building, the "Free-Trade Hall," is a monument of this agitation in[Pg 54] which Manchester took such prominent part. As the city has grown in wealth, so has its architectural appearance improved; its school-and college-buildings are very fine, particularly Owens College, munificently endowed by a leading merchant. The Manchester Cathedral is an ancient building overlooking the Irwell which has had to be renewed in so many parts that it has a comparatively modern aspect. Other English cathedrals are more imposing, but this, "the ould paroch church" spoken of by the ancient chroniclers, is highly prized by the townsfolk; the architecture is Perpendicular and of many dates. Until recently this was the only parish church in Manchester, and consequently all the marriages for the city had to be celebrated there; the number was at times very large, especially at Easter, and not a few tales are told of how, in the confusion, the wrong pairs were joined together, and when the mistake was discovered respliced with little ceremony. It was in this Manchester Cathedral that one rector is said to have generally begun the marriage service by instructing the awaiting crowd to "sort yourselves in the vestry."


Some of the public buildings in Manchester are most sumptuous. The Assize Courts are constructed in rich style, with lofty Pointed roofs and a tall tower, and make one of the finest modern buildings in England. The great hall is a grand apartment, and behind the courts is the prison, near which the Fenians in 1867 made the celebrated rescue of the prisoners from the van for which some of the assailants were hanged and others transported. The Royal Exchange is a massive structure in the Italian style, with a fine portico, dome, and[Pg 55] towers; the hall within is said to be probably the largest room in England, having a width of ceiling, without supports, of one hundred and twenty feet. Here on cotton-market days assemble the buyers and sellers from all the towns in Lancashire, and they do an enormous traffic. The new Town-Hall is also a fine building, where the departments of the city government are accommodated, and where they have an apartment dear to every Englishman's heart—"a kitchen capable of preparing a banquet for eight hundred persons." The warehouses of Manchester are famous for their size and solidity, and could Arkwright come back and see what his cotton-spinning machinery has produced, he would be amazed. It was in Manchester that the famous Dr. Dalton, the founder of the atomic theory in chemistry, lived; he was a devout Quaker, like so many of the townspeople, but unfortunately was color-blind; he appeared on one occasion in a scarlet waistcoat, and when taken to task declared it seemed to him a very quiet, unobtrusive color, just like his own coat. Several fine parks grace the suburbs of Manchester, and King Cotton has made this thriving community the second city in England, while for miles along the beautifully shaded roads that lead into the suburbs the opulent merchants and manufacturers have built their ornamental villas.


[Pg 56]



The irregularly-shaped district of Lancashire partly cut off from the remainder of the county by an arm of the Irish Sea is known as Furness. It is a wild and rugged region, best known from the famous Furness Abbey and its port of Barrow-in-Furness, one of the most remarkable examples in England of quick city growth. Forty years ago this was an insignificant fishing village; now Barrow has magnificent docks and a fine harbor protected by the natural breakwater of Walney Island, great iron-foundries and the largest jute-manufactory in the world; while it has recently also became a favorite port for iron shipbuilding. About two miles distant, and in a romantic glen called the Valley of Deadly Nightshade, not far from the sea, is one of the finest examples of mediæval church-architecture in England, the ruins of Furness Abbey, founded in the twelfth century by King Stephen and Maud, his queen. It was a splendid abbey, standing high in rank and power, its income in the reign of Edward I. being $90,000 a year, an enormous sum for that early day. The ruins are in fine preservation, and effigies of Stephen and Maud are on each side of the great east window. For twelve reigns the charters of sovereigns and bulls of popes confirmed the abbots of Furness in their extraordinary powers, which extended over the district of Furness, while the situation of the abbey made them military chieftains, and they erected a watch-tower on a high hill, from which signals alarmed the coast on the approach of an[Pg 57] enemy. The church is three hundred and four feet long, and from the centre rose a tower, three of the massive supporting pillars of which remain, but the tower has fallen and lies a mass of rubbish; the stained glass from the great east window having been removed to Bowness Church, in Westmorelandshire. The abbey enclosure, covering eighty-five acres, was surrounded by a wall, the ruins of which are now covered with thick foliage. This renowned abbey was surrendered and dismantled in Henry VIII.'s reign; the present hotel near the ruins was formerly the abbot's residence.

The river Ribble, which flows into the Irish Sea through a wide estuary, drains the western slopes of the Pennine Hills, which divide Lancashire from Yorkshire. Up in the north-western portion of Lancashire, near the bases of these hills, is a moist region known as the parish of Mitton, where, as the poet tells us,

"The Hodder, the Calder, Ribble, and rain
All meet together in Mitton domain."

In Mitton parish, amid the woods along the Hodder and on the north side of the valley of the Ribble, stands the splendid domed towers of the baronial edifice of Stonyhurst, now the famous Jesuit College of England, where the sons of the Catholic nobility and gentry are educated. The present building is about three hundred years old, and quaint gardens adjoin it, while quite an extensive park surrounds the college. Not far away are Clytheroe Castle and the beautiful ruins of Whalley Abbey. The Stonyhurst gardens are said to remain substantially as their designer, Sir Nicholas Sherburne, left them. A capacious water-basin is located in the centre, with the leaden statue of Regulus in chains standing in the midst of the water. Summer-houses with tall pointed roofs are at each lower extremity of the garden, while an observatory is upon a commanding elevation. Tall screens of clipped yews, cut square ten feet high and five feet thick, divide the beds upon one side of the gardens, so that as you walk among them you are enveloped in a green yet pleasant solitude. Arched doorways are cut through the yews, and in one place, descending by broad and easy steps, there is a solemn, cool, and twilight walk formed by the overarching yews, the very place for religious meditation. Then, reascending, this sombre walk opens into air and sunshine amid delicious flower-gardens. On the opposite side of the gardens are walls hung with fruit, and plantations of kitchen vegetables. This charming place was fixed upon by the Jesuits for their college in 1794, when driven from Liège by the proscriptions of the French Revolution. The old building and the additions then erected enclose a large quadrangular court. In the front of the college, at the southern angle, is a fine little Gothic[Pg 58] church, built fifty years ago. The college refectory is a splendid baronial hall. In the Mitton village-church near by are the tombs of the Sherburne family, the most singular monument being that to Sir Richard and his lady, which the villagers point out as "old Fiddle o' God and his wife"—Fiddle o' God being his customary exclamation when angry, which tradition says was not seldom. The figures are kneeling—he in ruff and jerkin, she in black gown and hood, with tan-leather gloves extending up her arms. These figures, being highly colored, as was the fashion in the olden time, have a ludicrous appearance. We are told that when these monuments came from London they were the talk of the whole country round. A stonemason bragged that he could cut out as good a figure in common stone. Taken at his word, he was put to the test, and carved the effigy of a knight in freestone which so pleased the Sherburne family that they gave him one hundred dollars for it, and it is now set in the wall outside the church, near the monuments.



John of Gaunt, "time-honored Lancaster," was granted the Duchy of Lancaster by his father, King Edward III., but the place which stands upon the river Lune is of much greater antiquity. It was a Roman camp, and hence its name. The Picts destroyed it when the Romans left; the Saxons afterwards restored it, and ultimately it gave the name to the county. King John gave the town a charter, and John of Gaunt rebuilt the fortress, which became indissolubly connected with the fortunes of the House of Lancaster. Though sometimes besieged, it was maintained more for purposes of state than of war, and two centuries ago it still existed in all its ancient splendor, commanding the city and the sea. Lancaster stands on the slope of an eminence rising from the river Lune, and the castle-towers crown the summit, the fortress being spacious, with a large courtyard and variously-shaped towers. The keep is square, enormously strong, and defended by two semi-octagonal towers. This keep is known as "John of Gaunt's Chair,"[Pg 59] and commands a fine view of the surrounding country and far away across the sea to the distant outlines of the Isle of Man. This famous castle, partly modernized, is now used for the county jail and courts, the prison-chapel being in the keep. In the town several large manufactories attest the presiding genius of Lancashire, and the inn is the comfortable and old-fashioned King's Arms described by Dickens.




Let us go off from the Lancashire coast to that strange island which lies in the sea midway between England, Scotland, and Ireland, and whose bold shores are visible from "John of Gaunt's Chair." It stretches for thirty-three miles from its northern extremity at the point of Ayre to the bold detached cliffs of the little islet at the southern end known as the Calf of Man. Covering two hundred and twenty-seven square miles area, its coasts are irregular, its shores in several places precipitous, and a range of mountains traverses the entire island, the highest peak being Snaefell, rising 2024 feet, with North Barrule at one extremity and Cronk-ny-Jay Llaa, or "The Hill of the Rising Day," at the other. Man is a miniature kingdom, with its reproduction, sometimes in dwarf, of everything that other kingdoms have. It has four little rivers, the Neb, Colby, Black and Gray Waters, with little gems of cascades; has its own dialect, the Manx, and a parliament in miniature, known as the Council, or Upper House, and the House of Keys. It is a healthful resort, for all the winds that blow come from the sea, and its sea-views are striking, the rugged masses of Bradda Head, the mellow-coloring of the Calf, and the broad expanse of waters, dotted by scores of fishing-boats, making many scenes of artistic merit. While the want of trees makes the land-views harsh and cold, yet the glens and coves opening into the sea are the charms of Manx scenery, the high fuchsia-hedges surrounding many of the cottages giving bright coloring to the landscape when the flowers are in bloom. It is a beautiful place when once the tourist is able to land there, but the wharf arrangements are not so good as they might be. Once landed, the visitor usually first proceeds to solve the great zoological problem the island has long presented to the outer world, and finds that the Isle of Man does really possess a breed of tailless cats, whose caudal extremity is either altogether wanting or at most is reduced to a merely rudimental substitute.


[Pg 61]


Landing at the capital, Castletown, it is found that it gets its name from the ancient castle of Rushen, around which the town is built. Guttred the Dane is said to have built this castle nine hundred years ago, and to be buried beneath it, although Cardinal Wolsey constructed the surrounding stone glacis. The keep—into which the prisoners had to be lowered by ropes—and several parts of the interior buildings remain almost entire, but repeated sieges so wrecked the other portions that they have had to be restored. At the castle-entrance were stone chairs for the governor and judges. It was here that the eminent men who have ruled the Isle of Man presided, among them being Regulus, who was King of Man, and the famous Percy, who was attainted of high treason in 1403. Afterwards it was ruled by the Earls of Derby, who relinquished the title of king and took that of Lord of Man, holding their sovereignty until they sold it and the castles and patronage of the island to the Crown in 1764 for $350,000. With such a history it is natural that Castle Rushen should have a weird interest attached to it, and the ancient chroniclers tell of a mysterious apartment within "which has never been opened in the memory of man." Tradition says that this famous castle was first inhabited by fairies, and afterwards by the giants, until Merlin, by his magic power, dislodged most of the giants and bound the others in spells. In proof of this it is said there are fine apartments underneath the ground, to explore which several venturesome persons have gone down, only one of whom ever returned. To save the lives of the reckless would be explorers, therefore, this mysterious apartment, which gives entrance underground, is kept shut. The one who returned is described as an "explorer of uncommon courage," who managed to get back by the help of a clue of packthread which he took with him, and was thus able to retrace his steps. He had a wondrous tale to tell. After passing a number of vaults, and through a long, narrow passage which descended for more than a mile, he saw a little gleam of light, and gladly sought it out. The light came from a magnificent house, brilliantly illuminated. Having "well fortified himself with brandy before beginning the exploration," he courageously knocked at the door, and at the third knock a servant appeared, demanding what was wanted. He asked for directions how to proceed farther, as the house seemed to block the passage. The servant, after some parley, led him[Pg 62] through the house and out at the back door. He walked a long distance, and then beheld another house, more magnificent than the first, where, the windows being open, he saw innumerable lamps burning in all the rooms. He was about to knock, but first had the curiosity to peep through a window into the parlor. There was a large black marble table in the middle of the room, and on it lay at full length a giant who, the explorer says, was "at least fourteen feet long and ten feet round the body." The giant lay with his head pillowed on a book, as if asleep, and there was a prodigious sword alongside him, proportioned to the hand that was to use it. This sight was so terrifying that the explorer made the best of his way back to the first house, where the servant told him that if he had knocked at the giant's door he would have had company enough, but would have never returned. He desired to know what place it was, but was told, "These things are not to be revealed." Then he made his way back to daylight by the aid of the clue of packthread as quickly as possible, and we are told that no one has ventured down there since. This is but one of the many tales of mystery surrounding the venerable Rushen Castle.



The Isle of Man derives its name from the ancient British word mon, which means "isolated." Around this singular place there are many rocky islets, also isolated, and upon one of the most picturesque of these, where art and Nature have vied in adding strength to beauty, is built the castle of Peele, off the western coast, overlooking the distant shores of Ireland. This castle is perched upon a huge rock, rising for a great height out of the sea, and completely inaccessible, except by the approach which has been constructed on the side towards the Isle of Man, where the little town of Peele is located. After crossing the arm of the sea separating the castle from the town, the visitor, landing at the foot of the rock, ascends about sixty steps, cut out of it, to the first wall, which is massive and high, and built of the old red sandstone in which the island abounds; the gates in this wall are of wood, curiously arched and carved, and four little watch-towers on the wall overlook the sea. Having entered, he mounts by another shorter stairway cut out of the rock to the second wall, built like the other, and both of them full of portholes for cannon. Passing through yet a third wall, there is found a broad plain upon the top of the rock, where stands the castle, surrounded by four churches, three almost entirely ruined; the other church (St. Germain's) is kept in some repair because it has within the bishop's chapel, while beneath is a horrible dungeon where the sea runs in and out through hollows of the rock with a continual roar; a steep and narrow stairway descends to the dungeon and burial-vaults,[Pg 63] and within are thirteen pillars supporting the chapel above. Beware, if going down, of failing to count the pillars, for we are told that he who neglects this is sure to do something that will occasion his confinement in this dreadful dungeon. This famous castle of Peele even in its partly-ruined state has several noble apartments, and here were located some of the most interesting scenes of Scott's novel of Peveril of the Peak. It was in former days a state-prison, and in it were at one time confined Warwick the King-maker, and also Gloucester's haughty wife, Eleanor; her discontented spectre was said to haunt the battlements in former years, and stand motionless beside one of the watch-towers, only disappearing when the cock crew or church-bell tolled: another apparition, a shaggy spaniel known as the Manthe Doog, also haunted the castle, particularly the guard-chamber, where the dog came and lay down at candlelight; the soldiers lost much of their terror by the frequency of the sight, but none of them liked to be left alone with him, though he did not molest them. The dog came out by a passage through the church where the soldiers had to go to deliver the keys to their captain, and for moral support they never went that way alone. One of the soldiers, we are told, on a certain[Pg 64] night, "being much disguised in liquor" (for spirits of various kinds appear in the Isle of Man, as most other places), insisted upon going with the keys alone, and could not be dissuaded; he said he was determined to discover whether the apparition was dog or devil, and, snatching the keys, departed: soon there was a great noise, but none ventured to ascertain the cause. When the soldier returned he was speechless and horror-stricken, nor would he ever by word or sign tell what had happened to him, but soon died in agony; then the passage was walled up, and the Manthe Doog was never more seen at Castle Peele.



North of Lancashire, in the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, is the famous "Lake Country" of England. It does not cover a large area—in fact, a good pedestrian can walk from one extremity of the region to the other in a day—but its compact beauties have a charm of rugged outline and luxuriant detail that in a condensed form reproduce the Alpine lakes of Northern Italy. Derwentwater is conceded to be the finest of these English lakes, but there is also great beauty in Windermere and Ulleswater, Buttermere and Wastwater. The Derwent runs like a thread through the glassy bead of Derwentwater, a magnificent oval lake set among the hills, about three miles long and half that breadth, alongside which rises the frowning Mount Skiddaw with its pair of rounded heads. In entering the Lake Region from the Lancashire side we first come to the pretty Windermere Lake, the largest of these inland sheets of water, about ten miles long and one mile broad in the widest part. From Orrest Head, near the village of Windermere, there is a magnificent view of the lake from end to end, though tourists prefer usually to go to the[Pg 65] village of Bowness on the bank, where steamers start at frequent intervals and make the circuit of the pretty lake. From Bowness the route is by Rydal Mount, where the poet Wordsworth lived, to Koswick, about twenty-three miles distant, on Derwentwater.


The attractive Derwent flows down through the Borrowdale Valley past Seathwaite, where for many a year there has been worked a famous mine of plumbago: we use it for lead-pencils, but our English ancestors, while making it valuable for marking their sheep, prized it still more highly as a remedy for colic and other human ills. There are several pencil-mills in the village, which, in addition to other claims for fame, is noted as one of the rainiest spots in England, the annual rainfall at Seathwaite sometimes reaching one hundred and eighty-two inches. The Derwent flows on through a gorge past the isolated pyramidal rock known as Castle Crag, and the famous Bowder Stone, which has fallen into the gorge from the crags above, to the hamlet of Grange, where a picturesque bridge spans the little river. We are told that the inhabitants once built a wall across the narrowest part of this valley: having long noticed the coincident appearance of spring and the cuckoo, they rashly concluded that the latter was the cause of the former, and that if they could only retain the bird their pleasant valley would enjoy perpetual spring; they built the wall as spring lengthened into summer, and with the autumn came the crisis. The wall had risen to a considerable height when the cuckoo with the approach of colder weather was sounding its somewhat asthmatic notes as it moved from tree to tree down the valley; it neared the wall, and as the population held their breath it suddenly flew over, and carried the spring away with it down the Derwent. Judge of the popular disgust when the sages of that region complainingly remarked that, having crossed but a few inches above the topmost stones of the wall, if the builders had only carried it a course or[Pg 66] two higher the cuckoo might have been kept at home, and their valley thus have enjoyed a perennial spring.

The Derwent flows on along its gorge, which has been slowly ground out by a glacier in past ages, and enters the lake through the marshy, flat, reedy delta that rather detracts from the appearance of its upper end. Not far away a small waterfall comes tumbling over the crags among the foliage; this miniature Niagara has a fame almost as great as the mighty cataract of the New World, for it is the "Fall of Lodore," about which, in answer to his little boy's question, "How does the water come down at Lodore?" Southey wrote his well-known poem that is such a triumph of versification, and from which this is a quotation:

"Flying and flinging, writhing and wringing,
Eddying and whisking, spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting
Around and around, with endless rebound,
Smiting and fighting, a sight to delight in,
Confounding, astounding.
Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound;
All at once, and all o'er, with mighty uproar—
And this way the water conies down at Lodore."

Thus we reach the border of Derwentwater, nestling beneath the fells and crags, as its miniature surrounding mountains are called. Little wooded islets dimple the surface of the lake, in the centre being the largest, St. Herbert's Island, where once that saint lived in a solitary cell: he was the bosom friend of St. Cuthbert, the missionary of Northumberland, and made an annual pilgrimage over the Pennine Hills to visit him; loving each other in life, in death they were not divided, for Wordsworth tells us that

"These holy men both died in the same hour."

Another islet is known as Lord's Island, where now the rooks are in full possession, but where once was the home of the ill-fated Earl of Derwentwater, who was beheaded in 1716 for espousing the Pretender's cause. It is related that before his execution on Tower Hill he closely viewed the block, and finding a rough place which might offend his neck, he bade the headsman chip it off; this done, he cheerfully placed his head upon it, gave the sign, and died: his estates were forfeited and settled by the king on Greenwich Hospital. Castle Hill rises boldly on the shore above Derwent Isle, where there is a pretty residence, and every few years there is added to the other islets on the bosom of the lake the "Floating Island," a mass of vegetable matter that becomes detached from the marsh at the upper end. At Friar's Crag, beneath Castle[Pg 67] Hill, the lake begins to narrow, and at Portinscale the Derwent flows out, receives the waters of the Greta coming from Keswick, and, after flowing a short distance through the meadow-land, expands again into Bassenthwaite Lake, a region of somewhat tamer yet still beautiful scenery.

The town of Keswick stands some distance back from the border of Derwentwater, and is noted as having been the residence of Southey. In Greta Hall, an unpretentious house in the town, Southey lived for forty years, dying there in 1843. He was laid to rest in the parish church of Crosthwaite, just outside the town. At the pretty little church there is a marble altar-tomb, the inscription on which to Southey's memory was written by Wordsworth. Greta Hall was also for three years the home of Coleridge, the two families dwelling under the same roof. Behind the modest house rises Skiddaw, the bare crags of the rounded summits being elevated over three thousand feet, and beyond it the hills and moors of the Skiddaw Forest stretch northward to the Solway, with the Scruffel Hill beyond. Upon a slope of the mountain, not far from Keswick, is a Druids' circle, whose builders scores of centuries ago watched the mists on Skiddaw's summit, as the people there do now, to foretell a change of weather as the clouds might rise or fall, for they tell us that

"If Skiddaw hath a cap,
Scruffel wots full well of that."


At Kendal, in Westmorelandshire, are the ruins of Kendal Castle, a relic of the Norman days, but long since gone to decay. Here lived the ancestors of King Henry VIII.'s last wife, Queen Catharine Parr. Opposite it are the ruins of Castle How, and not far away the quaint appendage known as Castle Dairy, replete with heraldic carvings. It was in the town of Kendal that was made the foresters' woollen cloth known as "Kendal green," which was the uniform of Robin Hood's band.

In the northern part of the county, on the military road to Carlisle, are the ruins of Brougham Castle, built six hundred years ago. It was here that the Earl of Cumberland magnificently entertained King James I. for three days on one of his journeys out of Scotland. It is famous as the home of the late Henry, Lord Brougham, whose ancestors held it for many generations. The manor-house, known as Brougham Hall, has such richness, variety, and extent of prospect from its terraces that it is called the "Windsor of the North." Lord Brougham was much attached to his magnificent home, and it was here in 1860 that he finished his comprehensive work on the British Constitution,[Pg 68] and wrote its famous dedication to the queen, beginning with the memorable words, "Madame, I presume to lay at Your Majesty's feet a work the 'result of many years' diligent study, much calm reflection, and a long life's experience." In close proximity to the castle is the Roman station Brocavum, founded by Agricola in A.D. 79. Its outline is clearly defined, the camp within the inner ditch measuring almost one thousand feet square. Various Roman roads lead from it, and much of the materials of the outworks were built into the original Brougham Castle.


The Solway and its firth divide England from Scotland, and this borderland has been the scene of many deadly feuds, though happily only in the days long agone. The castle of Carlisle was a noted border stronghold, built of red sandstone by King William Rufus, who rebuilt Carlisle, which had then lain in ruins two hundred years because of the forays of the Danes. Richard III. enlarged the castle, and Henry VIII. built the citadel. Here Mary Queen of Scots was once lodged, but in Elizabeth's time the castle fell into decay. In the town is a fine cathedral, which has been thoroughly restored. In a flat situation north of Carlisle are the ruins of Scaleby Castle, once a fortress of great strength, but almost battered to pieces when it resisted Cromwell's forces. There are several acres enclosed within the moat, intended for the cattle when driven in to escape the forays that came over the border. This venerable castle is now a picturesque ruin. Twelve miles north-east of Carlisle is Naworth Castle, near where the Roman Wall crossed England. This is one of the finest feudal remains in Cumberland, having been the stronghold of the Wardens of the Marches, who guarded the border from Scottish incursions. It stands amid fine scenery, and just to the southward is the Roman Wall, of which many remains are still traced, while upon the high moorland in[Pg 69] the neighborhood is the paved Roman Road, twelve feet wide and laid with stone. At Naworth there was always a strong garrison, for the border was rarely at peace, and


"Stern on the angry confines Naworth rose,
In dark woods islanded; its towers looked forth
And frowned defiance on the angry North."

Here lived, with a host of retainers, the famous "belted Will"—Lord William Howard, son of the fourth Duke of Norfolk—who in the early part of the seventeenth century finally brought peace to the border by his judicious exercise for many years of the Warden's powers. It is of this famous soldier and chivalrous knight, whose praises are even yet sung in the borderland, that Scott has written—

"Howard, than whom knight
Was never dubbed more bold in fight,
Nor, when from war and armor free.
More famed for stately courtesy."

[Pg 70]



The Peak of Derbyshire—Castleton—Bess of Hardwicke—Hardwicke Hall—Bolsover Castle—The Wye and the Derwent—Buxton—Bakewell—Haddon Hall—The King of the Peak—Dorothy Vernon—Rowsley—The Peacock Inn—Chatsworth—The Victoria Regia—Matlock—Dovedale—Beauchief Abbey—Stafford Castle—Trentham Hall—Tamworth—Tutbury Castle—Chartley Castle—Alton Towers—Shrewsbury Castle—Bridgenorth—Wenlock Abbey—Ludlow Castle—The Feathers Inn—Lichfield Cathedral—Dr. Samuel Johnson—Coventry—Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom—Belvoir Castle—Charnwood Forest—Groby and Bradgate—Elizabeth Widvile and Lady Jane Grey—Ulverscroft Priory—Grace Dieu Abbey—Ashby de la Zouche—Langley Priory—Leicester Abbey and Castle—Bosworth Field—Edgehill—Naseby—The Land of Shakespeare—Stratford-on-Avon—Warwick—Kenilworth—Birmingham—Boulton and Watt—Fotheringhay Castle—Holmby House—Bedford Castle—John Bunyan—Woburn Abbey and the Russells—Stowe—Whaddon Hall—Great Hampden—Creslow House.


The river Mersey takes its sources—for it is formed by the union of several smaller streams—in the ranges of high limestone hills east of Liverpool, in North Derbyshire. These hills are an extension of the Pennine range that makes the backbone of England, and in Derbyshire they rise to a height of nearly two thousand feet, giving most picturesque scenery. The broad top of the range at its highest part is called the Kinderscout, or, more familiarly, "The Peak." The mountain-top is a vast moor, abounding in deep holes and water-pools, uninhabited excepting by the stray sportsman or tourist, and dangerous and difficult to cross. Yet, once mounted to the top, there are good views of the wild scenery of the Derbyshire hills, with the villages nestling in the glens, and of the "Kinder Fall," where much of the water from the summit pours down a cataract of some five hundred feet height, while not far away is the "Mermaid's Pool," where, if you go at the midnight hour that ushers in Easter Sunday, and look steadily into the water, you will see a mermaid. The man who ventures upon that treacherous bogland by night certainly deserves to see the best mermaid the Peak can produce. This limestone region is a famous place. In the sheltered valley to the westward of the Kinderscout is the village of Castleton, almost covered in by high hills on all sides. It was here upon a[Pg 71] bold cliff to the southward of the village that "Peveril of the Peak" built his renowned castle at the time of the Norman Conquest, of which only the ruins of the keep and part of the outer walls remain. Almost inaccessible, it possessed the extraordinary powers of defence that were necessary in those troublous times, and here its founder gave a grand tournament, to which young knights came from far and near, the successful knight of Lorraine being rewarded by his daughter's hand. In the time of Edward III. this "Castle of the Peak" reverted to the Crown, but now it is held by the Duke of Devonshire. Under the hill on which the ruins stand is the "Cavern of the Peak," with a fine entrance in a gloomy recess formed by a chasm in the rocks. This entrance makes a Gothic arch over one thousand feet wide, above which the rock towers nearly three hundred feet, and it is chequered with colored stones. Within is a vast flat-roofed cavern, at the farther side being a lake over which the visitors are ferried in a boat. Other caverns are within, the entire cave extending nearly a half mile, a little river traversing its full length. There are more and similar caverns in the neighborhood.



[Pg 72]


One of the great characters of the sixteenth century was Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, familiarly known as "Bess of Hardwicke," where she was born, and who managed to outlive four husbands, thus showing what success is in store for a woman of tact and business talent. She was a penniless bride at fourteen, when she married an opulent gentleman of Derbyshire named Barley, who left her at fifteen a wealthy widow. At the age of thirty she married another rich husband, Sir William Cavendish, the ancestor of the Dukes of Devonshire, who died in 1557, leaving her again a widow, but with large estates, for she had taken good care to look after the proper marriage settlements; and in fact, even in those early days, a pretty good fortune was necessary to provide for the family of eight children Sir William left her. She next married Sir William Loe, who also had large estates and was the captain of the king's guard, the lady's business tact procuring in advance of the wedding the settlement of these estates upon herself and her children—a hard condition, with which, the historian tells us, "the gallant captain, who had a family by a former marriage, felt himself constrained to comply or forego his bride." But in time the captain died, and his estates all went to the thrifty lady, to the exclusion of his own family; and to the blooming widow, thus made for the third time, there came a-courting the Earl of Shrewsbury; the earl had numerous offspring, and therefore could hardly give Bess all his possessions, like her other husbands, but she was clever enough to obtain her object in another way. As a condition precedent to accepting the earl, she made him marry two of his children to two of hers, and after seeing these two weddings solemnized, the[Pg 73] earl led her to the altar for the fourth time at the age of fifty; and we are told that all four of these weddings were actual "love-matches." But she did not get on well with the earl, whose correspondence shows she was a little shrewish, though in most quarrels she managed to come off ahead, having by that time acquired experience. When the earl died in 1590, and Bess concluded not again to attempt matrimony, she was immensely rich and was seized with a mania for building, which has left to the present day three memorable houses: Hardwicke Hall, where she lived, Bolsover Castle, and the palace of Chatsworth, which she began, and on which she lavished the enormous sum, for that day, of $400,000. The legend runs that she was told that so long as she kept building her life would be spared—an architect's ruse possibly; and when finally she died it was during a period of hard frost, when the masons could not work.

Hardwicke Hall, near Mansfield, which the renowned Bess has left as one of her monuments, is about three hundred years old, and approached by a noble avenue through a spacious park; it is still among the possessions of the Cavendish family and in the Duke of Devonshire's estates. The old hall where Bess was born almost touches the new one that she built, and which bears the initials of the proud and determined woman in many places outside and in. It was here that Mary Queen of Scots was held in captivity part of the time that she was placed by Queen Elizabeth in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and her statue stands in the hall. There is an extensive picture-gallery containing many historical portraits, and also fine state-apartments. The mansion is a lofty oblong stone structure, with tall square towers at each corner, the architecture being one of the best specimens of the Elizabethan Period; on the side, as viewed from the park, the hall seems all windows, which accounts for the saying of that neighborhood:

"Hardwicke Hall, more glass than wall."


The ruins of the old hall, almost overgrown with ivy, are picturesque, but from everywhere on the ancient or on the modern hall there peer out the initials "E. S.," with which the prudent Bess was so careful to mark all her possessions.[Pg 74]



The noted Bolsover Castle, which Bess also built, though her son finished it after her death, stands in a magnificent position on a high plateau not far from Chesterfield, overlooking a wide expanse of Derbyshire. The present castle replaced an ancient structure that had fallen into ruin, and was supposed to have been built by "Peveril of the Peak;" it was fortified during King John's time, and traces of the fortifications still remain; it was repeatedly besieged and taken by assault. The present building is a square and lofty mansion of castellated appearance, with towers at the corners built of brown stone; in it the Earl of Newcastle, who subsequently inherited it, spent on one occasion $75,000 in entertaining King Charles I., the entire country round being invited to come and attend the king: Ben Jonson performed a play for his amusement. Lord Clarendon speaks of the occasion as "such an excess of feasting as had scarce ever been known in England before." It now belongs to the Duke of Portland, and has fallen into partial decay, with trees growing in some of the deserted apartments and ivy creeping along the walls. Visitors describe it as a ghostly house, with long vaulted passages, subterranean chambers, dungeon-like holes in the towers, and mysterious spaces beneath the vaults whence come weird noises. When Mr. Jennings visited Bolsover recently he described it as like a haunted house, and after examining the apartments, in which most things seemed going to decay, he went down stairs, guided by an old woman, to the cellars and passages that are said to be the remains of the original Norman castle. A chamber with a high vaulted roof was used as a kitchen, and an ancient stone passage connected it with a crypt; beneath this, she told him, there was a church, never opened since the days of Peveril. Their voices had a hollow sound, and their footsteps awakened echoes as if from a large empty space beneath: the servants, she said, were afraid to come down where they were, excepting by twos and threes, and she added: "Many people have seen[Pg 75] things here besides me: something bad has been done here, sir, and when they open that church below they'll find it out. Just where you stand by that door I have several times seen a lady and gentleman—only for a moment or two, for they come like a flash; when I have been sitting in the kitchen, not thinking of any such thing, they stood there—the gentleman with ruffles on, the lady with a scarf round her waist; I never believed in ghosts, but I have seen them. I am used to it now, and don't mind it, but we do not like the noises, because they disturb us. Not long ago my husband, who comes here at night, and I could not sleep at all, and we thought at last that somebody had got shut up in the castle, for some children had been here that day; so we lit a candle and went all over it, but there was nothing, only the noises following us, and keeping on worse than ever after we left the rooms, though they stopped while we were in them." The old woman's tale shows the atmosphere there is about this sombre and ghostly castle of Bolsover.



These two noted rivers take their rise in the Derbyshire hills, and, coming together at Rowsley near the pretty Peacock Inn, flow down to the sea through the valleys of the Wye, the Trent, and the Humber. Rising in the limestone hills to the north of Buxton, the Wye flows past that celebrated bath, where the Romans first set the example of seeking its healing waters, both hot and cold springs gushing from the rocks in close proximity. It stands nine hundred feet above the sea, its nucleus, "The Crescent," having been built by the Duke of Devonshire; and the miraculous cures wrought by St. Mary's Well are noted by Charles Cotton among the Wonders of the Peak. From Buxton[Pg 76] the Wye follows a romantic glen to Bakewell, the winding valley being availed of, by frequent tunnels, viaducts, and embankments, as a route for the Midland Railway. In this romantic glen is the remarkable limestone crag known as Chee Tor, where the curving valley contracts into a narrow gorge. The gray limestone cliffs are in many places overgrown with ivy, while trees find rooting-places in their fissures. Tributary brooks fall into the Wye, all flowing through miniature dales that disclose successive beauties, and then at a point where the limestone hills recede from the river, expanding the valley, Bakewell is reached. Here are also mineral springs, but the most important place in the town is the parish church, parts of which are seven hundred years old. It is a picturesque building, cruciform, with a spire, and is rich in sepulchral remains, containing the ancestors of the Duke of Rutland—who owns the town—in the tombs of a long line of Vernons and Manners. In the churchyard are several curious epitaphs, among them that of John Dale and his two wives, the inscription concluding,


"A period's come to all their toylsome lives;
The good man's quiet—still are both his wives."

In this churchyard is also the well-known epitaph often quoted:

"Beneath a sleeping infant lies, to earth whose body lent,
More glorious shall hereafter rise, tho' not more innocent.
When the archangels trump shall blow, and souls to bodies join,
Millions will wish their lives below had been as short as thine."


Three miles below Bakewell, near the Wye, is one of the most famous old mansions of England—Haddon Hall. This ancient baronial home, with its series of houses, its courtyards, towers, embattled walls, and gardens, stands on the side of a hill sloping down to the Wye, while the railway has pierced a tunnel through the hill almost underneath the structure. The buildings surround two courtyards paved with large stones, and cover a space of nearly three hundred feet square. Outside the arched entrance-gate to the first courtyard is a low thatched cottage used as a porter's lodge. Haddon is maintained, not as a residence, but to give as perfect an idea as possible of a baronial hall of the Middle Ages. To get to the entrance the visitor toils up a rather steep hill, and on the way passes two remarkable yew trees, cut to represent the crests of the two families whose union by a romantic marriage is one of the traditions of this famous place. One yew represents the peacock of Manners,[Pg 77] the present ducal house of Rutland, and the other the boar's head of Vernon. Parts of this house, like so many structures in the neighborhood, were built in the time of "Peveril of the Peak," and its great hall was the "Martindale Hall" of Scott's novel, thus coming down to us through eight centuries, and nearly all the buildings are at least four hundred years old.


Entering the gateway, the porter's guard-room is seen on the right hand, with the ancient "peephole" through which he scanned visitors before admitting them. Mounting the steps to the first courtyard, which is on a lower level than the other, the chapel and the hall are seen on either hand, while in front are the steps leading to the state-apartments. The buildings are not lofty, but there are second-floor rooms in almost all parts, which were occupied by the household. There is an extensive ball-room, while the Eagle Tower rises at one corner of the court. Many relics of the olden time are preserved in these apartments. The ancient chapel is entered by an arched doorway from the court, and consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisle, with an antique Norman font and a large high-back pew used by the family. After passing the court, the banquet-hall is entered, thirty-five by twenty-five feet, and rising to the full height of the building. In one of the doorways is a bracket to which an iron ring is attached, which was used, as we are told, "to enforce the laws of conviviality." When a guest failed to drink his allowance of wine he was suspended by the wrist to this ring, and the liquor he failed to pour down his throat was poured into his sleeve. A tall screen at the end of the room formed the front of a gallery, where on great occasions minstrels discoursed[Pg 78] sweet music, while at the opposite end the lord and his honored guests sat on a raised dais. Here still stands the old table, while behind the dais a flight of stairs leads up to the state-apartments. Stags' heads and antlers of great age are on the walls. Another door opens out of the banquet-hall into the dining-room, the end of which is entirely taken up with a fine Gothic window displaying the Vernon arms and quarterings. This room is elaborately wainscoted. The royal arms are inscribed over the fireplace, and below them is the Vernon motto carved in Gothic letters:

"Drede God and Honour the Kyng."


An exquisite oriel window looks out from this room over the woods and grounds of Haddon, the recess bearing on one of its panels the head of Will Somers, who was Henry VIII.'s jester. The drawing-room, which is over the dining-room, is hung with old tapestry, above which is a frieze of ornamental mouldings. A pretty recessed window also gives from this room a delightful view over the grounds.

The gem of Haddon is the long gallery or ball-room, which extends over one hundred feet along one side of the inner court: the semicircular wooden steps leading to this apartment are said to have been cut from a single tree that grew in the park. The gallery is wainscoted in oak in semicircular arched panels, alternately large and small, surmounted by a frieze and a turreted and battlemented cornice. The ceiling is elaborately carved in geometric patterns, and the tracery contains the alternating arms and crests of Vernon and Manners: the remains are still visible of the rich gilding and painting of this ceiling. In the anteroom paintings are hung, and from it a strongly-barred door opens upon a flight of stone steps leading down to the terrace and garden: this is "Dorothy Vernon's Door;" and across the garden another flight of steps leading to the terrace is known as "Dorothy Vernon's Steps." It was the gentle maiden's flight through this door and up these steps to elope with John Manners that carried the old house and all its broad lands into the possession of the family now owning it. The state bedroom is hung with Gobelin[Pg 79] tapestry, illustrating Æsop's fables: the state bed is fourteen feet high, and furnished in green silk velvet and white satin, embroidered by needlework, and its last occupant was George IV. The kitchen and range of domestic offices are extensive, and show the marvellous amount of cooking that was carried on in the hospitable days of Haddon; the kitchen has a ceiling supported by massive beams and a solid oak column in the centre; there are two huge fireplaces, scores of stoves, spits, pothooks, and hangers, large chopping-blocks, dressers, and tables, with attendant bakehouses, ovens, pantries, and larders; among the relics is an enormous salting-trough hollowed out of one immense block of wood. Beyond the garden or lawn, one hundred and twenty feet square, extends the terrace, planted with ancient yews, whose gnarled roots intertwine with and displace the stones. This terrace extends the full width of the outer or upper garden, and gives a charming view of the southern front of the hall.


More romance hangs about Haddon than probably any other old baronial hall in England, and it has therefore been for years an endless source of inspiration for poets, artists, and novelists. Mrs. Radcliffe here laid some of the scenes of the Mysteries of Udolpho. Bennett's "King of the Peak" was Sir George Vernon, the hospitable owner of Haddon. Scott has written of it, a host of artists have painted its most attractive features, and many a poet has sung of the

"Hall of wassail which has rung
To the unquestioned baron's jest:
Dim old chapel, where were hung
Offerings of the o'erfraught breast;
Moss-clad terrace, strangely still,
Broken shaft and crumbling frieze——
Still as lips that used to fill
With bugle-blasts the morning breeze."

But, unlike most baronial strongholds, the history of Haddon tells only the[Pg 80] romance of peace, love, and hospitality. It came by marriage into the possession of the Vernons soon after the Conquest; one of them, Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon, was appointed governor of Prince Arthur by Henry VII. His grandson, Sir George Vernon, lived in such princely magnificence at Haddon that he was known as the "King of the Peak;" his initials, "G. V.," are carved in the banquet-hall. Around his youngest daughter, Dorothy, gathers the chief halo of romance. The story in brief is, that her elder sister, being the affianced bride of the son of the Earl of Derby, was petted and made much of, while Dorothy, at sweet sixteen, was kept in the background. She formed an attachment for John Manners, son of the Earl of Rutland, but this her family violently opposed, keeping her almost a prisoner: her lover, disguised as a forester, lurked for weeks in the woods around Haddon, obtaining occasionally a stolen interview. At length on a festal night, when the ball-room was filled with guests summoned to celebrate the approaching nuptials of the elder sister, and every one was so wrapped up in enjoyment that there was no time to watch Dorothy, the maiden, unobserved, stole out of the ball-room into the anteroom, and through the door, across the garden, and up the steps to the terrace, where her lover had made a signal that he was waiting. In a moment she was in his arms, and rode away with him in the moonlight all night, across the hills of Derbyshire, and into Leicestershire, where they were married next morning. It was the old story—an elopement, a grand row, and then all was forgiven. Sir George Vernon had no sons, and his daughters divided his estate, Haddon going to Dorothy, who thus by her elopement carried the famous hall over to the family of Manners. Dorothy died in 1584, leaving four children, the oldest, Sir George Manners, living at Haddon and maintaining its hospitable reputation. Dying in 1679, his son John Manners, who was the ninth Earl of Rutland, became the master of Haddon, and "kept up the good old mansion at a bountiful rate," as the chronicler tells us. He kept one hundred and forty servants, and had so many retainers and guests that every day the tables in the old banquet-hall were spread as at a Christmas feast. The earl was raised to the rank of duke, and his son John, Duke of Rutland, known as the "Old Man of the Hill," died in 1779, since which time the family have not used the hall as a place of residence, having gone to Belvoir in Leicestershire. Its present owner is the sixth Duke of Rutland, Charles Cecil Manners, and the descendant of the famous Dorothy. There are few places, even in England, that have the fame of Haddon, and it is one of the chief spots sought out by the tourist. The duke maintains it just as it existed centuries ago, with the old furniture and utensils, so as to reproduce as faithfully as possible the English baronial hall of his ancestors.[Pg 81]



Below Haddon Hall the valley of the Wye broadens, with yet richer scenery, as it approaches the confluence of the Wye and Derwent at Rowsley, where the quaint old Peacock Inn, which was the manor-house of Haddon, bears over the door the date 1653, and the crest of the ducal House of Rutland, a peacock with tail displayed. Ascending for a short distance the valley of the Derwent, which washes the bases of the steep limestone hills, we come to Chatsworth. In sharp contrast with the ancient glories of Haddon is this modern ducal palace, for whose magnificence Bess of Hardwicke laid the foundation. This "Palace of the Peak" stands in a park covering over two thousand acres; the Derwent flows in front, over which the road to the palace[Pg 82] is carried by a fine bridge. From the river a lawn gently slopes upward to the buildings, and the wooded hill which rises sharply behind them is surmounted by a hunting-tower, embosomed in trees. A herd of at least a thousand deer roam at will over the park, and have become very tame. Chatsworth is a brownish-yellow building, square and flat-topped, with a modern and more ornamental wing. Its front extends fully six hundred feet, and in parts it is of that depth. The estate was bought in the sixteenth century by Sir William Cavendish, who built the original house, a quadrangular building with turrets, which was greatly extended by his wife. It was used as a fortress in the Civil Wars, and was considerably battered. The first Duke of Devonshire about the year 1700 rebuilt the mansion, employing the chief architects, artists, designers, and wood-carvers of his time, among them Sir Christopher Wren. In the grounds, not far from the bridge over the Derwent, is the "Bower of Mary Queen of Scots." There is a small, clear lake almost concealed by foliage, in the centre of which is a tower, and on the top a grass-grown garden, where are also several fine trees. Here, under guard, the captive was permitted to take the air. In those days she looked out upon a broad expanse of woods and moorland: now all around has been converted into gardens and a park. Entering the house through a magnificent gateway, the visitor is taken into the entrance-hall, where the frescoes represent the life and death of Julius Cæsar; then up the grand staircase of amethyst and variegated alabaster guarded by richly-gilded balustrades. The gorgeously-embellished chapel is wainscoted with cedar, and has a sculptured altar made of Derbyshire marbles. The beautiful drawing[Pg 83]-room opens into a series of state-apartments lined with choice woods and hung with Gobelin tapestries representing the cartoons of Raphael. Magnificent carvings and rare paintings adorn the walls, while the richest decorations are everywhere displayed. Over the door of the antechamber is a quill pen so finely carved that it almost reproduces the real feather. In the Scarlet Room are the bed on which George II. died and the chairs and footstools used at the coronation of George III. On the north side of the house is another stairway of oak, also richly gilded. In the apartments replacing those where Mary Queen of Scots lived are her bed-hangings and tapestries. There is an extensive library with many rare books and manuscripts, and a sculpture-gallery, lined with Devonshire marble, containing many statues and busts, and also two recumbent lions, each nine feet long and four feet high and weighing four tons, and carved out of a solid block of marble. The final enlargement of Chatsworth was completed about forty years ago, when Queen Victoria made a state visit and was given a magnificent reception by the Duke of Devonshire.


[Pg 84]


The gardens at Chatsworth are as noted as the house, and are to many minds the gem of the estate. They cover about one hundred and twenty-two acres, and are so arranged as to make a beautiful view out of every window of the palace. All things are provided that can add to rural beauty—fountains, cascades, running streams, lakes, rockeries, orange-groves, hothouses, woods, sylvan dells—and no labor or expense is spared to enhance the attractions of trees, flowers, and shrubbery. From a stone temple, which it completely covers, the great cascade flows down among dolphins, sea-lions, and nymphs, until it disappears among the rocks and seeks an underground outlet into the Derwent. Enormous stones weighing several tons are nicely balanced, so as to rock at the touch or swing open for gates. Others overhang the paths as if a gust of wind might blow them down. In honor of the visit of the Czar Nicholas in 1844 the great "Emperor Fountain" was constructed, which throws a column of water to an immense height. The grounds are filled with trees planted by kings, queens, and great people on their visits to the palace. The finest of all the trees is a noble Spanish chestnut of sixteen feet[Pg 85] girth. Weeping willows do not grow at Chatsworth, but they have provided one in the form of a metal tree, contrived so as to discharge a deluge of raindrops from its metallic leaves and boughs when a secret spring is touched. The glory of the Chatsworth gardens, however, is the conservatory, a beautiful structure of glass and iron covering nearly an acre, the arched roof in the centre rising to a height of sixty-seven feet. In this famous hot-house are the rarest palms and tropical plants. It was designed by Joseph Paxton, the duke's head-gardener, and, enlarging the design, Paxton constructed in the same way the London Crystal Palace for the Exhibition of 1851, for which service he was knighted. Besides this rare collection of hot-house plants, the famous Victoria Regia is in a special house at Chatsworth, growing in a tank thirty-four feet in diameter, the water being maintained at the proper temperature and kept constantly in motion as a running stream. The seed for this celebrated plant was brought from Guiana, and it first bloomed here in 1849. Some fifty persons are employed in the gardens and grounds, besides the servants in the buildings, showing the retinue necessary to maintain this great show-palace, for that is its chief present use, the Duke of Devonshire seldom using it as a residence, as he prefers the less pretentious but more comfortable seat he possesses at Bolton in Yorkshire. North of Chatsworth Park, near Baslow, on top of a hill, is the strange mass of limestone which can be seen from afar, and is known as the Eagle Rock.





Retracing the Derwent to the Wye again, the valley of the latter is open below for several miles, and then as Matlock is approached a mass of limestone stretching across the valley seems to bar all egress, and the river plunges through a narrow glen. The bold gray crags of the High Tor rise steeply on the left hand, and the gorge not being wide enough for both[Pg 86] river and railway, the latter pierces a tunnel through the High Tor. The river bends sharply to the right, and the village makes a long street along the bank and rises in terraces up the steep hill behind. These are the "Heights of Abraham," while the pretty slope below the High Tor is the "Lovers' Walk." Matlock is beautifully situated, and its springs are in repute, while the caves in the neighborhood give plenty of opportunity for that kind of exploration. The Derbyshire marbles are quarried all about, and mosaic manufacture is carried on. It was near Matlock that Arkwright first set up his cotton-spinning machine, and when fortune and fame had made him Sir Richard Arkwright he built Willersley Castle for his home, on the banks of the Derwent. The valley of the little river Dove also presents some fine scenery, especially in the fantastic shapes of its rocks. The river runs between steep hills fringed with ash and oak and hawthorn, and Dovedale can be pursued for miles with interest. One of its famous resorts is the old and comfortable Izaak Walton[Pg 87] Inn, sacred to anglers. In Dovedale are the rocks called the Twelve Apostles, the Tissington Spires, the Pickering Tor, the caverns known as the Dove Holes, and Reynard's Hall, while the entire stream is full of memories of those celebrated fishermen of two centuries ago, Walton and his friend Cotton.



Before leaving Derbyshire the ruin of Beauchief Abbey, which gave the name of Abbey Dale to one of the pleasant vales on the eastern border of the county, must not be forgotten. It was built seven hundred years ago, and there remains but a single fragment of this famous religious house, the arch of the great east window. Singularly enough, under the same roof with the abbey was built an inn, and at a short distance there is a hermitage: the hermit's cave is scooped out of a rock elevated above the valley and overhung with foliage. We are told that a pious baker lived in the town of Derby who was noted for his exemplary life: the Virgin Mary, as a proof of his faith, required him to relinquish all his worldly goods and go to Deepdale and lead a solitary life in Christ's service. He did as he was told, departed from Derby, but had no idea where he was to go; directing his footsteps towards the east, he passed through a village, and heard a woman instruct a girl to drive some calves to Deepdale. Regarding this as an interposition of Providence, the baker, encouraged, asked where was Deepdale; the woman told the girl to show him. Arrived there, he found it marshy land, distant from any human habitation; but, seeking a rising ground, he cut a small dwelling in a rock under the side of a hill, built an altar, and there spent day and night in the Divine service, with hunger and cold, thirst and want. Now, it happened that a person[Pg 88] of great consequence owned this land—Ralph, the son of Geremund—and coming to the woods to hunt, he saw smoke rising from the hermit's cave, and was filled with astonishment that any one should have dared to establish a dwelling there without his permission. Going to the place, he found the hermit clothed in old rags and skins, and, inquiring about his case, Ralph's anger changed to pity. To show his compassion, he granted the hermit the ground where the hermitage stood, and also for his support the tithe of a mill not far away. The tradition further relates "that the old Enemy of the human race" then endeavored to make the hermit dissatisfied with his condition, but "he resolutely endured all its calamities," and ultimately he built a cottage and oratory, and ended his days in the service of God. After his death, Ralph's daughter prevailed upon her husband to dedicate Deepdale to religious uses, and he inviting the canons, they built the abbey. We are told in Howitt's Forest Minstrel of the wonder caused by the construction of the abbey, and also how in later years the monks became corrupted by prosperity. A place is shown to visitors where the wall between the chapel and the inn gave way to the thirsty zeal of the monks, and through an opening their favorite liquor was handed. The Forest Minstrel tells us they

"Forsook missal and mass
To chant o'er a bottle or shrive a lass;
No matin's bell called them up in the morn,
But the yell of the hounds and sound of the horn;
No penance the monk in his cell could stay
But a broken leg or a rainy day:
The pilgrim that came to the abbey-door,
With the feet of the fallow-deer found it nailed o'er;
The pilgrim that into the kitchen was led.
On Sir Gilbert's venison there was fed.
And saw skins and antlers hang o'er his head."



The rivers which drain the limestone hills of Derbyshire unite to form the Trent, and this stream, after a winding and picturesque course through Midland England towards the eastward, flows into the Humber, and ultimately into the North Sea. Its first course after leaving Derby is through Staffordshire, one of the great manufacturing counties of England, celebrated for its potteries, whose product Josiah Wedgewood so greatly improved. The county-seat is Stafford, on the Sow River, not far from the Trent Valley, and on a high hill south-west of the town are the remains of the castle of the Barons, of Stafford, originally built a thousand years ago by the Saxons to keep the Danes[Pg 89] in check. This castle was destroyed and rebuilt by William the Conqueror; again destroyed and again rebuilt by Ralph de Stafford in Edward III.'s reign. In the Civil Wars this castle was one of the last strongholds of King Charles I., but it was ultimately taken by Cromwell's troops and demolished, excepting the keep; a massive castellated building of modern construction now occupies its place. The river Trent, in its winding course, forms near Trentham a fine lake, and the beautiful neighborhood has been availed of for the establishment of the splendid residence of the Duke of Sutherland, about a mile west of the village, and known as Trentham Hall. The park is extensive, the gardens are laid out around the lake, and the noble Italian building, which is of recent construction, has a fine campanile tower one hundred feet high, and occupies a superb situation. The old church makes part of Trentham Hall, and contains monuments of the duke's family and ancestors, the Leveson-Gowers, whose extensive estates cover a wide domain in Staffordshire. Trentham, which is in the pottery district and not far from Newcastle-under-Lyme, was originally a monastery, founded by St. Werburgh, niece of Æthelred. She was one of the most famous of the Anglo-Saxon saints, and some venerable yews still mark the spot where her original house stood, it being known as Tricengham. These yews, said to have been planted about that time, form three sides of a square. The religious house, rebuilt in William Rufus's reign, was given, at the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., to his brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and it afterwards came into possession of the Levesons. From the marriage of a daughter of Sir John Leveson with Sir Thomas Gower sprang the family of the present ducal house of Sutherland, the head of it being created Marquis of Stafford in 1786 and Duke of Sutherland in 1833. The present duke is the third who has held the title, his mother having[Pg 90] been the daughter of the Earl of Carlisle—the famous Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland. The old Trentham Hall was built in 1633, being rebuilt and enlarged by Sir Charles Barry about fifty years ago.



Staffordshire contains some famous places. In the eastern part of the county, bordering Warwick, is the ancient town of Tamworth, standing upon the little river Tame; this was originally a fortification built for defence against the Danes, and its castle was founded by Marmion, of whom Scott writes,

"They hailed Lord Marmion,
They hailed him Lord of Fontenaye,
Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye,
Of Tamworth tower and town."

Tamworth is also Shakespearian ground, for here Richmond halted on his[Pg 91] march to Bosworth Field, and made a stirring address to inspire his forces for the coming combat. In later years Tamworth sent Sir Robert Peel to Parliament, and his bronze statue adorns the market-square; the ruins of the ancient castle are almost obliterated, and the present castle is upon higher ground, its architecture being of various periods. Tutbury Castle, of which little is left but a straggling mass of ruins, stands on an eminence overlooking the Dove, and crowns a ridge of red sandstone rock: it was a great stronghold, founded by John of Gaunt, covering several acres, and was demolished after the Civil Wars. This castle, like so many other famous places, was also one of the prison-palaces of Mary Queen of Scots; although the castle is destroyed, yet near by is its parish church of St. Mary, founded by Henry de Ferrars in the reign of William Rufus, and known then as Ferrars Abbey: its west end is one of the most perfect Norman fronts remaining in England, and it has been carefully restored. Tutbury is known for some of its ancient customs, among them the annual bull-running. A minstrel band, after devotions and a long sermon in the abbey, had an excellent dinner in the castle, and then repairing to the abbey-gate demanded the bull; the prior let the bull out, with his horns and tail cut off, his ears cropped, his body greased, and his nostrils filled with pepper to make him furious. The bull being let loose, the steward proclaimed that none were to come nearer than forty feet, nor to hinder the minstrels, but all were to attend to their own safety. The minstrels were to capture the bull before sunset, and on that side of the river, but if they failed or he escaped across the stream, he remained the lord's property. It was seldom possible to take him fairly, but if he was held long enough to cut off some of his hair it was considered a capture, and after a bull-baiting he was given to the minstrels. Thus originated the Tutbury bull-running, which ultimately degenerated into a scene of wild debauchery, often resulting in a terrible riot. The Duke of Devonshire, when he came into possession of Tutbury, was compelled to abolish the custom. About six miles from Stafford is Chartley Castle, dating from the Conquest, and belonging to the Earls of Chester and Derby, and subsequently to the famous Earl of Essex, who here entertained Queen Elizabeth, and afterwards planned the plot for which she signed his death-warrant. This castle has been many years in ruins: it had a circular keep about fifty feet in diameter, and the present remains are chiefly the fragments of two round towers and part of a wall twelve feet thick, with loopholes constructed for shooting arrows at an attacking force. Queen Mary was also imprisoned here, and a bed said to have been wrought by her is shown in the village. This unfortunate queen seems to have had more prisons and wrought more needlework than any other woman in Britain.[Pg 92]


Alton Towers, the superb home of the Earl of Shrewsbury, is also in Staffordshire, and is one of the famous seats of England. The estate stands on the Churnet, and the house and grounds are on one side of its deep valley. The present mansion, a modern Gothic structure, was built about fifty years ago on a rocky plateau overlooking the valley. An extensive park surrounds the mansion, and there are several entrances. Of these Quicksall Lodge ushers the visitor to a magnificent approach known as the "Earl's Drive," extending three miles along the valley of the Churnet, and having its natural advantages increased by the profuse distribution along the route of statues, busts, and ornamental vases. Another entrance is from the railway-station, where is a lodge of great beauty, from which the road, about a mile in length, gradually ascends to the eminence where the mansion stands. The approach by both roads is fine, and through the intervening foliage the Towers open upon the view—rich in spire, dome, and gable, and with their fair proportions enhanced by the arcades that adorn the house and the antique stone setting that brings out the majesty of the Gothic architecture. The gardens of this fine place are beautiful, their extent being made apparently greater than in reality by the artificially-formed terraces and other resources of the landscape artist. The grounds are most lavishly ornamented with statuary, vases, temples, and fountains, while gardening is carried to perfection. There is a grand conservatory, containing a palm-house and orangery. From the top of an elaborate Gothic temple four stories high there is a fine view, while the Flag Tower, a massive building with four turrets, and six stories high, is used as an observatory. There is a delightful retreat for the weary sightseer called the Refuge, a fine imitation of Stonehenge, and Ina's Rock, where Ina, king of Wessex, held a parliament after his battle with the king of Mercia. The picturesque ruins of Alton Castle and convent are in the grounds, also the ruins of Croxden Abbey and the charming Alton Church, which was of Norman foundation. The castle existed at the time of the Conquest, and the domain in 1408, through the marriage of Maude Neville to John Talbot, was brought into the possession of the present family. Talbot having been afterwards made the first Earl of Shrewsbury. This was the famous English warrior who was so feared in France, where he conducted brilliant campaigns, that "with his name the mothers stilled their babes." He was killed at the siege of Chatillon in his eightieth year. It was the sixth Earl of Shrewsbury who married Bess of Hardwicke and made her fourth husband. It was the fifteenth Earl of Shrewsbury who erected the present magnificent structure, with its varied turrets and battlements, for his summer[Pg 93] residence, where before stood a plain house known as Alton Lodge. Upon his tomb, in memory of the wonderful change he wrought in the place, is the significant motto: "He made the desert smile." The nineteenth earl is now in possession.



Westward of Stafford is the land of the "proud Salopians," Shropshire, through which flows the Severn, on whose banks stands the ancient town from which the Earls of Shrewsbury take their title. We are told that the Britons founded this town, and that in Edward the Confessor's time it had five churches and two hundred and thirty houses, fifty-one of which were cleared away to make room for the castle erected by Roger de Montgomery, a kinsman of William the Conqueror. The Norman king created him Earl of Shrewsbury long before the present line of earls began with John Talbot. Wars raged around the castle: it was besieged and battered, for it stood an outpost in the borderland of Wales. It was here that Henry IV. assembled an army to march against Glendower, and in the following year fought the battle of Shrewsbury against Hotspur, then marching to join Glendower. Hot[Pg 94]spur's death decided the battle. The Wars of the Roses were fought around the town, and here Henry VII., then the Earl of Richmond, slept when going to Bosworth Field; and in the Civil Wars King Charles had Shrewsbury's support, but Cromwell's forces captured it. The town is on a fine peninsula almost encircled by the Severn, and the castle stands at the entrance to the peninsula. Only the square keep and part of the inner walls remain of the original castle, but a fine turret has been added by modern hands. In the neighborhood of Shrewsbury are the remains of the Roman city of Uriconium, said to have been destroyed by the Saxons in the sixth century. Shrewsbury has always been famous for pageants, its annual show being a grand display by the trade societies. It is also famous for its cakes, of which Shenstone says:


"And here each season do those cakes abide,
Whose honored names the inventive city own,
Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's praises known."

The great Shrewsbury cake is the "simnel," made like a pie, the crust colored with saffron and very thick. It is a confection said to be unsafe when eaten to excess, for an old gentleman, writing from melancholy experience in 1595, records that "sodden bread which bee called simnels bee verie unwholesome." The Shropshire legend about its origin is that a happy couple[Pg 95] got into a dispute whether they should have for dinner a boiled pudding or a baked pie. While they disputed they got hungry, and came to a compromise by first boiling and then baking the dish that was prepared. To the grand result of the double process—his name being Simon and her's Nell—the combined name of simnel was given. And thus from their happily-settled contention has come Shrewsbury's great cake, of which all England acknowledges the merit.



Following down the Severn River from Shrewsbury, we come to Bridgenorth, an ancient town planted on a steep hill, full of quaint houses, and having an old covered market where the country-people gather on Saturdays. The lower part is of brick, and the upper part is black-and-white-timbered, but the human love for what is old and familiar is shown by the way in which the people still fill up the old market-house, though a fine new one has recently been built. The most prized of the old houses of this venerable town is a foundry and blacksmith shop standing by the river; it was in this house that Bishop Percy, author of the[Pg 96] Reliques, was born. On the promontory of sandstone, which steeply rises about one hundred and eighty feet above the river, the upper part of the town is built, and here are the ruins of Bridgenorth Castle, which stood in an exceptionally strong situation. The red sandstone predominates here, but not much of it remains in the castle, there being little left excepting a huge fragment of the massive wall of the keep, which now inclines so much on one side from the settlement of the foundation as to be almost unsafe. This castle was built eight hundred years ago by the third and last of the Norman Earls of Shrewsbury: it was held for King Charles in the Civil Wars, and underwent a month's siege before it surrendered, when the conquerors destroyed it. Bridgenorth is the most picturesque of all the towns on the Severn, owing to the steep promontory up which the houses extend from the lower to the upper town and the magnificent views from the castle. The communication with the hill is by a series of steeply-winding alleys, each being almost a continuous stairway: they are known as the "Steps." A bridge with projecting bastions crosses the river and connects the higher with the lower parts of the town, thus giving the place its name.

About twelve miles south-east of Shrewsbury is the village of Much Wenlock, where there are remains of a magnificent abbey founded by the Black monks, and exhibiting several of the Early English and Gothic styles of architecture, but, like most else in these parts, it has fallen in ruin, and many of the materials have been carried off to build other houses. Portions of the nave, transepts, chapter-house, and abbot's house remain, the latter being restored and making a fine spe[Pg 97]cimen of ecclesiastical domestic architecture built around a court. An open cloister extends the entire length of the house. There are beautiful intersecting Norman arches in the chapter-house. There are some quaint old houses in the town—timbered structures with bold bow-windows—and not a few of them of great age. Roger de Montgomery is credited with founding Wenlock Abbey at the time of the Norman Conquest. The site was previously occupied by a nunnery, said to have been the burial-place of St. Milburgh, who was the granddaughter of King Penda of Mercia. This was a famous religious house in its day, and it makes a picturesque ruin, while the beauty of the neighboring scenery shows how careful the recluses and religious men of old were to cast their lots and build their abbeys in pleasant places.




The most important of all the castles in the middle marches of Wales was Ludlow, whose grand ruins, mouldered into beauty, stand upon the river Tame, near the western border of Shropshire. It was here that the lord president of the Council of Wales held his court. Its ruins, though abandoned, have not fallen into complete decay, so that it gives a fine representation of the ancient feudal border stronghold: it is of great size, with long stretches of walls and towers, interspersed with thick masses of foliage and stately trees, while beneath is the dark rock on which it is founded. It was built shortly after the Conquest by Roger de Montgomery, and after being held by the Norman Earls of Shrewsbury it was fortified by Henry I.: then Joyce de Dinan held it, and confined Hugh de Mortimer as prisoner in one of the towers, still known as Mortimer's Tower. Edward IV. established it as the place of residence for the lord president of the Council that governed Wales: here the youthful King Edward V. was proclaimed, soon to mysteriously disappear. From Ludlow Castle, Wales was governed for more than three centuries, and in Queen[Pg 98] Elizabeth's time many important additions were made to it. The young Philip Sidney lived here, his father being the lord president; the stone bridge, replacing the drawbridge, and the great portal were built at that time. In 1634, Milton's "Masque of Comus" was represented here while Earl Bridgewater was lord president, one of the scenes being the castle and town of Ludlow: this representation was part of the festivities attending the earl's installation on Michaelmas Night. It was in Ludlow Castle that Butler wrote part of Hudibras. The castle was held for King Charles, but was delivered up to the Parliamentary forces in 1646. The present exterior of the castle denotes its former magnificence. The foundations are built into a dark gray rock, and the castle rises from the point of a headland, the northern front consisting of square towers with high, connecting embattled walls. In the last century trees were planted on the rock and in the deep and wide ditch that guarded the castle. The chief entrance is by a gateway under a low, pointed arch which bears the arms of Queen Elizabeth and of Earl Pembroke. There are several acres enclosed, and the keep is an immense square tower of the Early Norman, one hundred and ten feet high and ivy-mantled to the top. On its[Pg 99] ground floor is the dungeon, half underground, with square openings in the floor connecting with the apartment above. The great hall is now without roof or floor, and a tower at the west end is called Prince Arthur's Tower, while there are also remains of the old chapel. The ruins have an imposing aspect, the towers being richly clustered around the keep. This famous castle is now the property of Earl Powis.


The town of Ludlow adjoins the castle, and on approaching it the visitor is struck by the fine appearance of the tower of the church of St. Lawrence. The church is said to be the finest in Shropshire, and this tower was built in the time of Edward IV. Its chantry is six hundred years old, and belonged to the Palmers' guild. Their ordinances are still preserved, one of which is to the effect that "if any man wishes, as is the custom, to keep night-watches with the dead, this may be allowed, provided that he does not call up ghosts." The town is filled with timber-ribbed, pargetted houses, one of the most striking of these being the old Feathers Inn. The exterior is rich in various devices, including the feathers of the Prince of Wales, adopted as the sign perhaps in the days of Prince Arthur, when the inn was built. Many of the rooms are panelled with carved oak and have quaintly moulded ceilings. It is not often that the modern tourist has a chance to rest under such a venerable roof, for it is still a comfortable hostelrie. The ancient priory of Austin Friars was at Ludlow, but is obliterated.

In the neighborhood of Ludlow are many attractive spots. From the summit of the Vignals, about four miles away, there is a superb view over the hills of Wales to the south and west, and the land of Shropshire to the northward. Looking towards Ludlow, immediately at the foot of the hill is seen the wooded valley of Hay Park: it was here that the children of the Earl of Bridgewater were lost, an event that gave Milton occasion to write the "Masque of Comus,"[Pg 100] and locate its scenes at and in the neighborhood of Ludlow. Richard's Castle is at the southern end of this wood, but there is not much of the old ruin left in the deep dingle. At Downton Castle the romantic walks in the gardens abound in an almost endless variety of ferns. Staunton Lacey Church, containing Romanesque work, and supposed to be older than the Conquest, is also near Ludlow. But the grand old castle and its quaint and venerated Feathers Inn are the great attractions before which all others pale. What an amazing tale of revelry, pageant, and intrigue they could tell were only the old walls endowed with voice!




We are told that in Central Staffordshire churches with spires are rare. The region of the Trent abounds in low and simple rather than lofty church-towers, but to this rule the cathedral city of Lichfield is an exception, having five steeples, of which three beautiful spires—often called the "Ladies of the Vale"—adorn the cathedral itself. The town stands in a fertile and gently undulating district without ambitious scenery, and the cathedral, which is three hundred and seventy-five feet long and its spires two hundred and fifty-eight feet high, is its great and almost only glory. It is an ancient place, dating from the days of the Romans and the Saxons, when the former slaughtered without mercy a band of the early Christian martyrs near the present site of the town, whence it derives its name, meaning the "Field of the Dead." This[Pg 101] massacre took place in the fourth century, and in memory of it the city bears as its arms "an escutcheon of landscape, with many martyrs in it in several ways massacred." In the seventh century a church was built there, and the hermit St. Chad became its bishop. His cell was near the present site of Stowe, where there was a spring of clear water rising in the heart of a forest, and out of the woods there daily came a snow-white doe to supply him with milk. The legend tells that the nightingales singing in the trees distracted the hermit's prayers, so he besought that he might be relieved from this trial; and since that time the nightingales in the woods of Stowe have remained mute. After death the hermit-bishop was canonized and Lichfield flourished, at least one of his successors being an archbishop. St. Chad's Well is still pointed out at Stowe, but his Lichfield church long ago disappeared. A Norman church succeeded it in the eleventh century, and has also been removed, though some of its foundations remain under the present cathedral choir. About the year 1200 the first parts of the present cathedral were built, and it was over a hundred years in building. Its architecture is Early English and Decorated, the distinguishing features being the three spires, the beautiful western front, and the Lady Chapel. The latter terminates in a polygonal apse of unique arrangement, and the red sandstone of which the cathedral is built gives a warm and effective coloring. Some of the ancient bishops of Lichfield were fighting men, and at times their cathedral was made into a castle surrounded by walls and a moat, and occasionally besieged. The Puritans grievously battered it, and knocked down the central spire. The[Pg 102] cathedral was afterwards rebuilt by Christopher Wren, and the work of restoration is at present going on. As all the old stained glass was knocked out of the windows during the Civil Wars, several of them have been refilled with fine glass from the abbey at Liège. Most of the ancient monuments were also destroyed during the sieges, but many fine tombs of more modern construction replace them, among them being the famous tomb by Chantrey of the "Sleeping Children." The ancient chroniclers tell bad stories of the treatment this famous church received during the Civil Wars. When the spire was knocked down, crushing the roof, a marksman in the church shot Lord Brooke, the leader of the Parliamentary besiegers, through his helmet, of which the visor was up, and he fell dead. The marksman was a deaf and dumb man, and the event happened on St. Chad's Day, March 2d. The loss of their leader redoubled the ardor of the besiegers; they set a battery at work and forced a surrender in three days. Then we are told that they demolished monuments, pulled down carvings, smashed the windows, destroyed the records, set[Pg 103] up guard-houses in the cross-aisles, broke up the pavement, every day hunted a cat through the church, so as to enjoy the echo from the vaulted roof, and baptized a calf at the font. The Royalists, however, soon retook Lichfield, and gave King Charles a reception after the battle of Naseby, but it finally surrendered to Cromwell in 1646. Until the Restoration of Charles II. the cathedral lay in ruins, even the lead having been removed from the roof. In 1661, Bishop Hacket was consecrated, and for eight years he steadily worked at rebuilding, having so far advanced in 1669 that the cathedral was reconsecrated with great ceremony. His last work was to order the bells, three of which were hung in time to toll at his funeral; his tomb is in the south aisle of the choir.


Lichfield has five steeples grouped together in most views of the town from the Vale of Trent, the other two steeples belonging to St. Mary's and St. Michael's churches; the churchyard of the latter is probably the largest in England, covering seven acres, through which an avenue of stately elms leads up to the church. The town has not much else in the way of buildings that is remarkable. In a plain house at a corner of the market-place, where lived one Michael Johnson, a bookseller, Dr. Samuel Johnson, his son, was born in 1709. and in the adjacent market-place is Dr. Johnson's statue upon a pedestal adorned with bas-reliefs: one of these represents the "infant Samuel" sitting on his father's shoulder to imbibe Tory principles from Dr. Sacheverel's sermons: another, the boy carried by his schoolfellows: and a third displays him undergoing a penance for youthful disobedience by standing up for an hour bareheaded in the rain. The "Three Crowns Inn" is also in the market-place, where in 1776 Boswell and Johnson stayed, and, as Boswell writes, "had a comfortable supper and got into high spirits," when Johnson "expatiated in praise of Lichfield and its inhabitants, who, he said, were the most sober, decent people in England, were the genteelest in proportion to their[Pg 104] wealth, and spoke the purest English." David Garrick went to school to Dr. Johnson in the suburbs of Lichfield, at Edial; Addison lived once at Lichfield; and Selwyn was its bishop a few years ago, and is buried in the Cathedral close; but the chief memories of the ancient town cluster around St. Chad, Johnson, and Garrick.


The "three spires" which have so much to do with the fame of Lichfield are reproduced in the less pretentious but equally famous town of Coventry, not far away in Warwickshire, but they do not all belong to the same church. The Coventry Cathedral was long ago swept away, but the town still has three churches of much interest, and is rich in the old brick-and-timbered architecture of two and three centuries ago. But the boast of Coventry is Lady Godiva, wife of the Earl of Mercia, who died in 1057. The townsfolk suffered under heavy taxes and services, and she besought her lord to relieve them. After steady refusals he finally consented, but under a condition which he was sure Lady Godiva would not accept, which was none other than that she should ride naked from one end of the town to the other. To his astonishment she consented, and, as Dugdale informs us, "The noble lady upon an appointed day got on horseback naked, with her hair loose, so that it covered all her body but the legs, and then performing her journey, she returned with joy to her husband, who thereupon granted the inhabitants a charter of freedom." The inhabitants deserted the streets and barred all the windows, so that no one could see her, but, as there are exceptions to all rules, Tennyson writes that

"One low churl, composed of thankless earth,
The fatal byword of all years to come,
Boring a little auger-hole, in fear
Peeped; but his eyes, before they had their will,
Were shrivelled into darkness in his head,
And drop: before him. So the Powers who wait
On noble deeds cancelled a sense misused;
And she, that knew not, passed."

Thus has "Peeping Tom of Coventry" passed into a byword, and his statue stands in a niche on the front of a house on the High Street, as if leaning out of a window—an ancient and battered effigy for all the world to see. Like all other things that come down to us by tradition, this legend is doubted, but in Coventry there are sincere believers, and "Lady Godiva's Procession" used to be an annual display, closing with a fair: this ceremony was opened by religious services, after which the procession started, the troops and city authorities,[Pg 105] with music and banners, escorting Lady Godiva, a woman made up for the occasion in gauzy tights and riding a cream-colored horse; representatives of the trades and civic societies followed her. This pageant has fallen into disuse.


In this ancient city of Coventry there are some interesting memorials of the past—the venerable gateway, the old St. Mary's Hall, with its protruding gable fronting on the street, coming down to us from the fourteenth century, and many other quaint brick and half-timbered and strongly-constructed houses that link the dim past with the active present. Its three spires surmount St. Michael's, Trinity, and Christ churches, and while all are fine, the first is the best, being regarded as one of the most beautiful spires in England. The ancient stone pulpit of Trinity Church, constructed in the form of a balcony of open stone-work, is also much admired. St. Michael's Church, which dates from the fourteenth century, is large enough to be a cathedral, and its steeple is said to have been the first constructed. This beautiful and remarkably slender spire rises three hundred and three feet, its lowest stage being an octagonal lantern supported by flying buttresses. The supporting tower has been elaborately decorated, but much of the sculpture has fallen into decay, being made of the rich but friable red sandstone of this part of the country; the interior of the church has recently been restored. The Coventry workhouse is located in an old monastery, where a part of the cloisters remain, with the dormitory above; in it is an oriel window where Queen Elizabeth on visiting the town is reputed to have stood and answered a reception address in rhyme from the "Men of Coventrie" with some doggerel of equal merit, and concluding with the words, "Good Lord, what fools ye be!" The good Queen Bess, we are told, liked to visit Coventry to see bull-baiting. As we have said, Coventry formerly had a cathedral and a castle, but both have been swept away; it was an important stronghold after the Norman Conquest, when the Earls of Chester were lords of the place. In the fourteenth century it was fortified with walls of great height and thickness, three miles in circuit and strengthened by thirty-two towers, each of the twelve gates being defended[Pg 106] by a portcullis. A parliament was held at Coventry by Henry VI., and Henry VII. was heartily welcomed there after Bosworth Field; while the town was also a favorite residence of Edward the Black Prince. Among the many places of captivity for Mary Queen of Scots Coventry also figures; the walls were mostly knocked down during the Civil Wars, and now only some fragments, with one of the old gates, remain. In later years it has been chiefly celebrated in the peaceful arts in the manufacture of silks and ribbons and the dyeing of broad-cloth in "Coventry true blue;" at present it is the "Coventry bicycle" that makes Lady Godiva's ancient city famous, and provides amusement for youth who are able to balance their bodies possibly at the expense of their minds.



In describing the ancient baronial mansion, Haddon Hall, it was mentioned that the Dukes of Rutland had abandoned it as their residence about a hundred years ago and gone to Belvoir in Leicestershire. Belvoir (pronounced Beever) Castle stands on the eastern border of Leicestershire, in a magnificent situation on a high wooded hill, and gets its name from the beautiful view its occupants enjoy over a wide expanse of country. In ancient times it was a priory, and it has been a castle since the Norman Conquest. Many of the large estates attached to Belvoir have come down by uninterrupted succession from that time to the present Duke of Rutland. The castle itself, however, after the Conquest belonged to the Earl of Chester, and afterwards to the family of Lord Ros. In the sixteenth century, by a fortunate marriage, the castle passed into the Manners family. Thomas Manners was created by Henry VIII. the first Earl of Rutland, and he restored the castle, which had for some time been in ruins. His son enlarged it, making a noble residence. The sixth Earl of Rutland had two sons, we are told, who were murdered by witchcraft at Belvoir through the sorcery of three female servants in revenge for their dismissal.[Pg 107] The three "witches" were tried and committed to Lincoln jail. They were a mother and two daughters, and the mother before going to the jail wished the bread and butter she ate might choke her if guilty. Sure enough, the chronicler tells us, she died on the way to jail, and the two daughters, afterwards confessing their guilt, were executed March 11, 1618. The seventh Earl of Rutland received Charles I. at Belvoir, and in the wars that followed the castle was besieged and ruined. After the Restoration it was rebuilt, and in finer style. The Dukes of Rutland began to adapt it more and more as a family residence, and, after abandoning Haddon Hall, Belvoir was greatly altered and made a princely mansion. It consists of a quadrangular court, around which are castellated buildings, with towers surmounting them, and occupying almost the entire summit of the hill. Here the duke can look out over no less than twenty-two of his manors in the neighboring valleys. The interior is sumptuously furnished, and has a collection of valuable paintings. A large part of the ancient castle was burnt in 1816. The Staunton Tower, however, still exists. It is the stronghold of the castle, and was successfully defended by Lord Staunton against William of Normandy. Upon every royal visit the key of this tower is presented to the sovereign, the last occasion being a visit of Queen Victoria. Belvoir, in the generous hands of the Dukes of Rutland, still maintains the princely hospitality of the "King of the Peak." A record kept of a recent period of thirteen weeks, from Christmas to Easter, shows that two thousand persons dined at the duke's table, two thousand four hundred and twenty-one in the steward's room, and eleven thousand three hundred and twelve in the servants' hall. They were blessed with good appetites too, for they devoured about $7000 worth of provisions, including eight thousand three hundred and thirty-three loaves of bread and twenty-two thousand nine hundred and sixty-three pounds of meat, exclusive of game, besides drinking two thousand four hundred bottles of wine and seventy hogsheads of ale. Thus does Belvoir maintain the inheritance of hospitable obligation descended from Haddon Hall.



We have now come into Leicestershire, and in that county, north of Leicester City, is the outcropping of the earth's rocky backbone, which has been thrust up into high wooded hills along the edge of the valley of the Soar for several miles, and is known as Charnwood Forest. It hardly deserves the name of a forest, however, for most of this strange rocky region is bare of trees, and many of the patches of wood that are there are of recent growth. Yet in ancient years there was plenty of wood, and a tradition comes down to us that[Pg 108] in Charnwood once upon a time a squirrel could travel six miles on the trees without touching the ground, and a traveller journey entirely across the forest without seeing the sun. The district consists of two lines of irregular ridgy hills, rising three hundred to four hundred feet above the neighboring country. These ridges are separated by a sort of valley like a Norwegian fjord, tilled with red marl. The rocks are generally volcanic products, with much slate, which is extensively quarried. Granite and sienite are also quarried, and at the chief granite-quarry—Mount Sorrel, an eminence which projects into the valley of the Soar—was in former times the castle of Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester. In King John's reign the garrison of this castle so harassed the neighborhood that it was described as the "nest of the devil and a den of thieves." In Henry III.'s reign it was captured and demolished; the latter fate is gradually befalling the hill on which it stood, under the operations of the quarrymen. Near these quarries is the ancient village of Groby, which was quite a flourishing place eight hundred years ago, and has not grown much since. This village belonged to the Ferrars family, and an heiress of that family was the unfortunate Queen Elizabeth Widvile. About two miles away is Bradgate, a spot of rare beauty and interest, the history of which is closely connected with Groby. On the end of one of the ridges of Charnwood, just where it is sinking down to the level of the surrounding country, stands Bradgate House. The surrounding park is quite wild and bare, but there are fine old oaks in the lower portions. From the ancient house a beautiful dell, called the Happy Valley, leads to the neighboring village of Newtown Linford. Bradgate House was destroyed in the early part of the last century by its mistress. The Earl of Suffolk, who then owned it, brought his wife, who had no taste for a rural life, from the metropolis to live there. Her sister in London wrote to inquire how she was getting on. She answered, "The house is tolerable, the country a forest, and the inhabitants all brutes." In reply the sister advised, "Set the house on fire,[Pg 109] and run away by the light of it." The countess took the advice, and Bradgate never was rebuilt.



Charnwood Forest, like almost every other place in England, contains the remains of religious houses. There was a priory at Ulverscroft, not far from Bradgate, and some picturesque moss-grown remains still exist, said to be the finest ruin in Leicestershire. Grace Dieu Abbey was also in the forest, and on the dissolution of the monasteries was granted to the Beaumonts; the ruins of this abbey were much frequented by Wordsworth, who dedicated his poems to their owner. The Cistercians have in the present century established the monastery of Mont St. Bernard in the forest, and brought large tracts under cultivation as garden-land. Bardon, the highest hill of Charnwood, which is near by, rises nine hundred feet, an obtuse-angled triangular summit that can be seen for miles away: not far from the forest are several famous places. The abandoned castle of Ashby de la Zouche has been made the site of an interesting town, deriving much prosperity from its neighboring coal-mines: this castle was built by Lord Hastings, and here dwelt Ivanhoe. The ruins of the tower, chapel, and great hall are objects of much interest, and in the chapel is the "finger pillory" for the punishment of those who were disorderly in church. Staunton Harold, the seat of Earl Ferrars, is north of the town, while about nine miles to the north-east of Ashby is Donington Hall,[Pg 110] the palace of the Marquis of Hastings: this estate is connected with Langley Priory, three miles southward; the latter domain belonged to the Cheslyns fifty years ago, and had an income of $40,000 a year. Between lavish hospitality and ruinous lawsuits the entire property was eaten up, and Richard Cheslyn became practically a pauper; but he bore ill-fortune with good grace, and maintained his genial character to the last, being always well received at all the noble houses where he formerly visited. Sir Bernard Burke writes that Cheslyn "at dinner-parties, at which every portion of his dress was the cast-off clothes of his grander friends, always looked and was the gentleman; he made no secret of his poverty or of the generous hands that had 'rigged him out.' 'This coat,' he has been heard to say, 'was Radcliffe's; these pants, Granby's; this waistcoat, Scarborough's.' His cheerfulness never forsook him; he was the victim of others' mismanagement and profusion, not of his own." John Shakespear, the famous linguist, whose talents were discovered by Lord Moira, who had him educated, was a cowherd on the Langley estate. The poor cowherd afterwards bought the estates for $700,000, and they were his home through life.



Charnwood Forest is also associated in history with two unfortunate women. Elizabeth Widvile was the wife of Sir John Grey of Groby, who lost his life and estate in serving the House of Lancaster, leaving Elizabeth with two sons; for their sake she sought an interview with King Edward IV. to ask him to show them favor. Smitten by her charms, Edward made her his queen, but he was soon driven into exile in France, and afterwards died, while her father and brother perished in a popular tumult. Her daughter married King Henry VII., a jealous son-in-law, who confined Elizabeth in the monastery of Ber[Pg 111]mondsey, where she died. Bradgate passed into the hands of her elder son by Sir John Grey of Groby, and his grandson was the father of the second queen to which it gave birth, whose name is better known than that of Elizabeth Widvile—the unfortunate "ten-days' queen," Lady Jane Grey. She lived the greater part of her short life at Bradgate, in the house whose ruins still stand to preserve her memory. We are told by the quaint historian Fuller that "she had the innocency of childhood, the beauty of youth, the solidity of middle, the gravity of old age, and all at eighteen—the birth of a princess, the learning of a clerk, the life of a saint, and the death of a malefactor for her parents' offences." These parents worried her into accepting the crown—they played for high stakes and lost—and her father and father-in-law, her husband and herself, all perished on the scaffold. We are told that this unfortunate lady still haunts Bradgate House, and on the last night of the dying year a phantom carriage, drawn by four gray horses, glides around the ruins with her headless body. The old oaks have a gnarled and stunted appearance, tradition ascribing it to the woodsmen having lopped off all the leading shoots when their mistress perished. The remains of the house at present are principally the broken shells of two towers, with portions of the enclosing walls, partly covered with ivy.




The city of Leicester, which is now chiefly noted for the manufacture of hosiery, was founded by the Britons, and was subsequently the Roman city of Ratæ. Many Roman remains still exist here, notably the ancient Jewry wall, which is seventy-five feet long and five feet high, and which formed part of the town-wall. Many old houses are found in Leicester, and just north of the city are the ruins of Leicester Abbey, This noted religious house was founded in the[Pg 112] twelfth century, and stood on a meadow watered by the river Soar. It was richly endowed, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but its chief fame comes from its being the last residence of Cardinal Wolsey. This great man, once the primate of England, has had his downfall pathetically described by Shakespeare. The king summoned him to London to stand trial for treason, and on his way Wolsey became so ill that he was obliged to rest at Leicester, where he was met at the abbey-gate by the abbot and entire convent. Aware of his approaching dissolution, the fallen cardinal said, "Father abbot, I have come hither to lay my bones among you." The next day he died, and to the surrounding monks, as the last sacrament was administered, he said, "If I had served God as diligently as I have done the king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs." The remains were interred by torchlight before daybreak on St. Andrew's Day, 1530, and to show the vanity of all things earthly tradition says that after the destruction of the abbey the stone coffin in which they were buried was used as a horse-trough for a neighboring inn. Nothing remains of the abbey as Wolsey saw it excepting the gate in the east wall through which he entered. The present ruins are fragments of a house built afterwards. The foundations that can still be traced show that it was a grand old building. The gardens and park now raise vegetables for the Leicester market.

Leicester Castle still exists only in a portion of the great hall, but it has been enlarged and modernized, and is now used for the county offices. The castle was built after the Norman Conquest to keep the townspeople in check. It was afterwards a stronghold of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and it then became part of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Dukes of Lancaster restored it, and lived there frequently in great pomp, and they also built the adjoining Hospital of the Newarke and a singular earthwork alongside, called the Mount. Several parliaments were held here, but after the time of Edward IV. the castle fell into decay. There are now few remains of the original castle, excepting part of the great hall and the Mount or earthwork of the keep, which is about thirty feet high and one hundred feet[Pg 113] in diameter upon its flat, circular top. Not far from Leicester was fought the last great battle of the "Wars of the Roses," Bosworth Field, upon Redmoor Plain, about two miles from the village now known as Market Bosworth. It was a moor at the time of the battle in 1485, overgrown with thistles and scutch-grass. Shakespeare has been the most popular historian of this battle, and the well where Richard slaked his thirst is still pointed out, with other localities of the scenes of the famous contest that decided the kingship of England, Richard III. giving place to Richmond, who became Henry VII.



While we are considering this locality two other famous battlefields not far away, that together were decisive of the fate of England, must not be overlooked. These were Edgehill and Naseby, the opening and closing contests of the Civil War that overthrew Charles I., the scene of one being visible from the other, though the intervening contest spread almost all over the island. The high ground that borders Warwickshire and Northamptonshire has various roads crossing it, and the opposing forces meeting on these highlands made them the scenes of the battles—practical repetitions of many hot contests there in earlier years. The command of the Parliamentary army had been given to the Earl of Essex, and he and all his officers were proclaimed traitors by the[Pg 114] king. Charles I. assembled an army at Nottingham in 1642 to chastise them, and it was considered an evil omen that when the royal standard was set up on the evening of the day of assemblage, a gale arose and it was blown down. Charles moved west from Nottingham to Shrewsbury to meet reinforcements from Wales, and then his army numbered eighteen thousand men. Essex was at Northampton, and moved southward to Worcester. Charles desired to march to London to break up the Parliament, but to do this must either defeat or outflank Essex. He chose the latter plan, moved to Kenilworth, but could not enter Coventry, because Lord Brooke, who was afterwards killed at Lichfield, held it for the Parliament. Essex left Worcester, and pressed the king by forced marches, but Charles turned his flank and started for London with Essex in pursuit. In October he reached Edgecot, near the field at Edgehill, and there in the open country he was astonished to find a gentleman amusing himself with a pack of hounds. He asked who it was who could hunt so merrily while his sovereign was about to fight for his crown. Mr. Richard Shuckburgh was accordingly introduced, and the king persuaded him to take home his hounds and raise his tenantry. The next day he joined Charles with a troop of horse, and was knighted on the field of Edgehill.

Charles slept in the old house at Edgecot: the house has been superseded by a newer one, in which is preserved the bed in which the king rested on the night of October 22, 1642. At three o'clock next morning, Sunday, he was aroused by a messenger from Prince Rupert, whose cavalry guarded the rear, saying that Essex was at hand, and the king could fight at once if he wished. He immediately ordered the march to Edgehill, a magnificent situation for an army to occupy, for here the broken country of the Border sinks suddenly down upon the level plain of Central England. Essex's camp-fires on that plain the previous night had betrayed his army to Prince Rupert, while Rupert's horsemen, appearing upon the brow of the hill, told Essex next morning that the king was at hand. Edgehill is a long ridge extending almost north and south, with another ridge jutting out at right angles into the plain in front: thus the Parliamentary troops were on low ground, bounded in front and on their left by steep hills. On the southern side of Edgehill there had been cut out of the red iron-stained rock of a projecting cliff a huge red horse, as a memorial of the great Earl of Warwick, who before a previous battle had killed his horse and vowed to share the perils of the meanest of his soldiers. Both sides determined to give battle; the Puritan ministers passed along the ranks exhorting the men to do their duty, and they afterwards referred to the figure as the "Red Horse of the wrath of the Lord which did ride about furiously to the ruin of the enemy." Charles disposed his army along the brow of the hill, and could overlook his[Pg 115] foes, stretched out on the plain, as if on a map, with the village of Kineton behind them. Essex had twelve thousand men on a little piece of rising ground known afterwards as the "Two Battle Farms," Battledon and Thistledon. The king was superior both in numbers and position, with Prince Rupert and his cavalry on the right wing; Sir Edmund Verney bore the king's standard in the centre, where his tent was pitched, and Lord Lindsey commanded; under him was General Sir Jacob Astley, whose prayer before the battle is famous: "O Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this day; if I forget thee, do not thou forget me.—March on, boys!" The king rode along in front of his troops in the stately figure that is familiar in Vandyke's paintings—full armor, with the ribbon of the Garter across his breastplate and its star on his black velvet mantle—and made a brief speech of exhortation. The young princes Charles and James, his sons, both of them afterwards kings of England, were present at Edgehill, while the philosopher Hervey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, was also in attendance, and we are told was found in the heat of the battle sitting snugly under a hedge reading a copy of Virgil.


The battle did not begin till afternoon, and the mistake the king made was in not waiting for the attack in his strong position on the brow of the hill; but his men were impatient and in high spirits, and he permitted them to push forward, meeting the attack halfway. Rupert's cavalry upon encountering the Parliamentary left wing were aided by the desertion of part of the latter's forces, which threw them into confusion; the wing broke and fled before the troopers, who drove them with great slaughter into the village of Kineton, and then fell to plundering Essex's baggage-train. This caused a delay which enabled the Parliamentary reserves to come up, and they drove Rupert back in confusion; and when he reached the royal lines he found them in disorder, with Sir Edmund Verney killed and the royal standard captured. Lord Lindsey wounded and captured, and the king in personal danger: but darkness came, and enabled the king to hold his ground, and each side claimed a victory. The royal standard was brought back by a courageous Cavalier, who put on a Parliamentary orange-colored scarf, rode into the enemy's lines, and persuaded the man who had it to let him carry it. For this bold act he was knighted by the[Pg 116] king on the spot and given a gold medal. There were about fourteen hundred killed in the battle, and buried between the two farm-houses of Battledon and Thistledon, at a place now called the Graveyards. Lord Lindsey died on his way to Warwick with his captors. Cromwell was not personally engaged at Edgehill, although there as a captain of cavalry. Carlyle says that after watching the fight he told Hampden they never would get on with a "set of poor tapsters and town-apprentice people fighting against men of honor; to cope with men of honor they must have men of religion." Hampden answered, "It was a good notion if it could be executed;" and Cromwell "set about executing a bit of it, his share of it, by and by."



The last great contest of the Civil War, at which the fate of King Charles was really decided, was fought nearly three years afterwards, June 14, 1645, and but a few miles north-east of Edgehill, at Naseby, standing on a high plateau elevated nearly seven hundred feet. The Parliamentary forces had during the interval become by far the stronger, and were engaged in besieging Chester. The king and Prince Rupert in May left Oxford with their forces, and marched northward, hoping to raise this siege. The king had gone as far north as Leicester, when, hearing that Lord Fairfax had come from the borders of Wales and besieged Oxford, he turned about to relieve it. His army was about ten thousand strong, and, having reached Daventry in June, halted, while Fairfax, leaving Oxford, marched northward to meet the king, being five miles east of him on June 12. Being weaker than Fairfax, the king determined on retreat, and the movement was started towards Market Harborough, just north of Naseby. The king, a local tradition says, while sleeping at Daventry was warned, by the apparition of Lord Strafford in a dream, not to measure his strength with the Parliamentary army. A second night the apparition came, assuring him that "if he kept his resolution of fighting he was undone;" and it is added that the king was often afterwards heard to say he wished he had taken the warning and not fought at Naseby. Fairfax, however, was resolved to force a battle, and pursued the king's retreating army. On June 13th he sent Harrison and Ireton with cavalry to attack its rear. That night the king's van and main body were at Market Harborough, and his rear-guard of horse at Naseby, three miles southward. Ireton about midnight surprised and captured most of the rear-guard, but a few, escaping, reached the king, and roused him at two in the morning. Fairfax was coming up, and reached Naseby at five in the morning. The king held a council of war in the "King's Head Inn" at Market Harborough, and determined to face about and[Pg 117] give battle. The forces met on Broad Moor, just north of Naseby village. Prince Rupert had command of the royal troops, and Sir Jacob Astley was in command of the infantry. The king rode along the lines, inspiriting the men with a speech, to which they gave a response of ringing cheers. Cromwell commanded the right wing of Fairfax's line, while Ireton led the left, which was opposed by Rupert's cavalry. The advance was made by Fairfax, and the sequel proved that the Parliamentary forces had improved their tactics. Rupert's troopers, as usual, broke down the wing opposing them, and then went to plundering the baggage-wagons in the rear. But fortune inclined the other way elsewhere. Cromwell on the right routed the royal left wing, and after an hour's hot struggle the royal centre was completely broken up. Fairfax captured the royal standard, and the king with his reserve of horse made a gallant attempt to recover the day. But it was of no use. Fairfax formed a second line of battle, and the king's wiser friends, seizing his horse's bridle, turned him about, telling him his charge would lead to certain destruction. Then a panic came, and the whole body of Royalists fled, with Fairfax's cavalry in pursuit. Cromwell and his "Ironsides" chased the fugitives almost to Leicester, and many were slaughtered. The king never halted till he got to Ashby de la Zouche, twenty-eight miles from the battlefield, and he then went on to Lichfield. There were one thousand Royalists killed and four thousand five hundred captured, with almost all the baggage, among it being the king's correspondence, which by disclosing his plans did almost equal harm with the defeat. The prisoners were sent to London. A monument has since been erected on the battlefield, with an inscription describing the contest as "a useful lesson to British kings never to exceed the bounds[Pg 118] of their just prerogative; and to British subjects, never to swerve from the allegiance due to their legitimate monarch." This is certainly an oracular utterance, and of its injunctions the reader can take his choice.



Close to the village of Naseby rises the Avon, some of its springs being actually within the village, where their waters are caught in little ponds for watering cattle. The slender stream of Shakespeare's river flows downward from the plateau through green meadows, and thence to the classic ground of Stratford and of Warwick. It was at Stratford-on-Avon that Shakespeare was born and died;

"Here his first infant lays sweet Shakespeare sung,
Here the last accents faltered on his tongue."


The old house where he was born is on the main street of the town, and has been taken possession of by a Trust which has restored it to its original condition. Its walls are covered with the initials of visitors; there is nothing to be seen in the house that has any proved connection with Shakespeare excepting his portrait, painted when he was about forty-five years old. The sign of the butcher who had the building before the Trust bought it is also exhibited, and states that "The immortal Shakespeare was born in this house." His birth took place in this ancient but carefully preserved building on April 23, 1564, and exactly fifty-two years later, on April 23, 1616, he died in another house near by, known as the "New Place," on Chapel Street. Excepting the garden and a portion of the ancient foundations nothing now remains of the house[Pg 119] where Shakespeare died; a green arbor in the yard, with the initials of his name set in the front fence, being all that marks the spot. Adjoining the remnants of this "New Place" is the "Nash House," where the curator representing the Shakespeare Trust has his home. This building is also indirectly connected with Shakespeare, having belonged to and been occupied by Thomas Nash, who married Elizabeth Hall, the poet's granddaughter, who subsequently became Lady Barnard. The church of the Holy Trinity at Stratford contains Shakespeare's grave; five flat stones lying in a row across the narrow chancel cover his family, the grave of Anne Hathaway, his wife, being next to that of the poet; his monument is on the wall, and near it is the American memorial window, representing the Seven Ages of Man. In the chancel upon the western side, within a Grecian niche, is the well-known half-figure monument of Shakespeare that has been so widely copied, representing him in the act of composition. The most imposing building in Stratford is the "Shakespeare Memorial," a large and highly ornamental structure, thoroughly emblematic, and containing a theatre. Stratford is full of relics of Shakespeare and statues and portraits in his memory. There is a life-size statue of the poet outside the Town-Hall which was presented to the city by Garrick in the last century, while within the building is his full-length portrait, also a present from Garrick, together with Gainsborough's portrait of Garrick himself. At the modest hamlet of Shottery, about a mile out of town, is the little cottage where Anne Hathaway lived, and where the poet is said to have "won her to his love;" a curious bedstead and other relics are shown at the cottage. Charlecote House, the scene of Shakespeare's youthful deer-stealing adventure that compelled him to go to London, is about four miles east of Stratford, near the Avon: it is an ancient mansion of the Elizabethan period. In the neighborhood are also a mineral spring known as the Royal Victoria Spa and some ancient British intrenchments called the Dingles.[Pg 120]



The renowned castle of Warwick is upon the Avon, a short distance above Stratford. Warwick was founded by the Britons at a very early period, and is believed to be as old in some parts as the Christian era; it was afterwards held as a Christian stronghold against the Danes. Lady Ethelfleda, daughter of King Alfred, built the donjon-keep upon an artificial mound of earth that can still be traced in the castle grounds. The most ancient part of the present castle was erected in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and in William the Conqueror's time it received considerable additions, and he created the first Earl of Warwick. It was a great stronghold in the subsequent wars, and an heiress brought the castle to Richard Neville, who assumed the title in right of his wife, and was the famous Warwick, "the King-maker." After many changes it came to the Grevilles, who are now the Earls of Warwick. This castle is one of the best specimens of the feudal stronghold remaining in England, and occupies a lovely position on the river-bank, being built on a rock about forty feet high; its modern apartments contain a rich museum filled with almost priceless relics of the olden time. Here are also valuable paintings and other works of art, among them Vandyck's portrait of Charles I. and many masterpieces of Rembrandt, Paul Veronese, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Holbein, and Salvator Rosa. In December, 1871, the great hall and suite of private apartments at Warwick were burnt, but the valuable contents were almost all saved with little injury. The castle was restored by[Pg 121] a public subscription. It is built around a large oval-shaped court; the gatehouse tower is flanked by embattled walls covered with ivy, and having at either extremity Cæsar's Tower and Guy's Tower; the inner court is bounded by ramparts and turrets, and has on one side an artificial mound surmounted by an ancient tower. From the modernized rooms of the castle, where the family live and the museum is located, and which extend in a suite for three hundred and fifty feet, all the windows look out upon beautiful views; many of these rooms are hung with tapestry. Cæsar's Tower, believed to be the most ancient part of the castle and as old as the Norman Conquest, is one hundred and seventy-four feet high; Guy's Tower, which was built in 1394, has solid walls ten feet thick and is one hundred and twenty-eight feet high, disclosing fine views from the turrets. The grounds are extensive, and the magnificent marble "Warwick Vase," brought from the Emperor Adrian's villa at Tivoli in Italy, is kept in a special greenhouse, being one of the most completely perfect and beautiful specimens of ancient sculpture known. St. Mary's Church at Warwick is a fine building, which in the early part of the last century replaced the original collegiate church of St. Mary, an edifice that had unfortunately been burnt. Thomas Beauchamp, one of the earlier Earls of Warwick, was the founder of this church, and his monument with recumbent effigy is in the middle of the choir. The Beauchamp Chapel, over four hundred years old, is a beautiful relic of the original church still remaining, and stands on the southern side of the new building. The whole of this portion of Warwickshire is underlaid by medicinal waters, and the baths of Leamington are in the valley of the little river Leam, a short distance north-east of the castle, its Jephson Gardens, a lovely park, commemorating one of the most benevolent patrons.


Warwick Castle, like all the others, has its romance, and this centres in the famous giant, Guy of Warwick, who lived nearly a thousand years ago, and was nine feet high. His staff and club and sword and armor are exhibited in a room adjoining Cæsar's Tower; and here also is Guy's famous porridge-pot, a huge bronze caldron holding over a hundred gallons, which is used as a punch-bowl whenever there are rejoicings in the castle. There is nothing fabulous about the arms or the porridge-pot, but there is a good deal that is doubtful about the giant Guy himself and the huge dun cow that once upon a time he slew, one of whose ribs, measuring over six feet long, is shown at Guy's Cliff. This cliff is where the redoubtable Guy retired as a hermit after championing the cause of England in single combat against a giant champion of the Danes, and is about a mile from Warwick. It is a picturesque spot, and a chantry has been founded there, while for many years a rude statue of the giant Guy stood on the cliff, where the[Pg 122] chisel had cut it out of the solid rock. The town of Warwick is full of old gabled houses and of curious relics of the time of the "King-maker" and of the famous Earl of Leicester, who in Elizabeth's time founded there the Leicester Hospital, where especial preference is given to pensioners who have been wounded in the wars. It is a fine old house, with its chapel, which has been restored nearly in the old form, stretching over the pathway, and a flight of steps leading up to the promenade around it. The hospital buildings are constructed around an open quadrangle, and upon the quaint black and white building are some fine antique carvings. The old "Malt-Shovel Inn" is a rather decayed structure in Warwick, with its ancient porch protruding over the street, while some of the buildings, deranged in the lower stories by the acute angles at which the streets cross, have oblique gables above stairs that enabled the builders to construct the upper rooms square. This is a style of construction peculiar to Warwick, and adds to the oddity of this somnolent old town, that seems to have been practically asleep for centuries.



[Pg 123]


About five miles from Warwick are the ruins of Kenilworth Castle, the magnificent home of the Earl of Leicester, which Scott has immortalized. Geoffrey de Clinton in the reign of Henry I. built a strong castle and founded a monastery here. It was afterwards the castle of Simon de Montfort, and his son was besieged in it for several months, ultimately surrendering, when the king bestowed it on his youngest son, Edward, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester. Edward II., when taken prisoner in Wales, was brought to Kenilworth, and signed his abdication in the castle, being afterwards murdered in Berkeley Castle. Then it came to John of Gaunt, and in the Wars of the Roses was alternately held by the partisans of each side. Finally, Queen Elizabeth bestowed it upon her ambitious favorite, Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who made splendid additions to the buildings. It was here that Leicester gave the magnificent entertainment to Queen Elizabeth which was a series of pageants lasting seventeen days, and cost $5000 a day—a very large sum for those times. The queen was attended by thirty-one barons and a host of retainers, and four hundred servants, who were all lodged in the fortress. The attendants were clothed in velvet, and the party drank sixteen hogsheads of wine and forty hogsheads of beer every day, while to feed them ten oxen were killed every morning. There was a succession of plays and amusements provided, including the Coventry play of "Hock Tuesday" and the "Country Bridal," with bull-and bear-baiting, of which the queen was very fond. Scott has given a gorgeous description of these fêtes and of the great castle, and upon these and the tragic fate of Amy Robsart has founded his romance of Kenilworth. The display and hospitality of the Earl of Leicester were intended[Pg 124] to pave the way to marriage, but the wily queen was not to be thus entrapped. The castle is now part of the Earl of Clarendon's estate, and he has taken great pains to preserve the famous ruins. The great hall, ninety feet long, still retains several of its Gothic windows, and some of the towers rise seventy feet high. These ivy-mantled ruins stand upon an elevated rocky site commanding a fine prospect, and their chief present use is as a picnic-ground for tourists. Not far away are the ruins of the priory, which was founded at the same time as the castle. A dismantled gate-house with some rather extensive foundations are all that remain. In a little church near by the matins and the curfew are still tolled, one of the bells used having belonged to the priory. Few English ruins have more romance attached to them than those of Kenilworth, for the graphic pen of the best story-teller of Britain has interwoven them into one of his best romances, and has thus given an idea of the splendors as well as the dark deeds of the Elizabethan era that will exist as long as the language endures.



Thus far we have mainly written of the rural and historical attractions of Warwickshire, but its great city must not be passed by without notice. The "Homestead of the Sons of Beorm" the Saxon, while rising from small begin[Pg 125]nings, has had a prodigiously rapid growth since the coal, iron, and railways have so greatly swollen the wealth and population of manufacturing England. It was at the time of the Conquest the manor of Bermingeham, or, as the Midland English prefer to pronounce it, "Brummagem." It was held for many years by a family of the same name, and had an uneventful history till the townsfolk ranged themselves on the side of Parliament in the Civil War, in revenge for which Prince Rupert captured and pillaged Birmingham: it was then a market-town, built mostly along one street, and noted for its smiths and cutlers, who were kept busy in forging pikes and swords for the king's opponents. The great growth of the city has been in the present century, when the population has trebled, and now approaches four hundred thousand. The main features of its history relate to trade and manufactures, otherwise its annals are comparatively commonplace. There is little remaining of the old town, almost all the structures being modern. St. Martin's Church, replacing the original parish church, or "Mother Church," as it is called, is a fine modern structure, and contains some interesting monuments of the Bermingeham family. There are several other attractive churches, including the Unitarian church of the Messiah, which is supported on massive arches, for it is built over a canal on which are several locks: this has given cause for a favorite Birmingham witticism:

"St. Peters world-wide diocese
Rests on the power of the keys;
Our church, a trifle heterodox,
We'll rest on a 'power of locks.'"


Birmingham has many fine public and private buildings and some attractive streets, though much of the town is made up of narrow lanes and dingy houses, with huge factories in every direction. There are several small parks, the gifts of opulent residents, notably Aston Hall. This was formerly[Pg 126] the residence of the Holte family, and the fine old mansion which still stands in the grounds was built by Sir Thomas Holte in the reign of James I. Charles I. is said to have slept here for two nights before the battle of Edgehill, for which offence the house was cannonaded by the Puritans and its owners fined. The grounds, covering about forty-two acres, are now a park, and a picturesque little church has been built near the mansion. Some of the factories of this metropolis of hardware are fine structures, but when their product is spoken of, "Brummagem" is sometimes quoted as synonymous for showy sham. Here they are said to make gods for the heathen and antiquities of the Pharaoh age for Egypt, with all sorts of relics for all kinds of battlefields. But Birmingham nevertheless has a reputation for more solid wares. Its people are the true descendants of Tubal Cain, for one of its historians attractively says that the Arab eats with a Birmingham spoon; the Egyptian takes his bowl of sherbet from a Birmingham tray; the American Indian shoots a Birmingham rifle; the Hindoo dines on Birmingham plate and sees by the light of a Birmingham lamp; the South American horsemen wear Birmingham spurs and gaudily deck their jackets with Birmingham buttons; the West Indian cuts down the sugar-cane with Birmingham hatchets and presses the juice into Birmingham vats and coolers; the German lights his pipe on a Birmingham tinder-box; the emigrant cooks his dinner in a Birmingham saucepan over a Birmingham stove; and so on ad infinitum. A century ago this famous town was known as the "toy-shop of Europe." Its glass-workers stand at the head of their profession, and here are made the great lighthouse lenses and the finest stained glass to be found in English windows. The Messrs. Elkington, whose reputation is worldwide, here invented the process of electro-plating. It is a great place for jewelry and the champion emporium for buttons. It is also the great English workshop for swords, guns, and other small-arms, and here are turned out by the million Gillott's steel pens. Over all these industries presides the magnificent Town Hall, a Grecian temple standing upon an arcade basement, and built of hard limestone[Pg 127] brought from the island of Anglesea. The interior is chiefly a vast assembly-room, where concerts are given and political meetings held, the latter usually being the more exciting, for we are told that when party feeling runs high some of the Birmingham folk "are a little too fond of preferring force to argument." But, although famed for its Radical politics and the introduction of the "caucus" into England, Birmingham will always be chiefly known by its manufactures, and these will recall its illustrious inventors, Boulton and Watt. Their factory was at Soho, just north of the town. Here Watt brought the steam-engine to perfection, here gas was first used, plating was perfected, and myriads of inventions were developed. "The labors of Boulton and Watt at Soho," says the historian Langford, "changed the commercial aspects of the world." Their history is, however, but an epitome of the wonderful story of this great city of the glass and metal-workers, whose products supply the entire globe.



In our journey through Midland England we have paused at many of the prison-houses of Mary Queen of Scots. In Northamptonshire, near Elton, are the remains of the foundations of the castle of Fotheringhay, out in a field, with the mound of the keep rising in front of them; this was the unfortunate queen's last prison. It was a noted castle, dating from the twelfth century, and had been a principal residence of the Plantagenets. Here Mary was tried and[Pg 128] beheaded, February 8, 1587. She is said to have borne up under her great afflictions with marvellous courage. Conducted to the scaffold after taking leave of all, she made a short address, declaring that she had never sought the life of her cousin Elizabeth—that she was queen-born, not subject to the laws, and forgiving all. Her attendants in tears then assisted her to remove her clothing, but she firmly said, "Instead of weeping, rejoice; I am very happy to leave this world and in so good a cause." Then she knelt, and after praying stretched out her neck to the executioner, imagining that he would strike off her head while in an upright posture and with the sword, as in France; they told her of her mistake, and without ceasing to pray she laid her head on the block. There was a universal feeling of compassion, even the headsman himself being so moved that he did his work with unsteady hand, the axe falling on the back of her head and wounding her; but she did not move nor utter a complaint, and, repeating the blow, he struck off her head, which he held up, saying, "God save Queen Elizabeth!" Her lips moved for some time after death, and few recognized her features, they were so much changed.


Also in Northamptonshire is Holmby House, where King Charles I. was captured by the army previous to his trial. It was built by Sir Christopher Hatton in Queen Elizabeth's time, but only the gates and some outbuildings remain. After the battle of Naseby the king surrendered himself to the Scots, and they, through an arrangement with the English Parliament, conducted him to Holmby House, where he maintained something of sovereign state, though under the surveillance of the Parliamentary commissioners. He devoted his time to receiving visitors, the bowling-green, and the chess-table. This continued for some months, when a struggle began between the army and the Parliament to decide whose captive he was. The army subsequently, by a plot, got possession of Holmby, and, practically making prisoners of the garrison and the commissioners of Parliament, they abducted the king and took him to a house near Huntingdon. Fairfax sent two regiments of troops thither to escort him back to Holmby, but he had been treated with great courtesy and declined to go back. Thus by his own practical consent the king was taken possession of by Cromwell, Fairfax, and Ireton, who were in command, although they denied it, and put the whole blame on one Cornet Joyce who was in command of the detachment of troops that took possession of Holmby. The king was ultimately taken to London, tried, and executed in Whitehall. At Ashby St. Leger, near Daventry, in Northamptonshire, is the gate-house of the ancient manor of the Catesbys, of whom Robert Catesby was the contriver of the Gunpowder[Pg 129] Plot. The thirteen conspirators who framed the plot met in a room over the gateway which the villagers call the "Plot-room," and here Guy Fawkes was equipped for his task, which so alarmed the kingdom that to this day the cellars of the Parliament Houses are searched before the session begins for fear a new plot may have been hatched, while the anniversary is kept as a solemn holiday in London. The lantern used by Guy Fawkes is still preserved in the Oxford Museum having been given to the University in 1641.


One of the most ancient of the strongholds of Midland England was the Bedicanford of the Saxons, where contests took place between them and the Britons as early as the sixth century. It stood in a fertile valley on the Ouse, and is also mentioned in the subsequent contests with the Danes, having been destroyed by them in the eleventh century. Finally, William Rufus built a castle there, and its name gradually changed to Bedford. It was for years subject to every storm of civil war—was taken and retaken, the most famous siege lasting sixty days, when Henry III. personally conducted the operations, being attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the chief peers of the realm: this was in 1224, and the most ingenious engines of war were used to batter down the castle-walls, which till then had been regarded as impregnable. The stronghold was ultimately captured, chiefly through the agency of a lofty wooden castle higher than the walls, which gave an opportunity of seeing all that passed within. The governor of the castle, twenty-four knights, and eighty soldiers, making most of the garrison, were hanged. King Henry then dismantled it and filled up the ditches, so as to "uproot this nursery of sedition." The ruins lasted some time afterward, but now only the site is known, located alongside the river Ouse, which runs through the city of Bedford. This town is of great interest, though, as Camden wrote two centuries ago, it is more eminent for its "pleasant situation and antiquity than for anything of beauty and stateliness." Its neighborhood has been a noted mine for antiquities, disclosing remains of ancient races of men and of almost pre-historic animals of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The town lies rather low on the river, with a handsome bridge connecting the two parts, and pretty gardens fringing each shore. This bridge is a modern structure, having succeeded the "old bridge," which stood there several centuries with a gate-house at either end, in the larger of which was the old jail, that had for its most distinguished occupant that sturdy townsman of Bedford, John Bunyan. The castle-mound, which is all that is left, and on which once stood the keep, is on the river-shore just below the bridge, and is now used for a bowling-green in the garden of the chief hotel.[Pg 130] The memorials of the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, first a prisoner and then a minister of the gospel in Bedford, are probably the most prized remains of ancient days that Bedford has, though they are now becoming scarce.




Elstow, a village about one mile south of Bedford, was Bunyan's birthplace. The house is still pointed out, though a new front has been put into it, and it is a very small building, suitable to the tinker's humble estate. The village-green where he played is near by, alongside the churchyard wall; the church, which has been little changed, stands on the farther side of the yard, with a massive tower at the north-western angle, looking more like a fortress than a religious edifice. The bells are still there which Bunyan used to ring, and they also point out "Bunyan's Pew" inside, though the regularity of his attendance is not vouched for, as he says "absenting himself from church" was one of his offences during the greater part of his life. He married early and in poor circumstances, the young couple "not having so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt them both," though he considered it among his mercies that he was led "to light upon a wife of godly parentage." He says that a marked change in his mental condition suddenly began while playing a game of "tip-cat" on Sunday afternoon on the village-green, having listened in the morning to a sermon upon Sabbath-breaking. His conscience smote him; he abandoned the game, leaving his cat upon the ground, and then began his great spiritual struggle. He joined the Baptists, and began preaching, for at length, after many tribulations, he says, "the burden fell from off his[Pg 131] back." He was persecuted, and committed to Bedford jail, where he remained (with short intervals of parole) for about twelve years. Here he wrote what Macaulay declares to be incomparably the finest allegory in the English language—the Pilgrim's Progress. He was a voluminous author, having written some sixty tracts and books. Finally pardoned in 1672, he became pastor of the Bedford meeting-house, and afterwards escaped molestation; he preached in all parts of the kingdom, especially in London, where he died at the age of sixty, having caught cold in a heavy storm while going upon an errand of mercy in 1688. His great work will live as long as the Anglo-Saxon race endures. "That wonderful book," writes Macaulay, "while it obtains admiration from the most fastidious critics, is loved by those who are too simple to admire it.... Every reader knows the strait and narrow path as well as he knows a road in which he has gone backward and forward a hundred times. This is the highest miracle of genius, that things which are not should be as though they were—that the imaginations of one mind should become the personal recollections of another; and this miracle the tinker has wrought."



The county of Bedford gives the title to the dukedom held by the head of the great family of Russell, and Francis Charles Hastings Russell, the ninth Duke of Bedford, has his residence at the magnificent estate of Woburn Abbey. It is about forty miles from London, and on the Buckinghamshire border. Here the Cistercians founded an abbey in the twelfth century, which continued until the dissolution of the religious houses by Henry VIII., and the last abbot, Robert Hobs, was executed for denying the king's religious supremacy, the tree on which he was hanged being still carefully preserved in Woburn Park. The abbey and its domain were granted by the youthful king Edward VI. to John Russell, first Earl of Bedford, under circumstances which show how fortune sometimes smiles upon mortals. Russell, who had been abroad and was an accomplished linguist, had in 1506 returned, and was living with his father in Dorsetshire at Berwick, near the sea-coast. Soon afterwards in a tempest three foreign vessels sought refuge in the neighboring port of Weymouth. On one of them was the Austrian archduke Philip, son-in-law of Ferdinand and[Pg 132] Isabella, who was on his way to Spain. The governor took the archduke to his castle, and invited young Mr. Russell to act as interpreter. The archduke was so delighted with him that he subsequently invited Russell to accompany him on a visit to King Henry VII. at Windsor. The king was also impressed with Russell, and appointed him to an office in the court, and three years afterwards, Henry VIII. becoming king, Russell was entrusted with many important duties, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Russell. He enjoyed the king's favor throughout his long reign, and was made one of the councillors of his son, Edward VI., besides holding other high offices, and when the youthful prince ascended the throne he made Russell an earl and gave him the magnificent domain of Woburn Abbey. He also enjoyed the favor of Queen Mary, and escorted her husband Philip from Spain, this being his last public act. Dying in 1555, he was buried in the little parish church of Chenies, near Woburn, where all the Russells rest from his time until now. He thus founded one of the greatest houses of England, which has furnished political leaders from that day to this, for the Dukes of Bedford and Devonshire are the heads of the Whig party, and Lord John Russell (afterwards an earl) was the uncle of the present duke.


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Woburn Abbey remained until the last century much in its original condition, but in 1747 changes began which have since been continued, and have resulted in the construction of the ducal palace now adorning the spot. The mansion is a quadrangle enclosing a spacious court, the chief front being towards the west and extending two hundred and thirty feet. It is an Ionic building with a rustic basement, and within are spacious state-apartments and ample accommodations for the family. The rooms are filled with the best collection of portraits of great historical characters in the kingdom, and most of them are by famous artists. They include all the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, with their wives and famous relatives, and also the Leicesters, Essexes, and Sydneys of Queen Elizabeth's reign, with many others. The unfortunate Lord William Russell and his wife Rachel are here, and over his portrait is the walking-stick which supported him to the scaffold, while hanging on the wall is a copy of his last address, printed within an hour after his execution. Of another of these old portraits Horace Walpole writes: "A pale Roman nose, a head of hair loaded with crowns and powdered with diamonds, a vast ruff and still vaster fardingale, and a bushel of pearls, are the features by which everybody knows at once the pictures of Queen Elizabeth." There is a fine library, and passing out of it into the flower-garden is seen on the lawn the stump of the yew tree which Mr. Gladstone felled in October, 1878, as a memorial of his visit, he being as proud of his ability as a forester as he is of his eminence as a statesman. From the house a covered way leads to the statue-gallery, which contains an admirable collection, and the green-house, one hundred and fifty feet long, filled with valuable foreign plants, the family being great horticulturists. Busts of the great Whig statesmen are in the gallery, and it also contains the celebrated Lanti vase, brought from Rome. The "Woburn Abbey Marbles" have long been a Mecca for sculpture-loving pilgrims from both sides of the ocean. There are extensive stables, and to them are attached a fine tennis-court and riding-house, both constantly used by the younger Russells. Beyond is a Chinese dairy kept for show, and in a distant part of the grounds a curious puzzle-garden and rustic grotto. Woburn Park is one of the largest private enclosures in England, covering thirty-five hundred acres, and enclosed by a brick wall twelve miles long and eight feet high.[Pg 134] It is undulating in surface, containing several pretty lakes and a large herd of deer. Its "Evergreen Drive" is noted, for in the spring-time it attracts visitors from all quarters to see the magnificence of the rhododendrons, which cover two hundred acres. The state entrance to the park is through a large stone archway with ornamental gates, called the "Golden Gates," on the road from London, and having two drives of about a mile each leading up to the abbey. The dukes are liberal patrons of agriculture, and their annual "sheep-shearing" used to be one of the great festivals of this part of England. They have also aided in the work of draining the Fen country, which extends into Bedfordshire, and which has reclaimed a vast domain of the best farm-land, stretching northward for fifty miles.


We are now approaching London, and, crossing over the border into Buckinghamshire, come to another ducal palace. This is the fine estate, near the town of Buckingham, of Stowe, also originally an abbey, which came into possession of the Temple family in the sixteenth century, and in 1749 merged into the estate of the Grenvilles, the ancestors of the Duke of Buckingham, its present owner. Stowe gets its chief fame from its pleasure-gardens, which Pope has commemorated. They appear at a distance like a vast grove, from whose luxuriant foliage emerge obelisks, columns, and towers. They are adorned with arches, pavilions, temples, a rotunda, hermitage, grotto, lake, and bridge. The temples are filled with statuary. The mansion, which has been greatly enlarged, has a frontage of nine hundred and sixteen feet, and its windows look out over the richest possible landscape, profuse with every adornment. In the interior the rooms, opening one into another, form a superb suite. There is a Rembrandt Room, hung with pictures by that painter, and there were many curiosities from Italy: old tapestry and draperies; rich Oriental stuffs, the spoils of Tippoo Saib; furniture from the Doge's Palace in Venice; marble pavements from Rome; fine paintings and magnificent plate. Formerly, Stowe contained the grandest collection in England, and in this superb palace, thus gorgeously furnished, Richard Grenville, the first Duke of Buckingham, entertained Louis XVIII. and Charles X. of France and their suites during their residence in England. His hospitality was too much for him, and, bur[Pg 135]dened with debt, he was compelled to shut up Stowe and go abroad. In 1845 his successor received Queen Victoria at Stowe at enormous cost, and in 1848 there was a financial crisis in the family. The sumptuous contents of the palace were sold to pay the debts, and realized $375,000. A splendid avenue of elms leads up from the town of Buckingham to Stowe, a distance of two miles.

Not far away from Buckingham is Whaddon Hall, formerly a seat of the Dukes of Buckingham, but best known as the residence of Browne Willis, an eccentric antiquary, whose person and dress were so singular that he was often mistaken for a beggar, and who is said "to have written the very worst hand of any man in England." He wore one pair of boots for forty years, having them patched when they were worn out, and keeping them till they had got all in wrinkles, so that he was known as "Old Wrinkle-boots." He was great for building churches and quarrelling with the clergy, and left behind him valuable collections of coins and manuscripts, which he bequeathed to Oxford University. Great Hampden, the home of the patriot, John Hampden, is also in Buckinghamshire. The original house remains, much disfigured by stucco and whitewash, and standing in a secluded spot in the Chiltern Hills; it is still the property of his descendants in the seventh generation.


The manor of Creslow in Buckinghamshire, owned by Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, is a pasture-farm of eight hundred and fifty acres, and is said to raise some of the finest cattle in England; it was the home of the regicide Holland. The mansion is an ancient one, spacious and handsome, much of it, including the crypt and tower, coming down from the time of Edward III., with enlargements in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is a picturesque yet venerable building, with many gables and curious chimneys, and surmounted by a square tower and loopholed turret. But its chief interest attaches to the two ancient cellars known as the crypt and the dungeon: the crypt is about twelve feet square, excavated in the limestone rock, and having a Gothic vaulted ceiling, with a single small window; the dungeon is eighteen feet long, half as wide, and six feet high, without any windows, and with a roof formed of massive stones. This is the "haunted chamber of Creslow"—haunted by a lady, Rosamond Clifford, the "Fair Rosamond" of Woodstock, often heard, but seldom seen, by those who stay at night in the room, which she enters by a Gothic doorway leading from the crypt. Few have ever ventured to sleep there, but not long ago a guest was prevailed upon to do it, and next morning at breakfast he told his story: "Having entered the room, I locked and bolted[Pg 136] both doors, carefully examined the whole room, and satisfied myself that there was no living creature in it but myself, nor any entrances but those I had secured. I got into bed, and, with the conviction that I should sleep as usual till six in the morning, I was soon lost in a comfortable slumber. Suddenly I was aroused, and on raising my head to listen I heard a sound certainly resembling the light, soft tread of a lady's footstep, accompanied with the rustling as of a silk gown. I sprang out of bed and lighted a candle; there was nothing to be seen and nothing now to be heard; I carefully examined the whole room, looked under the bed, into the fireplace, up the chimney, and at both the doors, which were fastened as I had left them; I looked at my watch, and it was a few minutes past twelve. As all was now perfectly quiet, I extinguished the candle and soon fell asleep. I was again aroused; the noise was now louder than before; it appeared like the violent rustling of a stiff silk dress. I sprang out of bed, darted to the spot where the noise was, and tried to grasp the intruder in my arms: my arms met together, but enclosed nothing. The noise passed to another part of the room, and I followed it, groping near the floor to prevent anything passing under my arms. It was in vain; I could feel nothing; the noise had passed away through the Gothic door, and all was still as death. I lighted a candle and examined the Gothic door, but it was shut and fastened just as I had left it; I again examined the whole room, but could find nothing to account for the noise. I now left the candle burning, though I never sleep comfortably with a light in my room; I got into bed, but felt, it must be acknowledged, not a little perplexed at not being able to detect the cause of the noise, nor to account for its cessation when the candle was lighted. While ruminating on these things I fell asleep, and began to dream about murders and secret burials and all sorts of horrible things; and just as I fancied myself knocked down by a knight templar, I awoke and found the sun shining brightly."

This ancient house was originally the home of a lodge of Knights Templar, and the dungeon, which is now said to be appropriately decorated with skulls and other human bones, was formerly their stronghold. At this weird mansion, within a few minutes' ride of the metropolis, we will close our descriptive journey through Midland England, and its mystic tale will recall that passage from the Book of Days which counsels—

"Doubtless there are no ghosts;
Yet somehow it is better not to move,
Lest cold hands seize upon us from behind."
[Pg 137]



The Thames Head—Cotswold Hills—Seven Springs—Cirencester—Cheltenham—Sudeley Castle—Chavenage—Shifford—Lechlade—Stanton Harcourt—Cumnor Hall—Fair Rosamond—Godstow Nunnery—Oxford—Oxford Colleges—Christ Church—Corpus Christi—Merton—Oriel—All Souls—University—Queen's—Magdalen—Brasenose—New College—Radcliffe Library—Bodleian Library—Lincoln—Exeter—Wadham—Keble—Trinity—Balliol—St. John's—Pembroke—Oxford Churches—Oxford Castle—Carfax Conduit—Banbury—Broughton Castle—Woodstock—Marlborough—Blenheim—Minster Lovel—Bicester—Eynsham—Abingdon—Radley—Bacon, Rich, and Holt—Clifton Hampden—Caversham—Reading—Maidenhead—Bisham Abbey—Vicar of Bray—Eton College—Windsor Castle—Magna Charta Island—Cowey Stakes—Ditton—Twickenham—London—Fire Monument—St. Paul's Cathedral—Westminster Abbey—The Tower—Lollards and Lambeth—Bow Church—St. Bride's—Whitehall—Horse Guards—St. James Palace—Buckingham Palace—Kensington Palace—Houses of Parliament—Hyde Park—Marble Arch—Albert Memorial—South Kensington Museum—Royal Exchange—Bank of England—Mansion House—Inns of Court—British Museum—Some London Scenes—The Underground Railway—Holland House—Greenwich—Tilbury Fort—The Thames Mouth.



The river Thames is the largest and most important river in England, and carries the greatest commerce in the world. From the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire it flows to the eastward past London, and after a course of two hundred and twenty miles empties into the North Sea. The confluence of many small streams draining the Cotswolds makes the Thames, but its traditional source, or "The Thames Head," is in Trewsbury Mead, about three miles from Cirencester, and at an elevation of three hundred and seventy-six feet above the sea-level. The waters of the infant stream are at once pressed into service for pumping into the higher levels of a canal, which pierces the Cotswolds by a long tunnel, and connects the Thames with the Severn River, flowing along their western base. It receives many tiny rivulets that swell its current, until at Cricklade the most ambitious of these affluents joins it, and even lays claim to be the original stream. This is the Churn, rising at the "Seven Springs," about three miles from Cheltenham, and also on the slope of the Cotswolds. The Churn claims the honor because it is twenty miles long, while the Thames down to Cricklade measures only ten miles. But they come together affectionately, and journey on through rich meadows much like other streams, until the clear waters have acquired sufficient dignity to turn a mill.[Pg 138] Cirencester (pronounced Cisseter), which thus has the honor of being a near neighbor of the Thames Head, is an ancient town, occupying the site of the Roman city of Corinium, and is known as the "metropolis of the Cotswolds." Here four great Roman roads met, and among the many Roman remains it has is part of the ruins of an amphitheatre. It was a famous stronghold before the Saxons came to England, and Polydorus tells how one Gormund, an African prince, in the dim ages of the past, besieged it for seven long years. Then he bethought him that if he could only set fire to the thatched roofs of the houses he could in the commotion that would follow force an entrance. So he set his troops at work catching sparrows, and when many were caught fastened combustibles under their tails and let them loose. The poor birds flew straight to their nests under the thatches, set them in a blaze, and while the people were busy putting out the fires Gormund got into the town. In memory of this it was afterwards called the "City of Sparrows." The Normans built a strong castle here, and Stephen destroyed it. The castle was rebuilt, and suffered the usual fate in the successive civil wars, and in the Revolution of 1688 the first bloodshed was at Cirencester. It had a magnificent abbey, built for the Black Canons in the twelfth century, and ruled by a mitred abbot who had a seat in Parliament. A fine gateway of this abbey remains, and also the beautiful church with its pretty tower. It is known now as the parish church of St. John, and has been thoroughly restored. Within are the monuments of the Bathurst family, whose seat at Oakley Park, near the town, has some charming scenery. Pope's Seat, a favorite resort of the poet, is also in the park. Cheltenham, near which is the "Seven Springs," the source of the Churn, is a popular watering-place, with the Earl of Eldon's seat at Stowell Park not far[Pg 139] away. Here in 1864 a Roman villa was discovered, which has been entirely excavated. It has twenty chambers communicating with a long corridor, and there are several elegant tessellated pavements, while the walls are still standing to a height of four feet. Two temples have also been found in the immediate neighborhood. Substantial buildings have been erected to protect these precious remains from the weather.


In the Cotswolds is the castle of Sudeley, its ruins being in rather good preservation. It was an extensive work, built in the reign of Henry VI., and was destroyed in the Civil Wars; it was a famous place in the olden time, and was regarded as one of the most magnificent castles in England when Queen Elizabeth made her celebrated progress thither in 1592. After the death of Henry VIII., his queen, Catharine Parr, married Lord Seymour of Sudeley, and she died and was buried in this castle: it is related that her leaden coffin was exhumed in 1782, two hundred and eighty years after her death, and the remains were found in excellent preservation. Among the records of the castle is a manuscript stating that Catharine Parr was told by an astrologer who calculated her nativity that she was born to sit in the "highest state of imperial majesty," and that she had all the eminent stars and planets in her house: this worked such lofty conceit in the lady that "her mother could never make her sew or do any small work, saying her hands were ordained to touch crowns and sceptres, not needles and thimbles." Near Tatbury, and also in the Cotswolds, is the source of the classic river Avon, and north-west of the town is the fine Elizabethan mansion of Chavenage, with its attractive hall and chapel. The original furniture, armor, and weapons are still preserved. This was the old manor-house of the family of Stephens, and Nathaniel represented Gloucestershire in Parliament at the time of the conviction of Charles I.: it is related that he was only persuaded to agree to the condemnation by the impetuous Ireton, who came there and sat up all night in urgent argument "to whet his almost blunted purpose." Stephens died in May, 1649, expressing regret for having participated in the execution of his sovereign. We are further told in the traditions of the house that when all the relatives were assembled for the funeral, and the courtyard was crowded with equipages, another coach, gorgeously ornamented and drawn by black horses, solemnly approached the porch: when it halted, the door opened, and, clad in his shroud, the shade of Stephens glided into the carriage; the door was closed by an unseen hand, and the coach moved off, the driver being a beheaded man, arrayed in royal vestments and wearing the insignia of the Star and Garter. Passing the gateway[Pg 140] of the courtyard, the equipage vanished in flames. Tradition maintains also that every lord of Chavenage dying in the manor-house since has departed in the same awful manner.

The Thames flows on after its junction with the Churn, and receives other pretty streams, all coming out of the Cotswolds. The Coln and the Leche, coming in near Lechlade, swell its waters sufficiently to make it navigable for barges, and the river sets up a towing-path, for here the canal from the Severn joins it. The river passes in solitude out of Gloucestershire, and then for miles becomes the boundary between Oxfordshire on the north and Berkshire on the south. The canal has been almost superseded by the railway, so that passing barges are rare, but the towing-path and the locks remain, with an occasional rustic dam thrown across the gradually widening river. In this almost deserted region is the isolated hamlet of Shifford, where King Alfred held a parliament a thousand years ago. Near it is the New Bridge, a solid structure, but the oldest bridge that crosses the Thames, for it was "new" just six hundred years ago. The Thames then receives the Windrush and the Evenlode, and it passes over frequent weirs that have become miniature rapids, yet not too dangerous for an expert oarsman to guide his boat through safely. Thus the famous river comes to Bablock Hythe Ferry, and at once enters an historic region.



A short distance from the ferry in Oxfordshire is Stanton Harcourt, with its three upright sandstones, "the Devil's Coits," supposed to have been put there to commemorate a battle between the Saxons and the Britons more than twelve centuries ago. The village gets its name from the large and ancient mansion of the Harcourts, of which, however, but little remains. Pope passed the greater part of two summers in the deserted house in a tower that bears his name, and where he wrote the fifth volume of his translation of Homer in the topmost room: he recorded the fact on a pane of glass in the window in 1718, and this pane has been carefully preserved. The kitchen of the strange old house still remains, and is a remarkable one, being described as "either a kitchen within a chimney or a kitchen without one." In the lower part this kitchen is a large square room; above it is octangular[Pg 141] and ascends like a tower, the fires being made against the walls, and the smoke climbing up them until it reaches the conical apex, where it goes out of loopholes on any side according to the wind. The distance from the floor to the apex is about sixty feet, and the interior is thickly coated with soot. The fireplaces are large enough to roast an ox whole.


Not far from the ferry, in Berkshire, is the ancient manor-house of Cumnor Hall, sacred to the melancholy memory of poor Amy Robsart. She was the wife of Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and when his ambition led him to seek Queen Elizabeth's hand it was necessary to get her out of the way. So he sent Amy to Cumnor, where his servant Anthony Forster lived. At first poison was tried, but she suspected it, and would not take the potion. Then, sending all the people away, Sir Richard Varney and Forster, with another man, strangled her, and afterwards threw her down stairs, breaking her neck. It was at first given out that poor Amy had fallen by accident and killed herself, but people began to suspect differently, and the third party to the murder, being arrested for a felony and threatening to tell, was privately made away with in prison by Leicester's orders. Both Varney and Forster became melancholy before their deaths, and finally a kinswoman of the earl, on her dying bed, told the whole story. The earl had Amy buried with great pomp at Oxford, but it is recorded that the chaplain by accident "tripped once or twice in his speech by recommending to their memories that virtuous lady so pitifully murdered, instead of saying pitifully slain." Sir Walter Scott has woven her sad yet romantic story into his tale of Kenilworth; and to prove how ambition overleaps itself, we find Lord Burghley, among other reasons which he urged upon the queen why she should not marry Leicester, saying that "he is infamed by the murder of his wife." The queen remained a virgin sovereign, and Leicester's crime availed only to blacken his character.[Pg 142]



The Thames flows on past the wooded glades of Wytham Abbey, and then revives the memory of Fair Rosamond as it skirts the scanty ruins of Godstow Nunnery. This religious house upon the river-bank was founded in the reign of Henry I., and the ruins are some remains of the walls and of a small chapter-house in which Rosamond's corpse was deposited. It was at Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, then a royal palace, that in the twelfth century Henry II. built "Fair Rosamond's Bower" for his charmer, who was the daughter of Lord Clifford. This bower was surrounded by a labyrinth. Queen Eleanor, whom the king had married only from ambitious motives, was much older than he, and he had two sons by Rosamond, whom he is said to have first met at Godstow Nunnery. The bower consisted of arched vaults underground. There are various legends of the discovery of Rosamond by Eleanor, the most popular being that the queen discovered the ball of silk the king used to thread the maze of the labyrinth, and following it found the door and entered the bower. She is said to have ill-treated and even poisoned Rosamond, but the belief now is that Rosamond retired to the nunnery from sorrow at the ultimate defection of her royal lover, and did not die for several years. The story has been the favorite theme of the poets, and we are told that her body was buried in the nunnery, and wax lights placed around the tomb and kept continually burning. Subsequently, her remains were reinterred in the chapter-house, with a Latin inscription, which is thus translated:

"This tomb doth here enclose the world's most beauteous rose—
Rose passing sweet erewhile, now naught but odor vile."





As we float along the quiet Thames the stately towers and domes of the university city of Oxford come in sight, and appear to suddenly rise from behind a green railway embankment. Here the Cherwell flows along the Christ Church meadows to join the great river, and we pause at the ancient Ousenford—or the ford over the Ouse or Water—a name which time has changed[Pg 143] to Oxford. The origin of the famous university is involved in obscurity. The city is mentioned as the scene of important political and military events from the time of King Alfred, but the first undisputed evidence that it was a seat of learning dates from the twelfth century. Religious houses existed there in earlier years, and to these schools were attached for the education of the clergy. From these schools sprang the secular institutions that finally developed into colleges, and common interest led to the association from which ultimately came the university. The first known application of the word to this association occurs in a statute of King John. In the thirteenth century there were three thousand students at Oxford, and Henry III. granted the university its first charter. In those early times the university grew in wealth and numbers, and intense hostility was developed between the students and townspeople, leading to the quarrels between "Town and Gown" that existed for centuries, and caused frequent riots and bloodshed. A penance for one of these disturbances, which occurred in 1355 and sacrificed several lives, continued to be kept until 1825. The religious troubles in Henry VIII.'s time reduced the students to barely one thousand, but a small part of whom attended the colleges, so that in 1546 only thirteen degrees were conferred. In 1603 the university was given representation in Parliament; it was loyal to Charles I., and melted its plate to assist him, so that after his downfall it was plundered, and[Pg 144] almost ceased to have an existence as an institution of learning; it has since had a quiet and generally prosperous history. The university comprises twenty-one colleges, the oldest being University College, founded in 1249, and the youngest the Keble Memorial College, founded in 1870. University College, according to tradition, represents a school founded by King Alfred in 872, and it celebrated its millennial anniversary in 1872. Balliol College, founded between 1263 and 1268, admits no one who claims any privilege on account of rank or wealth, and is regarded as having perhaps the highest standard of scholarship at Oxford. Christ Church College is the most extensive in buildings, numbers, and endowments, and is a cathedral establishment as well as college. There are now about eighty-five hundred members of the university and twenty-five hundred undergraduates. The wealth of some of the colleges is enormous, and they are said to own altogether nearly two hundred thousand acres of land in different parts of the kingdom, and to have about $2,100,000 annual revenues, of which they expend not over $1,500,000, the remainder accumulating. They also have in their gift four hundred and forty-four benefices, with an annual income of $950,000. It costs a student about $1200 to $1500 a year[Pg 145] to live at Oxford, and about $325 in university and college fees from matriculation to graduation, when he gets his degree of B.A., or, if inattentive, fails to pass the examination, and, in Oxford parlance, is said to be "plucked."




The enumeration of the colleges which make up the university will naturally begin with the greatest, Christ Church, founded by Cardinal Wolsey, of which the principal façade extends four hundred feet along St. Aldate's Street, and has a noble gateway in the centre surmounted by a six-sided tower with a dome-like roof. Here hangs the great bell of Oxford, "Old Tom," weighing seventeen thousand pounds, which every night, just after nine o'clock, strikes one hundred and one strokes, said to be in remembrance of the number of members the college had at its foundation. Wolsey's statue stands in the gateway which leads into the great quadrangle,[Pg 146] called by the students, for short, "Tom Quad." Here are the lodgings of the dean and canons, and also the Great Hall, the finest in Oxford, and the room where the sovereign is received whenever visiting the city. The ancient kitchen adjoins the hall, and near by is the entrance to the cathedral, which has been restored, and the ancient cloisters. From the buildings a meadow extends down to the rivers, the Cherwell on the left and the Thames (here called the Isis) on the right, which join at the lower part of the meadow. Beautiful walks are laid out upon it, including the famous Oxford promenade, the Broad Walk, a stately avenue of elms bordering one side of the meadow. Here, on the afternoon of Show Sunday, which comes immediately before Commemoration Day, nearly all the members of the university and the students, in academic costume, make a promenade, presenting an animated scene.


Corpus Christi College was founded by Bishop Fox of Winchester in 1516, and its quadrangle, which remains much as at the foundation, contains the founder's statue, and also a remarkable dial, in the centre of which is a perpetual calendar. This college is not very marked in architecture. It stands at the back of Christ Church, and adjoining it is Merton College, founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton. His idea was to forbid the students following in after life any other pursuit than that of parish priest. The chapel of Merton is one of the finest in Oxford, and its massive tower is a city landmark. The entrance-gateway, surmounted by a sculptured representation of St. John the Baptist, is attractive, and the two college quadrangles are picturesque, the "Mob Quad," or library quadrangle, being five hundred years[Pg 147] old, with the Treasury and its high-pitched ashlar roof and dormer windows above one of the entrance-passages. St. Alban Hall, built about 1230, adjoins Merton, and is a Gothic structure with a curious old bell-tower. Oriel College stands opposite Corpus Christi, but the ancient buildings of the foundation in 1324-26 have all been superseded by comparatively modern structures of the seventeenth century: though without any striking architectural merits, the hall and chapel of this college are extremely picturesque. Its fame is not so much from its buildings as from some of its fellows, Whately, Keble, Wilberforce, Newman, Pusey, and Arnold having been among them. St. Mary's Hall, an offshoot founded in the fourteenth century, stands near this college. All Souls College is on the High Street, and was founded in 1437, its buildings being, however, modern, excepting one quadrangle. In the chapel is a magnificent reredos, presented by Lord Bathurst, who was a fellow of All Souls, and containing figures representing most of the fellows of his time: in the library are Wren's original designs for building St. Paul's. This college was founded by Archbishop Chichele for "the hele of his soul" and of the souls of all those who perished in the French wars of King Henry V.; hence its name. We are told that the good archbishop was much troubled where to locate his college, and there appeared to him in a dream a "right godly personage," who advised him to build it on the High Street, and at a certain spot where he would be sure in digging to find a "mallard, imprisoned but well fattened, in the sewer." He hesitated, but all whom he consulted advised him to make the trial, and accordingly, on a fixed day after mass, with due solemnity the digging began. They had not dug long, the story relates, before they heard "amid the earth horrid strugglings and flutterings and violent quackings of the distressed mallard." When he was brought out he was as big as an ostrich, and "much wonder was thereat, for the lycke had not been seen in this londe nor in onie odir." The Festival of the Mallard was long held in commemoration of this[Pg 148] event, at which was sung the "Merry Song of the All Souls Mallard," beginning—

"Griffin, bustard, turkey, capon,
Let other hungry mortals gape on,
And on the bones their stomach fill hard;
But let All Souls men have their mallard.
Oh, by the blood of King Edward,
It was a wopping, wopping mallard!"

While the festival has passed away, the song is still sung at Oxford, and the tale has given rise to much literature, there having been vigorous contests waged over the authenticity of the mallard.

University College, also on the High Street, though the earliest founded, now has no building older than the seventeenth century. It has an imposing Gothic front with two tower-gateways, while the recently constructed New Building is an elegant structure erected in 1850. Queen's College, founded in 1341 by Queen Philippa's confessor, and hence its name, is a modern building by Wren and his pupils. St. Edmund Hall, opposite Queen's College, is a plain building, but with magnificent ivy on its walls.



Bishop Patten of Winchester, who was surnamed Waynflete, founded Magdalen College in 1458. It stands by the side of the Cherwell, and its graceful tower, nearly four hundred years old, rises one hundred and forty-five feet—one of the most beautiful constructions in Oxford. Its quadrangles are fine, especially the one known as the Cloisters, which remains much as it was in the time of the founder, and is ornamented with rude sandstone statues erected in honor of a visit from King James I. In accordance with ancient custom, on the morning of the first of May, just as five o'clock strikes, a solemn Te Deum is sung on the top of Magdalen Tower, where the choristers assemble in surplices and with uncovered heads. When it closes the crowd on the ground below give out discordant blasts from myriads of tin horns, but the Magdalen chime of bells, said to be "the most tunable and melodious ring of bells in all these parts and beyond," soon drowns the discord, and gives a glad welcome[Pg 149] to the opening of spring. This custom survives from the time of Henry VII., and the produce of two acres of land given to the college by that king is used to pay for a feast for the choristers, spread later in the day in the college hall. The college has a meadow and small deer-park attached, known as the Magdalen Walks, and encircled by the arms of the Cherwell, while avenues of trees along raised dykes intersect it. The avenue on the north side of this meadow is known as "Addison's Walk," and was much frequented by him when at this college. The little deer-park, a secluded spot, abounds with magnificent elms. It was at Magdalen that Wolsey was educated, being known as the "Boy Bachelor," as he got his B.A. degree at the early age of fifteen. The Botanic Garden is opposite Magdalen College, having a fine gateway with statues of Charles I. and II. Magdalen College School, a modern building, but an organization coeval with the college, is a short distance to the westward.


The King's Hall, commonly known as Brasenose College, and over the entrance of which is a prominent brazen nose, still retains its chief buildings as originally founded by the Bishop of Lincoln and Sir Richard Sutton in 1512. The entrance-tower was recently restored, and the rooms occupied by Bishop Heber, who was a member of this college, are still pointed out, with their windows looking upon a large horse-chestnut tree in the adjoining Exeter Gardens. This famous college is said to occupy the spot where King Alfred's palace stood,[Pg 150] and hence its name of the King's Hall, which the king in his laws styled his palace. The part of the palace which was used for the brew-house, or the brasinium, afterwards became the college, and as early as Edward I. this found ocular demonstration by the fixing of a brazen nose upon the gate. This is also a relic of Friar Bacon's brazen head. We are told that this famous friar, who lived at Oxford in the thirteenth century, became convinced, "after great study," that if he should succeed in making a head of brass which could speak, "he might be able to surround all England with a wall of brass." So, with the assistance of another friar and the devil, he went to work and accomplished it, but with the drawback that the brazen head when finished was "warranted to speak in the course of one month," but it was uncertain just when it would speak, and "if they heard it not before it had done speaking, all their labor would be lost." They watched it three weeks, but fatigue overmastered them, and Bacon set his servant on watch, with orders to awaken them if the head should speak. At the end of one half hour the fellow heard the head say, "Time is;" at the end of another, "Time was;" and at the end of a third half hour, "Time's past," when down fell the head with a tremendous crash. The blockhead thought his master would be angry if disturbed by such trifles, and this ended the experiment with the brazen head. Yet Friar Bacon was a much wiser man than would be supposed by those who only know him from this tale. He was esteemed the most learned man ever at the great university, and it is considered doubtful if any there in later years surpassed him.[Pg 151]


William of Wykeham founded the New College, or the College of St. Mary Winton, in 1380. It has a noble entrance, and in a niche above the gateway is the Virgin, to whom an angel and the founder are addressing themselves in prayer. The chapel has a massive detached bell-tower, and in its windows are some fine stained glass, while the silver staff of William of Wykeham is still preserved there. The cloisters are extensive and picturesque, the ribbed roof resembling the bottom of a boat, while the restored hall has a fine oaken roof. The New College gardens are enclosed on three sides by the ancient walls of the city, which are well preserved, and the enclo[Pg 152]sure is one of the most beautiful in Oxford. Through a door in a corner of the gardens there is a passageway opening out of one of the bastions of the old walls into a strip of ground called the "Slype," where a fine view is had of the bastions, with the college bell-tower and chapel behind them. In making a recent addition to the buildings of this college on the edge of the "Slype," the workmen in digging for the foundations discovered the remains of a mammoth.

New College Lane leads to Radcliffe Square, in the centre of which is located the handsome Radcliffe Library, with colleges, churches, and schools all around the square. Dr. Radcliffe, who was the court-physician of King William III. and Queen Anne, founded this library, which is in a handsome rotunda surmounted by a dome on an octagonal base. The structure, which is one hundred feet in diameter, rises to a height of one hundred and forty feet, and from the top there is a fine view of the city. To the northward, at a short distance, are the Schools, a quadrangular building, now chiefly occupied by the famous Bodleian Library. From Radcliffe[Pg 153] Square the entrance is through a vaulted passage, the central gate-tower being a remarkable example of the combination of the five orders of architecture piled one above the other. In this building, on the lower floor, the public examinations of the candidates for degrees are held, while above is the library which Sir Thomas Bodley founded in the sixteenth century, and which contains three hundred thousand volumes, including many ancient and highly-prized works in print and manuscript.


Lincoln College was founded by Richard Flemyng, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1427. Here John Wesley was a member, and the pulpit from which he preached is still kept as a precious relic. Opposite to Lincoln is Jesus College, founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1571, though others assisted; it was intended to be exclusively for Welshmen, but this has since been changed. The chapel has a double chancel. Alongside of Lincoln is Exeter College, founded by Walter Stapleton of Exeter in 1314: this is one of the largest colleges, the greater part of the buildings being modern; they are among the finest in Oxford. The hall, restored in the present century, has a high-pitched timber roof, while the chapel, which is one of the most remarkable edifices in Oxford, has a thin, small spire that is conspicuous from a great distance. The Ashmolean Museum adjoins Exeter College, and next to this is the Sheldonian Theatre, built in 1669 by Archbishop Sheldon of Canterbury, where the annual commemoration is held and the honorary degrees are conferred. Not far away is Wadham College, founded in 1613 by Nicholas Wadham and Dorothy his wife. It has[Pg 154] excellent buildings and a most beautiful garden. There is a new Museum of Natural History in the park near by, and also Keble College, founded in 1868 as a memorial of Rev. John Keble, the author of the Christian Year. Its buildings are of variegated brick, the chapel being the loftiest, most costly, and finest of its style in Oxford. The building is a perfect glare of coloring.


Trinity College was founded in 1554 by Sir Thomas Pope. Its tower and chapel are Grecian, and the chapel has a most beautiful carved screen and altarpiece. The library contains a chalice that once belonged to St. Alban's Abbey. Kettel Hall, now a private dwelling, is a picturesque building in front of Trinity. On Broad Street, where Trinity stands, is also Balliol College, founded in the thirteenth century by John Balliol. None of the existing buildings are earlier than the fifteenth century, while the south front, with its massive tower, has just been rebuilt. It was here that the martyrs Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were burned. A little farther along the same street is St. John's College, which Sir Thomas White founded in 1557. It is fronted by a terrace planted with fine elms. Its quadrangles and cloisters are much admired, especially the venerable oriel windows and quaint stone gables of the library. St. John's gardens are regarded as among the most attractive in Oxford. Opposite St. John's are the university galleries, with their display of the Pomfret Marbles and Raphael and Michel Angelo's paintings and drawings, and behind this building is Worcester College, founded in 1714 by Sir Thomas Cookes. Its gardens contain a lake. Pembroke College is opposite Christ Church, and was founded in 1624 in honor of the Earl of Pembroke, then the chancellor of the university. While its entrance-gateway and hall, recently built, are fine, the other buildings are not attractive. The chief remembrance of Pembroke is of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who occupied apartments over the original gateway, but was compelled by poverty to leave the college before taking his degree. This completes the description of the colleges, halls, and schools of the great university, which presents an array of institutions of learning unrivalled in any part of the world, and of which Englishmen are justly proud.

[Pg 155]



There are some fine churches in Oxford, notably the university church of St. Mary the Virgin, conspicuous from its Decorated spire rising one hundred and eighty-eight feet, which is a memorial of Queen Eleanor of Castile. A short distance to the westward is All Saints Church. Fronting Christ Church is St. Aldate's Church, also with a lofty spire and Decorated tower. Like most English towns, Oxford had a castle, but its remains are now reduced to a solitary tower, a few fragments of wall, and a high mound. This castle has long been the property of Christ Church, and was used for a prison, whence Cranmer and his fellow-martyrs went to the stake. The old tower was built in the days of William Rufus. Beneath the ruins is a crypt known as Maud's Chapel. In the centre of the mound is an octagonal vaulted chamber, approached by a long flight of steps, and containing a well. It was in this castle that the empress Maud was besieged by King Stephen in 1141, but escaped in the night, the castle surrendering next morning. The ground was covered with snow at the time, and the empress, with three attendants, clad in white, passed unnoticed through the lines of the besiegers and crossed the Thames on the ice. Just before this Maud escaped from the castle[Pg 156] of Devizes as a dead body drawn on a hearse. The castle of Oxford has been in a dilapidated condition since Edward III.'s time. As an evidence of the change of opinion, the Martyrs' Memorial stands on St. Giles Street in honor of the martyrs who found the old tower of the castle their prison-house until the bigots of that day were ready to burn them at the stake in front of Balliol College.


The intersection of the four principal streets of old Oxford makes what is called the Carfax (a word derived from quatre voies), and here in the olden time stood a picturesque conduit. Conduits in former years were ornaments in many English towns, and some of them still remain in their original locations. This conduit, which stood in the way of traffic, was presented as a nuisance as long ago as the time of Laud, and Lord Harcourt in 1787 removed it to his park at Nuneham. One of the curious changes that have come over some Oxford landmarks is related of a group of statues in the entrance to the Schools, where the Bodleian Library is located. This group represents Mater Academia giving a book to King James I., sitting in his chair of state, while winged Fame trumpets the gift throughout the world. When the king saw this, embellished with appropriate mottoes, all of which were gloriously gilt, the ancient historian says he exclaimed, "By my soul! this is too[Pg 157] glorious for Jeamy," and caused the gilded mottoes to be "whited out." Originally, the statue of the king held a sceptre in his right hand, and a book, commonly taken for the Bible, in his left. Both have disappeared. The sceptre is said to have fallen upon the passing of the Reform Bill, and the book came down about the time of the abolition of the University Tests. The eastern part of Oxford is meadow-and garden-land, extending down to the two famous rivers which unite just below the town, and along whose shores the racing-boats in which the students take so much interest are moored. Pretty bridges span both streams, and we follow down the Thames again, skirting along its picturesque shores past Iffley, with its romantic old mill and the ancient church with its square tower rising behind, well-known landmarks that are so familiar to boating-men, till we come to Nuneham Park, with the old Carfax Conduit set on an eminence, and Blenheim Woods looming up in the background, as we look towards Oxford.



The church of Iffley is beautifully situated on the Thames, but little is known of its origin or history. It was in existence in 1189, when King Henry II. died, and its architecture indicates that it could scarcely have been built much before that time. It is an unusually good specimen of the Norman style, and is in wonderful preservation, considering its age. This church is peculiarly rich in its doorways, having three of great value, and each differ[Pg 158]ing from the other. The southern doorway is enriched with sculptured flowers, a style that is almost unique in Norman architecture; it also contains rudely carved imitations of Roman centaurs. On the south side of the church is an ancient cross and one of the most venerable yew trees in the kingdom, in the trunk of which time has made a hollow where a man could easily conceal himself. There is not on all the Thames a scene more loved by artists than that at Iffley, with its old mill and church embosomed in foliage, and having an occasional fisherman lazily angling in the smooth waters before them, while the Oxford oarsmen, some in fancy costumes, paddle by.




If we go up the Cherwell towards the northern part of Oxfordshire, a brief visit can be paid to the famous town of Banbury, noted for its "castle, cross, and cakes." This was an ancient Roman station, and the amphitheatre still exists just out of town. The castle was built in the twelfth century, and many conflicts raged around it. Queen Elizabeth granted the castle to Lord Saye and Sele, and one of his successors first organized the revolt against Charles I. at his neighboring mansion of Broughton. Banbury was a great Puritan stronghold, and it is related that when a book descriptive of Banbury was being printed in those days, it contained a sentence describing Banbury as remarkable for its cheese, cakes, and ale. One Camden, looking at the press while the sheet was being printed, thought this too light an expression, and changed the word ale into zeal, so that the town became noted for Banbury[Pg 159] zeal as well as cheese and cakes. The old castle, after standing several desperate sieges, was demolished by the Puritans, and nothing now remains excepting the moat and a small remnant of wall on which a cottage has been built. The Banbury cakes are mentioned as early as 1686, and they are still in high repute, being sent to all parts of the world. The Banbury cheese of which Shakespeare wrote is no longer made. The Banbury cross has been immortalized in nursery-rhymes, but it was taken down by the Puritans. The rhyme tells the little folk.


"Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady ride on a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes."

Diligent research has developed some important information about this fine lady. It appears that in "the Second Edward's reign a knight of much renown, yclept Lord Herbert, chanced to live near famous Banbury town." Now, this knight had one son left, and "fearless and brave was he; and it raised the pride in the father's heart his gallant son to see." The poetic tale goes on to relate "that near Lord Herbert's ancient hall proud Banbury Castle stood, within the noble walls of which dwelt a maiden young and good;" with much more to the same effect. There is the usual result: the knight loves the lady, has a mortal combat with the rival, and nearly loses his life. The fair lady nurses him with care, but as he gradually sinks she loses hope and pines away. A holy monk lived in the castle, and, noticing her despondency, offers to effect a cure. He prescribes: "To-morrow, at the midnight hour, go to the cross alone: for Edward's rash and hasty deed perhaps thou mayst atone." She goes there, walks around the cross, and Edward is cured. Then all rejoice, and a festival is ordered, whereat,

"Upon a milk-white steed, a lady doth appear:
[Pg 160]By all she's welcomed lustily in one tremendous cheer:
With rings of brilliant lustre her fingers are bedecked,
And bells upon her palfrey hung to give the whole effect."

A noble cavalier rode beside her, and the result has been

"That even in the present time the custom's not forgot;
But few there are who know the tale connected with the spot,
Though to each baby in the land the nursery-rhymes are told
About the lady robed in white and Banbury Cross of old."


Broughton Castle is a fine castellated mansion a short distance south-west of Banbury. It dates from the Elizabethan era, and its owner, Viscount Saye and Sele, in Charles I.'s reign, thinking that his services were not sufficiently rewarded, took the side of Parliament, in which his son represented Banbury. When the king dissolved Parliament, it assembled clandestinely in Broughton Castle. Here the Parliamentary leaders met in a room with thick walls, so that no sounds could escape. Here also were raised the earliest troops for the Parliament, and the "Blue-coats" of the Sayes were conspicuous at the battle of Edgehill, which was fought only a few miles away. Immediately afterwards King Charles besieged Broughton Castle, captured and plundered it. This famous old building witnessed in this way the earliest steps that led to the English Revolution, and it is kept in quite good preservation. Subsequently, when Oliver Cromwell became the leader of the Parliamentary party, he held his Parliament in Banbury at the Roebuck Inn, a fine piece of architecture, with a great window that lights up one of the best rooms in England of the earlier days of the Elizabethan era. A low door leads from the courtyard to this noted council-chamber where Cromwell held his Parliament, and it remains in much the same condition as then.

[Pg 161]

Through Oxfordshire is laid out one of those picturesque water-ways of the olden time—the Berks and Wilts Canal—which, though almost superseded by the omnipresent railway, still exists to furnish pretty scenery with its shady towing-paths and rustic swing-bridges. Almost the only traffic that remains to this canal, which comes out upon the Thames near Oxford, is carrying timber. The growth of English timber is slow, but some is still produced by the process of thinning the woods so as to make shapely trees, for otherwise the tall trunks would force themselves up almost without spreading branches.



Not far away from Oxford is the manor of Woodstock, where "Fair Rosamond's Bower" was built by King Henry II. This manor was an early residence of the kings of England, and Henry I. built a palace there, adding to it a vast park. Of this palace not a sign is now to be seen, but two sycamores have been planted to mark the spot. The poet Chaucer lived at Woodstock, and is supposed to have taken much of the descriptive scenery of his Dream from the park. Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III., was born at Woodstock. Henry VII. enlarged the palace, and put his name upon the principal gate; and this gate-house was one of the prisons of the princess Elizabeth, where she was detained by her sister, Queen Mary. Elizabeth is said to have written with charcoal on a window-shutter of her apartment, in 1555, a brief poem lamenting her imprisonment. Her room had an arched roof formed of carved Irish oak and colored with blue and gold, and it was preserved until taken down by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. In the Civil War the palace was besieged, and after surrender, unlike most similar structures, escaped demo[Pg 162]lition. Cromwell allotted it to three persons, two of whom pulled down their portions for the sake of the stone. Charles II. appointed the Earl of Rochester gentleman of the bedchamber and comptroller of Woodstock Park, and it is said that he here scribbled upon the door of the bedchamber of the king the well-known mock epitaph:

"Here lies our sovereign lord, the king.
Whose word no man relies on;
He never says a foolish thing,
Nor ever does a wise one."

In Queen Anne's reign Woodstock was granted to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, for his eminent military services. The condition of the grant, which is still scrupulously performed, was that on August 2d in every year he and his heirs should present to the reigning monarch at Windsor Castle one stand of colors, with three fleurs-de-lis painted thereon. The estate was named Blenheim, after the little village on the Danube which was the scene of his greatest victory on August 2, 1704. Ten years later, the duchess Sarah took down the remains of the old palace of Woodstock, and Scott has woven its history into one of his later novels. Hardly any trace remains of old Woodstock, and the only ruin of interest is a curious chimney-shaft of the fourteenth century, which a probably inaccurate tradition says was part of the residence of the Black Prince.

Woodstock Park covers twenty-seven hundred acres, and is nearly twelve miles in circuit, abounding with fine trees and having an undulating surface, over which roam a large herd of deer and a number of kangaroos. When the[Pg 163] manor was granted to the Duke of Marlborough, Parliament voted a sum of money to build him a palace "as a monument of his glorious actions." The park is entered through a fine Corinthian gateway, built by the duchess Sarah in memory of her husband the year after his death. A pretty stream of water, the river Glyme, with a lake, winds through a valley in front of the palace, and is crossed by a stately stone bridge with a centre arch of one hundred feet span. Not far from this bridge was Fair Rosamond's Bower, now marked by a wall; beyond the bridge, standing on the lawn, is the Marlborough Column, a fluted Corinthian pillar one hundred and thirty-four feet high, surmounted by the hero in Roman dress and triumphal attitude. This monument to the great duke has an account of his victories inscribed on one face of the pedestal, while on the others are the acts of Parliament passed in his behalf, and an abstract of the entail of his estates and honors upon the descendants of his daughters. Parliament voted $2,500,000 to build Blenheim Palace, to which the duke added $300,000 from his own resources. The duke died seventeen years after the palace was begun, leaving it unfinished. We are told that the trees in the park were planted according to the position of the troops at Blenheim. The[Pg 164] architect of the palace was John Vanbrugh, of whom the satirical epitaph was written:

"Lie heavy on him, Earth, for he
Laid many a heavy load on thee."


The palace is a massive structure, with spacious portals and lofty towers, and its principal front, which faces the north, extends three hundred and forty-eight feet from wing to wing, with a portico and flight of steps in the centre. The interior is very fine, with magnificently-painted ceilings, tapestries, statuary, and a rare collection of pictures. The tapestries represent Blenheim and other battles, and there are one hundred and twenty copies of famous masters, made by Teniers. A stately statue of Queen Anne stands in the library. There are costly collections of enamels, plaques, and miniatures; on the walls are huge paintings by Sir James Thornhill, one representing the great duke, in a blue cuirass, kneeling before Britannia, clad in white and holding a lance and wreath; Hercules and Mars stand by, and there are emblem-bearing females and the usual paraphernalia. We are told that Thornhill was paid for these at the rate of about six dollars per square yard. The duchess Sarah also poses in the collection as Minerva, wearing a yellow classic breastplate. Among other relics kept in the palace are Oliver Cromwell's teapot, another teapot presented by the Duc de Richelieu to Louis XIV., two bottles that belonged to Queen Anne, and some Roman and Grecian pottery. The great hall, which has the battle of Blenheim depicted on its ceiling, extends the entire height of the building; the library is one hundred and eighty-three feet long; and in the chapel, beneath a pompous marble monument, rest the great duke and his proud duchess Sarah, and their two sons, who died in early years. The pleasure-gardens extend over three hundred acres along the borders of the lake and river, and are very attractive. They contain the Temple of Health erected on the recovery of George III. from his illness, an aviary, a cascade elaborately constructed of large masses of rock, a fountain copied after one in Rome, and a temple of Diana. This great estate was the reward of the soldier whose glories were sung by Addison in his poem on the Campaign. Addison then lived in a garret up three pair of stairs over a small shop in the Haymarket, London, whither went the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get him to write the poem, and afterwards gave him a place worth $1000 a year as a reward. The Marlboroughs since have been almost too poor to keep up this magnificent estate in its proper style, for the family of Spencer-Churchill, which now holds the title, unlike most of the other great English houses, has not been blessed with a princely private fortune. Not far from Woodstock is Minster Lovel, near the village of Whitney. Some fragments of the house remain, and it has its tale[Pg 165] of interest, like all these old houses. Lord Lovel was one of the supporters of the impostor Simnel against Henry VII., and his rebellion being defeated in the decisive battle at Stoke in Nottinghamshire, Lord Lovel escaped by unfrequented roads and arrived home at night. He was so disguised that he was only known by a single servant, on whose fidelity he could rely. Before daybreak he retired to a subterranean recess, of which this servant retained the key, and here he remained several months in safe concealment. The king confiscated the estate, however, and dispersed the household, so that the voluntary prisoner perished from hunger. During the last century, when this stately house was pulled down, the vault was discovered, with Lord Lovel seated in a chair as he had died. So completely had rubbish excluded the air that his dress, which was described as superb, and a prayer-book lying before him on the table, were entire, but soon after the admission of the air the body is said to have fallen into dust.




A pleasant and old-fashioned town, not far away from Oxford, is Bicester, whereof one part is known as the King's End and the other as the Market End. Here is the famous Bicester Priory, founded in the twelfth century through the influence of Thomas à Becket. It was intended for a prior and eleven canons, in imitation of Christ and his eleven disciples. The priory buildings remained for some time after the dissolution of the religious houses, but they gradually disappeared, and all that now exists is a small farm-house about forty feet long which formed part of the boundary-wall of the priory, and is supposed to have been a lodge for the accommodation of travellers. In the garden was a well of never-failing water held in high repute by pilgrims, and which now supplies a fish-pond. The priory and its estates have passed in regular succession through females from its founder, Gilbert Basset, to the Stanleys, and it is now one of the possessions of the Earl of Derby. Bicester is an excellent specimen of an ancient English market-town, and its curious block of market-buildings, occupied by at least twenty-five tenements, stands alone and clear in the marketplace. There are antique gables, one of the most youthful of which bears the date of 1698. On the top is a promenade used by the occupants in summer[Pg 166] weather. In the neighboring village of Eynsham is said to be the stone coffin that once held Fair Rosamond's remains, but it has another occupant, one Alderman Fletcher having also been buried in it in 1826. Eynsham once had an abbey, of which still survives the shaft of a stone cross quaintly carved with the figures of saints. It is a relic probably of the thirteenth century, but nothing remains of the abbey beyond a few stones that may have belonged to it. It was near Eynsham, not very long ago, that a strange dark-green water-plant first made its appearance in the Thames, and spread so rapidly that it soon quite choked the navigation of the river, and from there soon extended almost all over the kingdom. The meadows and the rivers became practically all alike, a green expanse, in which from an eminence it was difficult to tell where the water-courses lay. This plant was called the "American weed," the allegation being that it came over in a cargo of timber from the St. Lawrence. It caused great consternation, but just when matters looked almost hopeless it gradually withered and died, bringing the navigation welcome relief.[Pg 167]




Crossing over into Berkshire, we find, a short distance south of Oxford, on the bank of the Thames, the ruins of the once extensive and magnificent Abingdon Abbey, founded in the seventh century. It was here that Henry, the son of William the Conqueror, was educated and gained his appellation of Beauclerc. The gatehouse still remains, and is at present devoted to the use of fire-engines, but there is not much else remaining of the abbey save a remarkable chimney and fireplace and some fragments of walls. We are told that the Saxons founded this abbey, and that the Danes destroyed it, while King Alfred deprived the monks of their possessions, but his grandson Ædred restored them. The abbey was then built, and became afterwards richly endowed. For six centuries it was one of the great religious houses of this part of England; and the Benedictines, true to their creed, toiled every day in the fields as well as prayed in the church. They began the day by religious services; then assembled in the chapter-house, where each was allotted his task and tools, and after a brief prayer they silently marched out in double file to the fields. From Easter until October they were thus occupied from six in the morning until ten o'clock, and sometimes until noon. Thus they promoted thrift, and as their settlement extended it became the centre of a rich agricultural colony, for they often, as their lands expanded, let them out to farmers. A short distance from Abingdon is Radley, which was formerly the manor of the abbey, and contains a beautiful little church, wealthy in its stores of rich woodwork and stained glass; it stands in the middle of the woods in a charming situation, with picturesque elm trees[Pg 168] overhanging the old Tudor building. Radley House is now a training-school for Oxford, and it has a swimming-school attached, in which have been prepared several of the most famous Oxford oarsmen, swimming being here regarded as a necessary preliminary to boating. Near by is Bagley Wood, the delicious resort of the Oxonians which Dr. Arnold loved so well. The village of Sunningwell, not far from Radley, also has a church, and before its altar is the grave of Dean Fell, once its rector, who died of grief on hearing of the execution of Charles I. From the tower of this church Friar Bacon, the hero of the story of the brazen head, is said to have made astronomical observations: this renowned friar, Roger Bacon, has come down to us as the most learned man that Oxford ever produced. Bacon's Study was near the Folly Bridge, across the Thames on the road to Oxford, and it survived until 1779, when it was taken down. Among the many legends told of Bacon is one that he used such skill and magic in building the tower containing this study that it would have fallen on the head of any one more learned than himself who might pass under it. Hence, freshmen on their arrival at Oxford are carefully warned not to walk too near the Friar's Tower. Bacon overcame the greatest obstacles in the pursuit of knowledge; he spent all his own money and all that he could borrow in getting books and instruments, and then, renouncing the world, he became a mendicant monk of the order of St. Francis. His Opus Majus—to publish which he and his friends pawned their goods—was an epitome of all the knowledge of his time.


Other famous men came also from Abingdon. Edmund Rich, who did so much to raise the character of Oxford in its earlier days, was born there about the year 1200; his parents were very poor, and his father sought refuge in Eynsham Abbey. We are told that his mother was too poor to furnish young Rich "with any other outfit than his horsehair shirt, which she made him prom[Pg 169]ise to wear every Wednesday, and which probably had been the cause of his father's retirement from their humble abode." Rich went from Eynsham to Oxford, and soon became its most conspicuous scholar; then he steadily advanced until he died the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chief-Justice Holt, who reformed the legal procedure of England, was also a native of Abingdon; he admitted prisoners to some rights, protected defendants in suits, and had the irons stricken off the accused when brought into court, for in those days of the cruel rule of Judge Jeffreys the defendant was always considered guilty until adjudged innocent. Holt originated the aphorism that "slaves cannot breathe in England:" this was in the famous Somerset case, where a slave was sold and the vendor sued for his money, laying the issues at Mary-le-Bow in London, and describing the negro as "there sold and delivered." The chief-justice said that the action was not maintainable, as the status of slavery did not exist in England. If, however, the claim had been laid in Virginia, he said he would have been obliged to allow it; so that the decision was practically on technical grounds. Lord Campbell sums up Holt's merits as a judge by saying that he was not a statesman like Clarendon, or a philosopher like Bacon, or an orator like Mansfield, yet his name is held in equal veneration with theirs, and some think him the most venerated judge that ever was chief-justice. There is a really good story told of him by Lord Campbell. In his younger days Holt was travelling in Oxfordshire, and stopped at an inn where the landlady's daughter had an illness inducing fits. She appealed to him, and he promised to work a cure: which he did by writing some Greek words on a piece of parchment and telling her to let her daughter wear the charm around her neck. Partly from the fact that the malady had spent itself, and possibly also from the effect of her imagination, the girl entirely recovered. Years rolled on and he became the lord chief-justice, when one day a withered old woman was brought before the assizes for being a witch, and it was proven that she pretended to cure all manner of cattle diseases, and with a charm that she kept carefully wrapped in a bundle of rags. The woman told how the charm many years before had cured her daughter, and when it was unfolded and handed to the judge he remembered the circumstance, recognized his talisman, and ordered her release.



As we continue the journey down the Thames the shores on either hand seem cultivated like gardens, with trim hedgerows dividing them, pretty villages, cottages gay with flowers and evergreens, spires rising among the trees; and the bewitching scene reminds us of Ralph Waldo Emerson's tribute to the[Pg 170] English landscape, that "it seems to be finished with the pencil instead of the plough." The surface of the river is broken by numerous little "aits" or islands. We pass the little old house and the venerable church embosomed in the rural beauties of Clifton-Hampden. We pass Wallingford and Goring, and come to Pangbourne and Whitchurch, where the little river Pang flows in between green hills. Each village has the virtue that Dr. Johnson extolled when he said that "the finest landscape in the world is improved by a good inn in the foreground." Then we come to Mapledurham and Purley, where Warren Hastings lived, and finally halt at Caversham, known as the port of Reading. Here the Thames widens, and here in the olden time was the little chapel with a statue of the Virgin known as the "Lady of Caversham," which was reputed to have wrought many miracles and was the shrine for troops of pilgrims. In Cromwell's day the chapel was pulled down, and the statue, which was plated over with silver, was boxed up and sent to the Lord Protector in London. They also had here many famous relics, among them the spear-head[Pg 171] that pierced the Saviour's side, which had been brought there by a "one-winged angel." The officer who destroyed the chapel, in writing a report of the destruction to Cromwell, expressed his regret at having missed among the relics "a piece of the holy halter Judas was hanged withal." Lord Cadogan subsequently built Caversham House for his residence. Reading, which is the county-town of Berkshire, is not far away from Caversham, and is now a thriving manufacturing city, its most interesting relic being the hall of the ancient Reading Abbey, built seven hundred years ago. It was one of the wealthiest in the kingdom, and several parliaments sat in the hall. The ruins, still carefully preserved, show its extent and fine Norman architecture.

The Thames flows on past Sonning, where the Kennet joins it, a stream "for silver eels renowned," as Pope tells us. Then the Lodden comes in from the south, and we enter the fine expanse of Henley Reach, famous for boat-racing. It is a beautiful sheet of water, though the university race is now rowed farther down the river and nearer London, at Putney. Our boat now drifts with the stream through one of the most beautiful portions of the famous river, past Medmenham Abbey and Cliefden to Maidenhead. Here for about ten miles is a succession of beauties of scenery over wood and cliff and water that for tranquil loveliness cannot be surpassed anywhere. Who has not heard of the charming rocks and hanging woods of Cliefden, with the Duke of Westminster's mansion standing on their pinnacle?



We come to Maidenhead and Taplow, with Brunel's masterpiece of bridge-building connecting them, its elliptical brick arches being the broadest of their kind in the kingdom. Below this, as beauties decrease, we are compensated by scenes of greater historical interest. Near Maidenhead is Bisham Abbey, the most interesting house in Berkshire. It was originally a convent, and here lived Sir Thomas Russel, who at one time was the custodian of the princess Elizabeth. He treated her so well that she warmly welcomed him at court after becoming queen.[Pg 172]

Bisham is a favorite scene for artists to sketch. Bray Church, where officiated the famous "Vicar of Bray," Symond Symonds, is below Maidenhead. This lively and politic vicar lived in the troubled times of King Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. Having seen martyrs burnt at Windsor, but two miles off, he found the fires too hot for his tender temper, and therefore changed his religion whenever events changed his sovereign. When taxed with being a religious changeling, his shrewd answer was, "Not so, for I always keep my principle, which is this—to live and to die the Vicar of Bray." The old church, nestling among the trees, is attractive, and we are told that an ancient copy of Fox's Book of Martyrs, which was chained to the reading-desk in Queen Elizabeth's time, is still preserved here for the edification of the faithful.



Soon the famous Eton College comes into view on the northern bank of the river—an institution dear to the memory of many English schoolboys. The village consists of a long, narrow street which is extended across an iron bridge to Windsor, on the southern bank of the Thames. Henry VI. founded the "College of the Blessed Mary of Eton beside Windsor" as early as 1440. The older parts of the buildings are of red brick, with stone dressings and quaint, highly ornamental chimneys, and they are clustered around two quadrangles. Here are the Lower and Upper Schools and the Long Chamber. About thirty-five years ago fine new buildings were erected in similar style to the old buildings, which provide a beautiful chapel, schools, and library (though books are said to be scarce there), and extensive dormitories. Adjoining them to the north-east are the Playing Fields on the broad green meadows along the river's edge, with noble elms shading them. In the Upper School of the ancient structure high wooden panelling covers the lower part of the walls, deeply scarred with the names of generations of Eton boys crowded closely together. In earlier times all used to cut their names in the wood, but now this sculpturing is only permitted to those who attain a certain position and leave without dishonor. Thus the panelling has become a great memorial tablet, and above it, upon brackets, are busts of some of the more eminent Etonians, including the Duke of Wellington, Pitt, Fox, Hallam, Fielding, and Gray. In the library are kept those instruments of chastisement which are always considered a part of schoolboy training, though a cupboard hides them from view—all but the block whereon the victim kneels preliminary to punishment. More than once have the uproarious boys made successful raids and destroyed this block or carried it off as a trophy. But vigorous switching was more a habit at Eton in former days than it is now. Of Head-master Keate,[Pg 173] who was a famous flogger a half century ago, and would frequently practise on a score of boys at one séance, the scholars made a calculation to prove that he spent twice as much time in chastisement as in church, and it is recorded that he once flogged an entire division of eighty boys without an intermission. On another occasion he flogged, by mistake, a party who had been sent him for confirmation. Tall stories are also told of Eton flogging and "rug-riding"—the latter being a process whereby a heavy boy was dragged on a rug over the floors to polish them. Down to 1840 the Eton dinners consisted entirely of mutton, with cold mutton served up for supper, but this regulation diet is now varied with an occasional service of beef and other courses. Games are no inconsiderable part of the English schoolboy's education, and the Duke of Wellington said that in the "Playing Fields" of Eton the battle of Waterloo was won. These fields, "where all unconscious of their doom the little victims play," contain one of the finest cricket-grounds in England. The boys divide themselves into "dry bobs" and "wet bobs," the former devoted to cricket and the latter to boating. The procession of the boats is the great feature of June 4th, the "Speech Day." Of late years the Eton volunteer corps has attained[Pg 174] great proficiency, being a battalion of over three hundred of the larger boys. This famous college is one of the preparatory schools for the universities. It is a world in miniature, where the boy finds his own level, and is taught lessons of endurance, patience, self-control, and independence which stand him in good service throughout after-life.



Across the Thames, on the southern bank, the antique and noble towers of Windsor Castle now rise high above the horizon. This is the sovereign's rural court, and is probably the best known by the world of all the English castles. The name is given various derivations: some ascribe it to the river's winding course; others to "Wind us over," in allusion to a rope-ferry there in ancient times; others to "Wind is sore," as the castle stands high and open to the weather. From the Saxon days Windsor has been a fortress, but the present castle owes its beginning to Edward III., who was born at Windsor and built its earliest parts, commencing with the great Round Tower in 1315. The ransoms of two captive kings, John of France and David of Scotland, paid for the[Pg 175] two higher wards. It was at Windsor that King Edward instituted the Order of the Garter, which is the highest British order of knighthood. Being impressed with the charms of Alice, Countess of Salisbury, but she resisting his advances, out of the gallantries of their coquetry came the circumstance of the king's picking up her garter dropped at a ball and presenting it to her. Some of the nobles smiled at this, which the king noticing, said, "Honi soit qui mal y pense" ("Evil be to him who evil thinks"), adding that shortly they would see that garter advanced to such high renown as to be happy to wear it. Froissart, in giving the legend telling of this institution of the Garter, says that it arose out of the chivalrous self-denial that leads virtue to subdue passion. Henry VI. was born at Windsor; Edward IV. added St. George's Chapel to the castle; Henry VII. built the Tomb House, and Henry VIII. the gateway to the Lower Ward; Queen Elizabeth added the gallery of the north terrace; and in Charles II.'s reign the fortress, which it had been until that time, was converted into a sort of French palace. Thus it remained until George IV., in 1824, thoroughly restored it at a cost of $7,500,000. The great gateways are known as Henry VIII.'s, St. George's, and King George IV.'s, while within is the Norman or Queen Elizabeth's Gate. The Round Tower or Keep was built for the assemblage of a fraternity of knights which King Edward intended to model after King Arthur's "Knights of the Round Table," but the project was abandoned after the institution of the Order of the Garter.

(By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers.)

The Round Tower stands upon an artificial mound, and what was formerly its surrounding ditch is now a sunken garden. From its commanding battlements twelve counties can be seen, and the Prince of Wales is constable of this tower, as indeed of the whole castle. This fine old keep was the castle-prison from[Pg 176] the time of Edward III. to that of Charles II. The poet-king, James I. of Scotland, captured when ten years old by Henry IV., was the first prisoner of note. Here he fell in love with Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, and he tells in a quaint poem the romance which ended in her becoming his queen. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, brought to the block by Henry VIII., was also confined there, and he too lamented his captivity in poetry. From the top of the keep the dome of St. Paul's in London can be seen. The castle was mercilessly plundered in the Civil Wars, till Cromwell interfered for its protection. In its present condition the castle has three grand divisions in the palatial parts—the state apartments, looking north; the queen's private apartments, looking east; and the visitors' apartments, looking south. The south and east sides of the quadrangle contain over three hundred and seventy rooms. Southward of the castle is the Windsor Great Park, to which the "Long Walk," said to be the finest avenue of the kind in Europe, runs in a straight line for three miles from the principal entrance of the castle to the top of a commanding eminence in the park called Snow Hill. Double rows of stately elms border the "Long Walk" on either hand, and it terminates at the fine bronze equestrian statue of George III., standing on the highest part of Snow Hill.


(By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers.) QUEEN'S ROOMS IN SOUTH-EAST TOWER, WINDSOR CASTLE.
(By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers.)

St. George's Chapel, a beautiful structure of the Perpendicular Gothic, was begun four hundred years ago, and contains the tomb of Edward IV., who built[Pg 177] it. In 1789, more than three hundred years after his interment, the leaden coffin of the king was found in laying a new pavement. The skeleton is said to have been seven feet long, and Horace Walpole got a lock of the king's hair. Here also lie Henry VI., Henry VIII., and Charles I. The latter's coffin was opened in 1813, and the king's remains were found in fair preservation. The close companionship of Henry VIII. and Charles in death is thus described by Byron:

"Famed for contemptuous breach of sacred ties,
By headless Charles see heartless Henry lies."

The tradition of "Herne the Hunter," which Shakespeare gives in the Merry Wives of Windsor, is said to be founded on the fact that Herne, a keeper of Windsor Forest, having committed some offence, hanged himself upon an oak tree. His ghost afterwards was to be seen, with horns on its head, walking round about this oak in the neighborhood of the castle.


(By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers.) INTERIOR OF ST. GEORGE'S CHAPEL.
(By permission of Messrs. Harper & Brothers.)



Just below Windsor the Thames passes between Runnimede, the "Meadow of Council," where the barons encamped, and Magna Charta Island, where King John signed the great charter of English liberty. The river sweeps in a tranquil bend around the wooded isle, where a pretty little cottage has been built which is said to contain the very stone whereon the charter was signed. The river Coln falls into the Thames, and "London Stone" marks the entrance to Middlesex and the domain of the metropolis. We pass Staines and Chertsey, where the poet Cowley lived, and then on the right hand the river Wey comes in at Weymouth. Many villages are passed, and at a bend in the Thames we come to the place where Cæsar with his legions forded the river at Cowey Stakes, defeated Cassivelaunus, and conquered Britain. In his Com[Pg 178]mentaries Julius Cæsar writes that he led his army to the Thames, which could be crossed on foot at one place only, and there with difficulty. On arriving, he perceived great forces of the enemy drawn up on the opposite bank, which was fortified by sharp stakes set along the margin, a similar stockade being fixed in the bed of the river and covered by the stream. These facts being ascertained from prisoners and deserters, Cæsar sent the cavalry in front and ordered the legions to follow immediately. The soldiers advanced with such impetuosity, although up to their necks in the water, that the Britons could not withstand the onset and fled. A couple of miles below, at Hampton, Garrick lived in a mansion fronted by a rotunda with a Grecian portico. We pass Hampton Court and Bushey Park, which revive memories of Wolsey, Cromwell, and William III., and then on the opposite bank see the two charming Dittons—"Thames" and "Long" Ditton—of which Theodore Hook has written:

"When sultry suns and dusty streets proclaim town's 'winter season,'
And rural scenes and cool retreats sound something like high treason,
I steal away to shades serene which yet no bard has hit on,
And change the bustling, heartless scene for quietude and Ditton.

"Here, in a placid waking dream, I'm free from worldly troubles,
Calm as the rippling silver stream that in the sunshine bubbles;
And when sweet Eden's blissful bowers some abler bard has writ on,
Despairing to transcend his powers, I'll ditto say for Ditton."

Then we pass Kingston, where several Saxon kings were crowned, and the coronation-stone, marked with their names, it is said, still remains in the market-place. Teddington Lock is the last upon the Thames, and a mile below is Eel-Pie Island, lying off Twickenham, renowned for the romance that surrounds its ancient ferry. Near here lived the eccentric Horace Walpole, at Strawberry Hill, while in Twickenham Church is the monument to the poet Pope, which states in its inscription that he would not be buried in Westminster Abbey.[Pg 179] Pope's villa no longer exists, and only a relic of his famous grotto remains. The widening Thames, properly named the Broadwater, now sweeps on to Richmond, and if that far-famed hill is climbed, it discloses one of the finest river-views in the world.



Here ends the romantic portion of the Thames. The beauty of Nature is no longer present, being overtopped by the stir and roar of the great Babel, for the metropolis has reached out and swallowed up the suburban villages, although some of the picturesque scenes remain. Many bridges span the river, which on either hand gradually transforms its garden-bordered banks into the city buildings, and the Thames itself bears on its bosom the valuable commerce that has chiefly made the great capital. When King James I. threatened recalcitrant London with the removal of his court to Oxford, the lord mayor sturdily yet sarcastically replied, "May it please Your Majesty, of your grace, not to take away the Thames too?" This river, so beautiful in its upper loveliness, stands alone in the far-reaching influence of the commerce that its lower waters bear. It has borne us from the Cotswolds to London; while to properly describe the great city would take volumes in itself. Without attempting such a task, we will only give a brief summary of some of the more striking objects of interest that the great British metropolis presents.

The origin of the vast city whose population now approximates four millions is obscure. It was a British settlement before the Romans came to England, and its name of Llyn Dyn, the "City of the Lake," was transformed by the conquerors into Londinium. When Cæsar crossed the Thames he thought the settlement of too little importance for mention, and it does not seem to have been occupied as a Roman station until a century afterwards, and was not walled round until A.D. 306. The old wall was about three miles in circumference, beginning near the present site of the Tower, and some slight traces of it remain. The "London Stone" on Cannon Street was the central stone or milliarium from which distances were measured and the great Roman highways started. A worn fragment of this stone, protected by iron bars, now stands against the wall of St. Swithin's Church. When Jack Cade entered London, Shakespeare tells us, he struck his sword on this stone and exclaimed, "Now is Mortimer lord of this city." Wren caused it to be encased, for protection, with a new stone hollowed for the purpose; it now stands very near its original position. London in the sixth century became the capital of the Saxon kingdom of Essex, and in the ninth century the Danes destroyed it. King Alfred a few years afterwards rebuilt London, but it stood barely seven[Pg 180] years when it was burned. Finally, it was again rebuilt, and again captured by the Danes, Canute setting himself up as king there. Some relics of these Danes remain. St. Olaf was their saint, and Tooley Street is but a corruption of his name. They had a church and burial-place where now St. Clement-Danes stands awry on the Strand—a church that is of interest not only on its own account, but for the venerable antiquity it represents. The Saxons drove out the Danes, and the Normans in turn conquered the Saxons, the Tower of London coming down to us as a relic of William the Conqueror, who granted the city the charter which is still extant. Henry I. gave it a new charter, which is said to have been the model for Magna Charta. In the twelfth century London attained the dignity of having a lord mayor. It sided with the House of York in the Wars of the Roses, and in Elizabeth's reign had about one hundred and fifty thousand population, being then about two miles south of Westminster, with fields between, and having the Tower standing apart from the city farther down the Thames. The plague devastated it in 1665, carrying off sixty thousand persons, and next year the Great Fire occurred, which destroyed five-sixths of the city within the walls, and burned during four days. This fire began at Pudding Lane, Monument Yard, and ended at Pie Corner, Giltspur Street. To commemorate the calamity the Monument was erected[Pg 181] on Fish Street Hill, on the site of St. Margaret's Church, which was destroyed. It is a fluted Doric column of Portland stone, erected by Wren at a cost of $70,000, and is two hundred and two feet high. The inscriptions on the pedestal record the destruction and restoration of the city; and down to the year 1831 there was also an inscription untruthfully attributing the fire to "the treachery and malice of the popish faction;" this has been effaced, and to it Pope's couplet alluded:

"Where London's column, pointing to the skies,
Like a tall bully lifts its head and lies."

A vase of flames forty two feet high, made of gilt bronze, crowns the apex, up to which leads a winding staircase of three hundred and forty-five steps. The structure has often been compared to a lighted candle, and the balcony at the top, having been selected as a favorite place for suicides to jump from, is now encaged with iron-work to prevent this.

London was rebuilt in four years after the Great Fire, and the first stone of the new St. Paul's was laid in 1675, when the city had, with the outlying parishes, a half million population. Its growth was slow until after the American Revolution, and it began the present century with about eight hundred thousand people. The past seventy years have witnessed giant strides, and it has made astonishing progress in the elegance of its parks and new streets and the growth of adornments and improvements of all kinds. London has become, in fact, a world within itself.



Among a multitude of famous objects in London, three stand out boldly prominent—St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower. St. Paul's, the cathedral church of the bishops of London, is the finest building in the Italian style in Great Britain; but, unfortunately, in consequence of the nearness of the surrounding houses, no complete general view is attainable. The first church was built there by King Ethelbert in 610; it was destroyed by fire in the eleventh century, and then old St. Paul's was built, suffering repeatedly from fire and lightning, and being finally destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666. It was a large church, with a spire rising five hundred and twenty feet. The money-lenders and small dealers plied their vocations in its middle aisle, known as Paul's Walk, while tradespeople took possession of the vaults and cloisters, a baker made a hole in a buttress for his bakeoven, and several buildings were planted against the outer walls, one being used as a theatre. The ruins were not disturbed for eight years after the fire, when Wren began[Pg 182] rebuilding, the cathedral being finished in thirty-five years. The architect, bishop, and master-mason who laid the corner-stone were all living at the completion—a singular circumstance. Wren got $1000 a year salary, and for this, said the Duchess of Marlborough, he was content to be dragged up to the top in a basket three or four times a week. The building cost $3,740,000, chiefly raised by subscription. It is the fifth of the churches of Christendom in size, being excelled by St. Peter's and the cathedrals at Florence, Amiens, and Milan. In ground plan it is a Latin cross five hundred feet long, with a transept of two hundred and fifty feet in length; the nave and choir are one hundred and twenty-five feet wide and the sides one hundred feet high. The majestic dome, which is the glory of the cathedral, rises three hundred and sixty-five feet, and the surmounting lantern carries a gilt copper ball and cross. The grand front towards the west, facing Ludgate Hill, is approached by a[Pg 183] double flight of steps from an area which contains a statue of Queen Anne. The portico is in two divisions, with Corinthian columns supporting the pediment, which bears a bas-relief of the conversion of St. Paul, and has a statue of St. Paul at the apex, with statues of St. Peter at the sides. Bell-towers rise from each side of the portico to a height of two hundred and twenty feet, surmounted by domes. The large bell, "Great Paul," which has just been placed in the tower, is the heaviest in England, weighing nearly seventeen tons. Within the cathedral the cupola has a diameter of one hundred and eight feet, and rises two hundred and twenty-eight feet above the pavement; around it runs the famous Whispering Gallery. Beneath the centre of the pavement lie the remains of Lord Nelson in the crypt, for St. Paul's has been made the mausoleum of British heroes on sea and land. Here, among others, are monuments to Napier, Ponsonby, Cornwallis, Nelson, Howe, Collingwood, Pakenham, Sir John Moore, Abercrombie, Rodney, St. Vincent, and also a noble porphyry mausoleum for the Duke of Wellington. Some of the heroes of peace also have monuments in St. Paul's, among them Dr. Johnson, Howard the philanthropist, Sir Astley Cooper the surgeon, Bishop Middleton, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Turner, Rennie the engineer, and also Wren. The memory of the great architect is marked by a marble slab, with the inscription, "Reader, do you ask his monument? Look around."


The outside elevation of the cathedral is of two orders of architecture—the lower, Corinthian, having windows with semicircular headings, while the upper, Composite,[Pg 184] has niches corresponding to the windows below. The entablature of each story is supported by coupled pilasters, while the north and south walls are surmounted by balustrades. Each arm of the transept is entered by an external semicircular portico, reached by a lofty staircase. Above the dome is the Golden Gallery, whence there is a grand view around London, if the atmosphere permits, which it seldom does. Above the lantern is the ball, weighing fifty-six hundred pounds; above this the cross, weighing thirty-three hundred and sixty pounds.




This is the most renowned church in England, for in it her sovereigns have been crowned, and many of them buried, from the days of Harold to Victoria, and it contains the graves of her greatest men in statesmanship, literature, science, and art. The abbey is the collegiate church of St. Peter's, Westminster, and stands not far away from the Thames, near Westminster Hall and the Parliament Houses. Twelve hundred years ago its site was an island in the Thames known as Thorney Island, and a church was commenced there by Sebert, king of Essex, but was not completed until three centuries afterwards, in the reign of King Edgar, when it was named the "minster west of[Pg 185] St. Paul's," or Westminster. The Danes destroyed it, and Edward the Confessor rebuilt it in the eleventh century. Portions of this church remain, but the present abbey was begun by Henry III. nearly seven hundred years ago, and it was not completed until Edward III.'s time. Henry VII. removed the Lady Chapel, and built the rich chapel at the east end which is named after him. Wren ultimately made radical changes in it, and in 1714, after many changes, the abbey finally assumed its present form and appearance. It has had a great history, the coronations alone that it has witnessed being marked events. They usually were followed by banquets in Westminster Hall, but over $1,300,000 having been wasted on the display and banquet for George IV., they were discontinued afterwards. At Queen Victoria's coronation the crown was imposed in front of the altar before St. Edward's Chapel, the entire nave, choir, and transepts being filled by spectators, and the queen afterwards sitting upon a[Pg 186] chair which, with the raised platform bearing it, was covered with a cloth of gold. Here she received the homage of her officers and the nobility. The ancient coronation-chair, which is probably the greatest curiosity in the abbey, is a most unpretentious and uncomfortable-looking old high-backed chair with a hard wooden seat. Every sovereign of England has been crowned in it since Edward I. There is a similar chair alongside it, the duplicate having been made for the coronation of William and Mary, when two chairs were necessary, as both king and queen were crowned and vested with equal authority. Underneath the seat of the coronation-chair is fastened the celebrated Stone of Scone, a dark-looking, old, rough, and worn-edged rock about two feet square and six inches thick. All sorts of legends are told of it, and it is said to have been a piece of Jacob's Pillar. Edward I. brought it from Scotland, where many generations had done it reverence, and the old chair was made to contain it in 1297. These priceless accessories of the coronation ceremony, which will some day do service for the Prince of Wales, are kept alongside the tomb of Edward the Confessor, which for centuries has been the shrine of pilgrims, and they are guarded by the graves of scores of England's kings and queens and princes.


The abbey's ground-plan has the form of a Latin cross, which is apsidal, having radiating chapels. Henry VII.'s Chapel prolongs the building eastward from the transept almost as much as the nave extends westward. Cloisters adjoin the nave, and the western towers, built by Wren, rise two hundred and twenty-five feet, with a grand window beneath them. The church is five hundred and thirty feet long. The nave is one hundred and sixty-six feet long and one hundred and two feet high; the choir, one hundred and fifty-five long; the transept, two hundred and three feet long, and on the south arm one hundred and sixty-five feet high. A great rose-window, thirty feet in diameter, is in the north end of the transept, with a fine portico, beneath which is the beautiful gateway of the abbey. In the interior the height of the roof is remarkable, and also the vast number of monuments, there being hundreds of them. Magnificent woodwork[Pg 187] in carving and tracery adorns the choir, and its mosaic pavement comes down to us from the thirteenth century, the stones and workmen to construct it having been brought from Rome. The fine stained-glass windows are chiefly modern. But the grand contemplation in Westminster Abbey is the graves of the famous dead that have been gathering there for nearly eight[Pg 188] centuries. No temple in the world can present anything like it. Wordsworth has written:

——"Be mine in hours of fear
Or grovelling thought to find a refuge here,
Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam,
Where bubbles burst, and folly's dancing foam
Melts if it cross the threshold—where the wreath
Of awestruck wisdom droops."


Of the nine chapels surrounding the east end of the abbey, the most interesting are those of Edward the Confessor, beyond the altar, and of Henry VII., at the extreme eastern end. The shrine of King Edward above referred to occupies the centre of his chapel, and was formerly richly inlaid with mosaics and precious stones, which, however, have been carried off. Henry VII.'s Chapel is a fine specimen of the architecture of his time, and the monuments[Pg 189] of Queens Elizabeth and Mary of Scotland are in the north and south aisles. In the south transept is the Poets' Corner, with monuments to all the great poets, and here, as well as in nave and choir and the north transept, are monuments of hundreds of illustrious Englishmen. In making these burials there is a sort of method observed. Chaucer's interment in the Poets' Corner in 1400 led the south transept to be devoted to literary men. The north transept is devoted to statesmen, the first distinguished burial there being the elder Pitt in 1778. The organ is on the north side of the nave, and here the eminent musicians repose. In the side chapels the chief nobles are buried, and in the chancel and its adjoining chapels the sovereigns. Isaac Newton in 1727 was the first scientist buried in the nave, and that part has since been devoted to scientific men and philanthropists. Probably the finest tomb in the abbey is that of the elder Pitt, which bears the inscription, "Erected by the King and Parliament as a testimony to the virtues and ability of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, during whose administration, in the reigns of George II. and George III., Divine Providence exalted Great Britain to a height of prosperity and glory unknown to any former age." One of the finest of the stained-glass windows in the nave is the double memorial window in memory of the poets Herbert and Cowper, erected by an American, George W. Childs. George III. and the British sovereigns since his reign have their tombs at Windsor, preferring that noble castle for their last resting-place.

Upon the east side of the abbey is St. Margaret's, the special church of the House of Commons. Its east window contains the celebrated stained-glass representation of the Crucifixion, painted in Holland, which General Monk buried to keep the Puritans from destroying. Sir Walter Raleigh is entombed here, and an American subscription has placed a stained-glass window in the church to his memory, inscribed with these lines by James Russell Lowell:

"The New World's sons, from England's breasts we drew
Such milk as bids remember whence we came.
Proud of her past, wherefrom our present grew,
This window we inscribe with Raleigh's name."


On the northern bank of the Thames, standing in a somewhat elevated position a short distance east of the ancient city-walls, is the collection of buildings known as the Tower. The enclosure covers about twelve acres, encircled by a moat now drained, and a battlemented wall from which towers rise at intervals. Within is another line of walls with towers, called the Inner Ballium, having various buildings interspersed. In the enclosed space, rising high above[Pg 190] all its surroundings, is the great square White Tower, which was the keep of the old fortress. Tradition assigns a very early date to this stronghold, but the written records do not go back earlier than William the Conqueror, who built the White Tower about 1078. It was enlarged and strengthened by subsequent kings, and Stephen kept his court there in the twelfth century. The moat was made about 1190. Edward II.'s daughter was born there, and was known as Joan of the Tower. Edward III. imprisoned Kings David of Scotland and John of France there. Richard II. in Wat Tyler's rebellion took refuge in the Tower with his court and nobles, numbering six hundred persons, and in 1399 was imprisoned there and deposed. Edward IV. kept a splendid court in the Tower, and Henry VI., after being twice a prisoner there, died in the Tower in 1471. There also was the Duke of Clarence drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, and the two youthful princes, Edward V. and his brother, were murdered at the instance of Richard III. Henry VII. made the Tower often his residence. Henry VIII. received there in state all his wives before their marriages, and two of them, Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard, were beheaded there. Here the Protector Somerset, and afterwards Lady Jane Grey, were beheaded. The princess Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower, and James I. was the last English sovereign who lived there. The palace, having become ruinous, was ultimately taken down. The Tower during the eight hundred years it has existed has contained a legion of famous prisoners, and within its precincts Chaucer, who held an office there in Richard II.'s reign, composed his poem The Testament of Love, and Sir Walter Raleigh wrote his History of the World.

[Pg 191]The "Yeomen of the Guard," a corps of forty-eight warders, who are meritorious soldiers, dressed in the uniform of Henry VIII.'s reign on state occasions, and at other times wearing black velvet hats and dark-blue tunics, have charge of the exhibition of the Tower. The entrance is in a small building on the western side, where years ago the lions were kept, though they have since been all sent to the London Zoological Garden. From this originated the phrase "going to see the lions." At the centre of the river-front is the "Traitor's Gate," through which persons charged with high treason were formerly taken into the Tower. It is a square building erected over the moat, and now contains a steam pumping-engine. Opposite it is the Bloody Tower, where the young princes were smothered and where Raleigh was confined. Adjoining is the Wakefield Tower, with walls thirteen feet thick. Passing through the Bloody Tower gateway to the interior enclosure, a large number of curious guns are seen, and the Horse Armory at the base of the White Tower is filled with specimens of ancient armor artistically arranged. In this[Pg 192] collection the systems of armor can be traced from the time of Edward I. to that of James II., and there are suits that were worn by several famous kings and warriors. Above, in Queen Elizabeth's Armory, is more armor, and also trophies of Waterloo and other battles, and a collection of every kind of weapon in the Tower. There are also specimens of instruments of torture and many other curiosities on exhibition.


The White Tower, which has walls fourteen feet thick in some parts, covers a space one hundred and sixteen by ninety-six feet, and is ninety-two feet high, with turrets at the angles. Each floor is divided into three rooms, with stone partitions seven feet thick. On the second floor is St. John's Chapel, and on the third the council-chamber of the early kings, with a dark, massive timber roof; in this chamber Richard II. resigned his crown; it is now filled with a vast collection of arms. The Salt Tower, which is at an angle of the enclosure, was formerly a prison; and in another part of the grounds is the Jewel House, where the crown jewels are kept; they are in a glass case, protected by an iron cage, and the house was built for them in 1842. Queen Victoria's state crown, made in 1838, after her coronation, is the chief. It consists of diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds set in silver and gold, and has a crimson velvet cap with carmine border, lined with white silk. It contains the famous ruby given to Edward the Black Prince by the King of Castile, and which is surrounded by diamonds forming a Maltese cross. The jewels in this crown are one large ruby, one large sapphire, sixteen other sapphires, eleven emeralds, four rubies, one thousand three hundred and sixty-three brilliant diamonds, one thousand two hundred and seventy-three rose diamonds, one hundred and forty-seven table diamonds, and two hundred and seventy-seven pearls. Among the other crowns is St. Edward's crown, of gold embellished with diamonds, used at all coronations, when it is placed upon the sovereign's head by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This crown was stolen from the Tower by Blood in 1761. There are also the Prince of Wales' crown, the queen's crown, the queen's diadem, St. Edward's Staff, four feet seven inches long, made of beaten gold and surmounted by an orb said to contain part of the true cross, and carried before the sovereign at coronation; the royal sceptre (surmounted by a cross), which the archbishop places in the sovereign's right hand at coronation; the rod of equity (surmounted by a dove), which he places in the left hand; several other sceptres; the pointless sword of Mercy, the swords of Justice, and the sacred vessels used at coronation. Here is also the famous Koh-i-noor diamond, the "Mountain of Light," which was taken at Lahore in India. The ancient Martin or Jewel Tower, where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned, is near by; the barracks are on the north side of the Tower, and[Pg 193] behind them are the Brick and Bowyer Towers, in the former of which Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned, and in the latter the Duke of Clarence was drowned; but only the basements of the old towers remain. The Tower Chapel, or church of St. Peter's, was used for the cemetery of the distinguished prisoners who were beheaded there, and in its little graveyard lie scores of headless corpses, as well as the remains of several constables of the Tower. In front of it was the place of execution, marked by an oval of dark stones. The Beauchamp Tower stands at the middle of the west side of the fortress, built in the thirteenth century and used as a prison; there are numerous inscriptions and devices on the walls made by the prisoners. Here Lady Jane Grey's husband carved in antique letters "Iane." In the Bell Tower, at the south-western angle, the princess Elizabeth was confined, and in the present century it was the prison of Sir Francis Burdett, committed for commenting in print on the proceedings of the House of Commons. The Tower Subway is a tunnel constructed recently under the Thames from Tower Hill to Tooley Street for passenger traffic. The Duke of Wellington was constable of the Tower at one time, and its barracks are sometimes occupied by as many as eight thousand troops. This ancient fortress always has a profound interest for visitors, and no part of it more than the Water-Gate, leading from the Thames, the noted "Traitor's Gate," through which have gone so many victims of despotism and tyranny—heroes who have passed

"On through that gate, through which before
Went Sydney, Russell, Raleigh, Cranmer, More."
[Pg 194]



The Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of England, who crowns the sovereigns, has his palace at Lambeth, on the south side of the Thames, opposite Westminster, and its most noted portion is the Lollards' Tower. The Lollards, named from their low tone of singing at interments, were a numerous sect exerting great influence in the fourteenth century. The Church persecuted them, and many suffered death, and their prison was the Lollards' Tower, built in 1435, adjoining the archiepiscopal palace. This prison is reached by a narrow stairway, and at the entrance is a small doorway barely sufficient for one person to pass at a time. The palace itself was built in the days of the Tudors, and the gatehouse of red brick in 1499. The chapel is Early English, its oldest portion built in the thirteenth century. All the Archbishops of Canterbury since that time have been consecrated there. There is a great hall and library, and the history of[Pg 195] this famous religious palace is most interesting. At the red brick gatehouse the dole is distributed by the archbishop, as from time immemorial, to the indigent parishioners. Thirty poor widows on three days of the week each get a loaf, meat, and two and a half pence, while soup is also given them and to other poor persons. The archbishops maintain this charity carefully, and their office is the head of the Anglican Church.


Bow Church, or St. Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside, is one of the best known churches of London. It is surmounted by one of the most admired of Wren's spires, which is two hundred and twenty-five feet high. There is a dragon upon the spire nearly nine feet long. It is the sure criterion of a London Cockney to have been born within sound of "Bow[Pg 196] Bells." A church stood here in very early times, said to have been built upon arches, from which is derived the name of the Ecclesiastical Court of Arches, the supreme court of the province of Canterbury, a tribunal first held in Bow Church. Another of Wren's noted churches is St. Bride's, on Fleet Street, remarkable for its beautiful steeple, originally two hundred and thirty-four feet high. It has been much damaged by lightning. The east window of St. Bride's is a copy on stained glass of Rubens' painting of "The Descent from the Cross." This church contains several famous tombs.



We will now take a brief view of Westminster, the region of palaces, and first of all pause at the most ancient and famous of them, Whitehall, of which only the Banqueting House remains. This was originally the residence of the Archbishops of York, and here lived Cardinal Wolsey in great splendor until his downfall, when Henry VIII. took Whitehall for his palace and made large additions to the buildings, entering it as a residence with his queen, Anne Boleyn. The sovereigns of England lived in Whitehall for nearly two centuries, and in Charles I.'s reign it contained the finest picture-gallery in the kingdom. This unhappy king was beheaded in front of the Banqueting[Pg 197] House, being led to the scaffold out of one of the windows. James II. left Whitehall when he abandoned the kingdom, and accidental fires in the closing years of the seventeenth century consumed the greater part of the buildings. The Banqueting House, which is one hundred and eleven feet long and a fine structure of Portland stone, is all that remains, and it is now used as a royal chapel, where one of the queen's chaplains preaches every Sunday. Rubens' paintings commemorating King James I. are still on the ceiling.



In the district of Whitehall is also the army headquarters and office of the commander-in-chief, the Duke of Cambridge—now known popularly as the "Horse Guards," because in front of it two mounted horsemen stand on duty all day in horse-boxes on either side of the entrance. The clock surmounting the building in its central tower is said to be the standard timekeeper of London for the West End. A carriage-way leads through the centre of the building to St. James Park, a route which only the royal family are permitted to use. Not far away are the other government offices—the Admiralty Building and also "Downing Street," where resides the premier and[Pg 198] where the secretaries of state have their offices and the Cabinet meets. Here are the Treasury Building and the Foreign Office, and from this spot England may be said to be ruled. In this neighborhood also is Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police, where the chief commissioner sits and where lost articles are restored to their owners when found in cabs or omnibuses—an important branch of police duty. It obtained its name from being the residence of the Scottish kings when they visited London.


When the palace in Whitehall was destroyed the sovereigns made their residence chiefly at St. James Palace, which stands on the north side of St. James Park. This building is more remarkable for its historical associations than for its architecture. It was originally a leper's hospital, but Henry VIII., obtaining possession of it, pulled down the old buildings and laid out an extensive park, using it as a semi-rural residence called the Manor House. Its gatehouse and turrets were built for him from plans by Holbein. Queen Mary died in it, and in its chapel Charles I. attended service on the morning of his execution, and we are told that he walked from the palace through the park, guarded by a regiment of troops, to Whitehall to be beheaded. Here lived General Monk when he planned the Restoration, and William III. first received the allegiance of the English nobles here in 1688, but it was not used regularly for state[Pg 199] ceremonies until Whitehall was burned. From this official use of St. James Palace comes the title of "The Court of St. James." Queen Anne, the four Georges, and William III. resided in the palace, and in its chapel Queen Victoria was married, but she only holds court drawing-rooms and levees there, using Buckingham Palace for her residence. Passing through the gateway into the quadrangle, the visitor enters the Color Court, so called from the colors of the household regiment on duty being placed there. The state apartments are on the south front. The great sight of St. James is the queen's drawing-room in the height of the season, when presentations are made at court. On such occasions the "Yeomen of the Guard," a body instituted by Henry VII., line the chamber, and the "Gentlemen-at-Arms," instituted by Henry VIII., are also on duty, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold and carrying small battle-axes covered with crimson velvet. Each body has a captain, who is a nobleman, these offices being highly prized and usually changed with the ministry.



We have been to the queen's country-home at Windsor, and will now visit her town-house, Buckingham Palace, which is also in St. James Park. Here stood a plain brick mansion, built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham, and in which was gathered the famous library of George III., which is now in the British Museum. The house was described as "dull, dowdy, and decent," but in 1825 it was greatly enlarged and improved, and Queen Victoria took possession of the new palace in 1837, and has lived there ever since. Her increasing family necessitated the construction of a large addition in 1846, and a few years afterwards the Marble Arch, which till then formed the entrance, was moved from Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park, and a fine ball-room construct[Pg 200]ed instead. This palace contains a gorgeously-decorated throne-room and a fine picture-gallery, the grand staircase leading up to the state-apartments being of marble. The gardens of Buckingham Palace cover about forty acres: in them are a pavilion and an attractive chapel, the latter having been formerly a conservatory. At the rear of the palace, concealed from view by a high mound, are the queen's stables or mews, so called because the royal stables were formerly built in a place used for keeping falcons. In these stables is the gaudily-decorated state coach, built in 1762 at a cost of $38,000. Marlborough House, the town-residence of the Prince of Wales, adjoins St. James Palace, but is not very attractive. It was originally built for the first Duke of Marlborough, who died in it, and is said to have been designed by Wren, having afterwards been enlarged when it became a royal residence.




Standing on the west side of the Kensington Gardens is the plain, irregular red brick structure known as Kensington Palace, which was originally Lord Chancellor Finch's house. William III bought it from his grandson, and greatly enlarged it. Here died William and Mary, Queen Anne, and George[Pg 201] II., and here Victoria was born. Perhaps the most interesting recent event that Kensington Palace has witnessed was the notification to this princess of the death of William IV. He died on the night of June 19, 1837, and at two o'clock the next morning the Archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chamberlain set out to announce the event to the young sovereign. They reached Kensington Palace about five o'clock, early, but in broad daylight, and they knocked and rang and made a commotion for a considerable time before they could arouse the porter at the gate. Being admitted, they were kept waiting in the courtyard, and then, seeming to be forgotten by everybody, they turned into a lower room and again rang and pounded. Servants appearing, they desired that an attendant might be sent to inform the princess that they requested an audience on business of importance. Then there was more delay, and another ringing to learn the cause, which ultimately brought the attendant, who stated that the princess was in such a sweet sleep she could not venture to disturb her. Thoroughly vexed, they said, "We are come to the queen on business of state, and even her sleep must give way to that."[Pg 202] This produced a speedy result, for, to prove that it was not she who kept them waiting, Victoria in a few minutes came into the room in a loose white nightgown and shawl, with her hair falling upon her shoulders and her feet in slippers, shedding tears, but perfectly collected. She immediately summoned her council at Kensington Palace, but most of the summonses were not received by those to whom they were sent till after the early hour fixed for the meeting. She sat at the head of the table, and, as a lady who was then at court writes, "she received first the homage of the Duke of Cumberland, who was not King of Hanover when he knelt to her; the Duke of Sussex rose to perform the same ceremony, but the queen with admirable grace stood up, and, preventing him from kneeling, kissed him on the forehead. The crowd was so great, the arrangements were so ill made, that my brothers told me the scene of swearing allegiance to their young sovereign was more like that of the bidding at an auction than anything else."



The finest of all the public buildings of the British government in London, the Houses of Parliament, are on the bank of the Thames in Westminster, and are of modern construction. The old Parliament Houses were burnt nearly fifty years ago, and Sir Charles Barry designed the present magnificent palace, which covers nearly eight acres and cost $20,000,000. The architecture is in the Tudor style, and the grand façade stretches nine hundred and forty feet along a terrace fronting on the Thames. It is richly decorated with statues of kings and queens and heraldic devices, and has two pinnacled towers at each end and two in the centre. At the northern end one of the finest bridges across the Thames—the Westminster Bridge—is built, and here rises the Clock Tower, forty feet square and three hundred and twenty feet high, copied in great measure from a similar tower at Bruges. A splendid clock and bells are in the tower, the largest bell, which strikes the hours, weighing eight tons and the clock-dials being thirty feet in diameter. The grandest feature of this palace, however, is the Victoria Tower, at the south-western angle, eighty feet square and three hundred and forty feet high. Here is the sovereign's entrance to the House of Peers, through a magnificent archway sixty-five feet high and having inside the porch statues of the patron saints of the three kingdoms—St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick—and one of Queen Victoria, between the figures of Justice and Mercy. From the centre of the palace rises a spire over the dome of the Central Hall three hundred feet high. In constructing the palace the old Westminster Hall has been retained, so that it forms a grand public entrance, leading through St. Stephen's Porch to St. Stephen's[Pg 203] Hall, which is ninety-five feet long and fifty-six feet high, where statues have been placed of many of the great statesmen and judges of England. From this a passage leads to the Central Hall, an octagonal chamber seventy feet across and seventy-five feet high, with a beautiful groined roof. Corridors adorned with frescoes stretch north and south from this Central Hall to the House of Commons and the House of Peers. The former is sixty-two feet long, and constructed with especial attention to acoustics, but it only has seats for a little over two-thirds of the membership of the House, and the others must manage as they can. The Speaker's chair is at the north end, and the ministers sit on his right hand and the opposition on the left. Outside the House are the lobbies, where the members go on a division. The interior of the House is plain, excepting the ceiling, which is richly decorated. The House of Peers is most gorgeously ornamented, having on either side six lofty stained-glass windows with portraits of sovereigns, these windows being lighted at night from the outside. The room is ninety-one feet long, and at each end has three frescoed archways representing religious and allegorical subjects. Niches in the walls contain statues of the barons who compelled King John to sign Magna Charta. There are heraldic devices on the ceilings and walls, and the throne stands at the southern end. The "Woolsack," where[Pg 204] sits the lord chancellor, who presides over the House, is a seat near the middle of the room, covered with crimson cloth. When the sovereign comes to the palace and enters the gateway at the Victoria Tower, she is ushered into the Norman Porch, containing statues and frescoes representing the Norman sovereigns, and then enters the Robing Room, splendidly decorated and having frescoes representing the legends of King Arthur. When the ceremony of robing is completed, she proceeds to the House of Peers through the longest room in the palace, the Victoria Gallery, one hundred and ten feet long and forty-five feet wide and high. Historical frescoes adorn the[Pg 205] walls and the ceiling is richly gilded. This gallery leads to the Prince's Chamber, also splendidly decorated, and having two doorways opening into the House of Peers, one on each side of the throne. In this palace for six months in every year the British Parliament meets.






When the Marble Arch was taken from Buckingham Palace, it was removed to Hyde Park, of which it forms one of the chief entrances at Cumberland Gate. This magnificent gate, which cost $400,000, leads into probably the best known of the London parks, the ancient manor of Hyde. It was an early resort of fashion, for the Puritans in their time complained of it as the resort of "most shameful powdered-hair men and painted women." It covers about three hundred and ninety acres, and has a pretty sheet of water called the Serpentine. The fashionable drive is on the southern side, and here also is the famous road for equestrians known as Rotten Row, which stretches nearly a mile and a half. On a fine afternoon in the season the display on these roads[Pg 206] is grand. In Hyde Park are held the great military reviews and the mass-meetings of the populace, who occasionally display their discontent by battering down the railings. At Hyde Park Corner is a fine entrance-gate, with the Green Park Gate opposite, surmounted by the Wellington bronze equestrian statue. The most magnificent decoration of Hyde Park is the Albert Memorial, situated near the Prince's Gate on the southern side. The upper[Pg 207] portion is a cross, supported by three successive tiers of emblematic gilt figures, and at the four angles are noble groups representing the four quarters of the globe. This was the masterpiece of Sir Gilbert Scott, and is considered the most splendid monument of modern times. It marks the site of the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851, in which Prince Albert took great interest: there are upon it one hundred and sixty-nine life-size portrait figures of illustrious artists, composers, and poets, while under the grand canopy in the centre is the seated figure of the prince. Opposite is the Royal Albert Hall, and behind this the magnificent buildings of the South Kensington Museum, which grew out of the Exhibition of 1851, and the site for which was bought with the surplus fund of that great display. This is a national museum for art and manufactures allied to art. Its collections are becoming enormous and of priceless value, and include many fine paintings, among them Raphael's cartoons, with galleries of sculpture and antiquities and museums of patent models. There are art-schools and libraries, and the buildings, which have been constructing for several years, are of rare architectural merit. The Royal Albert Hall is a vast amphitheatre of great magnificence devoted to exhibitions of industry, art, and music. It is of oval form, and its external frieze and cornice are modelled[Pg 208] after the Elgin Marbles. Opposite it are the gardens of the Horticultural Society.




Going down into the heart of the old city of London, and standing in the street called the Poultry, the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange are seen over on the other side, with Threadneedle Street between them, and Lombard Street on the right hand, the region that controls the monetary affairs of the world. Turning round, the Mansion House is behind the observer, this being the lord mayor's residence and the head-quarters of the city government. The Royal Exchange has been thrice built and twice burned—first in the great fire of 1666, and afterwards in 1838. The present Exchange, costing $900,000, was opened in 1844, and is three hundred and eight feet long, with a fine portico on the western front ninety-six feet wide, and supported by twelve columns, each forty-one feet high. Within is an open area surrounded by an arcade, while at the rear is Lloyds, the underwriters' offices, where the business of insuring ships is transacted in a hall ninety-eight feet long and forty feet wide. Wellington's statue stands in front of the Exchange, and in the middle of the central area is a statue of Queen Victoria. The Bank of England, otherwise known as the[Pg 209] "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," covers a quadrangular space of about four acres, with a street on each side. It is but one story high, and has no windows on the outside, the architecture being unattractive. The interior is well adapted for the bank offices, which are constructed around nine courts. The bank has been built in bits, and gradually assumed its present size and appearance. It was founded in 1691 by William Paterson, but it did not remove to its present site until 1734. Its affairs are controlled by a governor, deputy governor, and twenty-four directors, and the bank shares of $500 par, paying about ten per cent. dividends per annum, sell at about $1400. It regulates the discount rate, gauging it so as to maintain its gold reserves, and it also keeps the coinage in good order by weighing every coin that passes through the bank, and casting out the light ones by an ingenious machine that will test thirty-five thousand in a day. It also prints its own notes upon paper containing its own water-mark, which is the chief reliance against forgery. The bank transacts the government business in connection with the British public debt of about $3,850,000,000, all in registered stock, and requiring two hundred and fifty thousand separate accounts to be kept. Its deposits aggregate at least $130,000,000, and its capital is $72,765,000. The bank is the great British storehouse for gold, keeping on deposit the reserves of the joint-stock banks and the private bankers of London, and it will have in its vaults at one time eighty to one hundred millions of dollars in gold in ingots, bullion, or coin, this being the basis on which the entire banking system of England is conducted. It keeps an accurate history of every bank-note that is issued, redeeming each note that comes back into the bank in the course of business, and keeping all the redeemed and cancelled notes. The earliest notes were written with a pen, and from this they have been improved until they have become the almost square white pieces of paper of to-day, printed in bold German text, that are so well known, yet are unlike any other bank-notes in existence. Around the large elliptical table in the bank parlor the directors meet every Thursday to regulate its affairs, and—not forgetting they are true Englishmen—eat a savory dinner, the windows of the parlor looking out upon a little gem of a garden in the very heart of London. The Mansion House, built in 1740, is fronted by a Corinthian portico, with six fluted col[Pg 210]umns and a pediment of allegorical sculpture. Within is the Egyptian Hall, where the lord mayor fulfils what is generally regarded as his chief duty, the giving of grand banquets. He can invite four hundred persons to the tables in this spacious hall, which is ornamented by several statues by British sculptors, over $40,000 having been expended for its ornamentation. The lord mayor also has a ball-room and other apartments, including his Venetian parlor and the justice room where he sits as a magistrate. From the open space in front of the Mansion House diverge streets running to all parts of London and the great bridges over the Thames.



The four Inns of Court in London have been described as the palladiums of English liberty—the Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn. There are over three thousand barristers members of these Inns, and the best known is probably Lincoln's Inn, which is named after De Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1312, and had his house on its site, his device, the lion rampant, being adopted by the Inn. The ancient gatehouse, which opens from Chancery Lane, is nearly four hundred years old. The Inn has an old hall dating from 1506, and also a fine modern hall, the Newcastle House, one hundred and twenty feet long, built in Tudor style, with stained-glass windows and having life-size figures of several eminent members in canopied niches. Here is Hogarth's celebrated picture of "Paul before Felix." The Inn has a valuable library, and among its members has counted More, Hale, Selden, Mansfield, and Hardwicke.


Across Fleet Street, and between it and the Thames, is the Temple, a lane dividing it into the Inner and the Middle Temple, while obstructing Fleet Street[Pg 211] there was the old Temple Bar, one of the ancient city gates, which has recently been removed. The name is derived from the Knights Templar, who existed here seven centuries ago; and they afterwards gave the site to certain law-students who wished to live in the suburbs away from the noise of the city. Here in seclusion, for the gates were locked at night, the gentlemen of these societies in a bygone age were famous for the masques and revels given in their halls. Kings and judges attended them, and many were the plays and songs and dances that then enlivened the dull routine of the law. The Inner Temple has for its device a winged horse, and the Middle Temple a lamb. Some satirist has written of these—

"Their clients may infer from thence
How just is their profession:
The lamb sets forth their innocence,
The horse their expedition."

Here is the old Templar Church of St. Mary, built in 1185 and enlarged in 1240. Formerly, the lawyers waited for their clients in this ancient church. During recent years England has erected magnificent buildings for her law courts. The new Palace of Justice fronts about five hundred feet on the Strand, near the site of Temple Bar, which was taken away because it impeded the erection of the new courts, and they cover six acres, with ample gardens back from the street, the wings extending about five hundred feet northward around them. A fine clock-tower surmounts the new courts. In this part of the Strand are many ancient structures, above which the Palace of Justice grandly towers, and some of them have quaint balconies overlooking the street.


While in old London the feasting that has had so much to do with the municipal corporation cannot be forgotten, and on Bishopsgate Street we find the scene of many of the famous public dinners, savory with turtle-soup and whitebait—the London Tavern. Not far distant, and on the same street, is Sir Paul Pindar's House, a quaint structure, now falling into decay, that gives an excellent idea of mediæval domestic architecture.[Pg 212]


Fronting upon Great Russell Street, to which various smaller streets lead northward from Oxford Street, is that vast treasure-house of knowledge whose renown is world-wide, the British Museum. The buildings and their courtyards cover seven acres, and have cost nearly $5,000,000 to construct. The front is three hundred and seventy feet long, the entrance being under a grand portico supported by rows of columns forty-five feet high. This vast museum originated from a provision in the will of Sir Hans Sloane in the last century, who had made a valuable collection and directed that it be sold to the government for $100,000. Parliament, accepting the offer, in 1753 created the museum to take charge of this and some other collections. The present site, then Montagu House, was selected for the museum, but it was not until 1828 that the present buildings were begun, and they have only recently been finished. The reading-room, the latest addition, is the finest structure of its kind in the world, being a circular hall one hundred and forty feet in diameter and covered with a dome one hundred and six feet high. It cost $750,000, and its library is believed to be the largest in the world, containing seven hundred thousand volumes, and increasing at the rate of twenty thousand volumes annually. Its collection of prints is also of rare value and vast extent, and by far the finest in the world.





Let us now take a brief glance at some well-known London sights. The two great heroes who are commemorated in modern London are Wellington and Nelson. Trafalgar Square commemorates Nelson's death and greatest victory, the Nelson Column standing in the centre, with Landseer's colossal lions[Pg 213] reposing at its base. Passing eastward along the Strand, beyond Charing Cross and Somerset House, we come to Wellington Street, which leads to Waterloo Bridge across the Thames. This admirable structure, the masterpiece of John Rennie, cost $5,000,000, and was opened on the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo in 1817. It is of granite, and with the approaches nearly a half mile long, crossing the river upon nine arches, each of one hundred and twenty feet span. Passing westward from Trafalgar Square, we enter Pall Mall, perhaps the most striking of the London streets in point of architecture. Here are club-houses and theatres, statues and columns, and the street swarms with historical associations. On the south side are the Reform and Carlton Clubs, the headquarters respectively of the Liberal and Conservative parties, and a little beyond, on the same side, the row of buildings of all sizes and shapes making up the War Office. Among them is a quaint old Queen-Anne mansion of brick, with a curious pediment and having many windows. This is Schomberg House, shorn of one wing, but still retained among so much that is grand around it. Also in Pall Mall is Foley's celebrated statue of Sidney Herbert, one of the most impressive in[Pg 214] London—the head drooped sadly and reflectively, indicating that it is the image of a conscientious war-minister, who, overweighted with the responsibility of his office, was cut off prematurely. Although not one of the greatest men of England, Herbert's fame will be better preserved by his finer statue than that of many men who have filled a much larger space in her history. Marlborough House has an entrance on Pall Mall, and adjoining its gate is the curious and elaborately decorated building of the Beaconsfield Club. Over the doorway the semicircular cornice does duty for a balcony for the drawing-room windows above. The doorway itself is an imposing archway strangely cut into segments, one forming a window and the other the door.


London contains in the West End many squares surrounded by handsome residences, among them probably the best known being Belgrave, Russell, Bedford, Grosvenor, Hanover, and Cavendish Squares. Eaton Square is said to be the largest of these, Grosvenor Square the most fashionable, and Cavendish Square the most salubrious and best cultivated. The line of streets leading by Oxford Street to the Marble Arch entrance to Hyde Park is London's most fashionable route of city travel, and on Tottenham Court Road, which starts northward from Oxford Street, is the "Bell Inn" at Edmonton. It is not a very attractive house, but is interesting because it was here that Johnny Gilpin and his worthy spouse should have dined when that day of sad disasters came which Cowper has chronicled in John Gilpin's famous ride. The old house has been much changed since then, and is shorn of its balcony, but it has capacious gardens, and is the resort to this day[Pg 215] of London holiday-makers. It is commonly known as "Gilpin's Bell," and a painting of the ride is proudly placed outside the inn. Tottenham Court Road goes through Camden Town, and here at Euston Square is the London terminus of the greatest railway in England—the London and North-western Company. Large hotels adjoin the station, and the Underground Railway comes into it alongside the platform, thus giving easy access to all parts of the metropolis. This railway is one of the wonders of the metropolis, and it has cost about $3,250,000 per mile to construct. The original idea seems to have been to connect the various stations of the railways leading out of town, and to do this, and at the same time furnish means of rapid transit from the heart of the city to the suburbs, the railway has been constructed in the form of an irregular ellipse, running all around the city, yet kept far within the built-up portions. It is a double track, with trains running all around both ways, so that the passenger goes wherever he wishes simply by following the circuit, while branch lines extend to the West End beyond Paddington and Kensington. It is constructed not in a continuous tunnel, for there are frequent open spaces, but on a general level lower than that of the greater part of London, and the routes are pursued without regard to the street-lines on the surface above, often passing diagonally under blocks of houses. The construction has taxed engineering skill to the utmost, for huge buildings have had to be shored up, sewers[Pg 216] diverted, and, at the stations, vast spaces burrowed underground to get enough room. In this way London has solved its rapid-transit problem, though it could be done only at enormous cost. The metropolis, it will be seen, has no end of attractions, and for the traveller's accommodation the ancient inns are rapidly giving place to modern hotels. Among London's famous hostelries is the "Old Tabard Inn" in the Borough, which will probably soon be swept away.




To describe London, as we said before, would fill a volume, but space forbids lingering longer, and we will pass out of the metropolis, after devoting brief attention to one of its historical mansions, the well-known Holland House. This fine old building of the time of James I. stands upon high ground in the western suburbs of London, and its history is interwoven with several generations of arts, politics, and literature. The house is of red brick, embellished with turrets, gable-ends, and mullioned windows. As its park has[Pg 217] already been partly cut up for building-lots, the end of the celebrated mansion itself is believed to be not far off. Built in 1607, it descended to the first Earl of Holland, whence its name. Surviving the Civil Wars, when Fairfax used it for his head-quarters, it is noted that plays were privately performed here in Cromwell's time. In 1716, Addison married the dowager Countess of Holland and Warwick, and the estate passed to him, and he died at Holland House in 1719, having addressed to his stepson, the dissolute Earl of Warwick, the solemn words, "I have sent for you that you may see how a Christian can die." Two years later the young earl himself died. In 1762 the estate was sold to Henry Vassall Fox, Baron Holland, the famous Whig, who died there in 1774. It is related that during his last illness George Selwyn called and left his card. Selwyn had a fondness for seeing dead bodies, and the dying lord remarked, "If Mr. Selwyn calls again, show him up: if I am alive I shall be delighted to see him, and if I am dead he would like to see me." He composed his own epitaph: "Here lies Henry Vassall Fox, Lord Holland, etc., who was drowned while sitting in his elbow-chair." He died in his elbow-chair, of water in the chest. Charles James Fox was his second son, and passed his early years at Holland House. Near the mansion, on the Kensington Road,[Pg 218] was the Adam and Eve Inn, where it is said that Sheridan, on his way to and from Holland House, regularly stopped for a dram, and thus ran up a long bill, which Lord Holland ultimately paid.


The house, built like half the letter H, is of red brick with stone finishings, and in the Elizabethan style, with Dutch gardens of a later date. Much of the old-time decorations and furniture remains. The library, a long gallery, forms the eastern wing, and contains a valuable collection, including many manuscripts and autographs. There are fine pictures and sculptures, with old clocks, vases, cabinets, and carvings, and also a celebrated collection of miniatures. For over two centuries it was the favorite resort of wits and beauties, painters and poets, scholars, philosophers, and statesmen. Lord Brougham says that in the time of Vassall, Lord Holland, it was the meeting-place of the Whig party, his liberal hospitality being a great attract[Pg 219]ive force, and Macaulay writes that it can boast a greater number of inmates distinguished in political and literary history than any other private dwelling in England. After Vassall's death his nephew maintained the reputation of Holland House, dying in 1840, when the estates descended to his only son, the late Lord Holland, who also kept up the character of the mansion. But now, however, the glory of the famous old house is slowly departing, and has chiefly become a fragrant memory.


Eastward from London is the great park which the queen in May opened with much pomp as a breathing-ground for the masses of that densely-populated region, the east end of the metropolis—Epping Forest. This beautiful enclosure originally consisted of nine thousand acres, but encroachments reduced it to about one-third that size. Reclamations were made, however, and the park now opened covers five thousand six hundred acres—a magnificent pleasure-ground.[Pg 220]


The river Thames, steadily gathering force after sweeping through London past the docks, and receiving upon its capacious bosom the vast commerce of all the world, encircles the Isle of Dogs (where Henry VIII. kept his hounds) below the city, and at the southern extremity of the reach we come to Greenwich. Here go many holiday-parties to the famous inns, where they get the Greenwich fish-dinners and can look back at the great city they have left. Here the ministry at the close of the session has its annual whitebait dinner. Greenwich was the Roman Grenovicum and the Saxon Green Town. Here encamped the Danes when they overran England in the eleventh century, and their fleet was anchored in the Thames. It became a royal residence in Edward I.'s time, and Henry IV. dated his will at the manor of Greenwich. In 1437, Greenwich Castle was built within a park, and its tower is now used for the Observatory. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, then held Greenwich, and was the regent of England during Henry VI.'s minority. He was assassinated by rivals in 1447, and the manor reverted to the Crown. The palace was enlarged and embellished, and Henry VIII. was born there in 1491. He greatly improved the palace, and made it his favorite residence, Queen Elizabeth being born there in 1533. King Edward VI. died at Greenwich in 1553, and Elizabeth, enlarging the palace, kept a regular court there. It was her favorite summer home, and the chronicler of the time, writing of a visit to the place, says, in describing the ceremonial of Elizabeth's court, that the presence-chamber was hung with rich tapestry, and the floor, after the then fashion, was covered with rushes. At the door stood a gentleman in velvet with a gold chain, who introduced persons of distinction who came to wait upon the queen. A large number of high officials waited for the queen to appear on her way to chapel. Ultimately she came out, attended by a gorgeous escort. She is described as sixty-five years old, very majestic, with an oblong face, fair but wrinkled, small black, pleasant eyes, nose a little hooked, narrow lips, and black teeth (caused by eating too much sugar). She wore false red hair, and had a small crown on her head and rich pearl drops in her ears, with a necklace of fine jewels falling upon her uncovered bosom. Her air was stately, and her manner of speech mild and obliging. She wore a white silk dress bordered with large pearls, and over it was a black silk mantle embroidered with silver thread. Her long train was borne by a marchioness. She spoke graciously to those whom she passed, occasionally giving her right hand to a favored one to kiss. Whenever she turned her face in going along everybody fell on their knees. The ladies of the court following her were mostly dressed in white.[Pg 221] Reaching the ante-chapel, petitions were presented her, she receiving them graciously, which caused cries of "Long live Queen Elizabeth!" She answered, "I thank you, my good people," and then went into the service.


King James I. put a new front in the palace, and his queen laid the foundation of the "House of Delight," which is now the central building of the Naval Asylum. King Charles I. resided much at Greenwich, and finished the "House of Delight," which was the most magnificently furnished mansion then in England. King Charles II., finding the palace decayed, for it had fallen into neglect during the Civil Wars, had it taken down, and began the erection of a new palace, built of freestone. In the time of William and Mary it became the Royal Naval Asylum, the magnificent group of buildings now there being extensions of Charles II.'s palace, while behind rises the Observatory, and beyond is the foliage of the park. The asylum was opened in 1705, and consists of quadrangular buildings enclosing a square. In the south-western building is the Painted Hall, adorned with portraits of British naval heroes and pictures of naval victories. The asylum supports about two thousand seven hundred in-pensioners and six thousand out-pensioners, while it has a school with eight hundred scholars. By a recent change the in-pensioners are permitted to reside where they please, and it has lately been converted into a medical hospital for wounded seamen. Its income is about $750,000 yearly. The Greenwich Observatory, besides being the centre whence longitude is[Pg 222] reckoned, is also charged with the regulation of time throughout the kingdom.


The Thames, which at London Bridge is eight hundred feet wide, becomes one thousand feet wide at Greenwich, and then it pursues its crooked course between uninteresting shores past Woolwich dockyard, where it is a quarter of a mile wide, and on to Gravesend, where the width is half a mile; then it broadens into an estuary which is eighteen miles wide at the mouth. Almost the only thing that relieves the dull prospect along the lower Thames is Shooter's Hill, behind Woolwich, which rises four hundred and twelve feet. Gravesend, twenty-six miles below London Bridge by the river, is the outer boundary of the port of London, and is the head-quarters of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Its long piers are the first landing-place of foreign vessels. Gravesend is the head-quarters for shrimps, its fishermen taking them in vast numbers and London consuming a prodigious quantity. This fishing and custom-house town, for it is a combination of both, has its streets filled with "tea-and shrimp-houses."


On the opposite bank of the Thames is Tilbury Fort, the noted fortress that commands the navigation of the river and protects the entrance to London. It dates from Charles II.'s time, fright from De Ruyter's Dutch incursion up the Thames in 1667 having led the government to convert Henry VIII.'s blockhouse that stood there into a strong fortification. It was to Tilbury that Queen Elizabeth went when she defied the Spanish Armada. Leicester put a bridge of boats across the river to obstruct the passage, and gathered an army of eighteen thousand men on shore. Here the queen made her bold speech of defiance, in which she said she knew she had the body of but a weak and[Pg 223] feeble woman, but she also had the heart and stomach of a king, and rather than her realm should be invaded and dishonor grow by her, she herself would take up arms. She had then, all told, one hundred and thirty thousand soldiers and one hundred and eighty-one war-vessels, but the elements conquered the "Invincible Armada," barely one-third of it getting back to Spain.

Thus we have traced England's famous river from its source in the Cotswolds until it falls into the North Sea at the mouth of the broad estuary beyond Sheerness and the Nore. Knowing the tale of grandeur that its banks unfold, Wordsworth's feelings can be understood as he halted upon Westminster Bridge in the early morning and looked down the Thames upon London: its mighty heart was still and its houses seemed asleep as the tranquil scene inspired the great poet to write his sonnet:

"Earth has not anything to show more fair;
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This city now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will;
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep,
And all that mighty heart is lying still."
[Pg 224]



Harrow—St. Albans—Verulam—Hatfield House—Lord Burleigh—Cassiobury—Knebworth—Great Bed of Ware—The river Cam—Audley End—Saffron Walden—Newport—Nell Gwynn—Littlebury—Winstanley—Harwich—Cambridge—Trinity and St. John's Colleges—Caius College—Trinity Hall—The Senate House—University Library—Clare College—Great St. Mary's Church—King's College—Corpus Christi College—St. Catharine's College—Queen's College—The Pitt Press—Pembroke College—Peterhouse—Fitzwilliam Museum—Hobson's Conduit—Downing College—Emmanuel College—Christ's College—Sidney-Sussex College—The Round Church—Magdalene College—Jesus College—Trumpington—The Fenland—Bury St. Edmunds—Hengrave Hall—Ely—Peterborough—Crowland Abbey—Guthlac—Norwich Castle and Cathedral—Stamford—Burghley House—George Inn—Grantham—Lincoln—Nottingham—Southwell—Sherwood Forest—Robin Hood—The Dukeries—Thoresby Hall—Clumber Park—Welbeck Abbey—Newstead Abbey—Newark—Hull—William Wilberforce—Beverley—Sheffield—Wakefield—Leeds—Bolton Abbey—The Strid—Ripon Cathedral—Fountains Abbey—Studley Royal—Fountains Hall—York—Eboracum—York Minster—Clifford's Tower—Castle Howard—Kirkham Priory—Flamborough Head—Scarborough—Whitby Abbey—Durham Cathedral and Castle—St. Cuthbert—The Venerable Bede—Battle of Neville's Cross—Chester-le-Street—Lumley Castle—Newcastle-upon-Tyne—Hexham—Alnwick Castle—Hotspur and the Percies—St. Michael's Church—Hulne Priory—Ford Castle—Flodden Field—The Tweed—Berwick—Holy Isle—Lindisfarne—Bamborough—Grace Darling.




The railway running from London to Edinburgh, and on which the celebrated fast train the "Flying Scotchman" travels between the two capitals, is the longest in Britain. Its route northward from the metropolis to the Scottish border, with occasional digressions, will furnish many places of interest. On the outskirts of London, in the north-western suburbs, is the well-known school founded three hundred years ago by John Lyon at Harrow, standing on a hill two hundred feet high. One of the most interesting towns north of London, for its historical associations and antiquarian remains, is St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Here, on the opposite slopes of a shelving valley, are seen on the one hand the town that has clustered around the ancient abbey of St. Albans, and on the other the ruins of the fortification of Verulam, both relics of Roman power and magnificence. On this spot stood the chief town of the Cassii, whose king, Cassivelaunus, vainly opposed the inroads of Cæsar. Here the victorious Roman, after crossing the Thames, besieged and finally overthrew the Britons. The traces of the ancient earthworks are still plainly seen[Pg 225] on the banks of the little river Ver, and when the Romans got possession there arose the flourishing town of Verulam, which existed until the British warrior-queen. Boadicea, stung by the oppressions of her race, stormed and captured the place and ruthlessly massacred its people. But her triumph was short lived, for the Romans, gaining reinforcements, recaptured the city. This was in the earlier days of the Christian era, and at a time when Christian persecutions raged. There then lived in Verulam a prominent man named Alban, a young Roman of good family. In the year 303 a persecuted priest named Amphibalus threw himself upon the mercy of Alban, and sought refuge in his house. The protection was granted, and in a few days the exhortations of Amphibalus had converted his protector to Christianity. The officials, getting word of Amphibalus' whereabouts, sent a guard to arrest him, whereupon Alban dismissed his guest secretly, and, wrapping himself in the priest's robe and hood, awaited the soldiers. They seized him, and took him before the magistrates, when the trick was discovered. He was given the alternative of dying or sacrificing to the gods of Rome, but, preferring the crown of martyrdom, after cruel torments he was led to his doom. He was to be taken across the Ver to be beheaded, but miracles appeared. The stream, which had been a-flood, quickly dried up, so that the multitude could pass, and this so touched the[Pg 226] executioner that he refused to strike the blow and declared himself also a convert. The executioner's head was quickly stricken off, and another headsman obtained. Alban meanwhile was athirst, and at his prayer a spring broke from the ground for his refreshment. The new executioner struck off Alban's head, but in doing so his eyes dropped from their sockets. On the spot where Alban died the abbey was afterwards built. His martyrdom did not save Amphibalus, who was soon captured and put to death at Redburn, a few miles away, where his relics were afterwards discovered and enshrined, like those of his pupil, in the abbey.




The sacrifice of the protomartyr brought its fruits. Verulam became Christian, and within a century was paying him the honors of a saint. In the eighth century King Offa of Mercia, having treacherously murdered King Ethelbert, became conscience-stricken, and to propitiate Heaven founded the abbey. He built a Benedictine monastery, which was richly endowed, and gradually attracted the town away from Verulam and over to its present site. This monastery existed until the Norman Conquest, when it was rebuilt, the ruins of Verulam serving as a quarry. Thus began the great abbey of St. Albans, which still overlooks the Ver, although it has been materially altered since. It prospered greatly, and the close neighborhood to London brought many pilgrims as well as royal visits. The abbots were invested with great powers and became dictatorial and proud, having frequent contests with the townsfolk; and it is recorded that one young man who applied for admission to the order, being refused on account of his ignorance, went abroad and ultimately became Pope Adrian IV. But he bore the abbot no ill-will, afterwards granting it many favors. Cardinal Wolsey was once the abbot, but did not actively govern it. In 1539 its downfall came, and it surrendered to King Henry VIII. The deed of surrender, signed by thirty-nine monks, is still preserved, and the seal is in the British Museum. The abbey is now in ruins; the church and gateway[Pg 227] remain, but the great group of buildings that composed it has mostly disappeared, so that the old monastery is almost as completely effaced as Verulam. But the church, by being bought for $2000 for the St. Albans parish church, is still preserved, and is one of the most interesting ecclesiastical structures in England; yet its great length and massive central tower are rather unfavorable to its picturesqueness, though the tower when seen from a distance impresses by its grandeur and simplicity. In this tower, as well as in other parts of the church, can be detected the ancient bricks from Verulam. The ground-plan of St. Albans Church is a Latin cross, and it is five hundred and forty-eight feet long. The western part was erected in the twelfth, and the greater portion of the nave and choir in the thirteenth century. The floor of the choir is almost paved with sepulchral slabs, though of the two hundred monuments the church once contained barely a dozen remain. At the back of the high altar was the great treasury of the abbey, the shrine enclosing St. Alban's relics, but this was destroyed at the Reformation: some fragments have been since discovered, and the shrine thus reproduced with tolerable completeness. On the side of the chapel is a wooden gallery, with cupboards beneath and a staircase leading up to it. In the shrine and cupboards were the abbey treasures, and in the gallery the monks kept[Pg 228] watch at night lest they should be despoiled. This vigilance, we are told, was necessary, for rival abbeys were by no means scrupulous about the means by which they augmented their stores of relics. This quaint gallery, still preserved, is five hundred years old. Near the shrine is the tomb of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, brother of King Henry V. and regent during the minority of Henry VI., who was assassinated at Windsor. The tomb was opened in 1703, and the skeleton found buried among spices and enclosed in two coffins, the outer of lead. The vault remained opened, and visitors purloined good Humphrey's bones till nearly all had disappeared, when the authorities concluded it was better to close up the vault and save what remained. The massive gatehouse, which still exists, was built in Richard II.'s reign, and was used for a jail until not long ago they determined to put a school there. In front of it the martyr Tankerfield was burnt, and buried in 1555 in a little triangular graveyard which still exists. Fox, in his Book of Martyrs, relates that he endured the pain with great constancy, and testified to the last against the errors of his persecutors.


In the town of St. Albans, near the abbey and at the junction of two streets, stands the ancient clock-tower, built in the early part of the fifteenth century, and mainly of flint. It occupies the site of an earlier one said to have been erected by two ladies of Verulam, who, wandering alone in the woods and becoming lost, saw a light in a house, sought refuge there, and erected the tower on the site as a memorial of their deliverance. The bell in this tower was in former days used to ring the curfew. The town itself has little to show. In the church of St. Peter, among the monumental brasses, is the one to a priest often quoted, that reads:

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"Lo, all that here I spent, that some time had I;
All that I gave in good intent, that now have I;
That I neither gave nor lent, that now abie[A] I;
That I kept till I went, that lost I."

Edward Strong, the mason who built St. Paul's Cathedral in London under the direction of Wren, is also buried in this church. Its chief tenants, however, are the slain at the second battle of St. Albans in the Wars of the Roses. At the first of these battles, fought in 1455 on the east side of the town, Henry of Lancaster was wounded and captured by the Duke of York. The second battle, a much more important contest, was fought on Shrove Tuesday, February 17, 1461, at Barnard's Heath, north of the town, and near St. Peter's Church. Queen Margaret of Lancaster led her forces in person, and was victorious over the Yorkists under the Earl of Warwick, liberating the captive king, who was in the enemy's camp, and following the battle by a ruthless execution of prisoners. King Henry, who had gone to St. Alban's shrine in tribulation when captured in the earlier contest, also went there again in thanksgiving when thus liberated six years later. The town of St. Albans, by the growth of time, has stretched across the Ver, and one straggling suburb reaches into the north-western angle of the ruins of ancient Verulam, where it clusters around the little church of St. Michael within the Roman city. This is a plain church, built in patches, parts of it nearly a thousand years old, and is the burial place of Francis Bacon, who was Baron of Verulam and Viscount St. Albans. Within a niche on the side of the chancel is his familiar effigy in marble, where he sits in an arm-chair and contemplatively gazes upward. From these ruins of Verulam is obtained the best view of St. Alban's Abbey, with the town in the background, overlooked by its clock-tower.

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[A] This word means expiate.


A short distance east of St. Albans is Hatfield, and in a fine park in the suburbs stands the magnificent mansion of the Marquis of Salisbury—Hatfield House. The place is ancient, though the house is completely modern. The manor was given by King Edgar to the monastery at Ely, and, as in course of time the abbot became a bishop, the manor afterwards became known as Bishops Hatfield, a name that it still bears. The oldest portion of the present buildings was erected in the reign of Henry VII., and in the time of his successor it passed into possession of the Crown. Here lived young Edward VI., and he was escorted by the Earl of Hertford and a cavalcade of noblemen from Hatfield to London for his coronation. The youthful king granted Hatfield to his sister Elizabeth, and here she was kept in Queen Mary's reign after her release from the Tower. She was under the guardianship of Sir Thomas Pope when, in November, 1558, Queen Mary died, and Sir William Cecil sent mes[Pg 231]sengers from London to apprise Elizabeth that the crown awaited her. We are told that when they arrived the princess was found in the park, sitting under a spreading oak—a noble tree then, but time has since made sad havoc with it, though the remains are carefully preserved as one of the most precious memorials at Hatfield. The family of Cecil, thus introduced to Hatfield, was destined to continue associated with its fortunes. Sir William came to the manor on the next day, and then peers and courtiers of all ilks flocked thither to worship the rising sun. On the following day the queen gave her first reception in the hall and received the fealty of the leading men of every party; but she did not forget Cecil, for her earliest act was to appoint him her chief secretary, lord treasurer, and adviser—a tie that continued for forty years and was only sundered by death. Cecil was afterwards made Lord Burghley, and the confidence thus first reposed in him within the hall that was afterwards to become the home of his descendants was most remarkable. "No arts," writes Lord Macaulay, "could shake the confidence which she reposed in her old and trusty servant. The courtly graces of Leicester, the brilliant talents and accomplishments of Essex, touched the fancy, perhaps the heart, of the woman, but no rival could deprive the treasurer of the place which he possessed in the favor of the queen. She sometimes chid him sharply, but he was the man whom she delighted to honor. For Burghley she forgot her usual parsimony, both of wealth and dignities; for Burghley she relaxed that severe etiquette to which she was unreasonably attached. Every other person to whom she addressed her speech, or on whom the glance of her eagle eye fell, instantly sank on his knee. For Burghley alone a chair was set in her presence, and there the old minister, by birth only a plain Lincolnshire esquire, took his ease, while the haughty heirs of the Fitzalans and De Veres humbled themselves to the dust around him. At length, having survived all his early coadjutors and rivals, he died, full of years and honors."



But it was not until after his death that Hatfield came into possession of his family. He built Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire, and left it to his younger son, Sir Robert Cecil. After Elizabeth's death, King James I. expressed a preference for Burghley over Hatfield, and an exchange was made by which Hatfield passed into possession of Sir Robert, who had suc[Pg 232]ceeded his father as chief minister, and, though in weak health and of small stature, was a wise and faithful servant of the queen and of her successor. In Elizabeth's last illness, when she persisted in sitting propped up on a stool by pillows, he urged her to rest herself, and inadvertently said she "must go to bed." The queen fired up. "Must!" cried she. "Is must a word to be addressed to princes? Little man, little man, thy father if he had been alive durst not have used that word." Sir Robert did not survive the queen many years, and to him King James's peaceful succession to the throne is said to have been greatly due. The king made him the Earl of Salisbury, and the title descended for several generations, until, in 1773, the seventh earl was promoted to the rank of marquis, and now Robert Cecil, the third Marquis of Salisbury and one of the leaders of the Conservative party, presides over the estates at Hatfield. The chief entrance to Hatfield House is on the northern side, and above it rises a cupola. The buildings form three sides of an oblong, the longer line fronting the north and the two wings pointing towards the south. They are of brick, with stone dressings and facings, and are admired as a faithful example of the excellent domestic architecture of the early part of the seventeenth century. The approach through the park from the town is of great beauty, the grand avenue, bordered by stately trees, conducting the visitor to a court in front of the house enclosed by a balustrade with handsome gates. Within the building the most remarkable features are the galleries, extending along the entire southern front. The gallery on the ground[Pg 233] floor was formerly a corridor, open on one side to the air; but at a comparatively recent period this has been enclosed with glass, and thus converted into a gallery paved with black and white marble, and ornamented with arms and armor, some being trophies from the Armada and others from the Crimea. Here is the rich saddle-cloth used on the white steed that Queen Elizabeth rode at Tilbury. There are a fine chapel and attractive state-apartments, but around the old house there lingers a tale of sorrow. The western wing was burned in 1835, and the dowager marchioness, the grandmother of the present marquis, then five years old, perished in the flames, which originated in her chamber. This wing has been finely restored, and the room in which she was burned contains her portrait, an oval medallion let into the wall over the fireplace. It is the sweet and sunny face of a young girl, and her tragic fate in helpless age reminds of Solon's warning as we look at the picture: "Count no one happy till he dies." In the gallery at Hatfield are portraits of King Henry VIII. and all six of his wives. In the library, which is rich in historical documents, is the pedigree of Queen Elizabeth, emblazoned in 1559, and tracing her ancestry in a direct line back to Adam! The state bedrooms have been occupied by King James, Cromwell, and Queen Victoria. In the gardens, not far from the house, is the site of the old episcopal palace of Bishops Hatfield, of which one side remains standing, with the quaint gatehouse now used as an avenue of approach up the hill from the town to the stables. There is a fine view of the town through the ancient gateway. Here lived the princess Elizabeth, and in the halls where kings have banqueted the marquis's horses now munch their oats. Immediately below, in the town, is Salisbury Chapel, in which repose the bones of his ancestors.


Also in Hertfordshire are Cassiobury, the seat of the Earls of Essex, whose ancestor, Lord Capel, who was beheaded in 1648 for his loyalty to King Charles I., brought the estate into the family by his marriage with Elizabeth Morison; and Knebworth, the home of Lord Lytton the novelist, which has been the[Pg 234] home of his ancestors since the time of Henry VII., when it was bought by Sir Robert Lytton. The "Great Bed of Ware" is one of the curiosities of the county—a vast bed twelve feet square, originally at the Saracen's Head Inn. It was built for King Edward IV., and was curiously carved, and has had a distinguished place in English literary allusions. The bed still exists at Rye House in Hertfordshire, where it was removed a few years ago. A dozen people have slept in it at the same time.




Journeying farther from London, and into the county of Essex, we come to the little river Cam, and on the side of its valley, among the gentle undulations of the Essex uplands, is seen the palace of Audley End, and beyond it the village of Saffron Walden. Here in earlier times was the abbey of Walden, which, when dissolved by Henry VIII., was granted to Sir Thomas Audley, who then stood high in royal favor. But almost all remains of this abbey have disappeared, and Sir Thomas, who was Speaker of the House, got the grant because of his industry in promoting the king's wishes for the dissolution of the religious houses, and was also made Lord Audley of Walden. This, as Fuller tells us, was "a dainty morsel, an excellent receipt to clear the Speaker's voice, and make him speak clear and well for his master." But he did not live long to enjoy it, although giving the estate his name, and it passed ultimately to the Duke of Norfolk, after whose execution it became the property of his son, Lord Thomas Howard, whom Queen Elizabeth made Baron Walden, and King James appointed lord treasurer and promoted to be Earl of Suffolk. He built the great palace of Audley End, which was intended to eclipse every palace then existing in England. It was begun in 1603, and was finished in 1616, the date still remaining upon one of the gateways. King James twice visited Aud[Pg 235]ley End while building, and is said to have remarked, as he viewed its enormous proportions, that the house was too large for a king, though it might do for a lord treasurer. It cost over $1,000,000, but no accurate account was kept, and the earl was so straitened by the outlay, that after being dismissed from office he was compelled to sell out several other estates, and died nearly $200,000 in debt. The second and third earls tried to maintain the white elephant, but found it too heavy a burden, and the latter sold the house to King Charles II. for $250,000, of which $100,000 remained on mortgage. It was known as the New Palace, and became a royal residence. It consisted of a large outer court and a smaller inner one. Around these the buildings were constructed from one to three stories high, with towers at the corners and centres of the fronts. The impression produced by the design is said not to have been very favorable, it being insufficiently grand for so vast a pile, and while it was a pleasant residence in summer, the want of facilities for heating made it in winter little better than a barn. When Pepys visited Audley End in 1660 and 1668, his chief impression seems to have been of the cellars, for he writes: "Only the gallery is good, and, above all things, the cellars, where we went down and drank of much good liquor. And, indeed, the cellars are fine, and[Pg 236] here my wife and I did sing, to my great content." It was in the following year that the house was sold to the king. In 1701, however, it passed back to the fifth Earl of Suffolk, and about twenty years later a large part of the structure was taken down. Three sides of the great court, including the gallery referred to by Pepys, were demolished, and Audley End was reduced to the buildings around the smaller quadrangle; this was further reduced in 1749, so that the house assumed its present appearance of three sides of a square, open towards the east, and thus remains an excellent type of an early Jacobean mansion, its best view being from the garden front. Within it has fine apartments, and contains the only authentic portrait of George II. that is known. This king would never sit for his picture, and the artist by stealth sketched his likeness from a closet near the staircase of Kensington Palace, where he had an excellent view of the peculiar monarch. It is, as Thackeray says, the picture of a "red-faced, staring princeling," but is believed true to nature nevertheless. Lady Suffolk, it seems, was one of his few favorites. Audley End has been for a long time in possession of the Barons of Braybrooke, and is their principal seat. Lord Cornwallis, of American Revolutionary remembrance, was a member of this family, and his portrait is preserved here.


1. Town-Hall. 2. Church. 3. Entrance to the Town. VIEWS IN SAFFRON WALDEN.
1. Town-Hall. 2. Church. 3. Entrance to the Town.

Over the undulating surface of the park, barely a mile away, can be seen the pretty spire of Saffron Walden Church, with the village clustering around it. Here on a hill stand the church and the castle, originally of Walden, but from the extensive cultivation of saffron in the neighborhood the town came to have that prefix given it; it was grown there from the time of Edward III., and the ancient historian Fuller quaintly tells us "it is a most admirable cordial, and under God I owe my life, when sick with the small-pox, to the efficacy thereof." Fuller goes on to tell us that "the sovereign power of genuine saffron is plainly proved by the antipathy of the crocodile thereto; for the crocodile's tears are never true save when he is forced where saffron groweth, whence he hath his name of croco-deilos, or the saffron-fearer, knowing himself to be all poison, and it all antidote." Saffron attained its highest price at Walden in Charles II.'s time, when it was as high as twenty dollars a pound, but its disuse in medicine caused its value to diminish, and at the close of the last century its culture had entirely disappeared from Walden, though the prefix still clings to the name of the town. While saffron was declining, this neighborhood became a great producer of truffles, and the dogs were trained here to hunt the fungus that is so dear to the epicure's palate. The church of St. Mary, which is a fine Perpendicular structure and the most conspicuous feature of Saffron Walden, was built about four hundred years ago, though the slender spire crowning its western tower is of later date, having been built in the present century.[Pg 237] In the church are buried the six Earls of Suffolk who lived at Audley End, and all of whom died between 1709 and 1745. The ruins of the ancient castle, consisting chiefly of a portion of the keep and some rough arches, are not far from the church, and little is known of its origin. There is a museum near the ruins which contains some interesting antiquities and a fine natural-history collection. The newly-constructed town-hall, built in antique style, overhanging the footway and supported on arches, is one of the most interesting buildings in Saffron Walden: the mayor and corporation meeting here date their charter from 1549. Not far away, at Newport, lived Nell Gwynn in a modest cottage with a royal crown over the door. She was one of the numerous mistresses of Charles II., and is said to have been the only one who remained faithful to him. She bore him two sons, one dying in[Pg 238] childhood, and the other becoming the Duke of St. Albans, a title created in 1684, and still continued in the persons of his descendants of the family of Beauclerc. Nell was originally an orange-girl who developed into a variety actress, and, fascinating the king, he bought her from Lord Buckhurst, her lover, for an earldom and a pension. Nell is said to have cost the king over $300,000 in four years. She had her good qualities and was very popular in England, and she persuaded the king to found Chelsea Hospital for disabled soldiers, and he also bore her genuine affection, for his dying words were, "Let not poor Nelly starve." She survived him about seven years. Also in the neighborhood, at Littlebury, was the home of Winstanley, the builder of the first Eddystone Lighthouse, who perished in it when it was destroyed by a terrific storm in 1703.


Digressing down to the coast of Essex, on the North Sea, we find at the confluence of the Stour and Orwell the best harbor on that side of England, bordered by the narrow and old-fashioned streets of the ancient seaport of Harwich. Here vast fleets seek shelter in easterly gales behind the breakwater that is run out from the Beacon Hill. From here sail many steamers to Rotterdam and Antwerp in connection with the railways from London, and the harbor-entrance is protected by the ancient Languard Fort, built by James I. on a projecting spit of land now joined to the Suffolk coast to the northward. One of the most interesting scenes at Harwich is a group of old wrecks that has been utilized for a series of jetties in connection with a shipbuilder's yard. Weather-beaten and battered, they have been moored in a placid haven, even though it be on the unpicturesque coast of Essex.[Pg 239]



Returning to the valley of the Cam, we will follow it down to the great university city of Cambridge, fifty-eight miles north of London. It stands in a wide and open valley, and is built on both banks of the river, which is navigable up to this point, so that the town is literally the "Bridge over the Cam." The situation is not so picturesque or so favorable as that of the sister university city of Oxford, but it is nevertheless an attractive city, the stately buildings being admirably set off by groups and avenues of magnificent trees that flourish nowhere to better advantage than in English scenery. The chief colleges are ranged along the right bank of the Cam, with their fronts away from the water, while behind each there is a sweep of deliciously green meadowland known as the "Backs of the Colleges," surrounded by trees, and with a leafy screen of foliage making the background beyond the buildings. While the greater part of modern Cambridge is thus on the right bank of the river, the oldest portion was located on a low plateau forming the opposite shore. It is uncertain when the university was first established there. Henry Beau[Pg 240]clerc, the youngest son of William the Conqueror, studied the arts and sciences at Cambridge, and when he became king he bestowed many privileges upon the town and fixed a regular ferry over the Cam. By the thirteenth century scholars had assembled there and become a recognized body, according to writs issued by Henry III. In 1270 the title of a university was formally bestowed, and the oldest known collegiate foundation—Peterhouse, or St. Peter's College—had been established a few years before. Cambridge has in all seventeen colleges, and the present act of incorporation was granted by Queen Elizabeth. The Duke of Devonshire is the chancellor. The student graduates either "in Honors" or "in the Poll." In the former case he can obtain a distinction in mathematics, classics, the sciences, theology, etc. The names of the successful students are arranged in three classes in a list called the Tripos, a name derived from the three-legged stool whereon sat in former days one of the bachelors, who recited a set of satirical verses at the time the degrees were conferred. In the Mathematical Tripos the first class are called Wranglers, and the others Senior and Junior Optimes. Thus graduate the "Dons" of Cambridge.


Let us now take a brief review of the seventeen colleges of Cambridge. In Trinity Street is Trinity College, founded in 1546 by Henry VIII. It consists of four quadrangular courts, the Great Court being the largest quadrangle in the university, and entered from the street by the grand entrance-tower known as the King's Gateway. On the northern side of the quadrangle are the chapel and King Edward's Court, and in the centre of the southern side the Queen's Tower, with a statue of Queen Mary. In the centre of the quadrangle is a quaint conduit. The chapel is a plain wainscoted room, with an ante-chapel filled with busts of former members of the college—among them Bacon and Macaulay—and also a noble statue of Newton. Trinity College Hall is one hundred feet long and the finest in Cambridge, its walls being adorned with several portraits. It was in Trinity that Byron, Dryden, Cowley, Herbert, and Tennyson were all students. There are said to be few spectacles more impressive than the choral service on Sunday evening in term-time, when Trinity Chapel is crowded with surpliced students. In the Master's Lodge, on the western side of the quadrangle, are the state-apartments where royalty is lodged when visiting Cambridge, and here also in special apartments the judges are housed when on circuit. Through screens or passages in the hall the second quadrangle, Neville's Court, is entered, named for a master of the college who died in 1615. Here is the library, an attractive apartment[Pg 241] supported on columns, which contains Newton's telescope and some of his manuscripts, and also a statue of Byron. The King's (or New) Court, is a modern addition, built in the present century at a cost of $200,000. From this the College Walks open on the western side, the view from the gateway looking down the long avenue of lime trees being strikingly beautiful. The Master's Court is the fourth quadrangle.


Adjoining Trinity is its rival, St. John's College, also consisting of four courts, though one of them is of modern construction and on the opposite bank of the river. This college was founded by the countess Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII., and opened in 1516, having been for three centuries previously a hospital. It is generally regarded from this circumstance as being the oldest college at Cambridge. The gateway is a tower of mingled brick and stone and one of the earliest structures of the college. Entering it, on the opposite side of the court is seen the New Chapel, but recently completed, a grand edifice one hundred and seventy-two feet long and sixty-three feet high, with a surmounting tower whose interior space is open and rises eighty-four feet above the pavement. The roof and the windows are[Pg 242] richly colored, and variegated marbles have been employed in the interior decoration. The eastern end is a five-sided apse; the ceiling is vaulted in oak, while the chapel has a magnificent screen. Between the first and second courts is the hall, recently enlarged and decorated, and the library is on the northern side of the third court. It is a picturesque room of James I.'s time, with a timbered roof, whitened walls, and carved oaken bookcases black with age. The second court is of earlier date, and a fine specimen of sixteenth-century brickwork. On the southern side is an octagonal turret, at the top of which is the queer little room occupied by Dr. Wood, whose statue is in the chapel. When he first came to college from his humble home in the north of England he was so poor that he studied by the light of the staircase candle, and wrapped his feet in wisps of hay in winter to save the cost of a fire. He became the Senior Wrangler, and in due course a Fellow, and ultimately master of the college. To this was added the deanery of Ely. Dying, he bequeathed his moderate fortune for the aid of poor students and the benefit of his college. Of the third court the cloister on the western side fronts the river. The New Court, across the Cam, is a handsome structure, faced with stone and surmounted by a tower. A covered Gothic bridge leads to it over the river from the older parts of the college. In the garden along the river, known as the Wilderness, Prior the poet is said to have laid out the walks. Here among the students who have taken recreation have been Wordsworth and Herschel, Wilberforce and Stillingfleet.


[Pg 243]


It took two founders to establish Gonville and Caius College, and both their names are preserved in the title, though it is best known as Caius (pronounced Keys) College. Its buildings were ancient, but have been greatly changed in the present century, so that the chief entrance is now beneath a lofty tower, part of the New Court and fronting the Senate House. This New Court is a fine building, ornamented with busts of the most conspicuous men of Caius. Beyond is the smaller or Caius Court of this college, constructed in the sixteenth century. The "Gate of Virtue and Wisdom" connects them, and is surmounted by an odd turret. On the other side is the "Gate of Honor," a good specimen of the Renaissance. The "Gate of Humility" was removed in rebuilding the New Court. Thus did this college give its students veritable sermons in stones. The founders of Caius were physicians, and among its most eminent members were Hervey and Jeremy Taylor. Adjoining Caius is Trinity Hall, as noted for the law as its neighbor is for medicine, and immediately to the south is a group of university buildings. Among these is the Senate House, opened in 1730, where the university degrees are conferred. It has a fine interior, especially the ceiling, and among the statues is an impressive one of the younger Pitt. The most exciting scene in the Senate House is when the result of the mathematical examination is announced. This for a long time was almost the only path to distinction at Cambridge. When all are assembled upon a certain Friday morning in January, one of the examiners stands up in the centre of the western gallery and just as the clock strikes nine proclaims to the crowd the name of the "Senior Wrangler," or first student of the year, with a result of deafening cheers; then the remainder of the list is read. On the following day the recipients of degrees and visitors sit on the lower benches, and the undergraduates cram the galleries. Then with much pomp the favored student is conducted to the vice-chancellor to receive his first degree alone. The University Library is near by, and, as it gets a copy of every book entered for English copyright, it has become a large one. Some of the manuscripts it contains are very valuable, particularly the Codex Beza, a manuscript of the Gospels given in 1581 by Beza.


Adjoining Trinity Hall is the beautiful court of Clare College, dating from the time of the Civil Wars, when it replaced older structures. Its exterior is most attractive to visitors, exhibiting the pleasing architecture of the sixteenth century. The river-front is much admired, while the gateway is marked by quaint lantern-like windows. In the library is one of the rare Bibles of Sixtus V., and in the Master's Lodge is kept the poison-cup of Clare, which is both[Pg 244] curious and beautiful. The gentle lady's mournful fate has been told by Scott in Marmion. Tillotson and other famous divines were students at Clare, and the college also claims Chaucer, but this is doubtful, though the college figures in his story of the "Miller of Trumpington," and also adjuts upon Trumpington Street. Upon the opposite side of this street is Great St. Mary's Church, the university church, an attractive building of Perpendicular architecture and having fine chimes of bells. Here the vice chancellor listens to a sermon every Sunday afternoon in term-time. Formerly, on these occasions, the "heads and doctors" of the university sat in an enclosed gallery built like a sort of gigantic opera-box, and profanely called the "Golgotha." A huge pulpit faced them on the other end of the church, and the centre formed a sort of pit. Modern improvements have, however, swept this away, replacing it with ordinary pews.


Trumpington Street broadens into the King's Parade, and here, entered through a modern buttressed screen pierced with openings filled with tracery, is King's College. It was founded by Henry VI. in 1440, and in immediate connection with the school at Eton, from which the more advanced scholars were to be transferred. The great King's Chapel, which gives an idea of the grand scale on which this college was to be constructed, is the special boast of Cambridge. It is two hundred and eighty feet long, forty-five feet wide, and[Pg 245] seventy-eight feet high, with a marvellously fretted roof of stone, and large windows at the sides and ends filled with beautiful stained glass. This is the most imposing of all the buildings in Cambridge, and occupies the entire northern side of the college court. Its fine doorway is regarded as the most pleasing part of the exterior design. The stained-glass windows are divided into an upper and lower series of pictures. The lower is a continuous chain of gospel history, while the upper exhibits the Old-Testament types of the subjects represented below. Although designed on such a magnificent scale, the Wars of the Roses interfered with the completion of King's College, and even the chapel was not finished until Henry VIII.'s reign. The other college buildings are modern.


Adjoining King's is Corpus Christi College, the buildings being almost entirely modern. Of the ancient structure one small court alone remains, a picturesque steep-roofed building almost smothered in ivy. Corpus Christi Hall is said to have been partly designed after the great hall of Kenilworth. In its library are the famous manuscripts rescued from the suppressed monasteries, there being four hundred interesting and curious volumes of these precious documents, which are most jealously guarded. Opposite Corpus is St. Catharine's College, with a comparatively plain hall and chapel. Behind this is Queens' College, an antique structure, though not a very ancient foundation. Its entrance-tower is of brick, and a quaint low cloister runs around the interior court. Within is Erasmus's Court, where are pointed out the rooms once occupied by that great scholar. Across the river a wooden bridge leads to a terrace by the water-side with an overhanging border of elms, and known as Erasmus's Walk. This college was founded by the rival queens, Margaret of[Pg 246] Anjou and Elizabeth Widvile, and though it is very proud of having had the great scholar of the Reformation within its halls, he does not seem to have entirely reciprocated the pleasure; for he complains in a letter to a friend that while there "he was blockaded with the plague, beset with thieves, and drugged with bad wine." Returning to Trumpington Street, we find on the western side the University Printing Press, named from the younger statesman the Pitt Press. He represented the university in Parliament, and the lofty square and pinnacled tower of this printing-office is one of the most conspicuous objects in Cambridge. Yet even this structure has its contrasts, for the "Cantabs" consider that its architecture is as bad as its typography is good.



1. The Senate House. 2. The Pitt Press.
3. The Round Church. 4. Great St. Mary's.
5. Fitzwilliam Museum.

[Pg 247]Pembroke College, near the Pitt Press, has a chapel designed by Christopher Wren and recently enlarged. This was the college of Spenser and Gray, the latter having migrated from the neighboring Peterhouse because of the practical jokes the students played upon him. It was also Pitt's college. Opposite Pembroke is Peterhouse, or St. Peter's College, the most ancient foundation in Cambridge, established by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, in 1284. Beyond Peterhouse is the Fitzwilliam Museum, a most successful reproduction of classic architecture, built and maintained by a legacy of $500,000 left by Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816. It contains an excellent art and literary collection, which was begun by the viscount. This is regarded as probably the[Pg 248] finest classical building constructed in the present century in England. A short distance beyond, at the end of a water-course, is an attractive hexagonal structure with niched recesses and ornamental capstones. This is Hobson's Conduit, erected in 1614 by Thomas Hobson. This benefactor of Cambridge was a carrier between London and the university, and is said to have been the originator of "Hobson's Choice." The youngest foundation at Cambridge is Downing College, erected in 1807, an unobtrusive structure, and near by is Emmanuel College, built on the site of a Dominican convent and designed by Wren. It was founded by Sir Walter Mildmay, the Puritan, in 1584, who on going to court was taxed by Queen Mary with having erected a Puritan college. "No, madam," he replied, "far be it from me to countenance anything contrary to your established laws, but I have set an acorn, which when it becomes an oak God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof." Sir William Temple was educated at Emmanuel. Christ's College is near by, chiefly interesting from its associations with Milton, whose rooms are still pointed out, while a mulberry tree that he planted is preserved in the garden. Latimer and Paley, with a host of other divines, were students here. This college was founded by Queen Margaret, mother of Henry VII., and some beautiful silver plate, her gift to the Fellows, is still preserved. At Sidney-Sussex College Cromwell was a Fellow in 1616, and his crayon portrait hangs in the dining-hall. Owing to want of means, he left without taking a degree. An oriel window projecting over the street is said to mark his chamber. Upon Bridge Street is the Round Church, or St. Sepulchre's Church, obtaining its name from its circular Norman nave, this being one of the four "Temple churches" still remaining in England. Across the Cam stands Magdalene College, founded in 1519 by Baron Thomas Audley of Walden. Within the building behind it are the literary collections of Samuel Pepys, who was secretary to the Admiralty in the reigns of Charles II. and James II., together with the manuscript of his famous diary, a book of marvellous gossip, recording the peccadilloes of its author, the jealousy of his wife, and the corruptions of the court. He was educated at Magdalene.

Jesus Lane leads out of Bridge Street to Jesus College, remotely placed on the river-bank, and of which the chief building of interest is the chapel, a fine Gothic structure. This college is upon the site of a Benedictine nunnery founded in 1133, and is entered by a lofty brick gate-tower which is much admired, and was constructed soon after the foundation of the college in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, whose successors until this day retain the gift of the mastership. From Jesus Lane a path leads down to the boat-houses on the river bank, where each college has a boat-club wearing a distinctive dress.[Pg 249] The racecourse is at the Long Reach, just below the town. Of the ancient Cambridge Castle, built by the Conqueror in 1068, nothing remains but the mound upon Castle Hill, where the county courts are now located. Cambridge, however, has little besides its university buildings to attract attention. In the suburbs are two colleges for the instruction of lady students, and two miles away is Trumpington, near which is the site of the mill told of in Chaucer's Canterbury tale of the Miller of Trumpington. The place is now used for gates to admit the river-water into Byron's Pool, which is so called because the poet frequently bathed in it when he was an undergraduate of Trinity College.




The river Cam below Cambridge flows through that country of reclaimed marshland which ultimately ends in the Wash, between Norfolk and Lincolnshire, and is known as the Fenland. This "Great Level of the Fens" has been drained and reclaimed by the labors of successive generations of engineers, and contains about six hundred and eighty thousand acres of the richest lands in England, being as much the product of engineering skill as Holland itself. Not many centuries ago this vast surface, covering two thousand square miles, was entirely abandoned to the waters, forming an immense estuary of the Wash, into which various rivers discharge the rainfall of Central England. In winter it was an inland sea and in summer a noxious swamp. The more elevated parts were overgrown with tall reeds that in the distance looked like fields of waving corn, and immense flocks of wild-fowl haunted them. Into this dismal swamp the rivers brought down their freshets, the waters mingling and winding by devious channels before they reached the sea. The silt with which they were laden became deposited in the basin of the Fens, and thus the river-beds were choked up, compelling the intercepted waters to[Pg 250] force new channels through the ooze; hence there are numerous abandoned beds of old rivers still traceable amid the level of the Fens. This region now is drained and dyked, but in earlier times it was a wilderness of shallow waters and reedy islets, with frequent "islands" of firmer and more elevated ground. These were availed of for the monasteries of the Fenland—Ely, Peterborough, Crowland, and others, all established by the Benedictines. The abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, although situated some distance from the marshland, may also be classed among the religious houses of the Fens. This abbey, which is a short distance east of Cambridge, was built in the eleventh century as the shrine of St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, who was killed by the Danes about the year 870. It soon became one of the wealthiest English monasteries, and was the chief religious centre of that section. Only ruins remain, the chief being the abbey-gate, now the property of the Marquis of Bristol, and the Norman tower and church, which have recently been restored. In the suburbs of Bury is Hengrave Hall, one of the most interesting Tudor mansions remaining in the kingdom. Originally, it was three times its present size, and was built by Sir Thomas Kytson about 1525. Its gate-house[Pg 251] is rich in details, and the many windows and projections of the southern front group picturesquely.


Following the Cam northward from Cambridge through the marshland, we come to the Isle of Ely, the great "fortress of the Fens," and standing upon its highest ground the cathedral of Ely. Here St. Etheldreda founded a monastery in the seventh century, which ultimately became a cathedral, Ely having been given a bishop in 1109. The present buildings date all the way from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, so that they give specimens of all Gothic styles. The cathedral is five hundred and thirty-seven feet long, and from the summit of its western tower can be gained a fine view of the spreading fens and lowlands of Cambridgeshire, amid which stands the Isle of Ely. One of the finest views of this tower is that obtained from the road leading to Ely Close. Before drainage had improved the surrounding country this was one of the strongest fortresses in England, and it was also one of the last to yield[Pg 252] to the Norman Conquest, its reduction causing King William heavy loss. Afterwards he regarded it as among his most loyal strongholds. The lofty tower, and indeed the whole cathedral, are landmarks for the entire country round, and from the rising ground at Cambridge, fully twenty miles to the southward, can be seen standing out against the sky. From the dykes and fields and meadows that have replaced the marshes along the Cam and Ouse the huge tower can be seen looming up in stately grandeur. It is almost the sole attraction of the sleepy little country town. The great feature of this massive cathedral is the wonderful central octagon, with its dome-like roof crowned by a lofty lantern, which is said to be the only Gothic dome of its kind in existence in England or France. We are told that the original cathedral had a central tower, which for some time showed signs of instability, until on one winter's morning in 1321 it came down with an earthquake crash and severed the cathedral into four arms. In reconstructing it, to ensure security, the entire breadth of the church was taken as a base for the octagon, so that it was more than three times as large as the original square tower. Magnificent windows are inserted in the exterior faces of the octagon, and the entire cathedral has been recently restored. It was to Bishop Cox, who then presided over the see of Ely, that Queen Elizabeth, when he objected to the alienation of certain church property, wrote her famous letter:

"Proud Prelate: You know what you were before I made you what you are; if you do not immediately comply with my request, by God, I will unfrock you."

"Elizabeth R."

1. Old passage from Ely street to Cathedral Ford.
2. Entrance to Prior Crawdon's Chapel.
3. Old houses in High Street.

[Pg 253]

The bishop, it is almost unnecessary to say, surrendered. The town contains little of interest beyond some quaint old houses.




North-westward of Ely, and just on the border of the Fenland, Saxulf, a thane of Mercia who had acquired great wealth, founded the first and most powerful of the great Benedictine abbeys of this region in the year 655. Around this celebrated religious house has grown the town of Peterborough, now one of the chief railway-junctions in Midland England. The remains of the monastic buildings, and especially of the cathedral, are magnificent, the great feature of the latter being its western front, which was completed in the thirteenth century,[Pg 254] and has three great open arches, making probably the finest church-portico in Europe. On the left of the cathedral is the chancel of Becket's Chapel, now a grammar-school, while on the right is the ancient gateway of the abbot's lodgings, which has become the entrance to the bishop's palace. The main part of the cathedral is Norman, though portions are Early English. It is built in the form of a cross, with a smaller transept at the western end, while the choir terminates in an apse, and a central tower rises from four supporting arches. Within the cathedral, over the doorway, is a picture of old Scarlet, Peterborough's noted sexton, who buried Catharine of Arragon and Mary Queen of Scots. The nave has an ancient wooden roof, carefully preserved and painted with various devices. The transept arches are fine specimens of Norman work. Queen Catharine lies under a slab in the aisle of St. John's Chapel, but the remains of Queen Mary were removed to Westminster Abbey by James I., to the magnificent tomb he prepared there for his mother.


Farther northward in the Fenland, and over the border in Lincolnshire, was the Benedictine abbey of "courteous Crowland," though its remains are now scanty. It derives its name from the "Land of Crows," which in this part is drained by the Welland River and the great Bedford Level. On one of the many islands of firmer soil abounding in this oozy region the monks constructed their monastery, but had little space for cultivation, and brought their food from remoter possessions. Now, Crowland is no longer an island, for the drainage has made fast land all about, and the ruins have attracted a straggling village. Here is the famous "triangular bridge," a relic of the abbey. Three streams met, and the bridge was made to accommodate the monks, who, from whatever direction they approached, had to cross one of them. The streams now are conveyed underground, but the bridge remains like a stranded monster which the tide has abandoned, and gives the children a play-place. Its steep half-arches, meeting in the centre, are climbed by rough steps. The[Pg 255] dissolved abbey served as a quarry for the village, and hence on this strange bridge and on all the houses fragments of worked stone and of sculpture everywhere appear. It was located at the eastern end of the village, where its ruins still stand up as a guide across the fens, seen from afar. Most of it is in complete ruin, but the north aisle of the nave has been sufficiently preserved to serve as the parish church of Crowland; round about the church and the ruins extends the village graveyard. Set up in the porch beneath the tower is a memorial for William Hill, the sexton, who died in 1792. When forty years old he was blinded by exposure during a snowfall, yet he lived for twenty-five years afterwards, able to find his way everywhere and to know every grave in the churchyard.


In the earlier days of Christianity the solitudes in this Fenland had peculiar attractions for the hermits who fled from the world to embrace an ascetic life. Thus the islands each gradually got its hermit, and the great monasteries grew up by degrees, starting usually in the cell of some recluse. Guthlac, who lived in the seventh century, was of the royal House of Mercia, and voluntarily exiled himself in the Fens. This region was then, according to popular belief, the haunt of myriads of evil spirits, who delighted in attacking the hermits. They assaulted Guthlac in hosts, disturbed him by strange noises, once carried him far away to the icy regions of the North, and not seldom took the form of[Pg 256] crows, the easier to torment him; but his steady prayers and penance ultimately put them to flight, and the existence of his cell became known to the world. Ethelbald fled to Guthlac for refuge, and the hermit predicted he would become king, which in time came to pass. Guthlac died at Crowland, and the grateful king built a stone church there. The buildings increased, their great treasure being of course the tomb of the hermit, which became a source of many miracles. The Northmen in the ninth century plundered and destroyed Crowland, but it was restored, and in Edward the Confessor's time was one of the five religious houses ruled by the powerful abbot of Peterborough. It became the shrine of Waltheof, the Earl of Northampton beheaded for opposing William the Conqueror, and Crowland was thus made a stronghold of English feeling against the Normans, like the other monasteries of the Fens. Its fame declined somewhat after the Conquest, though its hospitality was fully maintained. It had little subsequent history. The abbey was garrisoned by the Royalists, and captured by Cromwell in 1643, after which it fell into ruin. Such has been the fate of almost all the religious houses in the Fens, the merits of which the people in the olden time judged according to a local rhyme which yet survives:

"Ramsay, the bounteous of gold and of fee;
Crowland, as courteous as courteous may be;
Spalding the rich, and Peterborough the proud;
Sawtrey, by the way, that poor abbaye,
Gave more alms in one day than all they."


Proceeding eastward out of the Fenland and among the hills of Norfolk, the little river Wensum is found to have cut a broad, deep, and trench-like valley into the chalk and gravel plateau. Upon the elevated bank of the river is the irregularly picturesque town of Norwich, with the castle keep rising above the undulating mass of buildings, and the cathedral and its noble spire overtopping the lower portion of the city on the right hand. Norwich is an ancient town, but very little is known with certainty about it anterior to the Danish invasions. We are told that its original location was at the more southerly castle of Caister, whence the inhabitants migrated to the present site, for—

"Caister was a city when Norwich was none,
And Norwich was built of Caister stone."

Canute held possession of Norwich and had a castle there, but the present castle seems to date from the Norman Conquest, when it was granted to Ralph de Quader, who turned traitor to the king, causing Norfolk to be besieged,[Pg 257] captured, and greatly injured. Then the castle was granted to Roger Bigod. The town grew, and became especially prosperous from the settlement there of numerous Flemish weavers in the fourteenth century and of Walloons in Elizabeth's reign. It managed to keep pretty well out of the Civil Wars, but a local historian says, "The inhabitants have been saved from stagnation by the exceeding bitterness with which all party and local political questions are discussed and contested, and by the hearty way in which all classes throw themselves into all really patriotic movements, when their party feeling occasionally sleeps for a month or two." Norwich is pre-eminently a town of churches, into the construction of which flint enters largely, it being dressed with great skill into small roughened cubical blocks.


The great attraction of Norwich is the cathedral, which stands upon a low peninsula enclosed by a semicircular sweep of the river, much of the ground in this region having been originally a swamp. The cathedral is generally approached from its western side, where there is an open space in front of the Close called Tombland, upon which two gates open from it. These are St. Ethelbert's and the Erpingham gate. The latter, opposite the western front of the cathedral, is named for its builder, "old Sir Thomas Erpingham," whose "good white head," Shakespeare tells us, was to be seen on the field of Agincourt. The cathedral is a Norman structure, cruciform in plan, with an exceptionally long nave, an apsidal choir, and attached chapels. The earliest parts of it were begun in 1096, and when partially completed five years afterwards it was handed over to the care of the Benedictine monks. Thirty years later[Pg 258] the nave was added, but the cathedral was not completed until about 1150. Twice it was seriously injured by fire, and it was not thoroughly restored for a century, when in 1278 it was again consecrated with great pomp, in the presence of Edward I. and his court, on Advent Sunday. The spire, which is one of its most conspicuous features, was added by Bishop Percy in the fourteenth century, though, having been seriously injured by lightning, it had to be replaced afterwards. At the same time the building was greatly altered, its roofs raised and vaulted, and repairs went on until 1536. Yet, with all the changes that were made in this famous cathedral, no other in England has managed to preserve its original plan so nearly undisturbed.


Entering the nave from the westward, this grand apartment is found to[Pg 259] extend two hundred and fifty feet, and to the intersection of the transepts comprises fourteen bays, three of them being included in the choir. The triforium is almost as lofty as the nave-arches, and the solidity of these, surmounted by the grandeur of the upper arcade, gives a magnificent aspect to the nave. Above is the fine vaulted roof, the elaborately carved bosses giving a series of scenes from sacred history extending from the Creation to the Last Judgment. Small chapels were originally erected against the organ-screen, one of them being dedicated to the young St. William, a Norfolk saint who in the twelfth century was tortured and crucified by some Jews. His body, clandestinely buried in a wood, was found, miracles were wrought, and it was translated to the cathedral. The Jews of Norwich were then attacked and plundered, and these outrages were renewed a century later. But times have fortunately changed since then. The choir extends to the eastern apse, and at the back of the altar recent alterations have exposed an interesting relic in a fragment of the original bishop's throne, an elevated chair of stone placed in the middle of the apse and looking westward. On either side are apsidal chapels. Among the monuments is that to Sir William Boleyn, grandfather to the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. He lived at Blickling, about thirteen miles from Norwich, where Anne is believed to have been born. Several bishops also lie in the cathedral, and among the later tombs is that of Dr. Moore, who died in 1779, and whose periwigged head is in grotesque juxta[Pg 260]position with a cherub making an ugly face and appearing to be drying his eyes with his shirt. The spire of Norwich Cathedral rises two hundred and eighty-seven feet.


Norwich Castle is a massive block of masonry crowning the summit of a mound. Who first built it is unknown, but he is said by popular tradition to sit buried in his chair and full armed deep down in the centre of this mound, and "ready for all contingencies." But the castle has degenerated into a jail, and the great square tower or keep, ninety-five feet square and seventy feet high, is the only part of the original structure remaining. It has been refaced with new stone, and the interior has also been completely changed. The moat is planted with trees, and on the outside slope the cattle-market is held every Saturday. Norwich has some historical structures. In its grammar school Nelson was a scholar, and his statue stands on the green. On the edge of Tombland stands the house of Sir John Falstaff, a brave soldier and friend of literature, whose memory is greatly prized in Norfolk, but whose name has been forgotten by many in the shadow of Shakespeare's "Fat Jack." The chief centre of the town, however, is the market-place, on the slope of a hill, where modernized buildings have replaced some of the more antique structures. Here stands the ancient Guildhall, which in 1413 replaced the old Tolbooth where the market-dues were paid. Within is the sword surrendered to Nelson by Admiral Winthuysen at the battle of St. Vincent, and by him presented to the chief city of his native county of Norfolk. In the olden time[Pg 261] the glory of Norwich was the Duke of Norfolk's palace, but it was destroyed at the end of the seventeenth century by the then duke in a fit of anger because the mayor would not permit his troop of players to march through the town with trumpets blowing. Not a brick of it now stands, the site being covered with small houses. Norwich was formerly famous for its trade in woollens, the Dutch introducing them at the neighboring village of Worsted, whence the name. Now, the coal-mines have aided the spinning-jenny, but the worsteds are overshadowed by other Norwich manufactures. Colman's mustard-factories cover ten acres, and Barnard's ornamental iron-work from Norwich is world-renowned. Norwich also contains an enormous brewery, but in this the city is not singular, for what is a Briton without his beer?



On the banks of the Welland River, a short distance above Crowland, is Stamford, in Lincolnshire, near which is located the well-known Burghley House, the home of Lord Treasurer Cecil, whose history is referred to in the notice of Hatfield House. This mansion, which is a short distance south of Stamford, is now the seat of the Marquis of Exeter, William Allayne Cecil. It is said to have furnished the text for Lord Bacon's "Essay on Building," it having been completed but a short time previously. The plans of this famous house are still preserved in London. It is a parallelogram built around an open court, with a lofty square tower projecting from the western front, and[Pg 262] having octangular turrets at the angles. The northern (which is the main) front is divided into three compartments, and bears on the parapet 1587 as the date when the house was finished. Within the building a long corridor, commanding a view of the inner court, leads to a stone staircase which rises to the top of the structure and is peculiarly decorated. There is a fine chapel, and in an adjoining room was Giordano's renowned painting of "Seneca Dying in the Bath," which was eulogized in Prior's poems, he having seen it there, though it is now removed. One of the most interesting pictures in the gallery is that of Henry Cecil, the tenth Earl and the first Marquis of Exeter, his wife, and daughter. Tennyson has woven the romance of their marriage into a poem. Cecil, before coming into his title, was living in seclusion in Shropshire, and fell in love with a farmer's daughter. He married her under an assumed name, and only disclosed his true rank when, succeeding to his uncle's title and estates, he became the lord of Burghley and took her home to Burghley House. Tennyson tells how she received the disclosure:

"Thus her heart rejoices greatly, till a gateway she discerns
With armorial bearings stately, and beneath the gate she turns;
Sees a mansion more majestic than all those she saw before:
Many a gallant gay domestic bows before him at the door.
And they speak in gentle murmur, when they answer to his call.
While he treads with footstep firmer, leading on from hall to hall.
And, while now she wonders blindly, nor the meaning can divine,
Proudly turns he round and kindly, 'All of this is mine and thine.'
Here he lives in state and bounty, Lord of Burghley, fair and free,
Not a lord in all the county is so great a lord as he.
All at once the color flushes her sweet face from brow to chin:
As it were with shame she blushes, and her spirit changed within.
Then her countenance all over pale again as death did prove;
But he clasp'd her like a lover, and he cheer'd her soul with love."

The building has many attractive apartments, including a ball-room and Queen Elizabeth's chamber, but it is doubted whether the maiden queen ever visited it, though she did stay at Burghley's house in Stamford, and here made the celebrated speech to her old minister in which she said that his head and her purse could do anything. Burghley's eldest son, Thomas, was created Earl of Exeter, and his descendants are now in possession of the house. His younger son, Robert, as previously related, was made Earl of Salisbury, and his descendants hold Hatfield House. The apartments at Burghley are filled with historical portraits. The grand staircase on the southern side of the house is finer than the other, but is not so full of character. The gardens of Burghley were planned by "Capability Brown," the same who laid out Kew.[Pg 263] He imperiously overruled King George III. in the gardening at Kew, and when he died the king is said to have exclaimed with a sigh of relief to the under-gardener, "Brown is dead; now you and I can do what we please here." Within St. Martin's Church in Stamford is the canopied tomb of the lord treasurer, constructed of alabaster, and bearing his effigy clad in armor, with the crimson robes of the Garter; it is surrounded with the tombs of his descendants. It was into Stamford that Nicholas Nickleby rode through the snowstorm, and the coach stopped at the George Inn, which was a popular hostelrie in the days of Charles II., as it still remains.

North of Stamford, on the river Witham, is the interesting town of Grantham, containing the quaint grammar-school founded by Bishop Fox of Winchester in 1528 where Sir Isaac Newton was educated. It is recorded by tradition that his career here was not very brilliant as a scholar—a circumstance which may be told, if for nothing else, at least for the encouragement of some of the school-boys of a later generation.



Continuing northward down the river Witham, we come to a point where the stream has carved in a limestone-capped plateau a magnificent valley, which, changing its course to the eastward, ultimately broadens on its route to the sea into a wide tract of fenland. Here, upon a grand site overlooking the marshes and the valley, stands the city of Lincoln, with its cathedral crowning the top of the hill, while the town-buildings spread down the slope to the riverbank at Brayford Pool, from which the Witham is navigable down to Boston, near the coast, and ultimately discharges into the Wash. The Pool is crowded with vessels and bordered by warehouses, and it receives the ancient Fosse Dyke Canal, which was dug by the Romans to connect the Witham with the more inland river Trent. This was the Roman colony of Lindum, from which the present name of Lincoln is derived, and the noble cathedral crowns the highest ground, known as Steep Hill. William the Conqueror conferred upon Bishop Remigius of Fecamp the see of Dorchester, and he founded in 1075 this celebrated cathedral, which, with its three noble towers and two transepts, is one of the finest in England. Approaching it from the town, at the foot of the hill is encountered the Stonebow, a Gothic gateway of the Tudor age, which serves as the guild-hall. The centre of the western front is the oldest part of Lincoln Cathedral, and the gateway facing it, and forming the chief entrance to the Close, is the Exchequer Gate, an impressive structure built in the reign of Edward III. The cathedral arcade and the lower parts of the two western[Pg 264] towers and the western doorway were built in the twelfth century. Subsequently an earthquake shattered the cathedral, and in the thirteenth century it was restored and extended by Bishop Hugh of Avelon, not being finished until 1315. The massive central tower is supported on four grand piers composed of twenty-four shafts, and here is hung the celebrated bell of Lincoln, "Great Tom," which was recast about fifty years ago, and weighs five and a half tons. The transepts have splendid rose windows, retaining the original stained glass. Lincoln's shrine was that of St. Hugh, and his choir is surmounted by remarkable vaulting, the eastern end of the church being extended into the Angel Choir, a beautiful specimen of Decorated Gothic, built in 1282 to accommodate the enormous concourse of pilgrims attracted by St.[Pg 265] Hugh's shrine, which stood in this part of the building. In the cathedral is the tomb of Katherine Swynford, wife of John of Gaunt. Adjoining the south-eastern transept are the cloisters and chapter-house. The most ingenious piece of work of the whole structure is the "stone beam," a bridge with a nearly flat arch, extending between the two western towers over the nave, composed of twenty-[Pg 266]two stones, each eleven inches thick, and vibrating sensibly when stepped upon. There is a grand view from the towers over the neighboring country and far away down the Witham towards the sea. The exterior of the cathedral is one of the finest specimens of architecture in the kingdom, its porches, side-chapels, decorated doorways, sculptured capitals, windows, cloisters, and towers admirably illustrating every portion of the history of English architecture. Its interior length is four hundred and eighty-two feet, the great transept two hundred and fifty feet, and the lesser transept one hundred and seventy feet. The western towers are one hundred and eighty feet high, and the central tower two hundred and sixty feet, while the width of the cathedral's noble western front is one hundred and seventy-four feet. Upon the southern side of the hill, just below it, are the stately ruins of the Bishop's Palace, of which the tower has recently been restored. Bishop Hugh's ruined Great Hall is now overgrown with ivy, but the walls can be climbed to disclose a glorious view of the cathedral.

The ancient Ermine Street of the Romans enters Lincoln through the best preserved piece of Roman masonry in England, the Newport Gate of two arches, where on either hand may be seen fragments of the old wall. Near the south-east corner of this originally walled area William the Conqueror built Lincoln Castle, with its gate facing the cathedral. The ruins are well preserved, and parts of the site are now occupied by the jail and court-house. Within this old castle King Stephen besieged the empress Maud, but though he captured it she escaped. Her partisans recaptured the place, and Stephen in the second siege was made a prisoner. It suffered many sieges in the troubled times afterwards. In the Civil War the townspeople supported the king, but being attacked they retreated to the castle and cathedral, which were stormed and taken by the Parliamentary army. Afterwards the castle was dismantled. One of the interesting remains in Lincoln is the "Jew's House," the home in the Hebrew quarter of a Jewess who was hanged for clipping coin in the reign of Edward I. But the noble cathedral is the crowning glory of this interesting old city, the massive structure, with its three surmounting towers standing on high, being visible for many miles across the country around.



We will now cross over the border from Lincoln into Nottinghamshire, and, seeking the valley of the Trent, find upon the steep brow of a cliff by the river the ancient castle of Nottingham, which is now surrounded by the busy machinery of the hosiery-weavers. When it was founded no one accurately knows, but it is believed to antedate the Roman occupation of the island. As[Pg 267] long ago as the tenth century there was a bridge across the Trent at Snodengahame—meaning the "dwelling among the rocks"—as it was then called, and afterwards the town suffered from the Danes. It is also suffered during the troubled reign of King Stephen. The castle was built by one of the Peverils soon after the Norman Conquest, and was frequently the abode of kings. It was here that Roger Mortimer was seized prior to being tried and hanged in London. King David of Scotland and Owen Glendower of Wales were held prisoners in Nottingham Castle, and from it Richard III. advanced to meet his fate on Bosworth Field, while Charles I. set up his standard and gathered his army at Nottingham at the opening of the Civil Wars, the blowing down of the standard by a gale on Castle Hill being taken as ominous of the unfortunate termination of the conflict. The old castle, which has fallen into ruins, subsequently passed into possession of the Duke of Newcastle, who cleared away almost the whole of the ancient structure and built a house upon the site. The city was noted for its manufactures as early as the reign of King John, and the hand-knitting of stockings was introduced in the sixteenth century. Previously to that time hosiery had been cut out of cloth, with the seams sewed up the same as outer clothing. As early as 1589 a machine for weaving was invented, but failing to reap a profit from it, the inventor, a clergyman, took it to Paris, where he afterwards died broken-hearted. Ultimately, his apprentices brought the machines back to Nottingham, improved them, and prospered. Many improvements followed. Jedediah Strutt produced the "Derby ribbed hose;" then the warp-loom was invented in the last century, and the bobbin-traverse net in 1809. The knitting-machines have been steadily improved, and now hosiery-making is carried on in extensive factories that[Pg 268] give an individuality to the town. The rapidity with which stockings are reeled off the machines is astonishing. An ordinary stocking is made in four pieces, which are afterwards sewed or knitted together by another machine. Some of the looms, however, knit the legs in one piece, and may be seen working off almost endless woollen tubes, which are afterwards divided into convenient lengths. Fancy hosiery is knitted according to patterns, the setting up of which requires great skill. Vast amounts of lace are woven, and in the factories female labor preponderates. The upper town of Nottingham, clustering around the castle on the river-crag, has a picturesque aspect from the valley below. Among the features of the lower town is the market-place, a triangular area of slightly over four acres, where the market is held every Saturday, and where once a year is also held that great event of Nottingham, the Michaelmas goose fair. Here also disport themselves at election-times the rougher element, who, from their propensity to bleat when expressing disapprobation, are known as the "Nottingham lambs," and who claim to be lineal descendants from that hero of the neighboring Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood.



We will now go down the valley of the Trent below Nottingham, and, mounting the gentle hills that border Sherwood Forest, come to the Roman[Pg 269] station, Ad Pontem, of which the Venerable Bede was the historian. Here Paulinus was baptized, and it was early made the site of an episcopal see. The name was Sudwell at the Norman Conquest, and then it became Southwell, and the noted minster was one of the favorite residences of the Archbishop of York. It is a quiet, old-fashioned place, with plenty of comfortable residences, and in a large churchyard on ground sloping away from the main street, with the ruins of the archbishop's palace near by, is Southwell Minster. There are few finer examples of a Norman building remaining in England, the three towers, nave, transepts, and chapter-house forming a majestic group. An enormous western window has been inserted by later architects, rather to the detriment of the gable, and this produces a singular effect. The interior of the minster is magnificent. The Norman nave is of eight bays with semicircular arches, surmounted by a triforium of rows of arches almost equal to those below, and rising from piers with clustered side-columns. It is nearly three-fourths the height of the lower stage, and this produces a grand effect. The flat roof is modern, it and the bells having been replaced after the church was burned in the last century. The ruins of the archiepiscopal palace, erected six hundred years ago, have been availed of in one portion for a dwelling-house. Wolsey built part of it, and beneath the battlemented wall enclosing the garden there was not long ago found the skeleton of a soldier in armor, a relic of the Civil Wars. The name of the town is derived from its wells. The South Well is a short distance outside the limits in a little park. The Holy Well, which was inside the minster, is now covered up. Lady Well was just outside the church-walls, but a clergy[Pg 270]man fell into it one dark night and was drowned, and it too has been closed. St. Catherine's Well was surmounted by a chapel, and is in repute as a cure for rheumatism. The ancient inn of the Saracen's Head in Southwell, not far from the minster on the main street, witnessed the closing scene of the Civil War. After the battle of Naseby the Scotch had reached Southwell, and Montreville, an agent of Cardinal Mazarin, came there to negotiate on behalf of King Charles in 1646. The Scotch commissioners had rooms in the archiepiscopal palace, and Montreville lodged at the Saracen's Head. After the negotiations had proceeded for some time, the king in disguise quitted Oxford in April, and after a devious journey by way of Newark appeared at Montreville's lodgings on May 6th. On the south side of the inn was an apartment divided into a dining-room and bedroom, which the king occupied, and in the afternoon, after dining with the Scotch commissioners, he placed himself in their hands, and was sent a prisoner to their head-quarters. The canny Scots before leaving stripped the lead from the roof of the palace, and it afterwards fell into ruin, so that Cromwell, who arrived subsequently, found it uninhabitable, and then occupied the king's room at the Saracen's Head, his horses being stabled in Southwell Minster. Southwell since has had an uneventful history.


Nor far away is the well-known Sherwood Forest, wherein in the olden time lived the famous forester and bandit Robin Hood. Roaming among its spreading oaks with his robber band, he was not infrequently a visitor to the bordering towns, sometimes for pleasure, but oftener for "business." Who Robin was, or exactly when he lived, no one seems to know. He is associated alike with the unsettled times of Kings John and Richard, with Henry V. and with Jack Cade, but so much mystery surrounds all reports of him that some do not hesitate to declare Robin Hood a myth. But whoever he was, his memory and exploits live in many a ballad sung along the banks of the Trent and in the towns and villages of Sherwood Forest. His abiding-place is now divided up into magnificent estates, the most famous of them being known as "The Dukeries." One of them, near Ollerton, is Thoresby Hall, the splendid home of the Earl of Manvers, a park that is ten miles in circumference. North of this is the stately seat of the Duke of Newcastle—Clumber Park—charmingly situated between Ollerton and Worksop. From the entrance-lodge a carriage-drive of over a mile through the well-wooded grounds leads up to the elegant yet homelike mansion. It is of modern construction, having been built in 1770 and received important additions since. Before that time the park was a tract of wild woodland, but the then Duke of Newcastle improved it, and con[Pg 271]structed an extensive lake, covering ninety acres, at a cost of $35,000. It was originally intended for a shooting-box, but this was elaborately extended. In the centre of the west front is a colonnade, and between the mansion and the lake are fine gardens ornamented by a large fountain. The owner of Clumber is the lineal representative of the family of Pelham-Clinton—which first appeared prominently in the reign of Edward I.—and is Henry Pelham Alexander Pelham-Clinton, sixth Duke of Newcastle. Clumber is rich in ornaments, among them being four ancient Roman altars, but the most striking feature is the full-rigged ship which with a consort rests upon the placid bosom of the lake.


Adjoining Clumber Park is the most celebrated of "The Dukeries," Welbeck Abbey, which is one of the remarkable estates of England, a place peculiar to itself. The mansion is about four miles from Worksop, and the surrounding park contains a grand display of fine old trees, beneath which roam extensive herds of deer. Welbeck Abbey of White Canons was founded in the reign of Henry II., and dedicated to St. James. After the dissolution it was granted to Richard Whalley, and subsequently passed into possession of Sir Charles Cavendish, a son of the famous Bess of Hardwicke, whose grandson converted the abbey into an elaborate mansion, leaving little of the original religious building standing. The present house was constructed in the seventeenth century, its old riding-house being completed in 1623, and William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, who built it, was noted as the most accomplished horseman of his time. For several generations Welbeck remained in possession of the Dukes of Newcastle, until in the last century an only daughter and the heiress of the abbey married William Bentinck, the Duke of Portland, thus carrying the estate over to that family, which now possesses it. The founder of this ducal house came over from Holland as a page of honor with King William III. The present owner, who has just succeeded to the title, is the sixth Duke of Portland. The chief feature of the original Welbeck, the old riding-house, remains, but is no longer used for that purpose. It is a grand hall, one hundred and seventy-seven feet long, with a massive open-work tim[Pg 272]ber roof of admirable design. The mansion is full of fine apartments, many of them elaborately decorated, but it is not from these that the estate gets its present fame. The late Duke of Portland, who was unmarried, was an eccentric man, and he developed a talent for burrowing underground that made his house one of the most remarkable in England and consumed enormous sums of money. The libraries of Welbeck, five superb rooms opening into each other, a spacious hall adjoining, one hundred and fifty-nine feet long, the stables, large gardens, hothouses, lodges, and other apartments, are all underground. They have glass roofs of magnificent design. They are approached from and connected with the rest of the mansion by subterranean passages, and, being lofty rooms, the cost of this deep digging and of the necessary drainage and other adjuncts may be imagined. The new riding house, the finest in existence, and also underground, but lighted by an arched glass roof, is three hundred and seventy-nine by one hundred and six feet, and fifty feet high. It is elaborately ornamented, and at night is lighted by nearly eight thousand gas-jets. Near it are the extensive hunting-stables, coach-houses, and that marked feature of Welbeck, the covered "gallop," one thousand and seventy-two feet long, with large "hanging rooms" at either end: these too are covered with glass, so as to get their light from the top. The whole place abounds in subterranean apartments and passages, while above ground are extensive gardens and dairies. In the gardens are the peach-wall, one thousand feet long, a similar range of pine-houses, a fruit-arcade of ornamental iron arches stretching nearly a quarter of a mile, with apple trees trained on one side and pear trees on the other, and extensive beds of flowers and plants. To construct and maintain all this curious magnificence there are workshops on a[Pg 273] grand scale. This eccentric duke, who practically denied himself to the world, and for years devoted his time to carrying on these remarkable works at an enormous cost, employed over two thousand persons in burrowing out the bowels of the earth and making these grand yet strange apartments. When finished he alone could enjoy them, for Welbeck was for a long time a sealed book to the outer world. But the eccentric duke died, as all men must, and his successor opened Welbeck to view and to the astonishment of all who saw it. A few months ago the Prince of Wales and a noble company visited the strange yet magnificent structure, and then for the first time the amazed assemblage explored this underground palace in Sherwood Forest, and when their wonder was satisfied they turned on the myriads of gas-jets, and amid a blaze of artificial light indulged in a ball—an unwonted scene for the weird old abbey of the eccentric and solitary duke. Like the fairies and mermaids of old in their underground palaces, the prince and his friends at Welbeck right merrily

"Held their courtly revels down, down below."

Also in this neighborhood is Newstead Abbey, the ancient seat of the Byrons. It is about eleven miles from Nottingham, and was founded by the Augustinians in the time of Henry II. In 1540 it came into possession of Sir John Byron, and a century later was held for King Charles. The poet Byron's bedroom remains almost as he left it, and on the lawn is the monument to his favorite dog, "Boatswain." The abbey also contains several relics of Livingstone, the African explorer. Near it is Robin Hood's Cave, and the neighborhood is full of remains of the famous chieftain, such as his Hill and his Chair, and Fountain Dale where Robin encountered Friar Tuck.




Descending again to the banks of the Trent, we come to the causeway which carries over the flat meadows the Great North Road, the Roman military route to the north of England, which made it necessary to build a castle to hold the keys to its passage across the river. We are told that Egbert built the earliest fortress here, but the Danes destroyed it. Leofric, Earl of Mercia, rebuilt it, and gave the castle the name of the "New Work." But it too fell into decay, and in 1123 the present castle was built, which though much altered and afterwards sadly ruined, has come down to the present time. It was here that, after his army was swamped in the Wash, King John died, some say by poison, but the prosaic historian attributes the sad result to over-indulgence in "unripe peaches and new beer." In the Civil War it was a royal stronghold and sent King Charles large numbers of recruits. Then it was[Pg 274] besieged by Cromwell, but stoutly resisted, and Prince Rupert by some brilliant manœuvres relieved it. Finally, the king sought refuge within its walls after the defeat at Naseby, and here he was besieged by the Scotch until his voluntary surrender to them at Southwell, when two days afterwards, by his order, Newark capitulated to his captors. The Parliamentary forces afterwards dismantled the castle, and it fell into decay, but it has recently been restored as well as possible, and the site converted into a public garden. Within the town of Newark are several objects of interest. At the Saracen's Head Inn, which has existed from the time of Edward III., Sir Walter Scott tells us that Jeanie Deans slept on her journey from Midlothian to London. The most striking part of the town is the market-square, which is very large, and is surrounded by old and interesting houses, several of them projecting completely over the footwalks, and having the front walls supported upon columns—a most picturesque arrangement. One of these old houses has windows in continuous rows in the upper stories, having between them wooden beams and figures moulded in plaster. Through the openings between these old houses can be seen the church, which is one of the finest parish churches in this district, so celebrated for[Pg 275] the magnificence of its religious houses. Surmounting its Early English tower is a spire of later date. The plan is cruciform, but with very short transepts, not extending beyond the aisles, which are wide and stretch the entire length of the church. There is a fine roof of carved oak, and some of the stained glass and interior paintings are highly prized. It was at Newark that Thomas Magnus lived and founded the grammar-school at which the antiquarian Dr. Stukeley was educated, and afterwards the famous Warburton, who became Bishop of Gloucester.



In Newark, about three hundred years ago, there was a tavern called the "Talbot Arms," named in honor of the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose countess was Mary, daughter of the famous Bess of Hardwicke by her second husband, Sir William Cavendish. Between the Talbots and the neighboring family of Stanhopes at Shelford there was a feud, which resulted in the Stanhopes defacing the tavern-sign. This was not taken notice of by the Earl of Shrewsbury, but the quarrel was assumed by the imperious countess and her brother, Sir Charles Cavendish. They despatched a messenger to Sir Thomas Stanhope, accusing him and his son of the insult, and declaring him a "reprobate and his son John a rascal." Then a few days later they sent a formal defiance: the Stanhopes avoided a duel as long as possible until they began to be posted as cowards, and then, having gone to London, whither Cavendish followed them, a duel was arranged with the younger Stanhope at Lambeth Bridge. They met after several delays, when it was found that Stanhope had his doublet so thickly quilted as to be almost impenetrable to a[Pg 276] sword-thrust. Then there was a new dispute, and it was proposed they should fight in their shirts, but this Stanhope declined, pleading a cold. Cavendish offered to lend him a waistcoat, but this too was declined; then Cavendish waived all objections to the doublet and proposed to fight anyhow, but the seconds interposed, and the duel was put off. Stanhope was then again posted as a coward, and he and his adherents were hustled in the streets of London. A few days later Stanhope and his party were attacked in Fleet Street by the Talbots, and one of the former faction mortally wounded. The feud went on six years, when one day, Cavendish, riding near his home in Nottinghamshire with three attendants, was attacked by Stanhope and twenty horsemen. He fought bravely, and was badly wounded, but killed four and wounded two others of his opponents, when, reinforcements appearing, the Stanhope party fled, leaving six horses and nearly all their hats and weapons behind them. But all feuds have an end, and this one ultimately exhausted itself, the families within a century being united in marriage.


[Pg 277]




Following the Trent down to the Humber, and turning towards the sea, we come to the noted seaport of Hull, or, as it is best known in those parts, Kingston-upon-Hull. While not possessing great attractions for the ordinary tourist, yet Hull ranks as the third seaport of England, being second only to London and Liverpool. It is the great packet-station for the north of Europe, with steam lines leading to Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the Baltic, most of the English trade with those countries being centred at Hull. It is a town of extreme activity, its docks being all the time crowded with shipping, and its location, practically upon an island, with the river Humber on the south, the river Hull upon the east, and docks upon the northern and western sides, giving it every maritime convenience. The docks, though inferior to those of Liverpool, are the chief feature of the town. The Hull River itself forms a natural dock about a mile and a half long, and from this a chain of other docks leads through the warehouses and the town to the Humber. Hull possesses the Trinity House, one of the three ancient establishments in England—the others being at London and Newcastle—which were founded first as a religious fraternity in the fourteenth century, and became afterwards establishments for the relief of distressed and decayed seamen and their families. The present Trinity House building was erected in the last century. The chief ornament of Hull is the Wilberforce Monument, a pillar of[Pg 278] sandstone seventy-two feet high, erected about a half century ago, and surmounted by a statue of the celebrated philanthropist. He was born on High Street August 24, 1759, this being the most important thoroughfare in ancient Hull, but now a narrow and inconvenient lane following the right bank of the Hull River. Here were in former days the houses of the great Hull merchants, and the Wilberforce House is about halfway down the street. It is a curious specimen of brickwork, of a style said to have been imported from Flanders in the reign of William and Mary. It is a low, broad house with a surmounting tower over the doorway. Hull has little else of interest in the way of buildings. Its Holy Trinity Church, in the market-place, is the largest parish church in England, having recently been thoroughly restored, and the Town Hall, built in the Italian style, with a clock-tower, is its finest edifice of modern construction.


We have now come into Yorkshire, and a few minutes' ride northward by railway along the valley of the Hull River brings the visitor to Beverley, an old-fashioned Yorkshire town of considerable antiquity, eight miles from the seaport. This was anciently a walled town, but of the entrance-gates only one survives, the North Bar, of the time of Edward III. It is a good specimen of brick architecture, with mouldings and niches upon the surface and battlements at the top. This is a favorite old town for the retired merchant and tradesman[Pg 279] who wish to pass the declining years of life in quiet, and it contains many ancient buildings of interest. Several of these are clustered around the picturesque market-square, which is an enclosure of about four acres, and contains a quaint cross, a relic of the time when it was customary to build market-crosses. These ancient crosses, which were practically canopies erected over a raised platform, were generally used as pulpits by the preachers when conducting religious services in the open air. Sometimes they were memorials of the dead. We are told that there were formerly five thousand of these crosses of various kinds in England, but most of them were destroyed in the Civil Wars. At these old crosses proclamations used to be read and tolls collected from the market-people. The covered market-cross at Beverley was one of the last that was erected. The name of this interesting town is said to be derived from Beaver Lake, the site having at one time been surrounded by lakes that were formed by the overflowing of the Humber, in which beavers lived in great numbers. The Beverley Minster is an attractive Gothic church, and from the tops of its towers there is an excellent view over the rich and almost level valley through which the Hull River flows. Leconfield Castle, in the suburbs, was an ancient residence of the Percys, of which the moat alone remains.




Let us now ascend the estuary of the Humber, and, proceeding up its numerous tributaries, seek out various places of interest in the West Riding of Yorkshire. And first, ascending the river Don, we come to that great manufacturing centre of the "Black Country," sacred to coal and iron, Sheffield. Murray's Guide tells us that while Sheffield is one of the largest and most important towns in Yorkshire, it is "beyond all question the blackest, dirtiest, and least[Pg 280] respectable." Horace Walpole in the last century wrote that Sheffield is "one of the foulest towns in England in the most charming situation." It is a crowded city, with narrow and badly-arranged streets, having few handsome public buildings, but bristling with countless tall chimneys belching forth clouds of heavy smoke that hang like a pall over the place. The Don and its tributaries have their beds defiled, and altogether the smoky city is in unpleasant contrast with the beauty of the surrounding country. But, unfortunately, an omelette cannot be made without breaking eggs, nor can Sheffield make cutlery without smoke and bad odors, all of which have amazingly multiplied within the present century, its population having grown from forty-five thousand in 1801 to over three hundred thousand now. It stands at the confluence of the rivers Don and Sheaf, its name being connected with the latter. Three smaller streams join them within the city and are utilized for water-power. The factories spread over the lowlands of the Don valley, and mount up its western slopes towards the moorlands that stretch away to Derbyshire; it is therefore as hilly[Pg 281] as it is grimy. Sheffield at the time of the Norman Conquest was the manor of Hallam, which has passed through various families, until, in the seventeenth century, it became by marriage the property of the Duke of Norfolk. The present duke is lord of the manor of Sheffield, and derives a large income from his vast estates there. Sheffield Castle once stood at the confluence of the two rivers, but all traces of it have disappeared. The manor-house, which has been restored, dates from the time of Henry VIII. It is three stories high, and a turret staircase leads from floor to floor, and finally out upon the flat roof.


We are told that Sheffield manufactures of metals began in the days of the Romans, and also that Sheffield-made arrows fell thickly at Crecy and Agincourt. Richmond used them with effect at Bosworth Field, and in the sixteenth century we read of Sheffield knives and whittles. Almost the only ancient building of any note the city has is the parish church, but it is so much patched and altered that there is difficulty in distinguishing the newer from the older parts. The chief among the modern buildings is the Cutlers' Hall, a Grecian structure erected for the Cutlers Company in 1833, and enlarged a few years ago by the addition of a handsome apartment. This company, the autocrats of Sheffield, was founded in 1624 by act of Parliament with two express objects—to keep a check upon the number of apprentices and to examine into the quality of Sheffield wares, all of which were to be stamped with the warranty of their excellence. But recently the restrictive powers of this company have been swept away, and it is now little more than a grantor of trade-marks and an excuse for an annual banquet. Sheffield has[Pg 282] extensive markets and parks, and the Duke of Norfolk is conspicuous in his gifts of this character to the city; but overtopping all else are the enormous works, which make everything into which iron and steel can be converted, from armor-plating and railway-rails down to the most delicate springs and highly-tempered cutlery. Their products go to every part of the world, and are of enormous value and importance.




Upon the Calder, another tributary of the Humber, northward of the Don, is the town of Wakefield, which, until the recent great growth of Leeds, was the head-quarters of the Yorkshire clothing-trade. It was here that in the Wars of the Roses the battle of Wakefield was fought on the closing day of the year 1460. The Duke of York wished to remain at Wakefield on the defensive against Queen Margaret's Lancastrian army of twenty thousand men, for his forces were barely one-fourth that number. The Earl of Salisbury, however, prevailed on him to advance to meet the queen, and he probably had no idea of the strength she had to oppose him. The duke was soon cut off, and was among the first to fall, his head having afterwards been put on the Micklegate bar at York. Scenes of great barbarity followed: the Duke of York's son, the Earl of Rutland, was murdered with shocking cruelty after the battle on Wakefield Bridge. Young Rutland's brother, afterwards Edward IV., erected a chapel on the bridge on the spot where he was slain, in order that prayer might be constantly said in it for the repose of the souls of the followers of the White Rose who were slain in the battle. It covers thirty by twenty-four feet, and has recently been restored by a successor of Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield." Near the bridge the spot is pointed out where the Duke of York[Pg 283] was killed, now marked by two willows. There is a fine old three-gabled house in Wakefield which was built about the same date as the battle was fought, and is now divided into small shops. It is a good specimen of the ancient black-and-white timbered house, though the carved work on the front has been considerably defaced. It stands in the Kirkgate, which runs down to the Calder, and is known locally as the "Six Chimblies."



About nine miles north of Wakefield is the great commercial capital of Yorkshire and centre of the cloth-trade. Leeds, built in the valley of the river Aire. Twelve hundred years ago this region, embracing the valleys of the Aire and the Calder, was the independent kingdom of Loidis. It was soon overrun and conquered, however, by the Anglian hosts, and ultimately the conquerors built here the monastery that in Bede's time was presided over by the abbot Thrydwulf. This stood on the site of the present parish church, and in the eighth century it was called "the monastery at Leeta." It stood at the crossing of two important Roman roads in the midst of a forest. This was the beginning of the great[Pg 284] city, for soon a hamlet gathered around the monastery, though long since the woods, and indeed all green things, were driven away from Leeds. The village was laid waste by William the Conqueror, and at the time of the Domesday Book it was one of one hundred and fifty manors held by Baron Ilbert de Lacy, whose possessions stretched halfway across Yorkshire. He built a castle at Leeds, which was afterwards a prison of Richard II., but has long since disappeared. In 1530, Leland described Leeds as "a pretty market-town, as large as Bradford, but not so quick as it." Charles I. incorporated it, and the cloth-market was then of some importance. In the Civil War it was taken by the Royalists, and afterwards retaken by Fairfax for the Parliament in a short, sharp struggle, in which a clergyman named Scholfield distinguished himself by his valor, and "by his triumphant psalm-singing" as work after work was captured from the enemy. Flemish workmen brought cloth-making into this part of Yorkshire as early as the reign of Edward III., and two centuries ago the cloth-makers prospered so much that they held a market twice a week at Leeds on a long, narrow bridge crossing the Aire. They laid their cloth on the battlements of the bridge and on benches below, and the country clothiers could buy for four cents from the innkeepers "a pot of ale, a noggin of porridge, and a trencher of boiled or roast beef." This substantial supply was known as the "brigg (bridge)-shot," and from the bridge ran the street known as the Briggate, which has since developed into one of the finest avenues of the city.


Leeds began to grow in the last century, when it became the chief mart of the woollen clothiers, while the worsted-trade gathered about Bradford. These still remain the centres of the two great divisions of the woollen industry, which is the characteristic business of Yorkshire. The factories began then to appear at Leeds, and in the present century the city has made astonishing advances, growing from fifty-three thousand population in 1801 until it exceeds three hundred thousand now. The great cloth-mart to-day is for miles a region of tall chimneys and barrack-like edifices, within[Pg 285] which steadily roars machinery that represents some of the most ingenious skill of the human race. Within this hive of busy industry there still linger some memorials of the past among its hundreds of cloth-mills. Turning out of the broad Briggate into the quiet street of St. John, we come to the church built there by the piety of the wealthy clothier John Harrison, and consecrated in 1634. St. John's Church, which he built and presented to the town because the older parish church could scarce hold half the inhabitants, consists of a long nave and chancel, with a south aisle. It is of Gothic architecture, and much of the ancient woodwork, including the pulpit, remains. Arabesques moulded in white plaster fill the panels between the main roof-beams. This interesting church has undergone little historical change excepting the recent rebuilding of the tower. John Harrison is entombed in the church. The old parish church in Kirkgate has been within a few years entirely rebuilt. The other churches of Leeds, like this one, are all modern, and it also has an imposing Town Hall, opened by the queen in 1858, in which are held the annual musical festivals, which have attained much importance. A statue of the Duke of Wellington stands in the open square in front. The two Cloth Halls of Leeds, the Mixed Cloth Hall and the White Cloth Hall, where the business of selling was at first carried on, are now little used, the trade being conducted directly between the manufacturer and the clothier. Some of the mills are of enormous size, and they include every operation from the raw material to the finished fabric. But, with all their ingenious machinery, the cloth-weavers have not yet been able to supersede the use of the teasel, by which the loose fibres of wool are raised to the surface to form, when cut and sheared, the pile or nap. These teasels, which are largely grown in Yorkshire, are fastened into a cylinder, and at least three thousand of them will be consumed in "teasling" a piece of cloth forty yards long.




North of the valley of the Aire is the valley of the Wharfe River, and, following that pleasant stream a short distance up, we come to Rumbald's Moor and the water-cure establishments of the town of Ilkley, which is an array of villas and terraces spreading up the hillside from the southern bank of the river. The neighborhood is full of attractive rock-and river-scenery. In the suburbs is the palace of Ben Rhydding, built in the Scottish baronial style, with the Cow and Calf Rocks overhanging the adjacent park. The Panorama Rock also commands a wide prospect, while Rumbald's Moor itself is elevated over thirteen hundred feet. A few miles from Ilkley are the celebrated ruins of Bolton Abbey, standing on a patch of open ground, around which the[Pg 286] Wharfe curves, but with much woods clustering near the ruins and on the river-bank. Bolton stands in a deep valley, and on the opposite side of the river rises the steep rock of Simon's Seat, sixteen hundred feet high. The architecture of the abbey is of various styles, the west front coming down to us from the reign of Henry VIII., while its gateway is much older. There is no south aisle to the abbey, and at present the nave and north aisle are roofed in and serve as the parish church. The east end of this aisle is divided from the rest by an ancient wooden screen so as to form a chapel, and beneath this is the vault where the former owners of Bolton—the Claphams and Mauleverers—were buried. Some years ago, when the floor was being repaired, their coffins were found standing upright, whereof the poet tells us:

"Through the chinks in the fractured floor
Look down and see a grisly sight—
A vault where the bodies are buried upright
There, face by face and hand by hand.
The Claphams and Mauleverers stand."

The ruins of the north transept are in fair preservation, and the choir has a[Pg 287] beautiful arcade, while through the openings beneath there is a charming view of the green-bordered river and of the hills beyond. Bolton Hall, which was the ancient gateway of the abbey, is opposite its western front, and is one of the favorite homes in the shooting season of the Duke of Devonshire, its owner.


A pleasant walk of two miles along the Wharfe brings us to the famous Strid, where the river is hemmed in between ledges of rock, and the scene of the rushing waters is very fine, especially after a rain. Beautiful paths wind along the hillsides and through the woods, and here, where the ruins of Bardon Tower rise high above the valley, is a favorite resort of artists. At the most contracted part of the rocky river-passage the water rushes through a narrow trench cut out for about sixty yards length, within which distance it falls ten feet. The noise here is almost deafening, and at the narrowest part the distance across is barely five feet. It looks easy to jump over, but from the peculiar position of the slippery rocks and the confusing noise of the rushing water it is a dangerous leap.

"This striding-place is called 'the Strid.'
A name which it took of yore.
A thousand years hath it borne that name,
And shall a thousand more."

It was here that young Romilly, the "Boy of Egremont," was drowned several centuries ago, the story of his death being told by Wordsworth in his poem of "The Force of Prayer." He had been ranging through Bardon Wood, holding a greyhound in a leash, and tried to leap across the Strid:[Pg 288]

"He sprang in glee; for what cared he,
That the river was strong and the rocks were steep?
But the greyhound in the leash hung back,
And checked him in his leap.

"The boy is in the arms of Wharfe,
And strangled by a merciless force;
For nevermore was young Romilly seen
Till he rose a lifeless corse."

It is said that his disconsolate mother built Bolton Abbey to commemorate the death of her only son, and placed it in one of the most picturesque spots in England.




Proceeding still farther northward from the charming vale of Wharfe, we come to the valley of the Ure, which flows into the Ouse, a main tributary of the Humber, and to the famous cathedral-town of Ripon. This is a place of venerable antiquity, for it has been over twelve centuries since a band of Scotch monks came from Melrose to establish a monastery on the sloping headland above the Ure. A portion of the ancient church then founded is incorporated in the present Ripon Minster, which was built seven centuries ago. It was burned and partly injured by the Scotch in the fourteenth century, and subsequently the central tower and greater part of the nave were rebuilt. It has recently been entirely restored. The cathedral consists of a nave, with aisles extending the full width of the western front, and rather broad for its length; the transepts are short. Parallel to the choir on the southern side is a chapter-house. It is one of the smallest cathedrals in England, being less than two hundred and ninety feet long, and other buildings so encompass it as to prevent a good near view. There is an ample churchyard, but the shrine of St. Wilfrid, the founder, whose relics were the great treasure of the church, has long since disappeared.[Pg 289] It appears that in ancient times there was great quarrelling over the possession of his bones, and that Archbishop Odo, declaring his grave to be neglected, carried them off to Canterbury, but after much disputing a small portion of the saint's remains were restored to Ripon. Beneath the corner of the nave is the singular crypt known as Wilfrid's Needle. A long passage leads to a cell from which a narrow window opens into another passage. Through this window we are told that women whose virtue was doubted were made to crawl, and if they stuck by the way were adjudged guilty. This is the oldest part of the church, and is regarded as the most perfect existing relic of the earliest age of Christianity in Yorkshire. The cathedral contains some interesting monuments, one of which demonstrates that epitaph-writing flourished in times agone at Ripon. It commemorates, as "a faint emblem of his refined taste," William Weddell of Newby, "in whom every virtue that ennobles the human mind was united with every elegance that adorns it."


In the neighborhood of Ripon is the world-renowned Fountains Abbey, of which the remains are in excellent preservation, and stand in a beautiful situation on the verge of the fine estate of the Marquis of Ripon, Studley Royal. The gates of this park are about two miles from Ripon, the road winding among the trees, beneath which herds of deer are browsing, and leading up to the mansion, in front of which is an attractive scene. The little river Skell, on its way to the Ure, emerges from a glen, and is banked up to form a lake, from which it tumbles over a pretty cascade. The steep bank opposite is covered with trees. John Aislabie, who had been chancellor of the exchequer, laid out this park in 1720,[Pg 290] and such repute did his ornamental works attain that Studley was regarded as the most embellished spot in the North of England. Ultimately, through heiresses, it passed into the hands of the present owner. The pleasure-grounds were laid out in the Dutch style then in vogue, and the slopes of the valley were terraced, planted with evergreens, and adorned with statues. Modern landscape-gardening has somewhat varied the details, but the original design remains. In the gardens are the Octagon Tower, perched upon a commanding knoll, the Temple of Piety, near the water-side, and an arbor known as Anne Boleyn's Seat, which commands a superb view over Fountains Dale. Let us enter this pretty glen, which gradually narrows, becomes more abrupt and rocky, and as we go along the Skell leads us from the woods out upon a level grassy meadow, at the end of which stand the gray ruins of the famous Cistercian abbey. The buildings spread completely across the glen to its craggy sides on either hand. On the right there is only room for a road to pass between the transept and the limestone rock which rears on high the trees rooted in its crannies, whose branches almost brush the abbey's stately tower. On the other side is the little river, with the conventual buildings carried across it in more than one place, the water flowing through a vaulted tunnel. These buildings extend to the bases of the opposite crags. The ruins are of great size, and it does not take much imagination to restore the glen to its aspect when the abbey was in full glory seven or eight hundred years ago. Its founders came hither almost as exiles from York, and began building the[Pg 291] abbey in the twelfth century, but it was barely completed when Henry VIII. forced the dissolution of the monasteries. It was very rich, and furnished rare plunder when the monks were compelled to leave it. The close or immediate grounds of the abbey contained about eighty acres, entered by a gate-house to the westward of the church, the ruins of which can still be seen. Near by is an old mill alongside the Skell, and a picturesque bridge crosses the stream, while on a neighboring knoll are some ancient yews which are believed to have sheltered the earliest settlers, and are called the "Seven Sisters." But, unfortunately, only two now remain, gnarled and twisted, with decaying trunks and falling limbs—ruins in fact that are as venerable as Fountains Abbey itself. Botanists say they are twelve hundred years old, and that they were full-grown trees when the exiles from York first encamped alongside the Skell.


Entering the close, the ruins of the abbey church are seen in[Pg 292] better preservation than the other buildings. The roof is gone, for its woodwork was used to melt down the lead by zealous Reformers in the sixteenth century, and green grass has replaced the pavement. The ruins disclose a noble temple, the tower rising one hundred and sixty-eight feet. In the eastern transept is the beautiful "Chapel of the Nine Altars" with its tall and slender columns, some of the clustering shafts having fallen. For some distance southward and eastward from the church extend the ruins of the other convent-buildings. In former times they were used as a stone-quarry for the neighborhood, many of the walls being levelled to the ground, but since the last century they have been scrupulously preserved. The plan is readily traced, for excavations have been made to better display the ruins. South of the nave of the church was the cloister-court. On one side was the transept and chapter-house, and on the other a long corridor supporting the dormitory. This was one hundred yards long, extending across the river, and abutting against the crags on the other side. South of the cloister-court was the refectory and other apartments. To the eastward was a group of buildings terminating in a grand house for the abbot, which also bridged the river. All[Pg 293] these are now in picturesque ruin, the long corridor, with its vaulted roof supported by a central row of columns with broad arches, being considered one of the most impressive religious remains in England. One of the chief uses to which the Fountains Abbey stone-quarry was devoted was the building, in the reign of James I., of a fine Jacobean mansion as the residence for its then owner, Sir Stephen Proctor. This is Fountains Hall, an elaborate structure of that period which stands near the abbey gateway, and to a great extent atones, by its quaint attractiveness, for the vandalism that despoiled the abbey to furnish materials for its construction. In fact, the mournful reflection is always uppermost in viewing the remains of this famous place that it would have been a grand old ruin could it have been preserved, but the spoilers who plundered it for their own profit are said to have discovered, in the fleeting character of the riches thus obtained, that ill-gotten gains never prosper.



Proceeding northward from Ripon, and crossing over into the valley of the river Swale, we reach one of the most picturesquely located towns of England—Richmond, whose great castle is among the best English remains of the Norman era. The river flows over a broken and rocky bed around the base of a cliff, and crowning the precipice above is the great castle, magnificent even in decay. It was founded in the[Pg 294] reign of William the Conqueror by Alan the Red, who was created Earl of Richmond, and it covers a space of about five acres on a rock projecting over the river, the prominent tower of the venerable keep being surrounded by walls and buildings. A lane leads up from the market-place of the town to the castle-gate, alongside of which are Robin Hood's Tower and the Golden Tower, the latter named from a tradition of a treasure being once found there. The Scolland's Hall, a fine specimen of Norman work, adjoins this tower. The keep is one hundred feet high and furnished with walls eleven feet thick, time having had little effect upon its noble structure, one of the most perfect Norman keep-towers remaining in England. There is a grand view from the battlements over the romantic valley of the Swale. In the village is an old gray tower, the only remains of a Franciscan monastery founded in the thirteenth century, and the ruins of Easby Abbey, dating from the twelfth century, are not far away; its granary is still in use. The valley of the Swale may be pursued for a long distance, furnishing constant displays of romantic scenery, or, if that is preferred, excellent trout-fishing.



From the high hills in the neighborhood of Fountains Dale there is a magnificent view over the plain of York, and we will now proceed down the valley of the Ouse to the venerable city that the Romans called Eboracum, and which is the capital of a county exceeding in extent many kingdoms[Pg 295] and principalities of Europe. This ancient British stronghold has given its name to the metropolis of the New World, but the modern Babylon on the Hudson has far outstripped the little city on the equally diminutive Ouse. It was Ebrane, the king of the Brigantes, who is said to have founded York, but so long ago that he is believed a myth. Whatever its origin, a settlement was there before the Christian era, but nothing certain is known of it beyond the fact that it existed when the Romans invaded Britain and captured York, with other strongholds, in the first century of the Christian era. Eboracum was made the head-quarters of their fifth legion, and soon became the chief city of a district now rich in the relics of the Roman occupation, their dead being still found thickly buried around the town. Portions of the walls of Eboracum remain, among them being that remarkable relic, the tower, polygonal in plan, which is known as the Multangular Tower, and which marks the south-western angle of the ancient Roman city. Not far away are the dilapidated ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, once one of the wealthiest and proudest religious houses in the North of England, but with little now left but portions of the foundations, a gateway, and the north and west walls of the nave. This abbey was founded in the eleventh century, and it was from here that the exiled monks who built Fountains Abbey were driven out. This ruin has been in its present condition for nearly two hundred and fifty years.

For over three centuries Eboracum was a great Roman city. Here came the emperor Severus and died in 211, his body being cremated and the ashes conveyed to Rome. When the empire was divided, Britain fell to the share of Constantius Chlorus, and he made Eboracum his home, dying there in 305. Constantine the Great, his son, was first proclaimed emperor at Eboracum. When the Romans departed evil days fell upon York; the barbarians destroyed it, and it was not till 627 that it reappeared in history, when Eadwine, King of Northumbria, was baptized there by St. Paulinus on Easter Day, a little wooden church being built for the purpose. Then began its ecclesiastical eminence, for Paulinus was the first Archbishop of York, beginning a line of prelates that has continued unbroken since. In the eighth century the Northmen began their incursions, and from spoilers ultimately became settlers. York prospered, being thronged with Danish merchants, and in the tenth century had thirty thousand population. In King Harold's reign the Northmen attacked and captured the town, when Harold surprised and defeated them, killing their leader Tostig, but no sooner had he won the victory than he had to hasten southward to meet William the Norman, and be in turn vanquished and slain. York resisted William, but he ultimately conquered the city and built a castle there, but being rebellious the people attacked the castle. He returned and[Pg 296] chastised them and built a second castle on the Ouse; but the discontent deepened, and a Danish fleet appearing in the Humber there was another rebellion, and the Norman garrison firing the houses around the castle to clear the ground for its better defence, the greater part of the city was consumed. While this was going on the Danes arrived, attacked and captured both castles, slaughtered their entire garrisons of three thousand men, and were practically unopposed by the discontented people. Then it was that the stalwart Norman William swore "by the splendor of God" to avenge himself on Northumbria, and, keeping his pledge, he devastated the entire country north of the Humber.

York continued to exist without making much history for several centuries, till the Wars of the Roses came between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. In this York bore its full part, but it was at first the Lancastrian king who was most frequently found at York, and not the duke who bore the title. But after Towton Field, on Palm Sunday, March 29, 1461, the most sanguinary battle ever fought in England, one hundred thousand men being engaged, the news of their defeat was brought to the Lancastrian king Henry and Queen Margaret at York, and they soon became fugitives, and their youthful adversary, the Duke of York, was crowned Edward IV. in York Minster. In the Civil War it was in York that Charles I. took refuge, and from that city issued his first declaration of war against the Parliament. For two years York was loyal to the king, and then the fierce siege took place in which the Parliamentary forces ruined St. Mary's Abbey by undermining and destroying its tower. Prince Rupert raised this siege, but the respite was not long. Marston Moor saw the king defeated, Rupert's troopers being, as the historian tells us, made as "stubble to the swords of Cromwell's Ironsides." The king's shattered army retreated to York, was pursued, and in a fortnight York surrendered to the Parliamentary forces. The city languished afterwards, losing its trade, and developing vast pride, but equal poverty. Since the days of railways, however, it has become a very important junction, and has thus somewhat revived its activity.



The walls of York are almost as complete as those of Chester, while its ancient gateways are in much better preservation. The gateways, called "bars," are among the marked features of the city, and the streets leading to them are called "gates." The chief of these is Micklegate, the highroad leading to the south, the most important street in York, and Micklegate Bar is the most graceful in design of all, coming down from Tudor days, with turrets and battlements pierced with cross-shaped loopholes and surmounted by small stone figures of warriors. It was on this bar that the head of the Duke of[Pg 297] York was exposed, and the ghastly spectacle greeted his son, Edward IV., as he rode into the town after Towton Field. It did not take long to strike off the heads of several distinguished prisoners and put them in his place as an expiatory offering. Here also whitened the heads of traitors down to as late as the last Jacobite rebellion. One of the buttresses of the walls of York is the Red Tower, so called from the red brick of which it is built. These walls and gates are full of interesting relics of the olden time, and they are still preserved to show the line of circumvallation of the ancient walled city. But the chief glory of York is its famous minster, on which the hand of time has been lightly laid. When King Eadwine was baptized in the little wooden church hastily erected for the purpose, he began building at the same place, at the suggestion of Paulinus, a large and more noble basilica of stone, wherein the little church was to be included. But before it was completed the king was slain, and his head was brought to York and buried in the portico of the basilica. This church fell into decay, and was[Pg 298] burned in the eighth century. On its site was built a much larger minster, which was consumed in William the Conqueror's time, when the greater part of York was burned. From its ashes rose the present magnificent minster, portions of which were building from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, it being completed as we now see it in 1470, and reconsecrated as the cathedral of St. Peter with great pomp in 1472. Its chief treasure, was the shrine of St. William, the nephew of King Stephen, a holy man of singularly gentle character. When he came into York it is said the pressure of the crowd was so great that it caused the fall of a bridge over the Ouse, but the saint by a[Pg 299] miracle saved all their lives. The shrine was destroyed at the Reformation, and the relics buried in the nave, where they were found in the last century. York Minster remained almost unchanged until 1829, when a lunatic named Martin concealed himself one night in the cathedral and set fire to the woodwork of the choir, afterwards escaping through a transept-window. The fire destroyed the timber roofs of the choir and nave and the great organ. Martin was arrested, and confined in an asylum until he died. The restoration cost $350,000, and had not long been completed when some workmen accidentally set fire to the south-western tower, which gutted it, destroyed the bells, and burned the roof of the nave. This mischief cost $125,000 to repair, and the southern transept, which was considered unsafe, has since been partially rebuilt.



Few English cathedrals exceed York Minster in dignity and massive grandeur. It is the largest Gothic church in the kingdom, and contains one of the biggest bells. "Old Peter," weighing ten and three-quarter tons, and struck regularly every day at noon. The minster is five hundred and twenty-four feet long, two hundred and twenty-two feet wide, ninety-nine feet high in the nave, and its towers rise about two hundred feet,[Pg 300] the central tower being two hundred and twelve feet high. Its great charms are its windows, most of them containing the original stained glass, some of it nearly six hundred years old. The east window is the largest stained-glass window in the world, seventy-seven by thirty-two feet, and of exquisite design, being made by John Thornton of Coventry in 1408, who was paid one dollar per week wages and got a present of fifty dollars when he finished it. At the end of one transept is the Five Sisters Window, designed by five nuns, each planning a tall, narrow sash; and a beautiful rose-window is at the end of the other transept. High up in the nave the statue of St. George stands on one side defying the dragon, who pokes out his head on the other. Its tombs are among the minster's greatest curiosities. The effigy of Archbishop Walter de Grey, nearly six hundred and fifty years old, is stretched out in an open coffin lying under a superb canopy, and the corpse instead of being in the ground is overhead in the canopy. All the walls are full of memorial tablets—a few modern ones to English soldiers, but most of them ancient. Strange tombs are also set in the walls, bearing effigies of the dead. Sir William Gee stands up with his two wives, one on each side, and his six children—all eight statues having their hands folded. Others sit up like Punch and Judy, the women dressed in hoops, farthingales, and ruffs, the highest fashions of their age. Here is buried Wentworth, second Earl of Strafford, and scores of archbishops. The body of the famous Hotspur is entombed in the wall beneath the great east window. Burke's friend Saville is buried here, that statesman having written his epitaph. The outside of the minster has all sorts of grotesque protuberances, which, according to the ancient style of church-building, represent the evil spirits that religion casts out. Adjoining the north transept, and approached through a beautiful vestibule, is the chapter-house, an octagonal building sixty-three feet in diameter and surmounted by a pyramidal roof. Seven of its sides are large stained-glass windows, and the ceiling is a magnificent work.


York Castle occupied a peninsula between the Ouse and a branch called the[Pg 301] Foss. Of this Clifford's Tower is about all of the ancient work that remains. It rises on its mound high above the surrounding buildings, and was the keep of the ancient fortress, constructed according to a remarkable and unique plan, consisting of parts of four cylinders running into each other. It dates from Edward I., but the entrance was built by Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, its governor under Charles I. The interior of the tower was afterwards burned, and George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, who was imprisoned there, planted a walnut tree within the tower which is still growing. It was in the keep of the Norman castle, which this tower replaced, that the massacre of the Jews, which grew out of race-jealousy at their great wealth, occurred in 1190. On March 16th the house of Benet, the leading Jew in York, was sacked by a mob and his wife and children murdered. Five hundred of his countrymen then sought refuge in the castle, and those who remained outside were killed. The mob besieged the castle, led by a hermit from the neighborhood "famed for zeal and holiness," who was clothed in white robes, and each morning celebrated mass and inflamed the fury of the besiegers by his preaching. At last he ventured too near the walls, and was brained by a stone. Battering-rams were then brought up, and a night's carouse was indulged in before the work of knocking down the castle began. Within was a different scene: the Jews were without food or hope. An aged rabbi, who had come as a missionary from the East, and was venerated almost as a prophet, exhorted his brethren to render up freely their lives to God rather than await death at the enemy's hands. Nearly all[Pg 302] decided to follow his counsel; they fired the castle, destroyed their property, killed their wives and children, and then turned their swords upon themselves. Day broke, and the small remnant who dared not die called from the walls of the blazing castle that they were anxious for baptism and "the faith and peace of Christ." They were promised everything, opened the gates, and were all massacred. In later years York Castle has enclosed some well-known prisoners, among them Eugene Aram, and Dick Turpin, who was hanged there. The York elections and mass-meetings are held in the courtyard.[Pg 303]


Here Wilberforce, who long represented York in Parliament, spoke in 1784, when Boswell wrote of him: "I saw what seemed a mere shrimp mount upon the table, but as I listened he grew and grew until the shrimp became a whale." The York streets are full of old houses, many with porches and overhanging fronts. One of the most curious rows is the Shambles, on a narrow street and dating from the fourteenth century. A little way out of town is the village of Holgate, which was the residence of Lindley Murray the grammarian. Guy Fawkes is said to have been a native of York, and this strange and antique old city, we are also credibly assured, was in 1632 the birthplace of Robinson Crusoe.




Starting north-east from York towards the coast, we go along the pretty valley of the Derwent, and not far from the borders of the stream come to that magnificent pile, the seat of the Earls of Carlisle—Castle Howard. More than a century ago Walpole wrote of it: "Lord Strafford had told me that I should see one of the finest places in Yorkshire, but nobody had informed me that I should at one view see a palace, a town, a fortified city: temples on high[Pg 304] places; woods worthy of being each a metropolis of the Druids; vales connected to hills by other woods; the noblest lawn in the world, fenced by half the horizon; and a mausoleum that would tempt one to be buried alive. In short, I have seen gigantic places before, but never a sublimer one." Castle Howard was the work of Vanbrugh, the designer of Blenheim, and in plan is somewhat similar, but much more sober and simple, with a central cupola that gives it dignity. It avoids many of the faults of Blenheim: its wings are more subdued, so that the central colonnade stands out to greater advantage, and there are few more imposing country-houses in England than this palace of the Howards. This family are scions of the ducal house of Norfolk, so that "all the blood of all the Howards," esteemed the bluest blood in the kingdom, runs in their veins. The Earls of Carlisle are descended from "Belted Will"—Lord William Howard, the lord warden of the Marches in the days of the first Stuart—whose stronghold was at Naworth Castle, twelve miles north-east of Carlisle. His grandson took an active part in the restoration of Charles II., and in recompense was created the first Earl of Carlisle. His bones lie in York Minster. His grandson, the third earl, who was deputy earl-marshal at the coronation of Queen Anne, built Castle Howard. The seventh earl, George William Frederick, was for eight years viceroy in Ireland, resigning in 1864 on account of ill-health; and it is said that he was one of the few English rulers who really won the affections of the people of that unhappy country. He died soon afterwards.


Leaving the railway-station in the valley of the Derwent, and mounting the hills to the westward, a little village is reached on the confines of the park. Beyond the village the road to the park-gates passes through meadow-land, and is bordered by beautiful beech trees arranged in clusters of about a dozen trees in each, producing an unusual but most happy effect. The gateway is entered, a plain building in a castellated wall—this being Walpole's "fortified city"—and, proceeding up a slope, the fine avenue of beeches crosses another avenue of lime trees. Here is placed an obelisk erected in honor of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, which also bears an inscription telling of the erection of Castle Howard. It recites that the house[Pg 305] was built on the site of the old castle of Hinderskelf, and was begun in 1702 by Charles, the third Earl of Carlisle, who set up this inscription in 1731. The happy earl, pleased with the grand palace and park he had created, thus addresses posterity on the obelisk:

"If to perfection these plantations rise,
If they agreeably my heirs surprise,
This faithful pillar will their age declare
As long as time these characters shall spare.
Here, then, with kind remembrance read his name
Who for posterity performed the same."

The avenue then leads on past the north front of the castle, standing in a fine situation upon a ridge between two shallow valleys. The bed of the northern valley has been converted into a lake, while on the southern slopes are beautiful and extensive lawns and gardens. The house forms three sides of a hollow square, and within, it is interesting in pictures and ornaments. It is cut up, however, into small rooms and long, chilly corridors, which detract from its good effect. The entrance-hall is beneath the central dome and occupies the whole height of the structure, but it is only about thirty-five feet square, giving a sense of smallness. Frescoes decorate the walls and ceilings. The public apartments, which are in several suites opening into each other and flanked by long corridors, are like a museum, so full are they of rare works of art, china, glass, and paintings. Much of the collection came from the Orleans Gallery. There are also many portraits in black and red chalk by Janet, a French artist who flourished in the sixteenth century. Some of the paintings are of great value, and are by Rubens, Caracci, Canaletti, Tintoretto, Titian, Hogarth, Bellini, Mabuse, Holbein, Lely, Vandyke, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and others. The Castle Howard collection is exceptionally valuable in historical portraits. The windows of the drawing-room[Pg 306] look out upon extensive flower-gardens, laid out in rather formal style with antique vases and statues. Beyond these gardens is seen a circular temple placed upon a knoll, the "mausoleum" which so moved Walpole. Here the former owners of the castle are buried, a constant memento mori to the tenants of the house, though the taste certainly seems peculiar that has made the family tomb the most prominent object in the view from the drawing-room windows.


Not far from Castle Howard are the ruins of Kirkham Priory. A charming fragment of this noble church remains in a grassy valley on the margin of the Derwent. Here, nearly eight hundred years ago, the Augustinians established the priory, the founder being Sir Walter l'Espec, one of the leaders of the English who drove back King David's Scottish invasion at the battle of the Standard, near Durham. Sir Walter had an only son, who was one day riding near the site of Kirkham when a wild boar suddenly rushed across his path. The horse plunged and threw his rider, who, striking head-foremost against a projecting stone, was killed. Sir Walter, being childless, determined to devote his wealth to the service of God, and founded three religious houses—one in Bedfordshire, another at Rievaulx, where he sought refuge from his sorrows, and the third at the place of his son's death at Kirkham. Legend says that the youth was caught by his foot in the stirrup when thrown, and was dragged by his runaway horse to the spot where the high altar was afterwards located. Sir Walter's sister married into the family of De Ros, among the ancestors of the Dukes of Rutland, and they were patrons of Kirkham until the dissolution of the monasteries. Little remains of it: the gate-house still stands, and in front is the base of a cross said to have been made from the stone against which the boy was thrown. Alongside this stone they hold a "bird-fair" every summer, where jackdaws, starlings, and other birds are sold, with a few rabbits thrown in; but the fair now is chiefly an excuse for a holiday. The church was three hundred feet long, with the convent-buildings to the southward, but only scant ruins remain. Beyond the ruins, at the edge of the greensward, the river glides along under a gray stone bridge. At Howsham, in the neighborhood, Hudson the railway[Pg 307] king was born, and at Foston-le-Clay Sydney Smith lived, having for his friends the Earl and Countess of Carlisle of that day, who made their first call in a gold coach and got stuck fast in the clay. Here the witty vicar resided, having been presented to a living, and built himself a house, which he described as "the ugliest in the county," but admitted by all critics to be "one of the most comfortable," though located "twenty miles from a lemon." Subsequently Smith left here for Somersetshire.



The coast of Yorkshire affords the boldest and grandest scenery on the eastern shore of England. A great protruding backbone of chalk rocks projects far into the North Sea at Flamborough Head, and makes one of the most prominent landmarks on all that rugged, iron-bound coast. This is the Ocellum Promontorium of Ptolemy, and its lighthouse is three hundred and thirty feet above the sea, while far away over the waters the view is superb. From Flamborough Head northward beyond Whitby the coast-line is a succession of abrupt white cliffs and bold headlands, presenting magnificent scenery. About twenty-three miles north of Flamborough is the "Queen of Northern Watering-places," as Scarborough is pleased to be called, where a bold headland three hundred feet high juts out into the North Sea for a mile, having on each side semicircular bays, each about a mile and a quarter wide. At the extreme point of the lozenge-shaped promontory stands the ruined castle which named the town Scar-burgh, with the sea washing the rocky base of its foundations on three sides. Steep cliffs run precipitously down to the narrow beach that fringes these bays around, and on the cliffs is the town of Scarborough, while myriads of fishing-vessels cluster about the breakwater-piers that have been constructed to make a harbor of refuge. It would be difficult to find a finer situation, and art has improved it to the utmost, especially as mineral springs add the attractions of a spa to the sea air and bathing. The old castle, battered by war and the elements, is a striking ruin, the precipitous rock on which it stands being a natural fortress. The Northmen when they first invaded Britain made its site their stronghold, but the present castle was not built until the reign of King Stephen, when its builder, William le Gros, Earl of Albemarle, was so powerful in this part of Yorkshire that it was said he was "in Stephen's days the more real king." But Henry II. compelled the proud earl to submit to his authority, though "with much searching of heart and choler," and Scarborough afterwards became one of the royal castles, Edward I. in his earlier years keeping court there. It was there that Edward II. was besieged and his favorite Gaveston starved into surrender, and[Pg 308] then beheaded on Blacklow Hill in violation of the terms of his capitulation. Scarborough was repeatedly attacked by the Scotch, but it subsequently enjoyed an interval of peace until the Reformation. In Wyatt's rebellion his friends secured possession of the castle by stratagem. A number of his men, disguised as peasants, on market-day strolled one by one into the castle, and then at a given signal overpowered the sentinels and admitted the rest of their band. The castle, however, was soon recaptured from the rebels, and Thomas Stafford, the leader in this enterprise, was beheaded. From this event is derived the proverb of a "Scarborough warning"—a word and a blow, but the blow first. In Elizabeth's reign Scarborough was little else but a fishing-village, and so unfortunate that it appealed to the queen for aid. In the Civil War the castle was held by the Royalists, and was besieged for six months. While the guns could not reduce it, starvation did, and the Parliamentary army took possession. Three years later the governor declared for the king, and the castle again stood a five months' siege, finally surrendering. Since then it has fallen into decay, but it was a prison-house for George Fox the Quaker, who was treated with severity there. A little way down the hill are the ruins of the ancient church of St. Mary, which has been restored.


[Pg 309]The cliffs on the bay to the south of Castle Hill have been converted into a beautifully-terraced garden and promenade. Here, amid flowers and summer houses and terraced walks, is the fashionable resort, the footpaths winding up and down the face of the cliffs or broadening into the gardens, where music is provided and there are nightly illuminations. Millions of money have been[Pg 310] expended in beautifying the front of the cliffs adjoining the Spa, which is on the seashore, and to which Scarborough owed its original fame as a watering-place. The springs were discovered in 1620, and by the middle of the last century had become fashionable, but the present ornamental Spa was erected only about forty years ago. There is a broad esplanade in front. There are two springs, one containing more salt, lime, and magnesia sulphates than the other. In the season, this esplanade—in fact, the entire front of the cliffs—is full of visitors, while before it are rows of little boxes on wheels, the bathing-houses that are drawn into the water. The surf is usually rather gentle, however, though the North Sea can knock things about at a lively rate in a storm.

North of Scarborough the coast extends, a grand escarpment of cliffs and headlands, past Robin Hood's Bay, with its rocky barriers, the North Cheek and the South Cheek, to the little harbor of another watering-place, Whitby. The cliffs here are more precipitous and the situation even more picturesque than at Scarborough. The river Esk has carved a deep glen in the Yorkshire moorland, and in this the town nestles, climbing the steep banks on either side of the river. The ruins of Whitby Abbey are located high up on the side of the ravine opposite to the main part of the town, and they still present a noble if dilapidated pile. The nave fell after a storm in the last century, and a similar cause threw down the central tower in 1830. The choir and northern transept are still standing, extremely beautiful Early English work: only fragments of other portions of the abbey remain. This was in olden times the Westminster of Northumbria, containing the tombs of Eadwine and of Oswy, with kings and nobles grouped around them. It has been over twelve hundred years since a religious house was founded at Whitby, at first known as the White Homestead, an outgrowth of the abbey, which was founded by Oswy and presided over by the sainted Hilda, who chose the spot upon the lonely crags by the sea. The fame of Whitby as a place of learning soon spread, and here lived the cowherd Cædmon, the first English poet. The Danes sacked and burned it but after the Norman Conquest, under the patronage of the Percies, the abbey grew in wealth and fame. Fragments of the monastery yet remain, and on the hill a little lower down is the parish church, with a long flight of steps leading up to it from the harbor along which the people go, and when there is a funeral the coffin has to be slung in order to be carried up the steps. Whitby is famous for its jet, which is worked into numerous ornaments: this is a variety of fossil wood, capable of being cut and taking a high polish. It is also celebrated for its production of iron-ore, which indeed is a product of all this part of Yorkshire; while at night, along the valley of the[Pg 311] Tees, not far north of Whitby, the blaze of the myriads of furnaces light up the heavens like the fire of Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples. Among the tales of the abbey is that which

"Whitby's nuns exulting told,
How to their house three barons bold
Must menial service do."


It appears that three gentlemen—De Bruce, De Percy, and Allaston—were hunting boars on the abbey-lands in 1159, and roused a fine one, which their dogs pressed hard and chased to the hermitage, where it ran into the chapel and dropped dead. The hermit closed the door against the hounds, and the hunters, coming up, were enraged to find the dogs baulked of their prey, and on the hermit's opening the door they attacked him with their boar-spears and mortally wounded him. It was not long before they found that this was dangerous sport, and they took sanctuary at Scarborough. The Church, however, did not protect those who had insulted it, and they were given up to the abbot of Whitby, who was about to make an example of them when the dying hermit summoned the abbot and the prisoners to his bedside and granted them their lives and lands. But it was done upon a peculiar tenure: upon Ascension Day at sunrise they were to come to the wood on Eskdale-side, and the abbot's officer was to deliver to each "ten stakes, eleven stout stowers, and eleven yethers, to be cut by you, or some of you, with a knife of one penny price;" these they were to take on their backs to Whitby before nine o'clock in the morning. Then said the hermit, "If it be full sea your labor and service shall cease; and if low water, each of you shall set your stakes to the brim, each stake one yard from the other, and so yether them on each side with your yethers, and so stake on each side with your stout stowers, that they may stand three tides without removing by the force thereof. You shall faithfully do this in remembrance that you did most cruelly slay me, and that you may the better call to God for mercy, repent[Pg 312] unfeignedly of your sins, and do good works. The officer of Eskdale-side shall blow, 'Out on you, out on you, out on you for this heinous crime!'" Failure of this strange service was to forfeit their lands to the abbot of Whitby.



We have now come into a region of coal and iron, with mines and furnaces in abundance, and tall chimneys in all the villages pouring out black smoke. All the country is thoroughly cultivated, and the little streams bubbling over the stones at the bottoms of the deep valleys, past sloping green fields and occasional patches of woods where the land is too steep for cultivation, give picturesqueness to the scene. We have crossed over the boundary from Yorkshire into Durham, and upon the very crooked little river Wear there rise upon the tops of the precipitous cliffs bordering the stream, high elevated above the red-tiled roofs of the town, the towers of Durham Cathedral and Castle. They stand in a remarkable position. The Wear, swinging around a curve like an elongated horseshoe, has excavated a precipitous valley out of the rocks. At the narrower part of the neck there is a depression, so that the promontory around which the river sweeps appears like the wrist with the hand clenched. The town stands at the depression, descending the slopes on either side to the river, and also spreading upon the opposite banks. The castle bars the access to the promontory, upon which stands the cathedral. Thus, almost impregnably[Pg 313] fortified, the ancient bishops of Durham were practically sovereigns, and they made war as quickly as they would celebrate a mass if their powers were threatened, for they bore alike the sword and the crozier. Durham was founded to guard the relics of the famous St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, the great ascetic of the early English Church, distinguished above all others for the severity of his mortifications and his abhorrence of women. At his shrine, we are told, none of the gentler sex might worship; they were admitted to the church, but in the priory not even a queen could lodge. Queen Philippa was once admitted there as a guest, but a tumult arose, and she had to flee half dressed for safety to the castle. St. Cuthbert was a hermit to whom the sight of human beings was a weariness and the solitude of the desert a delight. He was born in Scotland about the middle of the seventh century, of humble origin, and passed his early years as a shepherd near Melrose. He adopted an austere life, found a friend in the abbot of Melrose, and ultimately sickened of an epidemic, his recovery being despaired of. In answer, however, to the prayers of the monks, he was restored to health as by a miracle, and became the prior of Melrose. Afterwards he was for twelve years prior of Lindisfarne, an island off the Northumbrian coast, but the craving for solitude was too strong to be resisted, and he became a hermit. He went to Farne, a lonely rocky island in the neighboring sea, and, living in a hut, spent his life in prayer and fasting, but having time, according to the legend, to work abundant miracles. A spring issued from the rock to give him water, the sea laid fagots at his feet, and the birds ministered to his wants. At first other monks had free access to him, but gradually he secluded himself in the hut, speaking to them through the window, and ultimately closed[Pg 314] even that against them except in cases of emergency. Such sanctity naturally acquired wide fame, and after long urging he consented to become a bishop, at first at Hexham, afterwards at Lindisfarne, thus returning to familiar scenes and an island home. But his life was ebbing, and after two years' service he longed again for his hermit's hut on the rock of Farne. He resigned the bishopric, and, returning to his hut, in a few weeks died. His brethren buried him beside his altar, where he rested eleven years; then exhuming the body, it was found thoroughly preserved, and was buried again in a new coffin at Lindisfarne. Almost two hundred years passed, when the Danes made an incursion, and to escape them the monks took the body, with other precious relics, and left Lindisfarne. During four years they wandered about with their sacred charge, and ultimately settled near Chester-le-Street, where the body of St. Cuthbert rested for over a century; but another Danish invasion in 995 sent the saint's bones once more on their travels, and they were taken to Ripon. The danger past, the monks started on their return, transporting the coffin on a carriage. They had arrived at the Wear, when suddenly the carriage stopped and was found to be immovable. This event no doubt had a meaning, and the monks prayed and fasted for three days to learn what it was. Then the saint appeared in a vision and said he had chosen this spot for his abode. It was a wild place, known as Dunhelm: the monks went to the Dun, or headland, and erected a tabernacle for their ark from the boughs of trees while they built a stone church, within which, in the year 999, the body was enshrined. This church stood until after the Norman Conquest, when the king made its bishop the Earl of Durham, and his palatinate jurisdiction began.

The present Durham Cathedral was begun in 1093, with the castle alongside. As we look at them from the railway-station, they stand a monument of the days when the same hand grasped the pastoral staff and the sword—"half house of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot." Upon the top of the rocks, which are clad in foliage to the river's edge, on the left hand, supported by massive outworks built up from halfway down the slope, rises the western face of the castle. Beyond this, above a fringe of trees, rises the lofty cathedral, its high central tower forming the apex of the group and its two western towers looking down into the ravine. The galilee in front appears built up from the depths of the valley, and is supported by outworks scarcely less solid than those of the castle. Durham, more than any other place in England, is a memorial of the temporal authority of the Church, uniting the mitre and the coronet. The plan of Durham Cathedral is peculiar in having the closed galilee at the western end, instead of the open porch as is usual, while the eastern end, which is wider than the choir, terminates abruptly, having no Lady Chapel, but being[Pg 315] in effect cut off, with a gable in the centre and a great rose-window. As the galilee overhangs the ravine, the principal entrance to the cathedral is from a fine northern porch. To the portal is affixed a large knocker of quaint design, which in former days was a Mecca for the fugitive, for the shrine of St. Cuthbert enjoyed the right of sanctuary. When the suppliant grasped this knocker he was safe, for over the door two monks kept perpetual watch to open at the first stroke. As soon as admitted the suppliant was required to confess his crime, whatever it might be. This was written down, and a bell in the galilee tolled to announce the fact that some one had sought "the peace of Cuthbert;" and he was then clothed in a black gown with a yellow cross on the shoulder. After thirty-seven days, if no pardon could be obtained, the malefactor solemnly abjured his native land for ever, and was conveyed to the seacoast, bearing a white wooden cross in his hand, and was sent out of the kingdom by the first ship that sailed.


The interior of Durham Cathedral is regarded as the noblest Norman construction yet remaining in England. The arcade, triforium, and clerestory are[Pg 316] in fine proportion; the nave has a vaulted roof of stone, and the alternate columns are clustered in plan, their middle shafts extending from floor to roof. These columns are enriched with zigzag, lattice, spiral, and vertical flutings. This cathedral, begun in 1093, was nearly two centuries building, and the Chapel of Nine Altars, in honor of various saints, was erected at the eastern end in the twelfth century. Some of these altars did duty for a pair of saints, St. Cuthbert sharing the central one with St. Bede, a name only second to his in the memories of Durham, so that the nine altars were availed of to reverence sixteen saints. Behind the reredos a platform extends a short distance into this chapel at a height of six feet above the floor. A large blue flagstone is let into the platform, with shallow grooves on either hand. Here stood St. Cuthbert's shrine, highly ornamented, and having seats underneath for the pilgrims and cripples who came to pray for relief. This being never wanting, we are told that the shrine came to be so richly invested that it was esteemed one of the most sumptuous monuments in England, so numerous were the offerings and jewels bestowed upon it. Among the relics here accumulated was the famous Black Rood of Scotland, the prize of the battle of Neville's Cross, fought near Durham. There were also many relics of saints and martyrs, scraps of clothing of the Saviour and the Virgin, pieces of the crown of thorns and of the true cross, vials containing the milk of the Virgin Mother and the blood of St. Thomas, besides elephants' tusks and griffins' claws and eggs, with myriads of jewels. In 1104, St. Cuthbert's body was deposited in this shrine with solemn ceremonies, and it rested there undisturbed until the dissolution of the monasteries, reverentially watched, day and night, by monks stationed in an adjoining chamber. Then the shrine was destroyed and the treasures scattered, the coffin opened, and St. Cuthbert buried beneath the slab, so that now the only remnants visible are the furrows worn in the adjoining pavement by the feet of the ancient worshippers. Tradition tells that the exact position of St. Cuthbert's grave is known only to three Benedictine monks, of whom Scott writes:[Pg 317]

"There, deep in Durham's Gothic shade,
His relics are in secret laid,
But none may know the place,
Save of his holiest servants three,
Deep sworn to solemn secrecy,
Who share that wondrous grace."

The corpse, however, rests beneath the blue slab. In 1827 it was raised, and, while other human remains were found, there was disclosed beneath them, in a coffin, a skeleton vested in mouldering robes, and with it various treasures, which, with the robes, accord with the description of those present in St. Cuthbert's coffin when opened in 1104. The skeleton was reinterred in a new coffin, and the relics, particularly an ancient golden cross and a comb, were placed in the cathedral library.


In the galilee of Durham Cathedral, near the south-eastern angle, is a plain, low altar-tomb that marks the resting-place of St. Bede, commonly known as "the Venerable Bede"—a title which angelic hands are said to have supplied to the line inscribed on his tomb. He was the first English historian, a gentle, simple scholar, who spent his life from childhood in a monastery at Jarrow, near the mouth of the Wear, and took his pleasure in learning, teaching, or writing. His great work was the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, which occupied many years in compilation, and is still the most trusted history of the period of which it treats. His literary activity was extraordinary, and he produced many other works. He was born near Durham in 672, and died in 735. His devotion to literary work was such that even during his last illness he was dictating to an amanuensis a translation of the Gospel of St. John into Anglo-Saxon, and upon completing the last sentence requested the assistant to place him on the floor of his cell, where he said a short prayer, and expired as the closing words passed his lips. He was buried where he had lived, at Jarrow, and as the centuries passed the fame of his sanctity and learning increased. Then a certain Ælfred conceived the idea of stealing St. Bede's[Pg 318] remains for the glorification of Durham. Several times baffled, he at length succeeded, and carrying the precious relics to Durham, they were for a time preserved in St. Cuthbert's shrine, but were afterwards removed to a separate tomb, which in 1370 was placed in the galilee, where it has since remained. At the Reformation the shrine was destroyed, and St. Bede's bones, like St. Cuthbert's, were buried beneath the spot on which the shrine had stood. This tomb was opened in 1831, and many human bones were found beneath, together with a gilt ring. The bones in all probability were St. Bede's remains. Durham Cathedral contains few monuments, for reverence for the solitude of St. Cuthbert whom it enshrined excluded memorials of other men during several centuries.


The remains of the Benedictine monastery to which the care of these shrines was entrusted are south of the cathedral, forming three sides of a square, of which the cathedral nave was the fourth. Beyond is an open green, with the castle on the farther side and old buildings on either hand. From this green the castle is entered by a gateway with massive doors, but, while the structure is picturesque, it is not very ancient, excepting this gateway. It has mostly been rebuilt since the twelfth century. This was the palace of the bishops of Durham, of whom Antony Bek raised the power of the see to its highest point. He was prelate, soldier, and politician, equally at home in peace or war, at the head of his troops, celebrating a mass, or surrounded by his great officers of state. He was the first who intruded upon the solitude of St. Cuthbert by being buried in the cathedral. Here lived also Richard of Bury, noted as the most learned man of his generation north of the Alps, and the first English bibliomaniac. Bishop Hatfield also ruled at Durham, famous both as architect and warrior. Cardinal Wolsey lived here when Archbishop of York and his quarrel with Henry VIII. resulted in the Durham palatinate beginning to lose part of its power, so that in the days of his successor, Tunstall, it came to be the "peace of the king," and not of the bishop, that was broken within its borders. Here also ruled the baron-bishop Crewe, who was both a temporal[Pg 319] and a spiritual peer, and Bishop Butler, the profound thinker. But the bishops live there no longer, their palace being moved to Auckland, while the university is located in the castle. It is the Northern University, first projected in Cromwell's time. About a mile to the westward of Durham was fought the battle of Neville's Cross in October, 1346. This was a few months after Edward had won the battle of Crecy in France, and the King of Scotland, taking advantage of the absence of the English king and his army, swept over the Border with forty thousand men, devastating the entire country. His chief nobles accompanied him, and to encourage the troops the most sacred relic of Scotland, the "Black Rood," a crucifix of blackened silver, was present on the battlefield. This had been mysteriously delivered to David I. on the spot in Edinburgh where to commemorate it Holyrood Abbey was afterwards founded. But, though King Edward was in France, Queen Philippa was equal to the emergency. An army was quickly gathered under Earl Neville, and Durham sent its contingent headed by the warlike bishop. The invaders drew near the walls of Durham, and the English army, inferior in numbers, awaited them. To confront the "Black Rood," the bishop brought into camp an "ark of God" in obedience to a vision: this was one of the cathedral's choicest treasures, "the holy corporax cloth wherewith St. Cuthbert covered the chalice when he used to say mass." This, attached to the point of a spear, was displayed in sight of the army, while the monks upon the cathedral towers, in full view of the battlefield, prayed for victory for the defenders of St. Cuthbert's shrine. They fought three hours in the morning, the Scotch with axes, the English with arrows; but, as the watching monks turned from prayer to praise, the Scottish line wavered and broke, for the banner of St. Cuthbert proved too much for the Black Rood. The King of Scotland was wounded and captured, and fifteen thousand of his men were slain, including many nobles. The Black Rood was captured, and placed in the Nine Altars Chapel. Afterwards the "corporax cloth" was attached to a velvet banner, and became one of the great standards of England, being carried against Scotland by Richard II. and Henry IV., and it waved over the English army at Flodden. When not in use it was attached to St. Cuthbert's shrine. At the Reformation the Black Rood was lost, and St. Cuthbert's banner fell into possession of one Dean Whittingham, whose wife, the historian lamentingly says, "being a Frenchwoman, did most despitefully burn the same in her fire, to the open contempt and disgrace of all ancient relics." A narrow lane, deeply fringed with ferns, leads out of Durham over the hills to the westward of the town, where at a cross-road stand the mutilated remains of Earl Neville's Cross, set up to mark the battlefield, now a wide expanse of smoky country.[Pg 320]


Following the Wear northward towards its mouth, at a short distance below Durham it passes the site of the Roman city of Conderum, which had been the resting-place of St. Cuthbert's bones until the Danish invasion drove them away, and it is now known as Chester-le-Street. Here, in the old church of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, is the rude effigy of the saint which once surmounted his tomb, and here also is the "Aisle of Tombs," a chain of fourteen monumental effigies of the Lumleys, dating from Queen Elizabeth's reign. Lumley Castle, now the Earl of Scarborough's seat (for he too is a Lumley), is a short distance outside the town, on an eminence overlooking the Wear. It dates from the time of Edward I., but has been much modernized, the chief apartment in the interior being the Great Hall, sixty by thirty feet, with the Minstrel Gallery at the western end. Here on the wall is a life-size statue of the great ancestor of the Lumleys, Liulph the Saxon, seated on a red horse. North of this castle, across the Wear, is the Earl of Durham's seat, Lambton Castle, a Gothic and Tudor structure recently restored.


Still journeying northward, we cross the hills between the Wear and the Tyne, and come to the New Castle which gives its name to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the great coal shipping port. This is a strange-looking town, with red-tiled roofs, narrow, dingy, crooked streets, and myriads of chimneys belching[Pg 321] forth smoke from the many iron-works. These mills and furnaces are numerous also in the surrounding country, while the neighborhood is a network of railways carrying coal from the various lines to the shipping-piers. But this famous city is not all smoke and coal-dust: its New Castle is an ancient structure, rather dilapidated now, coming down from the reign of Henry II., approached by steep stairways up the rock on which the keep is perched. It has a fine hall, which is used as a museum of Roman relics, and from the roof is a grand view along the Tyne. This castle has a well ninety-three feet deep bored in the rock. Newcastle in its newer parts has some fine buildings. Grey Street, containing the theatre and Exchange, for a space of about four hundred yards is claimed to be the finest street in the kingdom. In Low Friars Street is the old chapel of the Black Friars monastery, where Baliol did homage to Edward III. for the Scottish throne. Sir William Armstrong lives at Jesmond, just outside Newcastle, and at Elswick, west of the city, are the extensive workshops where are made the Armstrong guns. The great High Level bridge across the Tyne Valley, built by Stephenson, with a railway on top of a roadway, and one thousand three hundred and thirty-seven feet long, is one of the chief engineering works at Newcastle. George Stephenson was born in 1781 at High Street House, Wylam, near Newcastle, while at Frudhoe Castle is a seat of the Duke of Northumberland. At Wallsend, three miles east of Newcastle, begins the celebrated Roman wall that crossed Britain, and was defended by their legions against incursions by the Scots. Its stone-and-turf walls, with the ditch on the north side, can be distinctly traced across the island.[Pg 322]



Ascending the Tyne, we come to Hexham, an imposing town as approached by the railway, with the Moat Hall and the abbey church occupying commanding features in the landscape. The Moat Hall is a large and ancient tower, notable for its narrow lights and cornice-like range of corbels. The abbey church, formerly the cathedral of St. Andrew, is a fine specimen of Early English architecture, of which only the transept and some other ruins remain, surmounted by a tower rising about one hundred feet and supported upon magnificent arches. Here is the shrine of the ancient chronicler. Prior Richard, an attractive oratory: and the town also produced another quaint historian of the Border troubles, John of Hexham. It is an antique place, and almost all of its old buildings bear testimony to the disturbed state of the Scottish frontier in the olden time, for not far away are the Cheviot Hills that form the boundary, and in which the Tyne takes its rise. Similar evidence is also given in Haltwhistle, Hexham's suburb, across the narrow river.




Journeying northward through Northumberland, and following the coastline—for here England narrows as the Scottish border is approached—the road crosses the diminutive river Alne, running through a deep valley, and standing in an imposing situation on its southern bank is the renowned stronghold of the Percies and guardian of the Border, Alnwick Castle. The great fortress, as we now see it, was built as a defence against the Scots, and was protected on the northward by the river-valley and a deep ravine, which formerly cut it off from the village, which is as ancient as the fortress, as its quaint old Pottergate[Pg 323] Tower attests. Roman remains have been found on the site, and it was also inhabited by the Saxons, the castle at the time of the Norman Conquest being held by Gilbert Tysen, a powerful Northumbrian chief. It was then a primitive timber fortress in a wild region, for the earliest masonry works are Norman, and are attributed to Tysen's descendants. Alnwick Castle is a cluster of semicircular and angular bastions, surrounded by lofty walls, defended at intervals by towers, and enclosing a space of about five acres. It has three courts or wards, each defended formerly by massive gates, with portcullis, porters lodge, and a strong guardhouse, beneath which was a dungeon. Trap-doors are the only entrances to the latter, into which the prisoners were lowered by ropes. From the village the entrance to the castle is through the barbican, or outer gate, a work of gigantic strength and massive grandeur, which has been the scene of many a brave encounter. Near by is the Postern Tower, a sally-port adjacent to the "Bloody Gap" and "Hotspur's Chair." The history of this famous stronghold is practically the history of this portion of the realm, for in all the Border warfare that continued for centuries it was conspicuous. In the reign of William Rufus it was gallantly defended by Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, in the memorable siege by the Scots under King Malcolm III. The garrison were about surrendering, being almost starved, when a private soldier undertook their deliverance. He rode out to the[Pg 324] besiegers' camp, carrying the keys of the castle dangling from his lance, and presented himself a suppliant before the Scottish king, as if to deliver up the keys. Malcolm advanced to receive them, and the soldier pierced him through the heart. Malcolm fell dead, and in the confusion the bold trooper sprang upon his horse, dashed across the river, and was safe. Malcolm's eldest son, Prince Edward, advanced rashly to avenge the king's death, and fell mortally wounded from the castle. Hammond's Ford, named for the bold trooper, marks the spot where he and his horse swam across the Alne, which at the time was swollen. In memory of Malcolm, a cross stands on the spot where he was slain, and near by is Malcolm's Well and the ruins of St. Leonard's Chapel, built for the unfortunate king's expiation. Upon the cross the inscription states that Malcolm fell November 13, 1093, and that the original cross, decayed by time, was restored by his descendant, Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland, in 1774. Eustace de Vesci, who built St.[Pg 325] Leonard's Chapel, lived in the days of Henry I. and Stephen, and founded the abbey of Alnwick. King David of Scotland captured the old timber castle there in 1135 on his great invasion of England, and Eustace afterwards built the first masonry work of Alnwick Castle, traces of his walls having since been found.



Alnwick descended to William, son of Eustace, and in 1174, William the Lion, returning from an invasion of Cumberland, passed before the castle, and was captured and sent a prisoner into England. Alnwick descended to William's son Eustace, who was visited by King John in 1209, and the king there received the homage of Alexander of Scotland. Eustace was one of the chief barons who wrested Magna Charta from John, and in the closing year of that reign met his death from an arrow before Barnard Castle. Henry III. visited Alnwick, and the great Edward I. was there several times as the guest of John de Vesci near the close of the thirteenth century. The Barons de Vesci soon afterwards became extinct, and then the warlike bishop of Durham, Antony Bek, came in and grabbed the castle. He sold it in 1309 to Henry de Percy, and from this dates the rise of the great family of the northern Border, who have held Alnwick for nearly six centuries, its present owner being his descendant, Algernon George Percy, Duke of Northumberland, in whose veins flows the blood of so many great families that he can use nine hundred heraldic devices on his[Pg 326] armorial bearings, including those of many kings and princes. Henry de Percy became the leader of the Border barons, and, although living at Alnwick only five years, seems to have rebuilt most of the castle, his son completing it. The Percies became the Earls of Northumberland, and such warlike lives did they lead (as, for instance, young Henry Percy, "Hotspur") that it is noted that Henry Algernon, the fifth earl, was the first of the race who died in bed. The next of the line was executed for rebellion, and the next was beheaded at York for conspiring against Queen Elizabeth. The eighth earl, favoring Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in the Tower, and was one day found in his chamber shot through the heart. Henry, the ninth earl, was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, imprisoned in the Tower, and fined $250,000. After his release he spent the remainder of his life at Petworth; Alnwick was neglected; and the direct line of descent ultimately ended with Elizabeth, daughter of the eleventh earl, who married the Duke of Somerset in 1682. Her grandson, Algernon, became Earl of Northumberland, and his daughter, Elizabeth Seymour, was the ancestress of the present family, her husband being created the first Duke of Northumberland. Alnwick was then a ruin, but he restored it, and subsequently, under the direction of the architect Salvin, it was completely rebuilt, everything worthy of preservation being kept, and the new work being[Pg 327] adapted to the days of the earlier Percies, whose achievements gave the stronghold such world-wide renown.




This famous castle is full of recollections of the great men who formerly inhabited it. The Constable's Tower, remaining mostly in its ancient condition, has in an upper apartment arms for fifteen hundred men, the Percy tenantry, while in the rooms beneath is deposited the ancient armor. "Hotspur's Chair" is the name given to a seated recess of the Ravine Tower which was Hotspur's favorite resort, where he sat while his troops exercised in the castle-yard beneath, and where he had an admirable lookout to discover an approaching enemy. Through the loopholes on either side of the seat in this commanding tower there is an extensive prospect over the valley of the Alne and to the distant seacoast. The "Bloody Gap," another noted site in the castle, is between the Ravine and Round Towers. It was the name given to a breach in the wall made by the Scots during the Border wars, although the exact time is unknown. According to tradition, three hundred Scots fell within the breach, and they were ultimately beaten off. Many arrows have been found in the adjacent walls, so located as to indicate they were shot from the battlements and windows of the keep when the assailants were making this breach. Alnwick Castle was restored by Salvin with strict regard to the rules of mediæval military architecture. When it was the great Border stronghold its governor commanded a force of no less than[Pg 328] two thousand men, who were employed in a complicated system of day and night watching to guard against forays by the Scots. The day watchers began at daylight, and blew a horn on the approach of the foe, when all men were bound on pain of death to respond for the general defence. The great feature of the restored castle is the Prudhoe Tower, built about twenty-five years ago. After entering the barbican, which admits to the outer ward, the visitor passes between the Abbot's Tower on the left and the Corner Tower and Auditor's Tower on the right. Earl Hugh's turreted tower also rises boldly from the battlements. Passing through the middle gatehouse, the keep, constructed in the form of a polygon around a court, is seen on the right hand, and in the gateway-wall is Percy's famous draw-well, with a statue of St. James above blessing the waters. Opposite this draw-well is a covered drive which leads to the entrance of Prudhoe Tower. This tower is a magnificent structure, containing the family and state-apartments, built and decorated in the Italian style, and approached by a staircase twelve feet wide. It was built at enormous cost, and alongside is a vaulted kitchen of ample proportions, constructed in the baronial style, where there are sufficient facilities to prepare[Pg 329] dinner for six hundred persons at one time, while the subterranean regions contain bins for three hundred tons of coal. Such is this great baronial Border stronghold, replete with memories of the warlike Percies. From here Hotspur sallied forth to encounter the marauding Scottish force which under Douglas had laid waste England as far as the gates of York, and almost within the sight of the castle is the bloody field of Otterbourn, where Douglas fell by Hotspur's own hand, though the English lost the day and Hotspur himself was captured. Again, as war's fortunes change, just north of Alnwick is Humbleton Hill, where the Scots had to fly before England's "deadly arrow-hail," leaving their leader, Douglas, with five wounds and only one eye, a prisoner in the hands of the Percies. It was from Alnwick's battlements that the countess watched "the stout Earl of Northumberland" set forth, "his pleasure in the Scottish woods three summer days to take"—an expedition from which he never returned. Such was the history for centuries of this renowned castle, which is regarded as presenting the most perfect specimen now existing, perhaps in the world, of the feudal stronghold of mediæval days.


Gravestone in the Churchyard of St. Michael & all

And now let us turn from the castle to the church. Almost alongside of it is St. Michael's Church, built with battlements, as if prepared as much for defence as for worship, and a watch-tower, made evidently for a lookout and to hold a beacon to warn of the approach of forays. This was one of the regular chain of Border beacons. Within the church an old iron-work lectern still holds the "Book of the Homilies," while the churchyard is full of ancient gravestones. Alnwick Abbey once existed down alongside the river, under the protection of the castle, but it has been long since ruined, and its remains have served as a quarry for the village buildings[Pg 330] until little of them remains. Its extensive domains are now part of the Duke's Park, and another contributor to this park was Hulne Priory, the earliest Carmelite monastery in England, founded in 1240. It stood upon a projecting spur of rising land above the Alne, backed by rich woods, but was neither large nor wealthy, as the neighboring abbey eclipsed it. The discipline of the Carmelites was rigorous. Each friar had a coffin for his cell and slept on straw, while every morning he dug a shovelful of earth for his grave and crept on his knees in prayer. Silence, solitude, and strict fasting were the injunction upon all, and their buildings were sternly simple. The porter's lodge and curtain-wall enclosing Hulne Priory still stand, and its outline can be traced, though the ruins are scant. Yet this, like all else at Alnwick, bears evidence of the troublous times on the Border. The most important of its remaining buildings is an embattled tower of refuge from the Scottish invader. Its inscription states that it was built in 1448 by Sir Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland. Opposite Hulne Priory is Brislee Hill, which presents the most renowned view in Alnwick Park. A tower rises among the trees upon the crest of the hill from which bonfires now blaze on occasions of festivity. Here, over the park, can be seen the castle and town, and beyond, to the eastward, the sea, with its coast-castles as far north as Bamborough. The little Coquet Island in the distance breaks the expanse of blue waters. To the westward beyond the moors rises the sharp outline of the Scottish Border, the Cheviot Hills, running off towards the north-east, and containing in their depressions the passes through which the Scots used to pour when they harried Northern England and roused the Alnwick warriors to defend their firesides.


[Pg 331]


Northward, past the extremity of the Cheviots, flows the Tweed, and one of its tributaries on the English side is the Till, which drains the bases of those sharp hills, that rise nearly twenty-seven hundred feet. Here was Ford Castle, and here was fought the terrible Border battle of Flodden in 1513. Ford Castle dated from the time of Edward I., and its proximity to the Border made it the object of many assaults. In the fifteenth century it was held by Sir William Heron, and a few days before the battle of Flodden the Scots, under James IV., during Sir William's captivity in Scotland, stormed and destroyed Ford, taking captive Lady Heron, who had endeavored to defend it. In the last century Ford was restored by the Marquis of Waterford, to whom it had descended, so that it now appears as a fine baronial mansion, surmounted by towers and battlements, and standing in a commanding situation overlooking the valley of the Till, with the lofty Cheviots closing the view a few miles to the south-west, their peaks affording ever-varying scenes as the season changes.


The great attraction of the view, however, is the famous hill of Flodden, about a mile to the westward, crowned by a plantation of dark fir trees, and presenting, with the different aspects of the weather, ever-changeful scenery,[Pg 332] recalling now the "dark Flodden" and anon the "red Flodden" of the balladists. Across the valley from Ford Castle, and at the foot of this fir-crowned hill, was fought one of the bitterest contests of the Border. Now, the famous battlefield is a highly-cultivated farm and sheep-pasture. James IV. of Scotland had unjustly determined to make war upon England, and he set out upon it in opposition to the real desire of his countrymen, and even against the omens of Heaven, as the people believed. A few days before he departed for his army the king attended St. Michael's Church, adjacent to his stately palace at Linlithgow, when a venerable stranger entered the aisle where the king knelt. The hair from his uncovered head flowed down over his shoulders, and his blue robe was confined by a linen girdle. With an air of majesty he walked up to the kneeling king, and said, "Sire, I am sent to warn thee not to proceed in thy present undertaking, for if thou dost it shall not fare well either with thyself or those who go with thee." He vanished then in the awe-stricken crowd. But this was not the only warning. At midnight, prior to the departure of the troops for the south, it is related that a voice not mortal proclaimed a summons from the market cross, where proclamations were usually read, calling upon all who should march against the English to appear within the space of forty days before the court of the Evil One. Sir Walter Scott says that this summons, like the apparition at Linlithgow, was probably an attempt[Pg 333] by those averse to the war to impose upon the superstitious temper of James IV. But the king started at the head of the finest army, and supported by the strongest artillery-train, that had down to that time been brought into the field by any Scottish monarch. He entered England August 22d. without having formed any definite plan of action. He wasted two days on the Till, besieged Norham for a week, when it surrendered, and then besieged Ford. These delays gave the English time to assemble. King James, as above related, captured Lady Heron at Ford. She was beautiful and deceitful, and soon enthralled the gay king in her spells, while all the time she was in communication with the English. Thus James wasted his time in dalliance, and, as Scott tells us,

"The monarch o'er the siren hung,
And beat the measure as she sung,
And, pressing closer and more near,
He whispered praises in her ear."


All the time the energetic Earl of Surrey was marshalling the English hosts, and, marching with twenty-six thousand men northward through Durham, received there the sacred banner of St. Cuthbert. On September 4th. Surrey challenged James to battle, which the king accepted against the advice of his best councillors. The Scots had become restive under the king's do-nothing policy, and many of them left the camp and returned home with the booty already acquired. James selected a strong position on Flodden Hill, with both flanks protected and having the[Pg 334] deep and sluggish waters of the Till flowing in front. Surrey advanced and reconnoitred, and then sent the king a herald requesting him to descend into the plain, as he acted ungallantly in thus practically shutting himself up in a fortress. The king would not admit the herald. Surrey then attempted a stratagem. Crossing the Till on the 8th, he encamped at Barmoor Wood, about two miles from the Scottish position, concealing his movement from the enemy. On the 9th he marched down the Till to near its confluence with the Tweed, and recrossed to the eastern bank. This, too, was uninterrupted by the Scots, who remained strangely inactive, though it is recorded that the chief Scottish nobles implored the king to attack the English. The aged Earl Angus begged him either to assault the English or retreat. "If you are afraid, Angus," replied the king, "you can go home." The master of artillery implored the king to allow him to bring his guns to bear upon the English, but James returned the reply that he would meet his antagonist on equal terms in a fair field, and scorned to take an advantage. Then Surrey drew up his line between James and the Border, and advanced up the valley of the Till towards the Scots. The king set fire to the temporary huts on the hillside where he had been encamped, and descended to the valley, the smoke concealing the movements of each army from the other; but Surrey's stratagem was thus successful in drawing him from his strong position. The English van was led by Lord Thomas Howard, Surrey commanding the main body, Sir Edward Stanley the rear, and Lord Dacre the reserves. The Scottish advance was led by the Earls of Home and Huntley, the king leading the centre, the Earls of Lennox and Argyle the rear, and the reserves, consisting of the flower of the Lothians, were under the Earl of Bothwell. The battle began at four in the afternoon, when the Scottish advance charged upon the right wing of the English advance and routed it. Dacre promptly galloped forward with his reserves, and restored the fortunes of the day for the English right. The main bodies in the mean time became engaged in a desperate contest. The Scottish king in his ardor forgot that the duties of a commander were distinct from the indiscriminate valor of a knight, and placed himself in front of his spearmen, surrounded by his nobles, who, while they deplored the gallant weakness of such conduct, disdained to leave their sovereign unprotected. Dacre and Howard, having defeated the Scottish wing in front of them, at this time turned their full strength against the flank of the Scottish centre. It was a terrific combat, the Scots fighting desperately in an unbroken ring around their king. The battle lasted till night, and almost annihilated the Scottish forces. Of all the splendid host, embracing the flower of the nobility and chivalry of the kingdom, only a few haggard and wounded stragglers returned to tell the tale. The Eng[Pg 335]lish victors lost five thousand slain, and the Scots more than twice that number, and among them the greatest men of the land. They left on the field their king, two bishops, two mitred abbots, twenty-seven peers and their sons, and there was scarcely a family of any position in Scotland that did not lose a relative there. The young Earl of Caithness and his entire band of three hundred followers perished on the field. The body of the dead king, afterwards found by Dacre, was taken to Berwick and presented to his commander, who had it embalmed and conveyed to the monastery of Sheyne in Surrey. The poetic instincts of the Scots were deeply moved by the woes of the fatal field of Flodden, and innumerable poems and ballads record the sad story, the crowning work of all being Scott's Marmion.



North of Flodden Field, and not far distant, is the Scottish Border, which in this part is made by the river Tweed, with Berwick at its mouth. The two kingdoms, so long in hot quarrel, are now united by a magnificent railway-bridge, elevated one hundred and twenty-five feet above the river and costing $600,000. For miles along the coast the railway runs almost upon the edge of the ocean, elevated on the cliffs high above the sea, while off the coast are Holy Isle and Lindisfarne. Here St. Cuthbert was the bishop, and its abbey is a splendid ruin, while on the rocky islet of Farne he lived a hermit, encompassing his cell with a mound so high that he could see nothing but the heavens. Two miles from Farne, on the mainland, was the royal city of Bebban Burgh, now Bamborough, the castle standing upon an almost perpendicular rock rising one hundred and fifty feet and overlooking the sea. This was King Ida's castle, a Border stronghold in ancient times whose massive keep yet stands. It is now a charity-school, a lighthouse, and a life-saving station. Thirty beds are kept in the restored castle for shipwrecked sailors, and Bamborough is to the mariner on that perilous coast what the convent of St. Bernard is to the traveller in the Alps. Here, at this Border haven, we will close this descriptive tour by recalling Bamborough's most pleasant memory—that of Grace Darling. She was a native of the place, and was lodged, clothed, and educated at the school in Bamborough Castle. Her remains lie[Pg 336] in Bamborough churchyard under an altar-tomb bearing her recumbent figure and surmounted by a Gothic canopy. She is represented lying on a plaited straw mattrass and holding an oar. All this coast is beset with perils and wrecks have been frequent. The islet of Farne and a cluster of other rocks off shore add to the dangers, and on some of them there are lighthouses. One of these rocks—Longstone Island—Grace Darling rendered memorable by her intrepidity in perilling her life during the storm of September, 1838. Her father was the keeper of Longstone Light, and on the night of September 6 the Forfarshire steamer, proceeding from Hull to Dundee, was wrecked there. Of fifty-three persons on board, thirty-eight perished, and on the morning of the 7th, Grace, then about twenty-three years of age, discovered the survivors clinging to the rocks and remnants of the steamer, in imminent danger of being washed off by the returning tide. With her parents' assistance, but against their remonstrance, Grace launched a boat, and with her father succeeded in rescuing nine of them, while six escaped by other means. Presents and demonstrations of admiration were showered upon her from all parts of the kingdom, and a public subscription of $3500 was raised for her benefit. Poor Grace died four years later of consumption. A monument to her has been placed in St. Cuthbert's Chapel on Longstone Island, and upon it is this inscription, from Wordsworth:

"Pious and pure, modest, and yet so brave,
Though young, so wise—though meek, so resolute.

"Oh that winds and waves could speak
Of things which their united power called forth
From the pure depths of her humanity!
A maiden gentle, yet at duty's call
Firm and unflinching as the lighthouse reared
On the island-rock, her lonely dwelling-place;
Or, like the invincible rock itself, that braves,
Age after age, the hostile elements,
As when it guarded holy Cuthbert's cell.

"All night the storm had raged, nor ceased, nor paused,
When, as day broke, the maid, through misty air,
Espies far off a wreck amid the surf,
Beating on one of those disastrous isles—
Half of a vessel, half—no more; the rest
Had vanished!"

[Pg 337]



The Cotswolds—The River Severn—Gloucester—Berkeley Castle—New Inn—Gloucester Cathedral—Lampreys—Tewkesbury; its Mustard, Abbey, and Battle—Wercester; its Battle—Charles II.'s Escape—Worcester Cathedral—The Malvern Hills—Worcestershire Beacon—Herefordshire Beacon—Great Malvern—St. Anne's Well—The River Wye—Clifford Castle—Hereford—Old Butcher's Row—Nell Gwynne's Birthplace—Ross—The Man of Ross—Ross Church and its Trees—Walton Castle—Goodrich Castle—Forest of Dean—Coldwell—Symond's Yat—The Dowards—Monmouth—Kymin Hill—Raglan Castle—Redbrook—St. Briard Castle—Tintern Abbey—The Wyncliff—Wyntour's Leap—Chepstow Castle—The River Monnow—The Golden Valley—The Black Mountains—Pontrilas Court—Ewias Harold—Abbey Dore—The Scyrrid Vawr—Wormridge—Kilpeck—Oldcastle—Kentchurch—Grosmont—The Vale of Usk—Abergavenny—Llanthony Priory—Walter Savage Landor—Capel-y-Ffyn—Newport—Penarth Roads—Cardiff—The Rocking-Stone—Llandaff—Caerphilly Castle and its Leaning Tower—Swansea—The Mumbles—Oystermouth Castle—Neath Abbey—Caermarthen—Tenby—Manorbeer Castle—Golden Grove—Pembroke—Milford—Haverfordwest—Milford Haven—Pictou Castle—Carew Castle.



Journeying westward from the metropolis and beyond the sources of the Thames, let us mount to the tops of the Cotswold Hills, in which they take their rise, and look down upon the valley of the noble Severn River beyond. We have already seen the Severn at Shrewsbury, Wenlock, and Bridgenorth, and, uniting with the classic Avon, it drains the western slopes of the Cotswolds, and, flowing through a deep valley between them and the Malvern Hills, finally debouches through a broad estuary into the British Channel. There is much of interest to the tourist along the banks and in neighborhood of this well-known river. As we stand upon the elevations of the Cotswolds and look over "Sabrina fair," the lower part of its valley is seen as a broad and fertile plain, and the Severn's "glassy, cool, translucent wave," as the poet has it, flows through a land of meadows, orchards, and cornfields, with the hills of the Forest of Dean rising on the western horizon. Alongside the river is the cathedral city of Gloucester, the dépôt for a rich agricultural region and for the mining wealth of Dean Forest, the Berkeley Canal leading from its docks for sixteen miles down the Severn until the deep water of the estuary is reached. The Romans early saw the importance of this place as a military post, and founded Glevum here, upon their Ermine Street[Pg 338] road, as an outpost fortress upon the border-land of the Silures. Fragments of tessellated pavements, coins, and other relics from time to time exhumed attest the extent of the Roman settlement. When the Britons succeeded the Romans, this settlement became gradually transformed into Gleawecesore, forming part of the kingdom of Mercia, and in the seventh century Æthelred bestowed it upon Osric, who founded a monastery here. Athelstan died here in 941, and a few years afterwards the Danes, who overrun and devastated almost the whole of England, burned the town and monastery. The history of Gloucester, however, was without stirring incidents, excepting an occasional destructive fire, until the siege took place in the Civil War, its people devoting themselves more to commerce than to politics, and in the early part of the seventeenth century engaging extensively in the manufacture of pins. Gloucester, however, gave the title to several earls and dukes, generally men not much envied; as, for instance, Richard Crookback, who sent from Gloucester the order for the murder of his nephews, the young princes, in the Tower. But the town never took kindly to him, and warmly welcomed Richmond on his avenging march to Bosworth Field. The siege of Gloucester was made by King Charles's troops, the citizens having warmly espoused the cause of the Parliament and strongly fortified their city, mounting guns for its defence which they got from London. A polygonal line of fortifications surrounded Gloucester, which was then much smaller than now, and the bastions came down to the river, with outlying works to defend a small suburb on the opposite bank.[Pg 339] The Cavaliers were in great strength in Western England, and the malignity of the Gloucester pin-makers seriously embarrassed them. On August 10, 1643, the siege began with a summons to surrender, which the authorities refused. Parts of the suburbs were then burned, and next morning a bombardment began, red-hot balls and heavy stones being plentifully thrown into the place, knocking the houses into sad havoc, but in no wise damping the sturdy courage of the defenders. They replied bravely with their cannon and made repeated sorties, which inflicted serious damage upon the besiegers. After over three weeks of this sport, the Royalists shot an arrow into the town, September 3, with a message in these words: "These are to let you understand your god Waller hath forsaken you and hath retired himself to the Tower of London; Essex is beaten like a dog: yield to the king's mercy in time; otherwise, if we enter perforce, no quarter for such obstinate traitorly rogues.—From a Well-wisher." This conciliatory message was defiantly answered in a prompt reply signed "Nicholas Cudgelyouwell;" and two days later, Prince Rupert having suffered a defeat elsewhere, the Cavaliers abandoned the siege. Charles II., upon his restoration, took care to have himself proclaimed with great pomp at Gloucester, and also took the precaution to destroy its fortifications. The castle, which had stood since the days of the Norman Conquest, then disappeared. The west gate, the last remains of the walls, was removed, with the old bridge across the Severn, in 1809, to make room for a fine new bridge. This structure is chiefly known through a humorous connection that Thackeray has given it with King George III. That monarch made a royal visit to Gloucester, and in his lectures on the "Four Georges" Thackeray says: "One morning, before anybody else was up, the king walked about Gloucester town, pushed over Molly the housemaid with her pail, who was scrubbing the doorsteps, ran up stairs and woke all the equerries in their bedrooms, and then trotted down to the bridge, where by this time a dozen of louts were assembled. 'What! is this Gloucester new bridge?' asked our gracious monarch; and the people answered him, 'Yes, Your Majesty.'—'Why, then, my boys, let's have a hurray!' After giving them which intellectual gratification he went home to breakfast."

The town is quaint and picturesque, but the buildings generally are modern, most of them dating from the days of good Queen Anne, but they exhibit great variety in design. The most noted of the older Gloucester houses is the "New Inn," on Northgate Street. After the murder of Edward II. at Berkeley Castle, not far from Gloucester, where he had been imprisoned in a dungeon in the keep, in 1327, his remains were brought to the abbey church at Gloucester for interment, a shrine being raised over them by the monks.[Pg 340] The king was murdered with fiendish cruelty. Lord Berkeley at the castle would willingly have protected him, but he fell sick; and one dark September night Edward was given over to two villains named Gurney and Ogle. The ancient chronicler says that the "screams and shrieks of anguish were heard even so far as the town, so that many, being awakened therewith from their sleep, as they themselves confessed, prayed heartily to God to receive his soul, for they understood by those cries what the matter meant." The king's shrine in Gloucester naturally attracted many pilgrims, and the New Inn was built about 1450 for their accommodation. It is a brick-and-timber house, with corridors leading to the chambers running along the sides of the inner court and reached by outside stairways, as was the common construction of houses of public entertainment three or four centuries ago. The inn remains almost as it was then, having been but slightly modernized. Most of the pilgrims to the shrine brought offerings with them, and hence the pains taken for their accommodation. The usual tale is told about a subterranean passage connecting this inn with the cathedral. New Inn is enormously strong and massive, and covers a broad surface, being constructed around two courtyards.


Gloucester has many churches in proportion to its size—in fact, so many that "as sure as God is in Gloucester" used to be a proverb. Oliver Cromwell, though the city had stood sturdily by him, differed with this, however, for a saying of his is still quoted, that "there be more churches than godliness in Gloucester." In later days the first Sunday-school in England was opened here, and just outside the city are the fragmentary remains of the branch of Llanthony Priory to which the monks migrated from the Welsh Border. The chief attraction of Gloucester, however, is the cathedral, and the ruins of the Benedictine monastery to which it was formerly attached. The cathedral is of considerable size, being four hundred and twenty feet long, and is surmounted[Pg 341] by a much-admired central tower. The light and graceful tracery of its parapets and pinnacles gives especial character to the exterior of Gloucester Cathedral, and when the open-work tracery is projected against the red glow of sunset an unrivalled effect is produced. This tower is two hundred and twenty-five feet high, and forms an admirable centre to the masses of buildings clustered around it. The monastery, founded by Osric in the seventh century, stood on this site, but after the Danes burned it a convent was built, which passed into the hands of the Benedictines in 1022. One of these monks was the "Robert of Gloucester" who in 1272 wrote in rhyme a chronicle of English history from the siege of Troy to the death of Henry II. Their church was repeatedly burned and rebuilt, but it was not until the shrine of Edward II. was placed in it that the religious establishment throve. The rich harvest brought by the pilgrims to this shrine led to the reconstruction of the older church, by encasing the shell with Perpendicular work in the lower part and completely rebuilding the upper portion. This was in the fourteenth century, and by the close of the next century the cathedral appeared as it is now seen. Entering the fine southern porch, we are ushered into the splendid Norman nave bordered by exceptionally high piers, rising thirty feet, and surmounted by a low triforium and clerestory. The design is rather dwarfed by thus impoverishing the upper stories. The choir has an enormous east window, made wider than the choir itself by an ingenious arrangement of the walls; and this retains most of the old stained glass. The choir has recently been restored, and in the old woodwork the seat of the mayor is retained opposite the throne of the bishop. On the floor an oblong setting of tiles marks the grave of William the Conqueror's son Robert, who died at Cardiff, and whose monument stands in an adjoining chapel. The Lady Chapel is east of the choir, and has a "whispering gallery" over its entrance. Beneath the choir is the crypt, antedating the Norman Conquest, and one of the remains of the original church of the Benedictines. On the south side of the choir is the monument to Edward II., standing in an archway. The effigy is of alabaster, and is surmounted by a beautiful sculptured canopy. The cloisters north of the nave are most attractive, the roof being vaulted in fan-patterns of great richness. There can still be seen along the north walk of these cloisters the lavatories for the monks, with the troughs into which the water flowed and the recesses in the wall above to contain the towels. Beyond the cloisters are the other remains of the monastery, now generally incorporated into houses. Gloucester has been a bishop's see since the reign of Henry VIII., and one of its bishops was the zealous Reformer who was martyred in sight of his own cathedral—John Hooper: his statue stands in St. Mary's Square, where[Pg 342] Queen Mary had him burned as a heretic. Gloucester also has its Spa, a chalybeate spring recently discovered in the south-eastern suburbs, but the town is chiefly known to fame abroad by its salmon and lampreys. The lamprey is caught in the Severn and potted for export, having been considered a dainty by the epicures of remote as well as modern times. It was in great request in the time of King John, when we are told "the men of Gloucester gave forty marks to that king to have his good will, because they regarded him not as they ought in the matter of their lampreys." This was the favorite dish of Henry I. (Beauclerc), and over-indulgence in lampreys finally killed him. It was the custom until 1836 for the corporation of Gloucester to send every Christmas to the sovereign "a lamprey pie with a raised crust."




Let us ascend the valley of the Severn, and in the centre of its broad plain, at the confluence of the Avon, find another great religious house in the smaller but equally noted town of Tewkesbury. All around are rich meadows, and here, away from the hills, was the ideal site for a monastery according to the ancient notion, where the languor of the gentle air prevented the blood flowing with too quick pulse. The Avon, spanned by an old arched bridge, washes one side of the town; the massive abbey-tower rises above a fringe of foliage and orchards, while on the one hand the horizon is bounded by the steep Cotswolds, and on the other by the broken masses of the Malverns. Close to the town, on its western verge, flows the Severn, crossed by a fine modern iron bridge. Tewkesbury is known to fame by its mustard, its abbey, and its battle. The renown of the Tewkesbury mustard goes back for at least three centuries: as "thick as Tewkesbury mustard" was a proverb of Falstaff's. That old-time historian Fuller says of it, "The best in England (to take no larger compass) is made at Tewkesbury. It is very wholesome for the clearing of the head,[Pg 343] moderately taken." But, unfortunately, the reputation of Tewkesbury for this commodity has declined in modern times.


The history of Tewkesbury Abbey comes from misty antiquity, and it is thought by some to have been named "Dukes-borough" from two ancient Britons, Dukes Odda and Dudda, but others say it commemorates a missionary monk named Theoe, who founded a little church there in the seventh century. Brictric, King of Wessex, was buried within its walls in the ninth century, and, like Gloucester, it suffered afterwards from the ravages of the Danes. But it flourished subsequently, and in the days of William Rufus the manor was conferred upon Fitz-Hamon, an influential nobleman, under whose auspices the present abbey was built. Nothing remains of any prior building. The church was begun in 1100, but the builder was killed in battle before it was completed. It is in the form of a cross with short transepts, and a tower rising from the centre. The choir was originally terminated by apses, which can still be traced, and there were other apses on the eastern side of each transept. While the outlines of most of the abbey are Norman, the choir is almost all of later date. The western front has the singular feature of being almost all occupied by an enormous and deeply-recessed Norman arch, into which a doorway and tracery were inserted about two hundred years ago, replacing one blown down by a storm in 1661. This abbey church was dedicated in 1123, and the services were almost the last diocesan act of Theulf, bishop of Worcester. One of the dedication ceremonies was quaint. As the bishop came to the middle of the nave, we are told that he found part of the pavement spread with white wood-ashes, upon which he wrote the alphabet twice with his pastoral staff—first the Greek alphabet from[Pg 344] north-east to south-west, and then the Latin, from south-east to north-west, thus placing them in the form of a cross. He signified by this ceremony that all divine revelation was conveyed by the letters of the alphabet, and that the gospel comprehended under the shadow of the cross men of all races and all languages. The time had been when at such consecrations three alphabets were written—the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin—as the title on the cross had been written in these three tongues, but the Hebrew was early discontinued, "probably," writes Blunt, the historian of Tewkesbury Abbey, "because even bishops might not always be able to manage their Alpha Beta in that character." The best views of the abbey are from the south-east, and the interior is regarded as more remarkable than the exterior. The nave is of singular grandeur, its round Norman columns being exceptionally lofty. The triforium is stunted, and consists merely of two pairs of small arches, above which the ribs of a noble fretted roof expand, so that it appears as if the roof were immediately supported by the columns of the nave. The choir is short and hexagonal, being only sixty-six feet from the reredos, and is surrounded by a number of polygonal chapels, as at Westminster Abbey, with which it appears quite similar in plan. The Lady Chapel, originally at the east end, has been entirely destroyed. There are several monuments of great interest in these[Pg 345] chapels, some of them in the form of chantries—being exquisite cages in stone-work—within which are the tombs of the founders. Here lie some of the chief nobility of England who in the days of the Plantagenets were the lords of Tewkesbury—the Beauchamps, Nevilles, De Clares, and Despensers. Fitz-Hamon's tomb was not erected until the fourteenth century. Here lie Clarence and his wife, Isabel, the daughter of Warwick the "King-maker," and also the murdered son of Henry VI., who was "stabbed in the field by Tewkesbury," with other victims of that fatal battle. The remains of the cloisters lie to the south of the abbey, and beyond is the ancient gateway, of rather unusual plan.


The battle of Tewkesbury, which sealed the fate of the Lancastrian party in England, was fought in 1471 upon the Bloody Meadow, then called the Vineyard, just outside the town and to the southward of the abbey. The Lancastrian line was soon broken, and the fight became practically a slaughter, as the defeated party were forced back upon the town and into the very abbey itself. Many of the fugitives sought refuge in the church, and the Yorkists followed them, striking down their victims in the graveyard, and even within the church-doors. The abbot, taking in his hand the sacred Host, confronted King Edward himself in the porch and forbade him to pollute the house of God with blood, and would not allow him to enter until he had promised mercy to those who had sought refuge inside. This clemency, however, was short-lived, for in the afternoon the young Prince of Wales, Henry VI.'s son, was brought before Edward and murdered by his attendants. Shakespeare represents Edward as dealing the first blow with a dagger, but the truer story seems to be that, enraged by a haughty answer from the young prince, he struck him in the face with his gauntlet, which the bystanders accepted as a signal for the murder. Two days afterwards a number of the chief captives were executed.[Pg 346]



Still ascending the valley of the Severn, we come to Worcester, another of the military stations of the Romans, established to hold this rich, fertile, and coveted region. Its cathedral, and, in fact, much of the town, stand upon an elevated ridge, with the river flowing at the base. To this day Worcester retains the plan of the original Roman camp, but it does not seem to have made at that time much mark in history. The Britons captured it, and named the place Wigoma Ceaster, and it was afterwards incorporated into Mercia. In the eleventh century a castle was built near the Severn, and the earlier kings of England were frequently its residents. King John had great veneration for St. Wulstan, the founder of Worcester Cathedral, and he was laid to rest beside that saint's shrine. Worcester suffered the usual penalties of the towns in the Severn Valley: it was destroyed by the Danes and burned by Hardicanute, and in the twelfth century town, castle, and cathedral were all consumed by a fire supposed to be caused by the Welsh. It was partially burned three times subsequently in that century, and in Henry III.'s reign Simon de Montfort and his son were defeated and slain on the neighboring hills. The final conflagration was caused by Owen Glendower in 1401, after which quieter[Pg 347] times came until the Civil War. Worcester was zealous for King Charles, and suffered from two sieges, being the last city that held out for the royal cause. It was the scene of Charles II.'s first and unsuccessful effort to regain the English crown. He had been acknowledged and crowned by the Scots, and attempted the invasion of England. His army marched down through the western counties, while Cromwell kept between him and London. He reached Worcester, when Cromwell determined to attack him, and marched the Parliamentary army to the outskirts of the city, encamping on Red Hill, where he intrenched. Sending part of his troops across the Severn, on September 3, 1651, Cromwell attacked Worcester on both sides, leading the van of the main body in person. Young Charles held a council of war in the cathedral-tower, and when he descended to personally lead the defence, the fight had become hot; and it lasted several hours, Cromwell describing the battle as being "as stiff a contest as I have ever seen." The Scots were outnumbered and beaten, but would not surrender, and the battle did not close till nightfall. Then it was found that, while Cromwell had suffered inconsiderable loss, the royal forces had lost six thousand men and all their artillery and baggage. Charles fought bravely, and narrowly avoided capture. A handful of troops defended Sidbury Gate, leading in from the suburb of the town where the battle had been hottest. Charles had to dismount and creep under an overturned hay-wagon, and, entering the gate, mounted a horse and rode to the corn-market, where he escaped with Lord Wilmot through the back door of a house, while some of his officers beat off Cobbett's troops who attacked the front. Upon this house, built in 1557, is still read the inscription, "Love God; honor the king." Then getting out of the city, Charles escaped into the wood of Boscobel, and after a series of romantic adventures managed to reach the seacoast in Sussex, and on October 15th embarked at Shoreham for France. It was in this battle that Worcester earned the motto it still bears of "Civitas fidelis."


Worcester's most conspicuous building is the cathedral, its tower being prominently seen from miles around. Its western front overlooks the Severn, and the ground-plan is an elongated rectangle with small double transepts. The choir and portions of the nave are the original work, most of the remainder being restored. St. Dunstan's successor, Bishop Oswald, built the first cathedral here, and during the progress of the work he met an unexpected check. The ancient chronicler tells us that a large stone became immovable, and despite every exertion could not be brought to its proper place. "St. Oswald," he continues, "after praying earnestly, beheld 'Ethiopem quendam' sitting upon the stone and mocking the builders: the sign of the cross removed[Pg 348] him effectually." No portion of this original building remains, the earliest parts of the present cathedral dating from Bishop Wulstan's time, in the eleventh century. Wulstan was a man of piety and simplicity who retained his see after the Norman Conquest. The increasing number of monks in the monastery compelled the removal of Oswald's church to make more room, and Wulstan regretfully built the new cathedral, saying he was pulling down the church of a far holier man than himself. Miracles were frequent at Wulstan's tomb, and in 1203 he was canonized. His church was unlucky—several times partly burned, and once the central tower fell, and afterwards the two western towers during storms; but it was always repaired, and in 1218, St. Wulstan's remains were removed to a shrine near the high altar, and the cathedral rededicated in the presence of Henry III. The interior view is striking, the arches of the nave, triforium, and clerestory being in harmonious proportions. In the middle of the choir is King John's monument, the effigy representing him crowned and in royal robes, holding the sceptre and the sword, the point of the latter inserted in the mouth of a lion on which his feet rest. We are told that in 1797 the coffin was found beneath the tomb, with the apparel partially mouldered, but the remains all gone. There are several other monuments in the cathedral—one a mural slab commemorating Anne, wife of Izaak Walton, "a woman of remarkable prudence and of the primitive[Pg 349] piety." The crypt beneath the choir is a remnant of Wulstan's work, and the old doors of the cathedral, dating from the thirteenth century, are preserved there: fragments of human skin are still seen upon them, reputed to have been that of a man who was flayed for stealing a holy bell. In the north walk of the cloisters is the grave-slab famous for bearing the shortest and saddest inscription in England, "Miserrimus:" it is said to cover one of the minor canons, named Morris, who declined to take the oath of allegiance to William III. and had to be supported by alms. Around the cloisters are the ruins of the ancient monastery, the most prominent fragments being those of the Guesten Hall, erected in 1320. Access to the cathedral close, on the south-eastern side, is obtained through an ancient gateway called the Edgar Tower, one of the earliest structures connected with the cathedral, which is still fairly preserved: it was evidently intended for defence. The bishops of Worcester present an unbroken line for twelve centuries, including, in later days, Latimer the martyr, Prideaux, and Stillingfleet. It was in Worcester Cathedral, on October 23, 1687, that James II. touched several persons to cure the scrofula[Pg 350] or king's evil; and when William III. afterwards visited Worcester he yielded to sundry entreaties to touch sufferers, but in doing so said, "God give you better health and more sense!" These were about the last "touchings" known in England. Upon James II.'s visit he attended mass at the Catholic chapel, and was waited upon to the door by the mayor and corporation officers, but they declined to enter a Roman Catholic place of worship. A minute in the corporation proceedings explains that they passed the time until the service was over in smoking and drinking at the Green Dragon Inn, loyally charging the bill to the city. Worcester in ancient times was famous for its cloth, but other places have since eclipsed it. It is now noted mainly for gloves, fine porcelain, and Worcester Sauce.



The broad valley of the Severn is bounded on its western side by the boldly-rising Malvern range of hills, which are elevated so steeply and so suddenly above the plain that they produce an impression of size and height much greater than they really possess, and are more imposing than many summits that far surpass them in magnitude. There is reason, therefore, in Mrs. Browning's poetic expression:

"Malvern Hills, for mountains counted
Not unduly, form a row."

The Malvern range is a ridge running nearly north and south, with a series of smooth, steep summits, the breadth of the range being barely half a mile. Their slopes are of turf and furze, often as steep as the pitched roof of a[Pg 351] house, with crags projecting here and there. The chief summits are the North Hill, rising eleven hundred and fifty-one feet above the Severn, the Worcestershire Beacon, fourteen hundred and forty-four feet, and the Herefordshire Beacon, thirteen hundred and seventy feet. Their highest parts are covered with verdure, and nearly seventeen hundred different varieties of plants have been found on the range. These hills stand as one of Nature's bulwarks, an outwork of the mountain-region of Wales, dividing an upland from a lowland district, each furnishing totally different characteristics. They were the boundary between the Romans and the Britons, and their summits present some remarkable remains of ancient fortifications. The Worcestershire Beacon rises directly above the town of Great Malvern, and south of it a fissure called the Wyche sinks down to about nine hundred feet elevation, enabling a road to be carried across the ridge. Some distance south of this there is an even lower depression, by which the high-road crosses from Worcester to Hereford. Then to the southward is the Herefordshire Beacon, and beyond it several lower summits. These two gaps or gateways in this natural wall of defence are both guarded by ancient camps of unusual strength and still in good preservation. One of these camps on the Herefordshire Beacon, with ditches, ramparts, and a keep, encloses forty-four acres. Also on top of the ridge are found traces of the ditch that was dug to mark the dividing-lines between the hunting-grounds of the bishops who ruled on either hand in Hereford and in Worcester. The bishops in the olden time appear to have been as keen sportsmen as the nobles.

The town of Great Malvern, on the eastern slope of the hills, is elevated five hundred and twenty feet, and is in high repute as a watering-place. It had its origin in a priory, of which there still remains the fine old church, with a surmounting gray tower and an entrance-gateway which have escaped the general ruin of the monastery. Within this ancient church the ornaments of some of the old stalls in the choir are very quaint, representing a man leading a bear, a dying miser handing his money-bags to the priest and doctor, and three rats solemnly hanging a cat on a gallows. The priory was the nucleus about which gathered the town, or, properly speaking, the towns, for there are a series of them, all well-known watering-places. Great Malvern has North Malvern alongside it and Malvern Link on the lower hills, while to the southward are Malvern Wells and Little Malvern, with West Malvern over on the Hereford side of the ridge. They are aggregations of pretty villas, and the many invalids who seek their relief are drawn about in Bath-chairs by little donkeys. The view from the Worcestershire Beacon is grand, extending over a broad surface in all directions, for we are told that when the beacon-fires[Pg 352] that were lighted upon this elevated ridge warned England of the approach of the Spanish Armada,

"Twelve fair counties saw the blaze
From Malvern's lonely height."

The advantages the Malvern range offers as a sanitarium are pure air and pure water. The towns are elevated above the fogs of the valleys, and the rainfall is small, while both winter's cold and summer's heat are tempered. St. Anne's Well and the Holy Well are the great sources of pure water. The latter is at Malvern Wells, and the former on the side of the Worcestershire Beacon, at an elevation of eight hundred and twenty feet. Both are slightly alkaline, but St. Anne's Well is the most famous, and is tastefully enclosed. Water-cure establishments abound here, and with such air, such water, and such magnificent scenery it is no wonder that the Malvern Hills are among the most popular resorts of England.




From the top of the Malvern Hills the western view looks down upon the attractive valley of the river Wye, a famous stream that takes its rise in the mountains of Wales, and after flowing through Herefordshire and Monmouthshire falls into the Severn. Rising on the south-eastern side of Plynlimmon, a group of three mountains elevated nearly twenty-five hundred feet, it is one of five rivers whose sources are almost in the same spot, but which flow in opposite directions—the Llyffnant, Rheidol, Dyfi, Severn, and Wye. For miles[Pg 353] it is a mountain torrent, receiving other streams, and flowing eastward through Radnor and Brecknock, where it is the resort of artists and anglers. It passes near the burial-place of Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, who died in 1282, and then, bordered by railway and highway, comes down through picturesque ravines past Hay and its ruined castle in a beautiful glen at the base of the Black Mountains, which rise abruptly from its southern bank. Near Hay, and overlooking the river, are the ruins of Clifford Castle, which was the birthplace of "Fair Rosamond." Here the Wye enters Herefordshire, the valley broadens, and the stream gradually leads us to the ancient town of Hereford, standing chiefly on its northern bank and in a delightful situation. This city does not lay claim to Roman origin, but it was nevertheless one of the fortified outposts of England on the border of Wales, and was often the scene of warfare. It was walled and vigorously defended, while hostelries and chapels were erected for the accommodation of pilgrims and other visitors. Hereford contained the shrines of St. Ethelbert and St. Thomas Cantelupe, but its chief relic of antiquity is the house that remains of the "old Butchers' Row," which was originally a large and irregular cluster of wooden buildings placed nearly in the middle of the locality[Pg 354] known as the High Town. All but one of these houses have been taken down, and the one that remains shows window-frames, doors, stairs, and floors all made of thick and solid masses of timber, apparently constructed to last for ages. A shield over one of the doors bears a boar's head and three bulls' heads, having two winged bulls for supporters and another bull for a crest. On other parts are emblems of the slaughter-house, such as ropes, rings, and axes. Thus did our English ancestors caricature the imaginary dignity of heraldry. This attractive old house is a relic of the days of James I. Nell Gwynne was born in Hereford, and the small cottage in Pipe Lane which was her birthplace has only recently been pulled down. It was a little four-roomed house, and an outhouse opening on the Wye, which was standing in poor Nelly's days, remains. Hereford Cathedral is a fine Norman structure, begun in the eleventh century and recently restored. The most imposing portion of the interior is the north transept, which was built to receive the shrine of Cantelupe. The remains of the Black Friars' monastery are in the Widemarsh[Pg 355] suburb. They consist chiefly of an interesting relic of that religious order, an hexagonal preaching-cross standing on a flight of steps and open on each side. Hereford Castle has disappeared, but its site is an attractive public walk overlooking the Wye, called the Castle Green.




The Wye flows on through a fairly open valley, with broad meadows extending from the bases of the wooded hills to the river. On approaching Ross the meadows contract, the hills come nearer together, and the new phase of scenery in the glen which here begins makes the Wye the most beautiful among English rivers. Ross stands at the entrance to the glen, built upon a sloping hill which descends steeply to the Wye. It was the Ariconium of the Romans, and has been almost without stirring history. It has grown in all these centuries to be a town of about four thousand five hundred population, with considerable trade, being the centre of a rich agricultural section, and is chiefly known to fame as the home of Pope's "Man of Ross." This was John Kyrle, who was born at the village of Dymock, not far away, May 22, 1637. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where they still preserve a piece of plate which he presented as a parting gift. He afterwards settled at Ross, and lived to an advanced age, dying November 11, 1724. He was described as "nearly[Pg 356] six feet high, strong and lusty made, jolly and ruddy in the face, with a large nose." His claim to immortality, which has made his name a household word in England, cannot better be described than by quoting some of Pope's lines:


"Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow?
From the dry soil who bade the waters flow?...
Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows?
Whose seats the weary traveller repose?
Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise?
'The Man of Ross,' each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread!
The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread:
He feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate:
Him portioned maids, apprenticed orphans blest,
The young who labor, and the old who rest.
Is any sick? The Man of Ross relieves.
[Pg 357]Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? Enter but his door.
Balked are the courts and contest is no more....
Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue
What all so wish, but want the power to do!
Oh say what sums that generous hand supply,
What mines to swell that boundless charity?
Of debts and taxes, wife and children, clear.
That man possessed—five hundred pounds a year!"



It is not often that a man can do so much to benefit his townsfolk out of the modest income of $2500 a year; and not only Pope, but Coleridge also, has found this a theme for verse. The house in which the "Man of Ross" lived is on the left-hand side of the market-place, and still stands, though much changed. It is now a drug-store and a dwelling. The floors and panelling of several of the chambers are of oak, while a quaint opening leads to a narrow corridor and into a small room, which tradition says was his bedroom, where he endured his last and only illness, and died. The bedroom looks out upon his garden, divided like the house, one-half being converted into a bowling-green. The surrounding walls are overrun with vines and bordered by pear trees. On the other side of the market-place is the town-hall, standing on an eminence and facing the principal street, which comes up from the river-bank. This hall is somewhat dilapidated, though still in daily use, and is supported on crumbling pillars of red sandstone. Ross is chiefly built upon the slope of a hill, terminating in a plateau, one side of which the Wye, flowing through a horseshoe bend, has scarped out into a river-cliff. Upon this plateau stands the little Ross Church with its tall spire, a striking building in a singularly fortunate situation. The churchyard, with[Pg 358] an adjoining public garden called the Prospect, extends to the brow of the cliff. The church is cruciform, and its spire the landmark for the surrounding country. It was built in the fourteenth century, but is without architectural features. The "Man of Ross" rests within its walls, buried near the altar under a blue slab. His memory is the most cherished remembrance of Ross, and is mellowed as the ages pass. His fireside chair stands in the chancel, and they also show a book containing his autograph. A tablet to his memory is inserted in the wall, erected by a distant relative, Lady Betty Dupplin, for it is said, as is usually the case, that his good deeds excited more enthusiasm in strangers than among the people whom he benefited. Within the church, in front of a window, two trees are growing, another indirect and posthumous memorial of the "Man of Ross." They appeared about fifty years ago, and the story is that a rector of the parish had cut down a tree on the outside of the wall which the "Man of Ross" had originally planted, whereupon these suckers made their appearance within the building and asserted the vitality of the parent tree. They shot up against the seat which is said to have been his favorite one, and though at first objected to, the church-wardens bowed to the inevita[Pg 359]ble, and they are now among the most prized relics within the church. The public garden (the Prospect) adjoining the churchyard was another benefaction of the "Man of Ross," and with some private houses and a hotel it crowns the summit of the plateau. Here the hand of the "Man of Ross" again appears in a row of noble elms around the churchyard which he is said to have planted, some of them of great size. The view from the Prospect, however, is the town's chief present glory. It stands on the brink of the river-cliff, with the Wye sweeping at its feet around the apex of the long horseshoe curve. Within the curve is the grassy Oak Meadow dotted with old trees. On either hand are meadows and cornfields, with bits of wood, and the Welsh hills rise in the distance.



The Wye flows on through its picturesque glen towards Monmouth, the water bubbling with a strong current. A raised causeway carries the road to Monmouth over the meadows. On the right hand are the ruins of Wilton Castle, built in Stephen's reign, and burned in the Civil War. Tourists go by small boats floated on the current down the Wye, and the boats are hauled back on donkey-carts, little[Pg 360] trains of them being seen creeping along the Monmouth road. From Ross to Monmouth the river flows through a region of rolling hills, with abrupt declivities where the rapid stream has scarped the margin into cliffs and ridges. The valley narrows, and the very crooked river flows through bewitching scenery until by another great horseshoe bend it winds around the ruins of Goodrich Castle, reared upon a wooded cliff, with Goodrich Court near by. The latter is a modern imitation of a mediæval dwelling, constructed according to the erratic whims of a recent owner. This Court once contained the finest collection of ancient armor in England, but most of it has been transferred to the South Kensington Museum. Goodrich Castle was once a formidable fortress, and it dates from the reign of Stephen. Here it was that in the days of Edward the Confessor, "entrenched in a stockade of wood, Goderic de Winchcomb held the ford" over the Wye, and gave the place his name. It grew in strength until the Civil War, when Sir Richard Lingen held it for the king. This was a memorable contest, lasting six weeks, during which the besiegers belabored it with the best battering-cannon they could procure, and used up eighty barrels of gunpowder voted by Parliament for the purpose. Then the defenders demanded a parley, but the assailants, angry at being so long baulked of their prey, insisted upon unconditional surrender. Afterwards the castle was demolished, but the fine old keep remains in good preservation, commanding a grand view over the winding valley of the Wye and to the Forest of Dean in one direction and the Malvern Hills in another. The ruins are of a quadrangular fortress, and within the courtyard Wordsworth once met the child whose prattle suggested his familiar poem, "We are Seven." Little now remains of Goodrich Priory, but the parish church of the[Pg 361] village can be seen afar off, and contains a chalice presented by Dean Swift, whose grandfather, Thomas Swift, was once its rector.


Below Goodrich this wayward river makes an enormous loop, wherein it goes wandering about for eight miles and accomplishes just one mile's distance. Here it becomes a boundary between the two Bickner villages—Welsh Bickner and English Bickner. To the eastward is the Forest of Dean, covering over twenty-six thousand acres, and including extensive coal-pits and iron-works, the smoke from the latter overhanging the valley. The river-channel is dug deeply into the limestone rocks, whose fissured and ivy-clad cliffs rise high above the water, varied by occasional green meadows, where cattle are feeding. The river bends sharply to the westward past the crags at Coldwell, and then doubles back upon its former course. This second bend is around a high limestone plateau which is the most singular feature of the beautiful glen. The river sweeps in an elongated loop of about five miles, and returns to within eighteen hundred feet of its former channel, and the plateau rises six hundred feet to the apex of the headland that mounts guard over the grand curve—the famous Symond's Yat. On the top are the remains of an ancient British fort, and rocks, woods, fields, and meadows slope down to the river on almost every side, making a bewitching scene. It was here that the Northman Vikings in 911 fortified themselves after they landed on the Severn and penetrated through the Forest of Dean. They were led by Eric in quest of plunder, and captured a bishop, who was afterwards ransomed for two hundred dollars. Their foray roused the people, who besieged the Vikings, forming a square encampment which commanded their fortification, and remains of which are still visible. They drove the Vikings out with their hail of arrows, and punished them so[Pg 362] terribly that the defile down which they fled is still known as "The Slaughter." The remnant who escaped afterwards surrendered on condition of being allowed to quit the country, and their experience had such wholesome influence that no Vikings came that way afterwards.

The Wye next bends around two bold limestone hills known as the Great and the Little Doward, each surmounted by ancient encampments, where arrowheads and other relics, not to forget the bones of a giant, have been found. In fact, bones seem to be a prolific product of this region, for the "bone-caves" of the Dowards produce the relics of many animals long vanished from the kingdom, and also disclose rude weapons of flint, showing that the primitive races of men were here with them. Beds of stalagmites, sand, and gravel covered these relics, deposited by an ancient stream which geologists say flowed three hundred feet above the present bed of the Wye. Then we come to the richly-wooded deer-park of the Leys with its exquisite views, and here the wildly romantic scenery is gradually subdued into a more open valley and a straighter stream as the Wye flows on towards Monmouth. The parts of the river just described are not more renowned for their beauty, though considered the finest in England, than for their salmon, and we are told that three men with a net have been known to catch a ton of salmon in a day, while the fishery-rights are let at over $100,000 annually.


The beautiful valley, with its picturesque scenery, expands somewhat as the Wye approaches its junction with the river Monnow and flows through a succession of green meadows. Here, between the two rivers on a low spur, a prolongation of their bordering hills, stands Monmouth, its ancient suburbs spreading across the Monnow. From the market-place, the chief street of the town leads down to these suburbs, crossing over an old-time bridge. The town has its church and the ruins of a priory, while perched on a cliff overlooking the Monnow is its castle, displaying rather extensive but not very attractive remains. John of Monmouth is said to have built this castle in the reign of Henry III. Here also lived at one time John of Gaunt and his son, Harry Hereford, who afterwards became Henry IV., and the latter's son, Harry Monmouth, was born in this old castle, growing up to become the wild "Prince Hal," and afterwards the victor at Agincourt. They still show a narrow window, with remains of tracery, as marking the room in which he first saw the light. Thus has "Prince Hal" become the patron of Monmouth, and his statue stands in front of the town-hall, representing the king in full armor, and inscribed, "Henry V., born at Monmouth August 9, 1387," but it is not regarded[Pg 363] as remarkable for its artistic finish. The remains of the old priory are utilized for a school. It was founded by the Benedictines in the reign of Henry I., and in it lived Geoffrey of Monmouth, a familiar author in days when books were few. He was Bishop of St. Asaph's in the year 1152, and wrote his History of the Britons, wherein he combined all the fables of the time so ingeniously with the truth that they became alike history. Out of his imagination grew the tale of the "Round Table" and its knights.


Upon the old bridge crossing the Monnow stands an ancient gate-house, constructed in the style that prevailed in the thirteenth century, but it is doubtful if this was a military work, its probable use being the[Pg 364] collection of tolls on the produce brought into the town. It is pierced with postern arches for the foot-passengers, and still retains the place for its portcullis. All around the Monmouth market-place are the old houses where the celebrated Monmouth caps were made that were so popular in old times, and of which Fluellen spoke when he told Henry V., "If Your Majesty is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps." Monmouth is not a large town, having but six thousand inhabitants, but it takes a mayor, four aldermen, two bailiffs, and twelve councillors to govern them, and its massive county-jail is a solid warning to all evil-doers. From the summit of the lofty Kymin Hill, rising seven hundred feet on the eastern side of the town, there is a grand panorama over the valley of the Wye. This hill is surmounted by a pavilion and temple, built in 1800 to record the naval victories of England in the American wars. Farther down the valley was the home of the late Lord Raglan, and here are the ruins of Raglan Castle, built in the fifteenth century. For ten weeks in the Civil War the venerable Marquis of Worcester held this castle against Fairfax's siege, but the redoubtable old hero, who was aged eighty-four, ultimately had to surrender.



The Wye at Monmouth also receives the Trothy River, and the confluence of the three valleys makes a comparatively open basin, which, however, again[Pg 365] narrows into another romantic glen a short distance below the town. Wild woods border the steep hills, and the Wye flows through the western border of the Forest of Dean, an occasional village attesting the mineral wealth by its blackened chimneys. Here, below Redbrook, was the home of Admiral Rooke, who captured Gibraltar in 1704, and farther down are the ruins of the castle of St. Briard, built in the days of Henry I. to check Welsh forays. Here lived the lord warden of the Forest of Dean, and for three centuries every Whit-Sunday they held the annual "scramble" in the church. It appears that a tax of one penny was levied on every person who pastured his cattle on the common, and the amount thus raised was expended for bread and cheese. The church was crowded, and the clerk standing in the gallery threw out the edibles to the struggling congregation below. The railway closely hugs the swiftly-flowing river in its steep and narrow glen as we pass Offa's Dyke and Chair and the Moravian village of Brockweir. Here the line of fortifications crossed the valley which the king of Mercia constructed to protect his dominions. The valley then slightly expands, and the green sward is dotted by the houses of the long and scattered village of Tintern Parva. The river sharply bends, and in the glen on the western side stand the ruins of the far-famed Tintern Abbey in the green meadows at the brink of the Wye. The spot is well chosen, for nowhere along this celebrated river has Nature indicated a better place for quiet, heavenly meditation not un-mixed with earthly comforts.


Walter de Clare founded Tintern Abbey in 1131 for the Cistercian monks, and dedicated it to St. Mary. It was built upon an ancient battlefield where a Christian prince of Glamorgan had been slain by the heathen, but of the buildings erected by De Clare none now exist, the present remains being of later date, and the abbey church that is now in ruin was erected by Roger Bigod, Duke of Norfolk. It is a magnificent relic of the Decorated period. The[Pg 366] vaulted roof and central tower are gone, but the arches which supported the latter remain. The row of columns on the northern side of the nave have fallen, with the clerestory above them, but the remainder of the structure has suffered little damage. The western front, with its noble window and exquisite tracery, is very fine. Ivy and ferns overrun the walls and form a coping, while green sward has replaced the pavement, so that it would be difficult to imagine a more enchanting ruin, and as such Tintern is renowned the world over. Lord Houghton has written:

"The men who called their passion piety,
And wrecked this noble argosy of faith,—
They little thought how beauteous could be death,
How fair the face of time's aye-deepening sea,
Nor arms that desolate, nor years that flee,
Nor hearts that fail, can utterly deflower
This grassy floor of sacramental power
Where we now stand communicants."

Tintern Abbey is two hundred and twenty-eight feet long. It had no triforium, and the clerestory windows are rather large. The great east window was even more elaborate than the western, but all of it has fallen excepting the central mullion and the stronger portion of the tracery which branches out on either side from it. There yet remain in the building a few tiles with heraldic emblems, some broken monuments, and some heaps of choice carvings, shattered as they fell, but afterwards collected and piled against the walls. The Duke of Beaufort, to whose estate it belongs, has done everything possible to arrest decay, and all is kept in perfect order. A door leads out of the southern transept to a few fragments of buildings in the fields on that side, but most of the convent was on the northern side, where its ruins surround a grass-grown quadrangle. A cloister once ran around it; on the eastern side is the chapter-house, with the dormitory above, and on the western side the remains of the abbot's lodgings and the guest-chambers have been converted into cottages. The refectory and guest-hall are to the northward, with ruins of the octagonal columns that supported the roof. Such is this magnificent relic of the Cistercians, and yet it is but one of seventy-six abbeys that they possessed before Henry VIII. dissolved them. From the high-road down the valley of the Wye, which skirts the green meadows along its southern face, is the best view of the abbey, and the ruddy gray stone ruins, with the grassy fields and the background of wooded hills beyond the broad river, make up a picture that cannot easily be forgotten. Yet Tintern is most beautiful of all when the full moon rising over the eastern hills pours a flood of light through the broken east window to the place where once stood the high altar.[Pg 367]

The valley of the Wye again broadens, and the river flows in graceful curves through the meadows, guarded on either hand by cliffs and woods. The river is here a tidal-stream, having a rise of twelve feet, so that it is now a strong current, flowing full and swift between grassy banks, and anon is a shrunken creek, fringed by broad borders of mud. The railway on the eastern bank runs over the meadows and through occasional tunnels in the spurs of the cliffs. The high-road climbs the hill on the western bank, known as the Wynecliff, from the top of which there is a grand view over the valley and to the southward towards and beyond Chepstow. This cliff rises nine hundred feet above the river, and is the great monarch of a realm of crags that poke up their heads in all directions. Across the Wye, on a tongue of land projecting into the stream, Sir John Wyntour in the Civil War, with one hundred and eighty Royalists, hastily built a fort to command the river. Before their intrenchments were complete the enemy in superior force attacked and completely routed them; but twenty escaped, and Wyntour, cutting his way through the assailants' lines, took refuge in the beetling crags behind known as the Tidenham Rocks. The cavalry pursued him, when he forced his horse down a part somewhat less precipitous than the rest, reached the bank in safety, and escaped by swimming his horse over the river. The precipice is still known as Wyntour's Leap. Below, the Wye flows through Chepstow, with iron bridges spanning it to carry the road and railway across. The main part of the town on the western part is built upon a slope that in places descends somewhat rapidly to the river. Parts of the old walls are still preserved, strengthened at intervals by round towers. Chepstow has its ruined church, once a priory, within which Henry Marten the regicide was buried after twenty years' imprisonment in the castle.


The great point of interest is Chepstow Castle, built here to command the Wye, and standing in a fine situation on the edge of the river in a naturally fortified position. Upon the land-side deep trenches and outworks protect it, while a grassy meadow intervenes between its gateway and the Wye, that here makes a sharp curve. To get the castle in between the crags and the river, it was constructed upon a long and narrow plan, and is divided into four courts. The main entrance on the eastern side is through a ponderous gateway flanked by solid towers and with curiously-constructed ancient wooden doors. Entering the court, there is a massive tower on the left hand with an exterior staircase turret, while on the right the custodian lives in a group of comparatively modern buildings, beneath which is a vaulted chamber communicating with the river. Within this tower, whose walls are of great thickness, Henry Marten was imprisoned. He was one of the court that tried King Charles, and his[Pg 368] signature is upon the king's death-warrant. He was a spendthrift, and afterwards had a quarrel with Cromwell, who denounced him as an unbeliever, and even as a buffoon. When Charles II. made the proclamation of amnesty, Marten surrendered, but he was tried and condemned to death. He plead that he came in under the proffer of mercy, and the sentence was commuted to a life imprisonment; and after a short confinement in the Tower of London he was removed to Chepstow, where he died twenty years later, in 1680. Passing into the smaller second court, for the rocks contract it, there is a strong tower protecting its entrance, and at the upper end are the ruins of the great hall, relics of the fourteenth century. Two or three windows, a door, and part of an arcade remain, but roof and floor are gone. A still smaller court lies beyond, at the upper end of which is a gateway defended by a moat, beyond which is the western gate and court of the castle, so that this last enclosure forms a kind of barbican. Chepstow was elaborately defended, and its only vulnerable points were from the meadows on the east and the higher ground to the west; but before the days of artillery it was regarded as impregnable, and excellently performed its duty as a check upon the Welsh. Fitzosbern, Earl of Hereford, built the older parts in the eleventh century, but the most of Chepstow dates from that great epoch of castle-building on the Welsh border, the reign of Edward I. We are told that the second Fitzosbern was attainted and his estates forfeited, but that the king one Easter graciously sent to him in prison his royal robes. The earl so disdained the favor that he burned them, which made the king so angry that he said, "Certainly this is a very proud man who hath thus abused me, but, by the brightness of God, he shall never come out of prison so long as I live."[Pg 369] Whereupon, says Dugdale, who tells the tale, he remained a prisoner until he died. Chepstow was then bestowed upon the De Clares, who founded Tintern Abbey, and it afterwards passed by marriage to the Bigod family. Chepstow in the Civil War was held for the king, and surrendered to the Parliamentary troops. Soon afterwards it was surprised at the western gate and retaken. Cromwell then besieged it, but, the siege proving protracted, he left Colonel Ewer in charge. The Royalist garrison of about one hundred and sixty men were reduced to great extremity and tried to escape by a boat, but in this they were disappointed, as one of the besiegers, watching his opportunity, swam across the Wye with a knife in his teeth and cut the boat adrift. Then the castle was assaulted and taken, and the commander and most of the garrison slain. Parliament gave it to Cromwell, but after the Restoration it was returned to the heirs of the Marquis of Worcester, its owner, and it still belongs to his descendant, the Duke of Beaufort. The neighborhood of Chepstow has many pleasant villas in beautiful sites, and the broadening Wye flows a short distance beyond through the meadow-land, and then debouches into the estuary of the Severn.



Still journeying westward beyond the beautiful valley of the Wye, we will ascend its tributary, the Monnow, to its sources in the Black Mountains on the borders of Wales. We skirted along the northern side of these mountains with the Wye, while the Monnow takes us fairly into them. The little river Dore is one of the head-waters of the Monnow, and it flows through the picturesque region known as the Golden Valley, just on the edge of Brecon, where the trout-fishing is as attractive as the scenery. All its streams rise upon the flanks of the Black Mountains, and the village of Pontrilas is its railway-station at the entrance to the valley. This village is devoted to the manufacture of naphtha, for which purpose mules bring wood from the neighboring forests, and it was once honored with the presence of a hotel. This was its principal mansion, Pontrilas Court, but it has long since been converted into a private residence. This court is a characteristic Elizabethan mansion, standing in a beautiful garden almost smothered in foliage and running vines. About a mile up the valley is the pretty village of Ewias Harold, with its church on one sloping bank of the little river and its castle on the other. Within the church alongside the chancel there is a recumbent female figure holding a casket in its hands. The tomb upon which it is placed was some time ago opened, but nothing was found within excepting a case containing a human heart. The monument probably commemorates an unknown benefactress[Pg 370] whose corpse lies elsewhere, but who ordered her heart sent to the spot she loved best. The castle, standing on an eminence, was once a strong fortress, and tradition says it was built by Harold before he was king, but it does not occupy a prominent place in history. Ascending a hill to the northward, a view is obtained over the valleys of the three picturesque streams—the Dore, Dulas, and Monnow—that afterwards unite their waters; and, proceeding up the Dore, we come to the village of Abbey Dore, with the roofless ruins of its abbey, a part of which is utilized for the parish church, though scarcely anything is now left beyond fragments of the conventual buildings. This was a Cistercian monastery founded by Robert of Ewias in the reign of Henry I. We are now in the heart of the Golden Valley, which seems to be excavated out of a plateau with long, terrace-like hills bounding it on either hand, their lower parts rich in verdure, while their summits are dark and generally bare. Every available part of the lower surface is thoroughly cultivated, its hedgerows and copses giving variety to the scene. As we move up the valley the Scyrrid Vawr raises its notched and pointed summit like a peak dropped down upon the lowlands. This mountain, nearly fifteen hundred feet high, whose name means the "Great Fissure," is severed into an upper and lower summit by a deep cleft due to a[Pg 371] landslip. It is also known as the Holy Mountain, and in its day has been the goal of many pilgrims. St. Michael, the guardian of the hills, has a chapel there, where crowds resorted on the eve of his festival. It used to be the custom for the Welsh farmers to send for sackloads of earth out of the cleft in this Holy Mountain, which they sprinkled over their houses and farm-buildings to avoid evil. They were also especially careful to strew portions over the coffins and graves of the dead. At the village of Wormridge, where some members of the Clive family are buried, there is a grand old elm on the village-green around which the people used to assemble for wrestling and for the performance of other rural amusements. At the base of this tree stood the stocks, that dungeon "all of wood" to which it is said there was

"——neither iron bar nor gate,
Portcullis, chain, nor bolt, nor grate,
And yet men durance there abide
In dungeon scarce three inches wide."

This famous valley also contains the pretty church and scanty ruins of the castle of Kilpeck; also the church of St. Peter at Rowlstone, where the ornamental representations of cocks and apostolic figures all have their heads[Pg 372] downward, in memory of the position in which St. Peter was crucified. Here also, on the edge of the Black Mountains, is Oldcastle, whose ruins recall its owner, Sir John "of that ilk," the martyr who was sentenced in 1417 to be taken from the Tower of London to St. Giles' gallows, there to be hanged, and burned while hanging, as "a most pernicious, detestable heretic." At Longtown, the residence of the Lacies, there are remains of the walls and circular keep of their strong Border fortress. Kentchurch, on the slope of Garway Hill, is a seat of the Earl of Scudamore, where anciently lived John of Kent, a poet and mathematician, of whom Symonds tells us in his Records of the Rocks that "he sold his soul to the devil, and constructed the bridge over the Monnow in a single night." The ruined castle of Grosmont is about a mile distant: it was often besieged by the Welsh, and we are told that on one occasion "the king came with a great army to raise the siege, whereof, as soon as the Welshmen had understanding, they saved their lives by their legges." It was here that Henry of Monmouth defeated the Welsh, capturing Glendower's son Griffith.



Rounding the southern extremity of the Black Mountains, and proceeding farther westward, we enter another beautiful region, the Vale of Usk, a stream that flows southward into the estuary of the Severn. Here is Abergavenny, with its ancient castle guarding the entrance to the upper valley, and with mountains on every side. Here rises, just north of the town, the Sugar Loaf, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two feet high, and on the left hand the mass of old red sandstone known as the Blorenge, one thousand seven hundred and twenty feet high. A few miles up the tributary vale of Ewias, which discloses glorious scenery, are the ruins of Llanthony Priory. The valley is a deep winding glen cut out by the Hodeni between the great cliffs of the Black Mountains on the one side and the ranges around the Sugar Loaf on the other. In places the cliffs are precipitous, but, generally, the lower slopes furnish pasture-land and occasional woods, while the upper parts are covered with bracken fern, with a few trees and copses. The priory stands on a gentle slope at the base of the Black Mountains, elevated a short distance above the stream. Its original name was Llanhodeni, or "the Place by the Hodeni." It was founded by two hermits in the beginning of the twelfth century—William de Lacy, a Norman knight, and Ernisius, chaplain to Maud, wife of Henry I. They first built a small chapel dedicated to St. David; gifts flowed in, and they were soon enabled to construct a grand religious house, occupied by Augustinian monks, of whom Ernisius became the first prior. Predatory raids[Pg 373] by the Welsh, however, harassed the monks, and after submitting for some time to these annoyances they migrated to Gloucester, and founded another priory alongside the Severn. Later, however, they returned to the old place and kept up both establishments, but in the reign of Edward IV. the older was merged into the newer "because of the turbulence of the neighboring people and the irregular lives of its inmates." The ruins of Llanthony are supposed to date from about 1200, and are of a marked though simple beauty. The convent buildings are almost all gone, excepting fragments of the cellars and chapter-house. The prior's residence has become a farm-house, and where the monks sat in solemn conclave is now its outbuildings. The towers are used, one for chambers and the other for a dairy. The main part of the church is, however, carefully preserved with a green turf floor, and the western towers up to the level of the walls of the nave are still quite perfect, though the west window is gone and parts of the adjacent walls have perished. The north transept has fallen, but the southern transept is still in fair condition, lighted at the end by a pair of round-headed windows, with a circular one above; a semicircular arch on its eastern side opens into a chapel. The choir is also well preserved. These ruins exhibit semicircular with pointed arches in indiscriminate combination, and during the present century decay has caused much of them to fall. It was to Llanthony that Walter Savage Landor removed in 1809, selling much of his family estates in order to buy it. He projected[Pg 374] grand improvements, including the restoration of the priory, the construction of roads and bridges, and the cultivation of extensive tracts on the mountainside, so that it became of note among literary men as the home of one of the most original of their guild. His biographer tells us that he imported sheep from Segovia, and applied to Southey and other friends to furnish him tenants who would introduce improved agricultural methods. The inhabitants of this remote region were morose and impoverished, and he wished to reclaim them. To clothe the bare spots on the flanks of the mountains, he bought two thousand cones of the cedars of Lebanon, each calculated to produce a hundred seeds, and he often exulted "in the thought of the million cedar trees which he would thus leave for shelter and the delight of posterity." But he met the fate of many projectors. After four years' struggle he became disgusted with Llanthony and its people: he was in a quarrel with almost everybody, and his genius for punctiliousness had turned nearly the whole neighborhood against him. He had sunk his capital in the estate and its improvements, and becoming embarrassed, it was taken out of his hands and vested in trustees. His half-built house was pulled down, and the disgusted Landor left England for the Continent. At Llanthony he composed Latin verses and English tragedy, but his best literary labor was performed after he left there. A few miles farther up the valley is Capel-y-Ffyn, where Father Ignatius within a few years has erected his Anglican monastery. He was Rev. Mr. Lyne, and came from Norwich, where he was in frequent collision with the bishop. After much pother and notoriety he took his Protestant monastic settlement to this nook in the heart of the Black Mountains, where he and his monks perform their orisons in peace.


[Pg 375]


We now follow down the Usk, and at its mouth upon the Severn estuary is Newport, in Monmouthshire, where there are large docks and a considerable trade. The ruins of Newport Castle stand on the western bank of the river. In the suburbs is Caerleon, where the Romans long had the garrison-post of the second Augustan legion. The museum here is filled with Roman remains, and the amphitheatre, called "King Arthur's Round Table," is alongside. Proceeding westward about twelve miles along the shore of the Severn estuary, we come to Penarth Roads in Glamorganshire, sheltered under a bold headland at the mouths of the Ely and the Taff, and the flourishing Welsh seaport of Cardiff on the banks of the latter stream. This is the outport of the Welsh coal and iron region, and the Marquis of Bute, who is a large landowner here, has done much to develop its enormous trade, which goes to all parts of the world. Its name is derived from Caer Taff, the fortress on the river Taff, and in early times the Welsh established a castle there, but the present one was of later construction, having been built by Robert Fitzhamon, the Anglo-Norman conqueror of Glamorgan. It was afterwards strongly fortified, and here the unfortunate Robert, son of William the Conqueror, was imprisoned for twenty-eight years by his brother Henry I., his eyes being put out for his greater security. The tower where he was confined still stands alongside the entrance gateway, and during his long captivity we are told that he soothed his weariness by becoming a poet. The ancient keep remains standing on its circular mound, but the castle has been restored and modernized by the Marquis of Bute, who occasionally resides there, and has given it a fine western front flanked by a massive octagonal tower. The moat is filled up, and, with the acclivities of the ramparts, is made a public walk and garden. In the valley of the Taff, a short distance from Cardiff, is the famous "Rocking Stone," standing on the western brink of a hill called Coed-pen-maen, or the "Wood of the Stone Summit." It was anciently a Druids' altar, and with a surface of about one hundred square feet is only two to three feet thick, so that it contains about two hundred and fifty cubic feet of stone. It is the rough argillaceous sandstone that accompanies the coal-measures in this part of Wales, and a moderate force gives it quite a rocking motion, which can be easily continued with one hand. It stands nearly in equilibrium upon a pivotal rock beneath. Two miles from Cardiff is the ancient and straggling village of Llandaff, which was the seat of the earliest Christian bishopric in Wales, having been founded in the fourth century. Its cathedral, for a long time dilapidated, has within a few years been thoroughly restored. All the valleys[Pg 376] in the hilly region tributary to Cardiff are full of coal and iron, the mining and smelting of which have made enormous fortunes for their owners and developed a vast industry there within the present century. About nine miles north of Cardiff is Caerphilly Castle, which has the most remarkable leaning tower in Britain, it being more inclined from the perpendicular than any other that is known. It is about eighty feet high, and leans over a distance of eleven feet. It rests only on a part of its southern side, and maintains its position chiefly through the strength of the cement. This castle was built by the De Clares in the reign of Henry III., and large additions were made to it by Hugh Despenser, who garrisoned it for Edward II. in order to check the Welsh. It is a large concentric castle, covering about thirty acres, having three distinct wards, seven gate-houses, and thirty portcullises. It was here that Edward II. and his favorites, the Despensers, were besieged by the queen in 1326. The defence was well conducted, and the besiegers were greatly annoyed by melted metal thrown down on them from the walls, which was heated in furnaces still remaining at the foot of the tower. They made a desperate assault, which was partially successful, though it ultimately failed; and we are told that while in the castle they let the red-hot metal run out of the furnaces, and, throwing water on it from the moat, caused an explosion which tore the tower from its foundations and left it in its present condition. The fissures made by the explosion are still visible, and it has stood thus for over five centuries. The castle ultimately surrendered, the king having previously escaped. The Despensers were beheaded, and their castle never regained its ancient splendor.



Journeying westward from Cardiff along the coast of Glamorganshire, upon the Bristol Channel, we come to the Welsh Bay of Naples, where the chimneys replace the volcano of Vesuvius as smoke-producers. This is the Bay of Swansea, a very fine one, extending for several miles in a grand curve from Porthcawl headland on the eastern verge around to the Mumbles, where a bold limestone cliff runs far out into the sea and forms a natural breakwater. Within this magnificent bay, with its wooded and villa-lined shores, there is a spot that discloses the bare brown hills guarding the entrance to the valley of the river Tawe, up which the houses of Swansea climb, with a dense cloud of smoke overhanging them that is evolved from the smelting-furnaces and collieries behind the town. Forests of masts appear where the smoke permits them to be visible, and then to the right hand another gap and overhanging smoke-cloud marks the valley of the Neath. The ancient Britons called the place Aber-tawe, from the river, and there are various derivations of the present[Pg 377] name. Some say it came from flocks of swans appearing in the bay, and others from the porpoises or sea-swine, so that the reader may take his choice of Swan-sea or Swine-sea. In the twelfth century it was known as Sweynsey, and perhaps the best authority says the name came from Sweyne, a Scandinavian who frequented that coast with his ships. When the Normans invaded Glamorgan, Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, captured Swansea, and in the twelfth century built a castle there. King John gave it a charter, and it became a town of some importance, as he granted it extensive trading-privileges. In another charter, given by the lord of the manor in 1305, the first allusion is made to Welsh coal, for the people among other privileges are allowed to dig "pit-coal in Ballywasta." Thus began the industry that has become the mainstay of prosperity in South Wales. Warwick's Castle at Swansea has entirely disappeared, the present ruins being those of a castle afterwards built by Henry de Gower, who became Bishop of St. David's. What is left of it is almost hidden by modern buildings. It has the remains of a curtain-wall and two towers, the larger of which has an arcade beneath[Pg 378] the battlement—an unusual but pleasing feature. Lewellyn harassed the town and castle, but it had not much history until the Civil War, when there was a little fighting for its possession. A Parliamentary ship appeared in the bay and demanded the surrender of the town, which was refused; but in the following year the Parliamentary troops captured it. Subsequently the castle changed hands several times—the guide-book states "rather politically than gloriously." Cromwell ultimately took possession in 1648, resided at Swansea for some time as lord of the manor, and was very liberal to the town. The castle was dismantled and partly destroyed, the keep being used as a jail. Swansea, like all the cities in the Welsh coal and metal region, has grown greatly during the present century. Walter Savage Landor lived here for a while, just when the copper-works were beginning to appear in the valley of the Tawe. Their smoke defiled the landscape, and he exclaimed, "Would to God there was no trade upon earth!" He preferred Swansea Bay above the gulf of Salerno or of Naples, and wrote, "Give me Swansea for scenery and climate! If ever it should be my fortune to return to England, I would pass the remainder of my days in the neighborhood of Swansea, between that place and the Mumbles."


Swansea's earliest dock was made by walling a tidal inlet called Port[Pg 379] Tennant, and is still used. Its former great dock was the North Dock, constructed in the old bed of the Tawe, a newer and more direct channel being made for the river. It has two recently-constructed and larger docks. Up the valley of the Tawe the town spreads several miles, and here are the enormous copper-works and smelting-furnaces which make a reproduction of the infernal regions, defile the air, but fill the purses of the townsfolk. Swansea is the greatest copper-smelting dépôt in the world, drawing its ores from all parts of the globe. There had been copper-works on the Neath three centuries ago, but the first upon the Tawe were established in 1745. From them have grown the fame and wealth of the Cornish family of the Vivians, who have been copper-smelters for three generations at Swansea, and in front of the town-hall stands the statue of the "Copper King," the late John Henry Vivian, who represented Swansea in Parliament. There are also iron, zinc, lead, and tin-plate works, making this a great metallurgical centre, while within forty miles there are over five hundred collieries, some existing at the very doors of the smelting-works. It is cheap fuel that has made the fortune of Swansea.


The bold promontory of the Mumbles, which bounds Swansea Bay to the westward, has become a popular watering-place, into which it has gradually developed from the fishing-village nestling under Oystermouth Castle. The bay was once a great producer of oysters, and dredging for them was the[Pg 380] chief industry of the inhabitants. The remains of the castle stand upon a knoll overlooking the sea, and with higher hills behind. The Duke of Beaufort, to whom it belongs, keeps the ruins carefully protected, and they are in rather good preservation. The plan is polygonal, approaching a triangle, with its apex towards the sea, where was the only entrance, a gateway guarded by two round towers, of which only the inner face now remains. The interior court is small, with the keep at the north-eastern angle, having a chapel at the top. There are some other apartments with vaulted chambers underground. Henry de Bellamont is believed to have built this fortress at about the time of the construction of Swansea Castle, but it has not contributed much to history, though now a picturesque ruin.


On the eastern side of Swansea Bay enters the Vale of Neath, where is[Pg 381] also a manufacturing town of rapid growth, while within the Vale is beautiful scenery. Neath is of great antiquity, having been the Nidum of the days of Antoninus. At the Crumlyn Bog, where white lilies blossom on the site of an ancient lake, legend says is entombed a primitive city, in proof whereof strains of unearthly music may be occasionally heard issuing from beneath the waters. In the valley on the western bank of the river are the extensive ruins of Neath Abbey, said once to have been the fairest in all Wales. This religious house was founded by Richard de Granville in the twelfth century, but its present buildings are of later date. Within its walls Edward II. took refuge when he escaped from Caerphilly, for it had the privilege of sanctuary; but after leaving Neath a faithless monk betrayed him, and he was put to death most cruelly at Berkeley Castle. Only a ruined gateway remains of Neath Castle, blackened by the smoke of smelting-works.



Proceeding westward along the coast of the jutting peninsula formed by South Wales, another grand bay indents the shore, and on the bold banks of the Towy is Caermarthen, which gives the bay its name. Here there was a[Pg 382] Roman station, on the site of which the castle was built, but by whom is not accurately known. The Parliamentarians captured and dismantled it, and it has since fallen into almost complete decay, though part was occupied as a jail till the last century. In Caermarthen Church, Richard Steele the essayist is buried, while from the parade is a beautiful view up the Vale of Towy towards Merlin's Hill and Abergwili, which was the home of that renowned sage. Around the sweeping shores of Caermarthen Bay, about fifteen miles to the westward, is Tenby Castle, the town, now a watering-place, being singularly situated on the eastern and southern sides of a narrow rocky peninsula entirely surrounded by the sea, excepting to the northward. This was the Welsh "Precipice of Fishes," and its castle was strongly fortified. It stood a five days' siege from Cromwell, and its shattered ruins, with the keep on the summit of the hill, show a strong fortress. From the top there is a magnificent view of the neighboring shores and far across the sea to the lofty coasts of Devonshire. Manorbeer Castle, belonging to Lord Milford, is near Tenby, and is considered the best structure of its class in Wales. It is the carefully-preserved home of an old Norman baron, with its church, mill, dove-house, pond, park, and grove, and "the houses of his vassals at such distance as to be within call." The buildings have stone roofs, most of which are perfect, and it has been tenantless, yet carefully preserved, since the Middle Ages. Parts of it have stood for six centuries. In the upper portion of the Vale of Towy is the Golden Grove, a seat of the Earl of Cawdor, a modern Elizabethan structure. Here lived Jeremy Taylor, having taken refuge there in the Civil War, and he here wrote some of his greatest works.

Beyond Caermarthenshire is Pembrokeshire, forming the western extremity of the Welsh peninsula. The river Cleddan, flowing south-westward, broadens at its mouth into the estuary known as Milford Haven. It receives a western branch, on the side of which is the county-town, Haverfordwest, placed on a hill where the De Clares founded a castle, of which little now remains but the keep, used (as so many of them now are) as the county-jail. Cromwell demolished this castle after it fell into his hands. The great promontory of St. David's Head juts out into the sea sixteen miles to the westward. The Cleddan flows down between the towns of Pembroke and Milford. The ruins of Pembroke Castle upon a high rock disclose an enormous circular keep, seventy-five feet high and one hundred and sixty-three feet in circumference. It was begun in the eleventh century, and was the birthplace of Henry VII. in 1456. Here Cromwell was repulsed in 1648, but the fortress was secured for the Parliament after six weeks' siege. The garrison were reduced to great straits, but were only subdued by the skilful use of artillery in battering down the stairway[Pg 383] leading to the well where they got their water: the spring that supplied them is still there. Pembroke has extensive trade, and its shipbuilding dockyard covers eighty acres. Opposite this dockyard is Milford, the harbor being a mile and a half wide. The railway from London runs down to the pier, and passengers are transferred to steamers for Ireland, this being the terminus of the Great Western Railway route, two hundred and eighty-five miles from the metropolis. Milford Haven, at which we close this descriptive journey, stretches for ten miles inland from the sea, varying from one to two miles in breadth, affords ample anchorage, and is strongly fortified. The ancient Pictou Castle guards the junction of the two branches of the Cleddan above Milford, while Carew Castle stands on a creek entering Milford Haven on the south-eastern shore, and is an august though ruined relic of the baronial splendors of the Middle Ages. It well represents the condition of most of the seacoast castles in this part of Wales, of one of which Dyer has written.

"His sides are clothed with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow.
That cast an awful look below;
Whose rugged sides the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode;
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds.
And there the poisonous adder breeds,
Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds;
While ever and anon there fall
Huge heaps of hoary, mouldered wall.
Yet time has seen, that lifts the low
And level lays the lofty brow,—
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state;—
But transient is the smile of fate."
[Pg 384]



Virginia Water—Sunninghill—Ascot—Wokingham—Bearwood—The London Times—White Horse Hill—Box Tunnel—Salisbury—Salisbury Plain—Old Sarum—Stonehenge—Amesbury—Wilton House—The Earls of Pembroke—Carpet-making—Bath—William Beckford—Fonthill—Bristol—William Canynge—Chatterton—Clifton—Brandon Hill—Wells—The Mendips—Jocelyn—Beckington—Ralph of Shrewsbury—Thomas Ken—The Cheddar Cliffs—The Wookey Hole—The Black Down—The Isle of Avelon-Glastonbury—Weary-all Hill—Sedgemoor—The Isle of Athelney—Bridgewater—Oldmixon—Monmouth's Rebellion—Weston Zoyland—King Alfred—Sherborne—Sir Walter Raleigh—The Coast of Dorset—Poole—Wareham—Isle of Purbeck—Corfe Castle—The Foreland—Swanage—St. Aldhelm's Head—Weymouth—Portland Isle and Bill—The Channel Islands—Jersey—Corbière Promontory—Mount Orgueil—Alderney—Guernsey—Castle Cornet—The Southern Coast of Devon—Abbotsbury—Lyme Regis—Axminster—Sidmouth—Exmouth—Exeter—William, Prince of Orange—Exeter Cathedral—Bishop Trelawney—Dawlish—Teignmouth—Hope's Nose—Babbicombe Bay—Anstis Cove—Torbay—Torquay—Brixham—Dartmoor—The River Dart—Totnes—Berry Pomeroy Castle—Dartmouth—The River Plym—The Dewerstone—Plympton Priory—Sir Joshua Reynolds—Catwater Haven—Plymouth—Stonehouse—Devonport—Eddystone Lighthouse—Tavistock Abbey—Buckland Abbey—Lydford Castle—The Northern Coast of Devon—Exmoor—Minehead—Dunster—Dunkery Beacon—Porlock Bay—The River Lyn—Oare—Lorna Doone—Jan Ridd—Lynton—Lynmouth—Castle Rock—The Devil's Cheese-Ring—Combe Martin—Ilfracombe—Morte Point—Morthoe—Barnstaple—Bideford—Clovelly—Lundy Island—Cornwall—Tintagel—Launceston—Liskeard—Fowey—Lizard Peninsula—Falmouth—Pendennis Castle—Helston—Mullyon Cove—Smuggling—Kynance Cove—The Post-Office—Old Lizard Head—Polpeor—St. Michael's Mount—Penzance—Pilchard Fishery—Penwith—Land's End.


Leaving London by the South-western Railway, and skirting along the edge of Windsor Park, we pass Virginia Water, the largest artificial lake in England. Upon its bosom float miniature frigates, and its banks are bordered by a Chinese fishing temple, and a colonnade which was brought from the African coast near Tunis. Here also are a hermitage overlooking the lake, and the triangular turreted building known as the Belvedere, where a battery of guns is kept that was used in the wars of the last century. Not far beyond is Sunninghill, near which was Pope's early home, and in the garden of the vicarage are three trees planted by Burke, Chesterfield, and Bolingbroke. Farther westward is the famous Ascot race-course on Ascot Heath, where the[Pg 385] races are run in June upon a circular course of about two miles, the neighborhood containing many handsome villas. Still journeying westward, the route passes Wokingham, where Gay, Swift, Pope, and Arbuthnot were on one occasion detained at the Rose Inn in wet weather, and whiled away the time by composing the song of "Molly Mog."


Just beyond Wokingham is the fine estate of Bearwood, the seat of John Walter, Esq., the proprietor of the London Times, one of the stately rural homes of England. Here, in a large and beautiful park which retains much of its original forest character, and standing upon the terraced bank of a lovely lake, Bearwood House has within a few years been entirely rebuilt, its feature being the central picture-gallery containing a fine collection of paintings, around which clusters a suite of grand apartments. The estate includes several thousand acres, and in the many pleasant cottages scattered over it and the homes at Bearwood village many of the aged and infirm employés of the Times pass their declining years. The Times, which was founded January 1, 1788, by the grandfather of the present proprietor, has steadily grown in commanding influence until it occupies the front rank in English journalism and is the leading newspaper of the kingdom. Its proprietor has recently entirely rebuilt its publication-offices in Printing-House Square and on Queen Victoria Street in[Pg 386] London, adapting all the modern appliances of improved machinery and methods to its publication. It is at Bearwood, however, that his philanthropic ideas also find a broad field of usefulness in caring for those who have grown gray in the service of the Times, and thither every year go the entire corps of employés to enjoy an annual picnic under the spreading foliage of the park, while no home in England is more frequented by Americans or extends to kin from across sea a more generous hospitality.


In the chalk hills of Berkshire, beyond Reading and north of Hungerford, there rises an eminence over nine hundred feet high, known as the White Horse Hill. It is a famous place; upon the summit, covering a dozen acres, and from which eleven counties can be seen, there is a magnificent Roman camp, with gates, ditch, and mound as complete as when the legions left it. To the westward of the hill, and under its shadow, was the battlefield of Ashdown, where Alfred defeated the Danes and broke their power in 871. He fought eight other battles against the Danes that year, but they were mere skirmishes compared with the decisive victory of Ashdown, and in memory of it he ordered his army to carve the White Horse on the hillside as the emblem of the standard of Hengist. It is cut out of the turf, and can be seen to a great distance, being three hundred and seventy-four feet long. After a spell of bad weather it gets out of condition, and can only be restored to proper form by being scoured, this ceremony bringing a large concourse of people from all the neighboring villages. The festival was held in 1857, and the old White Horse was then brought back into proper form with much pomp and great rejoicing. The ancient balladist thus quaintly describes the festivity on these memorable occasions:

"The owld White Harse wants zettin to rights, and the squire hev promised good cheer,
Zo we'll gee un a scrape to kip un in zhape, and a'll last for many a year.
A was made a lang, lang time ago, wi a good dale o' labor and pains.
By King Alferd the Great, when he spwiled their consate and caddled[B] thay wosbirds[C] the Danes.
The Bleawin Stwun in days gone by wur King Alferd's bugle harn,
And the tharnin tree you med plainly zee as is called King Alferd's tharn.
There'll be backsword play, and climmin the powl, and a race for a peg, and a cheese.
And us thenks as hisn's a dummell[D] zowl as dwont care for zich spwoorts as theze."

Leaving London by the Great Western Railway, and passing beyond Berkshire, we cross the boundary into Wiltshire, and go through the longest rail[Pg 387]way-tunnel in England, the noted Box Tunnel, which is a mile and three-quarters in length and cost over $2,500,000 to construct. It goes through a ridge of great-oolite, from which the valuable bath-stone is quarried, and the railway ultimately brings us to the cathedral city that boasts the tallest church-spire in England—Salisbury, the county-town of Wiltshire, standing in the valley formed by the confluence of three rivers, the Avon, Bourne, and Wiley.

[B] caddled, worried.

[C] wosbirds, birds of evil omen.

[D] dummell, stupid.



The celebrated cathedral, which in some respects may be considered the earliest in England, is the chief object at Salisbury, and was founded by Bishop Poore in 1220. It was the first great church built in the Early English style, and its spire is among the most imposing Gothic constructions in existence. The city of Salisbury is unique in having nothing Roman, Saxon, or Norman in its origin, and in being even without the remains of a baronial fortress. It is a purely English city, and, though it was surrounded by walls, they were merely boundaries of the dominions of the ecclesiastics. The see of Salisbury in 1215 was removed from Old Sarum to its present location in consequence of the frequent contests between the clergy and the castellans, and soon afterwards the construction of the cathedral began. King Henry III. granted the church a weekly market and an annual fair lasting eight days, and the symmetrical arrangement of the streets is said to have been caused by the original laying out of the city in spaces "seven perches each in length and three in breadth," as the historian tells us. The cathedral close, which is surrounded by a wall, has four gateways, and the best view of the cathedral is from the north-eastern side of the close, but a more distant view—say from a mile away—brings out the proportions of the universally admired spire to much greater advantage. The chief cathedral entrance is by the north porch, which is a fine and lofty structure, lined with a double arcade and having an upper chamber. The nave is beautiful, though it suffers somewhat in warmth of coloring from lacking stained[Pg 388] glass, and the cloisters, which are entered from the south-western transept, are admirable, being of later date and exhibiting a more developed style than the remainder of the cathedral. Their graceful windows and long gray arcades contrast splendidly with the greensward of the cloister-garth. They include an octagonal chapter-house, fifty-eight feet in diameter and fifty-two feet high, which has been restored in memory of a recent bishop at a cost of $260,000. The restoration has enriched the house with magnificent sculptures representing Old-Testament history, and the restoration of the cathedral is also progressing. The adjoining episcopal palace is an irregular but picturesque pile of buildings, with a gateway tower that is a prominent feature.

Salisbury has plenty of old houses, like most English towns, and it also has a large square market-place, containing the Gothic Poultry Cross, a most graceful stone structure, and also the council-house of modern erection, in front of which is a statue of Sidney Herbert. Its ancient banquet-hall, built four hundred years ago by John Halle, and having a lofty timber roof and an elaborately-carved oak screen, is now used as the show-room for a shop.


To the northward of Salisbury is that region filled with prehistoric relics known as Salisbury Plain. Here are ancient fortresses, barrows, and sepulchral mounds, earthworks, dykes, and trenches, roadways of the Roman and the Briton, and the great British stronghold, guarding the southern entrance to the plain, which became the Old Sarum of later times. Until within a century this plain was a solitary and almost abandoned region, but now there are good roads crossing it and much of the land is cultivated. It is a great triangular chalk-measure, each side roughly estimated at twenty miles long. The Bourne, Wiley, and Avon flow through it to meet near Salisbury, and all the bolder heights between their valleys are marked by ancient fortifications. Wiltshire is thus said to be divided between chalk and cheese, for the northern district[Pg 389] beyond the plain is a great dairy region. Let us journey northward from Salisbury across the plain, and as we enter its southern border there rises up almost at the edge the conical hill of Old Sarum, crowned by intrenchments. When they were made is not known, but in 552 they were a British defence against the Saxons, who captured them after a bitter fight and overran the plain. Five centuries later William the Norman reviewed his army here, and after the first Domesday survey summoned all the landholders of England to the number of sixty thousand, who here swore fealty to him. The Normans strengthened it with a castle, and soon a cathedral also rose at Old Sarum, while a town grew around them. But all have disappeared, though now there can be traced the outlines of streets and houses and the foundations of the old cathedral. When the clergy removed to Salisbury it is said they determined the new site by an arrow shot from the ramparts of Old Sarum, and moving the cathedral soon attracted the people. Old Sarum for some time remained a strong fortress with many houses, but the cathedral was taken down in 1331 and its materials used for building the famous spire at Salisbury. The castle decayed, the town was gradually deserted, and as long ago as the sixteenth century we are told there was not a single house left there. And such it is to this day. Climbing the steep face of the hill, the summit is found fenced by a vast earthen rampart and ditch enclosing twenty-seven acres with an irregular circle, the height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the rampart being over one hundred feet. A smaller inner rampart as high as the outer one made the central citadel. Nearly all the stone has long ago been carried off to build Salisbury, and weeds and brushwood have overrun the remarkable fortress that has come down to us from such venerable antiquity. Under the English "rotten-borough" system Old Sarum enjoyed the privilege of sending two members to Parliament for three centuries after it ceased to be inhabited. The old tree under which the election was held still exists, and the elder Pitt, who lived near by, was first sent to Parliament as a representative of Old Sarum's vacant mounds.


A few miles' farther journey to the northward over the hills and valleys, and among the sheep that also wander on Salisbury Plain, brings us to that remarkable relic of earlier ages which is probably the greatest curiosity in England—Stonehenge. When the gigantic stones were put there, and what for, no man knows. Many are the unanswered questions asked about them, for the poet says:[Pg 390]

"Thou noblest monument of Albion's isle!
Whether by Merlin's aid from Scythia's shore
To Amber's fatal plain Pendragon bore,
Huge frame of giant hands, the mighty pile,
To entomb his Britons slain by Hengist's guile:
Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
Taught 'mid thy massy maze their mystic lore;
Or Danish chiefs, enriched by savage spoil,
To Victory's idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
Reared the huge heap; or, in thy hallowed round,
Repose the kings of Brutus' genuine line;
Or here those kings in solemn state were crowned;
Studious to trace thy wondrous origin,
We muse on many an ancient tale renowned."


Stonehenge is about nine miles north of Salisbury, near the town of Amesbury, where another ancient camp, known as "The Ramparts," crowns a wooded hill, around which the Avon flows, the camp enclosing nearly forty acres. Stonehenge stands in a bleak, bare situation on Salisbury Plain, and in its original perfection, as nearly as can now be judged, consisted of two concentric circles and two ellipses of upright stones, surrounded by a bank and ditch, outside of which is a single upright stone and traces of a hippodrome. The entrance to the cluster of circles was from the north-east, and the avenue to it is still traceable by the banks of earth. The outer circle at Stonehenge originally consisted of thirty upright stones fixed in the ground at intervals of about three and a half feet. On the top of them thirty other stones formed a continuous ring about sixteen feet above the ground. Within this circle, and leaving a space about nine feet wide between, was another circle of thirty or forty unhewn stones about four to seven feet high. Within this, again, was the grandest[Pg 391] part of the structure—a great ellipse formed of five triplets of stones or trilithons, each composed of two uprights and one placed crosswise. Within these was the inner ellipse of nineteen obelisks surrounding the altar-stone. Such was Stonehenge originally, but its ruins now appear very differently, and are only a confused pile of huge stones, for the most part such as are found on the neighboring plain and known as sarsens (a siliceous sandstone), though some of the smaller ones may be boulders brought from a distance. The diameter of the enclosure is three hundred and thirty-six feet. On the outer circle sixteen of the uprights and six of the surmounting stones forming the ring remain in their original positions. Two of the inner trilithons, the highest rising twenty-five feet, remain perfect, and there are two single uprights, which lean considerably. The flat slab or altar-stone is lying on the ground. The avenue of approach opens in front of the inner ellipse and in a line with the altar-stone. In the avenue, outside the enclosure, is a block sixteen feet high in a leaning position, and known as the Friar's Heel. The legend tells us that when the great Enemy of the human race was raising Stonehenge he muttered to himself that no one would ever know how it was done. A passing friar, hearing him, exclaimed, "That's more than thee can tell," and then fled. The Enemy flung this great stone after him, but hit only the friar's heel. The investigators of Stonehenge say that when standing on the altar-stone the midsummer sun is seen to rise to the north-east directly over the "Friar's Heel." The traces of the avenue in which it stands are, however, soon found to divide into two smaller avenues, one running south-east and the other north, and the latter is connected beyond with a long enclosure called the Cursus, and marked by banks of earth stretching east and west for about a mile and a half: there is nothing known of its use. The whole country about Stonehenge is dotted with groups of sepulchral barrows, and at the western end of the Cursus is a cluster of them more prominent than the others, and known as the "Seven Burrows." Stonehenge itself inspires with mystery and awe, the blocks being gray with lichens and worn by centuries of storms. Reference to them is found in the earliest chronicles of Britain, and countless legends are told of their origin and history, they usually being traced to mythical hands. In James I.'s reign Stonehenge was said to be a Roman temple, dedicated to Cœlus; subsequently, it was attributed to the Danes, the Phœnicians, the Britons, and the Druids by various writers. Sir Richard Hoare, who has studied the mystery most closely, declines all these theories, and says the monument is grand but "voiceless." Horace Walpole shrewdly observes that whoever examines Stonehenge attributes it to that class of antiquity of which he is himself most fond; and thus it remains an insoluble problem to puzzle the investigator and impress[Pg 392] the tourist. Michael Drayton plaintively and quaintly confesses that no one has yet solved the mystery:

"Dull heape, that thus thy head above the rest doest reare,
Precisely yet not know'st who first did place thee there.
Ill did those mightie men to trust thee with their storie;
Thou hast forgot their names who rear'd thee for their glorie;
For all their wondrous cost, thou that hast serv'd them so,
What 'tis to trust to tombes by thee we easily know."




Returning along the valley of the Avon past the almost lifeless town of Amesbury, where there formerly was a grand Benedictine monastery long since gone to decay, we cross over to the Wiley Vale, and at about three miles distance from Salisbury come to the Earl of Pembroke's seat at Wilton House. The ancient town of Wilton—or, as it was originally called, Willytown—stands at the confluence of the rivers Nadder and Wiley. The Britons established it, and it was one of the capitals of the West Saxons. It was famous long before the Norman Conquest, and it afterwards obtained renown from the number and importance of its monastic establishments, having had no less than twelve parish churches, though not a trace of its abbey now remains. Henry VIII. dissolved it, and gave the site and buildings to Sir William Herbert, who was afterwards created Earl of Pembroke, and from its relics Wilton House was largely constructed. The town is now chiefly noted as the manufactory of Axminster and Wilton carpets, dextrously woven by operatives who use most primitive machinery. The Earl's Park adjoins the town, and in it is Wilton House, one of the grandest palaces in England, standing upon the site of the abbey. The buildings were designed by Holbein, and the garden front being[Pg 393] burned in 1648, was rebuilt soon afterwards, while the entire structure was enlarged and remodelled during the present century, the cloisters being then added for the display of the fine collection of sculptures. The plan of the house is a quadrangle, with a glazed cloister occupying the central square. Within this cloister and the hall leading to it are the well-known Pembroke Marbles—statues, busts, urns, vases, bassi-relievi, and fragments of great value from Grecian and Roman works. This collection was formed during the last century, being gathered by the then earl from various sources. In the hall are statues, but its chief interest comes from the numerous suits of armor with which it is adorned, chiefly memorials of the battle of St. Quentin, fought in 1557, when the Earl of Pembroke commanded the British forces. One of the suits was worn by the earl himself, and two others by the Constable of France and the Duc de Montpensier, both being taken prisoner. On either side are entrances to various apartments containing valuable paintings. The chief of these is the "Family Picture," regarded as Vandyke's masterpiece—seventeen feet long and eleven feet high, and filling one end of the drawing-room. It contains ten full-length figures—Philip, Earl of Pembroke, and his countess and their children. Above them, hovering in the clouds, are three other children, who died in early life. In the Double Cube-room, which is regarded as[Pg 394] a gem in its way and has a most magnificent fireplace, there are some thirteen other paintings by Vandyke. Other paintings by Italian masters are also distributed on the walls of the various apartments, but the Vandykes are regarded as the gems of the collection. The library is a large and lofty apartment, with an oak-panelled ceiling, and a fine collection of volumes with appropriate furnishing. Out of the library window the western view over the terrace discloses charming pleasure-grounds, laid out in the Italian style from designs by a former Countess of Pembroke, while in the background is a beautiful porch constructed by Holbein. To the gardens, summer-houses and conservatories add their attractions, while beyond is the valley of the Nadder, over which a picturesque bridge leads to the park. This bridge has an Ionic colonnade, and in the park are some of the finest cedars to be seen in the kingdom. Here, it is said, Sir Philip Sidney wrote Arcadia, and the work shows that he drew much inspiration from these gardens and grounds, for it abounds in lifelike descriptions of Nature.



At Wilton also lived George Herbert the poet, and later Sidney Herbert, who was afterwards made Lord Herbert of Lea, and whose son is now the thirteenth Earl of Pembroke. A statue of Sidney Herbert has already been referred to as standing in Pall Mall, London, and another is in Salisbury. He was secretary of war, yet was the gentle and genial advocate of peace and charity to all mankind, and his premature death was regarded as a public calamity. He erected in 1844 the graceful New Church at Wilton. It was the Earls of Pembroke in the last century who were chiefly instrumental in bringing the manufacturers of fine carpets over from France and Flanders and laying the foundation of that trade, in which England now far surpasses those countries. The factory at Axminster, on the southern coast, was also afterwards transferred to Wilton. These carpets are all hand-made, and the higher class, which are an inch or more in thickness and of the softness of down when trod upon, are also of the most gorgeous design and brilliancy of colors.


Crossing over the hills to the north-west of Salisbury Plain, we descend to the attractive valley of another river Avon, and come to the "Queen of all the Spas in the World," the city of Bath. It is the chief town of Somersetshire, and is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills. The abbey and principal[Pg 395] streets are in the valley, while above, on its northern slope, rise terraces and crescents, tier upon tier, to a height of nearly eight hundred feet, the most conspicuous being the Royal and the Lansdowne Crescents. Many of the buildings are handsome, and are constructed of the white great-oolite, known as bath-stone. To its waters this famous resort owes its importance, but from an insignificant place Bath has risen to the highest point of popularity as a fashionable watering-place and in architectural magnificence through the genius of Architect Wood and Master-of-Ceremonies Beau Nash. The legendary king Bladud is said to have first discovered the Bath waters twenty-seven hundred years ago, and to have built a town there and dedicated the medicinal springs to Minerva, so that "Bladud's Well" has passed into a proverb of sparkling inexhaustibility. The Romans, passionately attached to the luxury of the hot springs, made Bath one of their chief stations, and here and in the neighborhood the foundations of their extensive buildings have been traced, with the remains of altars, baths, tessellated pavements, and ornaments, and few British towns can produce such a collection of Roman relics. In the height of the Roman power in the fifth century the city extended nearly three miles along the valley, and was surrounded by a wall twenty feet high and nine feet thick. Such a fascinating spot was naturally selected for the foundation of a religious house at an early period, and we consequently find that the abbey of Bath was built by King Offa in the eighth century, and refounded by King Edgar in the tenth century. It existed until the dissolution in 1539. The church fell into decay in the reign of Henry VII., and the present abbey-church was then built, being for a long time unfinished. It has recently been restored. It stands at the southern extremity of High Street, and is a fine specimen of Perpendicular Gothic, the plan being a cross, with a tower at the intersection rising one hundred and sixty-two feet and flanked by octagonal turrets. The church is two hundred and ten feet long, and has a fan-traced, stone-vaulted roof seventy-eight feet high, while the western front contains a magnificent window flanked by turrets carved with angels, who are ascending and descending, but have, unfortunately, all lost their heads. The Pump Room, which is one of the chief buildings, is a classical structure with a Corinthian portico bearing the motto, "Water, best of elements!" A band plays in the spacious saloon, which also contains a statue of the genius of Bath, Beau Nash, whose monument is in the abbey-church. Here the waters, which are the hottest in England, reaching a temperature of 120°, tumble continually from a drinking-fountain into a serpentine basin beneath. There are numerous other baths replete with comforts for the invalid, for this is essentially a hospital town, and the city also contains many stately public and private buildings, and its[Pg 396] Victoria Park and Sydney Gardens are beautiful and popular resorts. The wild scenery of the neighborhood provides myriads of attractive drives and walks, while on top of Lansdowne Hill, where Beckford is buried, is his tower, one hundred and fifty feet high and commanding extensive views. The Bath waters, which are alkaline-sulphurous with a slight proportion of iron, are considered beneficial for palsy, rheumatism, gout, and scrofulous and cutaneous affections. The chief spring discharges one hundred and twenty-eight gallons a minute. While a hundred years ago Bath was at the height of its celebrity, the German spas have since diverted part of the stream of visitors.


It was at Bath that Pitt and Sheridan lived, but its most eccentric resident was William Beckford, the author of Vathek, who came to Bath from Fonthill, not far from Salisbury. His father, a London alderman, owned Fonthill, and died in 1770, leaving his son William, aged ten, with $5,000,000 ready money and $500,000 annual income. He wrote Vathek in early life after extensive travels, but founded its scenes and characters upon places and people at Fonthill. He then began building Fonthill Abbey, shrouding his proceedings in the greatest mystery and surrounding his estate with a wall twelve feet high and seven miles long, guarded by chevaux-de-frise to keep out intruders. The building of the abbey was to him a romance pursued with wild enthusiasm. So anxious was he to get it finished that he employed relays of men, working day and night and throughout Sunday, keeping them liberally supplied with liquor. The first tower was built of wood, four hundred feet high, to see its effect, and it was then taken down and the same form put up in wood covered with cement. This fell down, and the third tower was built of masonry. When the idea of the abbey occurred to Beckford he was extending a small summer-house, but he was in such a hurry that he would not remove the summer-house to make a proper foundation for the tower, but carried it up on the walls already standing, the work being done in wretched style and chiefly by semi-drunken men. He employed five hundred men day and night at the work, and once the torches used set fire to the tower at the top, a sight that he greatly enjoyed. Beckford lived at the abbey, practically a hermit, for nearly twenty years, but his fortunes being impaired he removed to Bath in 1822. Preparatory to selling Fonthill, he opened the long-sealed place to public exhibition at a guinea a ticket, and sold seventy-two hundred tickets. Then for thirty-seven days he conducted an auction-sale of the treasures at Fonthill, charging a half-guinea admission. He ultimately sold the estate for $1,750,000. In 1825 the tower, which had been insecurely built, fell with a great crash, and so frightened the[Pg 397] new owner, who was an invalid, that, though unhurt by the disaster, he died soon afterwards. The estate was again sold and the abbey taken down, so that now only the foundations can be traced.


Proceeding about twelve miles down the beautiful valley of the Avon, we come to its junction with the Frome, where is located the ancient city and port of Bristol, the capital of the west of England. A magnificent suspension-bridge spans the gorge of the Avon, connecting Bristol with its suburb of Clifton, and it is believed that the earliest settlements by the Romans were on the heights of Clifton and the adjoining Brandon Hill. The Saxons called it Bright-stow, or the "Illustrious City;" from this the name changed to Bristow, as it was known in the twelfth century, and Bristold in the reign of Henry III. When the original owners concluded that it was time to come down from the hills, they founded the city in the valley at the junction of the two rivers. A market-cross was erected where the main streets joined, and Bristow Castle was built at the eastern extremity, where the Avon makes a right-angled bend. The town was surrounded with walls, and in the thirteenth century the course of the Frome was diverted in order to make a longer quay and get more room for buildings. Few traces remain of the old castle, but portions of the ancient walls can still be seen. In the fifteenth century the city-walls were described as lofty and massive and protected by twenty-five embattled towers, some round and some square. The abbey of St. Augustine was also then flourishing, having been founded in the twelfth century. Bristol was in the Middle Ages the second port of England, enjoying lucrative trade with all parts of the world, and in the fifteenth century a Bristol ship carrying nine hundred tons was looked upon with awe as a leviathan of the ocean. Sebastian Cabot, the great explorer, was a native of Bristol, and his expeditions were fitted out there, and it was Bristol that in 1838 built and sent out the first English steamer that crossed the Atlantic, the Great Western. It still enjoys a lucrative trade, and has recently opened new docks at the mouth of the Avon, seven miles below the city, so that this venerable port may be considered as renewing its prosperous career. It has over two hundred thousand population, and in past times had the honor of being represented in Parliament by Edmund Burke. When ancient Bristol was in its heyday, Macaulay says the streets were so narrow that a coach or cart was in danger of getting wedged between the buildings or falling into the cellars. Therefore, goods were conveyed about the town almost exclusively in trucks drawn by dogs, and the wealthy inhabitants exhibited their riches not by riding in gilded car[Pg 398]riages, but by walking about the streets followed by a train of servants in gorgeous liveries and by keeping tables laden with good cheer. The pomp of christenings and funerals then far exceeded anything seen in any other part of England, and the hospitality of the city was widely renowned. This was especially the case with the banquets given by the guild of sugar-refiners, where the drink was a rich beverage made of Spanish wine and known as "Bristol milk." In 1831 the opposition of the Recorder of Bristol to the Reform Bill resulted in serious riots, causing a great fire that burned the Mansion House and a large number of other prominent buildings. The troops suppressed the riots after shooting several rioters, and four were afterwards hanged and twenty-six transported. The city has since enjoyed a tranquil history.


Bristol Cathedral was the convent-church of St. Augustine's Abbey, and was begun in the twelfth century. It formerly consisted only of the choir and transepts, the nave having been destroyed in the fifteenth century, but the nave was rebuilt in uniform style with the remainder of the church in 1876. The cathedral presents a mixture of architectural styles, and in it are the tombs of the Earls of Berkeley, who were its benefactors for generations. Among them was Maurice, Lord Berkeley, who died in 1368 from wounds received at Poictiers. The abbot, John Newland, or Nail-heart, was also a benefactor of the abbey, and is said to have erected the magnificent Norman doorway to the west of it leading to the college green. The most attractive portion of the[Pg 399] interior of the cathedral is the north aisle of the choir, known as the Berkeley Chapel, a beautiful specimen of Early English style. The side-aisles of the choir are of the same height as the central aisle, and in the transepts are monuments to Bishop Butler, author of the Analogy, and to Robert Southey, who was a native of Bristol. This cathedral is not yet complete, the external ornamentation of the nave and the upper portions of the western towers being unfinished. Forty-seven bishops have sat upon the episcopal throne of Bristol. The old market-cross, which stood for four centuries in Bristol, was removed in the last century, but in 1860 it was replaced by a modern one erected upon the college green. The church of St. Mary Redcliffe, standing upon a red sandstone rock on the south side of the Avon, is the finest church in Bristol, and Chatterton calls it the "Pride of Bristowe and Western Londe." It is an Early Perpendicular structure, two hundred and thirty-one feet long, with a steeple rising over two hundred feet, founded in the twelfth century, but enlarged and rebuilt in the fifteenth century by William Canynge, who was then described as "the richest merchant of Bristow, and chosen five times mayor of the said town." He and his wife Joan have their monuments in the church, and upon his tomb is inscribed the list of his ships. He entered holy orders in his declining years, and founded a college at Westbury, whither he retired. It has for many years been the custom for the mayor and corporation of Bristol to attend this church on Whitsunday in state, when the pavement is strewn with rushes and the building decorated with flowers. In the western entrance is suspended a bone of a large whale, which, according to tradition, is the rib of the dun cow that anciently supplied Bristol with her milk. Sebastian Cabot, in all probability, presented the city with this[Pg 400] bone after his discovery of Newfoundland. The chief popular interest in St. Mary Redcliffe, however, is its connection with Thomas Chatterton, born in a neighboring street in 1752, the son of a humble schoolmaster, who ultimately went up to London to write for the booksellers, and there committed suicide at the early age of seventeen. A monument to this precocious genius, who claimed to have recovered ancient manuscripts from the church-archives, stands in the churchyard. Bristol is full of old and quaint churches and narrow yet picturesque streets, with lofty gabled timber-houses.


The great gorge of the Avon, five hundred feet deep, is, however, its most attractive possession. The suspension-bridge, erected by the munificence of a citizen, spans this gorge at the height of two hundred and eighty-seven feet, and cost nearly $500,000. It is twelve hundred and twenty feet long, and has a single span of seven hundred and three feet crossing the ravine between St. Vincent's Rocks and the Leigh Woods. Alongside this gorge rises Brandon Hill, which Queen Elizabeth sold to two citizens of Bristol, who in turn sold it to the city, with a proviso that the corporation should there "admit the drying of clothes by the townswomen, as had been accustomed;" and to this day its western slope is still used as a clothes-drying ground. From this the tradition arose—which, however, Bristol denounces as a libel—"that the queen gave the use of this hill to poor freemen's daughters as a dowry, because she took compassion on the many plain faces which she saw in one of her visits." Some hot springs issue out of St. Vincent's Rocks, and these give Clifton fame[Pg 401] as a watering-place. A fine pump-house has been built there, and the waters are said to be useful in pulmonary complaints. From this beginning large and ornamental suburbs have been terraced on the rocks and hills above the springs, while on the summit is an observatory. There is a hermitage cave of great antiquity carved in the perpendicular face of the rock just above the river, and known as the "Giant's Hole." The entire neighborhood is full of charming scenery, and thus the ancient port presents varied attractions, combining business profit with recreation, while from the hilltops there are glorious views extending far down Bristol Channel to the dim hills of South Wales.



Proceeding southward into Somersetshire, we arrive at the cathedral city of Wells, which is united with Bath in the well-known bishopric of Bath and Wells, and is considered the most completely representative ecclesiastical city in England. It gets its name from its numerous springs, taking their rise from the wells in the Bishop's Garden, where they form a lake of great beauty, while bright, clear water runs through various streets of the town. After leaving the edge of the Bristol Channel the plain of the Somersetshire lowlands is bordered by rocky uplands, of which the most important is the elevated plateau known as the Mendip Hills, carved on the outside with winding valleys having precipitous sides. Wells nestles in a wide grassy basin at the foot of the Mendips, its entire history being ecclesiastical, and that not very eventful. It never had a castle, and no defensive works beyond the wall and moat enclosing the bishop's palace. It seems to have had its origin from the Romans, who worked lead-mines among the Mendips, but the first fact actually known about it is that the Saxon king Ina established here a[Pg 402] house of secular canons "near a spring dedicated to St. Andrew." It grew in importance and privileges until it became a bishopric, there having been fifteen bishops prior to the Norman Conquest. The double title of Bishop of Bath and Wells was first assumed in the days of King Stephen. In looking at the town from a distance two buildings rise conspicuously—the belfry of St. Cuthbert's Church and the group of triple towers crowning the cathedral. There are few aggregations of ecclesiastical buildings in England that surpass those of Wells, with the attractive gateways and antique houses of the close, the grand façade of the cathedral, and the episcopal palace with its ruined banquet-hall and surrounding moat. From the ancient market-square of the city, stone gateways surmounted by gray towers give access, one to the close and the other to the enclosure of the palace. Entering the close, the western front of the cathedral is seen, the most beautiful façade of its kind in Britain—an exquisite piece of Early English architecture, with Perpendicular towers and unrivalled sculptures rising tier upon tier, with architectural accompaniments such as are only to be found at Chartres or Rheims. The old Saxon cathedral lasted until Bishop Jocelyn's time in the thirteenth century, when he began a systematic rebuilding, which was not finished until the days of Bishop Beckington in the fifteenth century, who completed the gateways and cloisters. Entering the cathedral, the strange spectacle is at once seen of singular[Pg 403] inverted arches under the central tower, forming a cross of St. Andrew, to whom the building is dedicated. These arches were inserted subsequently to the erection of the tower to strengthen its supports—an ingenious contrivance not without a certain beauty. The choir is peculiar and beautiful, and produces a wonderful effect, due to its groups of arches, the Lady Chapel and retro-choir, and the rich splendors of the stained glass. The chapter-house, north-east of the northern transept, is built over a crypt, and is octagonal in plan, the roof supported by a central column, while the crypt beneath has an additional ring of columns. The cloisters are south of the cathedral, having three walks, with galleries above the eastern and western walks, the former being the library. Through the eastern wall of the cloisters a door leads to a private garden, in which and in the Bishop's Garden adjoining are the wells that name the city. The most important of these is St. Andrew's Well, whence a spring issues into a large pool. The water from the wells falls by two cascades into the surrounding moat, and a conduit also takes away some of it to supply the town. From the edge of the pool is the most striking view of the cathedral.


The close is surrounded by various ancient houses, and the embattled wall with its bastioned towers and moat encloses about fifteen acres. Here is the gateway known as the "Bishop's Eye," and another called the "Dean's Eye," the deanery where Henry VII. was entertained in 1497, the archdeanery, coming down from the thirteenth century, and the beautiful Chain Gate in the north-east corner that connects the cathedral with the Vicar's Close. The latter, one of the most peculiar features of Wells, is a long and narrow court entered through an archway, and having ancient houses with modernized fittings on either hand. Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury erected this close in the fourteenth century, and his monumental inscription in the cathedral tells us he was a great sportsman, who "destroyed by hunting all the wild beasts of the great forest of Cheddar." The moat and wall completely surround the bishop's palace, and its northern front overhangs the moat, where an oriel[Pg 404] window is pointed out as the room where Bishop Kidder and his wife were killed by the falling of a stack of chimneys upon their bed, blown down by the terrible gale of 1703 that swept away the Eddystone Lighthouse. It was Bishop Ralph who made the walls and moat as a defence against the monks of Bath, who had threatened to kill him; Bishop Jocelyn built the palace. Adjoining it is the great banquet-hall, of which only the northern and western walls remain, in ruins. It was a magnificent hall, destroyed from mere greed. After the alienation of the monasteries it fell into the hands of Sir John Gates, who tore it partly down to sell the materials; but happily, as the antiquarian relates, Gates was beheaded in 1553 for complicity in Lady Jane Grey's attempt to reach the throne, and the desecration was stopped. Afterwards, Parliament sold Wells for a nominal price to Dr. Burgess, and he renewed the spoliation, but, fortunately again, the Restoration came; he had to give up his spoils, and died in jail. Thus was the remnant of the ruin saved. It was in this hall that Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury, was condemned, and hanged on Tor Hill above his own abbey. The great bishops of Wells were the episcopal Nimrod Ralph, and Beckington, who left his mark so strongly on the cathedral and town. He was a weaver's son, born at the village of Beckington, near the town of Frome, and from it got his name. Hadrian de Castello, who had a romantic history, became Bishop of Wells in 1504. Pope Alexander VI. made him a cardinal, and afterwards tried to poison him with some others at a banquet; by mistake the pope himself drank of the poisoned wine,[Pg 405] and died. The bishop afterwards entered into a conspiracy against Leo X., but, being detected, escaped from Rome in disguise and disappeared. Wolsey was Bishop of Wells at one time, but the most illustrious prelate who held the see after the Reformation was Thomas Ken. He was educated at Winchester, and afterwards became a prebend of the cathedral there. Charles II. paid a visit to Winchester, and, bringing Nell Gwynne with him, Ken was asked to allow her to occupy his house. He flatly refused, which had just the opposite effect upon the king to that which would be supposed, for he actually respected Ken for it, and when the see of Wells became vacant he offered it to "the little fellow who would not give poor Nelly a lodging." Ken attended the king's deathbed shortly afterwards. He was very popular in the diocese, and after the Sedgemoor battle he succored the fugitives, and with the Bishop of Ely gave spiritual consolation to the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth on the scaffold. Ken was one of the six bishops committed by James II. to the Tower, but, strangely enough, he declined to take the oaths of allegiance to William III., and, being deprived of preferment, retired to the home of his nephew, Izaak Walton. All reverence his sanctity and courage, and admire his morning and evening hymns, written in a summer-house in the Bishop's Garden.


The Mendip Hills, with their picturesque gorges and winding valleys, were formerly a royal forest. It was here that King Edmund was hunting the red deer when his horse took fright and galloped towards the brow of the highest part of the Cheddar Cliffs. Shortly before, the king had quarrelled with Dun[Pg 406]stan, and expelled the holy man from his court. As the horse galloped with him to destruction, he vowed if preserved to make amends. The horse halted on the brink as if checked by an unseen hand, and the king immediately sought Dunstan and made him abbot of Glastonbury. These hills were the haunt of the fiercest wild beasts in England, and their caves still furnish relics of lions to a larger extent than any other part of the kingdom. The most remarkable deposit of these bones is in the Wookey Hole, on the southern edge of the Mendips, about two miles from Wells. At the head of a short and picturesque glen, beneath an ivy-festooned cliff, is a cavern whence the river Axe issues and flows down the glen. The cave that disclosed the animal bones is on the left bank of the glen, and was but recently discovered in making a mill-race. It also contained about three hundred old Roman coins, rude flint implements, and skeletons of a mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. The larger cave, which is hung with fine stalactites, can be explored for some distance. Near the entrance is a mass of rock known as the Witch of Wookey, who was turned into stone there by a timely prayer from a monk[Pg 407] who opportunely arrived from Glastonbury. The underground course of the Axe in and beyond this cave is traced for at least two miles. The Mendips contain other pretty glens and gorges, and from the summit of their cliffs can be seen the valley of the Axe winding away southward, while to the westward the scene broadens into the level plains that border the Bristol Channel, guarded on either side by the hills of Exmoor and of Wales. Little villages cluster around the bases of the hills, the most noted being Cheddar, famous for its cheese, straggling about the entrance to a gorge in which caves are numerous, each closed by a door, where an admission-fee is charged. Some of them are lighted with gas and entered upon paved paths. Lead-and zinc-mines are worked in the glens, and above Cheddar rises the Black Down to a height of eleven hundred feet, the most elevated summit of the Mendips.


About six miles south-west of Wells is the ancient Isle of Avelon, where St. Patrick is said to have spent the closing years of his life, and where are the ruins of one of the earliest and most extensive religious houses in England—Glastonbury Abbey. A sixpence is charged to visit the ruins, which adjoin the chief street, but the remnants of the vast church, that was nearly six hundred feet long, are scanty. Of the attendant buildings there only remain the abbot's kitchen and an adjoining gateway, now converted into an inn. This kitchen is about thirty-four feet square within the walls and seventy-two feet high. The church ruins include some of the walls and tower-foundations, with a well-preserved and exceedingly rich chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. On the High Street is the old George Inn, which was the hostelrie for the pilgrims, built in the reign of Edward IV. and still used. It is fronted by a splendid mass of panelling, and the central gateway has a bay-window alongside rising the entire height of the house. The church of St. John the Baptist in Glastonbury has a fine tower, elevated one hundred and forty feet and richly adorned with canopied niches, being crowned by an open-work parapet and slender pinnacles. Almost the entire town of Glastonbury is either constructed from spoils of the abbey or else is made up of parts of its buildings. One of the most characteristic of the preserved buildings is the Tribunal, now a suite of lawyers' offices. Its deeply-recessed lower windows and the oriel above have a venerable appearance, while beyond rises the tower of St. John the Baptist. Behind the town is the "Weary-all Hill," from which arose the foundation of the monastery. Tradition tells that Joseph of Arimathea, toiling up the steep ascent, drove his thorn staff into the ground and said to his followers that they would rest there. The thorn budded, and still flowers, it is said, in winter. This was[Pg 408] regarded as an omen, and they constructed the abbey there around the chapel of St. Joseph. The ponderous abbot's kitchen, we are told, was built by the last abbot, who boasted, when Henry VIII. threatened to burn the monastery, that he would have a kitchen that all the wood in Mendip Forest could not burn down. King Arthur was buried at Glastonbury, and a veracious historian in the twelfth century wrote that he was present at the disinterment of the remains of the king and his wife. "The shin-bone of the king," he says, "when placed side by side with that of a tall man, reached three fingers above his knee, and his skull was fearfully wounded." The remains of King Arthur's wife, which were quite perfect, fell into dust upon exposure to the air.



Proceeding westward towards the Bristol Channel, the low and marshy plain of Sedgemoor is reached. Much of it is reclaimed from the sea, and here and there the surface is broken by isolated knolls, there being some two hundred square miles of this region, with the range of Polden Hills extending through it and rising in some places three hundred feet high. In earlier times this was an exact reproduction of the Cambridgeshire fenland, and then, we are told,

"The flood of the Severn Sea flowed over half the plain,
And a hundred capes, with huts and trees, above the flood remain;
'Tis water here and water there, and the lordly Parrett's way
Hath never a trace on its pathless face, as in the former day."

It is changed now, being thoroughly drained, but in the days of the Saxons the river Parrett was the frontier of Wessex, and one of its districts sheltered Alfred from the first onset of the Danish invasion when he retreated to the fastnesses of the Isle of Athelney. In the epoch of the Normans and in the Civil War there was fighting all along the Parrett. After the defeat at Naseby the Royalists, under Lord Goring, on July 10, 1645, met their foes on the bank[Pg 409] of the Parrett, near Langport, were defeated and put to flight, losing fourteen thousand prisoners, and the king's troops never made a stand afterwards. Bridgwater is a quiet town of about twelve thousand people on the Parrett, a half dozen miles from the sea, and in its churchyard reposes Oldmixon, who was made collector of customs here as a reward for his abusive writings, in the course of which he virulently attacked Pope. The poet retorted by giving Oldmixon a prominent place in the Dunciad, where at a diving-match in the putrid waters of Fleet Ditch, which "rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames," the heroes are bidden to "prove who best can dash through thick and thin, and who the most in love of dirt excel." And thus the Bridgwater collector:

"In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,
And Milo-like surveys his arms and hands,
Then sighing thus, 'And am I now threescore?
And why ye gods should two and two make four?'
He said, and climbed a stranded lighter's height.
Shot to the black abyss, and plunged downright."

In the Market Inn at Bridgwater Admiral Blake was born, who never held a naval command until past the age of fifty, and then triumphed over the Dutch and the Spaniards, disputing Van Tromp's right to hoist a broom at his masthead, and burned the Spanish fleet in the harbor of Santa Cruz. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, but Charles II. ejected his bones. Bridgwater is now chiefly noted for its bath bricks, made of a mixture of clay and sand deposited near there by the tidal currents.


[Pg 410]


It was from the Bridgwater church tower that the unfortunate son of Charles II. and Lucy Walters, who had been proclaimed "King Monmouth," looked out upon the grassy plains towards the eastward before venturing the last contest for the kingdom. This view is over Sedgemoor, the scene of the last fight deserving the name of a battle that has been fought on British ground. It is a long tract of morass lying between the foot of the Polden Hills and the Parrett River, but with a fringe of somewhat higher ground along the latter, where are Weston Zoyland, Chedzoy, and Middlezoy, each a hamlet clustering around its old church, that at Weston Zoyland being surmounted by an attractive square tower over one hundred feet high. Monmouth had been proclaimed king by the mayor and corporation of Bridgwater June 21, 1685, but had been checked at Bath, and fell back again to Bridgwater, where his army was encamped on the Castle Field. He had been three weeks in the kingdom without marked success, and the royal army was closing in upon him. Four thousand troops under Lord Feversham marched westward, and on the Sunday evening of July 5th, when Monmouth looked out from the tower, had encamped upon Sedgemoor about three miles from Bridgwater. Monmouth had seven thousand men to oppose them, but his forces were mostly undisciplined and badly armed, some having only scythes fastened on poles. The moor was then partly reclaimed and intersected by trenches, and Feversham's headquarters was at Weston Zoyland, where the royal cavalry were encamped,[Pg 411] with the other troops at Middlezoy and Chedzoy beyond. Monmouth saw that their divisions were somewhat separated, and that his only hope was a night-attack. At midnight he started, marching his army by a circuitous route to the royal camp, strict silence being observed and not a drum beaten or a shot fired. Three ditches had to be crossed to reach the camp, two of which Monmouth knew of, but he was unfortunately ignorant of the third, called the Bussex Rhine, behind which the camp had been made. A fog came down over the moor; the first ditch was crossed successfully, but the guide missing his way caused some confusion before the second was reached, during which a pistol was discharged that aroused a sentinel, who rode off and gave the alarm. As the royal drums beat to arms Monmouth rapidly advanced, when he suddenly found himself checked by the Bussex Rhine, behind which the royal army was forming in line of battle in the fog. "For whom are you?" demanded a royal officer. "For the king," replied a voice from the rebel cavalry. "For what king?" was demanded. The answer was a shout for "King Monmouth," mingled with Cromwell's old war-cry of "God with us!" Immediately the royal troops replied with a terrific volley of musketry that sent the rebel cavalry flying in all directions. Monmouth, then coming up with the infantry, was startled to find the broad ditch in front of him. His troops halted on the edge, and for three quarters of an hour the opposing forces fired volleys at each other across the ditch. But the end was not far off. John Churchill was a subordinate in the royal army and formed its line of battle, thus indicating the future triumphs of the Duke of Marlborough. Then the royal cavalry came up, and in a few minutes the rebels were routed, and Monmouth, seeing all was lost, rode from the field. His foot-soldiers, with their scythes and butt-ends of muskets, made a gallant stand, fighting like old soldiers, though their ammunition was all gone. To conquer them the artillery were brought up, for which service the Bishop of Winchester loaned his coach-horses. The cannon were ill served, but routed the rebels, and then the infantry poured over the ditch and put them to flight. The king lost three hundred killed and wounded; the rebel loss was at least a thousand slain, while there was little mercy for the survivors. The sun rose over a field of carnage, with the king's cavalry hacking and hewing among their fleeing foes. Monmouth, with one or two followers, was by this time far away among the hills, but was afterwards captured in the New Forest, and ended his life on the scaffold. The Sedgemoor carnage went on all the morning; the fugitives poured into Bridgwater with the pursuers at their heels; five hundred prisoners were crowded into Weston Zoyland Church, and the next day a long row of gibbets appeared on the road between the town and the church. Bridgwater suffered under a reign of[Pg 412] terror from Colonel Kirke and his "Lambs," who put a hundred prisoners to death during the week following the battle, and treated the others with great cruelty. Then Judge Jeffreys came there to execute judicial tortures, and by his harsh and terrible administration of the law, and his horrible cruelties and injustice, gained the reputation that has ever since been execrated.

Six miles south-east of Bridgwater is the Isle of Athelney, a peninsula in the marsh between the Parrett and the Tone. Here King Alfred sought refuge from the Danes until he could get time to mature the plans that ultimately drove them from his kingdom. It was while here that the incident of the burned cakes occurred. The king was disguised as a peasant, and, living in a swineherd's cottage, performed various menial offices. The good wife left him in charge of some cakes that were baking, with instructions to turn them at the proper time. His mind wandered in thought and he forgot his trust. The good wife returned, found the cakes burning, and the guest dreaming by the fireside; she lost her temper, and expressed a decided opinion about the lazy lout who was ready enough to eat, but less ready to work. In the seventeenth century there was found in the marshes here a jewel that Alfred had lost: it is of gold and enamel, bearing words signifying, "Alfred had me wrought." The following spring (878) he sallied forth, defeated the Danes in Wiltshire, and captured their king Guthram, who was afterwards baptized near Athelney by the name of Æthelstan; they still show his baptismal font in Aller Church, near by.


[Pg 413]



Crossing over from Somersetshire into Dorsetshire, we arrive in the northern part of that county at Sherborne, which was one of the earliest religious establishments in this part of England, having been founded by King Ina in the eighth century. Here was the see that was removed to Old Sarum in the eleventh century, and subsequently to Salisbury. After the removal, Sherborne became an abbey, and its remains are to be seen in the parish church, which still exists, of Norman architecture, and having a low central tower supported by massive piers. The porch is almost all that survives of the original structure, the remainder having been burned in 1436, but afterwards restored. Within this church are buried the Saxon kings, Æthelbald and Æthelbert, the brothers of King Alfred. Such of the domestic buildings of the abbey as have been preserved are now the well-known Sherborne Grammar-School. The great bell of the abbey was given it by Cardinal Wolsey, and weighed sixty thousand pounds. It bears this motto:[Pg 414]

"By Wolsey's gift I measure time for all;
To mirth, to grief, to church, I serve to call."

It was unfortunately cracked in 1858, but has been recast. The chief fame of Sherborne, however, is as the home of Sir Walter Raleigh, of whom Napier says that his "fortunes were alike remarkable for enviable success and pitiable reverses. Raised to eminent station through the favor of the greatest female sovereign of England, he perished on the scaffold through the dislike and cowardly policy of the meanest of her kings." The original castle of Sherborne was built in the reign of Henry I., and its owner bestowed it upon the bishopric of Old Sarum with certain lands, accompanying the gift with a perpetual curse "that whosoever should take these lands from the bishopric, or diminish them in great or small, should be accursed, not only in this world, but in the world to come, unless in his lifetime he made restitution thereof." Herein tradition says was the seed of Raleigh's misfortunes. King Stephen dispossessed the lands, and gave them to the Montagues, who met with grievous disasters, the estate ultimately reverting to the Church. In Edward VI.'s reign Sherborne was conveyed to the Duke of Somerset, but he was beheaded. Again they reverted to the Church, until one day Raleigh, journeying from Plymouth to London, the ancient historian says, "the castle being right in the way, he cast such an eye upon it as Ahab did upon Naboth's vineyard, and once, above the rest, being talking of it, of the commodiousness of the place, and of the great strength of the seat, and how easily it might be got from the bishopric, suddenly over and over came his horse, that his very face (which was then thought a very good one) ploughed up the earth where he fell. This fall was ominous, and no question he was apt to consider it so." But Raleigh did not falter, notwithstanding the omen. He begged and obtained the grant of the castle from Queen Elizabeth, and then married Elizabeth Throgmorton and returned there, building himself a new house surrounded by ornamental gardens and orchards. He settled the estate ultimately upon his son, but his enemies got King James to take it away and give it to a young Scotch favorite, Robert Carr, afterwards Earl of Somerset. Lady Raleigh upon her knees, with her children, appealed to James not to do this, but it was of no avail. The king only answered, "I mun have the land; I mun have it for Carr." She was a woman of high spirit, and while still on her knees she prayed God to punish those who had wrongfully exposed her and her children to ruin. Carr met with constant misfortunes, being ultimately implicated in a murder and imprisoned. James's son Charles, afterwards king, aided to bring Raleigh to the block, while the widow had the satisfaction of living long enough to be assured that Charles would meet the same fate. The remains of the castle[Pg 415] are at the east end of Sherborne, covering about four acres on a rocky eminence surrounded by a ditch. The gate-tower and portions of the walls and buildings still exist. The house that Raleigh built is now called the "Castle," and has since had extensive wings added to it, with a fine lake between it and the old castle-ruins, surrounded by attractive pleasure-grounds and a park. This famous estate fell into possession of the Earl of Digby, and is now a home of G. D. Wingfield Digby, Esq., being a popular resort in the hunting-season.



The river Avon upon which Salisbury stands—for there are several of these Avon Rivers in England—flows southward between Dorsetshire and Hampshire, and falls into the Channel. Westward from its mouth extends a line of sandy cliffs, broken by occasional ravines or chines, past Bournemouth to Poole Harbor, a broad estuary surrounded by low hills which is protected by a high ridge of chalk rocks on its south-western side running out into the sea. The sleepy town of Poole stands on the shore, having dim recollections of its ships and commerce of centuries ago. It was a nursery for privateersmen, and many are the exploits recorded of them. It was also, from the intricacy of its creeks and the roving character of its people, a notorious place for smuggling. Poole is an old-fashioned, brick-built town, with a picturesque gateway yet remaining as a specimen of its ancient defences. In the vale of the Stour, which here debouches, is the ancient minster of Wimborne, founded in the reign of King Ina by his sister, and containing the grave of the Saxon king Æthelred. It is not remarkable excepting for its age, and for having had for its dean Reginald Pole before he became a cardinal. The ancient and shrunken town of Wareham is also near by, having had quite a military history, but being almost destroyed by fire in 1762, from which it never recovered. It has now but three churches out of the eight it originally possessed, and of these only one is in regular use. But the great memory of this part of the coast is connected with Corfe Castle.

The so-called Isle of Purbeck is near Poole Harbor, and the ruined castle of Corfe stands in a narrow gap in the hills, guarding the entrance to the southern part of this island, its name being derived from ceorfan, meaning "to cut," so that it refers to the cut or gap in the hills. Queen Ælfrida in the tenth century had a hunting-lodge here. According to the legend, her stepson, King Edward, was hunting in the neighborhood and stopped at the door to ask for a drink. It was brought, and as he raised the cup to his lips he was stabbed in the back—it is said by the queen's own hand. He put spurs to his horse, galloped off, fell, and was dragged along the road, the battered[Pg 416] corpse being buried at Wareham. The queen had committed this murder for the benefit of her youngest son, and hearing him bewail his brother's death, she flew into a passion, and, no cudgel being at hand, belabored him so stoutly with a large wax candle that he could never afterwards bear the sight of one. The king's remains were then translated to Shaftesbury, miracles were wrought, and the queen, finding affairs becoming serious, founded two nunneries in expiation of the murder, to one of which she retired. This began the fame of the Isle of Purbeck, although the present Corfe Castle was not built till the twelfth century. It was attacked by, but baffled, Stephen, and King John used it as a royal residence, prison, and treasure-house. Here he starved to death twenty-two French knights who had been partisans of his nephew Arthur; and he also hanged a hermit named Peter who had made rash prophecies of his downfall, this being intended as a wholesome warning[Pg 417] to other unwelcome prophets. Its subsequent history was uneventful until the Civil War, when it was greatly enlarged and strengthened, occupying the upper part of the hill overlooking the village. Now it is ruined in every part: the entrance-gateway leans over and is insecure, the walls are rent, and the towers shattered, while the keep is but a broken shell, with one side entirely gone. This destruction was done in the Civil War, when Corfe was held for King Charles. In 1643, when the owner, Sir John Bankes, was absent, the castle was attacked, and his lady hastily collected the tenantry and some provisions and made the best defence she could. The besiegers melted down the roof of the village church for bullets, and approached the castle-walls under cover of two pent-houses called, respectively, "the Boar" and "the Sow." So galling a fire, however, was kept up by the defenders that they were driven off, and their commander with difficulty rallied them for another attack, being well fortified with "Dutch courage." This time the brave little garrison, even the women and children taking part, hurled down upon them hot embers, paving-stones, and whatever else came handiest, and again drove them off when the effect of the liquor was spent; then, the king's forces coming to the rescue, they decamped. But the fortunes of Charles waned: he was defeated at Naseby, Sir John Bankes died, and Corfe was the only stronghold left him between London and Exeter. Again it was attacked, and, through treachery, captured. It was afterwards dismantled and blown up by gunpowder, while its heroic defender, Lady Bankes, was deprived of her dowry as penalty for her "malignity." She received it again, however, and had the satisfaction of living until after the Restoration.


Beyond the range of chalk-cliffs that here cross Dorsetshire the coast runs several miles southward from Poole Harbor, the promontory of the Foreland protruding into the sea and dividing the shore into two bays. The northern one is Studland Bay, alongside which is the singular rock of the Agglestone. The devil, we are told, was sitting one day upon one of the Needles off the neighboring coast of the Isle of Wight, looking about him to see what the world was doing, when he espied the towers of Corfe Castle just rising towards completion; he seized a huge rock and hurled it at the castle, but it fell short, and remains to this day upon the moor. Nestling under the slopes of this moor, in a ravine leading down to the shore, is Studland village, with its little Norman church embosomed in foliage and surrounded by ancient gravestones and memorial crosses. South of the Foreland, and protected by the chalk range from the northern blasts, is Swanage Bay, bordered by its little town, which in past times has been variously called Swanwich, Sandwich, and Swanage. It is a quiet watering-place at the east end of Purbeck Isle, landlocked from every[Pg 418] rough wind, a pleasant spot for summer sea-bathing, with huge elms growing on its beach and garden-flowers basking in the sunshine. The Purbeck marble, which was so extensively used for church-building a few centuries ago, and which may be seen in Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Salisbury, Ely, and other cathedrals, was quarried here, though other quarries of it exist in Britain. It is an aggregate of freshwater shells, which polishes handsomely, but is liable to crumble, and has in later years been generally superseded by other building-stone. The coast southward is lined with quarries, and the lofty promontory of St. Aldhelm's Head projects into the sea, a conspicuous headland seen from afar. It was named for the first Bishop of Sherborne, and its summit rises nearly five hundred feet, being crowned by an ancient chapel, where in former days a priest trimmed the beacon-light and prayed for the mariners' safety. This cliff exhibits sections of Portland stone, and the view is unusually fine, the entire coast displaying vast walls of cream-colored limestone. These rocks extend westward past Encombe, where Chancellor Eldon closed his life, and the Vale of Kimmeridge, where they dig a dark blue clay, and Worbarrow Bay, with its amphitheatre of crags composed of Portland stone and breached here and there to form the gateways into interior coves. Here are the Barndoor Cove, entered through a natural archway; the Man-of-War Cove, its guardian rock representing a vessel; and Lulworth Cove, with its[Pg 419] castle-ruins, most of which have been worked into the modern structure near by where the exiled French king, Charles X., once lived.



The coast next sweeps around to the southward, forming the broad expanse of Weymouth Bay, with the precipitous headland of the White Nore on the one hand, and the crags of Portland Isle spreading on the other far out to sea, with the breakwater extending to the northward enclosing the bay and making a harbor under the lee of which vast fleets can anchor in safety. Weymouth is a popular watering-place and the point of departure for steamers for the Channel Islands, and it was George III.'s favorite resort. He had a house there, and on the cliffs behind the town an ingenious soldier, by cutting away the turf and exposing the white chalk beneath, has made a gigantic figure of the king on horseback, of clever execution and said to be a good likeness. Weymouth has a steamboat-pier and an attractive esplanade, and on the cliffs west of the town and overlooking the sea are the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle, erected for coast-defence by Henry VIII. They are of little interest, however, and south of them is the estuary of the Fleet, which divides Portland Isle from the mainland, but these are linked together by the Chesil Bank, a huge mound of pebbles forming a natural breakwater. At the lower end it is an embankment[Pg 420] forty feet high, composed of large pebbles, some reaching a foot in diameter. As it stretches northward it decreases gradually in height and in the size of its pebbles, till it becomes a low shingly beach. To this great natural embankment the value of Portland Harbor is chiefly due, and many are the theories to account for its formation. Near the estuary of the Fleet is Abbotsbury, where are the ruins of an ancient church and the Earl of Ilchester's famous swannery, where he has twelve hundred swans.


The Isle of Portland, thus strangely linked to the mainland, is an elevated limestone plateau guarded on all sides by steep cliffs and about nine miles in circumference. Not far from the end of the Chesil Bank is Portland Castle, another coast-defence erected by Henry VIII. Near by, on the western slope, is the village of Chesilton. The highest part of the isle is Verne Hill, four hundred and ninety-five feet high, where there is a strong fort with casemated barracks that can accommodate three thousand men. Other works also defend the island, which is regarded of great strategic importance, and in the neighborhood are the famous quarries whence the Portland stone has been excavated for two centuries. The most esteemed is the hard, pale, cream-colored oolite,[Pg 421] which was introduced to the notice of London by Inigo Jones, and has been popular ever since. With it have been built St. Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, the towers of Westminster Abbey, and Whitehall, with other London buildings. Here also was quarried the stone for the great breakwater, of which the late Prince Consort deposited the first stone in 1849, and the Prince of Wales the last one in 1872, making the largest artificial harbor in the world. The first portion of this breakwater runs east from the shore eighteen hundred feet. There is an opening four hundred feet wide, and the outer breakwater thence extends north-east six thousand feet, terminated by a strong circular fort guarding the harbor entrance. It cost over $5,000,000, and about one thousand convicts were employed in its construction, which took nearly six million tons of stone. The materials, quarried and laden on cars by the convicts, were sent down an inclined plane and out to the appointed place, where they were emptied into the sea. The prison of the convicts is on the east side of the island adjoining the quarries, and is almost a town of itself, having twenty-five hundred inmates. The prison-garb is blue and white stripes in summer, and a brownish-gray jacket and oilskin cap in winter. The convicts have built their own chapels and schools, and on the Cove of Church Hope near by are the ruins of Bow and Arrow Castle, constructed by William Rufus on a cliff overhanging the sea, and also a modern building known as Pennsylvania Castle, built by William Penn's grandson in a sheltered nook. The views here are of great beauty, while at the southern end of the promontory is the castellated mass of rocks projecting far into the sea, and supporting two lighthouses, known as the Portland Bill. Below is the dangerous surf called the Race of Portland, where the tide flows with unusual swiftness, and in the bordering cliffs are many romantic caves where the restless waves make a constant plashing.



From the harbor of Portland we will make a steamer-excursion almost across the English Channel, going about one hundred and fifteen miles to the Channel Islands, off the north-western coast of France and within a few miles of the shores of Normandy and Brittany. They are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, standing in a picturesque situation, with a mild climate and fertile soil, and devoted mainly to dairying and to fishing. These islands were known to the Romans, and their strategic position is so valuable that England, while getting but $100,000 revenue from them, has expended two or three millions annually in maintaining their fortifications. It was upon the dangerous cluster of rocks west of Alderney, and known as the Caskets, that Henry I.'s only son, Prince[Pg 422] William, perished in the twelfth century, and here the man-of-war Victory was lost with eleven hundred men in 1744. Jersey is the most remarkable of these islands for its castles and forts, and has seen many fierce attacks. Both Henry VII. and Charles II. when in exile found refuge in Jersey. In approaching this island the fantastic outline of the Corbière Promontory on the western side is striking. When first seen through the morning haze it resembles a huge elephant supporting an embattled tower, but the apparition vanishes on closer approach. A lighthouse crowns the rock, and the bay of St. Aubin spreads a grand crescent of smiling shores, in the centre of which is Elizabeth Castle, standing on a lofty insulated rock whose jagged pinnacles are reared in grotesque array around the battlements. Within the bay is a safe harbor, with the villages of St. Helier and St. Aubin on the shores. Here is the hermitage once occupied by Jersey's patron saint Elericus, and an abbey dedicated to him anciently occupied the site of the castle. The impregnable works of the great Regent Fort are upon a precipitous hill commanding the harbor and castle. Upon the eastern side of the island is another huge fortress, called the[Pg 423] castle of Mont Orgueil, upon a lofty conical rock forming the northern headland of Grouville Bay. The apex of the mountain shoots up in the centre of the fortifications as high as the flagstaff which is planted upon them. Here lived Charles II. when in exile, and this is the most interesting part of Jersey, historically. A part of the fortifications is said to date from Cæsar's incursion into Gaul, and the Romans in honor of their leader called the island Cæsarea, describing it at that time as a stronghold of the Druids, of whose worship many monuments remain. It was first attached to the British Crown at the Norman Conquest, and, though the French in the many wars since then have sent frequent expeditions against the island, they have never been able to hold it. The Channel Islands altogether cover about seventy-five square miles. Alderney, which is within seven miles of the French coast, now has an extensive harbor of refuge. Guernsey contains the remains of two Norman castles—one almost entirely gone, and the other called Ivy Castle, from its ruins being mantled with shrubbery. Its great defensive work, Fort George, built in the last century, stands in a commanding position and is of enormous strength. Upon a rocky islet off St. Peter's Port is the chief defensive fort of that harbor, located about a mile to seaward—Castle Cornet, a work of venerable antiquity, parts of which were built by the Romans. In 1672, Viscount Christopher Hatton was governor of Guernsey, and was blown up with his family in Castle Cornet, the powder-magazine being struck by lightning at midnight. He was in bed, was blown out of the window, and lay for some time on the ramparts unhurt. Most of the family and attendants perished, but his infant daughter Anne was found next day alive, and sleeping in her cradle under a beam in the ruins, uninjured by the explosion. She lived to marry the Earl of Winchelsea and have thirty children, of whom thirteen survived her.


[Pg 424]


Westward of Portland Isle, on the southern coast near Abbotsbury, are the ruins of a monastery built by Canute, and St. Catharine's Chapel, perched on a steep hill overlooking the sea, while in the neighborhood is the Earl of Ilchester's castle, surrounded by attractive gardens. Beyond this the little river Lym flows into the sea from among grand yet broken crags mantled with woods, and in a deep valley at the foot of the hills is the romantic town of Lyme Regis, with a pleasant beach and good bathing, the force of the waves being broken by a pier called the Cobb, frequently washed away and as often restored, sometimes at great cost. This is a semicircular breakwater eleven hundred and seventy-nine feet long, protecting the harbor. There are grand cliffs around this little harbor, the Golden Cap and the Rhodehorn rearing their heads on high, the summit of the latter being cut by a passage called the Devil's Bellows. It was near Lyme Regis that on Christmas, 1839, the Dowlands landslip took place, an area of forty acres sliding down the cliff to a lower level, roughly removing two cottages and an orchard in the descent. Five miles farther west the pretty river Axe, which flows down from the Mendips, enters the sea, and on an eminence overlooking the stream is the town of Axminster, formerly a Saxon stronghold, and afterwards famous for the carpet manufacture, which some time ago was removed to Wilton. Its minster was founded in the days of Æthelstan, but the remains are Norman work. Still farther west the little river Sid flows down past Sidbury and Sidford, and enters the sea through a valley in which nestles the charming watering-place of Sidmouth, celebrated for its pebbles found among the green sand. Salcombe Hill and High Peak, towering five hundred feet, guard the valley-entrance on either hand, and in the church of St. Nicholas is a memorial window erected by Queen Victoria in memory of her father, the Duke of Kent, who died here in 1820. The esplanade in front of the town is protected by a sea-wall seventeen hundred feet long. Near here, at Hayes Barton, now an Elizabethan farm-house, Sir Walter Raleigh was born, the room in which he first saw the light being still shown. Beyond this, to the westward, the river Exe falls into the sea through a broad estuary at Exmouth, also a favorite watering-place, over which the lofty Haldon Hills keep guard at a height of eight hundred feet, the Beacon Walks being cut on their sloping face and tastefully planted with trees, while a broad esplanade protected by a sea-wall fronts the town. The shores all along are dotted with villas, and this coast is a popular resort, the villages gradually expanding into towns as their populations increase.[Pg 425]



About eleven miles up the river Exe, before it has broadened out into the estuary, but where it flows through a well-marked valley and washes the bases of the cliffs, stands Exeter, a city set upon a hill. Here was an ancient "dun," or British hill-fort, succeeded by a Roman, and then by a Norman, castle, with the town descending upon the slope towards the river and spreading into the suburb of St. Thomas on the other side. The growing city now covers several neighboring hills and tributary valleys, one of the flourishing new suburbs being named Pennsylvania. Upon the ridge, where was located the old hill-fort, there still remain in a grove of trees some scanty ruins of the Norman castle, while well up the slope of the hill rise the bold and massive towers of Exeter Cathedral. Unique among English municipalities, this is essentially a hill-city, the ancient British name of Caerwise having been Latinized by the Romans into Isca, and then changed to Exanceaster, which was afterwards shortened into the modern Exeter. Nobody knows when it was founded: the Romans almost at the beginning of the Christian era found a flourishing British city alongside the Exe, and it is claimed to have been "a walled city before the incarnation of Christ." Isca makes its appearance in the Roman records without giving the date of its capture, while it is also uncertain when the Saxons superseded the Romans and developed its name into Exanceaster. They enclosed its hill of Rougemont, however, with a wall of masonry, and encircled the city with ramparts built of square stones and strengthened by towers. Here the Saxon king Æthelstan held a meeting of the Witan of the whole realm and proclaimed his laws, and in the first year of the eleventh century the Danes sailed up to the town and attacked it, being, however, beaten[Pg 426] off after a desperate struggle. Two years later they made another attack, captured and despoiled it; but it rose from its ruins, and the townsmen afterwards defied the Norman as they had the Dane. William attacked and breached the walls, the city surrendered, and then he built Rougemont Castle, whose venerable ruins remain, to curb the stout-hearted city. It was repeatedly besieged—in the days of Stephen, Henry VII., and Henry VIII., the last siege during the quarrels preceding the Reformation lasting thirty four days, the defenders being reduced to eating horse-flesh. In the Civil War the Royalists captured it from the Parliamentarians, who held it, and it remained in the king's possession until after the defeat at Naseby, when Cromwell recaptured it. Charles II. was proclaimed at Exeter with special rejoicings. When William, Prince of Orange, first landed in England, he came to the valley of the Teign, near Newton Abbot, where the block of granite is still preserved from which his proclamation was read to the people. Three days later he entered Exeter, escorted by a great crowd of the townspeople. He went in military state to the cathedral and mounted the bishop's throne, with its lofty spire-like canopy, rich with the carving of the fifteenth century, while the choir sang[Pg 427] the Te Deum, after which Bishop Burnet read his proclamation. He remained several days in Exeter, while events ripened elsewhere for his reception. Here many Englishmen of rank and influence joined him, and his quarters began to display the appearance of a court. The daily show of rich liveries and of coaches drawn by six horses among the old houses in the cathedral close, with their protruding bow-windows and balconies, gave the usually quiet place a palatial appearance, the king's audience-chamber being in the deanery. He remained here two weeks, and then left for London, the entire kingdom having risen in his favor and James having deserted the capital for Salisbury. This ended Exeter's stirring history. It afterwards grew in fame as a manufactory of woollens, but this has declined, and the chief industries now consist in the making of gloves and agricultural implements.



Exeter Cathedral is the most conspicuous feature in the view upon approaching the city, rising well above the surrounding houses, its two massive gray towers giving it something of the appearance of a fortress. This feature makes it unique among English cathedrals, especially as the towers form its transepts. The close is contracted, and around it are business edifices instead of ecclesiastical buildings. The exterior is plain and simple in outline, excepting the western front, which is a very rich example of fourteenth-century Gothic. A church is said to have been standing on its site and dedicated to the Benedictines as early as the seventh century, and it lasted until after the Norman Conquest. The Normans built a new church in the twelfth century, which con[Pg 428]tained the present towers, but the remainder of the structure was afterwards transformed as we now see it. The rich western façade consists of three stages, receding one behind the other; the lower is the porch, subdivided into three enriched arcades containing figures and pierced by three doorways. The second stage is formed above this by the ends of the nave and side-aisles, being terminated with a battlement flanked by small pinnacles about halfway up the nave gable. A fine window pierces this stage, and above it the remainder of the gable forms the third stage, also pierced by a window which opens over the battlement. The figures in the lower stage represent the kings of England, apostles, and saints. The interior of the nave discloses stone vaulting and Decorated architecture, with large clerestory windows, but a small triforium. The bosses of the roof, which presents an unbroken line, are seventy feet above the floor. One of the bays on the north side of the triforium is a beautiful minstrels' gallery, communicating with a chamber above the porch. The inner walls of the towers have been cut away, completely adapting them for transepts, the towers being supported on great pointed arches. In the large east window the stained glass commemorates St. Sidwell, a lady murdered in the eighth century at a well near Exeter by a blow from a scythe at the instigation of her stepmother, who coveted her property. The cathedral is rich in monumental relics, and it has recently been thoroughly restored. Little remains of the ancient convent-buildings beyond the chapter-house, which adjoins the south transept.


The older parts of Exeter present a quaint and picturesque appearance, especially along the High Street, where is located the old Guild Hall, a pon[Pg 429]derous stone building, with a curious front projecting over the footway and supported by columns; it was built in the sixteenth century. Sir Thomas Bodley, who founded the Bodleian Library of Oxford, was born in Exeter, and also Richard Hooker the theologian. Among its famous bishops was Trelawney (then the Bishop of Bristol), who was one of the seven bishops committed by King James to the Tower, and whose memory still lives in the West-Country refrain, the singing of which had so much to do with raising the English revolt in favor of the Prince of Orange:

"And shall Trelawney die?
And shall Trelawney die?
There's twenty thousand Cornish lads
Will know the reason why."




From the estuary of the Exe the Devonshire coast trends almost southward towards the mouth of the Dart, being everywhere bordered by picturesque cliffs. Nestling in a gap among the crags, under the[Pg 430] protecting shelter of the headlands, is the little watering-place of Dawlish, fronted by villas and flower-gardens, and having to the southward strange pinnacles of red rock rising from the edge of the sea, two of them forming a fanciful resemblance to the human figure, being named the Parson and the Clerk. A storm recently knocked off a considerable part of the Parson's head. Upon their sides, piercing through tunnel after tunnel, runs the railway almost over the water's edge. Soon the cliffs are breached with a wider opening, and here flows out the river Teign, where is the larger watering-place of Teignmouth, which has frequently suffered from Danish and French invasions, but is now best known by having the longest wooden bridge in England spanning the river-estuary and extending seventeen hundred feet, with a swing-draw to permit vessels to pass. The valley is broad, with picturesque villas on either bank. Below Teignmouth the shores project into the sea at the bold promontory of Hope's Nose, which has Torbay on one side and Babbicombe Bay on the other. Here, around the shores of the bay on the southern side of the projecting cape, is the renowned watering-place of Torquay, which has grown enormously since it has become such a fashionable resort in recent years. Its beautiful scenery and sheltered position have made it a favorite home for invalids. Its name is derived from the neighboring hill of Mohun's Tor, where there are ruins of an abbey. To the north of the headland is the[Pg 431] fine sweep of Babbicombe Bay, with a border of smooth sand beach backed by steep cliffs, above which is the plateau where most of its villas are built. To the south of the headland Torquay spreads around a fine park, with highlands protecting it on almost all sides, while farther to the southward the limestone cliffs are bold and lofty, one of them presenting the singular feature of a natural arch called London Bridge, where the sea has pierced the extremity of a headland. Upon the eastern face of the promontory of Hope's Nose, and just below Babbicombe Bay, another pretty cove has been hollowed out by the action of the waves, its sides being densely clothed with foliage, while a pebbly beach fringes the shore. This is Anstis Cove, its northern border guarded by limestone cliffs that have been broken at their outer verge into pointed reefs. Compton Castle, about two miles from Torbay, is a specimen, though in ruins, of the ancient fortified mansion of the reign of Edward III. It is of massive construction, built of the native limestone, and part of it is now used as a farm-house. Following around the deeply-recessed curve of Torbay, its southern boundary is found to be the bold promontory of Berry Head, and here on the northern side is the old fishing-port of Brixham, having Church Brixham built up on the cliffs and Brixham Quay down on the beach.[Pg 432] It was here that the Prince of Orange landed in 1688, and a monument in the market-place commemorates the event, the identical block of stone on which he first stepped being preserved.



Southward of this promontory is the estuary of the Dart, a river which, like nearly all the streams of Devonshire, rises in that great "mother of rivers," Dartmoor, whence come the Tawe and the Teign, of which we have already spoken, and also the Torridge, the Yealm, the Erme, the Plym, and the Avon (still another of them). This celebrated moor covers an area of about one hundred and thirty thousand acres, stretching thirty-three miles in length and twenty-two miles in breadth, and its elevation averages seventeen hundred feet, though some of its tors, the enormous rocks of granite crowning its hills, rise considerably higher, the loftiest of these, the Yes Tor, near Okehampton, being two thousand and fifty feet high. The moor is composed of vast stretches of bog and stunted heather, with plenty of places where peat is cut, and having its streams filled with trout. Legend tells us that all manner of hill-and water-spirits frequent this desolate yet attractive region, and that in Cranmore Pool and its surrounding bogs, whence the Dart takes its rise, there dwelt the "pixies" and the "kelpies." The head-fountains of both the Dart and the Plym are surrounded with romance, as the cities at their mouths are famous in English history, and Spenser, in the Faerie Queene, announces that both Dart and Plym were present at the great feast of the rivers which celebrated the wedding of the Thames and Medway. The courses of the Dartmoor rivers are short, but with rapid changes. In the moorland they run through moss and over granite; then among woods and cultivated fields, till, with constantly broadening stream, the river joins the estuary or tidal inlet, and thus finds its[Pg 433] vent in the ocean. Strangely enough, with these short streams there are high points on the Dartmoor tors from which both source and mouth of a river are visible at the same time. The Dart, with steadily-increasing flow, thus runs out of the moorland, and not far from its edge passes the antique town of Totnes, where the remains of an ivy-mantled wall upon the hill is all that is left of Judhael's famous castle, which dates from the Norman Conquest. The surrounding country is remarkably picturesque, and is noted for its agricultural wealth. About two miles to the eastward is the romantic ruin of Berry Pomeroy Castle, founded upon a rock which rises almost perpendicularly from a narrow valley, through which a winding brook bubbles. It is overhung with foliage and shrubbery and mantled with moss and ivy, so that it is most attractive. The great gate, the southern walls, part of a quadrangle, and a few turrets are all that remain of the castle, which suffered severely in the Civil War. Tradition states that the adjacent village was destroyed by lightning. This castle also dates from the Norman Conquest, and passed from its original possessors, the Pomeroys, to Protector Somerset, the Duke of Somerset being the present owner.



The Dart, which is a rocky stream above Totnes and a favorite resort of the fisherman and sketcher, becomes navigable below the town, and has a soft, peculiar beauty of its own that has made it often compared to the Rhine; but there is little comparison between them: the Dart has no precipitous cliffs or vine-clad hills, and no castle excepting at its mouth. From Totnes to Dartmouth is about twelve miles, through exquisitely beautiful scenery, especially where the river passes the woods of Sharpham, the current narrowing to about one hundred and fifty feet, and flowing through an amphitheatre of overarching trees rising in masses of foliage to the height of several hundred feet.[Pg 434] The stream makes various sharp bends—a paradise for the artist—and finally it broadens out into an estuary like an inland lake, with a view over the intervening neck of land to Torbay, and beyond the coast-line at Exmouth and towards Portland. Thus we come to Dartmouth, the old houses built tier above tier on a steep hill running up from the harbor, while at the extreme point of the promontory, guarding the entrance to the estuary, is the little church of St. Petrox, with its armorial gallery and ruins of an ancient manor house, and the castle, consisting of a square and a round tower, coming down from Henry VII.'s reign, when it was built for coast-defence. On the opposite point of the harbor-entrance are the foundations of another castle, evidently built about the same time. Dartmouth in early times was a port of great importance, and Edward III. first gave it a charter under the name of Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness. Its merchants were then numerous and wealthy, and Cœur de Leon's crusaders assembled their fleet in the harbor in 1190. The French destroyed both it and Plymouth in 1377, and in 1403 the two towns, combining, ravaged the French coasts and burned forty ships. The[Pg 435] French retaliated the next year, but Dartmouth was too much for them, killing Du Chastel, the commander, and defeating his expedition. It suffered severely in the Civil War, and there are still traces of the land-fastenings of the iron chain stretched across the harbor to keep out the French.




Westward of the valley of the Dart is the valley of the Plym, also flowing out of Dartmoor. Two streams known as the Cad and the Mew join to form this river, and though they are of about equal importance, the source of the Cad is generally regarded as the true Plym head, while a crossing upon it is known as the Plym Steps. Both are rocky, dashing mountain-streams, and such are also the characteristics of the Plym after the junction until it enters its estuary. The Plym Head is within the royal forest of Dartmoor, about twelve hundred feet above the sea, and in the wild and lonely moorland. The stream flows by the flat summit of Sheeps Tor, one of the chief peaks on the southern border of the moor. Here in a hollow formed by overhanging rocks one of the Royalist Elfords, whose house was under the tor, sought refuge, and amused his solitude by painting the walls of the cavern, which is known as the "Pixies' House," and is regarded by the neighbors as a dangerous place for children, to whom these little fairies sometimes take a fancy. It is not safe, they say, to go near it without dropping a pin as an offering between the chinks of the rock—not a very costly way of buying immunity. In Sheeps Tor churchyard in the valley below lies Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, who died near there in 1868. As the streams course down the hillside they disclose frequent traces of the rude stone relics left there by an ancient people, the chief being the settlement at Trowlesworthy, where there is a circular hut[Pg 436] enclosure about four hundred feet in diameter, with stone avenues leading to it and the entrances defended by portions of walls. The stones are nowhere large, however, rarely exceeding five feet high. Then we come to Shaugh, where the rivers struggle through rocky ravines and finally join their waters. The little Shaugh church crowns the granite rocks on one side, while on the other is the towering crag of the Dewerstone. This ivy-clad rock, which lifts its furrowed and wrinkled battlements far above the Plym, was the "Rock of Tiw," that powerful god of the Saxons from whom comes the name of Tuesday. Once, we are told, in the deep snow traces of a human foot and a cloven hoof were found ascending to the highest point of the rock, which His Satanic Majesty seems to have claimed for his own domain. From this lofty outpost of the moor, if he stayed there, our all-time enemy certainly had a wide lookout. On the one hand is a grand solitude, and on the other a hilly country stretches to the seaboard, with the river-valley winding through woods and fields, and Plymouth Sound and its breakwater in the distance. Here, below the junction of the two streams, are the scant remains of the old house of Grenofen, whose inmates lived in great state, and were the Slannings who so ardently supported King Charles. A mossy barn with massive gables is the prominent feature of the ruins. The river runs down through the very beautiful vale of Bickleigh, and then under Plym Bridge, where it becomes broader and more tranquil as it approaches the head of the estuary. This region belonged to the priory of Plympton, and its Augustinian owners raised at the end of the bridge a small chapel where the traveller might pause for prayer before venturing into the solitudes beyond. The remains of this structure, however, are now slight. At Plympton St. Mary was the priory, and at Plympton Earl the castle of the Earls of Devon, a brook flowing between them to the river. Both stand near the head of the estuary, and are in ruins. The priory was the wealthiest monastic house in Devon, but the castle was only important as the head-quarters of Plymouth's Royalist besiegers in the Civil War. The priory was the nurse of the noted[Pg 437] port of Plymouth, and its earlier beginnings can be traced to the fostering care of the Augustinians, who developed the fishing-town that subsequently became the powerful seaport. Plympton, the old rhyme tells us, was "a borough-town" when Plymouth was little else than a "a furzy down." The priory was founded in the twelfth century, and was long patronized by the neighboring Earls of Devon. The Augustinians, legend says, were the first to cultivate the apple in Devonshire, and the ruins still disclose the moss-grown "apple-garth." Little remains of the monastery beyond the old refectory doorway and walls. The town of Plympton Maurice is in the valley near by, famous as the birthplace of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1723, but the house has been swept away, though the grammar-school in which his father taught remains. Reynolds is said to have made good use of the recollections of the grand scenery around his birthplace in furnishing landscape backgrounds for his pictures. The town afterwards elected him mayor, though he rarely visited his birthplace, but in lieu sent the corporation his portrait painted by himself. Here begins the broad estuary known as the Laira, at the mouth of which stands Plymouth, the town covering the land between the Laira and the Hamoaze, the estuary of the Tamar, with its adjoining suburbs of Stonehouse and Devonport. Here are now a population of two hundred thousand, while the station is of vast importance as a government dockyard and barracks, with a chain of strong protecting fortifications for defence from attacks both by sea and land. Along the southern bank of the estuary extend the woods of Saltram, the seat of the Earl of Morley. Then we come to Catwater Haven, crowded with merchant-ships, and the older harbor of Sutton Pool. Mount Batten on one side and Citadel Point on the other guard the entrance to the haven. It was here that the English fleet awaited the Armada in 1588; that Essex gathered his expedition to conquer Cadiz in 1596; and from here sailed the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. Plymouth[Pg 438] harbor's maritime and naval history is, however, interwoven with that of England.


The port of Plymouth comprises what are called the "Three Towns"—Plymouth proper, covering about a square mile, Stonehouse, and Devonport, where the great naval dockyard is located. Plymouth Sound is an estuary of the English Channel, and receives the Plym at its north-eastern border and the Tamar at its north-western, the sound being about three miles square and protected by the great breakwater a mile long, with a lighthouse, and defended by forts. The Plym broadens into the Catwater, used as a haven for merchant-vessels and transports and capable of furnishing anchorage to a thousand ships at one time. The Tamar broadens into the Hamoaze, which is the naval harbor, and is four miles long, with sufficient anchorage-ground for the entire British navy. Sutton Pool is a tidal harbor now used by merchant-vessels. The coasts of Plymouth Sound are rocky and abrupt, and strong fortresses frown at every entrance. It is the naval dockyard that gives Plymouth its chief importance: this is at Devonport, which is strongly fortified by breastworks, ditches, embankments, and heavy batteries. The great dockyard encloses an area of ninety-six acres and has thirty-five hundred feet of water-frontage. There are here five docks and also building-slips, where the great British war-ships are constructed. Another enclosure of seventy-two acres at Point Keyham is used for repairing ships, and a canal seventy feet wide runs through the yards to facilitate the movement of materials. Immense roofs cover the docks. East of Devonport, divided from it by a creek, and adjoining Plymouth, is Stonehouse. Here are the great victualling yard, marine barracks, and naval hospital. The Royal William Victualling Yard occupies fourteen acres on a tongue of land at the mouth of the Tamar, and cost $7,500,000 to build. Here the stores are kept and naval supplies furnished, its great features being the vast government bakehouse, the cooperage, and the storehouses. Its front is protected by a redoubt, and to the eastward are the tasteful grounds of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe's winter villa. The marine barracks, which have the finest mess-room in England, will accommodate fifteen hundred men; the naval hospital, northward of Stonehouse, will furnish beds for twelve hundred. There are three thousand men employed about these great docks and stores, and they form the most extensive naval establishment in the world. Near Mount Wise are the Raglan Barracks, where there is a display of cannon taken from the Turks.

In Plymouth Sound is a bold pyramidal rock, the Isle of St. Nicholas, which[Pg 439] is a formidable fortress. Mount Edgcumbe is on the western shore, and on the eastern side is Plymouth's pretty park, known as the Hoe, where the old Eddystone Lighthouse will be set up. Having come down the Plym, we will now ascend the Tamar, past the huge docks and stores, and about five miles above see the great Albert Bridge, which carries a railway, at a height of one hundred feet, from the hills of Devon over to those of Cornwall on the western shore. It is built on nineteen arches, two broad ones of four hundred and fifty-five feet span each bridging the river, the entire structure being two thousand two hundred and forty feet long. Out in the English Channel, fourteen miles from Plymouth, is its famous beacon—the Eddystone Lighthouse. Here Winstanley perished in the earlier lighthouse that was swept away by the terrible storm of 1703, and here Smeaton built his great lighthouse in 1759, one hundred feet high, which has recently been superseded by the new lighthouse. The Eddystone Rocks consist of twenty-two gneiss reefs extending about six hundred and fifty feet, in front of the entrance to Plymouth Sound. Smeaton's lighthouse, modelled after the trunk of a sturdy oak in Windsor Park, became the model for all subsequent lighthouses. It is as firm to-day as when originally built, but the reef on which it rests has been undermined and shattered by the joint action of the waves and the leverage of the tall stone column, against which the seas strike with prodigious force, causing it to vibrate like the trunk of a tree in a storm. The foundation-stone of the new lighthouse was laid on a reef one hundred and twenty-seven feet south of the old one in 1878. It is built of granite and rises one hundred and thirty-eight feet above the rock, its light being visible seventeen miles: it was first lighted May 18, 1882.


A short distance up the Tamar it receives its little tributary the Tavy, running through a deep ravine, and on its banks are the ruins of Tavistock Abbey, founded in the tenth century and dedicated to St. Mary. Orgarius, the Earl of Devonshire, was admonished in a dream to build it, but his son Ordulph finished it. He was of great strength and gigantic stature, could break down gates and stride across a stream ten feet wide. They still preserve, we are told, some of Ordulph's huge bones in Tavistock Church. The Danes plundered and burned the abbey, but it was rebuilt in greater splendor, and its abbot sat in the House of Peers. When it was disestablished, like Woburn it fell to Lord Russell, and it is now owned by the Duke of Bedford. The remains of the grand establishment, however, are but scanty, and its best memory is that of the printing-press set up by the monks, which was the second press established in England. The Duke of Bedford's attractive villa[Pg 440] of Endsleigh is near Tavistock, and a short distance south of the town is Buckland Abbey, built on the river-bank by the Countess of Devon in the thirteenth century. This was the home of Sir Francis Drake, and is still held by his descendants. Drake was born in a modest cottage on the banks of the Tavy about the year 1539. North of Tavistock, on the little river Lyd, are the ruins of Lydford Castle, surrounded by a village of rude cottages. Here originated the "law of Lydford," a proverb expressive of hasty judgment:

"First hang and draw,
Then hear the cause by Lydford law."

One chronicler accounts for this proverb by the wretched state of the castle jail, in which imprisonment was worse than death. At Lydford is a remarkable chasm where a rude arch is thrown across an abyss, at the bottom of which, eighty feet below, the Lyd rattles along in its contracted bed. This is a favorite place for suicides, and the tale is still told of a benighted horseman, caught in a heavy storm, who spurred his horse along the road at headlong speed to seek shelter in the village. Next day it was found that the storm had swept the bridge away, and the rider shuddered to think how his horse on that headlong ride through the tempest had leaped over the abyss without his knowing it.




Exmoor is a broad strip of almost mountainous moorland extending through the northern borders of Somerset and Devon and down to the coast of Bristol Channel. Its hills descend precipitously to the sea, so[Pg 441] that only small brooks flow northward from them, excepting the Lyn, which manages to attain the dignity of a river by flowing for some distance among the hills parallel to the coast. It was but recently that good roads were constructed across this lonely moor, and on its northern edge, where the craggy headland of Greenaleigh is thrust out into the sea, is the harbor of Minehead, with a little fishing-village skirting its shores. A short distance inland, and seated at the bases of the steep Brendon Hills, which rise in sharp wooded slopes above its houses, is the little market-town of Dunster. On an outlying hill, projecting from the mass, the original lord of Dunster built his castle, perching it upon a rocky crag that Nature herself designed for a fortress. The Saxons called it their "Hill-tower." Its picturesque mass of buildings is of various dates, but much more modern than their early day, most of the present structure having been built in Queen Elizabeth's reign. The castle was held for King Charles in the Civil War, and besieged by the Parliamentary troops, whose commander sent this bloodthirsty message to its governor: "If you will deliver up the castle, you shall have fair quarter: if not, expect no mercy: your mother shall be in front to receive the first fury of your cannon." The governor promptly and bravely replied, "If you do what you threaten, you do the most barbarous and villainous act that was ever done. My mother I honor, but the cause I fight for and the masters I serve are God and the[Pg 442] king.—Mother, do you forgive me, and give me your blessing, and let the rebels answer for spilling that blood of yours, which I would save with the loss of mine own if I had enough for both my master and yourself." The mother also without hesitation answered him: "Son, I forgive thee, and pray God to bless thee, for this brave resolution. If I live I shall love thee the better for it: God's will be done!" Whether the atrocious threat would have been put into execution was never decided, for a strong Royalist force soon appeared, routing the besiegers, capturing a thousand of them, and releasing the lady. But the castle was soon afterwards taken for the Parliament by Colonel Blake, subsequently the admiral. It was then demolished, and now the summit of the flat-topped hill, where formerly was the keep, is devoted to the peaceful amusement of a bowling-green, from which there are exquisite views of the Brendon Hills and far away over the Bristol Channel to the distant coast of Wales. It was at Dunster Castle that William Prynne was shut up a prisoner by Cromwell. Prynne had been pilloried, shorn of his ears, and imprisoned by King Charles I. for his denunciations of the court, and then indulging in the same criticism of the Protector, he was confined at Dunster. It is now the head-quarters for those who love the exciting pleasures of stag-hunting on Exmoor.


Journeying westward over the hills from Minehead, which is just now endeavoring, though with only partial success, to convert itself into a fashionable watering-place, Dunkery Beacon is seen raising its head inland—a brown, heathy[Pg 443] moorland elevated seventeen hundred feet above the sea. There is a grand panorama disclosed from its summit, though it is a toilsome ascent to get up there and overlook the fifteen counties it can display. Far below is the level shore of Porlock Bay, with the little village set in at the base of the cliffs. Here Southey was sheltered at its inn, and wrote a sonnet while he was "by the unwelcome summer rain detained;" and here the village has slept ever since the Danes harried and Harold burned it. Then the road climbs laboriously up the hill again to Porlock Moor, and as the top is reached, far away is seen a little grassy basin running like a streak off towards the north-west, and enclosed by steep hills, in which it is ultimately lost. This is the valley of the Lyn, and joining it is another little glen, with a hamlet of white cottages at the junction: this is the Oare valley, the centre of some of the most stirring traditions of Exmoor, embodied in Blackmore's novel of Lorna Doone. Two centuries ago a lawless clan established themselves in this lonely glen, from which issues the Bagworthy Water not far away from the little village of Oare. Here was Jan Ridd's farm, and near it the cataract of the Bagworthy Water-slide, while above this cataract, in the recesses of Doone Glen, was the robbers' home, whence they issued to plunder the neighboring country. The novel tells how Jan Ridd, who was of herculean strength, was standing with his bride Lorna at the altar of the little church in Oare when a bullet wounded her. Out rushed Jan from the presence of his wife, dead as he thought, to pursue[Pg 444] the murderer. He was unarmed, and rode after him over the moorland, tearing from an oak a mighty bough as he passed under it. To this day the rent in "Jan Ridd's tree" is shown. Then came the struggle, and an Exmoor bog swallowed up the murderer, who was the last of the robber chieftains; and afterwards the bride recovered and the happy pair were united. Exmoor is the only place remaining in the kingdom where the wild stag is still hunted with hounds, the season being in the early autumn, when all the inns are crowded, and on the day of a "meet" all the country seems alive.






From Oare the valley of the Lyn can be followed down to the sea, flowing through its wooded gorge and disclosing many pretty views. It runs rapidly over the rocks, and, when at last seeking the sea, the little stream manages to escape out of the hills that have so long encompassed it, we again find coupled together an upper and a lower town—Lynton, perched hundreds of feet above on the crags, and Lynmouth, down by the water's edge, both in grandly picturesque locations. Crowded between the bases of[Pg 445] the crags and the pebbly beach is the irregular line of old cottages beside the bubbling stream, with creeping vines climbing over their walls and thatched roofs, while beyond is thrust out the ancient pier that made the port of Lynmouth. Up on the crags, with houses nestling here in nooks and perched there upon cliffs, Lynton mounts by zigzag paths, until, on a rocky terrace above, it gets room to spread into a straggling street. The two streams called the East and West Lyn unite here before seeking the sea, and join their currents at the edge of the town. Here they leap over the boulders:[Pg 446]

"Cool and clear, cool and clear,
By shining shingle and foaming weir,
Under the crag where the ouzel sings,
And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings."

Southey rapturously described the East Lyn Vale as the "finest spot, except Cintra and Arrabida, that I ever saw." It is like a miniature glen in the Alps or the Pyrenees, and every turn in the road up to the Waters-meet, where the Brendon joins the Lyn, discloses new beauties. It is an exquisite combination of wood, rock, and stream that baffles all description. Gentle flowers grow here to luxuriant perfection, protected from all chilling blasts and with ample moisture to assist the sunshine in their cultivation. But barely a mile east of Lynton on the coast there is told a different story: there is a valley of rocks, where between two ridges of hills the vale is covered with stones and almost completely laid bare, a terrific mass of boulders, the very skeleton of the earth. Overhanging the sea is the gigantic "Castle Rock," while facing it from the inland[Pg 447] side, at an elbow of the valley, is a queer pile of crags known as the "Devil's Cheese-Ring." From the castle is a view over the sea and of the romantic towns, with the little river flowing alongside and the tower on Lynmouth beach, while far westward the moorland spreads away towards those other romantic spots, Ilfracombe and Clovelly.



Let us skirt along the precipitous Devonshire coast westward from the Lyn, where the cliffs rise high and abruptly from the water, with foliage on the hills above them and sheep browsing like little white specks beyond. Thus Exmoor is prolonged westward in a broad and lofty ridge of undulating hills, through which a stream occasionally carves its devious course in a deep and sheltered valley that comes out to the sea between bold, rocky headlands. Far out over the sea loom up the coasts of Wales in purple clouds. Soon in a breach in the wall of crags we find Combe Martin, its houses dotted among the gardens and orchards clustering thickly around the red stone church. Here were silver-mines long ago, and here lived Martin of Tours, to whom William the[Pg 448] Conqueror granted the manor which to this day bears his name. The neighboring hills grow the best hemp in Devon, and the crags guarding the harbor are known as the Great and Little Hangman, the former, which is the higher, standing behind the other. The local tradition says that once a fellow who had stolen a sheep was carrying the carcase home on his back, having tied the hind legs together around his neck. He paused for breath at the top of the hill, and, resting against a projecting slab, poised the carcase on the top, when it suddenly slipped over and garroted him. He was afterwards found dead, and thus named the hills. Near here was born, in 1522, Bishop Jewel of Salisbury, of whom it is recorded by that faithful biographer Fuller that he "wrote learnedly, preached painfully, lived piously, died peacefully." To the westward are Watersmouth, with its natural arch in the slaty rocks bordering the sea, and Hillsborough rising boldly to guard a tiny cove. Upon this precipitous headland is an ancient camp, and it overlooks Ilfracombe, the chief watering-place of the northern Devonshire coast. Here a smart new town has rapidly developed, with paths cut upon the cliffs and encroachments made along the shore. High upon a pyramidal headland stands the ancient chapel where in the olden time the forefathers of the village prayed to St. Nicholas for deliverance from shipwreck. Now a lighthouse is relied on for this service. The promontory is connected with a still bolder and loftier headland, the Capstone Rock. The town is built on the slope of the hills overlooking these huge round-topped crags, but its streets do not run down to sand-beaches. There is little but rocks on the shore and reefs in the water, worn into ridges of picturesque outline, over which the surf breaks grandly in time of storm. We are told that in a cave near by, Sir William Tracy, one of the murderers of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury, concealed himself while waiting to escape from England. He and his accomplices were ordered to purge themselves by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but Tracy was not able to accomplish it. The winds of heaven always drove him back whenever he tried to embark, for he had struck the first blow at Becket. He was buried in Morthoe Church beyond Ilfracombe.



A few miles westward the coast-line suddenly bends to the southward, the angle being marked by a wild, rocky headland known as Morte Point, which the Devonshire proverb describes as "the place on earth which Heaven made last and the devil will take first." It is a chaos of rock-ridges, the sea washing against it on three sides, and is a noted place for wrecks. Far out at sea can be seen a half-submerged black rock which the Normans christened the Morte[Pg 449] Stone, or "Death Rock." To the southward sweeps a fringe of yellow sand around Morte Bay, and behind the headland is the little village of Morthoe, where Tracy is buried. Beyond the boundary of the bay, at Baggy Point, is another and broader bay, whose shores make a grand sweep to the westward again. This is Barnstaple Bay, into which flows a wide estuary forming the outlet of two rivers: the northernmost is the Taw, and at the head of its estuary is Barnstaple. The other is the Torridge, and upon it, at about nine miles distance from Barnstaple, is the small but prettier town of Bideford. This is described by Kingsley as a little white town, sloping upward from its broad tidal river, paved with yellow sands, and having a many-arched old bridge towards the uplands to the westward. The wooded hills close in above the town, but in front, where the rivers join, they sink into a hazy level of marsh and low undulations of sand. The town has stood almost as it is now since Grenvil, the cousin of William the Conqueror, founded it. It formerly enjoyed great commercial prosperity under the patronage of the Grenvilles, reaching its height in the seventeenth century. The old quay remains. The ancient bridge, which is a remarkable one, was built five hundred years ago, and is constructed on twenty-four piers, firmly founded, yet shaking under the footstep. The superstitious say it is of miraculous origin, for when they began to build it some distance farther up the river, each night invisible hands removed the stones to their present position. It is also a wealthy bridge and of noble rank, having its heraldic coat-of-arms (a ship and a bridge proper on a[Pg 450] plain field) and owning broad estates, with the income of which "the said miraculous bridge has from time to time founded chantries, built schools, waged suits-at-law, and, finally, given yearly dinners, and kept for that purpose the best-stocked cellar of wines in all Devon."




The coast of Barnstaple Bay sweeps around to the westward again, and here, under the precipitous crags, nestling in one of the most picturesque nooks in all England, is Clovelly. From an inland plateau of considerable elevation the land falls steeply to the sea, with a narrow strip of sand or shingle sometimes interposed, whereon the surf dashes before it reaches the rocks. Dense foliage, with here and there a protruding crag, overhangs the cliffs. Ravines occasionally furrow the rocky[Pg 451] wall, and in one of these Clovelly is situated, beginning with some scattered houses on the margin of the plateau above, descending the cliff in one steep street, and spreading out about a miniature harbor on the edge of the sea. There are few such streets to be seen elsewhere—not made for wheeled vehicles, but paved in a series of broad steps, over which the donkeys and the population plod with the produce of the fleet of fishing-boats the village owns. It is narrow, with strangely-shaped houses jumbled together alongside, and balconies and bay-windows, chimneys and gables—all mixed up together. Here Kingsley spent most of his boyhood, and hither flock the artists to paint odd pictures for almost every British art-exhibition. Its little pier was built in Richard II.'s time, when as now it was a landing-place for the mackerel-and herring-boats. This quay has recently been somewhat enlarged. Clovelly Court, the home of the Careys, is near by, with its beautiful park extending out to the tall cliffs overhanging the sea. On one craggy point, known as Gallantry Bower, and five hundred feet above the waves, was an old watch-tower of the Normans, now reduced to a mere ring of stones; and to the westward a few miles the bold rocks of Hartland Point mark another angle in the coast as it bends southward towards Cornwall. Eleven miles out to sea, rising four hundred feet and guarded all around by grim precipices, is Lundy Island. Here in a little cove are some fishermen's huts, while up on the top is a lighthouse,[Pg 452] and near it the ruins of the old Moresco Castle. We have already referred to Sir Walter Raleigh's judicial murder: it was accomplished mainly through the treachery of his near kinsman, Sir Lewis Stukely, then vice-admiral of Devon. This and other actions caused Stukely to be almost universally despised, and he was finally insulted by Lord Howard of Effingham, when he complained to the king. "What should I do with him?" asked James. "Hang him? On my sawl, mon, if I hung all that spoke ill of thee, all the trees in the island were too few." Being soon afterwards detected in the royal palace debasing the coin, he fled to Devon, a ruined man. But he found no friends, and, every door being closed against him, he sailed out to Lundy Island, and died alone in a chamber of the ruined castle.



Pursuing the bold shores of Cornwall southward, we pass many crags and headlands, notably the Duke of Cornwall Harbor, protected by high projecting cliffs, and just below find the ruins of King Arthur's castle of Tintagel, located amid some of the most romantic scenery of this grand line of coast. Here King Arthur is supposed to have been born, and the fortress, built on a high rock almost surrounded by the sea, was evidently of great strength. Here on the shore are King Arthur's Cliffs, and their attractions, with the little church of Tintagel and the partly-ruined fishing-town of Bossiney, make the place a popular resort for poets and painters. Not far away in the interior, and standing near the Tamar River on the top of a steep hill, is Launceston Castle, with the town built on the adjacent slopes. The ruins, which are of great antiquity, cover considerable surface, the walls being ten or twelve feet thick, and the keep rising high upon the top of the hill, nearly one hundred feet in diameter. This keep is said to have been an ancient British structure. Old Roman and also leather coins have been found in it, and it was a renowned stronghold[Pg 453] when William the Norman came to England and gave it to Robert, Earl of Moreton. It now belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall. It was garrisoned for King Charles in the Civil War, and was one of his last supports. Westward in Cornwall is Camelford, over which frown the two Cornish mountains, Rowtor and Brown Willy, a short distance to the southward, rising respectively thirteen hundred and thirteen hundred and eighty feet. The Cornish range forms the backbone of the narrow peninsula which now juts out to the south-westward, marking the extreme point of England, and down which we will gradually journey. Crossing the mountains, we come to Liskeard, in a beautiful country filled with ancient Roman remains. Going down to the southern coast, we reach Fowey with its picturesque harbor and pier, with the Sharpitor and Kilmarth Mountains beyond, twelve hundred and twelve hundred and seventy-seven feet high respectively. Fowey harbor, sheltered by high hills richly clothed with green, is the "haven under the hill" of which the balladist sings, and near its quaint old pier, almost covered with houses, is Fowey Church, recently effectually restored.


The Cornish peninsula upon approaching its termination divides into two, with the semicircular sweep of Mount's Bay between them. To the southward juts out the Lizard, and to the westward Land's End. While the latter is the westernmost extremity of England, the Lizard is usually the earliest headland that greets the mariner. The Lizard peninsula is practically almost an island, the broad estuary of the Helford River on one side and a strange inlet called Loo Pool on the other narrowing its connecting isthmus to barely two miles width. To the northward of the Helford River is the well-known port of Falmouth. Inland are the great Cornwall tin-and copper-mines, the former having been worked for centuries, while the latter are now probably of the greater importance. Competition and the costlier working of the tin-mines have caused many of them to be abandoned. These metals are mostly mined on the black moorlands, which offer little attraction to the tourist, who gladly avoids them for the picturesque shores of Falmouth harbor. A broad estuary guarded by bold headlands forms Carrick Roads, and the western one of these also guards the entrance to Falmouth harbor, which Leland describes as being in his day "the principal haven of all Britain." Though long frequented, however, no town stood on its shores until the seventeenth century. When Raleigh came back from his voyage to Guiana there was but a single house on the shore, where his crew were lodged, and he, being impressed with the advantages of the location for a port, laid before Queen Elizabeth a plan for[Pg 454] the foundation of a town. But it was a long while before anything came of it, and the place was not named Falmouth or incorporated until the reign of Charles II. It became a post-office packet-station for the Atlantic ports in the last century, and Byron in his day described it as containing "many Quakers and much salt fish." Its Cornish name is Pen-combick, meaning "the village in the hollow of the headland," which has been corrupted by the mariner into "Penny-come-quick," because on one occasion the landlady of the solitary inn sold the liquor engaged for a party of visitors to a parcel of thirsty Dutch sailors who had just landed, and, being taken to task for it explained that the "penny come so quick" she could not deny them. Pendennis Castle guards the entrance to Carrick Roads, and was built by Henry VIII., being enlarged by Elizabeth. It and Raglan were the last castles holding out for King Charles. Lightning greatly injured Pendennis in the last century. On the opposite portal of the harbor stands St. Mawe's Castle. The ramparts of Pendennis afford a view of extreme beauty.



[Pg 455]On the narrow neck of land uniting the Lizard peninsula to the mainland stands Helston, formerly guarded by a castle that has long since disappeared, and named, we are told, from the great block of granite that once formed the portal of the infernal regions. The master of those dominions once, when he went abroad, carried his front door with him, and was met in this neighborhood by St. Michael, whereupon there was a "bit of a fight" between the two adversaries. His Satanic Majesty was defeated, and, dropping his front door, fled.[Pg 456] The great boulder, which thus named the town, is built into a wall back of the Angel Inn, and they hold an annual festival on May 8th to commemorate the event. Loo Pool cuts deeply into the land to the westward of Helston, and the district south of it is an elevated plateau, bare and treeless generally, but containing many pretty glens, while the shore is lined with sequestered coves. Here grow the Cornish heath-flowers, which are most beautiful in the early autumn, while the serpentine rocks of its grand sea-cliffs, relieved by sparkling golden crystals and veins of green, red, and white, make fine ornaments. Upon the coast, southward from Helston, is Mullyon Cove, a characteristic specimen of the Lizard scenery. A glen winds down to the sea, displacing the crags to get an outlet, and disclosing their beautiful serpentine veins. A pyramidal rock rises on one hand, a range of serpentine cliffs on the other, and a flat-topped island in front. In the serpentine cliffs is the portal of a cave that can be penetrated for over two hundred feet, and was a haunt of the smugglers in former days, the revenue officers generally winking at them for a share of the spoils. We are told that in the last century the smugglers here had six vessels, manned by two hundred and thirty-four men and mounting fifty-six cannon—a formidable fleet—and when Falmouth got a collector sufficiently resolute to try to break them up, they actually posted handbills offering rewards for his assassination. At one place on shore they had a battery of six-pounders, which did not hesitate to fire on the king's ships when they became too inquisitive. The coast is full of places about which tales are told of the exploits of the smugglers, but the crime has long since become extinct[Pg 457] there because it no longer pays. South of Mullyon are the bold headlands of Pradanack Point and Vellan Head, while beyond we come to the most noted spot on the Lizard peninsular coast.





Kynance Cove is the opening of one of the many shallow valleys indenting the inland plateau, with crags and skerries thrown over the sea, showing that the cliffs on the shore have not, as usual, maintained an unbroken front to the[Pg 458] waves, but have been knocked about in wild confusion. Groups of islands dot the cove; Steeple Rock rears its solitary pinnacle aloft; the Lion Rock crouches near the southern verge. It is as wild a place as can well be imagined, and at low water strips of sand connect these rocks with the mainland, though the quickly-rising waters often compel the visitor to run for it. At the water's edge, when the tide is low, little wave-worn caverns are disclosed in the cliffs which are known as the "Draw