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MAP of River Thames for volume 1
CHERTSEY BRIDGE from Wooburn Farm
WALTON BRIDGE from Oatlands


The History of a River must, generally, involve an account of the principal circumstances, and most beautiful parts, of the country through which it flows.
For the convenience of situation, we find every town of the least consequence, placed in the vicinity of a river; and the charm of scenery has occasioned many a stately mansion, or elegant seat, to enrich a similar situation.
While modern taste rejoices in such a position for its beauty, our forefathers sought the stream for the accommodation of its waters.
The castle, in former times, rose to guard the ford; and on the river’s bank, solitary sanctity founded the monastic abode.
Hence it appears, that the beauties of nature, whether in their wild or decorated state; the history of cities, towns, and villages; the remains of antiquity, whether military or religious; the display of modern art, whether in buildings, gardens, or larger domains, are so many distinct parts of the various and important subject.
In short, the history of a river, is the history of whatever appears on its banks; from metropolitan magnificence to village simplicity; from the habitations of kings to the hut of the fisherman; from the woody brow, which is the pride of the landscape, to the secret plant that is visible only to the eye of the botanist.
Nor must the river historian content himself with existing circumstances : it is his olfice to relate the past, as well as to describe the present; and while he gives the history, or represents the antiquities connected, with the scenes before him, he must delineate the scenes themselves.
Indeed, he must sometimes throw upon the same page, historical relation and antiquarian research ; the criticism of modern taste, and the sketch of landscape beauty.
Such are the difficulties that arise to him who undertakes the history of a river; and these difficulties are more peculiarly connected with the history of the Thames.
The effect of the sublime is astonishment, and the effect of beauty is pleasure.
The Thames, therefore, which has nothing of the former, and a prolusion of the latter, is formed only to please.
This river possesses no great outline of composition, no formidable features of nature; it knows not the incumbent mountain, or the bold promontory: —

No rifted cliffs
Dart their white heads, and glitter through the gloom.

Its lulls rise not to the clouds, but sink into the pastures, or pursue each other in pleasing perspective.
Instead of the black forest, we see only an alluring shade ; and for the savage wild and lengthening waste, we have the cheerful beauty of the sylvan scene, and the attractive charm of embellished nature.
Instead of the rushing torrent, the foamy cataract, and discoloured wave, the Thames olfers a silver stream,

Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full.

The natural or artificial circumstances of this river, in proportion as they increase its beauties, augment the difficulty of describing them.
To represent the graces of nature in their original simplicity, or heightened by care, and embellished by art; to mark their characters, combinations, and scarce perceptible distinctions, whether they arise from form, position, comparison, or season, and, at the same time, to preserve the idea of the scene which they compose, becomes a very arduous task; not only from the essential nicety of discernment, but the choice of words and expressions capable of conveying the idea clearly to others.
The ponderous muscular strength of the Farnese Hercules, may be adequately represented without any uncommon exertion of language, or curious arrangement of phraseology; but where can we find expressions to describe or illustrate the form of the Medicean Venus, a statue that adorns the world?
But this is not all: there is a monotony of character in the river, of which it has been my lot to be the historian, that enhances the difficulty of fulfilling the olfice as the subject deserves, and the public encouragement demands : for how few are the terms which our language provides for the purpose of delineating a succession of scenes, that, amid general sameness of character, abound with a variety of those lesser peculiarities and gradations, which the eye may indeed distinguish, but the pen knows not how to describe.
I have olfered these observations, with no other view than to prepare the reader to be indulgent, when he shall find description flag from the want of new sources of expression, and when reiterated phrases or repeated terms fatigue his mind, or weaken his attention.
And if at any time I should have deviated into an affected language, an inflated style, or an useless display of words, candour will impute it to an over anxious desire of avoiding sameness, and the difficulty of avoiding it.
Nor let the critic be so fastidious as to condemn terms, if they should not altogether accord with his determinate sense of them.
Let him make some allowance for the impression of objects which he may never have seen ; and were he to see them on the same spot, in the same season, and under similar circumstances with myself, he might, perhaps, approve of my description.
It may be also necessary for me to premise, that though the characteristic of the Thames be beauty, I may be frequently found to employ epithets that are suited to the more sublime features of nature: they must be therefore taken in a comparative sense: for Cliefden, which is a magnificent scene on the Thames, would hide its diminished head were it placed on the lakes of the North, or on the rivers of Scotland.
The mechanical beauty of this volume wants no recommendation from me.
The Messrs. Boydells never fail in solicitude to maintain their professional character in the beauty of every work that proceeds from them; and it is this solicitude that has prevented the pages of these volumes from being deformed with notes and references.
Under this restriction, it was impossible for me to insert in the text the name of every author from whom I have derived assistance.
If, therefore, the reader should be charmed with any description, or feel his mind impressed with the force of any observation, he is free to consider them as proceeding from a more informed understanding, or a more fertile fancy than mine.
All I ask is, that some credit may be given me for fidelity when I have borrowed from others, as for anxious endeavours when I have written from myself.
The praise I may have occasionally bestowed in the course of this work, on the designs that illustrate it, arose from the impulse of my own mind, with which Mr. Farington had no concern, and of which he knew nothing.
He has endeavoured to keep within those limits which the nature of the work prescribed to his pencil; and has accordingly confined it, with very few exceptions, to faithful portraits of those views on the Thames, which are peculiarly calculated to display the course of the river, and the character of the country through which it flows.
The several streams which increase the current of the Thames by their tributary waters have been traced to their respective sources; nor have I omitted to introduce any episodical occurrence which tended to vary or enliven the general narration.
If I have appeared to be more particular in my attention to some places than to others, it has arisen from circumstances of which the writer must be allowed to be the judge.
On approaching the metropolis, particular description must give way to a more comprehensive narration.
Artificial objects continually multiply; property becomes infinitely divided; and, instead of the family mansion, which com mands respect from surrounding domain, historical circumstance, and hereditary possession, we now meet with groups of villas, that change their owners with the season.
Some excuse may be necessary for the varying orthography which may have escaped me in the names of places; an oversight which has arisen from applying to different authors, who vary in their modes of spelling them.
It is an inaccuracy for which it becomes me to apologize ; though I find that the best historians may be charged with similar negligence.
In all that regards the beauty and elegance of this work ; in that part of it which the Messrs.Boydells have themselves directed, there will, I trust, be no reason to complain: and I shall be more than satisfied, if their reputation, acquired by vigorous industry, advanced by commercial enterprise, supported by undeviating integrity, and rewarded by universal approbation, shall receive no diminution from my labours in their service.
The Author



The Thames, a river which contributes so much to the beauty, the wealth, and magnificence of our country, like many men of great name, and nations of high renown, is traced to an humble source.
This river, which refreshes, with its gentle wave, the seats of learning, the palaces of kings, and the habitations of the rich and great, connects the commerce of the provinces which it adorns, with the metropolis which it dignifies, and, rolling on, with the returning tide, through those superb arches which unite its opposite shores, connects the commerce of the metropolis with that of the world; and, continuing its course through the vast apparatus of trade on its banks, and by the royal arsenals, the manufactories of that strength which forms the national defence and protection, it expands at length, till, itself a sea, it mingles with the ocean.

This river rises in a confined scene of pastoral nature.
In a small valley, adorned with a few scattered hawthorns, and where, in the dry months, the sheep find pasture, is the fountain which, augmented by many a secret spring, and many a tributary stream, forms, in the language of Camden, the chief of British rivers, whose history it is the olfice of these pages to record.
The opinion that its original name is Isis, and that it has no pretensions to the name of Thames, till its confluence with the little river Tame, in the vicinity of Dorchester, in the county of Oxford, has no authority but in the fictions of the poet, who, most probably, availed himself of the Latin appellation Thamesis, by which the river is described, throughout its course, in the most ancient maps of England, to form the subject of the old Latin poem, named the Marriage of the Tame and the Isis; which Camden’s biographer attributes, among other poetical effusions, to the great antiquary himself.
Doctor Campbell, in his Political Survey of Britain, is of opinion, that the sources of the Thames are four rivulets, which rise in different parts of the Cotswold hills, in Gloucestershire ; — the Lech, the Coln, the Churn, and the Isis.
"These," he adds, "having touched Wiltshire, and joined their waters in one channel a little below Lechlade, form a deep and copious stream, which there becomes navigable for large barges, and is constantly, after it leaves this place, whatever poetical writers may pretend, called the Thames."
But however current the plausible etymology of the conjoined names of the Tame and the Isis may have been, and however respectable the writers who have delivered their varying opinions upon the subject, the learned author of the Additions to Camden’s Britannia has fairly and fully decided, that this river was anciently called the Thames long before it receives the waters of the Tame; and produces the following authorities in support of that opinion:
In an ancient charter granted to abbot Aldhelm of Malmsbury, there is particular mention made of certain lands on the east side of the river, cujus vocabulum Temis,juxta ad vadum qui appellatur Somerford; and this ford is in Wiltshire.
The same appears from several charters to the abbies of Malmsbury and Evesham, and from the old deeds relating to Cricklade: and, perhaps, it may be with safety affirmed, that it never occurs in any charter or authentic history, under the name of Isis, which, indeed, is not so much as heard of but among scholars;
the common people, from its head to Oxford, calling it by no other name than that of Thames.
So also the Saxon Temej'e (from whence our Thames immediately comes) is a plain evidence, that that people never dreamed of any such conjunction.
But further, — all our historians, who mention the incursions of Ethelwold into Wiltshire, A.D.905, — or of Canute, A.D. 1016, tell us, that they passed over the Thames at Cricklade.
It may, indeed, be added, as no mean authority, that the spot, from whence the first spring of this river issues, is now, and according to the tradition of the country, ever has been called the Thames Head.
"The origin of the word Thames," in the opinion of the same writer, "is apparently British, there being several rivers in various parts of England of almost the same name; as Tame in Staffordshire, Teme in Herefordshire, Tamar in Cornwall, and several others: and Mr. Llwyd, a learned person of that nation, affirms it to be the same with their Taf, which is the name of several rivers in Wales, the Romans changing the pronunciation of the f into m, as the Latin word demetia is in Welch dyfed ."

The spring, therefore, which has the sole claim to be considered as the primary source of the Thames, rises in the parish of Cotes, in the county of Gloucester, in a field that bears the name of Trewsbury Mead, at the foot of an eminence, on which are very considerable remains of an ancient encampment, consisting of a double ditch, now covered with coppice wood, called Trewsbury Castle.
It was, probably, an advanced post of the Romans, being situated at the distance of three miles from Cirencester, and within a quarter of a mile of the great Roman road, leading from that town to the city of Bath.


This spring rises in a well of about thirty feet in depth, inclosed within a circular wall of stone, raised about eight feet from the surface of the meadow, with a trough of the same materials immediately before it, into which the water is thrown by a pump to supply the cattle of the adjacent villages.
In the driest season this springnever fails; and in the winter, it sometimes not only flows over the wall, but issues from the earth around the well, and, forming an ample stream, winds through the meadow; when, passing beneath the Cirencester road, it enters the parish of Kemble, in the county of Wilts, and reaches, at a small distance, those sister springs, which, in the summer months, form the first visible current source of the river.
This well, though of rude form, and associated with no other features of landscape, but cultivated uplands, the distant tower of Cotes church, with a small shaggy coppice, and the formal bank of the Thames and Severn canal that stretches on behind it, is an object which cannot be considered, either in the view or the description, but with some sentiment of veneration.
In the month of June, when we visited the spring, it was sunk considerably beneath its natural margin; and its winter course was discoverable only by a path of rushes, which serpentined along the valley.
The next appearance of water was in a kind of hole, on the eastern side of Kemble Meadow, which, as it always has the same level with the original spring, may be considered as a branch of it; and, by means of an engine, furnishes a prodigious quantity of water to the navigable canal above it.
A little onward, towards the middle of the meadow, and in what may be called the river path, was a small plashy pool, which the driest summer seldom exhausts,— and where a common footway is connected by two large flat stones, resting on a central upright of the same materials from their respective banks, and forming the first bridge, humble as it is, of that river, which, in its future progress, flows through those chains of arches that compose the most splendid bridges in the world.


A little further, the Thames first appeared as a perennial stream: it is here seen to rise again in the form of a pellucid basin, and, passing over a bed of water-cresses, expands immediately into considerable breadth beneath the village of Kemble, which is beautifully situated on a gentle eminence, and so embowered in trees, that the spire alone is seen by the adjacent country.
Here a foot bridge, of nineteen yards in length, formed by large flat stones laid on piles, crosses the stream, which immediately seeks the adjoining meadows, and, flowing on beneath its first shade, it soon reaches Ewen corn mill (so called from an hamlet in the parish of Kemble), which is an object of some attention, as the first of the many mills of various construction, whose useful mechanism is impelled to action by the waters of the Thames.


From hence it takes a gently devious course, frequently obscured by the osier and the alder from the meadows which, in winter, it overflows ; and passing on, with little visible accession to its stream from spring or rivulet, to the villages of Somerford and Asheton Keynes, it at length reaches the town of Cricklade, at the distance of about nine miles from its source; where, after it has received the waters of the Churn, from Gloucestershire, and the contribution of other lesser streams from the eastern part of Wiltshire, it becomes navigable for barges of the small burthen of six or seven tons.


The Churn (anciently written Ceri, Cori, Corin), derives its name from the British word chwym , signifying rapid: it rises in the parish of Coberley, ten miles north-westward of Cirencester, and, by some writers, has been considered as the head of the Thames; it being the highest source from whence that river derives its water.
It first appears at a place called the Seven Wells, within a small distance of the road leading from Gloucester to Oxford.
From thence it flows through the retired village of Colesbourn, and gliding gently beneath the fine park of Rendcombe, a seat of the Honourable Doctor Barrington, Bishop of Durham, it passes North Cerney, where there are the remains of a Roman encampment, and refreshing in its way the pleasure grounds of the abbey house, the seat of Mr.Master, it washes the eastern side of the town of Cirencester.


Cirencester, a place of great antiquity, is situated on the borders of the Coteswould country, in the south-east part of the county of Gloucester, where the three great Roman roads meet, the Foss, the Irminstreet, and the Ikenild way.
It stands on the river Ceri, or Cori, or Corin, which is now called the Churn, and from which it receives its name.
The Britons called it Caer Ceri, and Caer Cori, in whose language caer, in its genuine sense, signifies a wall or fortress, and when employed in the composition of the names of places, is designed to express a walled or fortified town.
The Roman name of this place was derived from the British: Ptolemy calls it Corinium; Antoninus, Duro-Cornovium, most probably from dwr, the British word for water.
The latter appears to be the most expressive name; but both have the same signification, that is, the town upon the water or river Corin.
The Anglo-Saxons, either from the British or the Roman name, called it Cy penceaj'tp; its present name is Cirencester, or, according to the common pronunciation of it, Ciseter.
Camden describes it as a city of ancient note; and in the opinion of some antiquarian writers, it was built by the Britons previous to the Roman invasion.
Others argue for a later date, and place the period of its foundation at a short time after the Romans had established themselves in Britain.
It was also called Corinium Dobunorum, from its being the metropolis of the large province of the Dobuni, and became a very eminent station lor the Roman armies.
Antoninus places it at the distance of fourteen miles from Glevum, or Gloucester, in the thirteenth iter from Isca, now Caerleon in Monmouthshire, to Calleva, which some have determined to be Henley, the Calleva Attrebatum, or chief city of the Attrebatii; while others confer that distinction on Wallingford, in Berkshire.
The ancient city wall was more than two miles in circumference.
In the reign of Henry the Fourth it was entire, hut must have been razed to the ground soon after that period.
Leland traced it quite round in the reign of Henry the Eighth; but even then, from his very curious relation, there were but few vestiges of it remaining.
He tells us, in his Itinerary, that "a man may yet, walking on the bank of Churne, evidently perceyve the cumpace of foundation of towers sum tyme standing in the waul.
And nere to the place wher the right goodly clothing mylle was set up a late by the abbate, was broken down the mine of an old tower, toward making of the mylle waulles, in the which place was found a quadrate stone, fawllen down afore, but broken in aliquot fmstra, wherein was a Roman inscription, of the which one scantly letterd that saw yt, told me that he might perceyve Pont. Max.
Among divers numismata found frequently there, Dioclesian’s be the most fairest, but I cannot adfirme the inscription to have been dedicate onto hym.
In the middes of the old town, in a medow, was found a flore cle tessellis versicoloribus ; and, by the town, nostris temporibus, was found the broken shank bone of an horse, the mouth closed with a pegge, the which taken out, a shepard fowncl yt fillid nummis argenteis.
In the south south-west side of the waul, belykelyhod hath beene a castel, or sum other great building; the hilles and cliches yet remayne.
The place is now a waren for conys, and therein hath be fownd mennes bones insolita magnitudinis ; also to sepulchres ex secto lapide.
In one was a round vessel of leade covered, and in it ashes and peaces of bones."
When Doctor Stukeley visited this place in the year 1723, he imagined that he could then trace the complete circuit of the old city wall.
But all that remains of it at present, lies on the east and south-east sides of the town, about half a mile in length, and covered with earth and rubbish, to the height of fourteen or hfteen feet.
A small part being uncovered in 1774, it was found to be eight feet thick, built with hewn stone, strongly cemented with lime and gravel.
Within the old wall, and a small distance from it, is a considerable tract of ground, called the Leauses, now converted into corn-fields and gardens, where for many ages past have been found pieces of ancient sculpture, inscriptions, and tefsellated pavements, with great abundance of Roman coins, rings, and intaglios, which have been long since lost or dispersed.
From these circumstances, together with the name, which may with great propriety be derived from the British word llys, signifying a court, Doctor Stukeley appears to be justified in his opinion that the Leauses were the Roman Praetorium.
Sir Robert Atkyns, in his Account of Cirencester, observes, "that a great many, and great variety of ancient Roman coins are there dug in old foundations.
There was," he adds, " accidentally discovered in a meadow near the town, an ancient building under ground : it was fifty feet long, and forty broad, and about four feet high, supported by an hundred brick pillars, inlaid very curiously with tesseraic work, with stones of divers colours, little bigger than dice.
It is supposed to have been a bathing place of the Romans."
Doctor Stukeley, in his Itineraria Curiosa, gives the following account of the antiquities of this town.
—" Large quantities of carved stones are carried olf yearly in carts (from the Leauses) to mend the highways, besides what are useful in building.
A fine mosaic pavement was dug up here, in September, 1723, with many coins.
I bought a little head, which had been broken olf from a basso relievo, and seems, by the tiara, of a very odd shape, like fortification work, to have been the genius or tutelar deity of a city, or some of the dece matres which are in the old inscriptions.
The gardener told me he had found a little brass image, I suppose one of the lares; but, upon a diligent scrutiny, his children had played it away.
Mr. Richard Bishop, owner of the garden, on an hillock near his house dug up a vault, sixteen feet long, and twelve broad, supported with square pillars of Roman brick, three feet and an half high, and on it a strong floor of terras.
There are now several other vaults near it, on which grow cherry-trees, like the hanging gardens of Babylon.
I suppose these to have been the foundation of a temple, for in the same place they found several stones of the shafts of pillars, six feet long, and bases of stone, near as big in compass as his summer house adjoining, as he expressed himself: these, with cornices very handsomely moulded, and carved with modillions and the like ornaments, were converted into swines troughs.
Some of the stones of the bases were fastened together with cramps of iron, so that they were forced to employ horses to draw them asunder, and they now lie before the door of his house as a pavement.
Capitals of these pillars were likewise found, and a crooked cramp of iron, ten or twelve feet long, which probably was for the architraves of a circular portico.
A mosaic pavement near it, and entire, is now the floor of his privy vault."
"Sometimes," continues Doctor Stukeley, " they dig up stones as big as a shilling, with stamps on them: I conjecture they are counterfeit dies to cast money in.
We saw a monumental inscription,
(d-miuliae castae coniugi-vix ann-xxxiii ) upon a stone of Mr. Isaac Tibbots in Castle-street, in very large letters, four inches long: it was found at a place half a mile west of the town, upon the north side of the Foss road, called the Ouerns, from the quarries of stone thereabouts.
Five such stones lay flat-wise upon two walls, in a row, end to end, and underneath were the corpses of that family, as we may suppose.
He keeps Julia Casta’s skull in his summer house; but people have stole all her teeth out for amulets against the ague.
Another of the stones serves for a table in his garden; it is handsomely squared, five feet long, and three and an half broad, without any inscription; the other inscription perished, being unluckily exposed to the wet in a frosty season, probably of the husband.
Several urns have also been found thereabouts, being a common burying-place.
I suppose them buried here after Christianity."
On comparing the accounts of these writers, it seems probable, says the author of the History of Gloucestershire, that the ancient building mentioned by Sir Robert Atkins, was the same which was in part dug up and destroyed in the time of Doctor Stukeley.
The remains of it being afterwards covered with earth, was again opened in 1780.
The opening was made about sixteen yards from a wych elm growing in the south-west wall of the garden.
About three feet and an half below the surface, the workmen came to a very smooth floor of terras, which they found to extend about twelve feet further north-eastward, where it was broken down and destroyed; but, sinking still deeper, they came to another floor of terras, four feet five inches below the surface of the first, with a large cavity between them; the upper floor being supported by rows of brick pillars, which rested upon that beneath it.
On clearing the earth from olf the second floor, they came to a wall of hewn stone, rising within about two feet of the surface of the ground, at the distance of fifteen feet from the broken edge of the upper terras, which, it is evident, had originally extended to the wall, that appears to have been the boundary of the works on the north east side.
In a short time, the workmen continuing their labour, discovered another upright wall, on the south-east side, which joined to and made a right angle with the former.
They appear to he the north-east and south-east walls of a vault, whose dimensions cannot be ascertained with any degree of satisfactory precision, as the other connecting walls are unfortunately destroyed.
In each wall were observed five massy stones, forming the crown of an arch, the cavity of which lay almost entirely below the top of the second terras.
In order to examine these arches, a small part of the under floor was heat up along the sides of the walls, when, at the depth of thirty-four inches, there appeared a third strong floor of terras, running under the second; the space between being filled with rough stones promiscuously thrown together.
This served as a floor to the arches, which contained nothing but rubbish, and at the bottom, a bed of wood ashes about two inches thick.
A large hole was then made through the south-east wall, about eight feet from the angle where the two walls join, which, though it was found to be forty inches thick, appeared to he no more than a partition, there being on the south-east side of it another vault, with floors and brick pillars on the same level, and exactly corresponding with those in the vault already described, but in a more imperfect state.
The ground was then carefully opened from the surface, on the south-east side of the partition wall, about twelve feet from the angle, where the two walls join; when, at the depth of three or four feet, there were found great quantities of flat bricks, of different sizes, like those used in the construction of the first vault, intermixed with broken funnels and other rubbish; but the vaulting had been totally destroyed.
The greater part, however, of the partition wall remained; and, at the distance of twenty feet from the north-east end of it, was an opening three feet wide, with square quoins; but its height could not be ascertained, as the upper part was broken down.
This aperture appears to have served as a communication between the two vaults, which, having an arch on each side, at the corresponding distances of about four feet, seems to indicate that it was a regular building, and justifies the conjecture, that this wall was divided into two equal parts by it, and consequently that the whole extended forty-three feet.
The arches are all upon the same level, and of similar dimensions, thirty- five inches wide, and thirty-seven in height, from the crown to the floor, and therefore too low for the purpose of a door-way.
The great strength and stability of the vaulting attracted, as they deserved, a very particular attention: the two lower floors of terras, with the bed of stones between them, w ere evidently designed by the architect as a firm basis to support the brick pillars, and the massy floor that rested upon them.
The upper floor of each vault is fourteen inches thick, the pillars thirty-nine inches in height, and eight inches and a quarter square, made of courses of entire bricks of the same superficial dimensions, and about an inch and three quarters thick, except that each pillar has a large brick, of eleven inches square, for its base, and another of the same size by way of capital.
They stand in rows, fifteen inches asunder, and are covered with wide bricks twenty-three inches square, upon which the terras is laid.
What now remains of the ripper floor in the first mentioned vault is supported by twenty-two pillars only, arranged in seven rows one way, and m six rows the other; and where the pillars are deficient, the gardener has taken the precaution to support the floor with strong pieces of timber.
The under part of this floor, which consists, as has been already observed, of broad bricks, and all the pillars, are very much burned, so that but few of the latter are perfect; this circumstance is owing probably to the power of long continued fires, as well as from the knocking olf pieces from the sides and angles, with iron instruments used in stirring the fire, and placing the fuel.
There were found, placed over the second lloor, which may with greater propriety be called an hearth, a considerable quantity of wood ashes, intermixed with coals, which, by length of time and natural humidity, were become an hard consolidated mass.
From these circumstances it is very apparent that fires were kept uniformly burning on every part of the hearth, for the purpose of administering heat to the floor above it; and not for the service of a bath, according to the conjecture of Sir Robert Atkyns.
The opinion of Doctor Stukeley is still less probable:—that these works are the foundations of a temple; as they evidently appear to be the remains of two hypocausts, or large subterraneous ovens, which were used by the Romans to convey heat into the different parts of their houses.
Palladio, in his work entitled De Focis Vderum, gives the following concise but intelligent account of them.
" The ancients, he says, " made a lire in a small subterraneous vault, from which funnels of various sizes were carried to the several rooms m the house, and the heat ascended in them, in the same manner as it is found to pass through the narrow neck of an alembic, one end whereol, though distant from the fire, is equally warm with the part which is nearest to it: thus the heat so equably diffuses itself into all parts, that it fills the whole house.
The same advantage is not derived from chimney-hearths, near which if you remain you must be scorched, and when removed at a small distance from them, you are chilled ; but where these pipes are carried, a mild air diffuses itself around.
1 liese funnels which distributed the heat had not open mouths, so that they did not emit either flame or smoke, but an heated vapour only, and perpetual warmth.
A small fire in the vault, if it were, but continual, was sufficient to produce this agieeable effect.
The mouth of the vault served all the useful purposes of culinary preparation; while pots and vessels filled with hot water, were placed in every part of the walls to keep the eatables warm ; a very great advantage," Palladio observes, " which is attended with no expence, is not liable to filth, smoke, or danger of any kind, and is free from many inconveniences which accompany all other kinds of domestic fires."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From this account of the great Italian architect, it appears, indeed, that the hypocausts discovered at Cirencester, do not exactly correspond with the description of those used in the houses of ancient Rome.
But the editor of the History of Gloucestershire, with equal reason and ingenuity, observes, that, as the climate of this country is much colder than that of Italy, the Romans resident in Britain must have found it necessary to build their hypocausts immediately beneath their parlours and lower apartments, and that both their vaults and fires must, for the same reason, have been larcer than those in use at Rome.
It may, however, be reasonably concluded, that, in every other circumstance, there was a perfect similarity between them.
Many fragments of earthen funnels have been found among the ruins which have received such a minute, but, it is presumed, not wholly an uninteresting description; and one piece has the cavity entire, of an oblong form, measuring six inches by four: besides, in several parts of the partition wall, particularly in the large stones of the arches, are a considerable number of holes, in which were fixed the ends of iron hooks or staples, designed, as it appears, to support the earthen funnels, as well as to conduct them to the upper rooms, in the manner which Palladio has described.
The mouths of the hypocausts, where they were supplied with fuel were, probably, on the north-west and south west sides, but have been unfortunately destroyed.
In the summer of 1780, another hypocaust was discovered also in the garden grounds called the Leauses, it was twenty-seven feet by fourteen, supported by twenty-six brick pillars, three feet two inches high, seven inches and an half square, and fifteen inches asunder.
Fragments of pottery, a few bones, a small quantity of ashes, and two or three coins, supposed to he Roman, were found on the spot.
Fragments of Roman pottery, and small cubical stones of different colours, which are undoubtedly parts of a tessellated pavement, are continually found in these garden grounds ; but the floors of the hypocausts have no appearance of tessellated decoration.
The fragment of a large pillar, the shaft of which, independent of the capital and its other members, must have been ten or twelve feet in length and the capital of a pilaster of the Corinthian order, were formerly dug up there, among other architectural antiquities, and are, perhaps, the very individual pieces mentioned by Doctor Stukeley: they are now, in good preservation, in a garden at Cirencester.
A small but very beautiful statue of an Apollo, in bronze, of the height of eighteen inches, was found, about fifty years ago, in the same garden grounds.
It was presented by Mr. Master, of the Abbey-house in this town, to the university of Oxford, and has now a place in the Bodleian library.
A small altar, seven inches high, was also thrown up among the rubbish, in the same spot, about eighteen years since, but unadorned with sculpture or inscription.
There is also a monumental stone, now placed in a building in the garden of Sicldington-house, near Cirencester, which was discovered within these thirty years, in Watermore common, at a small distance from the city wall.
It has a pediment at the top with a crescent, in basso relievo, and bears the following inscription; dm— p vicanae-p vitalis coniux.
By the side of the stone was an urn with ashes and bones half burned.
This stone may be referred to the same age as that described by Doctor Stukeley.
A glass urn of a green colour was also dug up, about the same time, in Kingsmead, which lies about half a mile from the town on the Irminstreet way.
I his urn, which contained a large quantity of ashes and many pieces of burned bones, was placed in a stone, in 11111011 a cavity had been chiselled in order to receive it, and a flat stone covered the top.
These sepulchral memorials were deposited in the centre of a piece of ground about twenty feet square, inclosed with a stone wall, which lay beneath the surface of the earth: it received also an additional security from a kind of pavement, which sprung from the wall on every side, and rose in the centre, over the urn, in the form of a very obtuse cone.
This monumental fabric appears to have been of Roman structure, but had not the usual accompaniments of coins, unless the workmen, on the first discovery of it, were tempted to purloin them.
About the same time, a large stone colfin was discovered on the side of the road leading to Tetbury, at something less than a quarter of a mile from the town: it contained an human skeleton, with the skull between the legs, and a sword lying on the right side.
On the eastern side of the town lies 1 or-barrow Hill, which, as the name implies, is undoubtedly a tumulus.
On the western side, and just within Lord Bathurst’s park, there is a large circular mount of earth thrown up, to the height of about twenty feet, which possesses the traditionary honour of having been raised by Godrum the Dane, called Gurmundus in the British Annals; from whence by a vulgar corruption, the place has obtained the name of Grismund’s Tower and Christmas Tower.
There was probably a wooden watch-tower erected on it, according to the custom of the Danes, in order to explore the country, or to guard against any sudden incursion of the enemy.
On opening this mount, about thirty years ago, several large vessels, filled with ashes and burned bones, were found in it; and the earth and stones had the appearance also of being very much burnt, for a considerable space, in one part of it.
Conjecture will presume that these relics belonged to persons of distinction among the Danes, who fell in battle against the Saxons and Britons, in this part of the kingdom.
A Roman tessellated pavement was discovered, some years ago, in the garden of an house belonging to Mr. Small; another was more lately found in digging a cellar in the house of Mr. Crips, which formerly belonged to the family of the Georges: a third was since discovered in digging a vault under the shambles at the Boothall ; and so late as in May, 1777, some workmen, who were making a cellar in Dyer-street, came to a curious tessellated pavement, about eighteen feet square, of which they had nearly destroyed one half before their unconscious mischief was discovered.
The remainder, however, was in good preservation, and being washed, was exposed for a few days to public view.
It had a chequered border, about fourteen inches broad, composed of blue and white stones of an inch square : within the border it consisted also of blue and white stones, and of red bricks, but in much smaller squares, worked into wreaths and other ornaments.
It was divided into four compartments, by the artful arrangement and disposition of the different coloured stones and bricks into lines of hearts linked together, and interlaced like fret-work, which produced a very pretty effect.
The centre of the pavement is still preserved, and represents an octagonal border, inclosing a wreathed figure, with rays pointed to the angles of the octagon.
There was also a smaller figure of the same kind in the middle of each compartment, and the whole of this pavement has a very great resemblance to a Turkey carpet; the first of which may, perhaps, have been suggested by a work of this kind.
The pavement lay about six feet below the surface of the ground, and some remains were discovered of the plaistered walls of the house to which it belonged: they appeared to have been painted, but time had destroyed every trace of the design which had once adorned them.
Two tessellated pavements were also found in a plot of ground which was opened by the order of Lord Bathurst, with the supposed remains of a bath; and near two hundred Roman coins, brass and silver, were found there, with a denarius of Augustus.
There is, indeed, good reason to expect that many similar specimens of ancient art will be unfolded, as these have been, by the hand of chance, or appear to reward the search of the future antiquary.
In the place already mentioned called the Querns, there is a plot of ground, of an elliptical form, called the Bull-ring, the largest diameter of which is sixty-three yards, the other fifty-six, but concerning which even tradition, that fruitful source of story, is entirely silent.
It is surrounded by a mound or wall of earth, thrown up to the height of about twenty feet, regularly sloped on the inside, and, from its present appearance, there is a plausible reason, at least, for the conjecture, that there were originally rows of seats, or steps, which were theatrically arranged around it.
There are two avenues to this area, from the east and west sides; and, on the north, is another strait approach between two stone walls, which was discovered, not many years ago, by labourers employed there to dig for stone.
It is directed to the centre of the area, and is about thirty inches wide between the walls, which were designed to support the high bank of earth on either side of it.
This place may have been a Roman theatre, or, perhaps, a circus for jousts and tournaments; though, in the opinion of the historian of Gloucestershire, it is one of those inclosures, where, at a very early period, the people met at the Gurimawrs, which are described to have been held in spacious places, inclosed with earthen banks, and possessing room to contain a very great number of spectators.
It is, indeed, generally agreed, that these circular areas were appropriated to religious purposes, and that some parts of the sacred writings were represented or acted in them: which conjecture is in some measure confirmed by the open theatres, applied to similar purposes, that are frequently seen in the gardens of colleges and convents in Roman Catholic countries.
This opinion receives a further support by the derivation of the word gurimawr, from the British word guiredd, truth, and rnawr, great, or great truths; which, without any forced implication, may be supposed to mean the sacred writings: the conjecture, therefore, is perfectly natural, that the Scriptures were expounded, or the historical parts of the old, and the mysteries of the New, Testament represented in these areas.
Three Roman consular ways meet at this place; the great Foss-way, the Irmin-street-way, and the Acman-street, or Ickenild-way.
The Foss-way comes from Scotland, and enters the county of Gloucester from Warwickshire by Lemington.
It passes through Morton-in the marsh and Stow, by Bourton on the Water, and Northleach, and crossing the river Coln at a place called Foss-bridge, it leads directly to Cirencester.
The Acman-street, or Ickenild-way, crosses Oxfordshire, and coming to Broadwell grove, where it is very high and perfect, enters this county at the parish of Eastleach, and joins the great Foss-way about a mile to the north-east of Cirencester.
Four miles and an half westward of the town, it leaves the turnpike road at a place called Jacument’s-bottom, but, more properly Acman’s-bottom, and enters Wiltshire near Kemble, in its straight course to Bath, the Accmannepceapceji of the Romans.
Another of the great Roman ways, supposed to be the Irmin-street, leads from Caerleon in Monmouthshire, through Gloucester and Cirencester to Cricklade, and so on to Southampton.
The coins which have been found in this place, are chiefly those of Dioclesian, Antoninus, and Constantine.
But the town of Cirencester is not only remarkable for its remote antiquity; it has also been the scene of many memorable events and important transactions.
From the manner in which Orosius expresses himself, it may be supposed to have been a place of some importance in the time of Julius Caesar.
"The third battle," says he, "which that general had with the Bryttas, was near the river which men call the Temese, near those fords which are called Wali ii( dol'd; after which not only all the inhabitants of Cyrnceastre submitted, but the whole island.
"Some historians relate that the Emperor Constantine was crowned here king of the Britons; while others prefer the claim that York makes to that honour.
It is, how ever, universally acknowledged that Cirencester was a very considerable place in the time of that emperor.
Under the heptarchy, it lay within the kingdom of Mercia, which, as it appears by Ethelwerd, was divided from that of the West Saxons by the river Avon: but in the year 577, it was taken from the Britons of Mercia, who had till that period defended themselves in these parts, with great bravery, against the West Saxons, by whom they were totally routed that year at Deojiham (Dyrham) under two of their leaders, Cuthwin and Ceaulm.
Three British princes, Commeail, Condiclan, and Fareimeiof were slain in battle, and the cities of Cnenccstei, Gloucester, and Bath, fell into the hands of the enemy; and soon after Cirencester was garrisoned as a frontier town against the Mercians.
In the year 628, Benda King of Mercia endeavoured to recover this place from the West Saxons, and meetingGynegils, the king and Cwichelm his son, near Cirencester, with numerous forces on both sides, a bloody battle ensued ; when, according to Henry of Huntington, the hostile armies being inspired with an equal ardour for victory, continued the conflict till they were separated by the overshadowing darkness of the night.
But this engagement was so far from being attended with advantage on either side, that both parties were very much weakened and disabled by it: they accordingly concluded a peace the next morning, which, being produced by the mutual incapacity of the moment to continue the war, was but of short duration.
The West Saxons, however, remained masters of Cirencester, till Peada, the son of Benda, and first Christian king of Mercia retook it from them in 656.
From that time no transactions of importance appear, respecting this place, in British history, till 879, when the Danes, under Godrum, having been routed by King Alfred at Ethandun in Wiltshire, surrendered their castle in that neighbourhood, and made peace with the victorious monarch, on condition that they might have leave to quit the kingdom.
They accordingly passed, without delay, from Chippenham to Cirencester, and, after remaining there one whole year, departed to the eastern parts of Britain.
In the year 1020, King Canute, after his return from Denmark, held a general council of the kingdom in this place, when Ethelwold was outlawed.
There was a castle on the south-west of the town, and though it does not appear in the writings of our historians at what time, or by whom it was built, its destruction is recorded by them to have happened in the year 1142; when the town, having been garrisoned for the Empress Matilda against King Stephen, he made such a sudden and unexpected attack upon the castle, as to obtain an almost uncontested possession of it; when he burned it to the ground.
In a short time, however, it was rebuilt, and maintained against the king by the constable of the Earl of Leicester, who at length surrendered it, in order to obtain better terms for his master on his submission.
This castle was also garrisoned by the barons who took up arms against Henry the Third; but that king very soon recovered it, and, in a short time, caused it to be demolished.
When the barons declared hostilities against King John, in the sixteenth year of his reign, the royal army was assembled at this place; and, on a similar occasion, it became the rendezvous for the army which Edward the Second collected, to crush the confederacy formed by the Earl of Lancaster and the lords of the marches, against Hugh le Despencer, the favourite of the sovereign.
But this place is still more remarkable for the suppression of the rebellion raised by the Dukes of Albemarle, Surry, and Henry the Fourth; which signal service was performed by the mayor of Cirencester and about four hundred of the townsmen.
These noblemen having formed a conspiracy, to seize and assassinate the king at a tournament, to be exhibited at Oxford, to which his majesty had been invited, the plot was committed to writing, and a copy signed and sealed by all the confederates, was given to each of them.
No sooner had the Duke of Albemarle received this instrument, than he set out from Westminster, where it had been executed, to pay a visit to his father the Duke of York in his way to Oxford; when, as they were at dinner, the Duke observing a parchment, with appending seals, hanging out of his son’s bosom, was very importunate to know the contents; which the other refusing to disclose, his father seized the writing, and consequently became acquainted with the unsuspected treason.
As the Duke of York had pledged his own life to the king, for the loyalty of his son, he upbraided him, in the severest terms, for the unnatural and ungrateful part he acted in exposing the life of his father, and abusing the goodness of his prince.
In vain did Albemarle attempt to defend his conduct; and, being informed that his father had ordered his horses to be saddled, that he might acquaint the king with the design which had been formed against him, he determined to be the first informer of his own treasonable conduct: and being so fortunate as to outride his father, he procured immediate access to Henry, and, having obtained a previous pardon, revealed all the horrid circumstances of this conspiracy.
The other noblemen engaged in it, suspecting that they were discovered, raised a numerous army with the design of taking the king by surprise at Windsor.
But Henry, having also assembled twenty thousand men, marched to give them battle, which so discouraged the rebels that they retreated to Cirencester, and encamped without the gates of that place.
The chiefs took up their abode within the town; when the mayor, perceiving that the gates and avenues were left unguarded, assembled four hundred men in the night, possessed himself of the gates, and attacked the four noblemen at the inns where they were lodged.
The Duke of Surry and Earl of Salisbury were taken and beheaded on the spot; but the Duke of Exeter and Earl of Gloucester escaped over the rools of the houses to the camp, which the soldiers had already abandoned, concluding from the noise and tumult of fighting they heard in the town, which had been also set on fire by some of the rebel followers, in order to assist the escape of their leaders, that a detachment of the king’s troops had got possession of it.
The Duke of Exeter and Earl of Gloucester were taken some time after, and suffered by the hand of the executioner.
The king for this great service done him by the men of Cirencester, granted them all the goods belonging to the rebels, and four does in season out of his forest of Bredon, with one hogshead of wine from the port of Bristol: to the women, also, he granted six bucks in season from the same forest, with an hogshead of wine also from the same port: and, afterwards, in the fourth year of his reign, as a further mark of his attention to the good services of the town, the king was pleased to grant to it a court of staple for merchandise, with a corporation, to consist of a mayor, two constables, and others of the commonalty, for the encouragement of trade, by the execution of the statute merchant: but this charter, after a long suit in the exchequer, was, in the thirty-seventh of Oueen Elizabeth, decreed to be cancelled.
These events sufficiently prove that this town was not only of large extent, but of great consideration at these early periods of the British history.
Nor has it in succeeding times been without its share in several transactions of the first political importance.
It appears, indeed, from Corbet’s History of the Military Government of Gloucester, that in this place, the first forcible opposition was made to Charles the First in the year 1641, by the insults olfered to Lord Chandois, then lieutenant of the county, who, being at that time engaged in executing the commission of array, was surrounded by the mob, and with many threats compelled to sign a paper, by which he engaged to proceed no further in the execution of his olfice.
This nobleman was, indeed, so fortunate as to escape without any personal injury; but his coach was hewn in pieces and destroyed.
In a short time after this event, Cirencester was garrisoned by the parliament forces; and, about the first of January, 1642, was threatened to be stormed by the chief strength of the king’s army, which appeared before it; but, after remaining two days, the royal forces withdrew to wait for a reinforcement of horse and artillery; but returned on the thirtieth of the same month, under the command of Prince Rupert, who, on the second of February, made an assault upon the town.
The following brief account of which transaction is taken from the relation of it published by a chaplain of his highness, who attended him on the occasion.
—" The Prince had two eighteen pounders and four field pieces, with a mortar to throw grenades.
Proper dispositions being made, the attack began at an inclosure between an house belonging to Mr. Poole, now the site of Lord Bathurst’s residence, and that of the Barton.
The assailants being twice reinforced, beat the townsmen from the hedge to the garden wall of the Barton: meanwhile, a strong body, under general Wilmot and colonel Usser attacked and burned the Barton-house, from whence the townsmen were driven, and afterwards pursued by five hundred of colonel Kirk’s party to the first turnpike, a kind of barricado by Cicely-hill.
Lord Wentworth, who had the command of the right wing of the army, was to have fallen to the southward, on the right hand of the mount, now called Grismund's Tower; but, being misled on the left of it, was flanked by a battery of two six pounders erected on the mount, and annoyed by the musketry from an high wall before them; which, thinking it difficult to force, they drew to the left, into the lane leading to Cicely-hill, and joining colonel Kirk’s men there, entered the barricado, or turnpike, together.
Colonel Scrimsour, with a party of horse, then pushed into the town, and drove all before them.
Colonel Fettiplace, who was governor, captain Warneford, and Mr. George, one of the representatives in parliament for the borough, with many others, were taken prisoners in the town, and, together with such of the fugitives as were taken in then flight, were seemed in the church.
Great numbers of arms were found In the houses, and drawn out of the river, to the amount of upwards of three thousand, for this place had been a magazine for the country."
This town became afterwards the alternate quarters of the royal and parliament armies: but it seems to have had no further concern in the transactions of this interesting period, than an attack of the Earl of Essex, who, after the siege of Gloucester was raised, engaged a small body of the royal forces, then in garrison here, and obliged them to abandon the place.
The only event of our succeeding history, in which Cirencester may be said to claim a part, is the glorious Revolution of 1688 .
It is a memorable circumstance, that the first blood which was shed on that occasion encrimsoned the streets of this town; when Lord Lovelace, being on his march to join the Prince of Orange, with a party of horse, was attacked by captain L’Orange of the county militia, at the instigation of the Duke of Beaufort, in whom James the Second had a powerful and zealous supporter: but though captain L'Orange and his son lost their lives, with many other gallant men on both sides, in this conflict, his followers at length overpowered Lord Lovelace, and carried him to the confinement of Gloucester castle, from whence, however, he was soon released by the abdication of James, and the final settlement of the crown on William and Mary.
There was, says Leland, before the conquest, a fair and rich college of prebendaries at Cirencester, but of what Saxon's foundation no man can tell.
Rumbalcl, who was chancellor of England in the reign of Edward the Confessor, had been the dean of it: but when the celibacy of the clergy was established by law, Henry the First built a magnificent abbey in its place, which he began in the year 1117, and finished it completely in fourteen years.
It had the distinction of a mitre, and, in the year 1416, in the reign of Henry the Fifth, the abbot obtained for himself and his successors the privilege of a seat in parliament among the barons of the realm.
At-the dissolution its annual revenues amounted to 10171. 7s. 1d.
The abbot had also the power of coining money; and a small brass piece of the abbey coin, something smaller than an halfpenny, was found in the year 1772, in Mr. Master's garden.
On one side was a coronet, charged with three rams’ heads, part of the arms of the abbey, and encircled by the following inscription:
ave maria grati/e ple a ;
and round the quarters were the letters g a *.• g •.• a •.•, for George Abbas.
From whence it appears that this piece of money was coined between the years 1445 and 1461 during which time William George was the abbot.
Leland, who had seen the abbey church, says that "the eastern part of it sheweth to be of a very old building; and that the western part, from the transeptum, or great cross aile, is but new work to speak ol."
It has been generally believed that this ancient and beautiful structure was entirely demolished, soon after the surrender of the abbey to the commissioners in 1539, in the thirty-first year of Henry the Eighth, and the materials so completely removed, that the precise spot whereon it stood was soon forgotten: there are, indeed, two gates, the Spital gate and Almery gate, with the abbey barn, still remaining, to give some faint idea of its former grandeur.
Mr. Willis conjectures that the abbey stood on the north side of the parish church, which, in his opinion, was set within part of the abbey cemetery.
The site of this abbey was granted, among other lands, to Thomas Lord Seymour, in the first year of Edward the Sixth; but, on the attainder of that nobleman, reverted to the crown, and was afterwards granted to Richard Master, physician to Queen Elizabeth, in the sixth year of her reign.
It is now the property of his descendant Thomas Master, one of the representatives in parliament for the county of Gloucester, who has on this spot a very handsome house, and an agreeable extent of modern pleasure ground.
There were originally three parish churches in the town of Cirencester, respectively dedicated to Saint Cecilia, Saint Laurence, and Saint John.
The first was entirely dilapidated so far back as the time of Leland ; the second is now standing, but converted into small tenements : the third alone is the present parish church.
It is a large and stately building, consisting of the nave, two large ailes, and five chapels: the length of the nave is seventy-seven feet; and the breadth of the church, including the two ailes, is seventy-four feet.
The roof is supported by two rows of stone pillars, over which are placed the bustos of several distinguished benefactors to the church, with their escutcheons, arms, and devices.
From these and other ancient ornaments, it appears that the nave of the church and the tower were rebuilt between the years 1504 and 1522 ; but the original edifice must have been of a much earlier erection, as there are monumental inscriptions still remaining, which bear dates, of near an hundred years, prior to the latest of those periods.
The windows were once curiously decorated with historical painted glass, which, from the malignity of bigots, and the unskilfulness of workmen, possess but a small portion of their former beauty.
Those on the south side are in the best preservation, of which, the large window to the right of the southern entrance has sustained the least injury.
This consists of three ranges of figures, each range containing four compartments: the principal figures of the uppermost, are three of the ancient fathers, and his holiness the Pope, which appear in the following order : Saint Augustine, Saint Jerom, the Pope, and Saint Ambrose.
The names of the fathers are written beneath their respective representations ; but the Pope is distinguished only by his tiara, or triple crown.
Beneath Saint Augustine is a figure kneeling, with a scroll round his head, whereon is written,
"Sanctus Augustinus ora pro nobis."
There are also figures represented, in a kneeling posture, before the other fathers, with their names written below, to shew that they were the donors of the particular compartments on which they are respectively placed.
The figures in the second range, are those of Saint Catherine, Saint Mary, and Saint Dorothy, the fourth being defaced, with the effigies and names of the benefactors, as in the part above them.
The lights of the lower range have also their particular saints, with scrolls and scriptural inscriptions.
The upper part of the window is decorated with various emblematical figures and mysterious representations.
The other windows also present similar forms of canonized personages, with similar accompaniments of scrolls, inscriptions, and the names of their pious donors.
The tower stands at the west end of the church: it is one hundred and thirty- four feet high, of beautiful proportion, and stately appearance; and is crowned with pinnacles and battlements.
On the dexter side of the western door are the arms of Cirencester abbey, and on the left, those of England and France properly quartered.
In the south-western angle of the tower, in a niche, is the figure of Saint John, the patron saint of the church, as large as life: another figure, of the same size and appearance, is the ornament of the north-western angle.
On the upper part of the north wall of the church is a very curious representation of an ancient rural festival, known by the name of a Whitsun-ale, with the lord and lady, in alto relievo, and the steward, purse-bearer, and all the other mock olficers which attend that kind of merry-making, formerly better known than it is at present, in this and other parts of England.
The south porch is a most beautiful Gothic structure, thirty-eight feet in front, fifty feet in height, and faces the market-place.
It is ornamented with curious pinnacles and battlements of a light and fanciful design; and enriched with a great variety of sculptured representations of beasts, dragons, and other fantastic shapes, very highly finished.
Twelve niches in the facade of this building formerly contained the statues of the twelve Apostles; but they were destroyed by the levelling spirit and puritanical violence which prevailed in the latter part of the reign of Charles the First.
Over this porch is the town-hall, occasionally used for parish meetings, and other large assemblies of the inhabitants.
The general sessions of the county have also been formerly held in it; from which circumstance, it maybe presumed that the figure of Justice, standing over the door of the stairs, originally received that appropriate situation.
But this elegant and curious edifice, as well as the tower, is too much crowded and intermingled, as it were, with buildings, to be seen witli that advantage which it so well deserves.
Cirencester is a market and borough town, and sends two members to parliament.
It is divided into seven wards; to each of which two wardmen or petty constables are appointed annually at the leet, with two high constables, whose authority extends over the hundred and borough.
It sent representatives to a great council in the eleventh year of Edward the Third; and, by the grant of Elizabeth, in the thirteenth year of her reign, obtained the privilege of parliamentary representation.
Its commerce in woof was once very considerable, but the dealers in that article having very generally adopted the practice of buying the woof at the houses of the farmers who shear it, this branch of trade has so entirely declined, that the Boothall, where the woof was usually deposited, is now taken down.
The clothing trade flourished here, according to Leland, in the reign of Henry Eighth; but, at present, little is done in that manufacture.
The heavy edge-tools of this place are in great reputation ; especially those knives employed by curriers in shaving leather; and which find an unrivalled market throughout Europe and America: but the principal business is wool-stapling and yarn making, for which this place is conveniently situated, from its vicinity to a very large clothing country.
The trade of this town will probably receive a very considerable advancement from the completion of the Thames and Severn canal, which takes its course at a small distance, and from whence a branch, or cut, communicates with the town itself, on the south-west side; where a bason is constructed, with wharfs, warehouses, and every other convenience to facilitate the purposes of the navigation.
A description of this canal, with a view of its objects, and the great commercial advantages which are expected to be derived from it, will be given at large, when we arrive at that distinguished spot, where it realizes the visions of former periods, by accomplishing an union of the Severn and the Thames.
At the western extremity of the town is the seat of Earl Bathurst.
It is a large regular edifice, and was built by the late earl in the beginning of the present century, with more attention to interior space and convenience, than external elegance or grandeur.
Its front towards the town is of stone; the court before it is surrounded with a lolty wall, and studiously planted with trees, to seclude it from the intrusive view of the neighbouring houses.
The spot is considered, and what Englishman will deny the justice of the opinion, as classic ground.
Here the late Lord Bathurst, the literary Nestor of his age, the famed Maecenas of those happier ## p.
(#65) THE RIVER THAMES 31 times, the friend and patron of Prior, Swift, Pope, Addison, Gay, and Arbuthnot, olten gave them ease and hospitality beneath his social rool.
Here the polished Bolingbroke added another luminary to the most splendid constellation of literature and genius that ever enlightened our country.
Here its aged lord, having survived the poet that sung, the genius that praised, and the friend that loved him, passed his latter days in retired dignity, as he had passed his early years in active honour: and here, possessing the full powers of his understanding, the playful brilliancy of his wit, and the comprehensive grasp of his remembrance, to a period far beyond the common allotment of man, he at length closed his venerable life.
The park and woods, which extend themselves from the back front of the house, owe their present form and disposition to the late noble possessor.
They discover, perhaps, more formality than modern taste is disposed to allow in the landscape of parks and pleasure grounds.
But from the level surface of this extensive domain, its want of the bold irregularities of nature, its penury of water, and the being surrounded by a cold, uninteresting country, as viewed with the eye of a painter, the peculiar beauties of the modern art of gardening were above, or rather, beneath its capacity.
Lawn and wood, to a vast extent, are all that it possesses from the hand of nature, and these could be rightly directed but to one object,—to magnificence; and that such an object has been attained, must be evident to all who behold this unrivalled scene of sylvan splendour.
Where there was no elevated spot, from whence the eye couldrange over the vast and wide-spreading mass of foliage, which these woods would olfer to such a situation;—the expanded lawn, with the broad and lengthened vista, branching into lesser lines of view, were the only means which appropriating taste could employ to aid and diversify the natural grandeur of the scene: besides, the surrounding country olfers no objects but the tower, the steeple, or the artificial plantation, to attract the eye: hills covered only with agriculture, or fields, inclosed within stone walls, compose the greater part of the external prospect; and these, so far from adding to the beauty of the landscape, are the very circumstances which, if admitted to the eye, would deform it: hence it is that the vista directed to the spire, the steeple, and the distant clump, selects the only accessory object that can please, and, at the same time excludes the landscape barrenness around it, which, considered under the idea of a picture, cannot fail to disgust.
In short, the genius of the place has been most religiously consulted in its disposition and arrangement; and the capacity it possesses to produce rural grandeur, has been employed to form one of the most magnificent pleasure grounds in the kingdom.
Immediately behind the house, and where the ground gently rises to the terrace and deer-park beyond it, there is some appearance of the modern garden.
The entrance to it is from a lodge on the north side of the house, by a spacious gravel walk, shaded by stately elms.
At a small distance from the lodge, to the left, is an oblique view of the north-west front of the house, with a fine sweep of lawn before it, which is screened on either side by a grove of lolty trees: on turning to tire right, tire walk divides into two branches; one leads to the terrace, and the other runs by the side of it, in a serpentine direction, of more than a mile in length, beneath the overshadowing foliage of the plantation through which it passes.
At proper distances, it communicates with the terrace, where buildings are erected as objects of view, or placed for the convenience of repose.
Along this devious walk, the flowering shrub dispenses its fragrance, and the laurel olfers its verdure, for the path leads to a small building called Pope’s seat, a favourite spot of the poet, and, therefore, distinguished with his name by his noble friend.
Before it there is a lawn, to the centre of which several vistas are directed, terminating in the view of distant churches, or such objects as the grounds and country olfer.
One of them is a lolty column, placed in the middle of the deer park, which supports a statue of Oueen Anne, somewhat larger than the life.
It is at the distance of a mile from the house, which is seen from this spot, with the fine tower of Cirencester church rising so directly in the centre behind it, and their respective fronts so parallel to each other, that they appear, in some degree, to belong to the same building.
This circumstance may he presumed to have been purely accidental, as the house presents an extended, regular, plain elevation of modern architecture, and is, therefore, completely heterogeneous to the Gothic tower, which, from the point of view just described, appears to spring from the centre of it: whereas, if an apparent, perspective union of these two buildings had been an original design, the noble person who erected the edifice would, it maybe supposed, have given it that outline, form, and decoration, which, without interfering with the interior arrangement and disposition, would have assorted with the tower, and formed a well-connected artificial basement to it.
—The terrace is sheltered on the north-east side by a thick plantation of wood, with a border of shrubs and evergreens: it commands a distant prospect of the northern part of Wiltshire, and terminates in an handsome octagon building, at about the distance of a mile from the house.
In the middle of the terrace is a large pair of gates, which serve as a communication between the deer and lodge parks: from this spot s seen a considerable piece of water, a little to the right of the house, to which every possible effect is given by judicious plantation; but nature, who has been so abundantly bounteous to this place in wood, has been at the same time so sparing of water, as to discourage all hope of its ever receiving any adequate decoration from that beautiful element.
—Adjoining to the western side of the deer park are the lodge park and Oakley woods, which are divided with so much judgment from each other, by sunk fences and concealed boundaries, that they appear one magnificent whole, containing a domain of pleasure ground of near fifteen miles in circumference.
Oakley woods olfer a most superb display of forest scenery: near the centre of them is a grand circular point, from whence, as so many radii, issue ten spacious vistas, or ridings: the largest of these, which is one hundred and fifty feet broad and two miles in length, is finely terminated by Cirencester tower: the others are directed to different village churches, or rural objects, which form so many distinct and various points of termination.
Several roads or walks intersect and serpentine through tlie woods in various directions, and all conspire to impress on the mind the magnificence of their shade.
Various buildings, of ornamental form and appropriate use, enrich the several scenes.
An ancient cross of stone, which stood in the market-place at Cirencester has been lately removed from its original situation to this splendid solitude; and now stands about a mile from the round tower, in the way leading from thence to a terminating point of the grounds, called Park Corner.
It appears to have been erected in the early part of the fourteenth century: its capital is enriched with the quartered arms of France and England, and three other imperfect reliefs of armorial sculpture: its present height is no more than thirteen feet, as it is no longer accompanied with the same number of surrounding steps, which gave it a more elevated position in its former situation.
— To the right of the great vista, and embosomed in wood, is a charming sequestered spot, called Alfred’s Hall; a building which, with all its accessory circumstances, is among the best imitations of ancient structure: the circumjacent ground is disposed in lawn, bowling-green, and shady walks, composing a very delightful scene of garden solitude.
Over the door opposite to the south entrance, is an inscription in the Saxon character and language, and, over the south door, is the following Latin translation.
" Foedus quod Tdfredus et Gythrunus reges, omnes Angli sa- pientes, et quicunque Angliam incolebant orientalem, ferierunt, et non solum de seipsis, verum etiam cle natis suis, ac nondum in lucem editis, quotquot misericordias divinae aut regias velint esse participes jurejurando sanxerunt.
Primo ditionis nostras fines ad Thamesin evehuntur, inde ad Leam usq; ad fontem ejus; turn recte ad Bedfordiam, ac denique per usam ad viam Vetelingianam."
The name given to this spot, with the inscription over the doors, recording the convention between Alfred and his pagan enemies, was probably suggested by the similarity of Achelie, the ancient name of this place, todtcglea, where, according to Asserius, that monarch rested with his army the night before he attacked then- leader Godrum, or Guthrum, or Gormund, and at length forced him to make that convention.
The foregoing description may, we believe, he said to comprehend all the beauty which the country affords in the immediate vicinity of Cirencester.
On a near approach to the town there is a gentle descent every way but from the south; and, on the rising grounds to the south-west, the town itself, with Lord Bathurst’s woods in the hack ground, olfers a pleasing and picturesque object.
On entering Cirencester from the road leading to Gloucester, a great part of the street consists of an hollow way, in some places, of the depth of five feet, where a portion of the Churn water runs, and afterwards returns to one of the branches of the river at the second bridge.
There is a tradition that the ancient course of the river itself was through the middle of the town, which receives some authority from the following passage in the Itinerary of Leland.
—" Be lyke- hod yn times past guttes were made that partes of Cliurne streame might cum thorow the cyte, and so to returne to theyr great bottom.
And, some years since, in making a vault near where the four principal streets meet, at about six feet beneath the surface, the workmen found stones set up edgeways, like those placed in a water-course for the convenience of passing over it.
It appears, therefore, that the water ran through the town by the high-cross, and making its way down Cricklade-street, it at length joined the main river on the southern side of Cirencester: from whence the Churn now hastens to the limits of its native county; and, after a short course, in which it turns the mill and reflects the village, enters Wiltshire, and, approaching Cricklade, yields its tributary waters to the Thames.
Cricklade is an ancient borough town.
By some writers it has been called Greekislake, or Grekelade, from the accounts given by the monkish historians of a Greek school having been founded there or restored by Theodore archbishop of Canterbury, about the year 6CO.
—But, in the opinion of the right reverend and learned editor of Camden’s Britannia, this conjecture arises from an apparent resemblance of names, which has as little foundation as the derivation of Letchlade, from Latin-lade, on the tradition of its having been, at the same time, a school for the Latin tongue.
Whereas it evidently appears from the antiquarian writers, that Greke-lade and Latin-lade, the two places which originally bore these names, were contiguous to each other, and in the neighbourhood of Oxford, or Oxenford, juxta Oxoniam; to which place, or rather, in the language of Grafton, in his Chronicle, " to the soil where Oxford now standeth, the philosophers, allured by the pleasaunt situation of place, removed, and there taught the liberal sciences.
f he learned author of the Additions to Camden is therefore justified, in deriving the name of Cricklade from the British word Cerigwald, a stony country, which suits with the nature of the soil; or from the Saxon words cpsecca, a brook, and lauean, to empty, the Churn and the Rey discharging themselves into the Thames in its immediate vicinity.
I his place was far more considerable in ancient times than in our day: as it appears from the red book of the exchequer, that there once belonged to it a thousand and three hundred hide- lands, and that it gave the name to an hundred, now united to that of Highworth.
It has sent members to parliament since the twentieth year of the reign of Edward the Second: though for some unconstitutional practices in the election of representatives, it suffered the displeasure of the House of Commons, and, by an act of parliament, passed in the twenty-second year of his present Majesty, the right of election was extended to the freeholders of the hundreds in common with the voters of the borough itself.
The advowson and manor were appropriated, 7 Hen.
to keep the spire of Salisbury in repair.
Here was also an hospital in the reign of Henry the Third, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, valued at 4l.
It has a free-school, founded by Robert Jenner, Esquire, who endowed it with an annual income of forty pounds.
It has two churches, one of which possesses a large, lolty, and handsome tower, that serves as a kind of landmark to the surrounding country.
There are also two ancient crosses still entire, one of them is situated in the lower church-yard, and the other near the centre of the principal street.
—The government of the place is entrusted to a bailiff, appointed by the lord of the manor.
1 he appearance of the town itself is such as to discourage particular description; but, on an elevated spot of Cricklade common, called Windmill-hill, about a mile on the road to Malms- bury, the view is equally varied and extensive, as well as appropriate to the page which describes it.
To the north-west, the high country about Tetbury is the distant object, and to the north is seen the tower of Cirencester, with the Oakley woods, backed by the extending sweep of the Cotswold-hills.
The interval of the whole is chiefly composed of rich, woody lowlands, where the village and the spire vary the scene, and through which, though the water is not visible, the early course of the Thames is marked by the meandering range of willows on its banks, by the misty exhalation that floats above it, or by some other half-distinguishable, vapoury circumstance, which the eye can scarce discern, and language cannot describe.
To the east, and south-east, the prospect is still more extensive.
Cricklade, with its stately tower is seen in the bottom; the Wiltshire-hills blending with those of Berkshire, form an high, waving boundary to the right, and force the eye onwards over a rich country to Lechlade steepie, the town of High- worth, and Faringdon-hill which breaks the line of a very remote horizon.
A spot of cultivated ground planted with trees, on the north-east part of the common, is just sufficient to divide the prospect into these separate pictures, that contain the leading features or character of the country, through which the Thames flows from its source to Faringdon.
Though the Thames is navigable at Cricklade for vessels of very small burden, yet, from the frequent penury of its stream in summer, and the occasional superabundance of its waters in the winter, its navigation is continually subject to difficulty and impediment: but the junction canal, which passes at a small distance from the town, now affords such an uninterrupted and expeditious communication with Lechlade, as almost to annihilate the navigable use of several miles of the Thames river, which, till it has passed the opening of the canal, will be seldom seen to bear any vessel on its deserted wave, but the boat of the miller or the fisherman.
From Cricklade the river winds gently through the meadows, and, passing under a bridge of wood for foot passengers, which is called Eisey bridge, it flows on with little variation, till it reaches Castle Eaton, where another bridge and a water mill, with their accessory circumstances, compose a calm but interesting picture of rural beauty.
From thence the Thames continues a devious course, and, at no great distance, leaves Wiltshire, to re-enter its native county at Kempsford, a considerable village of Gloucestershire.
Here the ground rises gently from the river, and on its acclivity stands an ancient church, with an handsome tower, which, with the parsonage and the remaining out-buildings of the manor house, lately dilapidated by the Coleraine family, to whom it belonged, forms the picturesque part of a very pleasing scene.
Here Henry Duke of Lancaster resided in the reign of Edward the Third ; but, on the death of His son, which happened at this place, the Duke determined to leave it; and his horse casting a shoe at his departure, the inhabitants nailed it to the church door, where, according to the tradition of the village, it has remained as a memorial of that event to this day.
In the four interior corners of the church tower, are the arms of the Duke of Leicester, and those of Clare Earl of Gloucester.
In the parish of Kempsford the Coin adds its waters to the Thames.
lids little river rises near Withington, about fourteen miles east of Gloucester; and, after refreshing the meads and pastille lands which form the lower part of that parish, it flows gently on, by Compton, to Bibury, where its stream heightens the charms of that pretty village; and, having meandered through the pleasure grounds which adorn the ancient seat of Mr. Creswell, it takes its way among successive meadows, and, gliding beneath the verdant slopes of Mr. Ingram’s garden, at Coin St.
Aldwin, it hastens to wind round the elevated brow of Hatherop, a venerable but deserted mansion of Sir John Webb.
In about a mile onward it turns One- .
"'W nington mill, when, after a short and tranquil course, it reflects and enriches the sequestered beauties of Mr. Barker’s park, and immediately enters the town of Fairford.
Fairford is a small, neat market town, and has been generally- supposed to derive its name from the fair ford, which was there before the bridge was built over the river that runs through it.
Other etymologists form the derivation according to its ancient name Fareforde, from the word fare, a derivative of the Saxon verb pajran, to go or pass.
They contend, therefore, that the name was suggested by, as it describes the situation ol, the place, and signifies, the passage at the ford.
The church, which gives celebrity to this town, from its wealth in painted glass, is a large and beautiful structure, one hundred and twenty-five feet in length and fifty-five in breadth.
It consists of a spacious body, and two proportionable ailes, tbe whole being paved with great neatness, in chequers of blue and while stone.
It has an handsome tower, crowned with pinnacles, and enriched with armorial escutcheons: on tbe eastern side are those of Clare, Earl of Gloucester, who w r as lord of the manor, and owner of the town in the reign of Henry the Third.
It contains three chancels, of which the central one is fitted up with stalls, in the same manner as the choirs of our cathedrals.
In tbe porch are the arms of the family of John and Edmund Tame, who were its founders in the year 1493, and were respectively buried in it, in the years 1500 and 1534.
John Tame was a very eminent merchant of the fifteenth century, and commanding a vessel of some force, he took a ship bound for Rome, containing a large quantity of painted glass, which he brought to his estate at this place, having lately purchased it of the crown; and erected this church, on purpose to enrich it with these curious windows.
They are supposed to have been designed by Albert Durer, to whom the principal improvements in painting on glass have been attributed.
Tbe colours are clear and brilliant; the perspective in some of the designs is admirably managed; and several of the figures are said to have received the distinguishing eulogiums of that pre-eminent master of the pencil, Sir Antony Vandyck.
There are twenty-eight of these beautiful windows.
The first, in the order they are shewn, represents several subjects from the old Testament.
The eight that succeed, contain the principal events of the Gospel history, from (he salutation of Zacharias and Elizabeth, to the miraculous descent of the holy Ghost.
The tenth, eleventh, and twelfth windows display the figures of the twelve Apostles, with scrolls round their heads, exhibiting sentences in the Latin tongue; which, when read in regular succession, are found to compose the whole of the Apostles creed.
The thirteenth represents the primitive fathers, Saint Jerorn, Saint Gregory, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Augustine.
The fourteenth is an historical subject from the life of King David.
The fifteenth is the great west window, representing the day of judgment: in the upper part Christ sits on a rainbow, encompassed with cherubims; while Saint Michael is curiously employed below in weighing a wicked person in one scale, against a good one in the other; and though a devil endeavours to turn the scale, the good is seen to outweigh the bad: the dead appear also to be rising from their graves; and, from the mouth of an angel, who is receiving a saint into heaven, proceeds a label, on whichis written, "Omnis spe-s lauda d’urn."
Saint Peter, with a key, admits the blessed into heaven, who, having passed him, are clothed in white, and adorned with crowns of glory.
In another part is a representation of hell, and an huge devil, with red and white teeth, three eyes, and scaly legs and face.
Dives and Lazarus are also delineated in their respective states of torment and happiness :—to all which are added many devices of a very gross and unseemly nature.
1 he sixteenth window contains a strange mixture of sacred and prolane subjects, with a very brilliant compartment, supposed to be intended as a representation of rubies and diamonds.
The seventeenth gives the four Evangelists with their symbols.
In the three successive windows are the twelve Prophets, with scrolls encircling their heads, on which are inscribed select passages from the irrespective prophecies.
The remaining eight windows are in the body of the church: in four of them, on the north side, are represented the principal persecutors of the church, with devils over their heads: the other four, which are to the south, exhibit twelve ancient worthies, the preservers and protectors of the church, associated with angels.
The whole of this curious collection was preserved from the destructive fury of republican zeal, by the care of Mr. oldisworth, the impropriator, and other gentlemen, who carefully secreted these windows, till the restoration of Charles the Second, when they were replaced in their former situation : there they have since remained, a splendid specimen of an art that is unknown, at least in an equal degree of perfection, to the age in which we live.
The seat of the late Mrs. Lamb, now in the possession of Mr. Barker, must not be passed by without notice in the description of a place which it adorns.
It is a spacious, regular edifice, situated about a quarter of a mile from the town, and presents an handsome appearance to passengers on the London road.
A park stretches on to a considerable distance behind it, in which there is a vista from the house of a mile in length, and terminated by an obelisk.
The Coin, that flows along its -western side, is accompanied by a very line plantation which covers the bank, whose meandering walks are conducted with a very judicious attention to the water on one side, and the distant hills of Berkshire on the other, which are occasionally let into the view, from seats and buildings appropriate to the place.
In digging the foundation of this house, in the beginning of the present century, many urns and medals were found, the former of which were broken, and the latter purloined, by the workmen who discovered them.
It may be reasonably conjectured that they were concealed previous to some engagement, which the antiquarian writers suppose to have happened in the vicinity of this place, though it does not appear to have been noticed by any of our historians.
But that there was a bloody conflict of some kind is evident from two tumuli, at the distance of half a mile from the house; which, having been opened in the latter part of the last century, were found to contain several human skulls and bones, the melancholy vestiges of battle.
There is not, however, in the confines of this place the least trace of any encampment.
The surrounding country olfers little of landscape beauty: but in passing over Fairford bridge, towards Cirencester, the curious eye is agreeably attracted by the scenery that opens suddenly on the right.
The church, a very beautiful object, is there seen, in an insulated state, among verdant meadows which stretch beyond it in a gradual acclivity: a detached corner of the town, a group of trees, and a rippling stream, complete the picture.
Beneath this bridge, the Coin continues to flow gently on, for about three miles, when it enters the northern side of Kempsford, and, passing through that parish, loses itself in the Thames; which, at this place, is a boundary between the counties of Gloucester and Wiltshire.
Here the river assumes a greater breadth, and continues to widen as it proceeds, in a course of about six miles, to Lechlade, affording however, little variety, but such as is produced by the weirs, which stretch across the stream, and the wooden bridge of Han- nington; from whence the town and church of Highvvorth, are seen on their elevated situation; and form an enlivening feature of the adjacent landscape.
But the principal object of attention in this part of the Thames, is the canal which unites it with the Severn, and forms an association between these two mighty rivers, whose beneficial consequences to the internal commerce of the kingdom, will, probably, exceed even the most sanguine conjectures and ardent expectations of those patriotic men, who, to their lasting honour, began and completed it.
In the reign of Charles the Second, a project was formed to unite the Thames with the Severn, by a canal of between forty and fifty miles in length; and a bill was for that purpose brought into the house of commons.
Joseph Moxon, who was hydrographer to the king, and an excellent mathematician of that day, made a survey to prove the practicability of the scheme.
Doctor Campbell, in his Political Survey of Great Britain, observes, " that die commercial communication between London and Bristof being expensive by land, and tedious by sea, it was a natural wish to discover, if possible, some means of lessening, if not of totally removing these inconveniences.
With this view it was proposed to make use of the Avon, which runs to Bristol, and the Rennet, which falls into the Thames: but it does not appear that any attempts were made to realize such a speculation.
In the reign of Charles the Second," as has been already observed, " a bill was brought into the house of commons, to unite, by a new cut from Lechlade, the Thames and the Avon, which flows through Bath and Bristol.
Captain Yarrinton proposed the same thing, by uniting the Thames by the Cherwell, to the Avon by the Stour, and so to the Severn, with no more than eight miles of land-carriage.
It seems necessary," continues this great political writer, "to mention these different schemes, because it may become requisite to review and fix on one or other of them, at a future time, when, in consequence of some method to be hereafter explained, a communication shall be accomplished between Hull, Liverpool, and Bristol, as in that case some such communication by water will be necessary to maintain that intercourse between the midland counties and the capital, which is of great consequence."
It is almost superfluous to observe, that the communication, suggested by Doctor Campbell, is now accomplished; but by means, and in a course, very superior in every respect to t hose which were in the view of his mind, when such a grand, national project, was the subject of his acute and laborious investigation.
The scheme of forming a junction of the Thames and the Severn has been, for near two centuries, a favourite object of commercial projectors: and, among the inhabitants of that part of Gloucestershire which lies between the two rivers, there has long been a general, and, as it were, an hereditary expectation of that union which is at length completed: an undertaking which it is impossible for any patriot mind to consider or describe, without exulting in the mechanic skill, the enterprizing spirit, and expanding commerce of our country.
Mr. Pope, who, in his visits to Lord Bathurst at Cirencester, had often heard of this projected junction in every form and shape of colloquial discussion, mentions the circumstance, in a letter to the honourable Mr. Digby, dated in the year 1722 ; but rather as a matter of fanciful expectation than probable occurrence.
I could pass," says he, " whole days in only describing the future, and as yet visionary beauties that are to rise in these scenes, (Lord Bathurst’s woods at Cirencester) the palace that is to be built, the pavilions that are to glitter, and the colonades that are to adorn them:— nay more, the meeting of the Thames and the Severn, which, when the noble owner has finer dreams than ordinary, are to be led into each others embraces, through secret caverns of not above twelve or fifteen miles, till they rise and celebrate their marriage in the midst of an immense amphitheatre, which is to be the admiration of posterity an hundred years hence.
But till the destined time shall arrive that is to manifest these wonders, Mrs. Digby must content herself with seeing what is, at present, no more than the finest wood in England."
The time however is at length arrived, when the chief of these wonders, the union of the Thames and the Severn, is accomplished.
The execution of this grand work, which was considered by the poet as a fine dream, in the reign of George the First, was reserved, with others of various contrivance and utility, to augment the astonishing mass of real improvement, which distinguishes and adorns the era of his present Majesty.
After many unsuccessful attempts to make the Stroud-water river navigable, a canal had been formed under an act of parliament, obtained in the year 1775, from the Severn to Wallbridge near Stroud: and, in the year 1782, that very able and distinguished engineer, Mr. Robert Whitworth, was employed at the desne of several opulent and public spirited gentlemen, chiefly merchants of London, to form a plan and estimate of a canal to communicate with the Thames; and, in the following year, an act passed for carrying this patriotic and beneficial project into execution.
This navigable canal begins at Wallbridge, where the Stroud navigation ends, and proceeds to the immediate vicinity of Lech- lade, where it joins the Thames; taking a course of thirty miles seven chains and an half, exact measurement.
From Stroud to Sapperton, comprehends a length of seven miles and three hulongs, with a rise of two hundred and forty-one feet three inches; from Sapperton tunnel to Upper Siddington, including the hi ant h to Cirencester, nine miles eight chains and an half, and is peilectly level; and from Upper Siddington to the I hames near Lccldade, it continues a course of thirteen miles four furlongs and nine chains, with a fall of one hundred and thirty feet six inches: the general breadth of the canal is forty-two feet at the top, and thirty feet at the bottom.
In many places, where the ground is, to use the mechanical expression, a dead level, it is considerably wider; the banks and towing paths being made entirely with the soil dug from the canal.
The tunnel or subterraneous passage excavated beneath Sapperton-hill is nearly two miles and an half in length, being lined with masonry, and arched over at the top, with an inverted arch at the bottom, except in some few places, where it was practicable to make a regular excavation out of the solid rock.
The boats are twelve feet wide, and eighty feet in length; when loaded they draw four feet water, and are capable of carrying seventy tons.
This canal was executed in a most complete and masterly manner in the space of seven years.
Nor should it be omitted, that warehouses are constructed in every requisite station on its banks, with all necessary engines for lading and unlading, and a successive apparatus of lock-work, to remedy the various levels of the country through which it takes its course.


On the twentieth day of April, 1789, Mr. Clowes, the acting engineer, employed to conduct this important business by Mr. Whitworth, who was then engaged on the Forth and Clyde canal navigation in Scotland, passed through the tunnel, for the hrst time, at Sapperton, in a vessel of thirty tons burden; and, on the nineteenth of November, in the same year, the first vessel passed from the Severn to the Thames, in the presence of a large concourse of people, who came from all the adjacent parts of the country to behold and exult in a ceremonial, which was considered as the harbinger of inexpressible advantage to themselves and their posterity.
of the bridges that form the various passages over the canal, the principal is near the Thames-head, from whose springs, an engine, of great mechanic power, raises a very large body of water to supply the navigation : this bridge, with the adjacent buildings, the engines beyond it, and the spire rising from the embowered village of Kemble in the distance, combined with the accidental and varying accompaniments of the navigation, form an interesting and pleasant picture.
From thence the canal continues its course, and, having received another accession of water from the Churn, by means of the cut which branches olf to Cirencester, it proceeds by the town of Cricklade to its junction with the Thames at that spot, where we made a pause, to give the preceding account of this preeminent and splendid example of the inland navigation of our country.
This important junction is formed very near but a little below the village of Inglesham, about a mile above Lechlade.
A round tower, called the Wharf-house, which, with the adjoining bridge, is a very pleasing embellishment of the scene, has been erected here as a precautionary deposit for coals brought by the canal, in case the navigation should be at any time obstructed by the severity of frosts, or an accidental deficiency of water.
To form a right judgment of the importance of this canal, and the beneficial consequences which promise to arise from it to the nation at large, the commercial circumstances of the two rivers which it unites, require a more minute consideration than could be given, with propriety, in this place.
It may, however, be observed, that this canal communicates to the Thames, the ports of Bristol and of Wales ; in short, the whole trade of the Severn, and the numerous canals, which maybe considered as so many branches of that river, including a range of interior commerce that the mind cannot easily embrace.
It gives also to the Severn, which olfers another commercial object of great comprehension, a certain and secure communication with the metropolis.
But to suffer these splendid ideas to expand on this page, would be to anticipate the exulting records of those which are to come.
These volumes will give their own history; and that which will lie hereafter assigned to the Severn must speak for itself.
The Thames, therefore, will be no longer interrupted in its course, but proceed from the junction of the canal, in a bold meander, to the town of Lechlade, which is cheered with the prospect of those advantages it will derive from this grand improvement in the navigation of its native river.
Lechlade, or, according to the last historian of Gloucestershire, Leachlade, which is described byLeland to have been in his time, "a pratyold village, with a stone spire to the church," is now a small market town, in the south-eastern extremity of the county of Gloucester.
According to the monkish writers, it derives its name from Latin-lade, on the idle conceit of its having been the seat of a Latin university, at the time that Cricklade was celebrated for being a Greek school: these opinions are equally groundless, as the place naturally derives its name from the river Lech, which directs its course through the north side of the parish, and lanian, to empty, because it here falls into the Thames.
This stream takes its appellation from the British word lech , which signifies a stone, from the petrifying quality of its water.
It rises in the village of Hampnet, in the Cotswold country: from thence it passes by North-leach, a small market town in this county, and continuing its course between two small villages, to which it also gives their respective names, it loses its stream in the Thames a little below the place which is the present subject of description.
The parish church of Lechlade is dedicated to Saint Lawrence: it is large and handsome, with double aisles, supported by two rows of fluted pillars, and has a lofty spire which offers a pleasing object to the surrounding country.
It was entirely rebuilt by Conrad Ney, the vicar, with the assistance of the priory and the inhabitants of the place, in the reign of Henry the Seventh.
Richard Earl of Cornwall and Senchia his wife founded a small priory in this town, which was confirmed by Henry the Third, who gave to the brethren there the hermitage of Lovebury, in the forest of Whichwood, on condition that they should provide a chaplain, to celebrate a daily mass in that hermitage: it was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
Edward the Fourth, in the twelfth year of his reign, granted the patronage and advowson of it to his mother Ciceley, Duchess of York, with licence to change it into an incorporate chantry of three perpetual chaplains, to celebrate divine olfices daily at the altar of our Lady, in the church of Lechlade.
By the same deed, the king granted to John Twynnihoo of Cirencester, the liberty to found another chantry at the altar of Saint Blaise in the same church, for one perpetual chaplain, who was to be allowed a yearly rent of ten marks by the three chaplains already mentioned.
In the reign of Henry the Seventh, Underwood, dean of Wallingford, procured two of the three priests to be removed thither.
John Lece, the last incumbent of Blaise chantry, had a pension of five pounds in the year 1553.
It is a remarkable circumstance, that the manor and town of Lechlade were part of the dower of Catherine Queen of Henry the Eighth.
The Thames, at this place, is navigable for barges of fifty or sixty tons burden ; but the frequent deficiency of water in the summer, and the continual floods of the winter, have hitherto rendered tHe navigation of the river so uncertain as to deprive Lechlade of many advantages which it might be supposed to derive from its peculiar situation.
The gentlemen of the 1 liames committee have, indeed, already made several improvements in the upper part of the river, and the patriotic spirit, which, in defiance of expence and almost insurmountable difficulties, has completed the canal which unites the Severn and the Thames, promises to continue its zealous and indefatigable efforts to remove every existing impediment, or, by opening new channels, to facilitate the navigation between this place and the metropolis.
About half a mile below the town is Saint John’s bridge, which tradition reports to be among the most ancient structures of that kind on the Thames : it is of singular form, of great strength, and derives its name from the priory, part of whose lands are appro- priated to its repair: the road to London passes over it.
The spirit of improvement has already eased the navigation of the river, which, at this place, was liable to frequent obstruction, by a canal or cut, that has been made a little below the town, and takes its course in a parallel line with, and contiguous to, the main stream.
An handsome arch of stone is thrown over it, and forms a continuation of Saint John’s bridge.
From this place, the Thames takes an almost rectilinear course for about a quarter of a mile, when, making a bold sweep to the right, which olfers a pleasant view of the bridges, with the town and spire, of Lechlade, it again flows onwards beneath a bank, which receives a picturesque importance from Buscot church and parsonage; when, passing on through Buscot lock, it quits the open meads for a more secluded progress : and having been, from Inglesham, a boundary of Berkshire, it now for ever leaves its native Gloucestershire, and begins to mark the limits of the county of Oxford.


The only object which here solicits the attention is Buscot park, the seat of Mr. Loveden, finely situated on an eminence on the Berkshire side of the river: the house has been lately erected, is built of stone after an admirable design of its master, and combines, in a very superior degree, the convenience of domestic arrangement, the display of elegant apartment, and the taste of modern decoration.
The prospect it commands, comprehends a beautiful extent of country, which is bounded by the Coteswould hills beyond Cirencester, and continuing along Burford downs to Whichwood forest, ranges on over the woods of Blenheim; till the high ground of Cumner-hurst, in the immediate vicinity of Oxford, intercepts its further progress: at the same time this elegant edifice and its improvements olfer a very distinguished and ornamental object to the country that surrounds it.
The park, which is seen as a level lawn from the principal front of the house, falls behind it with a fine undulating surface, broken with frequent groups of trees to the plantation that forms the boundary of it.
For his own convenience, as well as that of the neighbourhood, Mr. Loveden has made a cut from the river, where he lands coals for nearly half the price per ton, which was paid for that essential article previous to the completion of the Thames and Severn canal.
Nor should it be neglected, in this place, to transmit to posterity, if these pages should reach it, a name to which posterity will have very important obligations.
It is, indeed, a grateful olfice of this work to mention Mr. Loveden, not only as a very active and zealous commissioner of the Thames navigation, but as a principal promoter of the canal which unites it to the Severn.
This gentleman was chairman of the first meeting held for the consideration of that important and patriotic scheme ; and not only encouraged it by his subscription, but, in his parliamentary capacity, gave it that assiduous attention, which was very material in procuring the legislative authority by which it was carried into execution.
—Nor will it surely be considered as a frivolous or intrusive addition to the arguments employed in the beginning of this work, to prove that the name of Isis, given to a part of this river, is of poetical invention, when it is here mentioned, that the title deeds of Mr. Loveclen's estates, in this very spot, whose earliest dates are in the twenty-ninth year of Edward the Fourth, describe the river which washes its banks, by the sole appellation of the Thames.
The river now flows gently on between the villages of Kelmscot and Eaton.
The former is in the county of Oxford, and affords the immediate view of a stone mansion which belongs to a family of the name of Turner.
It is the structure of a former period, embosomed in lolty elms, and bears the appearance of having known better days.
The ancient tower of the parish church rises beside it, above the verdant umbrage that surrounds an intervening inclosure, and gives an affecting solemnity to the sequestered scene.
Eaton presents a very different, and more distant object, on the opposite side of the river.
Its situation is on a gentle slope, with groups of trees scattered about it, in a manner which gives the charming spot such an appearance of modern improvement, as to disappoint the inquiry that finds it to be no more than an ordinary village.
The stream now continues in a devious and secluded course, with little or no variety, but such as it derives from the form and clothing of its banks, which frequently change their appearance from the sedge to the osier, and from the opening mead to the overshadowing alder.
At length, however, the high ground of Faringdon, and the elegant form of Faringdon-house, on the rise of it, break in upon the view, and continue to adorn it, with no interruption but from the intervening thickets of the adjacent meadows, till Raclcot- bridge presents an object, not only picturesque in its appearance, and curious from its antiquity, but peculiarly interesting from the relation it bears to historical circumstance.
It is recorded to have been the scene of a remarkable battle, fought in the year 1387, and in the reign of Richard the Second, between the Earl of Derby, afterwards Henry the Fourth, and Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland, in which the latter was defeated, and escaped with great difficulty, by plunging on horseback into the Thames, and swimming across it, at the hazard of his life.
d his bridge has three arches, and bears the aspect of great antiquity.
It affords a passage to the road from Burford to Faringdon; but, from a late improvement of the navigation, the stream, which Hows lazily beneath it, is now entirely deserted but by the fisherman, who, perchance, pursues his sport, or follows his occupation, in its unfrequented water.
—A cut was completed in the year 1787, which begins at a short distance from the bridge, winds round a meadow, and, after passing through an handsome stone arch which continues the road, soon rejoins the main current of the river.
Faringdon, or, as it is called in all old writings, Farendon, appears, at the distance of two miles, imbowered in trees: it stands on the slope of a stony hill, and is recorded by Leland to have had a market in his time, with one church, a chapel dedicated to the holy Trinity standing in the church-yard, and a chantry built by one of the Cheneys, ancestors of Lord Cheney, warden of the Cinque-ports in the reign of Henry the Eighth.
—01 the castle, which was demolished in the time of King Stephen, there were then no remains; and the house of Cistercian monks, which was founded on its scite, was, in the year subsequent to its foundation, made subordinate to the abbey of Beaulieu, in the New Forest, Hants; to support which the manor and hundred of Faringdon had already been granted by King John, November the second.
In the church is the tomb of Sir Edward Unton, knight of the garter, who was ambassador to France from Queen Elizabeth, where he rendered himself remarkable by sending the following curious challenge to the Duke of Guise.
—" For as much as in the lodging of the Lord Dumayne, and in public elsewhere, impudently and indiscreetly, and over-boldly, you spake ill of my sovereign, whose sacred person I, in this country, represent; to maintain both by word and weapon her honour, which was never called in question among people of honesty and virtue, I say you have most wickedly lied in speaking so basely of my sovereign; and you will do nothing but lie, whenever you shall dare to tax her honour.
Moreover, that her sacred person, being one of the most complete, accomplished, and virtuous princesses in the world, ought not to be evil spoken of by the malicious tongue of such a perfidious traitor to her law and country as you are: and, hereupon, I do defy and challenge your person to mine, with such manner of arms as you shall like or choose, be it on horseback, or on foot.
—Nor would I have you think that there is any inequality of person between us; I being issued of as great a race and noble house, in all respects, as yourself So, assigning me an indifferent place, I will there maintain my words and the he which I have given, and which you should not endure, if you have any courage at all in you.
If you consent not to meet me hereupon, 1 will hold you, and cause you to be held for the arrantest coward, and most slanderous slave that lives in France.
—I expect your answer."
Faringdon-house is now an elegant, modern edifice, built by Mr. Pye, the late representative, and whose father was a former representative, of the county in which it stands.
It is situate on the north side of the town, the view of which is happily intercepted by lolty elms and latter plantations.
It stands in a small park of fine, unequal ground, sufficiently sprinkled with wood, and from its northern front commands a very extensive prospect over the counties of Gloucester and Oxford.
In its ancient form, and during the time of the civil wars, it had a royal garrison; and was one of the last places that held out for the king; the brave tenants of it repulsing, with great loss, a large party of the parliament forces, just before the surrender of Oxford.
Sir Robert Pye, at that time the owner of the house, who had married the eldest daughter of Hampden, and was a Colonel in the parliament army, commanded this attack, in which the spire of Faringdon church was beaten down by the artillery.
In the immediate vicinity of the town is Faringdon-hill ; which claims particular attention, as it is not only a principal object of the prospect, and a distinguished feature of the country, while the river winds through several miles of the vale below it, but will re-appear, in the distant horizon, so far on our voyage as the woody slopes of Nuneham.
This eminence rises gradually from the vale of White-horse, which derives its name from the enormous figure of an horse cut in chalk on the side of an hill, and is supposed to be a memorial of a victory obtained by Alfred over the Danes, at Ashdown in this neighbourhood, AD 871.
Faring - don-hill commands the whole of this beautiful and interesting valley.
with an extensive prospect over part of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire, and is crowned with a small grove, which is a land-mark to the surrounding counties, being seen, at a great distance, in every direction.
This charming spot, with its wide spread expanse of various view, would claim somewhat more than general description from this work, il the muse of Mr. Pye had not snatched the fruitful subject from the attempts of prose, by delineating the beauties it owes to natuie, the lmprove- ments it has received from art, and the interest it derives from history, m a poem that bears its name.
With an high ridge of land, at some distance to the right, with Faringdon-hill rising beyond it, and a low, flat country to the left, (heThames continues its course from Radcot-bridge to Clarke’s, or Buck’s-weir, which, on a gentle turn of the stream beyond it, displays a charming little picture of rustic scenery.
These weirs, which are very frequent in the upper part of the Thames, and give a very pleasing variety to it, are artificial dams or banks, carried across the river, in order to pen up the water to a certain height, for the services of the mill, the fishery, and the navigation.
A large range of frame-work, which resembles tire railing of a bridge, rises from the bank below, and supports a number of small flood-gates, sliding in grooves, and connected with a sill in the bottom.
When these are drawn up, the whole body of the stream, being collected into a narrow space, rushes through with great rapidity, and gives a temporary depth to the shallows, or, by the power of the current forces the barges over them.
This machinery never fails, in a greater or less degree, to attract attention.
In its most simple state, it affords variety to the view, breaks the line of the river, produces some kind of waterfall, and gives activity and eddy to the current.
But these weirs are generally connected with various accessory and diversifying circumstances; the mill, the fisherman’s hut, or the cottage of the person who collects the toll, sometimes imbowered in trees, but always connected with them, heighten and vary the character of the scene.
When the river is high, the overfall of the water forms a large cascade: but, at all times, the upper stream forces its way; in some parts spouting through the apertures of the floodgates ; in others, fretting among the mossy timbers, or rushing over the aquatic plants that cling to the frame-work; and thus, broken into a thousand various rills, falls into the lower water, and continues the current of the river.
Clarke’s-weir is a very picturesque example of these necessary appendages to the upper division of the 1 hames navigation ; and possesses a full proportion, of the circumstances which have just been described:—a rude railing, contrived to support a range of flood-gates, stretches across the stream from a group of willows on one side, to a bank with two thatched habitations on theother: they are of singular form, and peculiar neatness, and would be called cottages, if the adjoining out-houses did not raise them to the character of small farms ; while other appertinent objects encourage the opinion that the inhabitants employ their industry in two elements; that their alternate occupations were to till the earth, and to fish the water.
It is a scene where the eye, tired with the glare of extensive prospect, is glad to repose; it is a spot that inspired the wish to stay and moralize;—but the stream bore us on its accelerated wave, to look again on the expansive view from which we had been too shortly separated; and took its course, with little variation of prospect, through Rushey, or Rudge’s-lock, to Tadpole, or Kent’s-weir.
At this place a strong bridge of one arch is thrown across the river, over which the road passes, that forms a communication, by the town of Bampton, between the London high roads through Faringdon to Cirencester, and through Burford to Gloucester.
Here, Buck- land, the charming seat of Sir John Throckmorton, attracts the eye, at the distance of about a mile on the Berkshire side of the Thames, and is a very enlivening feature of this part of the country.
It is situate on the summit of a steep woody bank, which is a continuation of a line of high ground that stretches on from Faringdon, and commands extensive views over the adjacent counties.
As this ridge approaches Buckland it assumes an uneven and broken surface, which affords almost the only view of arable cultivation, from the Thames-head to the city of Oxford.
The house is of stone, built after an elegant design of Mr. Wood, of Bath, and has, on a nearer approach, the appearance of a Palladian villa.
Its principal front is seen to great advantage from the Faringdon road; but the lolty trees, which cover the brow whereon it stands, obscure it, in a great measure, from the view of the vale, where its attic story is alone visible.
The river, which had for some time approached the rising ground of Berkshire, now turns at once into the low country, and meanders among meadows, whose boundaries are marked, in a very singular manner, by lines and groups of willows, which, if the soil would have admitted them to have been formed of trees of thicker foliage, would have given this spot the decorating appearance of a park.
It is, indeed, more than probable, that they were originally planted in their present form to enliven the view, and break the wide expanse of pasturage horn the grounds of Buckland.
The stream now lingers, for some distance, in the open country, and, from its winding course, gives various views of Faringdon-hill, Buckland woods, and Bampton spire, which is the only object that is seen to rise above the extensive level of Ox- fordshire, and for many a mile continues to enliven the very uninteresting part of the country where it stands.
Hampton is a market-town, about live miles to the north-west of Witney, with a large church, whose steeple is visible to a great surrounding distance.
It is a singular circumstance that its parochial tithes are divided between three portionists, who are all presented by the church of Exeter ; to which certain lands were given by Leolric, chaplain to Edward the Confessor, and first bishop of that see, about the year 1046.
This place possesses, however, another and far better distinction than the spire of its church, or the peculiarity of its ecclesiastical tenure; for it was the birth-place of John Phillips, author of the Splendid Shilling; a poem that has the rare merit of being original: and who will think it intrusive in us to repeat of the poet himself, in the language of his admirable biographer ?—" that he was a man, who bore a narrow fortune without discontent, and tedious and painful maladies without impatience; beloved by those who knew him, but not ambitious to be known."
— He died at Hereford before he had reached his thirty-third year, and was interred in the cathedral of that city, where there is an inscription over his grave.
A monument was afterwards erected to his memory by the Lord Chancellor Harcourt, in Westminster- abbey, with an epitaph, which, though commonly attributed to Dr. Friend, was the tribute of Dr. Atterbury, bishop of Rochester.
The small village of Chimley now appears on the left, in a marshy and unsheltered situation: and, as the stream winds, Hinton, an ancient seat of Mr. Loder, in Berkshire, or rather the trees that embosom it, is sometimes seen over the prow of the boat; it is then, for a short space, left behind, but soon re-appears in the form of a woody boundary to the right; continuing to enliven the prospect till the river resumes its solitary course.
It stands nearly on a line with, and at about the distance of two miles from, Buckland; but rises with a less abrupt ascent from a more extended length of meadows beneath it.
At Hinton are the remains of a Saxon castle, consisting of a mount, surrounded with a deep ditch : it is supposed to have been the site of a watch-tower or out-post, for the purpose of giving intelligence to the large camp of Cherbuiy, about two miles distant, in the vale of White-horse, towards the White- horse-hill.
The river now leaves the open country, and glides gently on through luxuriant meads, which would have olfered nothing to our view but their fringed borders and intervening verdure, had not the season of the hay harvest given all the variety of that pleasing spectacle of rural labour.
After passing several weirs, we came to New-bridge, a very ancient structure of six arches, over which the road passes from Abingdon to Witney.
It is curious to find that the account given by Leland of this place answers so minutely to the present appearance of it.
—" The ground al about Newbridge lyethe in low medows, olten overflowne by rage of reyne.
There is a large cawsye of stone at eclie end of the bridge.
1 he bridge itselfe hathe vi greate arches of stone, with a fayre nrylle a forow lengthe ol. ’'
Near this place the Windrush yields its waters to the Thames.
This little river rises near Guiting, in the Cotswold country, nineteen miles north-east of Gloucester, and then passes to Rourton on the Water, where, being joined by three considerable brooks, it forms an elegant serpentine canal, about thirty feet wide, flowing on, with an agreeable rapidity, beneath a very pretty stone bridge of three arches, through that charming village.
One of these streams proceeds from a spring, at the distance of about three miles, in the beautiful little valley of Eyeford, where there is a retired and delightful villa belonging to Mr. Dolphin of Staffordshire.
Much might be said of its sylvan beauty, contrasted with the bleak and naked lulls aiound it, were it not consecrated by a circumstance of higher interest, and more exalting character, having been the retreat of Milton, who, in a summer-house built over a cascade in the garden, composed a part of his immortal poem.
From Bourton, the stream steals quietly on to the pleasant village of Windrush, from whence it derives its name, and soon after reaches Great Barrington, whose quarry of free-stone furnished the materials for building Blenheim, and the last great repairs and improvement of Westminster-abbey, by Sir Christopher Wren.
It then heightens the beauties of Lord Dinevor’s park and handsome seat, in that parish, and, immediately entering Oxfordshire, continues its course to Burford; a place very generally known from its races on the neighbouring downs, which are said to afford a spot for that diversion scarcely inferior to the turf of Newmarket.
"Burford," according to the description of Leland, "is a market-town, three miles from Bruern, which had a Cistercian abbey, founded by Nicholas Basset m the year 1147.
Bewchamps, Erles of Warwick, were lordes of Burford, and also of the forest of Wich- wood.
Some say the Spencers had some dominion in it."
About the year 750, Cuthred, or Cuthbert, a tributary king of the West Saxons, unable any longer to bear the exactions of Ethelbald king of the Mercians, revolted, and giving him battle in a field near ibis place that still bears the name of Battle-edge, defeated him, and took his standard, which was distinguished by a painted representation of a golden dragon: to perpetuate which victory, a singular annual custom may be properly ascribed, and which Doctor Plot mentions as within memory in his time, on Midsummer eve; when the inhabitants of the town used to form a dragon and a giant, and carry them about with great merriment and festive shouting.
Here also, at the close of the seventh century, a council was held by the kings Etheldred and Berthwald, at which Aldhelm, abbot of Malmsbury, afterwards bishop of Shirburn, being present, was commanded to write against the error of the British church in the observance of Easter.
Henry the Second granted a charter to this town, which gave it all the privileges possessed at that time by the burgesses of Oxford; most of which it has since lost, and chiefly by the predominant power of Sir Laurence Tanfield, lord chief baron of the ex- chequer m the reign of Oiieen Elizabeth.
It, however, still letams the form of a corporation, having a common seal, and being governed by two bailiffs, and other olficers.
This town has a spacious street on the declivity of an hill, and is a place of great passage, from its situation on the high road between London and Gloucester.
The church is a large handsome building: the two n est doors are adorned with Saxon zig-zag, and the porch is of florid Gothic.
At the entrance of the churchyard are some ancient almshouses; and the vicarage house, which is opposite to them, rebuilt by Simon Wisdom an alderman of this place in the year 1579, discovers marks of still greater antiquity.
There was a small priory, or hospital, which, when the religious houses were dissolved, was valued at thirteen pounds per annum.
This place gave birth to Doctor Peter Heylin, author of the Cosmography, a work of great reputation in its day.
It was also the residence of the speaker Lenthal, who bought the estate and manor-house of Lord Falkland, and died here in the year 1662.
The seat and manor still belong to the family of Lenthal; and the house is very much visited, from the pictures it contains, which are supposed to have belonged to the collection of Charles the First, and brought by the speaker from Hampton-court.
Indeed, were there no other but the capital picture of the family of the Mores, the lover of the fine arts, and the admirer of those men who form a part of our country s glory, will find their visit well repaid.
From hence the Windrush continues its placid stieam; and, after a tranquil and secret course of about four miles, it passes by Minster Lovel, which some centuries ago was the seat of the Barons Lovel of Tichmersh, who long flourished in that place.
The family succession to it ended in Francis Viscount Lovel, chamberlain to Richard the Third, who was attainted by Henry the Seventh, and was afterwards slain at the battle of Stoke, while he was supporting the cause of the pretender Lambert.
The church of this place, according to Tanner, being given to the abbey Saint Mary de Ibreio, or Yvri in Normandy, by Maude, the wife of William Lovel, some time previous to the eighth year of the reign of King John, it became an alien priory of Benedictine monks, and a cell to that foreign monastery.
After the suppression of those houses it was granted to Eton college.
1 he priory was situated in a valley adjoining to the northern bank of the stream, at a small distance to the south of the parish church, and appears from its ruins to have been a large and elegant building.
The conventual church, and part of a gate, are all that now remain of it, except some of the monastic olfices, which are converted into out-houses, for the convenience of an adjacent farm.
It does not appear to be mentioned in Dugdale’s Monasticon; and Leland, in his Itinerary, speaks of it rather as a family mansion than a religious house :—" Mynster village, having the name of Lovell, some time lord of it.
There is an auncient place of the Lovells harde by the churche.
But Brown Willis, in his History of Abbies, gives a list of the priors, taken from the registers of Lincoln, which extend from the year 1259 to 1341.
This place gave the title of Baron Lovel to the late Earl of Leicester.
The river now proceeds by the village of Crawley, whose bridge of two arches is mentioned by Leland, and soon reaches Witney, or Whitney, a populous manufacturing town of the county of Oxford.
This place appears to have been of some importance even before the conquest, and was one of the eight manors given in the year 1040 by Alwin bishop of Winchester to his church, as an atonement for the charge brought against him and Queen Emma.
Bishop Blois.
in the year 1171, gave it to his new foundation at Saint Cross.
It was made a free borough by Edward the Second, and sent members to parliament till tlie thirty-third year of Edward the Thncl.
Leland mentions it as having, in his time, " a market, and a faire church with a pyramis of stone."
It consists of two streets, one of which is near a mile in length, and is terminated by a pleasant green, where, on a gentle rise, is seen an handsome church, that answers to Leland’s description ; and near it is an excellent parsonage house, built by that amiable man and elegant scholar, Doctor Ireind, the justly celebrated master of Westminster-school.
Wltney is the principal manufactory in the kingdom for blankets, employing a great number of people of both sexes and all ages in the fabric of that useful article, as well as other woollen goods, for home consumption and foreign exportation.
The superior whiteness of the blankets made in this place, is said to proceed from an obstersive, nitrous quality with which the water of the Windrush, used m scouring them, is supposed to be impregnated.
Having employed its current to turn the fulling-mills so necessary in this manufacture, that little stream hastens to finish its short but not unprolitable com se, at the spot where we have lingered awhile to trace and describe the progress of it.
From Newbridge the Thames becomes still more serene and sequestered.
Its banks are shaded with trees; the stream is tranquil, and no dwelling is seen beside it.
As the meadows aie always overflowed in winter, and subject to inundations in a rainy summer, the villages, to which they belong, are situated at a distance that renders them invisible from the water.
Fyfield is one of these villages, on the Berkshire side; and is selected from the rest as having been the birth-place of the learned and munificent Doctor l 1 ell, bishop of Oxford in the hist century.
On approaching Hart's weir, at the distance of somewhat more than a mile from Newbridge, the banks are so thickly planted, that the river appears to be passing through a wood, whose trees, extending their branches from either side, over-arch the water and form a sylvan canopy.
Here the Thames divides itself into one large and two lesser streams, forming as many islands; one of which is inhabited.
The weir stretches across from the meadow bank to these islands; and, at a short distance, on a retrospective view of the river, is a principal feature of one of those home scenes, which frequently afford a more complacent delight to the mind, and awaken a more pleasing solemnity of sentiment, than the wide expansive variety of distant prospect.
A range of flood-gates crosses (he larger current which pours through it in frothy agitation, while the diminutive streams, that divide the islands, tumble over their sluices in unbroken waterfalls.
The banks of tbe islands, which recede a little in the view, are planted with the willow and the alder, intermingled with forest trees of various kinds, which rise boldly above them.
Through the frame-work of the weir was seen a bright vapoury gleam, hovering, as it were, over the main channel of the river; while the thick overshadowing alders served to heighten the transient lustre that sparkled on the streamlets which poured down beneath them: at the same moment, the sickly green of the willows became grey from the brightness of the higher foliage, which, as it played in the breeze, received the glowing rays of a setting sun.
The near part of the scene was the whole expanded breadth of the river, where all was eddy and agitated current:—no sound was for some time heard, but from the rush of water; which, as we passed on, was succeeded by the dashing of the oar, the insect-hum of the evening, and the song of the nightingale.
Such a picture, where the rude contrivance of humble art is blended with simple objects of unadorned nature, at once turns the pensive mind from the business, the pleasures, and painted pomp of the world, " to find tongues in trees, books in the living brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing."
The river soon resumes a tranquil state, and sometimes proceeds in such an undeviating and unruffled course, as to bear the appearance of a garden canal.
Long beds of weeds frequently obstruct its progress, and, as olten, it possesses the transparency of a lake.
Fine luxuriant meadows are seen to the left, beneath the meagre foliage of full grown willows ; while the opposite banks olfer the contrast of a more steep and broken shape, thick and varied with different forms and hues, of the elm and the birch, the oak and the poplar.
In these scenes of apparent seclusion from active life, as our little boat passed gently down the stream, that was ruffled by no wave, and on whose banks no living form appeared, we were disposed to forget that it would soon bear us on to the seats of learning, that it would hereafter rellect the beauties of polished nature, and flowing on with an accelerated current by the abodes of royalty, and through the metropolis of the empire, would become white with the sails of commerce, and bear the navies of Great Britain to the sea.


Such, however, was the calm and rural appearance of the! harnes, till it brought us, in the course of a very few miles, to Langley weir; where, on a small island planted with fruit trees, a thatched cottage offers its repose and refreshment to the navigator of the river.
Here too we shall, for a short time, moor our bark, to visit the neighbouring mansion of Stanton Harcourt; a place, venerable from its antiquity, dignified from its possessors, classical as the scene ot Pope’s poetic studies, and dear to taste from the beautiful etchings of it by the present Earl of Harcourt, the bold and masterly freedom of whose execution would confer celebrity on the professional artist.


The ancient family of the Harcourts is descended from those of Normandy, of whom Sir Simon was appointed lord keeper of the great seal by Queen Anne in 1710; he was created a baron in 1711 ; in the following year he was appointed lord high chancellor of England ; in 1722 was raised to the dignity of a viscount, and died in 1727.
He was succeeded by his grandson Simon, who was raised to the earldom in 1749.
His lordship enjoyed the high offices of ambassador to France and lord lieutenant of Ireland, with other posts of great honour and consideration; and was succeeded in his titles and estates by the present Earl of Harcourt.
This ancient mansion, which with the manor has been in the family of the Harcourts near six hundred years, no longer appears in its former splendour.
The last lord preferred demolition to repair, and considerably lessened its spacious dimensions; but the present noble possessor, though the household gods of his family have long since been removed to the more lovely scenes of Nuneham, preserves, with a kind of pious veneration, the remains of their former abode.
The chapel, the kitchen, and the tower which the Muse of Pope has consecrated, still attract the curious and venerating attention of the traveller and the antiquary.
The chapel possesses the remote antiquity of the other buildings, though the time of their erection cannot be ascertained with any probable precision.
The interior part of this edifice, which was appropriated to the solemn service of domestic worship, is still entire, and the antique decorations of the ceiling preserve, in a great degree, their original form and appearance : it was adjoining the great hall, from whence there was a communication by a door opposite to the altar; over which was a window, enriched with stained glass, representing the various quarterings borne by the Harcourts, and also portraits of distinguished persons of that name, clad in warlike habits, and bearing on their shields and mantles the arms and crests of that ancient family.
But the painted glass has been removed with judicious care, to preserve it from the probable destruction of such an exposed and deserted situation.
In the tower are three rooms of about thirteen feet square, and over part of the chapel is a fourth; all of which are accessible by winding stairs of stone.
The uppermost of these rooms has acquired a very natural importance in the eye of literature, from being occupied as a study by Mr. Pope, who passed two summers at Stanton Harcourt, for the sake of retirement, while he was employed in the translation of Homer; the fifth volume of which admirable work he finished there, as appears by the following inscription of the poet himself, written evitli a diamond on a pane of red stained glass, which is preserved, with an hereditary sentiment, as a precious relic by the present Earl of Harcourt: In the year 1718, Alexander Pope finished here the fifth volume of Homer.
This place will also be considered with a still higher degree of interest and regard, when it is known, that the labours of the poet were sometimes relieved and enlivened by the social attentions of his friends Doctor Swift and Mr. Gay; who, at the same period, were occasional visitors at Cockthorp, another seat of the Harcourt family in this neighbourhood.
Nor did the inspiration of the Grecian muse, or the splendid fable of the Iliad elevate his mind above the real events of humble life which happened around him; he accordingly wrote the following epitaph on two village lovers, who were struck dead by lightning, during his residence at Stanton Harcourt.
The melan- clioly accident happened in a field near the house, while the young people were engaged in the occupations of the harvest.
" Near this place lie the bodies of John Hauet and Sarah Drew, an industrious young man and virtuous maiden of this parish, who being at harvest work (with several others), were, in one instant, killed by lightning the last day of July, 1718.
" Think not, by rig’rous judgment seiz’d, A pair so faithful could expire; Victims so pure Heav’n saw well pleas’d, And snatch’d them in celestial fire.
Live well, and fear no sudden fate; When God calls virtue to the grave, Alike ’tis justice, soon or late, Mercy alike, to kill or save.
Virtue unmov’d can hear the call, And face the flash that melts the ball."
Another and more poetic epitaph was originally written by Mr. Pope on the occasion.
Mr. Gay has recorded it in the following letter; in which, with his usual elegance and simplicity, he has described the affecting event that produced it.
Stanton Harconrl, Aug.
9 , 1718 .
" The only news that you can expect to have from me here, is news from heaven: for I am quite out of the world, and there is scarce any thing can reach me except the noise of thunder.
We have read, in old authors, of high towers levelled by it to the ground, while the humble vallies have escaped: but to let you see that the contrary to this olten happens, I must acquaint you, that the highest and most extravagant heap of towers in the universe, which is in this neighbourhood, stand still undefaced, while a cock of barley in our next field has been consumed to ashes.
Would to God that this heap of barley had been all that had perished! for, unhappily, beneath this little shelter, sat two much more constant lovers than ever were found in romance under the shade of a beech tree.
John Hewet was a well-set man of about five-and-twenty; Sarah Drew might be rather called comely than beautiful, and was about the same age.
They had passed through the various labours of the year together, with the greatest satisfaction: if she milked, it was his morning and evening care to bring the cows to her hand : it was but last fair that he bought her a present of green silk for her straw hat, and the posy on her silver ring was of his choosing.
Their love was the talk of the whole neighbourhood ; for scandal never affirmed that they had any other views than the lawful possession of each other in marriage.
It was that very morning that he had obtained the consent of her parents, and it was but till the next week, that they were to wait to be happy.
Perhaps, in the intervals of their work, they were now talking of their wedding-clothes, and John was suiting several sorts of poppies and field flowers to her complexion, to choose her a knot for the wedding-day.
While they were thus busied (it was on the last of July, between two and three in the afternoon) the clouds grew black, and such a storm of lightning and thunder ensued, that all the labourers made the best of their way to what shelter the trees and hedges afforded.
Sarah was frightened, and fell down in a swoon on an heap of barley.
John, who never separated from her, sat down by her side, having raked together two or three heaps, the better to secure her from the storm.
Immediately there was heard so loud a crack, as if heaven had split asunder: every one was now solicitous for the safety of his neighbour, and called to one another throughout the field : no answer being returned to those who called to our lovers, they stept to the place where they lay: they perceived the barley all in a smoke, and then spied this faithful pair: John, with one arm about Sarah’s neck, and the other held over her, as to screen her from the lightning.
They were struck dead, and stiffened in this tender posture.
Sarah’s left eyebrow was singed, and there appeared a black spot on her breast: her lover was all over black; but not the least signs of life were found in either.
Attended by their melancholy companions they were conveyed to the town, and the next day were interred in Stanton Har- court churchyard.
My Lord Harcourt, at Mr. Pope’s and my request, has caused a stone to be placed over them, upon condition that we furnished the epitaph; which is as follows: " When eastern lovers feed the fun’ral fire, On the same pile the faithful pair expire.
Here pitying Heav’n that virtue mutual found, And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
Hearts so sincere th’ Almighty saw well pleas’d, Sent his own lightning, and the victims seiz'd.
But my Lord is apprehensive the country people will not understand this, and Mr. Pope says, he will make one with something of Scripture in it, and with as little of poetry as Idopkins and Sternhoid."
Mr. Pope accordingly wrote the epitaph which has been already transcribed, and now remains on a mural tablet in the parish church, to record this interesting but melancholy event of village history.
Stanton Harcourt church can also boast a very superior example of sepulchral poetry from the same Muse.
Though the virtue of humble life may be regarded by the eye of Heaven with the same favour as that of noble station, human estimation and applause will ever be influenced by the cultivated state of great talents, and the extensive effects of eminent qualifications.
While, therefore, the fate of the rustic lovers may be read with a tranquil sympathy; a poignancy and elevating sensibility will be awakened in the virtuous mind, by the following epitaph on the honourable Simon Harcourt, only son of Lord Chancellor Harcourt, who died in the year 1720, at the early age of thirty-two years ; and whose pre-eminent character is thus faithfully delineated, by the lamenting genius of his poetic friend : " To this sad shrine, whoe’er thou art, draw near: Here lies the friend most lov'd, the son most dear: Who ne’er knew joy, but friendship might divide, Or gave his father grief, but when he died.
How vain is reason, eloquence how weak, If Pope must tell, what Harcourt cannot speak! Oh let lliy once-lov’d friend inscribe thy stone; And, with a father’s sorrows mix his own."
It must also be considered as an eminent distinction to this place, that the verse of Congreve, as well as Pope, should adorn it.
— 1 he following epitaph, inscribed on a mural monument, to the memory of Robert Huntingdon, Esquire, of Stanton Harcourt, and Robert his son, was written by Mr. Congreve : " This peaceful tomb does now contain Father and son, together laid ; Whose living virtues shall remain When they and this are quite decay’d.
What man should be, to ripeness grown, And finish’d worth should do, or shun, At full was in the father shown; What youth could promise, in the son.
But death, obdurate, both destroy’d The perfect fruit and op’ning bud: First seiz’d those sweets we had enjoy’d; Then robb’d us of the coming good.
In this church there are also several ancient and curious monuments ; among the rest is one in the south aile, which claims a very particular attention.
It is erected to the memory of Sir Robert Har- court and Margaret Byron his wife.
He was sent over to Rouen m Normandy, to receive Margaret of Anjou, queen of Henry the Sixth, in 1445 ; and for eminent services rendered to his sovereign and his country, both as a statesman and a soldier, he received the order of the garter about the year 1463.
He is lying in armour, with the mantle of the garter thrown over him.
His lady, who reposes by his side, is adorned also with the mantle of the order, and has the garter on her left arm, just above the elbow.
This is one of only three known examples of female sepulchral effigies decorated with the insignia of the garter.
One of them is in the church of Ewelm in the county of Oxford, of Alice, daughter of Thomas Chaucer, wife to William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk: the other of Constance, daughter oljolin Holland, Earl of Huntingdon and Duke of Exeter, first married toThomas Mowbray, Duke olNorfolk, and after to Sir JohnGray, knight of the garter in the reign of Henry the Fifth, and Earl olTan- kerville in Normandy.
The monument of this lady is in the collegiate church of Saint Catherine near the Tower, but entirely defaced.
Anstis olfers an opinion, but without assigning the reason on which it is founded, that not only the habit of the order was anciently delivered to the wives of knights of the garter, but that they were entitled to wear the grand ensign.
No such authority, however, is to be found in the statutes of the order, which have been preserved with great care.
It appears, therefore, to be most probable, that these ladies are indebted to the fancy and taste of the sculptor for such dignified ornaments; which, after all, afforded no improper allusion to the knighthood of their husbands.
Opposite to the monument already described, there is another to the memory of Sir Robert Harcourt, grandson to the former, and whose effigy reposes upon it.
He was standard-bearer to Henry the Seventh at the battle of Bosworth-field, and also sheriff of the county of Oxford.
In the same reign he was made a knight of the bath, at the creation of Henry Duke of York, afterwards Henry the Eighth.
These monuments are in very good preservation, and, from the restoring care of the present Lord Harcourt, they promise long to remain A ery curious examples of our ancient monumental sculpture, as well as of the personal decorations and habiliments in use at their respective periods.
The old kitchen at Stanton Harcourt, is one of those ancient buildings erected without chimnies, which were not, in former times, so generally used as at present: many instances of kitchens and great halls, without chimnies, frequently occurring in the accounts of ancient edifices.
Leland, in particular, mentions an extraordinary contrivance used for smoke in the great Hall of Bolton- castle in Yorkshire.
—" One thinge I muche notyd in the haulle of Bolton, how chimeneys were conveyed by tunnels made on the syds ot the wauls bytwixt the lights in the haull; and by this meanes, and by no covers, is the smoke of the harthe in the liawle wonder strangly convayed."
Doctor Plot, in his History of Oxfordshire, gives the following remarkable description of this building: " Amongst these eminent private structures (in the county of Oxford) could I find nothing extraordinary in the whole; but in the parts, the kitchen of the right worshipful Sir Simon Harcourt, knight, of Stanton Harcourt, is so strangely unusual, that by way of riddle, one may truly call it either a kitchen within a chimney, or a kitchen without one: for below it is nothing but a large square, and octangular above, ascending like a tower; the fires being made against the walls, and the smoke climbing up them, without any tunnels, or disturbance to the cooks; which, being stopped by a large conical roof at the top, goes out at loop-holes on every side, according as the wind sits ; the loop-holes at the side next the wind being shut with falling doors, the adverse side opened."
This kitchen is a large, square, and lolty building, remarkable for its form, and the singularity of being without a chimney.
A winding staircase of stone in the turret, leads to a passage round the battlements, from whence there is a commanding prospect of the adjacent country; and beneath the eaves of the roof are shutters, that lift up to give vent to the smoke.
According to antiquarian conjecture, it is of a more ancient construction than the other parts of the edifice.
Doctor Littleton, the late bishop of Carlisle, entertained the opinion, that it was repaired, and the present windows added, about the reign of Henry the Fourth ; their form and style appearing to be such as those in use at that period.
Indeed, the remains of an arch in the wall above, evidently prove that some alteration has been formerly made in the building.
In the parish of Stanton Harcourt, there are certain large stones called the Devil's coits ; but why so named, does not appear to have been suggested by any writer on British antiquities.
Doctor Plot supposes that the neighbouring barrow was a sepulchral monument of the Saxons, and that the stones were raised for the Britons who were slain when the adjacent town of Ensham was taken from the latter by Cuthwolf the Saxon.
That place, being afterwards a Saxon frontier garrison, was olten infested by (he Britons, so (hat there is sufficient reason to conjecture that these stones, as well as the barrow, were of sepulchral origin.
Doctor Plot describes them to be about eight feet in height, and seven feet broad at the base.
of these stones two only are remaining, the third, accordingto traditionary information, was taken away to make a bridge.
As for the barrow, that exists no more.
The removal of it was begun by a former tenant of the spot several years since; but when about one half of the business was completed, the whole town was alarmed by a most violent storm of rain, thunder and lightning, which caused the labourers to desist from (lie work, and operated with a superstitious influence against (he renewal of it.
The remaining half of the barrow continued till within these few years, when the present tenant o( the premises had permission to remove it; and the entire removal was soon accomplished, without any vindictive interference of the elements.
We could not learn that in this barrow any vestiges of inhumation were discovered.
From this interesting excursion to Stanton Harcourt we return to Langley-weir, with whose simple scenery the eye of the reader will have already become acquainted, from the accurate representation of the opposite page.
The country still retains, to the left, its former level appearance; but to the right, which affords also the novelty of arable cultivation, it spreads in a very gentle rise of about a mile to a range of uplands, prettily fringed with wood.
Cumner Hurst, a very elevated spot, distinguished at a great surrounding distance by its clump of trees, with the edge of the Witham woods sweeping down to the vale, forms the Berkshire distance: from thence the eye sinks at once on the Oxfordshire banks of the river, where no objects appear but such as nature has planted there; unless the solitary angler should, perchance, give a living form to animate the scene.
From hence the Thames proceeds in a less sequestered course, but with little variety of prospect, till the bridge of Ensham presents itself to the view.
It is an elegant structure of stone, consisting of three arches which stretch across the stream, and are supported by several lesser ones on each side, to raise the turnpike road from Oxford to Gloucester, that passes over the bridge, above the interruption of floods in a rainy season.
It was built, about seventeen years since, by the Earl of Abingdon, who erected at the same time, on the Berkshire side of the river, a very spacious and handsome mansion, with every proper accommodation for an inn; but it has never yet been occupied for that or any other purpose, and remains in a state of inutility and neglect.
At a short distance the village of Ensham, or Einsham (Saxon Eignej'liam) appears, with its Gothic tower rising dimly among the trees of the surrounding inclosures.
The ancient historians make mention of it as a place of some consequence at a very remote period ; so far back even as the reign of Ethelred.
Cuthwolf the Saxon first took it from the Britons, and made it a frontier garrison.
A Benedictine abbey was afterwards built and endowed in it by Aethelmar, or Ailmer, Earl of Cornwall and Devonshire, to the honour of the blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Benedict, and All Saints ; which foundation was confirmed by King Ethelred, in the year 1005.
About the time of the conquest it was left almost desolate, and given by Renugius, bishop of Lincoln, to the monastery of Stow in Lincolnshire; but restored and greatly augmented on the removal of the abbots and monks of Stow hither; as well as by the lands which Robert Bloet, bishop of Lincoln, in the beginning of the reign of Henry the First, gave at this place in exchange for Newark and Stow.
This monastery was valued, in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth, at four hundred and twenty-one pounds sixteen shillings and a penny: some inconsiderable ruins of it are still remaining.
Ensham was anciently a royal vill, and the seat of a council, which King Ethelred held by the advice of Alphege and Wulstan, archbishops of York and Canterbury, when many decrees, both ecclesiastical and civil, were enacted.
Doctor Plot mentions an ancient and very singular custom belonging to the royalty; by which the towns-people had the privilege, on Whitsun Monday, to cut down and bring away, wherever the churchwardens were pleased to mark it out by giving the first chop, as much timber as could be drawn by men s hands into the abbey yard; from whence, if they could draw it out again, in opposition to the endeavours of the abbey servants to retain it, they were to keep it for the necessary repairs of the church.
Since the dissolution of the religious houses, this custom was continued in the court of the lord of the manor; and has been supposed by some to have been necessary to maintain the rights of Lammas and Michaelmas commonage.
The historian of Oxfordshire, who gives the foregoing account of this absurd practice, mentions the very sensible abolition of it.
A little below Ensham-bridge is the influx of the river Evenlode.
It rises in a parish of the same name in Worcestershire, and passing through the south-east corner of Gloucestershire, enters Oxfordshire ; when after a devious, but rather obscure, course, in which it turns the mill and fertilizes the meadows of many a v illage on the southern side of that county, it loses itself in the I hames.
We cannot, however, pass unnoticed the antiquities of Stonesfield, or Stunsfield, a village near Blenheim park, which is refreshed by the waters of this little river.
At this place was found, in the year 1711, by peasants who were ploughing m a field, called Chest-hill Acre, and on a rising ground, about half a mile from the Akeman-street way, an entire Roman pavement: it was thirty-five feet in length, and twenty in breadth, and not more than two feet under the earth, but was covered with burned wood and corn.
It was divided into two compartments, enriched with various borders of singular beauty, and displaying seven different colours; white, black, yellow, red, blue, purple, and tawney.
In the middle of one of these compartments, inclosed in a ciicle, was the figure of Apollo, or Bacchus, holding a thyrsus in his left, and elevating a flagon in his right hand, and bestriding a tiger, or dragon.
The centre of the other compartment was square, containing vaiious devices regularly placed, and uniformly answering to each other.
On its demolition by the country people, who refused to pay for seeing it, or by the farmer whose rent had been raised on that consideration, large fragments were dispersed among the neighbouring villages ; so that there are, at this time, but small remains of it.
An engraving of this considerable piece of antiquity is to be found in Mr. Hearne’s discourse prefixed to the eighth volume of Leland’s Itinerary.
In 1779, a discovery was made adjoining to this spot of three other areas of different dimensions, and above the least of them, which was twelve feet square, was an hypercaust of brick; and at one corner of it a bath, six feet four inches long, five feet four inches broad, and three feet deep, with leaden pipes in the sides, covered with plaster painted of a reddish colour.
The three rooms had beautiful pavements, adorned with various figures and devices, which have been in a great measure demolished, or removed.
The foundation walls went down to the solid rock.
Considerable masses of these pavements are, however, preserved by Mr. Walker of Hen- sington, and correct drawings of the whole have been made by Mr. Lewington of Woodstock, which are now in the possession of the society of antiquaries.
Hearne, among other ingenious and illustrative conjectures concerning these antiquities, is of opinion, that Stuns- fielcl was the residence of some Roman general under Theodosius, about the year 307, whose hall, or tent, was decorated with these ornamental tessellations.
Though we by no means design to controvert the opinion of that respectable antiquary, we shall, however, venture to observe, that as, according to Vitruvius, the Romans used to adorn their houses with these curious pavements, there is just as much reason to suppose them to have belonged to a private residence, as to a military pavilion.
For great part of four hundred years the Romans occupied this island, in a state of peace and tranquillity; and a colony so fertile, and abounding in beautiful situations, must have been inhabited by many Roman adventurers, who migrated here with their families, and built villas or country seats, where they lived in some degree of taste and elegance.
Agricola introduced the architecture of His country into this island: it is therefore by no means improbable that Britons of rank might have built houses in the Roman fashion: but, according to the sarcastic, and very just observation of Doctor Thomas Warton, whenever we speak of the Romans in Britain, we think of nothing but hostility and rapine.
Roman coins, from Vespasian to the lower empire, have also been found in tills place, with fragments of earthen vessels, burned bones of men and animals, melted lead and iron, and various masses of calcined matter: indeed, the vestiges are very numerous which prove that the Romans were stationed in this part of the country.
About three miles from the spot where the Evenlode enters the Thames, it receives the waters of the Glym; a rivulet whose name would not have been found in this volume, but from its course through Blenheim park; where the splendid taste of the Duke of Marlborough has given it a form and an extent, which rivals the finest parts of the principal rivers of the kingdom.
This stream comes from the northern side of Oxfordshire, and dividing the village of Kiddineton, which derives no common celebrity from the historical description of Doctor Thomas Warton, it passes through a succession of willowed meadows, till it reaches the town of Woodstock.
Woodstock (Saxon, Wuoej-toc), or woody place, boasts a very remote antiquity.
Ethelred, who began bis l'eign in tlie year 866, held there an assembly of the states; and Lambard, in his Collection of ancient Laws, recites several statutes which were then enacted.
Doctor Plot mentions, on the authority of a manuscript in the Cottonian library, that Alfred translated P>oelius, de Consolatione Philosophise, during his residence at this place; and about the time when he is supposed to have founded the university of Oxford.
In the Doomsday-book, which was formed in the eighteenth year of William the Conqueror, Woodstock appears to have been a borough, and that its demesnes were afforested.
Here Henry the First built a magnificent and royal mansion, and added to it a spacious park, inclosed with a stone wall, which, according to William of Malms- bury, he furnished with various uncommon animals, procured at a great expence from foreign princes.
John Ross speaks of it as the first of that kind of inclosure which was made in England : though the parca sylvcstris bestiarum, a woody park for wild beasts, occurs more than once in the Doomsday-book: and as the chase was not only a principal source of recreation, but an appendage of magnificence to our kings and great men, before the time of Henry the First, there is sufficient reason to conjecture, that domestic inclosures of this description were frequent, either as places of amusement, as nurseries for game, or as forming a part of the dignity of donjain, at a far more early period.
In this palace Henry the Second frequently resided; and it was there he received the homage of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and Rice, Prince of Wales, in 1164 ; and conferred the honour of knighthood on Jefferey, surnamed Plantagenet, his second son by the Fair Rosamond.
The nuptials of William King of Scotland with the Lady Er- mengarde, daughter of Richard Viscount Beaumont, whose mother was an illegitimate child of Henry the First, were also celebrated there in 1186, with great magnificence and royal festivity, during four sue- cessive days.
At this place Edmund second son of Edward the First, afterwards Earl of Kent, and Thomas the fifth son of Edward the Third, created Duke of Gloucester, were born, and were thencenamed of Woodstock.
It, however, derives a far higher honour, and more illustrious consideration, from having been the birth-place of that heroic and immortal prince, die eldest son of Edward the Third.
The gatehouse of this palace was likewise the scene of that cruel imprisonment to which the inexorable Mary devoted the Princess Elizabeth her sister; who, when she ascended the throne, made it a place of her residence, and was otherwise a great benefactress to the town of Woodstock.
The apartment in which she suffered confinement was in a perfect state in the early part of the present century; with its original arched roof of Irish oak, curiously carved, painted blue, sprinkled with gold, and, to the last, retaining its name of Oueen Elizabeth’s chamber.
Here the princess was guarded with unremitting vigilance, though sometimes suffered to take the air in the gardens of the palace.
" In this situation," says Holinshed, " no marvell if she, hearing upon a time out of hir garden at Woodstocke a certain milkmaide singing pleasantlie, wished herself to be a milkmaide as she was, saying that her case was better, and her life merrier."
Fuller, in his Worthies, published since the restoration, calls it a fair building: it does not, however, appear to deserve that character, if we may judge from the print in the first volume of Oueen Elizabeth's Progresses, taken from a drawing made in the year 1714.
Nor can it be supposed to deserve that description, when we consider that it was besieged and suffered very much in the civil war.
The furniture was afterwards sold, and the buildings portioned out by Cromwell, or his agent, to three different persons; two of whom, about the year 1G52, pulled down their portions for the sake of the stone : the third suffered his part to stand, which consisted of the gatehouse that has been already mentioned as the prison of the Princess Elizabeth, and some adjoining ruinous buildings.
After the rebellion, Lord Lovelace converted this gatehouse into a dwelling-house, and made it the place of his residence for several years.
As to the neighbouring ruins, there were persons lately living who remembered a noble porch, and some walls of the hall, the walls and magnificent windows of the chapel, with several turrets at regular distances from each other, and the vestiges of many of the apartments.
Sir John Vanbrugh, while Blenheim castle was building, shewed his taste in employing two thousand pounds to preserve the remains, such as they were: but, on the suggestion of Lord Godolphin, that a pile of ruins in the front of so line an edifice was an unseemly object, Sarah Duchess of Marlborough ordered all the old buildings, and the gatehouse among the rest, to be entirely demolished and erazed.
Two sycamores were planted, to mark the spot where the magnificent palace once stood, and are still seen to flourish, at a small distance from the bridge.


The manor and park continued in the crown till the fourth year of the reign of Queen Anne; when her majesty, with the concurrence of parliament, granted the honour and manor of Wood- stock and hundred of Wooton to John Duke of Marlborough and his heirs, to reward and perpetuate, according to the language of the act, his eminent and unparalleled services to his country.
This grant, with the palace erected at the public expence, and the provision made for its support, form the noblest example of national gratitude and merited reward, that is recorded in the annals of Europe.
But while we mention the names, and speak of the events that are connected with the history of Woodstock, we feel an interesting claim upon us to consider the fortune and the fate of the lovely Rosamond.
—" Our historians relate," says Camden, " that Henry the Second became enamoured of Rosamond Clifford, (a lady of such exquisite beauty as to drive all other women out of the prince’s of the world.
) and in order to conceal her from his jealous consort, built in his palace a labyrinth, with the most intricate turnings and windings, backwards and forwards, now entirely gone.
The events which are recorded of this lady’s life, blended as they are with fabulous story, must be reserved for a future and not very distant page, whose office it will be to describe the small remains of Godstow nunnery, the place of her burial.
We shall, therefore, confine our narration, at present, to the only local circumstance which is here connected with her name.
It is a large, clear, and beautiful spring, immemorially known by the appellation of Fair Rosamond s well; and several persons, not long since dead, are said to have declared their remembrance of an apartment over it.
This fountain rises in a small dell on the verge of the great water, a little below the bridge in Blenheim park, and is adorned in a manner most happily suited to the interesting character of the scene.


To engage in a minute inquiry concerning the tradition, that this spring originally formed a bath for the unfortunate lady whose name it bears, would be an idle, and, indeed, an unsentimental waste of criticism.
The popular history of Fair Rosamond has been woven into romance, is the subject of ancient ditty, and has occupied the modern stage; nor is there any thing either unnatural or improbable in the principal circumstances which are said to compose it.
That a young monarch should become enamoured of transcendent beauty; and that the tenderness or the vanity of the female heart might render it an easy conquest to a royal lover, are events, which it requires but little knowledge of the human passions to consider as of the most natural occurrence.
That the deserted or neglected queen should feel the resentful pangs of jealousy at such an infringement of her conjugal rights, and that, with her violent temper and active mind, she should meditate revenge, is so true to nature, that the understanding meets it with a willing belief.
Nor is it less credible, that, during the absence of the enamoured monarch, engaged in distant wars, she should let loose her impatient revenge on the unhappy object of her jealous fury.
Nothing surely can be found in these circumstances of the story to check belief; and there is every thing in its catastrophe to call forth those emotions of pity, which at once pain and please the tender heart.
The bard of former times has sung the fate of Rosamond; and it is, perhaps, to his unpolished muse that we are chiefly indebted for the bowl which concluded it, as well as the mazy labyrinth that was formed, but formed in vain, to protect her from it.
Her story is to be found among those ancient ballads which composed so much of the poetry, and no small part of the vulgar history, of the times when they were written.
Popular belief, which incuriously rests on popular traditions, has continued to embrace, with equal reliance, the facts as well as the machinery of these ditties; and leaves the task of separating the one from the other to those solemn inquirers, who, superior to sentiment and disdainful of nature, never fail to disbelieve where authority is silent.
We shall consider it, however, as a natural transition from circumstance to belief, when we represent the fountain which flows perennial on the site of the palace, recorded to have been the habitation of Rosamond, as having furnished the beverage of her table, supplied the cistern in which she bathed, or formed a crystal mirror that sometimes reflected her charms.
But should this spring he thought to be too fanciful a source of moral influence ; if it cannot be supjrosed that the fair one who beholds it, may seriously reflect on the fate of fallen beauty, or that the youth, as he stands on the margin, may shudder at the crime of seduction;—stdl, as it possesses a certain traditional power to turn, awhile, the attention of the traveller from the splendid water that flows by it; and to awaken those tender sympathies, which if they exist but for a moment, for that moment improve the heart; we cannot but wish to consider it as having administered to the service of the distinguished beauty from whom it derives its name.
Camden observes, with a churlish quaintness, that the town of Woodstock, having nothing to shew of itself, boasts of giving birth to Geolfrey Chaucer.
That he resided there is universally acknowledged: and a very authoritative tradition makes the site of his house to be at the right angle of the area, before the triumphal gate which forms an entrance into Blenheim park.
But his own testimony decides that he was born in London.
In his Testament of Love, he calls himself Londenois, a Londoner; and in the same work, he speaks of London as the place of his engendruer, or nativity.
It is, however, greatly to the honour of the inhabitants of this place, which has been the residence of kings, and given birth to princes, that they should contend, as an additional honour to their town, that it was the birth-place of a man whose chief distinctions were those of intellectual nature, and whose genius alone has transmitted his name to the veneration of posterity.
Woodstock is a borough town, governed by a mayor, aldermen, and common-council, and has sent two burgesses to parliament since the thirtieth year of Edward the First.
It is indebted for certain franchises and immunities to the several monarchs who occasionally resided there; but in a particular manner to Queen Elizabeth, who honoured it with her peculiar favour.
For an handsome town- hall, and a new church with a very elegant tower, Woodstock is grateful to the munificence of the present Duke of Marlborough.
Its well known manufactory of steel, so remarkable for the superior brilliance of its polish, was established there by an ingenious watchmaker in the early part of the present century.
In the year 1755, in pulling down some old houses at New Woodstock, called King John’s Cottages, formerly the endowment of a chantry, dedicated to Saint Margaret, in Woodstock church, several Roman coins were found; particularly two of Vespasian, very fair and fresh, with judaea capta on the reverse.
King John founded this chantry in the year 1210, endowing it with several houses, and thirteen cottages at Woodstock, for one priest to celebrate mass for Ids soul.
It was afterwards granted to the corporation of the town by Queen Elizabeth.
We must now return to the river Glym, whose penurious stream is so soon transformed into the finest ornamental water of Great Britain; which covers a surface of two hundred and fifty acres, enriches by its splendid course a park of twelve miles in circumference, and reflects, as it flows, the bold expansive brow that bears the magnificent palace, which crowns the proud domain.


The entrance to Blenheim park from Woodstock is through an inclosed area, one side of which is occupied by a magnificent Corinthian portal, in the form ola triumphal arch, raised by Sarah Duchess ol'Marlborough to the memory of the Duke her husband.
On entering the park from this outer court, or vestibule, rvhose walls exclude every external object, there is the finest burst of magnificent prospect that art has ever produced.
It is not a transition from nothing to something, but from nothing to every thing.
The castle in the opposite distance, the intervening lawn skirted by stately groves; the beautiful extent of water, with the superb bridge that stretches across, and the wood that rises beyond it; the lolty column, and vast expanse of verdure, finely varied with plantations, and enlivened with flocks of sheep and herds of deer, are the principal features of a scene, where art, under the influence of munificent taste, has clothed rural nature in a sumptuous but appropriate apparel, which no other place can boast.
In short, it may be said, without the least tendency to fulsome exaggeration, that Blenheim, which was granted by the nation as an honour to its first noble possessor, is become, by the splendid improvements of his living descendant, an honour to the nation.
Sir John Vanbrugh has long been the subject of censure, both serious and epigrammatic, for the form and decorations of the immense structure which he designed and completed.
That the architect considered it as a monument of national gratitude to the hero who had raised his country to the summit of glory, and, therefore, gave it a monumental strength and durability, has been an apology made by those, who did not possess the requisite judgment to form a right estimation of the stupendous work.
This princely pile is constructed on a plan of the most perfect regularity; and though its various parts may not have been governed by the rules, or its proportions regulated by the scale, of Palladian science, they produce notwithstanding, in their combined state, a magnificent whole, which finds no rival, under that idea, in any of our largest edifices, whose form and decorations are strictly conformable to the symmetry and designs of the Greek and Roman architecture.
Nor do we fear to hazard an opinion; that the eye, which descends from the general effect of this superb effort of Vanbrugh’s genius, to rest upon minute and distinct defects, does not belong to a frame that is animated by a comprehensive mind.
The interior arrangement of the house corresponds with its external grandeur.
Its rare collection of pictures, especially those of Reubens, which are no where seen in this country in such prolusion and excellence, with its invaluable library, and other associate circumstances of magnificence, are sufficient to enrich a volume; nor can we duly express our regret, that the order of this work obliges us to submit to so general a mention of them.
A lawn of large dimensions expands in front of the castle, stretching forward to an abrupt valley which winds across the park.
In the bottom the little river Glym took its humble course, over which was thrown a magnificent bridge of a single arch, whose span is superior to that of the Rialto at Venice, and appeared to be placed as a mere communication between the opposite sides of the valley, till Mr. Brown gave it its true character, by forming the water which fills the arch, and is divided by it.
At the distance of about half a mile from the house, beyond the bridge, and in a line with both, is a triumphal column, one hundred and thirty feet in height; a stately trophy, which adds to the grandeur of the scene.
The top is crowned by the statue of John Duke of Marlborough, and on three sides of the pedestal are inscribed the acts of the British parliament which settled on him and his heirs this superb domain.
On the side facing the castle, his character is delineated and his actions recorded in an inscription, supposed to have been written by Lord Bolingbroke.
Beyond the column, a vista of great length stretches on to the northern boundary of the park.
The Roman road, called Akeman-street, traverses this vista from east to west, and may be distinctly traced near the north lodge.
The most elevated spot in the park, and which commands an extensive prospect, is that of the high lodge.
But while the eye is here delighted with what it views from the building, the heart cannot but be affected at the information, that it was not only the residence of the witty and prolligate Earl of Rochester, but the scene of his last hours.
Here, according to bishop Burnet, he closed, and we hope, atoned for, a life of extreme dissipation and immorality by the most affecting remorse and livefy penitence.
But, after all, the water is the capital feature and principal object of Blenheim: it adorns, enriches, enlivens, and connects the whole.
When this vast edifice stood on the steep of a chasm; when the enormous bridge stretched across it to form a communication between its opposite sides; when the wood sunk down into a rushy hollow; when the rivulet took its diminutive and almost invisible course where it now wears the form of a mighty river; what was Blenheim ? It was always grand, but its magnificence was cumbrous, and excited no pleasure, but as a monument of national glory ; while it never failed to call forth the disapprobation of the critic, and the sarcasm of the witty.
It is indeed a very singular circumstance, but no less true, that when elegant taste was yet attached to large and unwieldy forms, Blenheim was so universally condemned for its massive heaviness, and irregular proportions, as to become proverbial for the extravagant waste of stone employed in its erection; while, at the present period, when taste has run into the contrary extreme of frippery and liligrane, Blenheim has not only apologists, but admirers, among men of science and elegance; and its imposing magnificence awakens no other sentiments but those of admiration and delight.
This general change of opinion has been solely produced by the water.
The steeps of the chasm are converted into the bold shores of a noble river; the bridge has acquired a proper character from the flood which fills its stupendous arch; the scanty stream, assuming the united forms of a river and a lake, covers the naked hollow through which it once took its puny course, and, by reflecting, gives a more distinguished character to, the wood, which falls down in easy slopes to the margin of it.
Thus Blenheim is cleared of all its former rude, huge, and disjointed parts, and is lightened, by the combining power of the water, into an unrivalled display of magnificent beauty.
Minute description would degrade the splendid scenery; and though a general delineation of the component circumstances will give but an imperfect idea of it, we shall attempt no more.
To be conceived, it must be seen; and the reader who has beheld it, will peruse the following page with all the dissatisfaction of the writer of it.
The water of Blenheim is chiefly supplied by the little river G1 ym, which retains its original direction, though enlarged into the The Thames now flows on, with the Witham woods to the right, which accompany the river, for a short distance, with a fine display of forest scenery to its very banks, when they gradually retire to the hilly grounds which they adorn.
To the left is a flat open country, whose principal object is the spire of Cassington church rising from the trees which inibower the village.
The stream, after a course of two miles, with here and there an islet covered with osiers, makes a sudden bend to the right, when the Witham woods are seen in a new and more extensive character.
Another mile brought us to the sight of Godstow bridge, an ancient and no unpleasing fabric of three arches; and through whose central arch the stately turret of Christ church is alone seen of all the Oxford edifices, in a very unexpected and peculiar perspective.
Having passed the bridge, on the Berkshire side of the river, and contiguous to it, are seen the very scanty ruins of Godstow nunnery; a place which interests the antiquary, the poet, and the moralist, but is now become a very barren subject for the painter; as there are few or no remains, but a small chapel and some exterior walls, which serve only to mark tire ample space it occupied when it was the seat of monastic sanctity.
The nunnery of Godstow, or place of God, was founded in the latter end of the reign of Henry the First, at the instance of Editha, Edwa, or Ida, a very pious and devout lady of Winchester, the widow of a knight named Sir William Lamelyne.
According to legendary information, she was commanded, by a vision, to repair to a place near Bisney, where a light from heaven should appear to her, and there erect a religious house for pious votaries of her own sex.
John of Saint John, Lord of Wolvercote and Stanton, gave a certain piece of ground for the site of the projected edifice; and the Lady Editha was assisted likewise by the liberal contributions of many other devout persons; so that she was very soon enabled to complete a convent of Benedictine nuns, which was consecrated in the year of our Lord 1138, to the honour of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist.
The latter patron might, perhaps, have been added as a mark of respect to Sir John Lord of Wolvercote, a distinguished and primary benefactor.
The ceremony was performed, with great solemnity, by Alexander bishop of Lincoln, in the presence of King Stephen and his Queen, Prince Eustace, the archbishop of Canterbury, and six other bishops, with a large and honourable company of the principal nobility; who, with a pious generosity, contributed largely to the new foundation.
Albericus bishop of Ostia, the Pope’s legate, then in England, released to these illustrious benefactors one year of enjoined penance; and granted, moreover, a remission of ■forty days in every year to all those who should, with a true spirit of devotion, visit the church of this house on the days of Saint Prisca, the blessed Virgin, and the nativity of Saint John the Baptist.
The grant of lands bestowed on the foundation, was confirmed by King Stephen, and afterwards by Richard the First, in the beginning of his reign.
Editha became the abbess over twenty-four ladies; her eldest daughter Emma, being at the same time appointed the first, and her youngest daughter Aris, the second prioress.
But this place becomes more particularly interesting, when it is considered as the early residence, and burial place, of the Fair Rosamond Clifford, concubine to Henry the Second; for whose sake, it is supposed, that monarch proved a bounteous benefactor to it: as was his son King John, who endowed it with certain yearly revenues, " that these holy virgins might releeve with their prayers, the soules of his father King Henrie, and of the lady Rosamond there interred."
Some historians seem to insinuate that Rosamond was not the baptismal or family name of this beautiful woman, but the descriptive title of her superior charms.
Holinshed, in his Brief Narrative, appears to favour this opinion .
—" He," speaking of King Henry the Second.
" delighted most in the company of a pleasant demoiselle, whom he ycleped the Rose of the world: the common people naming Her also Rosamond, for her passing beauty, properness of person, and pleasing wit, with other amiable ejuali- ties, being verily a rare and peerless piece in those days."
The Fair Rosamond, from the peculiar circumstances with which written history, poetical invention, and long tradition have united to distinguish her life, awakens the sympathy of the present, as it will of every future age, till sensibility is banished from the human heart.
—She was the daughter of Walter Lord Clifford, and possessed all those personal charms and fine accomplishments which have the irresistible power to inspire love, and to preserve it.
" Her crisped lockes, like threads of golde Appear’d to each man’s sight; Her sparkling eyes, like orient pearles, Did cast a heavenlye light.
The blood within her crystal cheekes Did such a colour drive, As though the lillye and the rose For mastership did strive."
She had been educated at Godstow nunnery; the religious houses being, in those times, the only places of education lor young ladies of a certain rank and distinction.
Henry the Second saw her, became violently enamoured, declared his passion, and triumphed over her honour.
That the King possessed such a lovely mistress as Rosamond, with all the circumstances of his fond attachment to her, could not be long concealed from the knowledge of his roval consort the Oueen Eleanor.
Henry, therefore, alarmed at, and if possible to guard against, the consequences which might flow from her jealousy, caused a curious building to be erected at Woodstock, with arches and winding walls, into whose secret apartments it was impossible for any stranger to penetrate.
According to the description of Stowe, " an house of wonderful working, so that no man or woman might come to her, but he that was instructed of the king, or such as were right secret with him touching the matter.
The house, after some, was named Labyrin- thus, or Daedalus work, was wrought like unto a knot in a garden, called a maze."
Here this paragon of beauty remained in security for several years, and was frequently visited by the enamoured monarch, whose passion never lost the ardour of its earliest impression.
The fruits of this intercourse were William Longsword Earl of Salisbury, and Geolfrey bishop of Lincoln.
Henry, however, was at length obliged to cross the sea in order to crush a rebellion in France; and Rosamond, probably, from the mingled emotions of affection for her lover, and apprehension of the queen's vengeance during his absence, exerted all her power to obtain his permission to attend him.
" Nay, rather let me, like a page.
Your sworde and targete beare; That on my breast the blows may lighte Which would olfend you there."
But her anxious entreaties were vain; the king refused her tender request, and left the care of his lovely mistress and her bower to an honourable and gallant knight of approved valour and fidelity.
But no sooner had Henry quitted the kingdom, than Eleanor, whose jealous rage was equally impatient, implacable, and vigilant, set every engine at work to effect her vindictive purpose; and at length discovered the entrance to the bower in the following manner: Rosamond, -who was sitting at the door of it to take the air, and busily employed at her work, saw the queen approaching; when, retreating in great haste, she dropped a ball of silk, which entangling in her feet, or her garments, gradually unwound as she fled, and thereby formed a fatal clue, which conducted the enraged Eleanor to the secret apartments.
On her entrance, it is related, that the queen was so astonished at the extraordinary beauty of her intended victim, as to feel a suspension of her vengeance: but it was the suspension of a moment; for vengeance soon returned, and the cup of poison, prepared lor the murderous purpose, performed its destined olfice on the ill-fated and too lovely Rosamond.
This catastrophe is said to have happened in the year 1117.
Holinshed mentions, as the common report of the people, " that the queene founde hir out by a silken thread, which the king had drawne after him out of her chamber with his foot."
But the author of the old historical ballad, with more ingenuity, and probably with equal truth, tells us that the clue was gained, by surprise, from the knight, who was charged by the king with the custody of the bower and its fair inhabitant.
Such is the popular story of the Fair Rosamond, which, in its conclusion at least, finds no support from the historic page.
None of the old writers attribute the death of this beautiful lady to poison except Stowe, who mentions it merely as a matter of conjecture.
They relate, on the contrary, that the queen employed no other means of revenge on the occasion, but sharp expostulations and furious menaces, which however, as her royal lover and protector was absent in a foreign country, had such a fatal effect on the spirits of Rosamond, that she did not long survive the alarming interview with the enraged Eleanor.
Brompton, Knighton, and Higden, all assert that she died a natural death.
On her tomb-stone, indeed, among other line sculptures, was engraven the figure of a cup, which, though nothing more than an accidental ornament, or perhaps, a religious emblem, was sufficient, in after times, to suggest the notion that she died by poison.
Such a construction at least was given to it when the stone came to be demolished, after the nunnery was dissolved.
The account is, " that the tomb-stone of Rosamond Clifford was taken up at Goclstow, and broken in pieces ; and that upon it were interchangeable weavings, drawn out and decked with roses, red and green, and the picture of the cup out of which she drank the poison, given her by the queen, carved in stone."
The Lord Clifford, Fair Rosamond’s father, having been a great benefactor to Godstow nunnery; and the lady herself having also passed the early and more innocent part of her life in that sanctuary, her corse was conveyed thither, and buried in the choir, opposite to the high altar; King Henry lavishing considerable sums in adorning and illuminating her tomb.
Here her remains reposed till the year 1191; when Hugh bishop of Lincoln caused them to be removed.
The fact is recorded by Hoveden, a contemporary writer, whose account of the matter is thus translated by Stowe.
" Hugh bishop of Lincolne came to the abbey of nunnes, called Godstow; and when he had entered the church to pray, he saw a tomb in the middle of the quire, covered with a pall of silke, and set about with lights of waxe ; and demanding whose tombe it was ; he was answered, that it was the tombe of Rosamond, that was sometime lemman to Henry the Second, who, for the love of her, had done much good to that church.
Then, quoth the bishop, take out of this place the harlot, and bury her without the church, lest the Christian religion should grow into contempt; and to the end that, through example of her, other women, being made afraid, may beware and keepe themselves from unlawful and adventrous company with men."
This harsh command of religious power was accordingly obeyed, and the mouldered form of Rosamond was re-interrecl in the chapter house: it was, however, soon restored to its hallowed sepulture, as, according to Speed, the chaste sisters gathered her bones, and put them in a perfumed bag, inclosing them so in lead, and layde them againe in the church, under a fayre, large grave-stone; about whose edges a fillet of brass was inlayed, and thereon written her name and praise: these bones were at the suppression of the nunnery so found."
But the remains of this unfortunate beauty were once more troubled, and their gloomy abode again disturbed; for at the dissolution of the nunnery her colfin was discovered, and curiously opened.
of this violation of the sacred rights of the dead Leland gives the following account; which confirms the principal circumstances of the preceding relation from Speed’s Elistory.
" Rosamundes tombe at Godstowe nunnery was taken up a late : it is a stone with this inscription, tumba Rosamunds.
Her bones were closyd in lede, and within that, bones were closyd in lether.
When it was opened, a very sweete smell came out of it."
But notwithstanding the rigid, unfeeling sentence of the bishop of Lincoln, Rosamond is said to have been considered, after her death, as little less than a saint; and the following inscription on a cross, which, according to Leland, stood on Godstow bridge, is supposed to justify that opinion.
Oui meat hue, oret, signumque salutis adoret, Utque sihi detur veniam, Rosamunda precetur.
The following story, which is perfectly consistent with the superstitious credulity of the times, serves also to confirm the idea, that some degree of sanctity was connected with the memory and character of this lady.
Rosamond, it is related, during her residence at the bower, made several visits to Godstow; where being as olten reproved for her unchaste course of life, and threatened with the eternal punishment of it in a future world, she never failed to declare her perfect assurance of final salvation; and, as a token of it, she is said to have pointed out a tree, which would be turned into stone, when she was with the saints in heaven.
The superstitious fable accordingly relates, that soon after her death this wonderful metamorphosis actually happened; and the miraculous stone, which it was pretended this tree had produced, was shewn to all who visited the nunnery till the period of its dissolution.
The revenues of this religious house, m the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth, amounted, according to Dugdale, to two hundred and seventy-four pounds five shillings and ten pence, and to three hundred and nineteen pounds eighteen shillings and eight pence, according to Speed.
The site of it, with the greater part of the adjoining estates, was granted by that king to his physician, Doctor George Owen.
Catherine Bulkeley, the last abbess, refused for some time to resign her situation: at length, however, the holy lady quitted her cloister, on the express condition that she and sixteen of her nuns should have pensions assigned them; which appears to have been scrupulously fulfilled.
In the year 1703 , a walnut-tree, which had long grown on the spot, being torn up by the roots in a violent storm, a fragment of a tomb-stone was discovered, having the following inscription engraved on it in ancient characters, Godestowe une chaunterie j —which, though it proved a pregnant subject for antiquarian conjecture, seems to be nothing more than the fragment of a stone placed over the grave of some devout person, who had piously added a chantry to the religious foundation, and endowed it with a revenue to have mass sung, at stated periods, for the soul of the donor.
In the chapel, which, as has already been observed, is all that remains of a place so distinguished in its day, and appears to be converted to the use of the farm to which it belongs, is still shewn a large stone colfin, which is pretended to have been the sepulchral repository from whence the bones of Rosamond were taken.
It seems, however, to have been made for the purpose of containing two bodies, most probably of two holy sisters, who quitted their cloister and the world on the same day; as it is divided by a ridge of stone, running from the head to the foot.
On the inside of the south wall, is written the following epitaph, being a copy of that which, according to Iligden the monk of Chester, was placed on her tomb ; and contains a monkish quibble on her name.
" Hie jacet in tumba, Rosa mundi, non Rosa mnnda: Ron redolet, sed old, qua redolere sold."
of which curious distich Stowe gives the following translation.
" The rose of the worlde, but not the cleane flowre, Is now here graven ; to whom beauty was lent: In this grave full darke nowe is her bowre, l hat by her life was sw'eet and redolent: But now that she is from this life blent, Though she were sweete, now foully doth she stinke.
A mirrour good for all men that on her thinke."
The walls of this building bear the appearance, even in its present state, of having been formerly painted.
Here is also a pond, wh ich is said to have been a paved bath ; and the common people in the vicinity of the place have a traditional account of a subterraneous passage from thence to Woodstock.
But similar stories are involved in the history of almost all the considerable monasteries in the kingdom.
Having related the principal circumstances which the historian has written, the legendary fabulist has invented, or the poet has sung, concerning the ever-interesting fate of the Fair Rosamond ; we proceed on our voyage, which was at this place accommodated by a new cut, made at a very considerable expence, whereby a pretty strong current that runs from Godstow bridge is avoided, as well as a very inconvenient bend which the river makes in this part of it.
These occasional channels, some of which we have already mentioned, are admirably calculated to ease the navigation of the river, in a more particular manner for vessels on their voyage upwards, as they cut oh a difficult circuit, or avoid an incidental impetuosity of the stream.
Witham woods still olfer a charming retrospective object, and in a bosom, formed by the hills which they clothe with their shaggy beauty, is seen the village from whence they derive their name; whose chief distinction is an ancient mansion that belongs to, and is sometimes the residence ol, the Earl of Abingdon.
At this place there was, at so remote a period as the eighth century, a convent of nuns, of which the writers of monastic antiquities give the following account.
—On or near the place where the parish church, or hospital of Saint Helen, at Abingdon afterwards stood, was a nunnery built by Cissa or Cilia, sister to Abbot Heane, and niece to Cissa the foundress of the Benedictine abbey in tliat town, in the year of our Lord 690 .
But after the death of Cissa, the foundress and first abbess, the nuns removed higher up the Thames to Wit- teham, now called Witham, where they continued till the wars between olfa King of the Mercians, and Kinewulf King of the West Saxons, about the year 780 ; when, it being a frontier town, and afterwards converted into a garrison, the holy ladies, disturbed in their cloisters by the unhallowed noise and alarms of war, quitted their convent, and dispersing themselves among other religious communities of their order, never more returned to their former abode.
In the sixth year of the reign of Edward the Sixth, Witham was, as it most probably had long been, in the possession of the Harcourt family.
In that year, AD 1466, it appears that Sir Richard Harcourt of Witham was sheriff of the two counties of Oxford and Berks; a very powerful testimony of the ancient family tenure of his estates in both of them.
Sir Robert Harcourt, who was knight of the garter, and high steward of the university of Oxford, in the same reign, may be reasonably supposed to have built a part, if not the whole of Witham house; as his arms, encircled with the garter, still remain to decorate the ceiling of one of the rooms in that very ancient edifice.
John Harcourt was also one of the commissioners of array in the county of Berks for the expedition into Gascony, in the reign of Henry the Sixth.
At what time, or in what manner Witham became a part of the possessions of the Harcourt family is beyond the reach of modern inquiry: it passed away, however, in the reign of James the First, by sale, from Robert Harcourt to Lord Williams of Thame, the ancestor of the Earl of Abingdon.
This gentleman was the principal adventurer with Sir Walter Raleigh in his expedition to Guiana; and, to enable him to defray the expences of that project, as well as in the indulgence of other extravagant pursuits, he squandered all the estates of his family in the counties of Berks and Stafford.
He has left a printed narrative of his voyage; and his portrait, in black armour, is now in the possession of his descendant the present Earl of Harcourt, at Nuneham; where it may be seen, among the crowd of interesting portraits to be found in the very fine collection of pictures, which is one, among the many charming circumstances so peculiarly formed to delight the visitor of that most elegant and beautiful residence of the Harcourt family.


The Thames now approaches the city of Oxford, whose stately towers and lolty spires appear in a changeful succession of pleasing pictures, as the stream varies its course: sometimes they stretch along from north to south in one unbroken line, which becomes gradually divided into a number of small or larger parts, according to the size or form of intervening objects: the whole is then lost, but soon returns in new positions, and under new appearances, to charm the eye, impatient to re-behold the solemn scenery.
The country to the right consists of meadows, with fine bold sloping ground beyond them, agreeably sprinkled with trees, which gradually falls from the height of Cumner Hurst to the village of Hinksey; known by its ferry over a principal branch of the river.
On the descent of this verdant declivity is Sweetman’s farm, which demands very particular distinction in this place, as from a room in that pleasant dwelling the view of Oxford was taken which accompanies this page.
As the city and surrounding country is seen with a very superior advantage from this spot, we know not how to reconcile the circumstance, unless it be from the evident difficulty of the execution, that this should be the only view of Oxford, as far as we could learn, that has been taken fi 'om this very commanding and beautiful station.
To the left of the river is Port- meadow, or, as it has been sometimes called, Portman’s-mead, which was given to the free citizens of Oxford by William the Conqueror, or Sir Robert D’Odli, about the year 1070 .
It is an extensive piece of pasture ground, containing four hundred and thirty-nine acres, one rood, and thirty perches ; which borders the Thames from near Godstow to Oxford, and serves as a common to that city.
The river now spreads into considerable breadth, and then divides into several streamlets, which running in various directions, wind among the meadows; and, after forming various islands of different shape and dimensions, rejoin the main current before it passes the south bridge, which is a principal entrance to the city.
The historian must content himself with the inferior task of careful description ; but the poet might, in this place, gladden his mind with representing old father Thames as amplifying his flood into this diversity of currents, to olfer a venerating display of his waters on approaching the most beautiful city, and the most venerable seat of learning in the world.
We cannot, however, stay to trace him wherever he forms his circling boundaries to the adjacent meadows, but glide gently down the principal channel of the river, admiring the many elegant bridges of stone, which for various purposes of communication are thrown across it, till we come to the spot where such an important acquisition has been gained to its navigation, as the canal which has been lately completed from Coventry to Oxford.
The oppressive dearness of fuel in the city of Oxford, and the circumjacent country, appears to have first suggested the idea of communication by water with the collieries of Warwickshire.
As all the coal consumed in this part of the country was either brought by the long, circuitous, and uncertain course of the Thames from London; or by land carriage from the banks of the river Avon, at the distance of near forty miles ; the project of forming a canal, which would bring this necessary material to Oxford from the neighbouring counties which abounded in it, had long been considered as a most desirable object; and was at length brought forward to the public attention.
After the necessary surveys had been made, two different meetings were held in October, 1768, at Banbury, which were attended by the principal noblemen, gentlemen, land owners, traders, and manufacturers, not only of the county of Oxford, but of the neighbouring counties; when it was proposed to adopt the plan of a navigable canal from Coventry to Oxford, formed by Mr. Brindley; a name that deserves, as it will ever possess, the grateful veneration of his country; and though it met with considerable impediments and delays in its execution, from the interfering interests of other canal companies, it is at length completed, to the very great advantage of the country through which it is conducted, and, in a superior degree, to the chief object of its destination, where it forms a junction with the Thames.
The length of this canal from Coventry to Oxford is eighty-one miles, seven furlongs, and thirteen chains; with arise of eighty-eight feet from Hill-morton to Nanton-field, a length of seventeen miles: the rest of its course is a perfect level.
A principal current of the river flowing on round the southwestern side of the city, brought us to the High-bridge, a stone structure of three arches: it was anciently called Hithe-bridge, the Saxon word hithe signifying a small haven where goods are landed from vessels on the water.
The stream then bore us on to scenes which the most playful imagination could not hope to find on a navigable river, winding round a large and populous city.
Banks thick with reeds, islets covered with osiers, and meadows fringed with willows, were the simple native objects which met the eye on every turn of the meandering stream.
Once, indeed, we caught a transient glimpse of the suburbs, and more than once, the spire of the cathedral and the turret of Christ-church displayed their impressive forms above the verdant umbrage before us.
Such objects, unexpectedly mingling with this rural scenery, heightened the sentiments which were already awakened in our minds, by the reflection, that, in the meadows beside whose banks we passed, Os- ney abbey once rose in stately grandeur; the fame of whose wealth and splendid hospitality seems almost to have passed away with those who possessed the one and dispensed the other.
Nought remains of all that monastic magnificence which made monastic life, amidst the humility of its duties, proud of its abode.
From the remaining records of it we shall trace its history, and attempt its description.
Osney, or Ouseney abbey.
—Robert D’Oilli, nephew to the first of that name, the distinguished favourite of William the Conqueror, on the solicitation of Henry the First, married Edith Forne, a lady of great beauty and accomplishment, who had been the concubine olthat monarch; and, at her most earnest entreaty, her husband founded, in the year of our Lord 1129 , upon one of the islands formed by the waters of the Thames, not far from the castle of Oxford, a priory of Austin canons, in honour of the blessed Virgin.
The origin of these religious institutions is generally accompanied with legendary story; and this foundation is piously attributed by the monkish writers to supernatural communication.
It may, however, be more naturally traced to the early incontinence of Edith’s life, who hoped to make atonement for her olfences by this penitential establishment.
In those ages of gross superstition, the great and the wealthy were influenced by the prolessors of religion to form religious foundations, or to enrich those already founded, by way of commuting with celestial justice for the enormities of their lives; and to purchase the intercessions of the church, which were considered as all-sufficient, to relieve them from purgatorial suffering: while criminals, among the lower orders of people, who could not raise altars to appease the anger of heaven, fled to them as sanctuaries, to obtain protection from the vengeance of human tribunals.
This priory, in its early state, had little to boast but the devotion which raised it.
It was at first an bumble structure; but from the large donations which poured in upon it, from kings and princes, and mitred personages, as well as devotees of either sex of inferior rank and distinction, it was elevated into an abbey, was enlarged with various new and stately buildings, and became a principal ornament of this place and nation; as will appear from the following description of it.
Before the great gate was a row of buildings called Domus Dei, or God’s house, which were erected for poor clerks and other indi- gent servants of the abbey, who chiefly lived upon the superfluity of their masters’ table.
The great gate was situated on the north side of the abbey: it was chiefly built of free-stone, and decorated with the image of the Virgin Mary, having the arms of Saint George on the one side, and those of its founder, with the addition of a pastoral staff or crosier, on the other.
Adjoining the gate was a lodge for the porter, who, according to the rules of the foundation, must be probcibilis vita senex et sapiens.
It was his olfice to prevent the great concourse of people who were continually crowding thither from passing the gates, and to take care that no one entered into the court without special leave of the abbot: it was also another part of his duty to relieve poor strangers and pilgrims, whom he was to receive with kindness, and not to send them away without having afforded them hospitality and refreshment; for which purpose he had loaves, appointed by the butler to be laid in his cell, to distribute to them, particularly on fast days, when no olfal meat, as usual, came from the hall.
On entering the gate, there appeared a sjaacious and beautiful court or quadrangle, principally built of free-stone, with a cloister, on the right side of it, ornamented with a boarded rool; on which were curiously depicted the arms of several benefactors, with rebuses, distichs, and written allusions to their respective names.
In the middle of this court was a lavatory or conduit, from whence water was conveyed to the kitchen and other olfices.
Behind the cloister was the refectory or great hall: this was a very large, handsome, and curious structure, rebuilt about the year 1247 , and the expence defrayed by contributions collected on the occasion, and the pious beneficence of the venerable abbot, J.
Leach, who had erected, at his sole expence, three parts of the cloister.
The refectory stood opposite the great gate, on the south side of the quadrangle; and was the common place of resort, where, at the sound of the bell, the community met to take refreshment.
During the time of their meals, itwas an indispensable custom for them to have the Scriptures read and expounded.
The standing rules and orders of the abbey were; that no contentions or quarrels should he permitted; that every one be present at the blessing of the table ; and, if absent, be subject to a fine ; or, if tardy in coming, to take the lowest seat; and that whatever was left should be conveyed to tire inhabitants of God’s house, or to such strangers and pilgrims who might be waiting at the gate for alms and hospitality.
On the left of the great hall was the kitchen, of dimensions large and convenient; and on the south side of it was the infirmary, assigned to the use of sick monks; whither (hey adjourned from their chambers, and where the necessary food, diet, or medicine was prepared, according to their respective wants and infirmities.
There was also a neat oratory or chapel adjoining, for the use of the sick, when they were not able to attend divine service in the great church.
This useful building was also the pious donation of that excellent abbot J.
Leacb, whose pastoral affection for his abbey had already been proved by various acts of pious munificence.
Near the infirmary apartment was the dormitory, corruptly called the dorter , an oblong room, divided into several partitions, containing each a bed, and open at the end.
A small candle was left in these separate apartments, just sufficient to serve till the stated time when the monks arose to their nocturnal devotions.
As soon as the candles were lighted, the keys of the dormitory were carried to the prefect or vicar by the servitor, who opened it in the morning at the hour appointed; when each monk received his summons to arise, and, after an hour allowed him for private duty, to prepare himself for such services as might be required of him.
But the most striking and remarkable building of its kind, in this ab- bev, was the abbot’s apartments, erected in the time of the beneficent abbot Leach, and by some supposed to crown the several donations which so pre-eminently distinguished his monastic reign.
This superb building was seated without the quadrangle, near the great gate, and on the ground adjoining the mill-head.
The hall possessed peculiar magnificence, and was calculated in all respects, both as to dimensions and decoration, to entertain persons of the first rank and distinction.
Kings, princes, prelates, and nobles of the most eminent quality here found a reception perfectly suited to their exalted character and dignity.
Mr. Wood mentions, that the grand and spacious stone staircase which led up to it, was very well remembered by some who were living in his day; and the great chamber adjoining the hall was standing in the early part of the present century.
On the east side of the quadrangle stood the church, which at its primary foundation was but of an humble appearance.
It was, however, rebuilt and completed in the year 1247, as appears from the indulgences proclaimed by the legate of Pope Innocent the Fourth, for such as contributed to the re-edification of this magnificent edifice.
The nave or body of the church, with the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, were erected by the added munificence of abbot Leach, assisted by Sir — Beaufort, in honour and memory of whose benefactions, their statues were placed under an arch or dome in the body of the church.
Other parts and chapels were erected by the same unremitting piety; and successive abbots continued to raise new altars, and to aid the splendour of the sacred fabric.
The two beautilul ailes, with the grand and lolty towers, were produced by the accumulated contributions of devout persons in different parts of the kingdom.
Over the principal and very magnificent tower, at the west end of the church, was the campanile, which remained till after the year 1644, the period of the grand rebellion.
Here was a large and melodious ring of bells, which was considered as the best in England.
John Major, the Scottish historian, seems to confirm that opinion, when he says, " Gampanis ccenobii cle Osneya nulla in Anglia meliores putantur."
From the continual influx of benefactions, the church of Osney became at length one of the largest and most beautiful religious structures in the kingdom.
It consisted, says Mr. Wood, of as much building as Christ-church, and was not only the envy of all other monastic foundations in England, but also of those in foreign countries.
The architecture was so exquisite, and full of variety, fine workmanship, and curious carvings, as to excite the wonder of every beholder; while the magnificent towers, one at the west end, with the campanile, and the other between the body of the church and chancel, adorned with rows of pinnacles, possessed such an imposing grandeur, that artists resorted from the most distant cities in the kingdom to study and make drawings of them.
Nor was the interior part less august, with all its rich and costly decorations.
I he hangings of the choir were wrought with stories of most excellent work; the windows were blazoned with splendid paintings of saints, kings, bishops, abbots, and many other persons of distinguished rank and devotion; the pillars were of elegant form, uniform arrangement, and crowned with statues; and to these may be added, a prodigious assemblage of paintings and sculptures, which at once delighted and surprised the curious spectator.
The bells, which have already been mentioned, were, according to Willis in his History of mitred Ab- bies, " deep and musical; and so famed for their tunableness, that divers foreigners, travelling to England, have visited Oxford to hear them chimed or rung in concert."
They are the solitary remains of Osney abbey; for when the cathedral was dismantled, they were translated to the steeple of Christ-church, where they form a part of the present peal, which has since been increased to the number of ten bells.
The bell called Great Tom, which is now so olten heard from the beautiful turret of Christ-church, came also from Osney.
It was re-cast in the year 1680 , and measures six feet in diameter.
In its ancient state the following inscription was engraved on it: In Tliorrue laude, resono him horn sinefraude.
Rut besides the architectural splendour and curious decorations of this abbey, it was also indebted for rural embellishment to its monastic inhabitants ; who, to relieve the more solemn duties of the cloi ster, expended large sums in forming and improving many pleasant walks by the river side, which were pi anted with elms, and other trees of beautiful shape and wide-spreading shade.
They had also orchards and arbours of various contrivance, with fish-ponds, dove-houses, and divers other places of suitable recreation, and domestic utility; some remains of which were visible at no very distant period.
There was also appurtenant to the abbey, a pleasant retirement, or, if we may employ modern expressions in describing these ancient foundations, a monastic villa, at the neighbouring hamlet of Medley, which the monks were occasionally permitted to visit, either to enjoy recreation, to vary their olfices, or to practise a more secluded devotion.
The abbots of Osney enjoyed the honour of sitting as barons in parliament; as appears in several writs of summons in the reigns of Henry the Third and Edward the Third.
The last of these abbots was Robert King, who, in the year 1539, surrendered it, with all its appurtenances, then valued by Dugdale at six hundred and fifty-four pounds ten shillings and two pence, and by Speed at seven hundred and fifty-five pounds eighteen shillings and six pence, to Henry the Eighth; who, on Iris erection of the new bishoprics in the year 1542, converted it into a cathedral church of Christ and the blessed Virgin, with a dean and six prebendaries, as a chapter to the new bishop of Osney; for whose episcopal residence Glou- cester-hall, now Worcester college, was particularly assigned.
But this establishment did not continue above three or four years; as in 1546 the episcopal chair was transferred to the conventual church of Saint Frideswide, called Henry the Eighth’s college, which was then made the cathedral of the see, and called Christ-church, and the bishopric of Osney converted into that of Oxford.
The last abbot and only bishop of Osney, accompanied the different translations of the original foundation, and consequently became the first bishop of Oxford.
The church of this abbey, whatever change it might have undergone from its dissolution and desertion, was, most certainly, in a condition during the reign of Queen Mary to admit of having mass, with all due solemnity, performed in it.
But Ralph Agas, in his plan of Oxford, in the twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth, gives a view of t he north side of the church, without either roof or buttresses.
There is also, in the south window of Christ-church cathedral, on the side of the portrait of bishop King, a view of part of the south elevation ot the abbey, extending from the west tower to the south cross of the church.
Here also the building appears to be unrooled; but the entrance at the south is displayed in a very strong and lively manner; as well as the south-east view of the west tower.
In the second volume of Dugdale’s Monasticon there is an engraving, in which that tower alone is seen in a state of preservation, the rest appearing to be a confused heap of ruins.
But whatever were the remains of this famous abbey at the time, they suffered, among other more perfect religious edifices, very considerable depredations from the republican party and its adherents in the grand rebellion of the last century.
In short, the arched window of a supposed outhouse, which now constitutes part of a barn, is the only vestige of Osney abbey on the spot where, during several centuries, it stood in unrivalled magnificence.
At a small distance to the north of Osney, and by some called South Osney, was another but inferior monastery, called Rewly abbey, from roy-lieu, or regalis locus ; it having been founded by Richard, the second son of King John, Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans.
That prince, by his will, directed a foundation, for certain secular priests to pray for his soul; hut Edmund Earl of Cornwall, his son, piously believing that his father’s bequest would be more effectually answered by an institution of regular clergy, undertook the foundation of an abbey of the Cistertian order, which being finished about the year 1281, he placed in it an abbot and fifteen monks, who were afterwards increased to twenty- one ; as appeared from a well-known representation of them by twenty-one elm trees, standing in two ranks, between the outward and inward gates of the abbey, through which was a common passage; and at the upper end a single tree, to represent the abbot.
It is supposed by some writers that this monastery was dissolved as an alien abbey in the year 1414; but that it was afterwards inhabited by the same order, till the general dissolution of religious houses, when its yearly revenue was found to be one hundred and seventy-four pounds three shillings and six pence.
In some of the Cistertian annals it is styled Studium Oxonice, as the only place in which the monks of this order could improve in academical learning, till archbishop Chichely founded Saint Barnard’s college.
The site of it, among other appertenances, was granted by Henry the Eighth, to his physician Doctor George Owen; but the king, in about five years afterwards, in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, purchased it of the son and heir of his physician, and conferred the whole estate on the dean and canons of Christ-church, who are the present possessors of jt.
A stone, commemorating Ela Countess of Warwick as a benefactress to the foundation, was dug up in the year 1705, in the east part of the garden, with a very curious inscription ; and is now deposited among the Arundelian marbles, belonging to the university of Oxford.
The small remains of this abbey are converted into a wood house and a barn.
The state of these ruins, as they appeared in the year 1720, may be seen in four views of them, in the Continuation of Dugdale’s Monasticon.
Having delayed our course, as we hope not unprolitably, to speak of these ancient monuments of superstitious piety, and whose demolition even this enlightened age has reason to lament, we continued to pass on between willow-fringed meads, till the different branches of the Thames, uniting in one stream, brought us to a bridge which is not only the most ancient of the city of Oxford, but claims, in point of situation, as remote an antiquity as any similar structure in the kingdom.
It is known by the two names of Grand-pont, and the South-bridge, and forms the entrance into this city from the town of Abingdon in Berkshire.
It was built by Robert D'Oilli, the first of that name, in the time of William the Conqueror, on the site of a former bridge, which may be proved by authentic records to have been standing in the reign of King Ethelred, and is, indeed, supposed to have been erected in the time of the Britons.
But this bridge has ever been considered with a more particular attention from the tower which had so long stood upon it, and was so well known by the name of Friar Bacon's Study.
Tradition relates, that this tower was the study or observatory of Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar, who lived in the latter end of the thirteenth century.
He was an eminent mathematician and philosopher, and possessed very superior talents and learning.
He invented the telescope, burning-glasses, camera-obscura, and gunpowder, and made many other discoveries, the utility and application of which were known only to himself.
Doctor Freind says, that a greater genius in mechanics has not appeared since the days of Archimedes.
Many other distinguished authors bear similar testimony to his abilities in other branches of abstruse science.
He also wrote upwards of an hundred books on moral, theological, historical, and scientific subjects; many of which are at this time in the Bodleian library.
He was persecuted by the ignorance and superstition of his age , in which philosophy had made a much less progress than any other kind of knowledge; and geometry and astronomy were branded with the odious names of necromancy and magic.
Among other ridiculous stories related concerning him, there is one which, for very obvious reasons, has been oltener recited than any other: it has been traditionally said, and perhaps formerly believed, that the learned friar had, by his art, constructed this tower upon such a curious principle, that it would inevitably fall whenever a more learned man than himself should pass under it.
Antony Wood, in his History of Oxford, gives the following account of this building.
—■ " Before I go farther," says he, " I must take notice of the tower, with a gate and common passage underneath, called Friar Bacon’s Study, which standeth on the South-bridge, near the end next the city ; a name merely traditional, and not to be found in any record.
It has been delivered as a fact from one generation to another, and from them well versed in astronomy and the antiquities of Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar of this place, who died in 1292 , known to be a great astronomer, that he was used in the night to ascend this place, in order to take the altitude of the stars."
of its foundation, it is most reasonably supposed to have been built in the reign of King Stephen, or in the beginning of the troublesome wars of the barons, having been then constructed as a pharos or high watch- tower, for the defence of the city.
In the reigns both of Henry the Third and Edward the First there is mention made of it, under the names of the New-gate and Tower on the South-bridge; not that it was then newly built, but from some cause now unknown these names were imposed on it, and it was so called through all the different reigns till that of Oueen Elizabeth.
In the seventh year of her reign, it was let to Doctor White, for several years, on the condition that he should suffer the archdeacon’s court of Berks to be kept there; and also, that the citizens should have free ingress and regress, in times of need and danger, for the defence of (he city.
But in the thirty-third year of the same queen, it was let to the citizens by the name of the Bachelor’s tower; so called by Mr. Windsore, and is so written in dismissions to this day; and the three hams, or meadows, in its vicinity, are called the Tower-ham, Bachelor’s-ham, and Ewstich-ham, being small closes, each surrounded by the river.
About twenty years ago, this tower was hired, at the rent of forty pounds per annum, by a person from London, who proposed to construct an engine in it, for the purpose of supplying the colleges, and houses in every part of the city with water: but the scheme proving impracticable, or not meeting with the expected encouragement, it was abandoned by the projector, who advertised the tower to be let.
We have entered at large into the history of this curious building, because it exists no more.
After having stood for so many centuries, without even threatening to distinguish any learned passenger, it has at length been taken down, and will be only known hereafter in the description of I lie page and the pencil.
Having mentioned the antiquity and distinguishing circumstances of Grand-pont, or the South-bridge, we consider this as the proper place to give such accounts as we have been able to collect of the ancient navigation of this part of the river, over which this bridge has for so many ages afforded a passage between the counties of Berks and Oxford.
That the Thames was navigated, by barges and other vessels, from London to Oxford before the Norman conquest, may be proved by many authentic documents, from whence the following circumstances are extracted.
At so remote a period as the reign of Edward the Confessor, the passage of the river near Abingdon becoming so very shallow that vessels could not pass but with great inconvenience, certain deputed citizens of London and Oxford went to Abingdon, to meet and confer with Odericus the abbot of it on the occasion ; when, among other propositions, they requested him to grant them permission to make a passage through a mead on the south side of his monastery; which, after due consideration, was granted by the abbot and his monks, on the following condition : that every barge or vessel which passed through it, except such as belonged to the king, carrying herrings, from the Purification or beginning of Lent to the Passover, should give one hundred of them to the cook of the monastery: at the same time it was agreed, on the part of the abbot, that when the servant of the barge brought the herrings into the kitchen, the cook should, for his trouble, return him five herrings, with a loaf of bread, and a measure of beer and ale.
How long these vessels had passed in the ancient channel, which was become so shallow as to impede their navigation, cannot now be ascertained: but that the river had lonfr been navigable previous to the reign of Edward the Confessor, appears from the laws made in his reign for preserving the peace of the kingdom: wherein it is enacted, " that those rivers which are serviceable and of use, in conveying provisions to cities and boroughs, should have free passage, and not be hindered or obstructed by mills, fish-ponds, weirs, and such like impediments:" which law was confirmed by William the Conqueror, and afterwards introduced into Magna Charta itself; which, in its thirty-ninth article, declares, " that weirs, for the time to come, shall be demolished in the rivers of Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except on the sea coast."
Frequent complaints also appear to have been made, in the subsequent reigns, of the renewal and re-construction of these weirs on the river Thames, at so late a period even as the reign of Henry the Eighth.
But it may be reasonably supposed that these general clauses were understood with certain implied reservations ; and that when weirs were the subject of public remonstrance or presentment, they were injurious to the navigation of the river, or to the lands through which it flowed, from being imperfectly contrived, placed in improper srtuations, or erected by persons who had no such right or permission: because we learn, from various ancient records of indubitable authority, that dams or weirs were then necessary in certain places, as they now are, to facilitate and quicken the passage of vessels; and that the construction, support, and repair of them were attached to particular estates, tenures, and districts, on the banks of the river.
This is clearly proved, among other documents, by an indictment preferred against Sir ].
Draiton, knight, in Hilary term, in the fifth year of the reign of Henry the Fourth, " because he did not keep up, at Rotherfield Pyparcl, in the water of Thames there, locks and winches for the necessary conducting of barges."
There is, indeed, every reason to believe, that in those early times, these weirs were comparatively few, and of a very simple construction: but as the navigation of the river increased, vessels of larger dimensions were consequently employed, and the means of facilitating their paassage were improved ; till, in the course of time, that superior mechanism was invented, which gives such dispatch to the operations of the numerous locks erected, in our day, to aid the navigation of the Thames, and the other principal rivers of the kingdom.
We now enter Oxford, a place which, considered in all the circumstances that so particularly distinguish it, and treated in the comprehensive manner that it deserves, would furnish materials to fill the volume, of which it is only destined to occupy a part.
The writers of domestic travels, whose tours comprehend this ancient and celebrated city, have generally passed over any particular de- scription of it; and excused themselves from tlie important and difficult task, by the size of the object which was before them, and the unsuitableness of it to the lighter works of the travelling historian.
But, without assuming to ourselves a superior importance to those who have declined the labour, or presuming upon qualifica- lions to undertake it, which others have not possessed, we understand that it is expected of us to say something of a place which is such an important feature ol, and gives such envied dignity to, the river whose historians we are: and while the pencil, which forms the principal value of this work, seems to have exerted a superior power in the delineations of this city and seat of learning, we must not shrink from the co-operating duty of attempting some history and description of it.
The name of Oxford has, by several antiquarian writers, been confidently derived from its situation in the neighbourhood of a ford leading to North Hengesey, now Hinxsey, and behind Osney, about a quarter of a mile west of the city, where oxen used to be watered ; and they cite, as an example, the circumstance which induced the Greeks to give the denomination of their Bosphorus.
It is also said, that Rhyd-ychen, which signifies the ford of oxen, was the name given to Oxford by the ancient Britons.
But the more obvious etymology of the appellation is from Ouseney-ford, the ford ol, or at, or near Ouseney, or the meadows of Ouse.
This city is written Orsnaforda, or Oksnaforda, on a coin of Alfred, published by Fountayne, — Oxnaford, and Oxeneford, in the Saxon Chronicle, and Oxneford on pennies of the two Williams.
Those who make Oxford to be the vadurn bourn , or the ford of oxen, plausibly contend, that it was never called Ouseford.
But they should remember, that it was first called Oxenford before Oxford.
And even this would countenance an hypothesis, to the utter exclusion of the other, that Oxenford might be derived from Ousenford.
But that Ouseneysford is its primitive radix, appears from hence; that, in the earliest spellings of this place, we constantly find the letter c, or a, after n, in the second syllable; a presumptive proof that oxen have no concern whatever in the etymology.
In Domesday-book, we have Oxenef’scyre, and Oxeneford perpetually occurring in charters for two hundred years below.
At length the original meaning being forgot and obliterated, Oxeneford, whence, Oxenford, or Oxford, presented an obvious and familiar signification, which the pedantry of our ancestors latinized into vadum bourn.
For the great source of corruption in etymologies of names, both of places and men, consists in the natural propensity to substitute in the place of one difficult and obscure, a more common and notorious appellation, suggested and authorized by affinity of sound.
It has been artfully enough asserted, as we have already mentioned, that the Britons called Oxford Rhyd-yclien , that is, the ford of oxen; but the truth is, that this denomination originated with Geolfrey of Monmouth, a fantastic historian of the twelfth century.
It would be ludicrous indeed to employ a moment in refuting the absurdity of the idea, that the watering or passage at the ford was restricted to oxen.
It may also tend to confirm our etymological opinion, to mention that there are other places in England, now called Oxenford, and with the same derivation ; for ouse was a general name for river or water.
One of these, near Godalmin in Surrey, formerly belonging to Waverley abbey, is, on the authority of Dugdale, written Oxeneford, in an instrument dated 1147.
In a charter also of King Athel- stan to Wilton abbey in Wiltshire, dated 937, in the possession of the Earl of Pembroke, a ford over the water is mentioned, and written Oxnaford.
Thus, with the aid of that critical sagacity which directed the superior learning of Doctor Thomas Warton, we have rescued, as we presume, the name of Oxford from the ridiculous etymology which certain antiquaries had given to it: we shall, therefore, proceed to select such parts of the ancient history of this renowned place, and give such a general description of its present state, as will suit the form of the volume before us.
Oxford, the capital of the county which bears its name, is a city, an episcopal see, and, according to the most comprehensive sense of the expression, the first university in the world.
Including the suburbs, it is upwards of two miles from east to west, and about a mile from north to south.
The city, properly so called, comprehending the part which was anciently encompassed with a wall, is of an oblong form, and little more than two miles in circumference.
It is seated on an almost imperceptible eminence, at the conflux of the Thames and the Cherwell, and surrounded with hills, meadows, and fields in arable cultivation.
The meadows, which lie chiefly to the south and west, are about a mile in extent, from whence the hills rise gradually to a pleasing elevation, and bound the prospect.
Towards the east is a continual rise of near two miles to the top of Shotover-hill, a very commanding summit; and to the north, there is a considerable range of level country.
When, therefore, we have added that the soil is dry, being on a fine gravel, no subsequent remark is necessary to determine the situation of the place to be equally conducive to health and pleasure.


The eastern entrance into the city is by the high-street, which is without a rival in this or any other country.
It is two thousand and thirty-eight feet in length, and eighty-five broad ; is admirably paved, and contains Oueen’s, All Souls, University, and Magdalen colleges; with the fine churches of Saint Mary and All Saints: to which may be added Magdalen tower, and the new stone bridge over the Cherwell ; all together forming a most superb range of finely contrasted structures: while its curvated direction, by affording a gradual display, heightens the impression, of its magnificent objects.
The northern entrance into the city is through that part of it which is called Saint Giles, from the name of the parochial district.


It consists of a very spacious street, two thousand and fifty-five feet long, and two hundred and forty-six feet in breadth, is enlivened, in certain parts, with trees, and adorned with parterres of verdure before many of the houses which compose it.
It is also distinguished by the venerable colleges of Saint John and Baliol, and at each end, and, as it were, opposed to each other, are the churches of Saint Giles and Magdalen, with their embattled towers.
This entrance receives also an ornamental addition from the observatory, the infirmary, and house of industry, which are admirably suited, both in form and appearance, to their respective designations.
The south entrance is over the South-bridge, or Grandpont, by Fish- street, commonly called Saint old’s, a corruption from Saint Al- date’s, in which are seen the magnificent front of Christ-church college, extending three hundred and eighty-two feet in length: and, at a small distance, the town and county hall, rebuilt in its present handsome form, and with the necessary conveniences lor the separate courts of civil and criminal justice, at the munificent expence of Thomas Rowney, high steward of this city, and one of its representatives in parliament in the reigns of George the First and George the Second.
The western entrance would be passed by, as possessing no object that claims particular notice, were it not for the handsome approach to the city on that side, over seven elegant bridges of stone, which stretch across the main stream of the Thames, and several of the meandering branches of that river.
Oxford may be said to possess a two-fold character; and must be separately considered as a city and an university.
We shall begin with the former.
Some writers, with that zeal for ancient origin so common to historians, have given to this city an antiquity so remote as to perplex the understanding, excite the mirth, or attract the censure, of general readers.
The truth of such an early foundation as is contended for by those who give an importance to mere antiquity which it does not deserve, we shall neither combat or support.
At the same time, we know not how to pass unnoticed the claims which have been made on behalf of its early origin, by so many distinguished historical and antiquarian writers; and shall therefore briefly state them for amusement, at least, if not for instruction : and if any curiosity should be anxious after the authorities on which these opinions or conjectures are founded, we must refer it to Sir John Peshall’s improved edition of Antony Wood’s History of Oxford, which contains an abundant store of reference, as we doubt not, accurately made to the works of our ancient historians, chronologists, and antiquaries, whether they have appeared in printed books, or have yielded to the laborious investigation of inquisitive science, among the manuscripts of private or public libraries.
In the one thousand and ninth year before Christ, A.M. 2954, Memphric King of the Britons, the great grandson of Brutus, whose origin and descent, according to Milton, are defended by many, and utterly denied by few, is said to have built the city of Oxford; which then received the name of its founder, and was called Caer Memphric ; caer, in the British or Celtic tongue, signifying a city.
of this prince, J. Ross observes (in his History of England, from the time of Brutus to the reign of Henry the Seventh, among the Cottonian manuscripts), that nothing can be said to his honour, except that lie was the father of a virtuous son named Ebranc, and founded a noble city which bore his name.
The same writer also mentions that Oxford was first called Mimbre, which is British or Celtic for Memphric: that it was afterwards named Belle-situm, or Bello- situm by the Romans, from a pleasant Hill in its vicinity, and successively Ridohen or Rycl-ychen, implying in the Celtic language, a ford of oxen.
It is also said to have changed its denomination to Caer Bosso, from a certain earl of that name, who flourished under the reign of King Arthur, in the early part of the sixth century, and was appointed by that monarch governor of Ryd-ychen.
The historian, J. Ross, is represented by Dugdale as a famous antiquary; and Leland and Bale both mention that he had devoted himself wholly to the search after manuscripts and antiquities; having liberty, by the royal command, to examine all rudiments in England and Wales.
The foregoing particulars were, as Leland tells us, collected by Ross from British or Welch books, " e libris lingua Britannica scriptis," and all, more or less, corroborated, as well as the early origin of Oxford supported, by the testimonies of Stowe, Ralph Agas, Brian Twyne, Talbot, Selden, Lewk- ner, Nic.
Fitzherbert, Camden, Doctor Burley, Winfore, and many other respectable writers of great antiquarian research and learning.
Antony Wood, also, in treating of the origin of Oxford, makes the following specific declaration:—" That there was such a city in ancient Britain, is an opinion founded on the authority of many writers; and though some are inclined to think otherwise, I have arguments in readiness to produce, very fit and sufficient to prove its antiquity."
Oxford has been, likewise, frequently mentioned under an old British general appellation of Caer Pen, Hal Gout, or Coit; which signifies a city situate on an eminence between two rivers, and adorned with groves or woods; a description of the place which answers to Bello-situm, the name given it by the Latins.
All which accounts for the memorable saying of the ingenious Mr. LI 1VV) cl: " It is unknown, says he, " what names Oxford has borne, on account of its very great antiquity."
Doctor Plot mentions the Roman way that leads to Oxford ; but it is ge- nerallv supposed not to have been a military station, on account of its appropriation to studious exercises; which may indeed account for the small quantity of Roman relics, whether of the mintage or the camp, that have been found there; as well as for the silence in which it has been passed over by certain writers, whose particular objects were the military journies of the Roman generals.
Britain being considered, by the old cosmographers, as divided from the rest of the world, and little known to foreigners, was seldom favoured with their notice or attention.
Paul Appian, however, is not among those who have treated it with neglect; at the same time, in his Catalogue of British Cities of the most illustrious character, he cites only Canterbury, Oxford, and London.
Cyprian also, in his Index of the ancient British Cities, remembers Oxfort.
Nor should it be omitted, as a circumstance at least of some curiosity, that an Arabian geographer of the eleventh century is cited by Herbelot, the celebrated French Orientalist, as making mention, according to the Arab pronunciation, of Ozeford; and withal adding, that it stood on the river Tanritz with London, and forty miles above it.
Oxford is represented to have been in a flourishing state till the reign of the, emperor Claudius, when, in the latter part of the first century of the Christian asra, the Dobuni, seated in Oxfordshire, submitted themselves to the Roman generals, and Oxford suffered a terrible downfall.
According to Baxter’s account of it in his Glossary, " the once renowned city of Oxford was reduced, in the time of the Romans, to the form of a village; or rather, nothing was left of it but its name."
It, however, soon recovered from its desolated condition, and is mentioned as a city by Claudius Ptolemeus the Alexandrian, about the year 170, and in the reign of the emperor Antoninus.
Its succeeding state for some centuries is not described by any writer; but, according to Brian Twyne, it was, about the year 474, restored to its ancient dignity, by Vortigern King of the Britons, who made it the place of his residence, and called it by his name, Caer Vor- tigern; which, however, it did not long retain, as Lelancl relates that it was soon after oppressed and greatly diminished by the Saxons.
But when those invaders had become masters of the whole kingdom, AD 689, Fitzherbert tells us, that they favoured this city with their regard, bestowed on it a new name, and encouraged it as a place set apart for the advancement of learning: which attention to letters in the Saxons may be supposed to have arisen from their late conversion to Christianity; an important epoch of this century.
After an interval of near two hundred years, in which no event is recorded to have happened respecting Oxford that demands a particular attention, we find it, in the year 886, the residence of Alfred and his three sons, Edward, Athelward, and Alsward; and that money was coined there in his name, called Ocsnafordia.
Among the many circumstances of prosperity and misfortune, of protection and hostility, which it alternately experienced, with almost every other part of the kingdom, we shall just mention that it was the seat of a conference between King Ethelred and the Danes in 1015; and that in 1022, Canute assembled here a council of the nation, when the laws of Edward the Confessor were translated into Latin, and presented to the common obedience of all the subjects of the kingdom, both Danes and English.
On the death of the latter monarch in 1056, another great national council was assembled at Oxford, to settle the disputes of the succession: when it was agreed by the consul Leolric, all the chiefs of the Danes, with the Londoners, in opposition to the Earl Godwin and the princes of West Saxony, that Harold Harefoot should be advanced to the crown.
In the same year he was crowned in this city; where, within the short space of three years, he died, and was buried at Westminster.
In 1067, William the Conqueror, soon after his coronation, being on his journey to the north to restore tranquillity in those parts, came before Oxford, which refusing to admit him, he stormed it on the north side; and having obtained an easy entrance, gave a principal part of it to his favourite, Robert D’Oilli.
At the same time the king, being apprehensive that his new subjects might turn Oxford, as they had done Wallingford, against him, commanded Robert D Chili to fortify it with a new castle on the west side; which was in a short time completed; as Aldred, abbot of Abingdon, was a prisoner in it in the year 1071.
In the following year, 106S, it appears that the citizens were numbered at twelve hundred, that they enjoyed the privilege of coining money, and were distinguished by divers confraternities and mercatorial guilds, with a constable to preside over them; which advantages must be attributed to the number of residing students, as well as to give encouragement to the artificers and merchants who came to Oxford: for it did not then abound with monasteries; nor did any public road pass through it.
In the twentieth year of William the Conqueror, A.
10S6, the Domesday-book was completed, from whence we shall recite the account of this city at that important period.
" When the king setteth forth towards a war, twenty burgesses shall go with him, for all the rest; or else they shall give twenty pounds to the king, that they may be all free.
Oxeneford payeth now sixty pounds.
In the same town are two hundred and forty- three houses, as well within as without the wall, that pay or yield geld ; and five hundred and twenty-two more, at least, which are so wasted and destroyed that they cannot pay geld.
The king hath twenty mural mansions, which belonged to Algar Earl of Oxford, in the time of Edward the Confessor, paying then and now fourteen shillings and two pence at least.
Therefore they are called mural mansions, because if need be, and the king commands, they shall repair the wall.
All persons hold the mural mansions free, on account of the reparations of the wall.
All mansions which are called mural, are free from all customs, except expedition and repairing of the wall.
Alvinus holds a tenement free, for his repairs of the wall, and receives from it thirtv-two pence per annum.
If the wall be not repaired by him, when necessary, whose duty it is to repair it, he shall pay forty shillings to the king, or lose his house.
All the burgesses of Oxeneford have without the wall a pasture in common, yielding six shillings and eight pence.
If any stranger choose to live in Oxeneford, and possess an house, and die there, separated from his parents, the king shall have all he dies possessed ol."
By this curious extract we are informed, that Oxford underwent all the changes to which the kingdom itself was subject, through the course of many centuries.
War, and particularly intestine war, ever unfavourable to learning, continually disturbed the repose of this academic city.
Alternately pillaged, desolated, and protected, it alternately flourished or decayed, was populous or deserted ; and we find it at this time containing little more than one-third of the inhabitants it possessed at a former and more prosperous period.
W e now, however, approach an era when civil government assumed a better form; when the state was enabled to protect itself against foreign enemies, and even the spirit of civil discord was disposed to respect learning, or at least, that religion which was so intimately connected with it.
The successive events in which Oxford had a political concern, are recorded, with so much care, by those historians of our country, whose works are read by all who consider its history as an object of use, of curiosity, or accomplishment, that it would be not only unnecessary, but almost impertinent, to add these subjects of common information to the unfamiliar objects of ancient research.
We shall, therefore, content ourselves with describing those curious buildings, which, from their decay, demolition, or removal, can only exist in description: these are the Castle, Beaumont Palace, Bucardo, Carfax, and the ancient walls of the city: and, after a cursory notice of those modern or other remaining structures whose characteristic circumstances claim some attention, we shall proceed to the more interesting part of Oxford; to that university which is the boast of Britain, and the envy of Europe.
The Castle, as its remains still show, was situate at the west end of the city.
It was built by Robert D’Oilli, in the year 1071, by order of William the Conqueror, to keep the inhabitants in subjection.
He raised it, according to Camden, with digging deep trenches to conduct the water of the river round it; and made high hills with lolty towers and walls thereon, to overlook the town and adjacent country.
In the map of Oxford, published by Ralph Agas in the year 1578, it appears to be surrounded by an embattled wall, strengthened with towers, and environed by a ditch, extending on the east to the river, on the west to Castle-street, northward to near the west gate of the city, and southward to that part now called George-lane.
At its entrance from the city, which was on the south-east side, was a large bridge, from whence a long and broad entry led to the principal gate of the castle; which was supported on either side by a strong and lolty wall.
Over this entry were several passages extending from one side to the other, with spaces between, from whence, whenever the castle should be stormed, and the enemy had passed over the bridge and broken through the entry, scalding water, stones, or missile weapons might be cast to annoy the assailants.
On the left hand, beyond the entrance, the fortification stretched on in a straight line till it came to a round tower, which, with a surrounding trench, was erected in the nineteenth year of Henry the Third.
From hence went a fair embattled wall, guarded, in a great measure, by the mill-stream till it came to the high tower: it then continued to another gate, opposite to that already mentioned, through which there was a passage to Osney over another bridge: and, almost adjoining to this bridge, was a lolty mount, crowned with a fortified turret, which could not have been erected at a later period than the time of the Empress Maud, as mention is made of it by the Norman writers.
On the north side, and without the castle, were also two large mounts, the one called Mount Pelham, and the other Jews Mount.
Some writers have supposed that the latter was raised by the Jews, at the command of King Stephen, when he besieged the Empress Maud in the castle, or to strengthen the place when he resided at his palace of Beaumont.
It has been, however, with more propriety supposed to be a corruption of Juis Mount, so named from the Gallic word jiuse, judgment; from whence proceeds the expression jour demise, the day of judgment: for as the place of public execution has always been in the vicinity of the castle, there is good reason to conclude that the juises, or seats of judicature, were in a contiguous situation.
Within the walls were a church and convent, dedicated to Saint George, and founded by Robert D’Oilli, who built the castle.
This Norman noble, being the confidential favourite of William the Conqueror, possessed all the power his partial sovereign could confer on him; and availed himself of it to amass wealth, among other means, by despoiling the church and oppressing the poor: but as devotion frequently, and as we should hope fortunately, springs up in the mind to atone for the former sins of extortion, avarice, and injustice, he afterwards sanctified his castle with this religious foundation, and was a liberal benefactor to other similar institutions in Oxford and elsewhere, but particularly to the abbey of Abingdon, in whose chapter-house he was buried with great solemnity.
His lady survived him a few years, and then shared his sepulchre.
He was succeeded in the olfice of constable of this castle by his son Robert, who delivered it up to the Empress Maud on her arrival at Oxford, in the spring of the year 1141 ; where she kept the festival of Easter with great pomp and solemnity.
But, in the autumn of the following year, King Stephen having taken the city by one of those acts of courageous temerity which appear, sometimes, to command success, the empress retired with her retinue into the castle, which was immediately invested by that monarch; who, though it was then considered as an impregnable fortress, declared, with a most solemn asseveration, that he would not raise the siege till he made a prisoner of his imperial rival.
The barons, who had pledged their honour to the Earl of Gloucester, to protect the empress his sister till his return from Normandy, whither he was gone to bring over her husband or her son Prince Henry, with such supplies as he could raise for her service, not daring to attack the king, nor being able to provoke him to risk a battle, were under the necessity of leaving her to the fate that seemed to await her.
The siege had continued upwards of three months, and the garrison of the castle, who had been animated by the empress to a most resolute and vigorous defence, being reduced to extreme distress, as well by famine as the incessant assaults of the enemy, she secretly made her escape from impending ruin, in a manner that savours more of romance than reality.
The river being frozen over, and the ground covered with snow, she dressed herself in a white garment, and, accompanied by three trusty knights clad in similar habiliments, to render themselves less perceptible, she issued, in the silence of midnight, from a postern of the castle, and, passing all the enemy’s centinels unobserved, travelled on foot to Abingdon, and from thence on horseback, to Wallingford; where she was in a few days joined by an army on its march to her relief, under the conduct of her brother the Earl of Gloucester, who had brought the young prince her son with him: a circumstance so gratifying to her maternal affections, as to afford this ambitious woman ample consolation for all the fatigue, alarm, and disappointment she had lately suffered.
The morning after her escape, the brave garrison, which had manifested so much zeal and resolution in her service, capitulated to the king.
The strong prison of this castle was given by Henry the Third, in the fifteenth year of his reign, to the peculiar jurisdiction of the chancellor of the university, as a place of confinement for rebellious clerks; ad clericos suos rebelles impriso- nandos; and by a statute, which passed in the twenty-seventh year of the same king, it was appointed to be a common gaof for the county.
The castle itself was afterwards given, by Edward the Sixth, to the episcopal see of Oxford; from whence it was taken by Oueen Elizabeth, but on what occasion or for what purpose is passed over in silence by the writer, on whose authority we have stated the resumption.
It has, however, long been the property of Christ-church; of whose chapter it is held by the county for its prison; and since the North-gate, called Bucardo, which was the gaof of the city, is no more, the judicial power of the latter jurisdiction has been necessarily admitted to a participating use of it.
Whatever decay this ancient fortress might have suffered, and whatever diminution it might have experienced of its original strength and splendour, in the succeeding times of improved civilization and enlightened policy, when its strength would be useless and its splendour vain, it still appears to have been a place of no mean consideration in the reign of Elizabeth, from the view of it given in the map published by Agas at that period: nor are we informed that it had suffered any further apparent change at the time when it was made a place of defence by Charles the First.
The stately towers, which are represented as being very ornamental to the west end of the city, were standing in the year 1649 ; but when the castle was appropriated to receive a garrison by the parliament, they were pulled down, and other fortifications erected in order to strengthen the place.
Yet, notwithstanding these works were constructed at a considerable expence of time and money, they were, in the month of August, 1652, when Charles the Second came from Worcester to Oxford, entirely demolished, without any apparent reason, in the short space of four days, and the garrison removed to New-college; to the great detriment of that place, and the students who resided in it.
The remains of this ancient structure are almost entirely confined to a tower, which diminishes as it ascends; and was long used as a county gaol.
But a new and more commodious prison has lately been erected near it, to which the architect has given the exterior form of a castle, as congenial to the spot on which it stands.
Beaumont palace.
—This palace derived the name it bore from the beauty of its situation, in a district of the north suburbs of Oxford, called Bellus Mons, or Beaumont; which, according to several authors, was the site of the ancient university.
—" Herein it was," says Antony Wood, in his Account of Oxford, " that King Henry the First, for the great pleasure of the seat, the sweetness and delectableness of the air, as especially for the sake of the university, being much given to learning and philosophy, built a palace for him and his retinue."
Ross tells us, that he was not only incited to do it for these purposes; but also, because of its vicinity to Woodstock park, in which he took so great delight.
In this palace, which was finished about the year 1128 , Richard, son of Henry the Second, and afterwards King Richard the First, was born; an event that was celebrated there with great rejoicing and splendid festivity.
It was from this local cause of affection to him, that the inhabitants of Oxford, when the gallant monarch was captive in a foreign land, contributed so largely towards the ransom that was raised to redeem him.
Henry the Second had such a preference for this place, that on account of the delight he found there, he granted several privileges to the burgesses of the city, as they were then denominated.
This palace was the occasional residence of all the successive kings of England, from Henry the First who built it, to Edward the Second; who, in consequence of a solemn vow, made on his escape after the battle fought between him and Robert Bruce of Scotland, gave it to the Carmelite friars of Oxford, who immediately removed from their old recluse habitation, to take possession of the royal mansion of so many sovereigns; where, according to the accounts given of them, these monks soon changed obscurity for reputation, poverty for wealth, and mortification for pleasure.
But though this palace was alienated to the' use of monastic life, most of our succeeding monarchs, when they visited Oxford, continued to make it the place of their residence.
At the dissolution of the monasteries, it shared the common fate, and sunk into decay.
The refectory, which survived for some time the rest of the building, was converted into a common receptacle lor beggars and parochial poor, till the year 1596, when it was pulled down, and the stone-work carried away to enlarge the library of Saint John’s college, and furnish materials for building the quadrangle erected there by archbishop Laud.
From the preceding description, it might be very reasonably supposed, that not a vestige remained of this once celebrated palace: we have, however, the testimony of tradition in favour of a small fragment, which, on the same authority, is said even to have been the chamber wherein Richard the First was born.
In the year 1774, Major Grose made a drawing of it, which was afterwards engraved, and has since been published in his works.
Fie describes it as an unrooled apartment, measuring twenty-four by eighteen feet; the walls about thirteen feet high, and retaining on one side the remains of a fire-place.
If, after all, this room may be considered as the miserable, melancholy remnant of a stately edifice, which was built and adorned by kings, was the birth-place of a great monarch, and a favourite residence of many succeeding sovereigns, what a striking example will appear of the mutability of human things, when we represent it, in its last stage, as a common sty for swine; the final use which was made of this only surviving, dilapidated, chamber of Beaumont palace! Bucardo, or Bocardo.
—This was the name given to the north gate of the city, which is supposed to have been first erected at a very early period ; and was rendered much stronger than the other gates, on account of its distance from the river, which could afford it neither guard or protection.
It was flanked on either side with a large round tower, was backed by an inner postern, and guarded with every military engine used in those days to oppose and annoy assailants.
It had not only possessed great strength, but had also been considered as susceptible of ornament; and was so curiously enriched with battlements, statues, and sculptured arms, as to attract the admiration of all who visited the place.
When, however, those internal commotions ceased, which for so many centuries had harassed the kingdom, and this kind of defence was no longer necessary, or, from the more powerful inventions of war, it was no longer effectual, this gate was given up to the mayor and bailiffs, who degraded, at least, its military character, by employing it as a civil and criminal prison, to which purpose it long continued to be applied.
It was also, for some time, a place of confinement for scholars who had been guilty of slight olfences.
But it is rendered more particularly memorable, by having been the prison of archbishop Cranmer, and the bishops Latimer and Ridley, previous to their unjust, cruel, and almost impious, execution before Baliol college.
The name of this ancient gate has greatly perplexed antiquarian sagacity to discover its origin.
It has been metonymically derived from the Latin word brocardia , signifying a matter of contention ; which opinion supposes that Bucardo had been a common port-mote, for deciding controversies, as in the times of the old Testament, when the gates of the cities were used as seats of judgment.
Its derivation from the Celtic words hue, ar , and don, implies, that it is a lolty gate adjoining the suburbs, or the country.
But Brian Twyne deduces it from the Saxon word bochojro, signifying a library; and supposes this gate to have been a repository for books, when the university was in ils more immediate vicinity, on the spot called Bello-situm, or Beaumont.
But whatever the several uses were to which this building was applied, and to whatever circumstance it was indebted for a name, it is now no more.
In the year 1771 , it was sold by the corporation of Oxford to the commissioners of the paving act, for three hundred and six pounds.
Its foundation-stone, marked with various figures, is still preserved -in the church of Saint Michael.
—was a conduit of venerable appearance and curious construction, which formed a kind of central point to the four principal streets of Oxford.
Its name is said to be a corruption of the French word c/uateiuois, which means four ways; but on what principle of etymology or derivation we do not proless to comprehend.
It was built by Otho Nicholson, one of the examiners in chancery, and a master of arts of Christ-church college ; who was much skilled in the Oriental tongues, and had travelled through the principal countries of Europe.
This gentleman formed the very public-spirited design to bring water from the hill above North Hinxsey, to supply the several colleges, as well as other private buildings belonging to the university.
For this purpose he purchased of the corporation of Oxford a spot of ground, twelve feet square, in the middle of the place called Ouatervois, where the biill-rimr was; the most convenient and ornamental situation for the conduit he proposed to erect.
In the following year, 1610 , it was completed, at the expence of two thousand two hundred pounds, to the great satisfaction of the inhabitants of the city; and on May the fifteenth, being the day of Saint Sophia, it was solemnly dedicated by a speech spoken before it, by Mr. John Wall, student of Christ-church, in the presence of the principal olficers of the university, and magistrates of the city.
The following description of this very curious building, which olfers so complete an example of the taste and invention of those times when it was erected, is taken from an original manuscript, which describes its unimpaired state, and pristine beauty.
" The conduit is exactly square, built with fine polished stone, the four sides being cut all over in imitation of the waves of the sea.
The arms of the university, city, and founder, are seen beneath different parts of the cornish; and on each corner, above the cornish, is placed, on the three sides of each cube, as many sundials, making twelve in number.
Between each corner dial, facing the four winds, is very finely carved a sort of open work, consisting of capital letters, the sun in his glory, and mermaids holding combs and mirrors, in alternate arrangement.
The letters are O.
the initials of the founder’s name, and are so contrived as to form a rebus, an ancient mode of expressing devices.
On the four side walls stand as many curious arches, which concentre in the upper part, supporting a stately fabric of an octangular form; and beneath these arches is a large cistern, above which stands the Empress Maud riding on an ox, over a ford, in allusion to the name of Oxford.
The water which comes from the fountain head is conveyed into the body of the ox, whereby the city is supplied with that element, which continually runs into the cistern underneath ; from whence also proceeds a leaden pipe, which is made to flow with wine on days of extraordinary rejoicing.
Above the foot of each arch, which sustains the other work, is one of the supporters of the royal arms of England, according to the periods they were respectively adopted.
To the north-west point is an antelope, as a supporter in the reign of Henry the Eighth ; to the south-east is a dragon, borne in the time of Oueen Elizabeth; to the south-east is a lion; and to the north-east an unicorn, the accompaniments of the royal arms in our day.
Each of these supporters is represented in a sitting posture, and holding in its fore feet an armorial banner, containing the quarterings of the royal arms of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.
Between these supporters are carved various ornaments, such as obelisks, boys, etc.
interchangeably transposed on the four sides of the conduit.
Above the centres of these arches are four figures, representing the cardinal virtues.
To the northwest is Justice, richly habited, holding in her right hand a sword, in her left a pair of scales, and with her eyes covered.
To the north-east is Temperance, pouring wine out of a large vessel into a smaller measure.
To the south-east is Fortitude, holding in her right hand a broken column, and in her left the capital.
To the south-west is Prudence, with a serpent in the form that denotes eternity.
The four arches, as has been already mentioned, support a curious octagon pile of stone-work, each angle of which contains a niche, and in each niche is seen a statue beneath a canopy, having a crown of gold on his head, a sceptre in his hand, and a shield on his arm, containing his respective device or armorial bearings.
These figures are intended to represent the seven worthies, witli the addition of the then reigning sovereign of Great Britain, James the First.
To the east stands King David, and then follow in succession, Alexander the Great, Godfrey of Boulogne, King Arthur, the Emperor Charlemagne, James the First of England, Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar, all of them being respectively accompanied with attributes and heraldic distinctions.
Above these royal worthies stand out, at some distance, several curious figures, representing the liberal sciences: one of which is Orpheus with his harp, and other musical embellishments.
On the top, above the niches, are two human figures, with their backs to each other, and covered by a canopy: the one, representing Janus, is an old man looking westward, and holding a shield in his left hand, on which is carved a bat with its wings displayed: the other is a young woman bearing a sceptre.
The whole terminates in an iron rod with a vane, and ending in a cross, whose points are cardinally directed to the four winds.
There are also, above the niches which contain the eight royal personages, certain ornamental figures, the upper parts of which represent women, and then taper down into the scaly forms of fishes.
Beneath these are interchangeably transposed the royal badges of the four kingdoms.
The rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the fleur-de-lis for France, and the harp for Ireland.
Thus far," adds the writer, "concerning the conduit; which, for utility, beauty, and neatness, is not to be exceeded in the three kingdoms."
Among the late improvements which have added so much to the beauty of Oxford, it was thought expedient to remove this conduit; not only from its decayed state, but the particular inconvenience of its situation: and the Earl Harcourt having expressed a wish to preserve this curious monument of British skill in former times, it was, with the most perfect propriety, presented to that nobleman, who has re-erected it on the verdant swell of a woody eminence in Nuneham park ; where it may be said to look, from its silvan repose, towards that city it so long adorned; and, in return for the pious care to which it owes its preservation, gives a dignified solemnity to the charming scene, where the hand of taste has been pleased to place it.
of the ancient walls which surrounded and formed the defence of this city, the most early and authentic mention is made in Domesday-book; from whence it appears, that Oxford was a walled town in the time of Edward the Confessor; but how long before, is not known ; and that there were certain houses called mural houses, whose rents were set apart lor the repair of the walls, and on that account exonerated from all tax or custom, except those recjuired for military expeditions.
The last time that any public record of these walls appears, is in the reign of Richard the Second; when, on account of their ruinous condition, the king sent out his brief, dated at Westminster, to the mayor and burgesses of Oxford; which requires " that they would find a quick remedy to repair them; because, if his enemies in France should invade England, the untenable state of the walls would put his person to great hazard:" a circumstance which proves the great consideration and importance of this city, at that early period.
This brief was immediately obeyed, and a general tax was levied throughout the city, which was paid by religious as well as secular persons.
The walls were, accordingly, put in a proper state of defence, and, we believe, for the last time; as it no where appears that they underwent any subsequent reparations, but such as were partially made by certain colleges who erected buildings against them, or fitted up the towers for the convenience of students.
Thus, in the long course of successive centuries, these walls, no longer necessary as a defence, or regarded as an ornament, have gradually sunk into decay, till very few or no remains of them appear, but those which may be traced, with their battlements and bastions, along the north and south boundaries of New-college.
Ralph Agas, in his plan of Oxford published in the year 1578, which we have already had frequent occasion to mention, gives the form of the walls and gates of the city, as they appeared about that time, with the colleges as they were originally built, except those of Wadham and Jesus, which were founded at a subsequent period.
Oxford, including its suburbs and liberties, contains fourteen parishes: but of t Ire churches from whence they derive their names, though they all tend to aid the general characteristic effect of the place, there are but three which demand, or would indeed justify, a particular attention.
These are the churches of Saint Mary, All Saints, and Saint Peter in the East.
Saint Mary’s church stands on the north side of the high-street, a grand and venerable structure, suited to the dignity of its cha- racter; as it is not only a parochial place of worship, but is particularly distinguished by its appropriation to the service of the university.
The tower is beautifully constructed, richly ornamented with pinnacles and statues, and crowned with a spire that rises to the height of one hundred and eighty feet.
It contains six large bells, which, besides their ordinary uses, are employed to give notice of scholastic exercises, convocations, and other academic assemblies.
The decorations were added at the time the steeple was repaired in the year 1637, under the direction of Doctor King, then dean of Christ-church and chancellor of the university, and afterwards bishop of London.
The portal, or principal entrance from the south, is in a more modern style of architecture: it is said to have been erected at the cost of two hundred and thirty pounds ; and was the gift of Doctor Morgan Owen, a chaplain of archbishop Laud, in the year 1637.
On the upper part of it is a figure of the Virgin, with an infant Christ in her arms, holding a cross, which, for very obvious reasons, attracts the particular regard of foreign visitors of the Roman catholic religion.
It is, indeed, a singular circumstance, if any thing can be said to deserve that appellation which proceeds from fanatic bigotry, that Presbyterian zeal should have seized on these decorative figures to corroborate their prools of archbishop Laud’s attachment to Popery.
The interior of the church is handsome and well lighted: it contains three ailes; and the nave is supported by magnificent Gothic pillars.
The vice-chancellor’s throne is at the west end, with the places appointed for the proctors beneath it.
On each side are seats for the doctors and heads of houses; beneath which are those of the noble students.
In the area before them, are benches for the masters of arts ; and, in front of the west window, with a return to the north and south, are galleries for the bachelors of arts and under-graduates.
We have the authority of ancient writers to consider King Alfred as the original founder of this church, and that he annexed it to the university for the use of its scholars, when, in order to secure them from the future attacks and ravages of the Danes, he re-erected the academical halls within the walls of the city.
In Domesday-book it appears to have belonged to the king, and continued in the possession of the crown to the time of Edward the Second, who, April 26, 1326, appropriated it to the college of Oriel, which possesses the patronage of it at this day.
In the reign of Henry the Seventh, this church being in such a ruinous state as to be inadmissible lor the celebration of divine service, the clerks of Oxford, as they are called in the old books, assisted by the contributions of several bishops and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, but particularly of Fitzjames bishop of Rochester, who was afterwards translated to the see of London, raised a sum of money sufficient to rebuild it in the form in which it now appears.
In this church, as an acknowledgment of the submission they owe to the superior jurisdiction of the university, on the day after the feast of Saint Michael, the mayor, with the principal citizens of Oxford, take an annual oath, which is administered to them by the proctors, in the presence of the vice-chancellor, to maintain the rights and privileges of the university.
And in the morning of the tenth of February, an annual olfering is made, in the same place, by the mayor and sixty-two citizens, of a penny each, as the commutation for an heavy fine imposed on them, on account of the murder of certain scholars, committed on the day of Saint Scholas- tica, in the year 1354.
The church of All Saints is a very beautiful fabric, and adds another ornamental object to the high-street, which abounds in them.
The old church lell down in 1699, and the present elegant structure was completed in 1708.
The expence of its erection was defrayed by a brief obtained in 1705, and by a general subscription; to which the university, the colleges, and the corporation, were generous con- tributors.
Queen Anne granted the timber necessary for building it; Sarah Duchess of Marlborough gave the pavement; bishop Crew presented the altar; and Sir J.
Walter, Baronet, furnished the glass for the windows.
Many other noblemen, prelates, and gentlemen were among the benefactors.
It is adorned, both within and without, with Corinthian pilasters, and embellished with appropriate enrichments.
It has a stately tower, which supports a rotunda, encircled with Ionic columns, from whence issues a spire of the finest proportion.
The whole was built after a design of Doctor Aldrich, dean of Christ-church, who, with a prolound knowledge in the scholastic sciences, possessed a superior taste and consummate skill in architecture; of which this church, and other buildings in Oxford, are acknowledged examples.
Saint Peter in the East has the venerable appearance of remote antiquity, and both from its exterior form and internal circumstances, possesses no inconsiderable claim to curious attention.
At the west end rises a tower decorated with Saxon ornaments : the east end supports two lesser towers, and the porch in particular bears all the marks of Saxon origin.
The chancel also retains its original decorations.
According to Asser, this church was built, from the foundation, with stones polished with great art, about the year 816 , on the restoration of Oxford, by Grimbald, one of its first prolessors, and is supposed to be the first church of stone erected in this part of the kingdom.
It is said to be the mother church of Oxford; and formerly enjoyed the distinction of being appropriated to the public service of the university.
Sermons are still preached there before the university on the Sunday afternoons during Lent.
This custom is necessarily continued, as by the statutes of certain colleges, the members of them are required to preach before the university during that season, at their ancient and original church, or at Saint Paul’s Cross, London, as preparatory to the degrees of bachelor or doctor in divinity.
It is, indeed, well known that, in former times, preaching was in a great measure confined to the penitential period of Lent.
The Radcliffe infirmary, the house of industry, the town-hall, and Magdalen-bridge, which are of modern erection, may be considered as a great accession of ornament and utility to the city.
Oxford, without having recourse to antiquarian conjecture or fanciful authority, appears to have been a place of considerable importance, and to have possessed no common portion of civic dignity, in the early periods of the English history.
But of the ancient state of its municipal government, little is known previous to the Norman conquest, but what is deduced from inference and analogy.
In some of the old writers, we read of the Earls of Oxford : it may be, therefore, reasonably supposed that the place horn whence they derived their title, was some time subject to their jurisdiction.
In a certain grant of King Alfred to the monastery of Abendon, express mention is made of Winsig provost de Oxenforde: a dignity which answers in every respect to the olficial character of mayor; as appears from the magisterial powers and privileges of the lord provost of Edinburgh, which are of the same character and tendency as those of the lord mayor of London.
We learn also from authentic records that, prior to the conquest, the burgesses of this city were used to meet in Balliolo, or the Bailey, a place set apart lor the dispatch of public business; which evidently proves a body corporate, whatever might be the form it then assumed.
William the Conqueror had received so decided an opposition from the inhabitants of Oxford, that instead of advancing or improving their civ il government, he considered them rather as objects of military coercion, and commanded a castle to be built to overawe and keep them in due order and subjection.
His son, Henry the First, entertained other sentiments towards them; and from the partial favour of that monarch proceeded their first charter; which was enlarged by another charter granted by Henry the Second: wherein there is an express confirmation, among other privileges and immunities, of certain mercatorial guilds and confraternities, which must have subsisted long before, and consequently proved an advanced state of municipal government, at that period.
Richard the First, from the particular regard he bore to the place of his nativity, granted to its citizens all the rights and privileges conferred by former sovereigns on the citizens of London; and that they should also share with them the honour of being the king’s butlers at the festival of the coronation; an olfice they have since enjoyed.
These charters were afterwards confirmed, enlarged, or renewed, by several succeeding sovereigns down to James the Second; in the third year of whose reign the particular charter was granted which modelled the municipal government of this city according to its present form and constitution.
The corporation consists of a mayor, an high steward, a recorder, four aldermen, eight assistants, two bailiffs, and twenty-four common-council men.
Oxford has sent members to parliament since the twenty-third year of Edward the First, and was the seat of parliaments before, as it has been olten since, it first enjoyed the privilege of sending representatives for itself.
It can also boast the presence of many sovereign as well as ecclesiastical councils; and, at different periods, the principal courts of law were removed from London and transferred thither: all which circumstances unite in confirming the character given of it by the learned antiquary:—" Hie principes nasci, sedere, inaugurare, et res maximas agere, multum consuevere."
It also gave the title of earl to the family of the Veres, for near six hundred years, till the death of Aubrey de Vere, the twentieth and last earl, without male issue, in 1702.
The title then lay dormant, till it was conferred by Queen Anne on Robert Harley, speaker of the house of commons, and afterwards lord high treasurer ot England, in the year 1711; whose descendants now enjoy it.
Thus the city of Oxford has sometimes rivalled the metropolis in importance and splendour.
But its most ennobling circumstance, and which is far superior to the birth, the residence, and protection of kings, is the illustrious seat of learning, the university, which it contains; and from whence it derives a distinction that is not possessed by any other city in the world.
To a brief history and description of that university, we must now direct our fond and faithful attention.
The historians of the university, as well as of the city, of Oxford, have, in general, discovered an anxious solicitude to bestow on it all the honour of a very remote antiquity; and, with this view, the story of Brutus, related in (he fanciful Annals of Geolfrey of Monmouth, and other chroniclers, is brought by several grave writers to support their opinions, that Oxford was a seat of learning, and a seminary of education, at least a thousand years before the commencement of the Christian Era.
—" The historic of the universitie of Oxford," says the Grafton Chronicle, " seemeth to referre its beginning to certaine Greeke philosophers who came into this isle with Brute."
And Velleius Paterculus assigns the reason which induced the Greeks to adventure into this island; which was, " to disseminate learning among the rude Albions."
But, without attempting any serious disquisition concerning the truth, or the fable of such relations; and being satisfied with the mere mention of an opinion that many antiquaries have entertained respecting the origin of this university, we shall content ourselves with giving a short abstract of the history of learning in Britain, during several centuries which followed the invasion and conquest of it by the Romans : horn whence we may, by plausible hypothesis and reasonable inference, be able to establish, at least, the probability that there were public seminaries in or near Oxford, previous to the reign of that renowned prince, and illustrious patron of learning, Alfred the Great.
That there were places of public education among the ancient Britons, is evident from the positive testimony of Greek and Roman writers, who mention many particular circumstances relative to the constitution and arrangement of the Druidical academies in Britain; which, according to Caesar, were in such high reputation, that the young men of Gaul frequently came to finish their education in them.
The chief of these seminaries is supposed to have been placed in the island of Anglesea, near the habitation of the Arch- Druid, who presided over the establishments of learning, as well as those of religion.
But though these advantages were for a short time lost to Britain, after the destruction and expulsion of the Druids by the Romans, they were soon restored by the discerning zeal of Julius Agricola, who being appointed to the government of Britain in the year 78, employed all his influence to introduce the knowledge of the Roman arts and sciences among the British youth.
The introduction also of Christianity into Britain, about this period, must have materially contributed to advance the progress of learning; and as, during the flourishing times of the Roman government, the Christian religion generally prevailed in this island, it may be naturally concluded, that many of the clergy applied to the study of Roman literature, with the hope of enlarging their qualifications to illustrate, enforce, and defend the principles of their faith.
Saint Ninian, a Briton of high rank and extensive genius, after having received the best education of his own country, passed several years at Rome to perfect his studies, and afterwards became a zealous and successful preacher of t he Christian religion among the Scots and Piets in the northern and less cultivated parts of the island.
The great heresiarch Pelagius, the friend, and afterwards the opponent, of Saint Jerome and Saint Augustin, is another example of men of great talents and learning, who flourished in the fourth century.
Others might be adduced; but those already named are sufficient to prove that education was systematically cultivated and considerably advanced at that period: besides, it was an invariable principle of policy among the Romans, to diffuse the use of their language and the knowledge of their learning into all the provinces of their empire.
It was with this view that they established schools in certain provincial towns and cities, in which the youth were always taught the Latin, and frequently the Greek tongue, with other branches of science.
The Theodosian code abounds with edicts relating to these seminaries: and an edict of the Emperor Gratian specifically promulgated in the year 376 , which, being addressed to the prefect of Gaul, must be supposed to have included Britain, then under his government, particularly enjoins that olficer to promote the establishment of these schools by his power, and to encourage them by his protection.
Learning, however, began to decline towards the end of the fourth century, from the unsettled state of the Roman provinces; and when the Romans took their final leave of Britain, it soon became a scene of deplorable ignorance and confusion.
Gildas, the most ancient of our historians, has given a disgusting picture of the character and conduct of the Christian clergy of Britain in those times.
During the sixth century, England was a continual scene of war and bloodshed; and the ancient inhabitants, who retained the small portion of learning that remained in the country, were, after a long and sanguinary struggle, in a great measure extirpated, enslaved, or driven into exile, by the fierce and unlettered Saxons ; so that the faint glimmerings of science which stdl survived, were no where to be perceived but in the mountains of Wales and Caledonia.
The Anglo-Saxons being converted to Christianity in the course of the seventh century, the character of that people became improved and soltened by the pure doctrines of a perfect religion, and science began to dawn once more on this benighted country.
At the same time, and from the same cause, the long lost communication was renewed between England and Rome; for that once imperial city, though now despoiled of its former glory, still continued to be the chief seat of learning in Europe.
Besides, such of the Anglo-Saxon converts who designed to embrace the clerical prolession, were obliged to cultivate certain branches of knowledge, to qualify them for the sacred olfice; and it consequently became necessary to provide schools for their especial instruction: so that venerable Bede, the great light of England and the whole Christian world, at the end of this and the beginning of the next century, observes, " These were happy and enlightened times, in comparison of those which had preceded them; for none wanted teachers who were willing to be instructed."
The eighth century appears to have been the most dark and dismal part of the long night of ignorance and barbarism that succeeded the downfall of the Roman empire.
Nevertheless learning, expelled, as it were, from the nations of the continent, found an asylum in the British isles, where the sciences continued to be cultivated with ardour and success: but, in the beginning of the ninth century, literature, overwhelmed by civil wars and Danish devastation, was menaced with a total extinction in Britain.
of this melancholy change we have the most decisive evidence, in the following passage of a letter written by King Alfred to Walfig, bishop of Worcester.
—" At my accession to the throne in the year 871, all learning and knowledge was lost in the English nation; insomuch that there were very few to the south of the Humber who understood the common prayers of the church, or were capable of translating a single sentence of Latin into English : but to the south of the Thames, I cannot recollect so much as one who possessed the least glimmering of common knowledge."
This slight sketch of the state and progress of learning, during a certain succession of the early centuries, is sufficient to prove that, during the far greater part of the period which they compose, there were schools and seminaries for the instruction of youth in this island; and, though the sword of the invader, or the flame of civil discord occasioned too frequent interruptions in the advancement of learning, that it never failed to return on the first dawn of peace and tranquillity.
Hence we may conclude, that the antiquarian writers, who have insisted on the remote origin and settlement of a place of public education in or near Oxford, may be considered as authorized in their sentiments, to as early an epoch, at least, as the establishment of Christianity in Britain.
I his opinion, indeed, receives no inconsiderable accession of probability from the peculiar distinction which Alfred bestowed on that city: lor no other, at least no better, reason can be assigned for his choice of it as the metropolis of learning, than its existing character of the most ancient and celebrated seminary in his kingdom.
We are also informed that he commenced his grand design with removing the schools, whatever their condition might have been, from their defenceless situation to the fortified part of the city; in order to secure them from any future incursions of the Danes, by whose ravaging hostilities they had been disturbed and desolated.
He then invited the most celebrated scholars from other parts of Europe, to instruct the rising generation in every branch of divine and human learning; and proceeded to prepare, for them, every necessary accommodation, as well as to provide adequate endowments for their maintenance and support.
John Ross gives the following account of the schools founded at Oxford by this monarch.
— " At the first founding of the university of Oxford, the noble King Alfred built three halls, in the name of the holy Trinity, for the doctors in grammar, philosophy, ancl divinity.
The first of these halls was situated in High-street, near the east gate of the city, and he endowed it with a sufficient maintenance for twenty-six grammarians: this was called Little- hall, on account of the inferiority of the science there studied.
The second was built near the north wall of the city, in the street now called school-street, and endowed for twenty-six logicians, or philosophers, and had the name of Less-hall.
The third was built also in High-street, contiguous to Little-hall, and was endowed for twenty-six divines, for the study of the holy Scriptures."
This account receives some corroboration from the following passage of the old annals of the monastery of Winchester, which contains the names of the first prolessors in this celebrated seat of learning, after its foundation by Alfred.
— " In the year of our Lord 886, in the second year of Saint Grimbald’s coming over into England, the university of Oxford was founded.
The first regents and readers in divinity were Saint Neot, an abbot and eminent prolessor of theology; and Saint Grimbald, an eloquent and most excellent interpreter of the holy Scriptures.
Grammar and rhetoric were taught by Asserius, a monk, and a man of extraordinary learning.
Logic, music, and arithmetic, were read by John, a monk of Saint David’s.
Geometry and astronomy were prolessed by John, a monk, and colleague of Saint Grimbald; a man of sharp wit and immense knowledge.
These lectures were olten honoured with the presence of the most illustrious and invincible monarch King Alfred, whose memory, to every judicious taste, shall be always sweeter than honey."
For the support of the masters and scholars in these schools, Alfred set apart the liberal allotment of one eighth part of his whole revenue; and, as a further mark of affectionate distinction to these favourite institutions, he sent his youngest son Ethelward, with the sons of his nobility, to receive their education in them.
In short, though there is sufficient reason to believe that Oxford had been a seminary of learning for several centuries before the time of Alfred, yet it appears to have been in such a diminished and decayed state in the early part of his reign, that he may be justly styled the father and founder of this university.
It may surely be said, that his royal and benignant hand planted here the tree of science, which has since towered alolt, spread \s T icle its branches, and yielded those fruits through every successive age, which it continues to yield, in their full maturity and perfection, at the A ery moment of this venerating description of it.
Nor should it be forgotten that, even in his own day, Alfred received the just reward of his illustrious labours in the service of learning; whose rapid advancement, under his fostering care and munificent protection, enabled him to make the exulting declaration, " that all Ins episcopal sees were filled with learned men, and every pulpit in his kingdom furnished with an able preacher."
But, on the death of this great prince, in the first year of the tenth century, learning, which had lost its chief patron and support, began to languish; and though it was in some degree protected by Edward and Athelstan, the renewed irruptions of the Danes, and other unfavourable circumstances, checked the studious spirit which the genius of Alfred had excited in the English nation; who gradually quitted the path of science which he had marked out for them, lost their character for learning, and, at length, were involved in the intellectual darkness that prevailed throughout Europe during the tenth century; which historians have denominated an age of ignorance, stupidity, and barbarism.
In the year 975 during the short reign of Edward, the son of Edgar, commonly called the Martyr, Oxford, according to the Saxon Chronicle, suffered an almost total demolition from the destructive spirit of the Danes: and in the year 1009, as we learn from the same authority, those foes of science again ravaged this city, which had risen up amidst its former ruins, and reduced it to ashes.
It is, however, recorded, to the honour of Canute the Great, a wise and just prince, that he repaired the schools of Oxford, and restored their former immunities and endowments.
But of these it was again despoiled, by his son and successor the ferocious Harold, who, in the words of Leland, " thought he treated the scholars with great lenity, when he left them the naked walls of their houses."
Such had been the alternate fortune of this university, when a new though transient sera may be said to have commenced, on the restoration of the ancient line of the Anglo-Saxon kings, in the person of Edward the Confessor; an event highly favourable to learning.
This monarch repaired the injuries that his predecessor Harold had done to Oxford; which appears from the History of Ingulphus, abbot of Croyland, to have been at that time the principal seminary of learning in England.
" I was horn," says that writer, " in the beautiful city of London, educated in letters at Westminster, from whence I was afterwards sent to study at Oxford, where ! made greater progress in the Aristotelian philosophy, than many of my contemporaries, and became well acquainted with the rhetoric of Cicero."
The kingdom, however, was in such an unsettled state for some time previous, as well as subsequent, to the conquest, and Oxford in particular had suffered so much from the Danes, and afterwards from the Normans, that it cannot be represented as being at that period in a prosperous or flourishing condition, as a seat of learning: indeed, the Domesday-book informs 11 s that, in the year 1086, not more than one-third part of it was inhabited.
The education of the Conqueror’s youngest son, Henry the First, at Oxford is not clearly ascertained; but that he caused a palace to be erected there, which became a favourite place of his residence, is related, without a dubious reflection, by the most authentic historians.
They also mention that Robert White (whose Latin name was Robertus Pullus), a person of eminent talents and superior qualifications, taught with great reputation in this university during the reign of that learned monarch.
But another reverse of fortune awaited it; for in the year 1111 King Stephen took the city by storm, set it on fire, and reduced it to so wretched a condition, that it was immediately deserted both by the scholars and their prolessors : such, however, appears to have been its power of renovation, that they soon returned to their favourite residence; and before the close of that king’s life, it had risen into great reputation for the study of the civil law.
Under the protection of his successor, Henry the Second, an illustrious patron of learning, Oxford began to flourish, and would have continued to advance in prosperity, had not the progress of learning been unfortunately interrupted by the religious feuds between the king and his clergy, which disturbed the tranquillity, and in some measure obscured the glory, of his reign.
But this academic city, secure, at length, from foreign invasion; and rising into that aweful character which would protect it from intestine commotion; at the moment when it was favoured and protected by kings, became the prey of fortuitous calamity.
In the year 1190, a considerable part of it, with several schools or halls, was destroyed by an accidental lire.
This misfortune, however, was but transient, and proved tire parent of unexpected advantage; as the houses and halls, which had been heretolore built of wood, and covered with straw, were now reerected in a more durable manner, as well as superior form, and changed into edifices of stone, covered with tiles and lead.
As Richard the First had been born at Oxford, he regarded it with such affection, and granted it so many privileges, that it became the rival of the university of Paris.
But as if it were never to remain in a permanent state of prosperity, an event happened in the following reign, A.D. 1209, which threatened it with little less than a total destruction.
A scholar having accidentally killed a woman.
took instant flight; and this unfortunate event was no sooner known, than a mob of the citizens assembled, with the mayor at their head, who surrounded the hall to which the unfortunate scholar belonged, and, not finding him there, seized three young men, who were wholly unacquainted with the mischief, and, after throwing them into prison, obtained an order from King John to put them to death, which was immediately executed.
This act of injustice and cruelty so olfended and alarmed the scholars and their prolessors, that they abandoned their university, to the number of three thousand, and dispersed themselves in the different towns of Cambridge, Reading, and Maidstone in Kent.
But the inhabitants soon became sensible of their folly, and, to remove the oppressive consequences of an interdict, with which the pope had punished the city for its olfence, sued for pardon, on their knees, before the pope’s legate at Westminster, who enjoined them to perform public penance in all the churches of Oxford.
New advantages were stipulated, on the occasion, for the members of the university, and the mayor, with fifty of the principal citizens, in the name of the rest, were obliged to take a solemn oath to maintain them: a ceremony which is actually continued in our day.
These arrangements being made, the scholars, after an absence of five years, returned with great joy to Oxford, which now became more flourishing than it had ever been, and appears, in a short time, to have contained four thousand students.
In this place it may be proper to observe, that the seats of learning, now called universities, were anciently denominated studies, as the study of Oxford ; but about the end of the twelfth, or the beginning of the thirteenth century, the name now in use seems to have prevailed, either because all kinds of learning were taught in them, and students of all countries were received by them; or which, perhaps, is the better reason, because they were formed into legal communities, which, in the Latin of those times, were called universitates.
We are informed by Roger Bacon, the most learned man of the thirteenth century, that there never had been so flourishing an appearance of learning, and so general an application to study in all the various branches of science as in his time.
At this period, also, a change took place in the university of Oxford, which, as it proved the foundation of its subsequent splendour, claims a very particular attention.
The teachers and scholars had lone been accustomed to lodge and prosecute their studies in houses which they rented of the citizens : a circumstance that proved the cause of continual disputes and contentions: and though Henry the Third appointed persons to be annually chosen lrom the city and the university to decide upon and settle them, it appears to have been a fruitless endeavour to preserve peace between the students and the townsmen: and, in defiance of all authority, these domestic feuds, respecting the payment of rent, continued to interrupt the tranquillity so peculiarly ne- cessarv to a seat of learning.
These circumstances, so unfavourable to science, at length incited several opulent persons, who were anxious for the advancement of it, to deliver the members of the university from their humiliating dependence on the householders of the city.
With this view, they not only purchased or built spacious mansions, which the prolessors and scholars were permitted to inhabit Iree of all charge, but settled certain estates, whose revenues were to be employed in providing the poorer scholars with all the necessary means of prosecuting their studies with comfort and advantage.
These munificent patrons of learning were soon followed by others, who were animated by the same ardent zeal in the same important cause; and the erection and endowment of colleges became, at this time, the prevailing taste of opulence; as the erection and endowment of monasteries had been in former periods.
Thus, having conducted the history of this university to the time, when it began to assume the form which the accumulated bounty of succeeding ages has raised to its present state of unrivalled magnificence, we shall wave the detail of posterior events, which principally relate to interior discipline, scholastic memoirs, and contending opinions, and proceed to an historical enumeration of those splendid structures, which the piety, the munificence, and, we may surely add, the wisdom of kings, prelates, nobles, and many less distinguished patrons of learning have erected and endowed, enriched, and aggrandised, in the university of Oxford.
Balliol college.
—-John Balliol, father of that unfortunate prince John, King of Scotland, formed, and made some progress in, the design of founding this college about the year 1268, which was perfected by his widow, the Lady Devorguilla, from whom her son John Balliof derived his title to the crown of Scotland.
After some previous arrangements, she purchased Mary’s hall in 1284 ; and having repaired it in a manner suitable to its purpose, she there established a society by her charter, which was afterwards confirmed by her son, John Balliol, King of Scotland, and oliver, bishop of Lincoln, who was at that time the diocesan of Oxford.
On the outside of the college, opposite to the master’s lodge, a stone was placed to perpetuate the memory of archbishop Cranmer, and the bishops Ridley and Latimer, who were burned in that place, for their adherence to the reformation: but this memorial of that cruel and infamous act of anti-christian tyranny is no longer visible, since the city has been paved in its present form.
The endowed establishment of this society, consists of a master, twelve fellows, fourteen scholars, and eighteen exhibitioners; with a considerable number of independent members, who, divided among the several colleges, form the larger proportion of academic students.
Merton college.
—Walter de Merton, bishop of Rochester, and lord chancellor of England, founded a college at Maldon in Surrey, AD 1264, and the forty-eighth year of Henry the Third; and transferred it within three years to Oxford.
The statutes framed by the founder lor its good order and discipline, and by which they are now governed, without any alteration, are dated AD 1274, being the second year of Edward the First.
Its foundation consists oi a warden, twenty-four fellows, fourteen post-masters, Lat.
portionista , which are of a distinct and subsequent establishment, four scholars, two chaplains, and two bible-clerks.
University college, is supposed by some writers to have been the largest of the three halls, already mentioned to have been founded by King Alfred; but be that as it may, those foundations were overturned, and their endowments dissipated long before this period.
William archdeacon of Durham, who bequeathed three hundred and ten marks to the university, and died AD 1249, may be esteemed the founder of this college, as with that sum a society was established, in 1260, and the statutes settled by the university in 1292.
The present spacious and uniform structure began to be erected in 1634, by the benefaction of Charles Greenwood, who had been a fellow of the college; and was carried on by Sir Simon Rennet.
It was finally completed by Doctor John Radclilfe, who erected the whole eastern quadrangle.
With the same munificent spirit lie instituted two medical fellowships, and endowed them with ample incomes for the stated terms of ten years; half of which time at least, in the language of his will, they are to travel beyond seas, for their better improvement in the medical art."
This society consists of a master, twelve fellows, and seventeen scholars.
Exeter college.
—Walter de Stapledon, bishop of Exeter, lord treasurer of England, and secretary of state to Edward the Second, began about the year 1315, to execute the design which he had long formed of founding an hall or college in Oxford : and, in a few years, with the assistance of Peter Skelton, a clergyman, he accom- plished his generous purpose, on the spot where Hertford college now stands: but, in the following year, in order to procure more extensive accommodations, he removed it to the place where it now stands, and called it Stapledon-hall, after his own name.
Among its subsequent benefactors, Edward Stafford, bishop of Exeter, obtained a bull from Pope Innocent the Seventh, to change its name to that of Exeter college.
Sir William Petre, in the reign of Oueen Elizabeth, obtained for it a new charter and statutes, and founded several fellowships.
Charles the First also added a fellowship for a native of the islands of Jersey or Guernsey.
The last of its benefactors was the Reverend Joseph Sanford, of Balliof college ; who, though blit little known out of Oxford, as he never published any work, was the most learned man in Europe.
He bequeathed his inestimable library to this college.
Its instituted members are a rector, twenty-five fellows, one scholar, who is bible-clerk, and two exhibitioners.
Oriel college.
—The honour of founding this college is attributed to Edward the Second; though that king appears to have done little more than grant a licence to his almoner Adam de Brorne, in the year 1324, to build and endow it.
It was originally named the Hall of the blessed Virgin of Oxford, and derived its present title from the capital messuage of Le Oriel , a benefaction of Edward the Third, on whose site it now stands.
Adam de Brorne was its first provost.
The same prince also added the hospital of Saint Bartholomew near Oxford, with the lands appertaining to it.
Oueen Anne annexed a prebend of Rochester to the provostship for ever.
The endowed society of this college consists of a provost, eighteen fellows, and fourteen exhibitioners.
Queen’s college.
—Robert Egglesfield, descended from an ancient family in the county of Cumberland, and confessor to Oueen Philippa, consort of Edward the Third, founded this college AD 1340, having obtained a royal charter for its incorporation.
Its name was given in honour of Queen Philippa, who had very much encouraged and assisted her confessor in this expensive undertaking.
Edward the Third was also a considerable benefactor; and Charles the First, at the requisition of his royal consort, bestowed on this institution three rectories, and as many vicarages in Hampshire.
Sir Joseph Williamson, principal secretary of state to Charles the Second, left also six thousand pounds to this college, of which he had been a fellow; and this considerable benelaction encouraged Doctor Lancaster, the then provost, to lay the foundation of a new and beautiful college, which has since been completed.
It consists of a provost, twenty-four fellows, eight taberdars (so called from taberdum, a short gown they formerly wore), twenty scholars, two clerks, and forty exhibitioners.
—The illustrious William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, soon after his advancement to that see, AD 1366, formed the munificent design of founding two colleges, one at Winchester, in which young scholars might pursue their early studies; and another at Oxford, to which they might be transplanted to perfect their education.
He accordingly laid the first stone of his college at Oxford, March the fifth, 1379, and finished the fabric in 1386.
In his foundation charter, he gave it the name of Sainte Marie college of Wynchestre in Oxeneford, though it then obtained the name, which it has ever since preserved, of New-college.
In a short time after the pious and pre-eminent prelate had completed this great work, he built and endowed his projected college in the city of Winchester.
This splendid establishment is composed of a warden, seventy fellows, ten chaplains, three clerks, and sixteen choristers.
Lincoln college.
—Richard Fleming, bishop of Lincoln, was the founder of this college.
In his youth he was a follower of Wick- liffe, and a zealous advocate for the doctrines of that reformer: but, having obtained considerable preferments in the church, and the promise of further advancement, he became a violent opponent of his former opinions.
He was elevated to the see of Lincoln in the year 1420, by Henry the Fifth, and founded a college about the year 1430, having previously obtained a charter from Henry the Sixth, for a rector and seven scholars, who were to make controversial divinity their peculiar study.
In the year after he had laid the foundation of his college, this prelate died, and consequently left it in a very unfinished state: nevertheless, the buildings were carried on, and several fellowships established by successive benefactors, till the whole was completed, about the year 1475, by rhomas Scott of Rotherham, bishop of Lincoln ; who obtained a new charter from Edward the Fourth, formed a body of statutes, and was otherwise a great benefactor; so that he may with propriety be considered as the second founder of this college.
It consists of a rector, twelve fellows, twenty exhibitioners, See.
All Souls college.
—Henry Chicheley, archbishop of Canterbury, founded it in the year 1437.
Having formed the resolution to devote his fortune to pious and charitable purposes, he was counselled by his friends to build an hospital for disabled soldiers, who were, at that time, daily returning from the wars in France.
But the religious enthusiasm of this prelate having influenced him to consider it as a more enlarged act of charity to relieve the souls of the dead, than the bodies of the living, he founded a college for a warden and forty fellows, with an appointed olfice to put up incessant prayers for the souls of all those who had fallen in the French wars, as well as for the souls of the faithful who died at Oxford: whence it was called collegium animarum omnium Jidelimn clefunc- torum cle Oxon, be.
The charter of incorporation is dated May the twentieth, in the sixteenth year of Henry the Sixth.
The archbishop expended four thousand five hundred and forty-five pounds on the fabric, and obtained a considerable revenue for its future maintenance out of the lands of certain alien priories that had been lately dissolved, and were granted to him by Henry the Sixth for this pious purpose.
It possesses a warden, forty fellows, two chaplains, and six clerks and choristers.
Magdalen college,—was founded by William Patten, called William of Wainfleet, from a village of that name in Lincolnshire, where he was born.
He was advanced to the see of Winchester in the year 1447, and to the dignity of lord high chancellor of England in 1449.
He laid the foundation of this fabric on the site of the ancient hospital of Saint John, by permission of Henry the Sixth, in the year 1458; and the whole structure was completed in 1479.
In the twenty-sixth year of Henry the Eighth, it was valued at one thousand and seventy-six pounds per annum, a revenue far superior to that of any other college in the university.
The great quadrangle is encompassed by a cloister in its primitive state, and with its original decorations.
The tower, which is one hundred and fifty feet in height, was built under the direction of cardinal Wolsey, when he was a fellow and bursar of this college.
This foundation maintains a president, forty fellows, thirty scholars, called demies, a divinity lecturer, a schoolmaster, and usher, four chaplains, eight clerks, and sixteen choristers.
Brazen-nose college,—was founded in the year 1507, and the third of Henry the Eighth, by William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, chancellor of the university, and Sir Richard Sutton, knight, of Presbury, Cheshire.
Its very singular name is supposed to be derived from Brazen-nose hall, on whose site it was erected ; and that it was given to the latter by cextain scholars, who came from a seminary at Stamford of the same title.
According to Antony Wood, the Stamford seminary was thus named from the knocker at its gate, consisting of an iron ring fixed in a nose of brass.
The established members of this college, are a principal, twenty fellows, thirty-two scholars, and four exhibitioners.
Corpus Christi college,—was founded by Doctor Richard Fox, who was successively promoted to the sees of Exeter, Bath and Wells, Durham, and Winchester, and was also lord privy seal to Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth.
He first designed it for a college of black monks, which was to serve as a seminary to Winchester cathedral priory; but was persuaded by Hugh oldham, bishop of Exeter, to convert it into a college for secular students, after the manner of other colleges in the university; and on a compliance with his recommendation, the latter prelate became a considerable benefactor to it.
It was begun in 1513, and completed in 1516.
Its endowed members are a president, twenty fellows, two chaplains, twenty scholars, and four exhibitioners.
Christ-church college.
—This princely college was founded by cardinal Wolsey, who in the year 1525 obtained a bull of Pope Clement the Seventh for dissolving twenty-two religious houses ; and afterwards procured an additional dissolution, as some relate, of as many more, for the purpose of converting them to the use of two colleges; one of which he designed to erect at Ipswich, the place of his nativity, and the other at Oxford, the place of his education.
He then obtained a special licence from the king, to found a college on the site of Saint Frideswide’s priory, one of the religious houses dissolved on the occasion, which was to be called Cardinal’s college, and whose establishment was to consist of two hundred students, and their prolessors, with a dean, and eighteen canons.
The cardinal laid the foundation of this superb fabric with great solemnity; but long before this magnificent design had received any considerable advancement, he fell from that power and fortune which could alone have enabled him to complete it; and the unfinished college, little more having been built than the east, south, and part of the west sides of the great quadrangle, with ah his enormous wealth and vast possessions, were forfeited to the king.
At the solicitation, however, of the Lord Cromwell, his majesty in 1532, which was three years after Wolsey’s fall, ordered the works to be carried on, new modelled the foundation, and gave it tire name of King Henry the Eighth's college.
But in the year 1545, this institution was suppressed, and, m the following year, the episcopal see was removed from Osney to this college, and the church of Saint Frideswide constituted a cathedral, by the name of Christ-church, Oxford.
Its foundation has undergone no alteration, and received but little addition, since the last form given it by King Henry, and consists of a dean, eight canons, three of whom are regius prolessors, one hundred and one students, eight chaplains, with singing men, choristers, &c.
Trinity college.
—Its founder was Sir Thomas Pope, knight, of Tittenhanger, in the county of Hertford, privy counsellor to Orieen Mary, and lord mayor of London in the year 1555.
Among otlier honourable distinctions, it may be added, that he was the intimate friend of Sir Thomas More, and that his life has found a biographer in Doctor Thomas Warton.
Richard Horton, anti the monks of Durham, in the year 1290, purchased ground to erect a college at Oxford, which was afterwards increased and further endowed by Richard de Bury, the learned bishop of that see, who is said to have possessed more books than were contained in the united libraries of all his contemporary prelates; and was, at the same time, the correspondent of the tender and elegant Petrarch.
After the dissolution, Doctor Owen, physician of Godstow, bought this college of Edward the Sixth ; and it afterwards came into the possession of Sir Thomas Pope; who, on its site, founded Trinity college, AD 1594.
Its foundation maintains a president, twelve fellows, and the same number of scholars.
Saint John’s college,—was founded in the year 1555, by Sir Thomas White, knight, alderman, and merchant taylor, of London, who purchased a building called Bernard’s college, which had been erected by archbishop Chicheley, for the monks of Saint Bernard, and endowed it by the name of Saint John the Baptist’s college.
Its constituted members are a president, fifty fellows, two chaplains, five singing men, six choristers, &c.
The merchant tay- lors’ school in London is the seminary from whence all its fellows, except seven, are provided.
Jesus college. Queen Elizabeth, at the request of Hugh Price, doctor of laws, a native of Brecknock, and treasurer of Saint David’s, granted her royal charter, dated the twenty-seventh of June, 1571, for the foundation of a college at Oxford; and, at ihe same time, gave a certain religious house or cell, called Whitehall, which before the dissolution of the monasteries belonged to the priory of Saint Frideswide, for the site of it.
She was also pleased to order a supply of timber necessary for the building, out of her majesty’s forests of Shotover and Stowe.
Accordingly Doctor Hugh Price endowed it, June the thirtieth, 1571, under the style and title of the principal, fellows, and scholars of Jesus college, within the city of Oxford, of Queen Elizabeth’s foundation: so that this society claims the honour of having a royal founder.
It consists of a principal, nineteen fellows, eighteen scholars, and several exhibitioners, who are chiefly natives of the principality of Wales.
Wadham college,—was built by Dorothy, the widow and executrix of Nicholas Wadham, Esquire, in pursuance of the will of her husband.
In the year 1609, she purchased the site of a dissolved priory of Saint Austin, whereon she caused the college to be erected, which was completed for the reception of students in 1615.
She also procured a charter, empowering her to endow it for a warden, fifteen fellows, the same number of scholars, and two clerks.
Several exhibitioners have been added by subsequent benefactors, four of whom are required to pursue the study of Hebrew, and six that of Greek.
The fellows, after having completed eighteen years from their regency, are obliged by the statutes to resign their fellowships.
Pembroke college,—was originally Broadgate hall, which belonged to Frideswide priory.
It claims for its founders Thomas Tisdale, Esquire, of Berkshire, and Richard Wightwick, S.
rector of Isley, Berks, who converted Broadgate hall into this college in the year 1620.
Charles the First granted to this society the perpetual advowson of Saint Aldate’s church, and certain lands for the maintenance of one fellow, who must be a native of the islands of Guernsey or Jersey.
The other fellows are to be supplied from the kindred of the two founders, and the free-school at Abingdon.
Its foundation consists of a master, fourteen fellows, and thirty scholars and exhibitioners.
Worcester college,—originally called Gloucester hall, was founded in the reign of Edward the First, by the Benedictine monks within the province of Canterbury, for students of their order.
It derived its name from the circumstance of the prior and lirst twelve monks being taken from Gloucester abbey.
At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry the Eighth appointed it to be a palace for the bishop of Osney and Oxford; but, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, it appears to have been sold to Sir Thomas White, who gave it to his college of Saint John, by whom it was made a receptacle for students; where that eminent and excellent prelate bishop Hough received the early part of his education.
In this state it remained, till it was incorporated and endowed, in the year 1714, by Sir Thomas Cooke, of Worcestershire, when it received its present name.
It has a provost, twenty fellows, and seventeen scholars.
Hertford college,—was anciently called Hart hall, from Ehas de Hartford, who, in the reign of Edward the First, demised it, under that name, to certain scholars of the university.
In the year 1312, it was purchased by Walter Stapledon, bishop of Exeter, and made an appendant of Exeter college, which he had founded.
But this hall, being in part endowed by its late principal, Doctor Richard Newton, it was, September the eighth, 1740, erected into a college, by (lie name of Hertford college.
When the foundation is completed, it will consist of a principal, four senior fellows or tutors, eight junior fellows or assistants, twenty-four actual students, and four scholars.
Thus it appears that the colleges have increased to the number of twenty, while the halls, of which there were once three hundred, are now reduced to five; and are the sole remains of the numerous inns, or academical houses of learning originally possessed by the students of Oxford.
They are neither endowed nor incorporated, but are subject to their respective principals, whose incomes arise from the rents paid for the apartments.
These principals are appointed by the chancellor of the university, except the head of Edmund hall, which still remains in the patronage of Queen’s college.
Saint Alban hall derived its name from Robert de Saint Alban, a citizen of Oxford, who sold it to the nuns of Littlemore, who demised it to Merton college, till it went, with the lands of the nunnery, to cardinal Wolsey; and, being forfeited to the crown, was returned to Merton college.
Saint Edmund hall belonged to one Edmund, an inhabitant or citizen of Oxford, and afterwards Osney abbey, and lastly to Queen’s college; which restored it to its original destination for scholars.
It received considerable improvements while Doctor Shaw, the Oriental traveller, presided over it.
Saint Mary liall formerly belonged to Oriel college.
It has been rebuilt since 1647, and is well inhabited.
Here Sir 1 homas More was educated, and Erasmus for some time resided.
New-inn hall.
It was formerly called Trilleck’s-inn, from John Trilleck, bishop of Hereford, who built it in the year 1449, as a seminary for students in the civil law.
Magdalen hall was erected by bishop Wainlleet, the founder of Magdalen college, and enlarged by its principal, Doctor Wilkinson, in 1618.
Among its students may be named lord chancellor Clarendon, Sir Matthew Hale, and Doctor Plott.
Thus have we given a general historical account of the several colleges and halls in this university.
To have described the splendid buildings of which they are composed, with the rare and inestimable treasures they contain; to have given a distinct enumeration of their munificent benefactors, and have added the long roll of men, illustrious for learning and virtue, which they have produced, would have been an exulting object of our labours, if the pages allotted to this volume had been sufficient to have admitted so proud an addition to it.
Nor will it be permitted us to afford the remaining academic edifices a more enlarged attention.
The public schools, with one side of the Bodleian library to the west, form a spacious quadrangle, whose exterior front is one hundred and seventy-five feet in length.
Three sides of their upper story compose the picture gallery, which is furnished with portraits of the founders and benefactors of the university, and other eminent persons.
The ground on which the divinity school is built, was purchased by the university in 1427, and the school eras soon after begun; but from a deficiency of contributions, this fine Gothic structure remained in an unfinished state, till the pious liberality of Humphrey the good Duke of Gloucester renewed the work; though it was not entirely completed till the year 1480.
The remaining schools were built in 1613, by the munificence of several distinguished persons.
The University, or Bodleian library, so called from Sir Thomas Bodley, its principal founder, about the year 1599, is a very large and capacious apartment, in the form of a Roman H, and in the number, as well as value of its books, yields only to the Vatican at Rome.
Radcliffe’s library was founded by that great physician and pre-eminent benefactor to this university, Doctor John Radcliffe; who left forty thousand pounds to pay the expence of its erection, with a salary of one hundred and fifty pounds per annum to a librarian; one hundred pounds per annum to purchase books, and the same annual sum to preserve the building in repair.
It stands in a fine area or square, formed by Saint Mary’s church, the public schools, with Brazen-nose and All Souls colleges.
The first stone of this magnificent structure, which is a sumptuous ornament to the university, was laid May the seventeenth, 1737, and the library opened with great solemnity April the thirteenth, 1749.
The theatre is a most beautiful edifice, erected at the expence of Doctor Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, then chancellor of Oxford, in the year 1668, for the purpose of celebrating the public acts of the university, the annual commemoration of its benefactors, and other academic solemnities; on which occasion the assembled university displays a most impressive and august spectacle.
The roof of this building, which is perfectly flat, olfers a very singular and curious example of geometric architecture ; as it has no support from arch or column, being wholly sustained by its side walls, and a most admirable adjustment of timber work, over a space of eighty by seventy feet: a very distinguished proof of the genius, taste, and skill of the immortal British architect, Sir Christopher Wren.
On the west side of the theatre is the museum, built by the university, on the requisition of Ehas Asmole, Esquire, Windsor herald to Charles the Second, to form a repository for (he natural and artificial curiosities which he had collected.
It is an elegant building, and was completed in the year 1682, under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren.
On the first floor is the apparatus for lectures in experimental philosophy; and in a suitable apartment, beneath, is the apparatus for a very comprehensive course of lectures in chemistry.
In this building are also three small libraries: the first, called Asmole’s Study, contains his printed books and manuscripts relative to heraldry and antiquities, with the manuscripts of Sir William Dugdale.
The second possesses the library of Doctor Lister; and the third, that of Mr. Antony Wood, with his learned collections, relating principally to this university and city.
On the eastern side of the theatre stands the Clarendon printing-house, built in the year 1712 with the prolits of Lord Clarendon’s His- tory, the copy of which that nobleman bequeathed to the university, where he had received the education which qualified him to write it.
It contains the university press ; and is a strong stone edifice, one hundred and fifteen feet in length, with a spacious portico on the north front, supported by columns of the Doric order.
These several buildings, when viewed at a certain distance, with other connected objects, olfer a very striking example of edifi- cial scenery; as may be seen by turning the eye, from this inadequate description of the pen, to the perfect representation of the pencil, in the view that is given to supply the defects of this page.
The Arundelian marbles, which were originally placed round the walls that inclosed the theatre, are now removed to a more advantageous situation, in a large apartment on the north side of the schools.
These valuable monuments, collected in Greece and Asia by 1 homas Earl of Arundel, and Sir William Petty, were given by that nobleman.
Other singular antiquities have been since added by Mr. Selden, Sir George Wheeler, Doctor Shaw, Messieurs Dawkins and Wood, and Doctor Rawlinson.
Among the Arundelian marbles is the Chronicle of Paros, two thousand six hundred and thirty-four years before the Christian sera, part of which was broken olf, to make an hearth at Arundel house in London ; the treaty between the Smyrneans and Magnesians, two hundred and forty-four years before Christ; and two other treaties, between the Samians and Prieneans, and between the people of Hierapytna and the Priane- sians in Crete.
To this collection were added, in 1755, by the gift of the Countess of Pomfret, one hundred and thirty-five statues, bustos, &c.
purchased by her noble husband’s father, Lord Lemp- ster, out of the Arundelian collection.
The whole consists of one hundred and sixty-seven statues, bustos, bass-reliefs, and fragments of sculpture; one hundred inscriptions, Greek, Egyptian, Citiean, and Palmyrene, and one hundred and forty-five Roman and others.
The Arundelian marbles received their first hasty comment from Selden: Prideaux also, and Mattaire, successively made them the subject of their critical learning : but a more splendid edition of the whole collection, under the title of Marmora Oxo- niensia, was formed at Oxford in 1763, by Doctor Chandler, of Magdalen college.
The physic or botanical garden, was (he donation of Henry D’Anvers, Earl of Danby, in the year 1632, who endowed it with an annual revenue.
It contains five acres, and is fitted up with all necessary conveniences for the growth and culture of our domestic medicinal plants, as well as the natives of every foreign clime.
The late Doctor Sherard not only enriched it with a curious collection of Oriental exotics, but built the library adjoining the garden, furnished it with all the best botanical works, and endowed the prolessor with an handsome salary.
The astronomical observatory is situate in an open field, on the north side of the infirmary, which commands an extensive horizon.
It is a very beautiful building, constructed with a most minute attention to its philosophical character, and furnished with a magnificent apparatus, suited to the edifice, and worthy of the university which it adorns.
It is one hundred and seventy feet in length, and the central building, which rises into the form of the temple of the winds at Athens, is one hundred feet in height.
It was begun June the twenty-seventh, 1771, by the trustees of Doctor Radcliffe’s estate.
To the same source of public good, the fortune of that eminent physician, Oxford is also indebted for its infirmary, which was erected and completely furnished by the trustees of his will; and, besides its extensive benefits to the poor, affords a practical school of medicine, which was alone wanting to the perfection of this university.
Thus have we given a brief history of this seat of learning, which, we trust, will be sufficient to convey some idea of its progress through many successive ages, to its present moment of unrivalled celebrity.
But when we consider the beauty, grandeur, and variety of its buildings, the aweful solitude of its cloisters, its spacious quadrangles, venerable galleries, and stately porticos; with its numerous gardens, sequestered walks, and studious groves: when we reflect on the number of its libraries, its paintings, statues, and ancient monuments, with its stupendous apparatus of universal science : when we contemplate the venerable character of its rulers, the learning of its prolessors, the rank, fortune, and number of its students, the wisdom of its institutions, and the dignity of its solemnities : when we look back to the splendid roll of its founders and benefactors, among whom kings have been its nursing fathers, and queens its nursing mothers: when to these is added the long train of illustrious men, who, within its walls, have wooed that science which gave them renown, and made them great; the mind expands with an exulting emotion which it cannot express; and, under its influence, we reluctant quit a scene formed by the united efforts of art, nature, and science.
But the Thames is impatient to bear us on; and, as we renew our voyage, the lolty spires and antique towers rise, in solemn arrangement, above the lengthened umbrage of Christ-church walks; while we behold, in the meadow, or on the stream, the sober or more active scenes of academic recreation.
And as we view the numerous youth who range along the bank, or ply the oar, or give the sail to the wind, the animating hope springs up, that there may be those superior characters among them, who will form the honour, the support, and the pride of their country, when the hand that records this vaticinating expectation may be mouldered into dust, and the heart that now throbs at the reflection may become as a clod of the valley.
But we must again moor our bark, to trace the course of the Cherwell, on whose shady and sequestered margin every Oxonian bard has wooed the muse, and which here pours its waters into the Thames.
"Cherwell river," says Leland, " riseth out of a well or little pool in Cherwelton village, in the county of Northampton, about seven miles above Banbury, by north north-east; and boyleth so fast out from the head, that straight it maketh a streamlet."
It enters Oxfordshire near Cleydon, the most northern village in the county, and takes a southern course.
It first passes by Banbury, Saxon, Banepbypig, an ancient town, of which mention is made in the very early periods of British history.
It has indeed, by some of our historians, been mistaken for the scene of a battle between Kenric the West Saxon and the Britons, AD 556, an error which appears to have arisen from a similarity of names; as the battle was actually fought at Burbury in Wiltshire.
It is also remarkable for a very severe contest between the armies of the contending houses of York and Lancaster, July the twenty-sixth, 1469, when that of the former was completely routed.
The Parliament army, also, in the rebellion of the last century, placed a garrison in the castle, which was taken by Charles the First, after the battle of Edge-hill, October the twenty-third, 1642, and was possessed by the royal party, till the king retired into Scotland.
—" The most part of Banbury," as described by Leland, " stands in a valley, enclosed by low grounds: the fayrest street lyes by west and east down to the Cher- well: in the west part of it is a large area environed with rnetely good buildings, having a goodly cross with many degrees about it: in this area is kept every Thursday a very celebrate market.
There is another fair street from south to north, and at each end a stone gate, also other gates (one of which still remains at the west end), yet no certain token or likelihood that ever the town was ditched or walled.
Ther is a castle on the north side of this area, having two wards, and each ward a ditch.
In the utter is a terrible prison for convict men.
In the north part of the inner ward is a fair piece of new building of stone.
I cannot se or learne ther ever was any castle or fortress here before Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, budded this (of which the only remains are the faint traces of an inner ditch, and a stone vault, with grated windows, called (he Dungeon, over which a cottage has been erected).
There is but one parish church here, dedicated to our Lady.
It is a large thing, especially in the breadth.
I saw but one notable tomb in it, and that is black marble, wherein William Cope, colferer to King Henry the Seventh, is buried.
(There are, however, several others, and one with the figure of a knight in armour, but very much defaced).
In the church-yard be houses for the chantry priests: the parsonage is a prebend of Lincoln.
Ther is a chapel of the Trinity in the middle of the town, and a bridge of four fair stone arches at the east end over Cherwell, parting Oxford and Northampton shires.
The bishop of Lincoln is lord of Banbury, and the whole hundred of Banbury has been of long time given out by our kings in fee to the bishops of Lincoln."
Here was, according to Speed, in this town a college dedicated to Saint Mary, whose revenue, at the dissolution, was valued at forty-eight pounds six shillings.
There was also an hospital in the reign of King John, dedicated to Saint John, consisting of a prior or master, and several leprous brethren and sisters.
It had revenues, the twenty-sixth year of Henry the Eighth, valued at fifteen pounds one shilling and ten pence.
Banbury was erected into a borough by charter in 1553, and the first year of Queen Mary; and some honorary privileges were granted to it by James the First; but its present municipal constitution is derived from a subsequent charter, granted by George the First in the year 1718; and consists of a mayor, an high steward, a recorder, six capital burgesses, and thirty assistants.
It also sends one member to parliament.
This town had the honour of conferring the title of earl on William Lord Knollys, of Gray’s-court, in the county of Oxford, who died without issue in 1629.
His last lady’s reputed son by Edward Lord Vaux, her second husband, but born during the life of the earl, her first husband, claimed the title, as did his son; but neither of them received a summons to parliament.
On leaving Banbury, the Cherwell winds through a rich and fertile country, composed, as Camden describes it, of cultivated fields and delightful meadows, till it reaches Islip; which Leland mentions, " as a pretty thoroughfare town on its left ripe or bank."
It is called, in Edward the Confessor’s charter, Gihtslepe, and, in other ancient records, Hiltsleape, Ileslepe, Ighteslep, and Gytqlepe in the Saxon charter, printed in Kennet’s Parochial Antiquities, and other parts of it in Hickes’s Saxon Grammar, wherein Edward mentions it as the place of his birth.
Ethelred, the father of the Confessor, had a palace here, which stood on the north side of the church, and the chapel thereof served as a barn; but was taken down some years ago, and rebuilt, so that no traces remain of the original edifice.
The font in which Edward the Confessor was supposed to have been baptized, was long used at the Plume of Feathers inn, as a washing bason, till, as Doctor Plott informs us, it was bought by Mr. Brown of Nether Kiddington, where it stands, in the garden of Lady Mostyn, daughter and heiress of the late Sir George Brown, Baronet, on an handsome pedestal, with an inscription in verse, in which piety prevails over poetry.
There is an engraving; of this font in Plott’s Natural History of Oxfordshire.
The church of Islip is a plain structure: the chancel and parsonage were rebuilt by Doctor South, in the year 161S; and from the same beneficent piety the school received its endowment.
From Islip the Cherwell takes a sequestered course between sedgy banks; and, on its approach to Oxford, branches out into several streamlets, that flow round the beautiful academic walks of Magdalen college; and passing beneath the different parts of Magdalen bridge, unite below it in one current: when, after forming several islets, and washing the banks of Christ-church meadow, on which so much appropriate taste has been employed, the Cherwell resigns its dimpling stream to the Thames.
As we proceed, the eye glances to the left over a wide extent of corn fields to the lolty summit of Shotover-hill; and to the right, a long range of meadows is bounded by the shaggy top of Bagley- wood; while a fine silvery length of river is terminated by the swelling bank of Ifley, thick with trees, and the ancient tower of the church rising above them.
Nor is this the whole of the delightful prospect.
Oxford, on a retrospective view, is a beautiful and affecting object, which, discovering only the towers and domes of its colleges and public buildings, appears in the pure solemnity of its academic character.
Iffley, on a near approach, olfers a pleasing village scene.
Doctor Noel’s house, covered with foliage, is a charming object: but the church, which adds so much to the beauty of the picture, is, in itself, so curious a structure as to demand a particular description.
This edifice is of great antiquity: its massive construction, its circular arches, and the style of its original parts, exhibit a very fine example of Saxon architecture.
The arch of the west door, which is very richly ornamented, has, among other decorations, two heads of kings resembling each other, and joined to the beaks of birds.
The south door, which is blocked up, is extremely beautiful; among whose ornamental parts is the head of a Saxon monarch.
Within the church are several circular arches, particularly a cross one in the chancel; which building seems to have been enlarged by modern additions.
There was also a circular window over the west door, which, if we may judge from its remains, must have been of the richest workmanship.
The font is very uncommon: the upper part consists of a large block of black marble, polished only in certain places : its form is square, each side measuring three feet seven inches, containing a bason, a yard in diameter, and lined with lead: it is supported by four short and thick pillars, three of them being fluted in a waving line, and the other plain.
This circumstance, as well as those of the colour and measure of the stone, is nearly found in the ancient font of the cathedral of Winchester.
The yew tree in the church-yard, to the north-west of the church, appears to be as old as the building.
The shaft of the cross near it is of ancient workmanship.
The manor of Ifley belongs to an hospital at Donnington, near Newbury.
On looking back to Ifley, the tower still maintains its venerable character; nor can we pass by the mill, without considering it as a very pleasing feature of the scene.
As the river winds, Bagley appears in different points of view, but always rising in the horizon.
In a short turn of the stream, where a reedy bank excluded every other object, a very singular, though transient, effect was produced by the breeze, which, as it passed over the reeds, bowed their heads, and let in a momentary view of Oxford.
This pleasing and unexpected circumstance, which at first surprised, continued at intervals to delight us, till we approached Ken- ington, a village at a small distance from the river, which gave a picturesque effect to the verdant slope that it adorns; and as the stream winds beyond it, an old farm house, with hanging orchards, enlivens the landscape.
Nuneham woods now appeared in the distance, and we soon arrived at Sanford, adorned with hedge-row elms and willows green.
In this parish was a preceptory of Knights Templars, first founded by Maud, wife of King Stephen, at Temple Cowley, in its immediate vicinity.
The refectory long survived the rest of the building, and has been but lately destroyed.
Sanford mill stretches across the stream, and becomes an important object.
Here the river makes frequent meanders, with low shores shaded by willows, and rising grounds beyond them: but we were now little solicitous about the objects on either side, when Nuneham was before us.


This beautiful seat of Earl Harcourt appears on a fine verdant brow, with woods stretching to a great extent on either side of it.
At their northern point is seen Nuneham rectory, a very pleasing object.
Indeed, such is the elegance of the mansion, the beauty of its position, the charms of its prospects, and the rare circumstance of its vicinage, that the possessor of it need not wish for the mitre which his virtues would adorn.
The river now takes a bold, but rather meandering sweep to the right, and as the beauties of Nuneham press every moment more and more distinctly upon our view, we feel an apprehensive solicitude on our arrival at that page which demands a description of them.
Nuneham Courtenay.
—At the general survey, this manor belonged to Richard de Curcy: afterwards to the family of Riparys or Redvers.
Mary, youngest daughter of William de Redvers, Earl of Devon (who as well as his uncle William, was surnamed de Vernon), married Robert de Courtenay, Baron of Okenhampton, in 1214.
It is probable that by this marriage the manor of Nuneham passed into the family of Courtenay, and thence assumed the name of Nuneham Courtenay.
The Pollards of Devonshire next succeeded to the possession of it: from them it went to Audley, of the court of wards, called the Rich Audley.
From him it passed to Robert Wright, bishop of Litchfield, whose son, Calvert Wright, sold it to John Robinson, merchant of London, in the time of oliver Cromwell, knighted in 1660 by King Charles the Second, and made lieutenant of the Tower.
From the Robinsons it descended to David Earl of Wemys, who married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Robinson, Baronet, of whom it was purchased, in the year 1710, by Simon hist Lord Harcourt, lord high chancellor of England.


The house was built by the late Earl Harcourt, but has since been much altered and enlarged, according to the designs of Mr. Brown.
It is a plain, regular, and elegant stone edifice, consisting of a principal lloor, between a basement and attic story, and connected with two projecting wings by inflected corridores, with galleries over them.
of the simplex munditiis, that untranslatable phrase of Plorace, it affords the most perfect architectural example we have ever seen.
Its interior arrangement comprehends convenience, elegance, and magnificence.
Its principal apartments are of grand proportions; and fitted up, both as to furniture and embellishment, in a very superior and splendid taste, that takes a middle course between the cumbersome glitter of former periods, and the almost transparent decoration of modern fashion.
We shall only add, that Nuneham-house is not too small for the first station, nor too large for any comfort.
It is with a very sensible mortification that we find ourselves obliged to decline a particular description of its fine collection of pictures, as well as the many curious and interesting circumstances which pervade several of its lesser apartments: but the plan of this work will not allow of such an indulgence; and we can only excite the curiosity of those who have not seen them, and corroborate the opinion of those who have, by this general and apologetic testimony.
The immediate approach to the house is on a descent, which, though gradual and judiciously broken by its lateral course, is a circumstance that will not admit of grandeur.
But, in the example before us, and considering all the relative circumstances of the spot, grandeur yields, in our opinion, to something better; to that calm, tranquil appearance which the painters call repose.
This effect is, in a great measure, produced by three groups of large spreading elms, which, in different forms, present themselves, at a short distance in the front, and are connected by side screens of trees with the wings of the building.
One of these groups is nearly central, and the others are at such distances from it, as to leave considerable intervals between them; and though they do not prevent the eye from ranging over a lawn in the park, they form a kind of venerable inclosure, that gives the verdant area before the house the tranquil appearance which we have endeavoured to describe.
Indeed, if it may be considered as a merit, merely to produce effect, these circumstances may claim an ample share of it; because, on passing through this entrance to the apartments of the back front, the blaze of prospect which there bursts upon the view, is greatly heightened by the comparative gloom of the passage to it.
The park is a superb domain, containing near twelve hundred acres.
It is finely wooded, and possesses a great variety of characteristic beauty.
The home part consists of charming lawns, which wave in easy swells, just varying, without breaking, the surface; and whose extensive space is decorated with single trees and groups of them of various size and figure.
Beyond the lawns, it assumes a more wild and forest appearance; while its skirts, where thick woods do not intervene, olfer prospects which, in different parts, have the contrasted charms of distance, grandeur, and beauty.
On the eastern side, the prospect is broken into two distinct views by the hills of Wittenham, at the distance of about five miles; to the right of which the country opens to the distant parts of Berkshire, which border on Hampshire; and on the left, there is a fine expanse of cultivated country, which is terminated by the hills that form the hithermost boundary of the county of Buckingham.


To the south, the horizon is broken by the continuing range of those hills which rise above the White-horse vale.
To the west, the park falls in thick wood or open grove towards the Thames; and on the north, it is bounded by the village of Nuneham : a curious and pleasing object.
It is built on a regular and uniform plan, house answering to house, and garden to garden, on either side of a road; and though regularity in general destroys picturesque effect, yet the plantations that stretch along before the cottages, with the intervals of garden ground, produce, in certain points of view, a peculiar mixture of trees and buildings, which the eye cannot regard with indifference as a rural picture.
All these various objects, with their accessory circumstances, are seen in succession, and to the best advantage, in the course of a riding that leads from one charming scene to another along the boundary of the park.
We now proceed to the gardens of this enchanting place, and which may be considered as the pride of it.
They contain, in themselves, no more than thirty-eight acres; but their command of country is of a very comprehensive grasp, and the several inlets of park scenery enlarge the extent of their beauties.
From the centre window of the breakfast-room, round the south side of the garden, and back again by a returning walk, is something more than half a mile.
From the same place along the terrace on the northern side, round the hill at the termination, and back again, is somewhat more than twice that length; and from this central point we shall begin our description.
The fore-ground from the house is a small lawn, or rather large knoll, of a triangular form, which, however, soltens olf into the glades on either side, so as to lose all appearance of formality.
To the right, it sinks to rise again, after an easy bend, to another knoll of corresponding height, but different form, and crowned with thicker shade.
It falls more gently to the left, and continues in an ever-varying succession of undulating surface, to the woody, rising grounds of the park.
From the centre of this spot, a very extensive and delightful prospect presents itself to the view, which is happily broken into two separate pictures by a group of fine elms, on the pointed extremity of the lawn.
To the right, the eye, forced onwards by a grove on the side knoll to the north, glances over a charming glade, and is first caught by a long reach of the Thames, somewhat intercepted by trees, which flows at the distance of about a quarter of a mile, through the meadows in the bottom: it then passes quickly over several gleamy snatches of the river as it meanders on, in various directions, towards Oxford; whose towers, domes, and spires, detached from all local sentiment, and considered merely as landscape features, compose a superb object.
The higher ground of Blenheim park is seen beyond it, and the eye, returning over the dark mass of Bagley wood, and the rich fertde intervening country, finishes the right hand picture.
Its companion, if we may use the expression, being more open to the left, comprehends a larger portion of the spot from whence it is taken.
Here the eye, after passing a broad indented sweep of lawn, slightly broken in the fore-ground by a clump of birches, rises to the verdant prominence that supports the venerable pile of Carfax, with the majestic oaks in which it appears embosomed; and then stretches on to the park wood, beneath whose impending shade the Thames takes its course; when it makes a lingering bend towards Abingdon, and is seen no more.


The nearer part of the wood bounds the prospect; but the extreme line of it, inclining gradually to the water, lets m the blue lulls of Berkshire, which, ranging on to join those of Wiltshire, above the White-horse vale, are, at length, lost in the azure of a very distant horizon.
Fa- ringdon-hill, witli the tuft of trees that crowns it, is distinctly seen, at the distance of eighteen miles; and the eye returning over the rich, intermediate level, is relieved from its luxuriant sameness by the airy spire of Abingdon.
Such are these two distinct pictures to which the central group of elms lorms an alternate side-screen of massy foliage.
A seat in the front of these trees unites them.
This spot being more prominent, comprehends also more of the northern meadows, glades, and woods of Nuneham.
The village of Heddington, situate on a range of high ground, at the distance of five miles, forms a pleasing boundary to the north, which falls gradually down to Oxford.
Here also Ifley tower, on its high bank of tire river, more sensibly unites with the towers of that city, and, by lengthening its form, aggrandizes its character.
A wider stretch of the horizon being seen, it becomes a more magnificent object; and its alternate approach and recession are more distinctly seen.
The objects of the prospect are in more determined contrast, the variety is increased, and the Thames is seen in all the beauty of meander as it flows from Oxford ; in its fine long reach as it passes before the grounds of Nuneham, and in its grand sweep beneath the park wood, when it takes its leave of them.
This description comprehends the exterior features of the principal view from Nuneham; which, however, will be seen again and again, in the many charming subdivisions of it, that will be occasionally caught as we pursue the line of the garden.
We shall, therefore, proceed along the terrace, that, disdaining the regularity annexed to its name, takes the natural form of the ground over which it passes, as well as the direction of the garden boundary; and keeping always above the slopes and declivities, maintains throughout its course an elevated situation.
It takes the northern side of the house, and in passing the arcade, the eye crosses a glade, and penetrates a long arch of foliage, up to the west end of the church, which appears in an elevated situation; and the entrance from thence to the family closet, being decorated with a semi-rotunda of Ionic columns, supporting a dome, produces the elegant appearance of a temple of that order.
The path then rounds the top of a slope that shelves down to a rich bottom, broken with groups of trees, over which Radley, the seat of admiral Bowyer, olfers a very handsome object, rising from the bosom of its own woods.
A grove of line elms soon succeeds, which ascends to the west end of the church that has already been seen, and the walk winding round it, reaches the principal portico of that beautiful structure.
It consists of six large Ionic columns that support a pediment, above which a dome springs from the centre of the building: the whole assuming the form, and a very chaste form it is, of a Grecian temple.
This superb piece of architecture has no communication with the church, the principal entrance being on the opposite side; and is considered merely as an ornament to the garden.
It stands on a brow of exuberant verdure, which takes a circular sweep to the right; while the grove which we have just passed, occupies, and projects on, the descent to the left.
In its front, the ground falls in a various wave of surface to a glade which steals away, beneath the spreading branches of trees, towards the meadows.
Elms of the most luxuriant foliage, and feathering down to the turf beneath them, form, in the bottom, an irregular boundary, that just admits the view of a verdant, woody slope, beyond which the elevated village of Heddington, at the distance of a few miles, opposes itself to the portico; and, being enriched by several handsome houses of stone, is suited to the scene, of which it becomes a very pleasing feature.
The path now sweeps round the upper part of this delightful glade, beneath the shade of flourishing beeches, that crown its shelving sides, which stretch down to the trees whose thick masses of foliage enrich the bottom.
Here Oxford is seen through an opening in their tops, which are edged by a dark rim of Bagley wood that continues on to another break, which gives a very picturesque view of the village of Radley.
A little onward, from beneath a venerable elm on the upper part of the declivity, the Thames is seen through two separate branches of the glade : but in that immediately before it, the ground assumes such pleasing shapes, the foliage of the trees form such graceful outlines, which correspond so happily with the undulating surface that descends towards them; while different clumps make out such various yet natural divisions, that they altogether compose a consummate picture of sylvan beauty.
The walk now assumes a more terrace form, from whence the expansive country, rising to a nearer or more remote horizon, the river winding below, with the intervening grounds broken by plantations, or agreeably varied by trees, continue to exhibit their various charms, till an ascending entrance into a thick grove changes the scene to gloomy shade: which, however, is soon relieved by an opening into a sequestered part of the park.
From hence the walk makes the circuit of the hill, and, after catching, from beneath the covert, casual glimpses of the river, the meadows, and distant country, returns, as it were, to itself; and reconducts to the house from whence it led.
But though, in its returning progress, the same objects are seen, their appearance is so changed, and their perspective positions so varied, that the charm of novelty is still added to those of taste and nature.
On re-entering what may be called tbe church glade, a scene unfolds itself which, in its kind, has no equal that, in a very comprehensive view of these things, we have ever seen.
This re-entrance, and where we make a pause to take our imperfect picture, is on the extreme point from the building, which is now seen at its utmost distance, and in all its glory.
The line convex surface immediately before it, uniting with a concave sweep, gives tbe declivity, which falls in various gradations to the glade, a most beautiful outline, and forms the happiest contrast to the trees which luxuriate in the dell, or hang on the steep, or cover the returning brow, from one extremity of which this description is taken.
The portico, with the dome rising above it, is from its simplicity and fair proportions, a most beautiful object; but when are added the verdant swells that form its base, the lovely valley it overlooks, the stately trees that irregularly occupy the bottom; the shady verge of various foliage that accompanies the path along the margin; when all these charming features are brought into one view, and from a station where every external object is excluded, a scene is produced of the most impressive and imposing beauty.
Its character, which is grandeur, admits nothing like the diminutive idea of cheerfulness.
But the grandeur is twolold : beneath clouds it is solemn; and in sunshine it is splendid.
—The walk now reskirts the glade, repasses the portico, and gradually descends towards the house, and to a review of those extensive prospects which aggrandize its superior situation.
In olfering the general and very faint ideas which have been given of this branch of the garden, we have never deviated from the common path which conducts every visitor through it.
But it may, and indeed ought to be observed, that where the conducting walk takes an elevated range; where the falls or descents from it are various, both in shape and direction; where the trees thicken into groves, or are scattered in groups of different shape, size, and foliage; where a large navigable river flows in the vale beneath; and the adjacent country stretches into a vast extent, enriched and enlivened with objects of grandeur and beauty; every step must produce a new and various picture.
We might, indeed, have descended into the verdant glades, or retired into the woody recesses, and described many fine examples of sylvan scenery, much display of taste, and happy arrangement of nature; but the delineation of minute beauties would not correspond with our allotted olfice of general description.
We now proceed from the house, as a central point, to the south side of the garden; and, rounding the left corner of it, just touch on the extremity of a wide-spreading lawn, that declines in a pleasing variety of surface towards the river, to enter a rich and beautiful plantation, which thickens along the upper part of it.
It may here be observed, that the extensive view of the country had, originally, no interruption from this part of the garden, and produced an uniformity of prospect, which, however attractive in itself, was liable to satiate the eye ; and, being a continuation of the wide expanse which is seen from the principal apartments of the house, lost the charm of variety.
This plantation has been made with great taste, and applied with equal judgment to create a new effect, so essential to the beauty of the spot, by producing, not however at once, but by degrees, and after some very beautiful re-openings, that temporary concealment, which gives fresh spirit to the re-appearance of the prospect.
It is full of those varieties which arise from the form, growth, and colour of trees, connected by approaching similitudes, to the shrubs that are intermixed with them: for though it is the growth of but few years, it has, by judicious culture, already risen into height, and thickened into shade; possessing the fulness of a young, and the richness of an old plantation.
It has also sufficient depth to admit of a returning walk, which, by being rather more inclosed, aids the variety, and confirms the effect, which the whole was intended to produce.
A broad gravel path leads through it in a gently bending line, and with an easy rise, between unequal breadths of verdure, planted, here and there, with the most elegant ever-greens: and before the shrubbery, on either side, is a border, gay with a prolusion of flowers.
This progressive scene of fragrant seclusion is suddenly enlivened by an opening into the park, where an expansive length of undulating lawn, beautifully wooded, rising in the distance, and enlivened by herds of deer, unfolds itself to the view ; which the visitor may be induced to prolong from a seat that here invites him to repose beneath an elm of immense shade.
A little onward is Lady Har- court’s oak; a tree, whose beauty can only be conceived by those who have sat beneath its o’er-canopying branches, which spread around their redundant foliage from the huge trunk, till they touch the ground by which they are nourished.
The walk soon reaches another tree of the same kind, but of inferior beauty, which bears the name of that amiable man the late William Whitehead, poet laureat.
It is called Whitehead’s oak; and near it, on the projecting point of a brow, where the country again unfolds itself, in all the magnificence of prospect, is an urn, erected as a memorial of his virtues.
It is supported by an antique tripod, which stands on a pedestal encircled by the laurel, the bay-tree, and the rose ; and enriched, not by votive sculpture or emblematic relief, but by an elegiac inscription from the muse of Mason.
" Harcourt and Friendship this memorial raise, Near to the oak where Whitehead olt reclin’d; While all that nature, rob’d by art, displays, Sooth’d with congenial charms his polish’d mind.
Let fashion’s vot’ries, let the sons of fire, The genius of that modest bard despise ; Who bade discretion regulate his lyre, Studious to please, yet scorning to surprise.
Enough for him, il those who shar’d his love Through life, who virtue more than verse revere, Here pensive pause, when circling round the grove.
And drop the heart-paid tribute of a tear."
Near this oak, are two others of similar form, whose roots, rising above the turf and covered with moss, olfer a sylvan couch, where the rural philosopher might stretch his listless length, and muse and meditate.
In the back-ground of tire picture, and a most elegant decoration of it, is a Corinthian portico, adorned witli all the enrichments of that splendid order.
The accessory parts of the scene baffle description.
From the verdant prominence where the urn stands, the view, screened by the plantation immediately to the right, pushes on through a broad savanna to Oxford: before it is Radley, rising from the meadows, with the woods beyond it: the intervening valley is watered by the Thames.
Towards Abingdon, the spire of whose church is alone visible, the prospect is broken by a fore-ground of scattered trees, hanging down the lawn.
To the left, the ground falls abruptly into a glen in the park, but immediately rises into an irregular extensive brow covered with oaks; which are so thick as to form a waving mass of foliage in the distant view of them; and yet so distinct as, on a near approach, to disclose the verdure which they shade, and the individual beauty they possess.
The character of the spot round Whitehead’s urn, considered in an insulated state, is pensive elegance: where every object is delightful to the eye, and the denominating circumstance so interesting to the mind : while its sober charms are elevated by the grand expanse of prospect before it, the solemn sylvan beauty of the grove beside it, and the venerable form of Carfax on a projecting swell above it.
We shall now pass the boundary of the garden, to penetrate into the grove, and give some account of the circumstances connected with it.
The character of a wood is grandeur; of a grove, beauty; and it is the rare advantage of this spot, in a superior degree, to possess them both.
It contains a large assemblage of the finest oaks, covering a deep, indented, and extensive brow, sinking into glens, or rising into knolls, in which ever}' individual tree retains much of its own peculiar beauty, and transfers whatever it loses from itself to the superior character of the whole.
It is a grove, where the Druids might have performed their rites; and old Carfax, on a bold prominence at the extent of it, aids the aweful character of the place, and appears to surpass in age the venerable trees that shade it.
This curious building has been accurately described in our account of Oxford, where it so long stood; and an inscription explains the circumstances of its removal to its present distinguished situation and sylvan abode.
This building, called Carfax, Erected for a conduit at Oxford, By Otho Nicholson, In the year of our Lord mdcx.
And taken dcaon in the year mdcclxxxvii.
To enlarge the High-street, Was presented by the University To George Simon, Earl Harcourt.
Who caused it to be placed here.
The riding, which has already been cursorily described, after tracing the distant parts of the park, passes through an adjoining wood, called Park-wood (from an opening in which, the view of Nuneham was taken which is here presented), and continues on through the upper range of this grove.
In a part of it, Oxford is seen to more advantage than from any other spot in this extensive domain, fhe point of view is, where the ground falls in an abrupt steep down to a large group of trees which occupy an hollow bottom, whose massy tops, uniting in one surface, form, as it were, a broad base to Oxford, and, hiding all the intervening country, give that city an artificial elevation, and afford it a perspective grandeur, which is peculiar to this unexpected prospect of it.
The riding, when it quits the grove, passes over a lawn of the park, that has already received the character it so justly deserves, and returns to the house, from whence we commenced our Elysian circuit.
The general character of Nuneham is elegant grandeur.
Its distinguishing feature, variety of surface.
It contains that pleasing arrangement of pleasing parts which constitutes beauty, with a splendid inlet of country, and a bold display of its own scenes, which may be certainly said to compose grandeur.
The whole united justifies its character.
Indeed, there is no principal feature of the place to which grandeur and beauty, in their respective modifications, may not be ascribed.
The ample space is divided into a number of successive scenes, every where various, every where consistent, and no where licentious.
Object succeeds to object naturally and pleasingly, or, which is the same thing, different views of the same object.
The several beauties appear in natural succession, and the succession is never lost in the divisions.
The vast expanse of open country is frequently divided into separate pictures, but never subdivided into diminutive parts.
The uni- formity of the grand prospect is occasionally diversified, but the diversification never diminishes its greatness.
I he forms of the swells, slopes, and vallies, are every where graceful; and the groves and lawns on the declivities are every where rich and elegant.
The correspondence of the parts does not produce sameness, and, in their contrast, there is neither abruptness or singularity.
I he woods are extensive, beautiful in themselves, and ennobled by the Thames as it flows beneath them.
The meadows, refreshed by that river which washes their banks with its silver stream, are here and there enlivened with single trees, or groups of them, just sufficient to break the long level of coarser verdure, and to make them harmonize with the highly embellished grounds above them.
The whole is a place of the first order.
Nature gave the outline, and taste has completed the picture, 1 he buildings are but few, and aid the grandeur or elegance of their respective scenes, without producing frivolous display, or sumptuous affectation.
These consist of Carfax, the Corinthian portico near Whitehead’s urn, and the church.
The last of them has been hitherto mentioned only as assisting the picturesque effect, heightening the beauty, or determining the grandeur of a scene.
We shall therefore add, that it was erected at the sole expence of the late Earl Harcourt, who gave the original design, which received a very slight alteration by Mr. Stuart.
The inside has been fitted up and furnished by the present Earl.
But however imposing its external appearance, the unassuming and elegant simplicity of its interior arrangement is equally impressive and affecting.
The form is pleasing, with a central dome; and its only ornaments are a piece of tapestry at the west end over the family tribune, representing the chiefs of the twelve tribes of Israel at the passover; and a painting in the altar- piece by the Reverend Mr. Mason.
The subject, which is the parable of the good Samaritan, is well conceived, and treated with no common skill.
A proof that real genius is universal; that its excellence is every where, and in every thing, proportioned to its application, and that whatever it touches, it adorns.
The flower-garden, which may be considered as an episode in the great work, demands a distinct description.
It has no visible connection with the extensive range of pleasure-ground through which we have passed, and could not, therefore, with propriety be introduced as a part of it.
The entrance is from the terrace, on its ascent towards the church, beneath the pediment of a Doric gate; on which the following sentence is inscribed, from J.
Rousseau, so beautifully allusive to the world of flowers :—" Si hauteur de la nature est grand dans les grandes choses, il est tres grand dans les petites."
The first object of the garden is the bust of Flora on a therm.
A gravel walk, inclosed with flowering shrubs and ever-greens, sweeps gently to the right, when the view soon opens on the left to an irregular but gradual slope of verdure, enriched with large patches of flowers, and stretching on beneath verdant arches, formed by boughs of curious trees of various shape and foliage.
A beautiful and wide-spreading elm, whose branches touch the ground, is a kind of central, but yet informal, object.
As the walk continues it rather ascends, and the view, which had in some degree been obstructed by the elm, extends to large forest trees which stand in the park; before whose lolty foliage the trees of the garden appear as an elegant underwood.
This view is immediately excluded by a thick shrubbery, while, on the opposite verdure, several orange trees in all the variety of their bearing, being inserted beneath the turf, appear to be indigenous to the place.
The path now becomes gradually inclosed, and, through a rude arch, covered with ivy, leads to the grotto, which is designed in imitation of a natural cavern.
It is composed of rude stones, intermixed with spars and petrifactions: its form is irregular, and the inner part receives a gloomy light, suited to the place, from an aperture in the rool: its front is almost concealed by ivy, straggling amidst a variety of rock plants; and through a small opening of the trees before it, is caught a bright, enlivening glimpse of the garden.
Proceeding through a short continuation of the same shrubbery, that seems to grow in rough rocky ground, on a long slanting stone, which appears to be the smooth part of a crag, and is overshadowed with laurels that hang flaunt- ingly about it, is the following inscription, by W.
To the memory of Walter Clark, Florist; who died suddenly near this spot, 1784 .
" On him, whose very soul was here, Whose duteous, careful, constant toil Has varied with the varying year, To make the gay prolusion smile; Whose harmless life in silent flow Within these circling shades has past; What happier death could Heaven bestow, Than in these shades to breathe his last? ’Twas here he fell: nor far remov’d Has earth receiv’d him in her breast; Still fast beside the scenes he lov’d, In holy ground his relics rest.
Each clambering woodbine, flaunting rose, Which round yon bow’r he taught to wave, With ev’ry fragrant brier that blows, Shall lend a wreath to bind Ins grave.
Each village matron, village maid, Shall with chaste fingers chaplets tie: Due honours to the rural dead, And emblems of mortality.
Each village swain that passes by, A sigh shall to his mem’ry give; For sure, his death demands a sigh, Whose life instructs them how to live.
If spirits walk, as fabling age Relates to childhood’s wond’ring ear, Full olt, does fancy dare presage, Shall Walter’s faithful shade be here.
Athwart yon glade, at night’s pale noon, Full olt shall glide with busy feet; And, by the glimmering of the moon, Revisit each belov’d retreat.
Perhaps the tasks on earth he knew Resume, correct the gadding spray, Brush from the plants the sickly dew, Or chase the noxious worm away.
The bursting buds shall gladlier grow, No midnight blasts the flowers shall fear; And many a fair effect shall show, At noon, that Walter has been here.
Nay, ev’ry morn, in times to come, If quainter ringlets curl the shade, If richer breezes breathe perfume, If solter swell the verdant glade; If neatness charm a thousand ways, Till nature almost art appear, Tradition’s constant fav’rite theme Shall be—poor Walter has been here."
The remains of this faithful servant repose in the neighbouring cemetery; where the heaving turf marks his grave, and the roses bloom around it.
From the spot, where every visiter of taste and sentiment will make a pause to read the foregoing inscription, there is an easy wave of ground, with a beautiful opening into the rich, interior part of the garden; beyond which, near a bust of Rousseau, is a very pleasing effect of a cypress rising among the flowers: and a little onward, by a solitary poplar, the dome of the church is seen towering alolt among stately elms; a grand and solemn object, that dignifies the scene.
The walk again suffers a momentary inclosure, and gently winds to the left, where an elm o’er-canopies a seat, which commands to the right a gay airy scene, opposed to the thick shrubbery we have just passed, that takes a waving line to the left.
The walk now ascends between a bank covered with flowering shrubs, and a short range of sloping ground, sprinkled with the more curious and elegant trees, to the temple of Flora.
This building is after a design of a Doric portico at Athens; and in the centre of the back wall is a medallion of Flora, from the antique, in white marble.
Its entrance is supported by the busts of Pan and Faunus, on therms; and a few paces beyond, are those of Venus and Apollo.
It is placed on a gentle rise, from whence there is an inclining glade or irregular avenue to a statue of Hebe, at the opposite extremity of the garden; where it is seen in a kind of recess, darkened by the foliage that composes it.
This glade, a most beautiful feature of the garden, is formed by an undulating line of the several patches of flowers and shrubs, on either side the verdure, with cypresses in irregular but projecting positions before them.
From the temple of Flora the path bends a little to the right, and, passing beneath the shade of a small group of elms, makes a gentle descent before it reaches the bower; which is a square building widi a coved ceiling, and painted green.
The fiont consists of an arched treillage of the same colour; where the jessamine, the woodbine, and other creeping plants interweave their various tendrils, and flaunt in wild luxuriance.
Within is a cast of Cupid and Psyche, from the antique.
Here the eye, repelled by the thick and lolty boundary to the right, runs over a descending suiface of shrubs and flowers, and glances up, or rather penetrates 111 1°, tlie blended foliage of a plantation beyond the opposite limits of the garden.
The walk now makes a sudden bend to the left, when, on a receding bank, appears the bust of Prior, inserted in an hedge of laurel, with a bench before it, shaded on either side by a flourishing beech tree.
The view from hence is full of the richest exuberance, and most delicious variety.
Trees are here seen down to the very verdure from which they spring, or peeping over the shrubs, or blending their branches with a prolusion of flowers.
The ground every where declines with pleasing irregularity, and blooming with hues of every colour, to a rich range of foliage that marks the limits of the garden.
The path, as it descends from this charrn- mg spot, makes a bolder bend; and the laurel hedge, which becomes gradually intermixed with flowering shrubs, takes a parallel swell, and retiring again, forms one side of a recess, where an urn appears placed on an altar, whose inscription represents it as a memorial of superior virtue.
It is encircled with cypresses, and the dead trunk of a tree, covered with ivy, rises amid the hollies that thicken on the bank behind it.
Sacred to the memory of Frances Poole , Viscountess Palmers tan.
Elere shall our ling’ring footsteps olt be found; This is her shrine, and consecrates the ground.
Here living sweets around her altar rise, And breathe perpetual incense to the skies.
Here too the thoughtless and the young may tread, Who shun the drearier mansions of the dead, May here be taught what worth the world has known: Her wit, her sense, her virtues were her own; To her peculiar—and for ever lost To those who knew, and therefore lov'd her most.
O! if kind pity steal on virtue’s eye, Check not the tear, nor stop the useful sigh; From solt humanity’s ingenuous flame A wish may rise to emulate her fame; And some faint image of her worth restore, When those, who now lament her, are no more.
" George Simon Harcourt, and the Honourable Elizabeth Vernon, Viscount and Viscountess Nuneham, erected this urn in the year 1771.
—William Whitehead, Esquire, poet laureat, wrote the verses."
Nor can the mind that forms this page forbear to confirm the truths of it; and to olfer its mournful and affectionate testimony to the virtues, the graces, and rare excellence of a character, whom it is honour to have known, and luxury to lament.
On leaving this spot, so full of interesting circumstance, orange trees are seen inserted m the ground, which display their snowy blossoms and golden fruit among the shrubs or above the flowers; while the elm, already mentioned, olfers its wide-spreading foliage with renewed effect.
The conservatory next appears, full of exotic charm and fragrance: it is planted with bergamot, cedrati, limon- celli, and orange trees, of various kinds: during the summer, the front, sides, and roof of the building are entirely removed, and the trees appear to rise from the natural ground.
The hack wall is covered with a treillage, which supports lemon, citron, and pomegranate trees, intermixed with all the different kinds of jessamines.
The walk now verges to the statue of Hebe, from whence the view is returned up the charming glade, already described, to the temple of Flora; whose portico derives new effect from its distance, and is broken into variety, by a few luxuriant shrubs which half conceal a small portion of its columns.
A few steps onwards returned us to the entrance of the garden.
And here, it will scarcely be believed, that this nest of sweets, this hoard of floral beauties, this example of consummate taste, occupies little more than an acre of ground.
But such is the irregularity of its surface, the disposition of its trees, the arrangement of its flowers, the succession of its artificial embellishments, and the judicious conduct of its surrounding path, that it becomes apparently magnified into ample extent.
The patches of flowers and clumps of shrubs are of various shapes and unequal dimensions; and its trees are of a growth and figure, which at once harmonize with, and give variety to, the scenery of the place.
To the bustos already mentioned, may be added those of Cato, of Cowley, and of Locke.
Every therm also has its motto or its poesy ; and every building its inscription ; all happily selected, to heighten or suggest appropriate sentiment, and aid the moral influence of the garden.
In this description it may, indeed, appear that the artificial objects are too numerous for the small limits of the spot which they adorn: but they are so managed as to be seen only in unexpected succession, or in such careless glimpses of them, as to avoid the least appearance of ostentation, while they enrich the composition of the scene.
In a flower-garden, where all is bloom and fragrance, and where nature appears in her gayest embroidery, picturesque embellishment demands all the elegance that art can bestow.
But taste alone could not have formed the picture which we have so inadequately described.
Such an Arcadian scene must have been produced by an Arcadian imagination.
Indeed, so much is there of invention and original fancy in the piece, that the genius of poetry could alone compose it.
Nuneham is a place of the first beauty: Nune- ham, however, in the course of varying opinion, may have an equal: but its flower-garden transcends all rivalry, and is itself alone.
of those beauties which nature has lavished and taste improved in this delightful place, we have given such an account as so principal a feature on the banks of the Thames appeared to require.
But there is a moral charm attached to Nuneham, which more than rivals all its natural beauties; and we shall not insult our readers by an apology for prolonging our attention to the seat of it.
It is the annual festival of its happy village, called the Spinning Feast , which has been established by the noble owners of the place, to encourage virtue and industry among its inhabitants.
An institution, whose very idea is so pleasing, whose object is so noble, and whose success is so perfect, that, if we are not permitted to enlarge on it in the language of praise, we feel it a duty to record it as an object of example.
In our progress to collect materials for this work, we were so fortunate as to visit Nuneham on the anniversary of this rural celebration; and are, therefore, qualified to enrich our volume with an history of it.
About twenty years since, Lord and Lady Harcourt formed a design to encourage industry among the women of their parish, by giving annual prizes to a certain number of the best spinners of thread.
An idea afterwards suggested itself, that to the prizes of industry , might be added prizes of merit; so that, at length, the importance of the annual festival being increased by the addition of its object and influence, it has gradually risen into an institution.
which, besides its moral interest, is a most delightful spectacle, considered merely in the character of village festivity.
An history of the day on which it is celebrated, will best explain the object and effect of this admirable establishment.
It must, however, be premised, that the persons of either sex deserving the prizes of merit are named some time previous to the festival, by an assembly of those villagers who have already obtained it.
The prizes of industry are contended for on the day, and on the spot, when and where they are distributed.
The morning is appropriated to the prizes of merit; the noon to the village banquet; the afternoon to the contest for the prizes of industry; an early portion of the evening to the distribution of those prizes; and the subsequent part to the festivity of all.
The villagers, who have obtained the prize of merit in former years, followed the rector of the parish to the church through the garden ; the rest of them repaired thither by the common approach: and such as had already been successful competitors for the prizes of industry wore them on the occasion.
These consist of useful articles of dress, with some small peculiarity of form, or trifling decoration, just sufficient to render the distinction conspicuous.
The family attended in the tribune; and the morning service was celebrated with proper psalms and lessons, selected for the occasion.
The service was succeeded by a discourse from the pulpit, in the close of which, the persons who had been chosen to receive the prize of merit for the year, and who were conspicuously seated in the centre of the church, were separately addressed by name, with a particular specification of those meritorious actions, and that virtuous conduct, for which they were elected to receive their present distinction.
At the conclusion of the service, Lord Harcourt descended from the tribune, and presented the usual prize for the men to the clergyman, who transferred it to the attending claimants.
It consists of an hat, whose only distinction is the buckle that fastens the band; which has the name of the person to whom it is destined, with the date of the year, and the words " prize of merit" engraved upon it.
The prizes for tire women were presented by Lady Harcourt in the same manner; and consist of straw hats decorated with scarlet riband.
The names of the happy and distinguished villagers were then hung up in the church, under the date of the year, among those who at former periods have been found to deserve that honour.
The three groups of stately elms that range in the park front of the house, have already been mentioned in the description of it, and seem to have been placed there to serve the purposes of this festival.
Beneath the shade of the central group, dinner was served at two separate tables.
The upper table was occupied by those who had at different periods obtained the prize of merit; the lower one was set apart for the several candidates for the prizes of industry: both of them were most plentifully, as well as suitably spread ; and the happy guests arrived in procession, preceded by a village band of music, to partake of the banquet prepared for them.
At proper intervals the healths of their lord and lady, and excellent rector, were drank, who repaid these attentions with similar returns.
All the domestic servants attended with eager assiduity upon the village guests; and that they might not be interrupted in the duties of the feast, the family partook of a cold repast.
Nor is this all; for these good people not only appeared to be happy, but at their ease; and were rather enlivened into cheerfulness, than restrained into solemnity, by the well-ordered presence of the noble persons to whom they were indebted for the felicity of the day.
At an early hour of the afternoon, all the candidates for the prizes of industry assemble beneath the trees of the large clump to the left of the house.
They are divided into two classes of females, under the age of sixteen, and above it.
The spinners were ranged in a semicircle, the elder class on the right, and the younger on the left.
We then heard the whirring, and saw the motion of forty-two wheels, with the various countenances of as many competitors who governed them; a scene which, abstracted from all ideas of moral influence, displayed an uncommon example of picturesque effect.
After a certain period, the signal is given, when the wheels stop, and each spinner reels olf her thread.
Lady Har- court herself then collected the skeins, and attached the written name of every candidate, carefully folded up, to her respective skein.
Those of the elder class were then spread on a table; and a master weaver determined upon that which was of the best manufacture.
Lady Harcourt, who continued to preside, unfolded the name attached to the distinguished skein; when the successful candidate was called, and olfered her choice of the various prizes: a scarlet knot was, at the same time, affixed to a conspicuous part of her dress.
This ceremony continues till the prizes are all obtained; but without the application of the riband, which is an exclusive distinction of the first.
The skill of the second class underwent the same trial, and received similar rewards.
The far greater part of the competitors obtained prizes according to the merit of their respective work; and the few whose endeavours were not crowned with success, were dismissed with words of encouragement and favour.
The group of elms to the right of the house contains a more spacious as well as more regular area than either of the others, and was, on this occasion, formed into a ball-room of no common elegance.
A moveable colonnade, of just architectural proportions and suitable embellishments, inclosed a space of ninety feet long, and forty-five feet in breadth.
It was sufficient to reserve the place for the purposes to which it is allotted; while the intercolumniations admitted the gazers of the neighbouring villages to view the ceremonies and amusements of the scene.
In the centre on the right, was a Doric pavilion, elevated on a flight of steps, for the reception of the family, and decorated with allusive symbols, and wreaths of artificial flowers.
On the opposite side of the area was an alcove, where the prizes were hung in gay arrangement, and from whence the distribution of them was made, ft afterwards became an orchestra for the music.
At the upper end of the room, the architectural elevation assumed a more enriched appearance.
Two porticos, with pediments, were connected by an intermediate range of columns, with large china vases, filled with flowers, placed between them: and beneath each pediment was a transparent emblematic painting representing a Nuneham cottage.
The one was a cheerful picture of industry and plenty; the other, a dismal scene of idleness and want: over the latter hung a wreath of nettles, and above the former was seen a chaplet of various flowers.
The floor of the room was the turf, and its roof the spreading branches of the elms that grow around.
The whole was bright with lamps, arranged in all the elegance of illumination.
When the evening advanced, Lady Harcourt entered the ball-room, preceded by the music, and followed by a procession of her villagers; and, after making a circuit of the area, entered the alcove, where the prizes were distributed from her hand, not unaccompanied by graceful gratulation.
When this charming ceremony was concluded, the music occupied the place; nor did any long interval ensue before (he commencement of the dance: and as all persons of a certain appearance were promiscuously admitted, the closing scene of the festival assumed the gay semblance of elegant pleasure.
It has been our lot to see much of the splendid ceremonials of the world ; but we never saw such a day as this; nor do we ever remember to have beheld so much festive happiness, that bore the promise of so much future good.
From the noble inhabitants of Nuneham-house down to the lowest servant in it, all were zealously and anxiously occupied in attending to the innocent enjoyments and laudable objects of this festival.
The Nuneham spinning feast is formed to be a school of virtue and industry, and was not made a spectacle of vanity.
The guests invited to see it were but few.
Among them was the bishop of Durham; and we cannot refrain from observing, that it was graced by his manners, encouraged by his words, and dignified by his presence.
We should, however, omit a very material circumstance, relating to the village order of merit, if we did not mention that, besides the honour conferred on the names of those who are elected into it, by placing them on the walls of the church, the letter M, with a star annexed, is written in a large character over the doors of their respective cottages.
It was, indeed, with sincere pleasure we observed that very few of them, thr oughout the village, are without one of these honorary symbols; while many of them had more ; and some we remarked as containing three persons who had obtained the prize of merit, by the honourable token of three letters.
It is also understood, that, if any of these people should, by future misconduct, forfeit the character they have obtained, and the respectable rank they hold, in the village, their names will be taken down from the wall of the church, and the distinguishing letter be effaced from the front of their houses.
This disgraceful consequence of immoral or dishonest conduct, was pathetically enforced by the rector of the parish, in his admirable discourse from the pulpit: and by his pastoral care, affectionate attentions, and excellent example, vve are authorized to say, the virtue of his parishioners has been so preeminently advanced.
It is, however, highly honourable to this institution, that not a single example of disgrace has yet occurred.
Nor is this all; the reputation of being thus distinguished in the village of Nuneham, extends its influence and good effects beyond its own limits: and several of its natives, who have been induced to follow their prolessions in the adjacent parts of the country, have happily experienced, that the character which they derived from having obtained the prize ot merit at Nuneham, has procured for them immediate and ample encouragement in the places of their recent abode.
Thus have we given a simple, unadorned history of the Nuneham spinning feast.
Nor shall we olfend the reader by olfering those observations on the subject, which every friend to virtue, and every lover of his fellow-creatures will make for himself.
We have only to flatter ourselves, that this volume will contain, at least, some few pages, which malice dare not blacken; which ignorance cannot misrepresent, and where criticism will forget to be severe.
We now return to the river, which however we can scarcely be said to have forsaken, and take a new and more enlarged view of Nuneham, as the stream bears us on beneath it.
Here the house appears in the centre of a rich extensil e brow : the dome of the church, rising above the groves that clothe the verdant declivities, forms the northern point : Carfax, which now assumes a more abrupt position, is the most southern object: the intervals are filled up with stately wood, and luxuriant plantations; from whence the lawns fall in a variety of beautiful shapes, enriched with clumps of different size and foliage, to the meadows, beside whose banks the sail bore us too quickly on.
This delightful scenery was soon contrasted by the impending shade of the park wood, beneath which the river takes its course.
Here Nuneham-Iock crosses the stream, and two charming cottages beside it olfer their characteristic beauty to relieve the eye, so long accustomed to pictures of splendid nature.
Over the prow of the vessel, Abingdon spire is seen amid the varying circumstances of the intermediate country : at frequent intervals the Berkshire hills appear in the horizon ; and, as the river meanders, Nuneham and its woods are seen to enrich the lengthening distance.
Within a mile of Abingdon, a new cut has been made to aid the navigation, which has rendered the stream of little use that flows to Culham bridge; and has not only shortened the passage to the town, but affords the means of reaching it, in those dry seasons when the shallowness of the water forbids any other approach.
As the river enters or rather skirts the town, the view is crowded with objects.
Houses and gardens, with the various buildings, suited to trades that require such a situation, alternately and on either side, cover the banks, which are united by a bridge of three arches, an ancient structure, that heightens the picturesque appearance of the scene.
Abingdon is supposed to have existed in the time of the Britons, and to have been distinguished at that period by its devotion, and the conversion of several distinguished Pagans to the Christian faith.
From its ancient name, which, according to the old book of Abendon, was Sheovesham,the learned annotator onCamden considers it to have been the place where three synods were held, in the years 742, 822, and 824.
The abbey, from whence this town derived its chief consideration, was founded about the year 675, by Heane, nephew to Cissa, who was the father of King Ina.
He first began to build it at a place called Bagley-wood, or Chisewell; but that situation proving inconvenient, it was translated to Sheovesham, which, after the completion of the abbey, received the name which it has since retained.
In the reign of Alfred, the monks, from an apprehension of the Danes, who had a very severe engagement with that king, near this place, in the year 875, forsook their cloister; but it was afterwards restored by King Edred in the year 955, assisted by the pious zeal of Ethelwold its abbot, then bishop of Winchester; under whose government, and that of his successor, it acquired the monastic splendour, which gave it a place among the first religious institutions in this kingdom.
Indeed, such was its proud state and condition, that William the Conqueror kept his Easter in it in the year 1084, and left his youngest son Henry, afterwards king of England, to he educated there, under the particular inspection of his favourite Robert D’Oilli.
That nobleman was a most generous benefactor to this monastery; and on his death, in tire year 1090, he was, by his own especial desire, buried on the north side of the altar in the conventual church, where Aklitli his wife, who survived him, afterwards shared his sepulchre.
In the same holy ground were interred many other persons of high rank and distinguished character: among them were Cissa, Sidemanne bishop of Crediton, Egelain bishop of Durham, Sir Gilbert Talbot, Sir John Grey, Lord Viscount Lisle, and Sir Thomas Fettiplace; besides its abbots, several of whom enjoyed the episcopal mitre.
Among these were Bethun, bishop of Dorchester, and the famous chronicler Geolfrey of Monmouth, who some time held the see of Saint Asaph in commendam with this abbey.
But all these various monuments, with the church itself, the chief ornament of this town and the county of Berks, and all the buildings belonging to it, except a gatehouse, were destroyed in the general havoc of ecclesiastical structures in the reign of Henry the Eighth.
According to Leland, who had seen this abbey, it bore a resemblance to the present cathedral of Wells, being adorned with two towers at the west end, and another in the middle; which, according to the same authority, were erected at no great distance of time previous to the reformation, by four abbots, the two last of which were called Ashenden and Sant.
The latter of them was a doctor in divinity, and ambassador at Rome for Edward the Fourth and Henry the Seventh.
This stately edifice stood in a spacious area, on the south side of which was the abbots’ and monks lodgings, and on the west side was a charnel chapel.
The churches in the neighbourhood were, all of them, chapels of ease to it.
At the dissolution, this abbey, according to Burton, was valued at two thousand and forty-two pounds per annum: though Dugdale states its revenues at that period to be no more than one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six pounds.
Without the west gate, the only part of it that survived its general destruction, was a church and hospital dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, opposite to the present church of Saint Nicholas.
It does not, however, appear that the town of Abingdon, which had derived so ranch advantage, and risen into such eminence from the abbey, suffered from its downfall.
This circumstance, indeed, may be attributed to the establishment of the great London road turned through this place, on the building of Culham and Burford bridges; which essential improvement was greatly promoted by Geolfrey Barbour, a merchant of Abingdon, who gave a thousand marks for their erection, and completing the causeway between them: a very large sum in those days, and capable of producing considerable works, when wheat sold for twelve pence a quarter, and the best stone-masons, and other necessary artificers, considered a penny a day as extraordinary wages.
The very great advantages which were derived by the town, from the number of travellers who were induced, in consequence of these bridges, to take this route from Gloucester to London, and to abandon the former but more circuitous road through Wallingford, induced Mr. Richard Fannand, an ironmonger of Abingdon, in the year 1457, to place a tablet, which yet remains, in the hall of Christ’s hospital, as a memorial of tire beneficence of Geolfrey Barbour.
It contains an exact, though uncouth description of the building of Culham bridge, and is given in an hundred English verses, with a Latin introduction, and a rebus of the word Abingdon at the conclusion.
In this curious poem Henry the Fifth is represented as the actual founder of both bridges: but it does not appear, in recording prose, that they received any other advantage from that monarch, than his royal per- mission to build them.
The inhabitants of Abingdon entertained so high a reverence for the memory of this munificent benefactor to their town, that, on the dissolution of the abbey, they removed his monument, in solemn procession, to the church of Saint Helen’s, where the brass plate belonging to his grave-stone yet remains: by whose inscription it appears that he died April the twenty-first, 1-117, the year succeeding the completion of his bridge.
The cross, which stood in the market-place, was, in Leland’s description of it, " a right goodly one, adorned with fair degrees of steps and various imagery."
Richard Symonds, who saw it in the year 1644, says, it was of an octagon shape, and adorned with three rows of statues; the lowest consisting of six grave kings; the next of the Virgin Mary, with several female saints and bishops: the uppermost, of small statues of saints.
There were also three rows of twenty-four shields, carved and painted.
It was erected in the reign of Henry the Sixth, by the brotherhood of holy Cross at Abingdon, a pious and peculiar confraternity which was instituted by that religious prince.
This cross served as a model to that erected at Coventry, in the reign of Henry the Eighth; and, on the seventh day of September, 1641, when a national thanksgiving was appointed for the settlement with the Scots, divine service was celebrated and sung before it by two thousand choristers.
In a short time after this grand act of devotion it was entirely destroyed.
The market-house, which stood near the cross, was, as Le- land describes it, " a fair house, with open pillars, covered with a roof of lead.
’ ’ This, however, has been succeeded by another, which is considered as among the first structures of its kind in the kingdom; being built with lolty columns, that support a spacious hall, in which the county assizes, and provincial meetings are frequently held.
The town consists of several streets, which centre in a spacious marketplace.
At the lower part, stands the principal of the two churches, dedicated to Saint Helen’s; it is adorned with a lolty spire, and was built on the site of an ancient nunnery.
Near to it is an hospital, originally of the same name, but since called Christ’s hospital, lor six poor men, and as many women.
At the other end of the town, without the west gate, near the spot where the abbey once stood, is the other church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, which was erected by Nicholas de Coleham, who was consecrated abbot of this place in the year 1289, and died in the year 1304.
The west door of this church is remarkable for its decorations of Saxon architecture.
But besides these, and the church of Saint John already mentioned, there was a chapel built in the year 1288, by Edmund archbishop of Canterbury, which the legends of those times have dignified, by representing it as the scene of frequent miracles.
Abingdon was first erected into a borough in the third and fourth years of Philip and Mary.
The charter was obtained by Sir John Mason, who was born in this town, of mean parents, his father following the occupation of a cowherd ; but his maternal uncle being a monk of the abbey, not only instructed him in the rudiments of a learned education, but, in consequence of his promising talents, procured him admission into All Souls college in Oxford, of which he was elected fellow in the year 1521 : and in a visit which Henry the Eighth made to that university, he so eminently distinguished himself, that Sir Thomas More, then lord chancellor, and who accompanied the king on the occasion, recommended him in such terms to the royal favour, that he was immediately honoured with his majesty’s regard; and was not only employed in matters of great consequence by that monarch, both at home and abroad, but also attained olfices of high honour and importance in the three succeeding reigns.
Oueen Mary, when she succeeded to the throne, considered him with the same confidential regard that he had experienced from the king her father; and it was by his influence, in favour of his native town, that her majesty granted a charter to Abingdon; by which it was made a free borough and town corporate, to consist of a mayor and eleven aider- men, who were to be called burgesses, and two bailiffs, who were to possess the power of electing sixteen or more secondary burgesses: it was also understood that the members of the corporation so constituted, and their successors, should have the privilege of electing a burgess to represent them in parliament; and which was long supposed to be exclusively vested in them.
But it was determined, May the twenty-third, 1660, by the house of commons, that the word burgesses, mentioned in the charter, extended to the inhabitants at large in the borough paying scot and lot, and not receiving alms; who have ever since possessed the right of election.
We learn also from ancient records, that at so early a period as the reign of Edward the Third, this town, being then a place of considerable trade, received a precept to send a representative to assist at a great council of the nation.
The manor of Abingdon belonged to the abbey till the time of its dissolution, which appears by ancient charters to have possessed, among its other privileges, the prolits of markets and fairs; but they have been since granted to the corporation, and are now vested in that body.
Leland mentions that this place, in his time, had " a quick market, and a woollen manufactory."
At present its principal trade is in malt, of which necessary commodity it sends large supplies to the metropolis.
In the year 1682, the Right Honourable James Bertie, Lord Norris, a younger son of the Earl of Lindsay, was created Earl of Abingdon, which title is possessed by his great-grandson the present Earl.
This branch of the Thames, after washing the eastern side of the town, and receiving an accession of water from the little river Ock, which rises in the vale of White-horse, makes a sudden turn; and in about a mile unites with the sister stream that flows beneath Culham bridge, which is then seen to the left.
The shores are flat on either side, and where they are not fringed with willows, there is an extensive view of arable cultivation.
As the stream winds, the spire of Abingdon is occasionally seen; a momentary glimpse is caught of the seat of Mr. Philips of Culham, and the Berkshire hills present themselves, in various directions, in the distance; while Sutton Courtney church, the only object that continues to meet the eye, is seen, in different points of view, till we approached the village to which it belongs; whose cottages, farms, orchards, and mill, compose a scene wherein the rustic character universally prevails.
1 he banks of the Thames were now, for the first time, barren of interesting or beautiful objects.
The village of Appleford olfered nothing to attract our attention; and the white tower of Long Wittenham church alone enlivened the advancing scenes of our voyage.
We saw it, for some time, imhosomed in trees before us; and, as we passed on, a glimpse of it was caught, receding from a bank, covered with the aspen, the elm, and the poplar.
From thence the river makes a sudden bend towards Clifton, a little village on the Oxfordshire side of it; where a small church presents itself on a sandy bank, rising abruptly above the stream.
The ferry at this place animates the scene; which is soon succeeded by the shady meads of Burcot, an ancient seat of the family of the Oxen- dens ; from which place the Thames was made navigable to Oxford, by an act of parliament passed in the twenty-first year of James the First.
The river now takes a more confined course between banks of osiers, and has nothing to satisfy the eye, but the hills above Little Wittenham, consisting of two large connected knolls, adorned with clumps of firs, till we approach the picturesque spot which they more immediately adorn.
The church of Little Wittenham appears to the right, on a broken slope sprinkled with trees.
The seat of Mr. Dance, shaded with plantations, recedes a little to the left; and the ground rises behind both till it unites with the hills.
The river, which is a principal feature of the landscape, widens here into con- siderable breadth; and the island that divides it is connected by (wo bridges with the opposite banks.
But tradition has given to this place an intellectual importance, which heightens at least, il it does not transcend, its native beauties.
Here an oak had long flourished, and hard was his heart who suffered the axe to strike it, beneath whose shade Prior is said to have composed his poem of Henry and Emma.
The poet has described this spot as the scene of his interesting story, and such a tree might surely have been spared lor the sake of its traditionary character, when the general ravage was made, by its last possessor, in the sylvan beauties of the place.
In the immediate vicinity of Little Wittenham, but on the opposite side of the stream, the lame resigns its waters to the Thames.
I Ins n\ei rises in the eastern part of the Chiltern hills, in the county of Buckingham, between the town of Aylesbury and the village of Queren- don, which gave the title of Viscount to the Earls of Litchfield After winding through the south part of the vale of Aylesbury, it enters the county of Oxford, and soon passes the north side of the town to which it has given a name.
Tame, or Thame, is a market-town situate on the eastern side of Oxfordshire.
It was a place of some consideration at an early period of our history.
Osketyl archbishop of York, according to the Saxon Chronicle, died at Tame in the year 970; and previous to that time, Wulfere King of Mercia granted a charter in the vill of Tame.
In the reign of Edward the Elder, about the year 921, the Danes are said to have fortified it, when that king is related, in the same year, to have besieged the borough of Tame, and to have taken it, w ith the slaughter of the Danish monarch.
This town suffered also great devastation in the year 1010, when the Danes over-ran the kingdom.
In 1137, or 1138, Alexander bishop of Lincoln gave his park, near the town, to the Cistercian monks of Otterly abbey in this county, who erected a monastery there, on account of the unhealthy situation of their former abode; which religious house was valued on its dissolution at two hundred and fifty-six pounds thirteen shillings and seven pence per annum, and the site of it granted to the see of Oxford.
In the latter part of the reign of Henry the Sixth, Richard Ouatremain, of an ancient family in this county, founded an hospital in this town, and endowed it with lands: and Sir John Williams, whom Oueen Mary advanced to the dignity of the peerage, by the title of Baron Williams of Tame, founded an handsome free-school and small alms-house.
But whatever may have been the former condition of this town, it consists at present of little more than one street, with a spacious market-place.
The Tame now flows on towards Ricot, of which Leland gives the following curious account.
" Ricot belonged to one Fulco de Ricote.
Afterwards it came to one (Rial:remain, whose house has been famous, and of right fair possessions in Oxford.
About Henry the Sixth’s days, divers brethren of them died one after another; and all the lands descended to Richard the youngest, a merchant of London: he had a servant, called Thomas Fouler, his clerk, a toward fellow, that after was chancellor of the dutchy of Lancaster, to whom Richard Ouatremain bore great favour, and was godfather to his son, to whom he left most part of his lands, because he had no children.
But this Richard Fouler his heir was very unthrift, and sold most of his lands, leaving his children full small livings.
Sir John Heron, treasurer of the chamber to the kings Henry the Seventh and Henry the Eighth, bought the reversion of this lordship; and Giles his son possessed it awhile, and then sold it to Sir John Williams, knight."
His youngest daughter married Henry Norris, created by Queen Elizabeth Lord Norris of Ricot; and the eldest espoused Richard Wenman of Tame, from whom the present Viscount Wenman is descended.
His grandfather married a daughter and coheir of Francis Viscount Lovel; and his father Henry was beheaded on account of Anne Boleyn, Queen of Henry the Eighth.
His grandson Francis was created Viscount Tame, and Earl of Berkshire in the eighth year of James the First, and left an only daughter.
She afterwards married James Bertie, who inherited the title of Ricot with the estate, which descended with the title of Earl of Abingdon to his heirs, of whom his great grandson Willoughby is the fourth, and present Earl.
—The little river whose winding course we attend, is distinguished by no other circumstance worthy of particular notice, till it reaches the town of Dorchester.
This place was a city of some eminence in the time of the Britons ; when it was called Caer Dauri, or Caer Doren, the city on the water.
Venerable Bede mentions it under the name of Civitas Dorcinia, and Leland styles it Hydropolis, " a title," says Camden, " of his own invention, but proper enough, as Dour in the British language signifies water."
There is no doubt of its having been a Roman station, as well from the number of Roman coins and medals found in it, as from the terminating syllables of its name, which, according to antiquarian opinion, would alone decide its ancient character.
The old chronicles relate, that it was long famous for a bishop’s see, fixed there by Birinus, the apostle of the West Saxons, in 636.
" For when," according to venerable Bede, " he baptized Ginigils the king of that people, to whom Oswald King of Northumberland stood godfather, the two kings gave to the bishop this city, to establish there an episcopal see."
He accordingly built a church, and made it the seat of his bishopric, which then contained the two large kingdoms of the West Saxons and Mercians; and though seven bishoprics were afterwards taken out of it, it still remained the largest episcopal see in England.
It continued a bishopric for about four hundred and fifty years, till bishop Remi- gius translated it to Lincoln in the reign of William the Conqueror, and about the year 1086.
After tills removal, according to William of Malmesbury, it became a small and unfrequented place, though still remarkable for the stateliness of its churches: and, about the year 1140, Alexander bishop of Lincoln founded here an abbey of black canons; which was valued on the dissolution at two hundred and nineteen pounds per annum.
The present parochial church was that of the abbey, and is a venerable massy pile, seventy-seven yards in length, from east to west, seventy feet wide, and fifty feet high, full of curious sculptures, paintings on glass, and ancient decorations.
The font, supposed by Doctor Stukeley to be of the time of Birinus, is of cast lead, adorned with figures of the twelve apostles.
The tower is large but not lolty, in which are six bells, some of them very ancient: on one of them is inscribed, " Protege Birine quos convoco sine jirie.
The monastery joined to the west end of the church; and a considerable part of the gate arch still remains, which is used as a school-house: traces of the cloister may also be seen on the north side.
At the back of the town, to the south, is a circular field surrounded by hedges, that Browne Willis considered to be the remains of an amphitheatre; beyond which, to the northwest, was a farm house in the form of a cross, called Bishop’s-court Farm and the Gylcl; supposed to have been part of the bishop’s palace, but since rebuilt.
Here were large and solid foundations in Mr. Hearne’s time, and the inhabitants of the town then kept court on the spot.
In a garden behind the church, a small ring of the purest gold was dug up in 1736, and is now in the possession of a tradesman in the town: within it is inscribed the year 636, the period of the consecration of Birinus; and it incloses a cornelian, on which is engraved a mitre on an altar or pillar.
On the south side of Dorchester is a double intrenchment, called Dike-hills, about three quarters of a mile in length, twenty yards asunder at the bottom, and forty at top: their perpendicular height is about twenty feet.
On an over- flow of the Thames the dikes are sometimes filled with water.
A road crosses them near the west end, and continues on the Berkshire side of the river up the hill pointing to Sinodun camp, at the distance of a mile and an half, which Leland supposes to be a work of the Danes.
A skeleton, a mattock, and part of a cross were found at the west end of the south banks; and Roman coins are olten discovered among the north ramparts, which are the most defaced.
Between these banks and the river is a spot which appears to be the site of a small irregular building: it is called Prince’s Castle; and here Chaucer is said to have written several of Ids poems.
The author of the History of Alchester, at the end of Rennet's Parochial Antiquities, mentions a round hill, " where the succeeding superstitious ages built Birinus a shrine, teaching them that had any cattle amiss to creep to it."
Many other remains have here rewarded the persevering toil of the antiquary; all of which prove the former splendid state of this place, now an ordinary village; and awaken a pensive reflection on the changeful and uncertain state of all sublunary things.
The Tame, when it has passed beneath Dorchester bridge, takes its course, half concealed by reeds and sedges, through the meadows, and soon mingles with the Thames, not as an equal, but a tributary stream.
Indeed, so little does its appearance justify the alliance which it has been said, by fabling poetry, to form with the principal river, that were it not for a wooden bridge thrown across its mouth, as a communication between the meadows w hicli are divided by it, the voyager on the Thames might pass unnoticed the petty influx of water it receives from the Tame.
The tower of Dorchester church still continues to be visible on the left, and, in the frequent windings of the stream, a short range of high, broken, chalky ground, which will soon appear as a bank of the river, rises beyond the verdant plain of intervening meads, to enliven the scene.
Shillingford wharf, with its commercial circumstances, next presents itself; and before it the river widens into considerable breadth.
Shillingford bridge soon succeeds, a light, wooden structure: and, as we approached it, the objects, about and before us, combined to form a very singular but pleasing landscape.
The river and the bridge compose the near part of the picture, with bold, high ground to the right, whose chalky breaks are relieved and varied by verdure and underwood: beneath the bridge is seen a fine, lengthening bend of water, with its accidental vessels; and beyond it is the tower of Benson church, with woody hills rising in the distance.
Where the bridge now stretches across the stream, was an ancient ford, as the name of the place implies, to which a Roman road is supposed to have led, and from whence piles and large beams have been sometimes taken up.
Benson, or Bensington, is a village near the Thames, and in the high road from Henley to Oxford.
West of the church is a bank and trench, of a square form: the north side still retains somewhat of its original appearance; to the west and south they are readily traced; hut to the east it requires a minute examination to discern them.
Doctor Plot mentions an angle of King olfa’s palace near the church, which must have stood on this spot; where bones of men and horses, as well as old spurs and military weapons, have been frequently dug up.
This being a frontier town olten changed its masters, in the contests between the West Saxons and the Mercians.
olia king of the latter, considering it to be politically necessary to his government, that his enemies should hold no place on that side of the Thames, at length possessed himself of it, and finally united it to his own dominions.
In the immediate vicinity of Benson is Ewelme, or, as it is commonly called, Newelme, which, in the opinion of Leland, derived its name " from a great pool afore the manor place, and elmes growing about it."
Here once stood a royal palace, originally built by William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, of which Leland gives the following description.
— " The manor place is in the valley of the village; the base court of it is fayre, and budded of bricke and tymbre: the inner part of the house is set within a f a yre mote, and is builded richly of bricke and stone : the hall of it is fayre, and hath great bars of iron overthuart it, instead of cross beams : the parlor by is exceeding fair and lightsome ; and so be all the lodgings there."
On the attainder of John Earl of Lincoln, and Edmund his brother, grandsons of the duke, who engaged in a conspiracy against Henry the Seventh, it was forfeited to the crown.
Hemy tire Eighth afterwards constituted this estate to be an honour, annexing to it several manors, and among the rest that of Wallingford, which had before been part of the demesnes annexed to the dutchy of Cornwall.
The base court, which was all that then remained of this stately edifice, was engraved by Buck in the year 1729.
The tomb of Alice Duchess of Suffolk, in the church, is enriched with curious sculpture: her figure reposes on it, and is distinguished by the order of the garter on the left arm; a circumstance which has already been considered in our account of the monuments in the church of Stanton Harcourt.
The rectory of this place, with a canonry of Christ-church in Oxford, was annexed by James the First, to the regius prolessorship of divinity in that university.
The Roman road, called Ickenild-street, passed through this place; and on the common near it, from the accidental breaking up of the ground by the wheel of a waggon, an urn was discovered full of Roman coins, from the time of Julius Caesar.
We now passed Benson-lock, with the mill beside it, whose back streams, forming two separate cascades, enlivened the scene, which is here inclosed with osiers, and gave an agitated rapidity to the current.
Though we drew nigh to Wallingford, the spire of one of its churches, rising above a large group of trees before us, was all we could yet discern of that town.


The Streatley hills, which will form an interesting and beautiful object for several miles of our voyage, were now seen in an azure distance.
Hoberry, the seat of Mr. Nedham, appeared on the Oxfordshire side, amidst spacious meadows, shaded by lolty elms.
The ancient bridge of Wallingford was now before us: but, from the course of the river, the projecting bank and intervening foliage, two of its numerous arches were alone seen: they produced a picturescpie and solemn effect, which was soon heightened by the ruin of Wallingford castle, whose mouldering remains give no idea of that magnificence which once astonished every beholder, or of that strength which royal armies besieged in vain.
Wallingford is supposed to have been the chief city of the Atrebatii, a colony from Gaul, who settled in that part of this island, which now forms the county of Berks.
It is also said to have been the seat of Comius, whom Caesar mentions as a potent leader of that people.
There can, however, be little doubt that it was a place of some importance during the successive periods of the Roman, Saxon, and Danish governments in this kingdom.
According to Camden, its ancient name was Gallena, derived by that writer from the British words guall hen, or old fortification; which, with the added termination of ford, from its ford across the Thames, it may be still said to retain ; its present name being a contraction of the Saxon appellation Gallengapopt).
It was a borough in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and possessed a mint previous to the conquest.
By Domesday-book, it appears to have consisted of two hundred and seventy-six houses, yielding a tax of eleven pounds ; and the inhabitants did service to the king either with horses, or by water.
It was anciently surrounded by walls, which, from the traces of them, are supposed to have been upwards of a mile in circumference.
A ruin of the castle is seen on the side of the river, which in its original state, was not only of considerable extent, but possessed of such strength as to give it the character of an impregnable fortress.
It is generally believed to have been the work of the Romans; and that it afterwards suffered great injury both from the Saxons and the Danes.
On the death of King Harold, William the Conqueror came with an army to this city, as it was then called, and encamped there before he proceeded to London.
The castle was also restored and enlarged by that monarch, as appears from Domesday-book, which mentions that eight houses were pulled down to extend its dimensions.
It was bravely defended by Brient Fitz-Count, who was lord of the place, for the Empress Maud and her son Henry; till the peace so anxiously desired by the whole kingdom was concluded on the banks of the Thames before it, and the bloody contest for the crown between King Stephen and Henry was finally terminated.
In a short time after the succession of Henry the Second to the crown, Brient Fitz-Count and Matilda his wife, by whom he became possessed of the honour or lordship of Wallingford, having engaged in religious vows, it devolved to the crown.
Richard the First afterwards bestowed it on his brother John.
Richard Earl of Cornwall, the brother of Henry the Third, and King of the Romans, repaired the castle; and kept his wedding there, entertaining the king, queen, and principal nobility on the occasion.
He is also said to have established fourteen parish churches in this place; and Leland relates, that in his time there were persons living who could shew the cemeteries where they stood.
On the death of this prince, at the close of his brother’s reign, the honour of Wallingford descended to his son Edmund, who erected a collegiate chapel in the castle, and endowed it with ample revenues; which are said to have received some augmentation from the piety of Edward the Black Prince.
On the death of Edmund it reverted to the crown.
Edward the Second granted it, together with the duchy of Cornwall, to his favourite Gaveston; but, on his downfall and execution, it was conferred on Hugh de Spencer who afterwards underwent a similar fate.
This town suffered a great diminution of inhabitants by the plague in the year 1348 : but it received an irreparable injury from the erection of Culliam and Bur- ford bridges, in the reign of Henry the Fifth; which induced travellers, from South Wales and the western parts of Gloucestershire to the metropolis, to quit the usual but more circuitous road through Wallingford: a circumstance which deprived this town of its principal support.
Edward the Third conferred on his brother John of Eltham the Earldom of Cornwall; which, after his death, was erected into a dutchy, and given, with the honour of Wallingford, to Edward the Black Prince; and it continued from that period to he an appertinent of the heir apparent of the crown, till Henry the Eighth gave it to cardinal Wolsey, for the use of his college at Oxford.
On the downfall of that prelate, it was annexed to the manor of Ewelme; but the lordship of the castle, was reserved to Christ-church college, to which it still belongs ; the castle being then occupied as a retreat for the scholars belonging to that foundation.
Camden mentions his having frequently visited it in his academic character; and that it then retained a considerable portion of its ancient grandeur.
There was in this place a priory of black monks, founded in the reign of William the First, and subordinate to the abbey of Saint Alban’s, which was among those religious foundations suppressed by cardinal Wolsey to support his projected colleges at Ipswich and Oxford.
There was also an hospital dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, for poor men and women, instituted as early as the reign of Edward the First.
The rents and prolits of the manor are now, by virtue of a lease from the crown, vested in the corporation; which, under the charter of James the First, consists of a mayor, six aldermen, who are justices of the peace within the borough, two bailiffs, and eighteen burgesses; and enjoys a peculiar jurisdiction.
Wallingford is an handsome country town, and has two churches, one of which was rebuilt about twenty-five years since, whose spire, which is of a very singular form, was erected at the sole expense of that eminent lawyer and learned judge, Sir William Blackstone, who had represented this borough in parliament; to which it has sent members since the twenty-third year ol'Edward the First.
It also gave the title of Viscount to William Knolles, on the creation of James the First.
The same nobleman afterwards received the dignity of Earl of Banbury from Charles the First; but these honours expired with him in 1632.
They have since been claimed by one of his descendants; but his pretensions were rejected by the house of lords.
The principal trade of this town is in malt and grain, of which large supplies are sent, by water, to the London market.
The bridge consists of nineteen arches, and bears the appearance of great antiquity: though the time of its erection is not ascertained by any date engraved on it, or, as we could discover, by any written record.
It seems, from its pointed sterlings on the upper side, to have been formed to resist the violence of floods, and it has, we believe, for ages resisted them.
The first object, after passing this bridge, is Mongewell, on the Oxfordshire bank of the river.
It is the seat of the Honourable Shute Barrington, bishop of Durham, where he sometimes retires from the toil of prelatic dignity, to enjoy the repose of polished life.
The house is imbosomed in fine elms, which at once shade and adorn it; a lawn, whereon trees of ample growth are negligently scattered, extends beyond, and the Thames flows before, it: a small part of Wallingford, with its spire, is seen to the right, and the Streatley hills form the southern distance.
It is a scene of tranquil beauty, where taste has given the place every advantage of which its character is susceptible, and proved its purity by attempting no more.
At some distance, on the opposite side of the river, is the village of Cholsley.
In this parish was one of those very ancient monasteries, referred to in the foundation charter of Reading abbey, as having been destroyed at a far more early period; most probably by the Danes, when they desolated this part of the kingdom in the beginning of the eleventh century.
It was founded by King Ethelred about the year 986, as an atonement for the murder of his brother, Edward the Martyr.
The manor and impropriation of Cholsley belonged to Reading abbey; and a spacious mansion, called the Abbot of Reading’s Place, was granted, in the fourth and fifth year of Philip and Mary, to Sir Francis Englefield.
Here is one of the largest barns in England, which is supposed, by some of its curious visiters, to have formerly been a place of religious worship.
The Oxfordshire side of the river, for some time, consists of waving, cultivated uplands, crowned with patches of wood; while the Berkshire bank displays an open country, rich in various agriculture, and rising gently till it undulates in the horizon.
Through these scenes the Thames flows on to the villages of South Stoke and Moulesford; the latter of which is mentioned, in ancient records, as having been granted by Henry the First to Giraldus Fitzwater.
Streatley hills, which for some miles had been the distant features of the various prospects before us, as we approached them, compressed the landscape into a narrow space, and predominated over it.
Cleve-mill, — and where is there a mill that, from the movement of its wheels, the rush of its waters, and all its various appropriate circumstances, is not an object of rural interest and picturesque beauty alone, enlivened the stream, till we moored our boat, in the midst of the river, between the charming villages of Streatley and Goring.


Streatley is so named from its situation on the Roman road, called the Ickenild-street, which here enters Berkshire from the opposite village of Goring, and passes by Aldworth to Speenham, near Newbury.
At Goring there was a small Augustin priory of nuns, founded in the reign of Henry the Second, but by whom is not known; and was valued on its suppression at sixty pounds per annum: the site of it was granted, in the thirtieth year of Henry the Eighth, to Charles Duke of Suffolk, and six years after to Sir Thomas Pope.
Elvenden farm, part of the estate of Mr. Powys of Hardwick, in this parish, was a country house belonging to this religious foundation.
There is also a fountain of mineral water in this village, known by the name of Goring Spring, and particularly mentioned by Doctor Plot, in the reign of Charles the Second, as famous for its efficacy in ulcers, sore eyes, and all scorbutic eruptions.
It appears also that, at an early period of the present century, this water was considered as a valuable specific, by an advertisement of Richard Lybbe, Esquire, the lord of the manor, the owner of the soil, and an ancestor of Mr. Powys, published several times in the Post-boy, in September 1722; wherein he mentions the complaints which had been made, that other water had been substituted and sold for that of Goring Spring; and informs the public, to prevent the practice of these deceptions, that every future bottle or vessel hereafter filled with the genuine water, shall be sealed with his arms, of which he gives a particular description; and that the persons whom he has appointed to seal and deliver it shall demand nothing for the water, but a penny a quart for attendance and impress of his arms.
In the Reading Mercury also, dated June the thirteenth, 1724, there is a long list of persons cured, or greatly relieved, by the waters and the application of the clay, in cutaneous diseases, scorbutic humours, and disorders of the eyes.
This spring, however, from its retired situation, or the want of that popular character, which is derived from the promulgated opinion of eminent medical men, has long flowed in vain.
We cannot suppose that this water has not been analyzed; at the same time, we do not know that its analysis appears in any printed work on the mineral waters of this kingdom.
We are very much concerned that we did not qualify ourselves to state the medicinal qualities of this spring, whatever they may be, from actual experiment.
It certainly possessed a considerable degree of reputation in the early part of the present century, which we may suppose could not have been obtained without a full and sufficient experience of its sanative virtues; and a chemical analysis might have justified us in attempting to reinstate it in the rank it once held among the mineral fountains of our country.
We now proceed to the beautiful objects of the scene around us, which compose a landscape that might he the pride of the first pencil to display on the canvas.
On the left bank of the stream is the village of Goring, with its church rising above it, and varied by an intermixture of trees, which enliven, without obscuring it.
Streatley is on the opposite bank, of equal beauty but dissimilar appearance: it hangs on a gentle slope down to the water, where the tower of the church is a predominant object: the hills, which derive their name from the village, rise boldly above, and extend in a range of verdant swells beyond, it: the river is divided by several islets, the largest of which is planted with poplars; and the back-ground is formed, at a short distance, by an amphitheatre of the Basilden woods.
It might, perhaps, be expected that such a picture would have been here presented, by the artist whose pencil gives the principal beauty and importance to this work; but he has always preferred, wherever it has been in his power, the general course of the liver, and the character of the country through which it flows, to individual scenery.
On this principle, the two succeeding views, taken from a commanding station on the Streatley- hills, delineate the course of the Thames for several miles, between the town of Wallingford and the village of Whitchurch.


The river now glides on amidst successive scenes of varying beauty.
Rich, shady meadows rise gently to the hills, whose chalky cliffs now appear to shelter a group of cottages that are seen beneath them: while an high road, at a small distance, is alone perceived through screens of trees, by the objects that pass along it.
The grotto- house no sooner claimed, than it rewarded, our attention.
It is the property of Sir Francis Sykes, and inhabited by Mr. Lamotte.
This charming retreat derives its name from a grotto, which was the olfspring of the late Lady Fane’s taste and elegant industry, when this spot was the place of her residence.
Though it remains a proof of her skill, and the great expence which must have accompanied the progress of her favourite labour, it is no longer seen in that state of perfection when it was the boast of Basilden, and the wonder of the surrounding country.
It will, however, live in the recorded praise of the muse, whose celebration of it is to be found among the poetry preserved in Mr. Dodsley’s Collection.
The imitations of natural caverns find a place among the ornaments of modern wardens: but the shell-room, whether above or beneath the earth, has long been disowned by an improved and purer taste, which, disdaining works merely artificial, prolesses alone to copy or improve nature.
The house is placed on the margin of the stream, in the centre of a rising lawn, shaded with trees, and enriched with plantations, which stretches along, or may rather be said to form, a luxuriant bank of considerable extent.
The eastern part of the Streatley-hills rises abruptly above the trees which compose its receding boundary; while the river makes a beautiful bend before it, and after forming an unvarying line of water, is at length lost in a succeeding meander.
Along this charming reach we take our course, with the church, village, and hanging woods of Basilden to the right; and, after passing the hamlet of Gathhampton on the left, the stream glides beneath a woody cliff, whose chalky crags protrude amid surrounding verdure.
Here the eye is forced, where it would in any situation be delighted, to range over the opposite meadows, forming so many beautiful lawns of various surface, whose hedge-rows are thickened and diversified with trees of the 1 idlest foliage.
Ihe pretty lodges which mark the principal en- tiance to Basilden park, being half obscured by intervening objects, lose their formality, and adorn the scene.
Indeed, we could not but regret the situation of Basilden-house, which is so contrived that a part of its attic story was alone visible from the water.
This fine place, which formerly belonged to Lord Viscount Fane, is now the seat of Sir E rancis Sykes.
The house has been recently erected by its present owner, after a design of Mr. Carr of York; and is a large regular edifice of Portland stone, with correspondent wings and a central loggio in the principal front; containing a range of spacious apartments, which are gradually completing in a style of elegance suited to the exterior appearance.
It stands on a swelling brow, in a beautiful park, and commands a view over the adjacent country; but, from its principal floor, not a glimpse is caught of the Thames that flows beneath it.
The river now proceeds in a long reach, beside a continuing range of luxuriant meads, fertile in trees as in herbage, and the Basilden woods above them accompanying the course of the stream, afford a display of scenery, from whence the eye cannot turn to bestow the attention of a moment on the inferior objects of the opposite shore.
All prospect before us was now obstructed by a downy ridge that extends from Basilden wood to Pan°bourne- it is called Shooter’s-hill, and probably derives its name from having been formerly employed in the service of archery; it being that ancient exercise: it now affords pasture for the sheep of the village.
The stream here makes a considerable bend, and taking the direction of the hill, reflects its verdant slopes and chalky excavations.
The village of Whitchurch is immediately before us, with its spire rising from the trees in which it is imbowered; while the distance offers an oblique view of Hardwick woods, the pride of the country.
A wide expanse of open fields on the Oxfordshire side of the river rise gradually to a considerable eminence, and afforded nothing but naked cultivation, till Mr. Gardner began to build the mansion, which was hastening to completion, when we were qualifying ourselves to describe the spot it will adorn.
When the plans which his taste meditates are ripened into execution; when his plantations have risen into height, and thickened into shade, we cannot doubt that they will make to Basilden and its \\ oods a return of equal beauty.


The shores of the river are now occupied by the pleasant villages of Pangbourne and Whitchurch, connected by an handsome wooden bridge of recent construction.
The former, which, on passing through it, has something more than a village appearance, was held, according to Domesday-book, by Miles Crispin of William the Conqueror.
Its manor and church were afterwards granted to the abbey of Reading, as appears from the confirmations of the charter of Henry the Second its founder, by Hubert archbishop of Canterbury, and Robert bishop of Sarum.
Pangbourne afterwards formed a part of the great possessions of Edward Duke of Somerset, who was executed in the year 1553, in the last year of Edward the Sixth.
It was then granted to Sir Francis Englefield by Queen Mary; and, when that gentleman became a fugitive, it reverted to the crown, as appears from an exemplification of the inquisition for the finding of him, in the possession of the Reverend Doctor Breedon, of Bere-court in this parish.
The reversion of that mansion, and the manor of Pangbourne, then called De la Bere, was granted by Queen Elizabeth to Thomas Weldon, colferer of her majesty’s household, and His son Francis: and after a succession of proprietors, the inheritance of the estate and manor was finally conveyed, in the year 1671, to John Breedon, Esquire, whose descendant is the present possessor of them.
The house is mentioned by Leland, as a fair manor place, that had belonged to the abbot of Reading.
It is a large, square, handsome edifice, whose chapel and great hall have been accommodated to domestic convenience.
Its situation, which corresponds with the character of monastic solitude, is in a retired bottom, with woody uplands rising around it.
At some distance from the house, on the side of a lawn and backed by a fine wood, is a tower of considerable height, which commands a various, beautiful and extensive prospect.
To the north, the spires of Oxford are seen, at the distance of more than twenty miles ; beneath it, there is a charming reach of the Thames, with the mass of Hardwick woods, a beautiful object wherever seen, rising above it; and, over a charming range of home country, the view extends to remote distances in the counties of Surrey and Hampshire.
Whitchurch is a small but pretty village, sheltered to the north by high grounds that rise immediately behind it, and is memorable for having been the residence of the celebrated grammarian, mathematician, and divine, Doctor Wallis.
On passing beneath the bridge, the retrospective scenery is uncommonly picturesque and pleasing.
The river, which is divided by an island planted with willows, and is seen in two distinct streams; the falls of water pouring over, or bursting through, the flood-gates of the lock; the tower of Pangbourne church rising amidst the village; the spire of Whitchurch dimly seen through surrounding trees; a mill with its accessory circumstances; the upper line of Shooter’s-hill, and Basilden woods beyond it, are the objects that compose this charm- ing picture.
Having passed the bridge, the stream flows between a range of meadows: beyond them, to the left, the ground ascends into a lolty brow, broken by an abrupt knoll, whose naked appearance is not relieved by the few scanty firs that grow upon it: to the right, the rising grounds are seen crowned with wood, that form the environs of Purley-hall; which is so situated as not to be visible from the water.
It was formerly the property of Mr. Francis Hawes, one of the South-sea directors, in the year 1720 , who were compelled by parliament to disgorge the wealth they had acquired in the stock-jobbing transactions of that infatuated period.
The present house, which is the property of the Reverend Doctor Wilder, and tenanted by Sir David Lindsay, was built to form one of the wings to a principal mansion, which the misfortunes and disgrace of Mr. Hawes prevented him from erecting.
It is said to be in the peculiar predicament of standing in three parishes, and two counties.


We now approached Hardwick, the seat of Philip Lybbe Powys, Esquire; and the woods above it, which have already been mentioned as a distant object, boldly olfered themselves to a nearer view of their superlative beauty.
The house stands at some distance from the river on a rising lawn, with flourishing elms scattered carelessly about it.
It is a large square building, with a central turret, the work of a former century; and possesses a kind of character, which we trust our readers will comprehend, when we describe it as exciting involuntary emotions of respect m the mind of the beholder: at least such were the impressions which the first view of Hard- wick-house excited in us.
Nor are we afraid to risk the opinion, that there are mansions which, without any striking edificial attraction, have a certain air of appropriate hospitality and provincial d Dili tv : and this is one of them.
Its southern front commands a beautiful view of the Thames, as it approaches to, passes by, and flows beyond it: on the opposite side of the river is seen an expanse of rich meadows, with a woody country, and the village of Purley in the midst of it, rising gradually from them: to the east, a longer reach of the river stretches on to Maple-durham, which terminates the scene: on the north, the grounds rise immediately to a considerable elevation, and form a long shelving brow, down whose sides hang those woods which are the pride of the place, and the most distinguished feature of the country.
When, indeed, we consider their shape and outline, the richness of their surface, and the felicity of their position, we shall not hesitate to represent them as among the most impressive objects of sylvan beauty we have ever seen.
They stretch along the height, and clothe its declivities ; in some parts projecting almost to the bottom, and in others retiring to form a sheep-walk beneath them.
It is not, however, to their extent, shape, or situation alone, but to the fine trees they contain, that they owe the massy richness which produces such a decided superiority over the woods around them.
They have also a two-fold advantage, for they not only adorn, but command the country; and from the walks in which the interior parts are disposed, occasional openings display a wide command of prospect, in whose various extent no detached object is seen so beautiful as themselves.
In attempting to describe the view from a thatched building on a projecting part of the woods, we may give, perhaps, some idea of the charming pictures which appear from the different openings in them.
The river is here seen in one gently winding reach of near three miles, flowing through verdant meadows from Pangbourne to Maple-durham: to the right are the villages of Pangbourne and Whitchurch,with the bridge that unites them: beyond, rises a long line of woody country, extending from Basilden till it sinks down from Inglefield park, the seat of Mr. Benyon, to the Berkshire vale that runs on to Newbury, and the Hampshire hills breaking beau- tifully in the horizon above it.
The country, immediately opposite, rises gently from the river, forming an elevated range of rich cultivation, with a pleasing intermixture of wood, and Purley imbosomed in it.
To the left is Maple-durham house, with the church and part of the village, on the side of the river; while a wood, varied by a bold chalky break, rises above, and stretches obliquely on, till, as it gradually declines in the horizon, the spires of Reading are seen above it: from thence, the eye returns along the stream, and, resting for a moment on Hardwick-house and its lawns, completes the outline of this charming prospect.
The design which forms the opposite page, though it takes the length of the river, and consequently the objects of Hardwick.
Maple-durham, and Reading, in a different point of view from that in which we have displayed them, will serve very much to aid our imperfect description.
We cannot quit this place, without mentioning Colin’s End, a public house on the side of a road that passes through the woods.
It was an ancient bowling-green, of which the garden still retains the form, where the gentlemen of the neighbourhood were accustomed to meet for occasional recreation.
Here Charles the First, while he was a prisoner at Caversham, was escorted by a troop of horse, and amused himself with the exercise of the place.
Ihe picture of the woman who then kept the house, and had the honour of attending her unfortunate sovereign, is still preserved there; and besides somewhat of an internal evidence, has all the authority that tradition can give it.
This woman lived to an extreme old age, and, several persons are now living whose parents knew her well, and used to make frequent mention of this extraordinary circumstance of her life.
As we leave Hardwick, the woods accompany, for too short a distance, the course of the river.
The village and church of Purley, with the woody grounds about and above them, occupied our attention till we approached Maple-durham, a small village which contains a seat of the ancient and respectable family of the Blounts.
It is a large and venerable mansion, which we should conjecture to have been built in the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and does not appear to have suffered any alteration since the period of its erection.
It still retains its porch and imbowed windows, its stately hall, and spacious chambers: its pristine grandeur remains unimpaired by time, or, which is more fortunate, by modern embellishment.
For though it may be sometimes necessary to domestic convenience that the interior arrangement of these ancient structures should be suited to the altered modes of life, we can never forgive that taste, if taste it may be called, which suffers their exterior forms to be belaced with the frippery of modern decoration.
Maple-durham house stands on a lawn shaded by magnificent elms, with an avenue of those trees extending near a mile in the front of it.
To the left, is a fine range of wood that rises to the horizon, and stretches on in a rich variety of surface till it sinks in the distance: to the right is the Thames, but invisible from the house, the upper part of which is alone seen from the water.
Here a cautious removal of intervening objects, by letting in glimpses of the stream, and returning partial views of the building, would greatly improve the beauty, without intruding upon the character, of the place.
Among the prolusion of family pictures which cover the walls of this mansion, there are two portraits of Mrs. Martha Blount, the distinguished friend and favourite of Mr. Pope, and one of that poet, in which he appears with a more social and lively air than in any representation of him we have ever seen; as if he were in the circle of his friends, rather than in converse with his muse.


On leaving Maple-durham we passed the delightful villa of Mr. Storer, at Purley, where his taste, assisted by the genius of Mr. Repton, the first professor of landscape gardening that this country has produced , is preparing to heighten the charms of nature by the chaste decorations and appropriate arrangement of art.
It is, indeed, with regret, that we can only announce a design, whose completion would have enlivened and adorned the descriptive portion of our labours.
The river now flows on between meadows of exuberant verdure, backed, on either side, with near or more receding uplands, in arable cultivation, and shaded inclosures.
After a course of about three miles, the stream makes a sudden bend to the left, beneath a long, abrupt bank, and approaches Caversham.

The view here is very picturesque and pleasant, fine meads spread to a considerable extent immediately on the right, with rising woody grounds beyond them that sink gradually down to Reading, which appears in the bottom.
Caversham village, with its church, occupies a declivity to the left, and the bridge, of a very singular form, was before us, and apparently divided by an island in the midst of the river.
Leland mentions that at this place, which he writes Causeiham, or Causham, " there is a great mayne bridge of timber over the Thames, on timber foundations, and, in some places, of stone; and that on the north end of it there was a fair old chapelle of stone, built on piles, to withstand the rage of the streame.
’ Caversham formerly possessed a small priory, which was a cell to the monastery of Nottely, in the county of Buckingham; and where credulous superstition had treasured up the head of the spear which had pierced our Saviour on the cross.
This place gave the title of Viscount to the Earl of Cadogan, on the creation of Queen Anne in the year 1716.
In this parish is Caversham park, the seat of Mr. Marsac.
The house is an handsome edifice, situate on a commanding eminence, and looks over a very beautiful country.
The approach to it through the park on the Henley side was the boast of Mr. Brown, and considered by that accomplished gardener as among the first of his works.
This place was in ancient times the residence of the Mareschals, Earls of Pembroke.
It was in the possession of the Lord Knowles m the reign of James the first; and heie Anne of Denmark, queen to that monarch, was sumptuously entertained in her journey to Bath, in 1613.
It was also, some short time, the residence of Charles the First, when he was in the custody of General Fairfax; and here the parliament suffered the royal children to visit him, as Lord Clarendon observes, to his infinite joy and content.
The present house was erected by the Earl of Cadogan in the reign of George the First; it was considerably reduced by the late lord, and has suffered some further alterations from its present owner.
The Thames, after flowing through the arches of Caversham bridge, and washing the islets beyond it, hastens to receive the Kennet, that glides through the meadows to olfer the abundant tribute of its waters.
That river rises near the village of West Kennet, on the eastern side of Wiltshire, in the vicinity of Abury, whose antiquities employed the immoderate criticism of the indefatigable Stukeley: and.
after a sequestered course of about five miles, reaches Marlborough where the antiquaries place the Cunetio of Antoninus; which was, indeed, the original name of the Kennet, though called by the Saxons Cynetan.
" The history, as well as the name of Cunetio," says Camden, " with every memorial of its antiquity, is lost, from the arrival of the Saxons to the Normans."
In the succeeding century, John, surnamed Lackland, afterwards King of England, had a castle here, which, on his revolt from his brother Richard the First, was stormed and taken by Hubert archbishop of Canterbury.
It was afterwards distinguished by an assembly of all the states of England, held heie m the yeai 1267, who unanimously enacted a law for the suppression of riots; commonly called the Statute of Marleborow.
Here was a Roman station, and the castrum, extended afterwards by the Saxons and Normans, was by Charles, the sixth Duke of Somerset converted into an house, where he occasionally lived in great splendour.
Such is the changeful state of human things, it is now become an inn: though it still retains a comparative character, and is among the first houses, for the entertainment of travellers, in the kingdom.
The keep, or main-guard of the castle, is in the garden, and surrounded bv a spiral walk, which leads by an imperceptible ascent to an octagon summer-house on the top.
An angle of the fortifications is still visible near the garden wall; and Roman coins have been found near it.
Marlborough, anciently called Marleberge, is situate at the foot of a chalky hill, from whence it is supposed to derive its name; marie being the original term for chalk.
It consists chiefly of one spacious street, principally formed by irregular buildings; the architecture of different periods.
1 his street is occupied by shops, with piazzas extending before them.
It has two parish churches, and its municipal constitution is composed of a mayor, two justices, twelve aldermen, two bailiffs, twenty-four burgesses, &c.
It sends two members to parliament, and has enjoyed that privilege since the twenty-third year o( Edwaid the First.
Theie was an ancient condition annexed to the admitting burgesses into this corporation, which has long since been commuted into a pecuniar)' fine, but is too remarkable to be forgotten.
On this occasion ever) burgess was bound to present to the mayor two greyhounds, two white capons, and a white bull; to which singular custom the arms of the corporation bear an evident allusion.
The square about the church of Saint Peter, answers to the site of a Roman temple; and a little to the south of it, is the gate and other remains of a priory of White Friars, founded in 1616.
On the north also are some vestiges of a religious house, supposed to be Saint Margaret’s priory of Gilbertines, founded by King John.
1 his place gave the title of Earl to James Ley, lord High treasurer of England, on the creation of Charles the First.
He was succeeded by his son, and grandson, the latter of whom being slain in an engagement with the Dutch in 1665, and leaving no children, it devolved to his uncle William, who also died without issue.
In the year 1689, Lord John Churchill was advanced by William and Mary to the dignity of Earl of Marlborough; and by Oueen Anne to that of Marquis of Blandford and Duke of Marlborough ; which honours (in default of male issue, on the death of his only son John Marquis of Blandford), being settled by act of parliament on the said duke’s daughters and their issue, were inherited in 1733 by the third son of the second daughter, Countess of Sunderland, Charles first Duke of Marlborough of the Spencer family; who was succeeded in his estates and honours by his son George in 1758, the present possessor of them.
This town derives its principal advantage from being situated on the Bath, Bristol, and high western road: though its market is well supplied with corn and the North Wiltshire cheese, so well known for its superior quality.
The Kennet, in about four miles, forms a principal ornament of Ramesbury manor, the seat of Lady Jones, relict of the late Sir William Jones; and, in another mile, the village of Ramesbury appears scattered along its northern bank, but has nothing now to boast but the pleasantness of its situation.
It was once, indeed, an episcopal see, which comprehended the county wherein it stands.
It was separated from Sherborn in the year 909, and from that time to the year 1050, is said to have had no less than ninety-six bishops.
Herman, the ninth bishop of this see, endeavoured to obtain the transfer of it to Malmesbury; when, failing in this favourite object, he went abroad; but on the death of Elf- wold bishop of Sherborn, obtained the union of both sees with that of Sarum.
In about three miles further, the Kennet reflects some of the many beauties of Littlecot park, the seat of Mrs. Popham.
This place is remarkable for the largest tessellated pavement ever found in this kingdom; measuring forty-one by thirty-three feet.
It was discovered by Mr. William George, steward to Edward Popham, Esquire, in 1730 , about two feet beneath the surface of the earth.
He made an exact drawing of it in its proper colours, which was engraved by Vertue, at the expence of the antiquarian society, with an account annexed to it, by prolessor Ward of Gresham college.
After leaving, at a small distance on the left, Chilton lodffe, the seat of Mr. Morland.
the river enters Berkshire, and soon reaches Hungerford, a small market-town, which it waters in two separate streams.
Its ancient appellation was Ingleford Charman- street, which antiquarian conjecture supposes to be a corruption of the ford of the Angles, or Herman-street, running on to Marlborough.
It gave the name and title to the illustrious family of the Barons Hungerford, and was first built by Walter Hungerford, steward of the household to Henry the Fifth; who having received the castle and barony of Hornet in Normandy as a reward of his military prowess, held it on the remarkable tenure of furnishing the king and his heirs, at his castle at Rouen, one lance with a fox’s brush appendant.
He was in the succeeding reign appointed high treasurer of England, and created Baron Hungerford.
This title was forfeited by his grandson, who was attainted by parliament in the reign of Edward the Sixth, and was beheaded at Newcastle.
This barony was afterwards revived, and finally extinguished in the reign of Henry the Eighth; Walter Hungerford, who was created Baron of Hungerford by that monarch, being attainted for having practised sorcery about the king’s life.
Sir Thomas Hungerford of this family was the first speaker of the house of commons, in the fifty-first year of Edward the Third.
The constable of this town, who is annually elected to that olfice, is lord of the manor, and holds it immediately of the crown.
An horn is also shewn here, that contains two quarts, whose inscription expresses that it was given by John of Gaunt, who procured for the inhabitants a grant of the royal fishery in tire Kennet.
This river, on leaving Hungerford, divides itself into several lesser streams, and strays among meadows, which make ample amends for a deficiency of verdure, by the large quantity of peat they produce; an article of great value in a country where fuel is so scarce.
The vale, however, is not without concomitant beauties on either side of it.
That to the north is composed of woody hills, interspersed with rich cultivated spots, and a variety of rural objects: on the south, ridges of downs intermix with, or predominate over, the landscape.
The stream then passes between Hempsted-Marshall park, an extensive domain belonging to Lord Craven, anti Benham, which, since the loss of the house belonging to the former, by fire, is become the place of his residence.
In about two miles the Kennet enters Newbury, or New Town, which Camden represents as having risen from the ruins of Spinas, an ancient town mentioned by Antoninus; and, though reduced to a small village, still retains the name of Spene.
Newbury is a populous town, with spacious streets, a large church and a town-hall, which is a very handsome building.
It was erected into a corporation by Oueen Elizabeth; and is governed by a mayor, an high steward, and a certain number of burgesses.
This place once possessed considerable manufactories of woollen cloth, of which there are little or no remains; that branch of trade having been removed to the more western parts of the kingdom.
In the reign of Henry the Eighth, John Winchcomb, commonly called Jack of Newbury, was the greatest clothier in England : he kept an hundred looms in his house; and, in the expedition against the Scots, which ended in the battle and victory of Flodden-field, he marched thither with an hundred men, clothed and completely armed at his own expence.
He also built the nave and tower of the church.
A picture of this remarkable man is in the town-hall, and another in Donnington castle house, which is called the son; and the resemblance between them is as perfect as their respective ages may be supposed to admit.
A considerable part of his estates has descended to Winchcomb Henry Hartley of Buckle- bury, and one of the present representatives of Berkshire.
Newbury is also remarkable for two well-contested battles, fought in its neighbourhood, between Charles the First and the parliament army, September the twenty-first, 1643, and October the twenty-seventh, 1644: in which actions the king commanded in person.
On rebuilding the bridge over the Rennet in 1770, were found a leaden seal of Pope Boniface the Ninth, a sacramental pix, several knives of singular fashion, with spurs, and a few coins of Henry the First, &c.
Newbury gave the title of Baron to William Fitzroy Duke of Cleveland, now extinct.
This place carries on a considerable trade in malt and grain, of which it sends large supplies to the London market.
On each side the river, in this neighbourhood, is a stratum of peat, from a quarter to half a mile wide, and several miles in length: in which have been found the trunks of oaks, alders, willows, and firs, with the heads and horns of deer, and other animals.
The Kennet having been made navigable from Newbury, it now assumes a new appearance, both as to breadth, the vessels which are employed on it, the various mills that are worked by it, and the mechanic apparatus employed in the service of its navigation.
On leaving Newbury, it winds through a lovely vale, confined by rising grounds which, at a pleasing distance, stretch along on either side, olfering successive scenes of rural beauty, enriched with many a charming seat and many a stately mansion, where the elegance of modern taste, and the pride of ancient possession, invite us to linger; but our task has its limits, which we cannot exceed ; and with this general description we must reluctantly content ourselves, till we arrive at that spot where the river, which now bears us on, will return us to the Thames.
After a course of about forty miles, the Kennet enters Reading, which is the principal town, and situate in a luxuriant part, of Berkshire.
This little city or town, says Camden, was called by the Saxons Rheatiyge, from rhea, a river, or the British word redin, signifying fern, which he mentions as growing hereabouts in great plenty.
In ancient times it possessed a strong castle, of which there are no remains; and whose situation is now a subject for the exercise of antiquarian conjecture.
According to Asser, the Danes were masters of this castle in the year 871, whither they retreated after they had suffered a defeat from King Ethelred.
In the succeeding year the Danes abandoned it to the Saxons, who, after plundering the inhabitants, laid waste the town.
It was, however, at length destroyed by order of Henry the Second, from its having afforded a place of refuge to the adherents of King Stephen.
Leland expresses a doubt whether it stood at the west end of the street, now called Castle-street, or on the site of the abbey; though, at the same time, he conjectures that the ruins of it were employed in building that religious structure.
Reading abbey was one of the most considerable in England, both for the magnitude of its building, and the state of its endowments: its abbots were also mitred, and enjoyed the honour of a seat in parliament.
Henry the First began this stately edifice in the year 1121, on the site of a small nunnery, said to have been founded by Elfrida, mother-in-law of Edward the Martyr, in order to expiate the murder of that king at Corfe castle.
The new monastery was completed in four years; but the church was not consecrated till 1163 or 1164, or its consecration was then repeated, by Becket archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of the king and principal nobility; and though dedicated to the Trinity, the Virgin Mary, and other saints, was denominated the abbey of Saint Mary at Reading.
It was endowed for two hundred monks of the Benedictine order; but at the inquisition, in the fiftieth year of Edward the Third, contained only half that number.
Iu this monastery its royal founder, Henry the First, was buried; but, according to Doctor Ducarrel, in his Anglo-Norman Antiquities, his heart, eyes, tongue, and brains were deposited in the church of Notre Dame du Pres at Rouen, which was destroyed during the siege of that city in 1592.
Here was likewise interred Adeliza, his second queen, and, as some have supposed, his daughter the Empress Maud, mother of Henry the Second ; though others fix the place of her sepulture at Bee iu Normandy.
In this abbey was also buried, at the feet of his great-grandfather, William, eldest son of Henry the Second ; likewise Constance, daughter of Edmund de Langley Duke of York ; a son and daughter of Richard Earl of Cornwall, and many others of high rank and distinction.
According to a record quoted by Tanner, there was a tomb erected for the remains of Henry the First, whereon his effigy reposed; as well as many others, which were in all probability destroyed when the monastery was converted into a royal mansion.
We are not, however, disposed to believe that I he bones of persons buried there were disturbed and rudely thrown about, as asserted by Sandford; neither was the abbey turned into a stable: an opinion which may have arisen from a misconstruction of Camden’s expression; who relates, " that the monastery in which Henry the First was buried, is now turned into a palace, with a fine range of stables adjoining,’’ supposed to have been destroyed in the civil wars of the last century.
Such were the funds appropriated to hospitality in this abbey, that, according to William of Malmesbury, larger sums were expended in supporting it, than in the maintenance of the monks.
But Hugh, the eighth abbot, having, as he says, observed a partiality in the entertainment provided for the rich and the poor, or rather, perhaps, to avoid the mortification of being obliged to receive the latter, erected an hospital near the gate of the monastery, for the peculiar reception of pilgrims, and other inferior strangers.
An hospital was also founded near the church by Aucherius, the second abbot, and dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalen.
It was well maintained, and the regulations for its order and discipline curiously arranged.
As an example of them,—any one engaged in disputing, who, on the third monition of the master, refused to hold his peace, was liable to be confined to bread and water for that day.
Any one who should give the lie, suffered the same mortification, with other humiliating circumstances: if he proved obstinate or refractory, he was excluded from the charity for forty days: and whoever gave a blow, was punished with immediate expulsion.
History mentions only two councils held here; the first in the reign of King John, by the pope’s legate; and the other in that of Edward the First, by archbishop Peckham.
A parliament was also assembled here, in the thirty-first year of Henry the Sixth, in which divers laws were enacted.
The abbey church seems to have been a spacious fabric, in the form of a cross : the refectory, in which the councils and parliament are supposed to have been held, still remains : it is eighty-four feet long, and forty-eight in breadth; but the cloister has long been demolished.
Its ruins consist of massy blocks of flint walls, formerly cased with squared stone.
The gatehouse which is still standing, and almost entire, forms a picturesque object.
The first of its thirty-one abbots was Hugh Prior, of Lewes in Sussex; and the last was Hugh Farington; who, refusing to deliver up his abbey to the king’s visiters, was, on some groundless charge, attainted of high treason, and, with two of his monks, hanged, drawn and quartered at Reading, in the month of November, 1539: and on the very same day, the abbot of Glastenbury suffered the same fate for the same provocation.
The revenues of this abbey, at the dissolution, were, according to Dugdale, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight pounds fourteen shillings and three pence; and, in the account of Speed, two thousand one hundred and sixteen pounds three shillings and nine pence.
In the year 1643, Reading, after a gallant defence against the parliament forces, commanded by the Earl of Essex, was obliged to surrender ; when the garrison obtained an honourable capitulation, and soon after joined the royal army.
In 1688, a regiment of Irish papists being quartered here by James the Second, and living at large on the inhabitants, when the Prince of Orange approached the town, the magistrates sent a deputation to him, to request his assistance against these soldiers, who had threatened some Sunday to kill all the people coming out of Saint Mary’s church : his highness accordingly dispatched a few Dutch troopers, on whose appearance near the church steps, the Irish threw down their arms and ran away; but several of them were killed by their Dutch pursuers; and that deliverance continues to be the subject of annual commemoration.
This event which was, as we may suppose, artfully propagated, occasioned.
for some short time, a very general alarm and confusion; it being universally believed that the disbanded Irish soldiers had begun a projected massacre throughout the kingdom.
This panic was called the Irish cry.
The municipal constitution of Reading consists of a mayor, recorder, twelve aldermen, twelve burgesses, and other inferior olficers.
It sends two members to parliament, and has possessed that privilege since the twenty-third year of Edward the First.
It has three parish churches, Saint Mary, Saint Giles, and Saint Lawrence.
This town was once famous for its manufactories of woollen cloth; and, in the reign of Edward the First, one of its inhabitants, named Thomas Cole, was called the rich clothier of Reading: but that branch of trade has long since been removed to some of the more western towns in the counties of Wilts, Somerset, and Gloucester.
The most flourishing manufactories this place at present possesses, are of sail-cloth, the very large cloths for floor-cloth painting, and ribands: there are also lesser manufactories for pins, silk handkerchiefs, felts for the paper- makers, and rugs: that of gauze, which was once in great repute, is very much diminished: but the principal trade consists in malt and meal for the London market.
Reading may boast of having given birth to two men of great talents and high character in their day ; lord chief justice Holt, and archbishop Laud.
The latter was the son of a wealthy clothier in this town, and converted the house wherein he was born into an hospital, which he liberally endowed.
Sir Jacob Astley, of Melton, constable of Norfolk, was, for his services to Charles the First in the civil war, created Lord Astley of Reading, in the twentieth year of that king; which title became extinct in his grandson Jacob.
William Cadogan, who had signalized himself in the continental wars under the Duke of Marlborough, and by suppressing the rebellion in 1715, was, in the succeeding year, created Lord Cadogan, Baron of Reading.
He was afterwards created Baron Oakley, Viscount Caversham, and Earl of Cadogan; all which titles, except that of Oakley, expired with him in 1726.
The manor of this town was settled by James the First, after the death of his queen, on Charles his second son, afterwards King Charles the First, but is now vested in the corporation.
On Catsgrove hill, at a small distance from the town, was discovered, many years ago, a large stratum of oyster-shells, lying on a bed of green sand, extending to live or six acres, with a bed of bluish clay immediately above it.
Among these shells many were found with both the valves together; and though on moving them they were frequently separated, it was very evident that they belonged to each other.
This curious circumstance in natural history is mentioned at large in the Philosophical Transactions.
The Kennet, after having refreshed and divided Reading, winds across the meads below it, and very soon loses itseli in the Thames, which in little more than two miles reaches Sunning, described by Leland " as an uplandish town, set on a fair and commodious ground, beneath which the Tanuse runneth m a pleasant vale.
It is now a pretty village, with a bridge of brick built across the river.
The ancient, and, as it appears, neglected seat of Sir Thomas Rich, with many a lolty elm scattered about it, is seen on the banks, and looks as if it had known better days: indeed, such is its situation, that no one can pass by it, without wishing for a return of them.
When Wiltshire, if not Berkshire, was separated from the bishopric of Sherborn, in the year of our Lord 905, and made a distinct diocese, Sunning is said to have been one of the episcopal seats of the new see, which was re-united to Sherborn about 1060.
But I cannot, says bishop Tanner (on the article Berkshire, in his Notitia), account lor their having been, at any time, placed here; because William of Malmsbury expressly says, that, after the division, Berkshire still remained under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Sherborn.
Leland mentions, that he marked no very great antiquity in the church, except the tombs of some religious ladies, kinswomen to the bishop of Salisbury, and an old chapel at the east end of it, dedicated to Saint Sarik, which was much resorted to by pilgrims for the disease of insanity.
1 he bishop of Salisbury possessed, previous to the conquest, a manor place at Sunning, and there remained in the time of Leland, " a fair old house of stone, and a fair park beside it, belonging to that prelate."
A little further onward, the Loddon discharges itself into the Thames.
This river is composed of various branches, but its most distant source is in the vicinity of Basingstoke m Hampshire : one of its accessory rills glides through a part of Windsor forest, and, in the well known poem of that name by Mr. Pope, gave a subject for the beautiful fable of Lodona.
On the opposite bank is the village of Shiplake, whose church produces a very pretty effect from the water.
That eminent biographer and pious divine, the Reverend Mr. Grainger, was minister of this place, and died in the year 1776, as he was olficiating at the altar.
Here the river makes a considerable bend towards Wargrave, from whence a bold range of hills extends to Park-place, which is a continuation of them.
Wargrave is no more than a pleasant village: but was in earlier times a market-town of some consideration.
Oueen Emma, consort of Ethelred the Second, gave it to the bishop of Winchester; and it was an appertenance to that see till the reign of Edward the Sixth, when Doctor Poynet gave it to his sovereign; who granted it to Henry Nevill.
Oueen Mary afterwards resumed the grant, and gave it to Doctor White, the successor of Poynet; but Oueen Elizabeth restored it to Henry Nevill, and it descended to his posterity, the Nevills of Billingsbear.
Near the village, but on the high ground beyond, is a very handsome house, lately erected by Mr. Hill, which either way commands the Thames, towards Reading on the west, and Henley on the north, with very extensive views into the adjacent counties.
On the opposite side of the river is Boulney house, the seat of Mr. Hodges, whose grounds are planted in a pleasing taste; though they owe their chief advantage to objects around them; to the river that reflects their banks; to the woody uplands behind, and the range of hills before, with the view of Park-place; which here appeared to us in many a bold landscape form, and awakened an expectation of those transcend- ant scenes that was, in a short time, so completely gratified.
Park-place was once the seat of Lord Archibald Hamilton, afterwards of Frederic Prince of Wales, and is now, as it has long been, and who is there so insensible to the virtues and graces of the human character, as not to wish that it may long be, the property of Field-marshal Conway.
It possesses a grandeur of composition which is no where seen on the river it adorns.
Its successive projections, with their intervening vallies, its wood, lawns, and declivities, are in a style and form which the landscapes, that are enriched by the Thames, afford in no other part of its course.
Nature has done much, nor has taste done less: the genius of the place has every where been consulted, as it has been happily completed, by the present owner of it.
The charms of this distinguished spot have long demanded a better house, and they now enjoy it.
The old mansion, though it had been occupied by a Prince of Wales, and received subsequent additions, still wanted room and convenience: it now possesses both, and somewhat more.
Its enlargement has been contrived with such judicious attention as to give it architectural importance; and while the principal front has acquired extent, without violating uniformity, the new facade, which looks along a glade to the south, is in a style of the most chaste and elegant simplicity.
The part of the park where it stands is near three hundred feet above the river; but is so happily sheltered by woods and plantations, that it has every advantage, and none of the incon- veniencies so frequently connected with elevated situation.
The garden entrance is near a luxuriant shrubbery behind the house; from whence a path, after skirting an ornamented lawn, winds through a wood to the flower-garden and menagery.
The former is inclosed by a wall, and, being solely applied to the culture of flowers, is disposed in regular parterres, with a bason for gold and silver fish in the centre: four small statues, with something of a treillage about them for creeping plants, occupy as many corresponding positions: the whole answering to the uniform prettiness of a French design.
The menagery is a scene of riant seclusion, charming in itself, admirably suited, both in lawn, cover, and building, to its purpose, and peopled, as might be expected from the mind that formed it, with those birds, both foreign and domestic, whose natures are congenial to the spot they inhabit.
On entering an adjoining wood, near the summit of the hill to the east, is a subterraneous passage, two hundred and seventy-live yards in length, of simple contrivance and without the affectation of ornament, that leads to a valley of superlative beauty; at the upper end of which, and forming a side screen to the cliff that the cavern perforates, is a large massy ruin, whose front displays a double range of mutilated columns and broken entablatures, exhibiting, altogether, the best imitation we remember to have seen of the decayed state of Grecian architecture.
This valley, which is of considerable length, descends to a large, rustic arch of curious construction, and comprehends a rare example of garden scenery.
The undulating, but varied, lines which shape its sides, the taste with which they are planted, the beauty of the trees, and the richness of the verdure, with the woody ridges that form its lateral boundaries, produce an independent beauty, and render it a scene to charm, though it were far distant from the Thames, and without any aid from artificial embellishment.
The arch through which, on a nearer approach, is seen the river and its casual accompaniments makes a span of forty-three feet, and, while i t continues the road from Henley toTwyford, affords a passage beneath to the margin of the stream.
This structure produces a very noble effect, whether seen from the valley, the water, or the opposite meadows: it is, indeed, formed with so much skill, and such a blended attention to picturesque shape and utility, as almost to delude us from lamenting that many of the huge stones which compose it, were brought from the violated remains of Reading abbey.
Near the arch, on a steep bank, and charmingly imbosomed in trees, is a cottage, which contains a room of suitable elegance; from whence the Thames is seen, before and beside it, near and at a distance, through surrounding foliage; but in that indistinct glitter of its water, which chequers the gloom, and animates the shade.
From the north window the tower of Henley church appears with the best effect, and woody hills rising beyond it.
Behind the cottage is a chalky precipice; and the approach to a cavern beneath it, is so managed as to give an air of solemnity to the secluded spot, from hence a willow-walk leads to a tomb of white marble, a pensive object ; and a little onward the river is seen through an arch of natural stones, which gives a varying view to the unchangeable beauty of the object it displays.
It is a lovely little spot, and all the circumstances are happily suited to it by that taste which appears to possess the perfect knowledge of appropriation, so necessary to the arrangement of art and the decoration of nature.
The tomb, the cavern, and the cottage, must now be re-visited, and the great arch he re-passed in order to gain the terrace, which leads to the northern side of the place: it is of considerable length, and stretches on above those swelling prominences which rise with such a hold effect from the water.
On the bank that shelters it from the east are trees of every growth, with shrubs and plants of every odour: beneath it is the Thames; beyond it is the bridge and town of Henley; and before it, a various extent of prospect which receives the contribution of five counties.
This enchanting walk leads to the margin of a deep and expansive glen in the front of the house ; another feature full of intrinsic charm, and independent of all exterior circumstance.
It is not so bold as to exclude beauty; nor so beautiful as to exclude grandeur: it is broad on the top, nor is it narrow in the bottom ; on three sides, it shelves down from wood and lawn in the most graceful shapes; on the fourth is the Thames: the whole is clothed in the soltest verdure, and a rustic habitation on the descent of the northern declivity gives to the scene a pastoral character.
When we stood on the lawn above it, the day was gloomy; the sun did not make it gay; no fleeting clouds above produced their fleeting shadows below; we saw no sheep hanging on its steeps, nor did cattle occupy the bottom; yet with little external accession from art, nature, or accident, it communicated to our minds the mingled emotions of surprise and pleasure.
Such an object must everywhere be beautiful; but, on the banks of the Thames, where nature has worked with so solt a pencil, it may be thought sublime.
Thus have we traced the principal beauties of Park-place; which may be said, with the most scrupulous adherence to truth, to owe their creation and improvement to the possessor of it.
But Marshal Conway has not only considered the application of art to the embellishment of ground; he has also directed his attention to the productions of it: agricultural experiments and chemical speculations have also shared his mind, his purse, and his patience.
A distillery has been erected by him near the river, nor far from his plantations of lavender; and to the extracting oil from that fragrant plant its operations are, we understand, at present confined.
A very extensive plan of chemical elaboration was begun, but is no longer pursued.
A little Tuscan villa, of uncommon elegance, was built, on the spot, for the Marshal’s chemical prolessor; and which a regius prolessor of taste and sentiment might think it luxury to inhabit.
On an appropriate eminence, beyond the southern part of the ornamented grounds, is a Druid temple, which was presented to the right honourable possessor of Park-place by the inhabitants of Jersey, and accompanied with an inscription that enhances the curious olfering, by the language of respect and veneration.
Cet ancien Temple des D nudes, decouvert le 12 Aout, 1785, sur la montagne de St Helier, dans l'isle de Jersey; a ete presente par les habitans a son Excellence le General Conway, leur Gouverneur.
Pour ties siecles cache aux regards des mortels, Cet ancien monument, ces pierres, ces autels, On le sang des humains, olfert en sacrifice, Ruissela pour des dieux qu enfantoit le caprice.
Ce monument, sans prix par son antiquite, Temoignera pour nous a la posterite, Oue dans tous les dangers Cesaree eut un pere, Attentif et vaillant, genereux et prospere : Et redira, Conway, aux siecles avenir, flu’en vertu du respect du a ce souvenir, Elle te fit ce don, acquis a ta vaillance, Comme un juste tribut de sa reconnoissance.


This ancient temple was discovered on the summit of an high hill, near the town of Saint Helier, in the island of Jersey, in the summer of 1785.
It was entirely covered with earth, having the appearance of a large tumulus; and was discovered by workmen who were employed by the Colonel of the Saint Helier militia to level the ground, for the more convenient exercise of his corps.
of the time when, or on what occasion, it was thus secreted, there can be no serious hope of any authentic information.
It may be reasonably supposed to have been covered by the Druids themselves, to preserve their altars from the profanation of the Romans, by whom they were frequently persecuted; and who are believed to have obtained possession of the island, not only from its Latin name Caesarea, but from other vestiges of that people.
Roman coins have been found in different parts of Jersey; and within the temple itself two medals were discovered; one of the Emperor Claudius, and the other so defaced by time as to be wholly illegible.
This curious structure is sixty-five feet in circumference, composed of forty-five large stones (measuring, in general, about seven feet in height, from four to six in breadth, one to three in thickness), and contains six perfect lodges or cells.
The supposed entrance or passage faces the east, and measures fifteen feet in length, four feet and upwards in breadth, and about four feet in height; with a covering of rude stones, from eighteen inches to two feet thick.
In the removal of this curious temple from Jersey, all the parts were marked with such care, as to be correctly placed in their original form and precise direction, when they were re-erected on the charming spot which is distinguished by them.
In the eighth volume of the Archaeologia, a particular account is given of this venerable antiquity.
We now return to the river, which is here interspersed with islets, and, passing through their little channels, we looked up with new delight to the elevated beauties of that spot we have just described; whose form and finish keep the eye from observing the contrasted objects of the opposite shore.
Before the last bold projection of Park-place, the Thames makes a gentle bend, and discovers a charming view of Henley-bridge, not so near as to press upon the sight, nor so distant as to baffle an architectural survey.


It is built of white stone, and consists of five arches, which are neither elliptic or semicircular; but are described from three centres, forming a compound curve, extremely pleasing to the eye.
The pavement which runs along either side, is guarded by a low balustrade; and both fronts are enlivened by pilasters, supported on semicircular projections of the piers; the whole forming a design of uncommon simplicity and elegance.
It is the most beautiful structure of its kind on the Thames; and is enriched with sculpture, which might be admired on the Tiber, from the chisel of Mrs. Darner.
The masks of the Tame and the Isis, that decorate the consoles of the central arch, are among those works which have amused a mind, capable of blending the exertions of genius with the attractions of female grace, and the charm of polished life.
This bridge was finished in the year 1787, but the architect, Mr. Hayward of Shropshire, died before the work was begun.
The design, however, having established his skill, it remains for us to display his virtue: and, amid the surrounding beauties of art and nature, to record the more exalted influence of humanity.
This amiable man returning to Henley in a crowded public vehicle, in very rainy and tempestuous weather, voluntarily resigned his seat within, to accommodate a woman who was severely suffering from her exposed situation without.
This act of kindness produced a cold, which was followed by a fever, that shortly ended in his death.
He had frequently expressed a wish, if he should die before the completion of the bridge, that he might be interred beneath the centre arch: but the inhabitants of Henley, correcting the effervescent zeal of his prolessional genius, by a better zeal of their own, consigned his remains to an adjacent sepulchre in their parish church; where a monument has been erected to perpetuate the skill of the architect; and, which far transcends the first skill, the virtue of the man.
Henley is a very respectable market and corporate town, situate on the banks of the river, with an amphitheatre of woody lulls behind it.
Doctor Plot considers it as the most ancient town in Oxfordshire, and derives its name from hen , old, and ley, place.
He also supposes it to have been the capital of the Ancalites, who revolted to Caesar, Bell. Gall.1.5.
It was also called Hanleganz, and Hanneburg, in the ancient records of the corporation.
Doctor Gale considers it to be the Calleva or Galleva Attrebatum of Antoninus, and Celeba of Ravennas, on account of a Roman road running directly from Spinas, or Spene, hither, and the Roman coins found about it.
He supposes also, that the Attrebates of Ptolemy and Antoninus were the same with the Ancalites of the Romans.
Camden relates that, in his time, the inhabitants of this place were principally supported by carrying wood to London in boats, and bringing back corn.
It then had a wooden bridge, which was supposed to have succeeded to a very ancient one of stone, and arched ; whose foundations Leland mentions as visible in shallow seasons.
The latter has been supposed, by some antiquaries, to be the bridge over which, according to Dion Cassius, the Romans passed in pursuit of the Britons, who swam across a lower part of the river.
Others, however, are of opinion that this pursuit was in Essex, and forwarded, not by any fixed bridges, but by temporary ones thrown across the marshes.
The corporation of this town consists of a mayor, aldermen, and burgesses.
The church is large, with a lolty tower of beautiful proportions, which is an important object to the surrounding landscapes.
Here is a free-school, founded by James the First; another by Lady Periam, and an almshouse by Longland bishop of Lincoln.
The principal trade of the place is in meal, malt, and corn.


On leaving Henley, Fawley-court, the seat of Mr. Freeman, is seen on the left; to the right is an high woody ridge, stretching on to the north; the Thames glides between them, and the hills of Buckinghamshire possess the distance.
Fawley-court is a place that gives a very distinguishing character to the western shore of this part of the Thames.
The mansion-house is a large, square, regular edifice, which is among the best houses on the river that flows before it, and the county wherein it stands.
It was built in the latter end of the last century, as we should suppose, by a disciple of Inigo Jones, and wears the best form of the architecture that prevailed in that period.
It seems to tell, what Palladian structures do not always announce, that it belongs to family and fortune.
It is in every respect suited to such a character, to the objects that surround it, and the extensive property it commands.
Its interior arrangement discovers no common example, both of convenience and display.
The apartments are spacious and lolty, of just proportions, and admirable disposition ; and fitted up with superior judgment.
The hall is furnished with statues; the saloon is enriched with pictures; the eating-room is large, and the drawing-room elegant; the print-room at the same time contains a billiard-table; and the other apartments, for the more habitual frequency of domestic use, abound in comfort and accommodation.
The house stands on a small rise, in the centre of very extensive lawns, which are judiciously planted, both for appropriate ornament, as well as to break the surrounding country into a variety of delightful pictures.
To the east, the Thames flows before it, with the village of Remenham on the opposite banks, and the woody grounds above it.
To the south, the eye catches a fine reach of the river, with Henley-bridge stretching across, and a brow of Park- place beyond it: in the same view, and a very pleasing part of it, is Henley tower rising behind, or as it appears, from a distant grove, with admirable effect.
At the extremity of the lawn on the west, the grounds ascend in a variety of graceful swells, diversified with clumps of beeches, to the woods that crown them.
From the north front is seen another view of the water, with a shady island, more particularly distinguishable by an elegant building that stands on its southern point.
Among the accessory circumstances of Fawley court, is a riding house on a large scale, and consequently accompanied with the best apparatus for the amusement and practice of horsemanship.
The manor of Fawley appears by the Domesday-book to have been held under Walter Giffard, second Earl of Buckinghamshire, by Bertrand de Sackville, progenitor of the family of Sackville Earl of Dorset.
That family appears to have been possessed of it for several generations, till at length it passed in marriage with the heiress of it to Thomas Rooke, in the reign of Edward the Fourth.
In his family it continued till the reign of Oueen Elizabeth, when it came by marriage into the family of the Alfords, of whom this ancient manor was purchased by Sir James Whitelocke in 1632, whose grandson sold it to William Freeman, Esquire, about the year 1680, and a descendant of that gentleman is the present possessor.
The village of Fawley is situate on the hills, about two miles from the Thames ; and near it is Henley park, the residence of Mrs. Freeman, whose beautiful inclosures, as they descend in natural waving slopes from the house, form a fine fore-ground to the charming scenes beyond them.
Fawley church is an ancient structure, and was fitted up in 1748 by the late Mr. Freeman, with the wainscot, seats, and other appertenances of the chapel at Cannons, the seat of the Duke of Chandois, which he had purchased for that purpose.
The same gentleman, with a pious regard to every circumstance and situation of his family, erected in the churchyard an elegant mausoleum lor their final repose.
A very handsome avenue leads from the church to the parsonage, a regular building, and commodious house; whose back front, and more need not be said, commands the finest prospect in this part of the country.
In very extensive views, it seldom happens but one might wish to exclude some particular part: we however are disposed to think that, in the prospect before us.
the enthusiast of nature would not pass hastily over a single object.
To the right, after skirting a mass of woods, the eye falls gradually down on Henley, with its tower in the bottom, and catches a glimpse of the river; then glancing along the high grounds of Park- place, runs up the course of the Loddon, to the nethermost parts of Hampshire.


To the left, the Thames is caught as it winds through the meads beneath Culham-court, with the rising grounds about, and beyond, it.
Immediately before the house, at the distance of a few miles, and on the Berkshire side of the river, appears a bold ridgy country, whose declivities, whether in their recesses or projections, are diversified with wood, pasture, and arable cultivation.


This range may be said to form a near horizon; but, from its occasional dips, lets in an azure distance: Windsor castle is seen through one of them, and sometimes with the clear distinctness of an Italian atmosphere.
These high grounds do not exceed the character of moderate hills; yet are they so peculiarly circumstanced, as frequently to produce those transient appearances in nature, which are the more immediate accompaniments of mountainous countries.
We could wish that it were permitted us to say somewhat more of the Reverend Thomas Powys, than that he is rector of the parish, and the present possessor of this delightful habitation.
The Thames, having formed a meandering boundary to Oxfordshire through a course of seventy miles, enters the county of Buckingham as it approaches Fawley-court, which we cannot be said to have left till we have passed the island already mentioned as a part of the pleasurable domain.
It is in the middle of the river, shaded with trees of large growth, and its southern termination, which receives the force of the current, is shaped like the prow of a vessel, and curiously planked, to decrease the lateral pressure of the stream.
An elegant banqueting room, crowned with a large turret, in the form of a Grecian temple, occupies that part of it, and presents a very ornamental object to Henley-bridge.
The views from this enchanting spot, are similar to those from Fawley-court; with a greater display of water, and the addition of Fawley-court itself, a noble embellishment of the landscape.
It is the most beautiful island on the Thames, and, in the summer months, affords a delicious variety to the rural amusements of those who possess it.
At a small distance beyond it, on the Buckinghamshire side of the stream, and on a point called Greenland, which commands two considerable reaches of the river, are the remains of an encampment: the situation determines its object, and it was probably connected with a similar fortress at Danesfield on the high ground, about two miles farther down the river.
Mill end, the seat of the Reverend Mr. Hinde, immediately succeeds; and at the termination of a most lovely vale that runs into the country beyond it, is the village of Hambledon; a spot rich in rural beauty, which is refreshed, if we may use the expression, by one of those intermittent rills, that in wet seasons are sometimes dry, and, amid surrounding drought, will sometimes overflow.
The manor house is an ancient mansion, built about the year 1604, by the then Earl of Sunderland: that nobleman dying without lawful issue, it passed to Lord Rivers, who married one of his natural daughters; and a son of that marriage sold it in 1676 to Sir Robert Clayton, lord mayor of London, an ancestor of its present possessor.
The church, which is of large dimensions, has some fine painted glass in the windows of its chancel; and among its ancient monuments, there is one of very curious sculpture, and in uncommon preservation, erected to the memory of Sir Cope D Oilli, Baronet, heir of the ancient family of the D'Oillis in Oxfordshire; who, in the language of the inscription, " put on immortality in the year of our Lord 1633."
In the same sepulchre reposes Martha his wife, with five sons and five daughters; all of whom are represented in alabaster effigies, as large as life.
The rectory is a spacious house, of an agreeable appearance, situate on the descent of an hill, that rises to the woods, winch stretch in a waving line along its brow: the grounds are tastefully disposed; and, with a sweet home prospect, the spot commands an excpiisite view along the vale towards Henley.
The Thames, after spreading into considerable breadth near Mill-end, makes a bend towards Culham.
From Henley to this part of the river, the Berkshire side sinks in comparison with the woody amphitheatres of the opposite country; but at this spot, it begins to recover its former claim to our admiring attention: and at Culham-court, the seat of the Honourable Mr. West, Berkshire may boast of one of its most lovely prospects.
It is not very extensive, but infinitely various, full of beautiful objects, and distinctly commanding every thing it comprehends.
The mansion house is an handsome modern building, and stands half way down an expansive, irregular brow, with large trees scattered over it, which gradually descends in various unequal slopes towards the 1 harnes beneath it.
To the right, the view occupies the meads through which the river winds, with their rich boundaries; before it is Medmenham, with its church, abbey house, and upland farms: to the left, the eye advances up the enchanting vale of Hambledon, and finds a more distant termination in the sylvan hills of Fawley.
To olfer more particular description would be to do very little, where the artist has done so much; by whose delineation of this charming scene, the reader, we fear, has been already prepared to feel the inferiority of the pen when compared with the powers of the pencil.
On a continuation of the same high ground, but receding farther from the river, is Rose-hill, a very pleasant but singular villa, that belongs to the proprietor of Culham.
It was fancifully built, many years ago, by governor Hart, in the precise form and arrangement of a Chinese habitation.
It had its bells, its dragons, and spiral turrets, with all the gawdy colouring of that species of Oriental architecture.
These decorations it no longer possesses: it retains, however, its primitive distribution of apartment, and single floor: hut we have been informed that those who visit the charming spot, find the full enjoyment of every domestic comfort and accommodation.
The house is placed in the recess of a wood, which forms two side screens that narrow the view from it; but in the grounds before it, those peculiar windings of the river are seen, with their connected circumstances, which will soon be tine object of a more particular consideration.
At present we must turn to the opposite side of the water, where the remains of Medmenham abbey demand our attention.
In the reign of King Stephen, Walter de Bolebec founded an abbey of Cistercian monks, at Wooburn in Bedfordshire, and endowed it, among other estates, with the manor of Medmenham; and, in the reign of King John, in 1204, they placed some of their society here; and it became a small monastery, being rather, as the writers of the order express themselves, a daughter than a cell to Wooburn.
In the year 1536, this abbey was annexed to that of Bustlesham, or Bisham, on the opposite side of the Thames, in Berkshire.
According to the return made by the commissioners, " the clere value of this religious house was twenty pounds six shillings.
It had two monks, and both desyren to go to houses of religion : servants none; woods none; debts none; its bells worth two pounds one shilling and eight pence; the value of its moveable goods, one pound three shillings and eight pence; and the house wholly in mine."
According to Willis, it was, in its better days, a neat and stately building, well wrought with ashlar, or rough stone-work, and the windows lolty and spacious.
The house, now called the abbey, must have been repaired and rendered habitable at some period subsecpient to the dissolution.
It was latterly teuanted by a society of men of wit and fashion, under the title of the monks of Saint Francis, whose habit they assumed; but, during the season of their conventual residence, they are supposed to har e paid their vows, and made their oblations, to those particular deities whom Saint Francis had forsworn.
Over the door is inscribed the motto of its last monastic order, " Fay ceque voudras ."
—After the suppression of Bisham abbey, the lands belonging to this monastery were granted to Robert Mone, and others.
In the year 1550, the manor appears to have been in the possession of the Borlase family, with whom it continued till the year 1682, when, in default of male issue, it passed to the Warrens of Stapleford in Nottinghamshire, by marriage with the female heir, and remained with them till 1782, when it was sold to Mr. Lee Antonie, the present possessor.
The manor house was a very large mansion; but all that now remains of it is contained in a'farm house which is seen on the hill above Medmenham church.
The abbey house belongs to Mr. Scot of Danesfield, a very beautiful situation in this parish; where, as the name m some degree implies, a Danish encampment mingles its ancient forms with the elegance of modern improvement.
The valley, through which the Thames flows, now begins to expand, as it might seem, to give the stream full scope to sport in the most beautiful meanders.
There is no part of the river, where the windings are so frequent and of such long continuance as in that before us.


The view which so particularly illustrates this general remark, is taken from the high grounds near Culham ; and comprehends the very serpentine course of the stream through the meads that cover the bottom, with Danesfield on its shaggy cliff, and the less perceptible mansion of Hurley-place on the Berkshire side of the river.
Hurley is mentioned in Domesday-book as having belonged to Elgar, who was, probably, of a Saxon or Danish family; but that it was, at the time of the great survey, the actual property of Geoffrey Mandeville.
As he had distinguished himself at the battle of Hastings, he may be reasonably supposed to have received this estate from William the Conqueror as a reward for his prowess.
Towards the latter end of that monarch’s reign, he founded a priory here, dedicated to Saint Mary, called Lady-place, for black monks; and annexed it as a cell to Westminster abbey; among whose records the charter of its foundation is still preserved.
On its dissolution it was valued at one hundred and thirty-four pounds.
The only visible remains of the ancient convent are the abbey yard, and some parts of the chapel or refectory, now converted into stables; the arches of whose windows, though made of chalk, in the latter part of the eleventh century, have retained their pristine condition.
The house also seems to contain some conjectural vestiges of the ancient convent.
Under the great hall is a vault, in which three bodies, clad in the habit of the Benedictine order, were discovered.
In a short time after the dissolution of this monastery, Hurley became the property of a family of the name of Chamberlain, from whom it descended to one of the Lovelaces, whose son distinguished himself in an expedition, commanded by Sir Francis Drake, in the reign of Oueen Elizabeth; and, with his share of the wealth obtained on that occasion, erected the present house on the ruins of the ancient convent.
In the third year of Charles the First, he was created Baron Lovelace of Hurley; which title became extinct on the death of his grandson in 1736.
Hurley house is a spacious edifice; the hall, which occupies a disproportionate part of it, is a noble room, with a light gallery round it.
The saloon is wainscoted with English oak, which was sent over in pannels to Italy to be painted, according to the family tradition, by Salvator Rosa.
The views are undoubtedly Italian, and in the bold style of that great master.
During the reigns of Charles the Second, and James the Second, private meetings of some of the principal nobility and men of fortune in the kingdom were held in the subterranean vault beneath the hall, for the purpose of inviting over the Prince of Orange; nay, it is even said, that the principal papers which forwarded the Revolution were signed, in a dark recess, at the end of that vault.
Mr. Wilcox, the late excellent possessor of the place, erected this inscription on the spot.
" Dust and ashes! mortality and vicissitude to all! Be it remembered, that the monastery of Lady-place (of which this vault was the burial cavern), was founded at the time of the great Norman revolution, by which revolution the whole state of England was changed.
" Hi motus anunorum, atque hac certamina tanta, Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt.
" Be it also remembered, that in this place, six hundred years afterwards, the Revolution of 1688 was begun.
This house was then in the possession of Lord Lovelace, by whom private meetings of the nobility were assembled in this vault; and, as it is said, several consultations for calling in the Prince of Orange were likewise held in this recess; on which account this vault was visited by that powerful prince, after he had ascended the throne.
It was visited by General Paoli in 1780, and by King George the Third and his Oueen, the fourteenth day of November, 1785."
On the decline of the Lovelace family, the most valuable part of the estate became, at length, the property of the Duke of Marlborough.
The house and some adjacent demesne was purchased by Mrs. Williams, sister to Doctor Wilcox, bishop of Rochester.
The daughter of that lady, who succeeded to the estate, married Doctor Lewin, chancellor of Rochester, and bequeathed it to Mr. Wilcox, the late excellent and respectable proprietor of it.
Its present possessor is Mr. Kempenfelt, the brother of that excellent naval commander, whose untimely fate was lamented bv a nation’s tears.
Harleyford, the seat of Mr. Clayton, is on the opposite bank of the river.
It is a regular brick edifice, an architectural offspring of the late Sir Robert Taylor; who, if he was deficient in the elegance of exterior form, contrived sometimes to give interior space and convenience.
It is situate on a gentle slope, which forms the margin of the river, and is finely backed with wood that hangs down a steep, where the fir and the beech blend their contrasted verdure: the whole forming a tranquil scene, most agreeably contrasted to the open exposure before it.
The grounds which are seen from the water, range along beneath a deep shady bank, that divides them from a large upper lawn, surrounded with wood, diversified with firs of uncommon growth, commanding prospects of various beauty, and adorned with an elegant temple, dedicated to Friendship.
The river here makes a pleasing change in its course, and, passing by Temple-hall, a large and new built house of Mr. Williams, one of the members for the neighbouring town of Marlow, and the village of Temple, soon reaches Bisham abbey, the venerable seat of George Vansittart, Esquire, a representative in parliament for the county of Berks.


On their dissolution in the reign of Edward the Second, this seems not to have passed, with the greatest part of their estate, to the knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, as it had been before granted away in fee, to the younger Hugh de Spencer.
Afterwards, it came to William Mon- tacute, Earl of Salisbury, who, AD 1.
338, built a priory here for canons of the Augustin order, which was endowed with three hundred pounds per annum.
The prior and his monks having surrendered this monastery in 1536, Henry the Eighth, in the succeeding year, re-founded and more amply endowed it with the lands of Chertsey and other abbies, to the annual amount of six hundred and sixty pounds.
The king also expressed a design to grant it the honour of a mitre; nevertheless in three years after its re-institution, he suppressed it lor ever.
In this abbey the founder of it was re-interred; his bones being removed by the pious zeal of Maud his widow, from the abbey of Cirencester: it was also, according to Dugdale, the burial place of several other persons of that most illustrious family.
The site of it was granted, in the seventh year of Edward the Sixth, to Sir Edward Hoby, in whose descendants it continued till 1765.
Tradition relates that this place was a temporary residence of Queen Elizabeth.
In Bisham church are several monuments of the Hoby family: one of whom, Sir Edward Hoby, was a man of great learning; " who," in the words of Camden, " was an illustrious knight, and my worthy friend ; whose many and great favours I olten recollect with pleasure, and can never forget."
From Bisham abbey the river flows, in one beautiful length of about a mile, to Marlow, between meadows backed by arable uplands to the left, and a line of woods to the right.


The spire of the church is seen at some distance, and the bridge on a nearer approach; but the town is, for some time, obscured by a far better, and very agreeable, object, Court-garden, the seat of Mr. Davenport.
The house, a modern and handsome building, stands on a gentle eminence; a lawn of some extent descending gradually from it to the river, which here is seen in a very fine form, and to the best advantage, conducting the eye along its silver surface to the interesting object of Bisham abbey.
On the opposite side of the river is a fine range of fields, bounded by woody hills, which stretch along the opposite country to a considerable extent, in various shape and continued luxuriance.
The ornamental ground contains about sixty acres, diversified with clumps and screens of trees, and planted with such a judicious attention to the particular situation, that the town of Marlow is completely excluded.
Besides Bisham church and abbey, a temple at Harleyford, a building in the grounds of Hall-place, and other circumstances, vary the landscape which the country olfers to this pleasing spot.
In the house, among several select paintings of the best masters, is the extraordinary picture of Balthazzar’s feast, in the style of Rembrandt, by the late Benjamin Wilson.


Marlow is a very ancient borough and market-town, containing several very good houses; and, from some old deeds, it appears to have been formerly incorporated.
It sent members to parliament so early as the twenty-first year of Edward the First; and, after a discontinuance of four hundred years, was restored to its franchises in the twenty-first year of James the First.
Algar, Earl of Mercia, held this manor in the time of Edward the Confessor; and, in Domesday- book, it is rated as part of the possessions of Oueen Maud, mother to Henry the First, who is supposed to have bestowed the same on his illegitimate son Robert, the stout Earl of Gloucester; as it was afterwards among the possessions of his great-grandson Gilbert de Clare, son of Richard, who became Earl of Gloucester.
It continued in this family, till, by failure of issue male, it passed again in marriage with Eleanor, second sister of Gilbert de Clare, to Hugh de Spencer the younger, whose son and heir Hugh, being restored in blood, by Edward the Third, became seised of this manor; as was his nephew and heir Edward, son of Edward his brother; who dying in the forty-ninth year of Edward the Third, left issue Thomas, who was created Earl of Gloucester, and, for supporting the cause of his deposed sovereign, received sentence of death, and was executed at Bristof in the first year of Henry the Fourth.
A grant of this manor was, nevertheless, obtained from the king by Constance his wife, for the term of her life, which she held till her death, in the beginning of the succeeding reign.
After which, her daughter, who was first married to Richard Beauchamp Lord Abergavenny, created Earl of Worcester, and secondly, to Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, had livery of all her mother held in dowry; by which this manor descended to Richard Nevil, heir to the title of Earl of Warwick, having married Anne his daughter; which lady, after her husband’s death, was persuaded to convey her possessions to Henry the Seventh.
I he manor of Marlow was afterwards made part of the maintenance of the Lady Mary, daughter of Henry the Eighth; and she granted it to Lord Paget, in the year 1551, in whose family it continued till about the middle of the reign of Charles the Second, when it was sold to Sir Humphrey Winch, from whom it passed by purchase; first to Lord Falkland, then to Sir James Etheridge, and others, till the year 1730, when it was bought by Sir William Clayton, in the young branch of whose family it still remains.
The church is very ancient and spacious, with a wooden spire; the market-house, at present, is a disgrace to the town; but there is reason to believe that it will soon be rebuilt in a manner more suitable to the place.
There is also a free-school, founded by Sir William Borlase in the year 1640, for twenty-four boys, and as many girls; but the latter branch has been discontinued, from the inadequate state of its endowment.
A new bridge of wood, of a pleasing form, was built here in 1789, by' a subscription of the neighbourhood ; it is painted wdiite, and is no inconsiderable ornament to the river.
This place, m common with many of the towns in the county of Buckingham, has a manufactory of bone-lace, as well as an ample share in the exportation of malt and meal to London.
In the vicinity of Marlow are two ancient manors, one of them is called Seymours, which formerly belonged to the noble family of that name; and, according to the tradition of the country, was the birth-place of Lady Jane Seymour, wife of Henry the Eighth: it is now the property of the church of Bristol.
The other is the manor of Widmere, which anciently belonged to the knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, and is now the property of Mr. Clayton of Harley ford.
On passing Marlow-bridge, a very fine display of scenery opens at once on the view.
The quarry woods, which had partially enriched the prospects from more distant stations, were now seen in uninterrupted beauty, rising boldly and immediately before us on the Berkshire side, either retiring into the meadows, or hanging- over the river, which here divides itself into two channels; one of which being reserved for the lock, occasions a water-fall, that adds another pleasing object to the scene.
From an opening in these woods the view is taken, which here gives the town of Marlow, the course of the river, and the character of the country.
From this design the reader may, with little application to his fancy, conceive an adequate idea of our passage through the wil- lowed islands of this part of the stream; and the grand stretch of shade which the quarry woods immediately afford.
It is for us, however, to inform him, that the banks of the river, which have been of late so full of varying beauty, soon sink into a kind of landscape serenity.
The country that we had passed composes a fine retrospective view ; and the woody hills in the distance before us grew upon our attention: but till the river reaches Hedsor there is no object of any kind worthy of notice, except Little Marlow, which was till lately the property of the Borlase family; but is now the seat of Lee Antonie, Esquire, one of the representatives in parliament for Great Marlow.
Here was formerly a convent of Benedictine nuns, founded before the reign of King John, by Geolfrey Lord Spencer, and was valued on its dissolution at twenty-three pounds three shillings and seven pence.
The low margin of the river on either side naturally throws the eye forward to the grounds round Hedsor-lodge.


The seat of Lord Boston, which, rising in the horizon, about five miles before us, formed a beautiful boundary to the prospect.
As we approached the banks of the village, from whence this charming spot derives its name, we were met by the little river Wick, whose silver stream hastened, as it were, across the meadow, to lose itself in the Thames.
This rivulet rises in the parish of West Wycomb, at the distance only of a few miles from the spot where it finishes its course; and acquires an early importance by adorning the pleasure grounds of Sir John Dashwood King.
They were laid out by the late Lord Le Despencer, and partook of the elegant taste and singular fancy of that nobleman.
In his day they formed a very rich, luxuriant, and highly embellished place ; which, though it has long lost his peculiar and attentive care, still retains a portion of its former elegance.
The house is suited to its situation, and contains several fine apartments, painted after the antique: its back front displays a double range of loggios, in the Tuscan and Ionic orders.
The parish church is on the top of an high hill, of steep ascent, and olfers an object to all the surrounding country.
It was, in a great measure, rebuilt and entirely fitted up with uncommon elegance by the late Lord Le Despencer.
On the top of the tower is a ball, said to be nearly as large as that of Saint Paul’s: it contains a room capable of receiving a small company; which the whimsical nobleman who placed it there was used to make an occasional scene of convivial amusement.
At the east end of the church, he also erected a superb mausoleum, which is now become his sepulchre; and where the urn that contains the heart of Paul Whitehead is deposited.
The prospects from tigs elevated spot comprehend a luxuriant country; abounding in hills crowned with wood, and vallies rich in cultivation.
The stream, on whose course we attend, in about two miles reaches High, or Chipping Wycomb, where it acquires somewhat of a commercial character, by turning no less than fourteen mills in that parish.
This town consists of an handsome broad street, is governed by a mayor, aldermen, and burgesses, and has sent representatives to parliament since the twenty-eighth year of Edward the First.
There is reason to conjecture that it was a Roman station; as some years ago a tessellated pavement, nine feet square, was found in a meadow near it; and, among a large parcel of Roman coins, several of Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.
Here was an hospital for lepers, founded before the thirteenth year of Henry the Third; and another for a master, brethren, and sisters, founded about the twentieth year of the same king.
Queen Elizabeth granted to the mayor and burgesses, in the fourth year of her reign, certain rents belonging to an hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, or to a brotherhood of the Virgin Mary, for the maintenance of a free grammar-school, and certain alms-people.
As these rents have improved, the charitable provision has been extended; and new almshouses were erected in 1684.
This place gives the title of Baron to the Marquis of Lansdowne; who has a very pleasant seat in the parish; and the Wick, in its passage, is made very ornamental to the grounds about it.
After continuing its useful progress about live miles, this little river enters the village of Wooburn.
The manor formerly belonged to the Goodwins, and came into the possession of Lord Wharton, by his marriage with the heiress of that family; and continued in his descendants till the death of the celebrated Duke of Wharton, in the year 1731.
It then passed to the Berties, one of whom built the present manor house, and continued with them till 1783, when it was purchased by Mr. Dupre; the widow of which gentleman is the present possessor.
Previous to the Reformation there was a palace here, with a circumjacent demesne, belonging to the see of Lincoln.
About a mile below this village, the Wick falls into the Thames, at a place called Bone’s, or more properly Bourne’s End.
As we have entered the parish of Hedsor, we shall proceed to Hedsor-lodge, the delightful seat of Lord Boston; where the ground is thrown about in that beautiful variety by nature, which taste, indeed, may display with new effect, but art cannot improve.
The house is a late addition to the place: its exterior form is at once simple and imposing; and possesses, within, the most judicious combination of comfort and elegance.
It stands on a commanding brow, that overlooks, and is a distinguished object to, a wide expanse of country before it.
The grounds are fringed with woods, and composed of fine swells, sinking into dimpled vallies; and rising again to form new swells, that sink again into concomitant vallies; forming altogether a grand undulating slope towards the rich verdant bottom, which is watered by the Thames.
Nor is the wood confined to the boundaries of these descending lawns.
The house itself is shaded with lolty trees; the little church, on a knoll, is imbosomed in them; and clumps and plantations appear, with the best effect, in other parts of the charming scene.
Its prospects are equally beautiful and extensive.
Buckinghamshire olfers a vast amphitheatre of country beside it; Berkshire lies before it, and the Thames flows beneath it.
These grand objects assume different appearances, and become various pictures, according to the different stations which invite the delighted visiter to stop and gaze around him.
From one of them the river appears in the form of a bow, washing a length of verdant meadow, till, passing the village of Cookham, it is lost among the islands that divide its stream.
From another, it is seen meandering in the distance, with a woody r promontory projecting into the picture, and Maidenhead bridge, with the distant lulls of Berkshire, bounding that line of prospect.
The latter view has been, particularly, chosen to illustrate the lovely situation of Hedsor-lodge.
We now proceed from the mouth of the little river, whose course has been so lately traced, along that line of the Thames which has been, in some measure, anticipated by the view from Hedsor brow: and, on its first bend, having then cleared the inclosures of Hedsor village, a picture of rare composition is gradually unfolded, whose circumstances are so combined as not to be within the mechanism, or the genius of the pencil; nor should we attempt to describe it, were it not our duty to mention every object that fixed our attention ; and consequently to give, which is all we can pretend, such a general idea as may, hereafter, induce others to visit the spot, and participate, as we may hope, in the pleasure enjoyed by us, when we moored our boat to contemplate its beauties.
To the right of the river is a cultivated brow, called Rodborough- hill, which, though a part of the scene, is excluded from the picture by the direction that the eye must take, to view the objects we wish to display before it.
To the left, is a very large level mead of common pasturage, whose surface wears the appearance of a polished lawn, and spreads to the river, that washes two of its sides.
The water, of course, is seen till it doubles the verdant cape, across which, though the stream is lost, every vessel is seen upon it, with a ferry boat, whose perpetual passage enlivens the scene, and the tower of Cookham church, separated from the village by a screen of trees on the opposite bank, olfers a prominent and picturesque feature.
Beyond the meadow, but at so small a distance that they appear almost to belong to it, are Hedsor heights, rising from their chalky base, with the woods above, connecting with the bolder and more shaggy brow of Cliefden, which is finely broken by lolty elms in the lawn of Mr. Martindale, whose massy foliage forms a side screen to the picture.
We examined this landscape in the richest moment of autumn, and in one of those charming days which that season so kindly gives: the mead was covered with cattle, the river reflected a cloudless sky, a bright sun warmed the varying tints that enriched the woods; and the scene, receiving all the advantages of season and circumstance, displayed one of the finest home views that our voyage had afforded us.
Amid this enchanting scenery, and after doubling the point, formed by the meadow, we approached the village; little of which is seen but the church, a few houses behind and beside it, and the very pleasing villa of Mr. Martin- dale, seated on a lawn, adorned with stately elms, that has the appearance of a peninsula.
Before it the Thames divides itself into three streams; the principal of which being the navigable course, takes a fine sweep to the left, and then winds round to wash the base of that high ridge which supports Cliefden and Taplow.
The second pursues a middle passage, and assists the main current in forming an island of fifty-four acres; the largest on the Thames, and applied to pasture and agricultural husbandry.
The third branch steals away to the right, and unites with the larger current, at some distance below.
The islands, winch are here formed by the mazy channels of (he river, and are part of Mr. Martindale’s domain, being connected by bridges, admit of a drive or riding of two miles, surrounded by that beautiful scenery, which such a variety of water, the pretty village of Cookham, and tire contrasted heights of Hedsor and Clielden, with all their accessory circumstances, may be supposed lo produce.
From this delightful spot the main branch of the river, which has already been described, bore us on between banks of osiers, tdl it reached the foot of that magnificent steep beneath which it flows, in a reach of two miles, to Maidenhead bridge.
Here the scene is enlivened by the house lately built by Sir William Young on the southern bank, and at the very edge of the water.
It has somewhat of a castle- form, and is a very pleasing and picturesque object.
The towering- woods of Cliefden overshadow it to the north; the plantations in the pleasure-ground thicken about it, and groups of elms form a more distant inclosure behind it.
Its situation is low, being on an island formed by the lesser branches of the river; nevertheless, from its peculiar form, the impending shade, and confined channel of the stream, it possesses an air of romantic solitude, and bids defiance to the dog-star’s sultry heat.


The river still continues its course beneath the chain of bold woody hills, which is crowned with Cliefden, a magnificent feature on the highest point, and Taplow-house in a less elevated situation; which, though it possesses not so stately a form, is a more picturesque object.
This long range of wood, from the variety of its trees, the richness of its foliage, the irregularity of its surface, and the inequality of its heights, connected also with other characteristic circumstances, must lie considered, in whatever point of view it is seen, as a rare combination of grandeur and of beauty.
At the foot of Cliefden wood is a charming spot, called Cliefden Spring from the fountain which rises there, and pours its divided rill, down a gentle but pebbly descent, into the Thames.
Poetry might consider it as a crystal tribute from the dryads of the wood to the naiads of the stream.
The whole has, indeed, the air of a garden scene; being tastefully arranged and liberally accommodated, by its noble owner, for the reception of the neighbourhood, who form continual parties, in the summer season, to enjoy the luxury of a rural banquet in this charming solitude.
Having thus attempted to describe the general scenery about us, as viewed from this distinguished part of the river, we shall now ascend the heights, and enlarge on the varieties of it.
Cliefden house was built by Charles Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Charles the Second.
That nobleman died in the latter end of the last century, and in 1700, it was purchased by the first Earl of Orkney, who very much improved it, and from whom it descended by marriage to the Earl of Inchiquin, the present possessor.
Nor should it be forgotten, among other circumstances relating to this magnificent place, that it was some time the summer residence of Frederick Prince of Wales.
It is a regular and stately mansion, having a terrace in front, supported by arches, and supposed to enjoy an higher elevation than that of Windsor castle; which is a very distinguished object from thence, with the rich woody distance of its parks and forests, rising behind it.
The gardens and pleasure orounds are suited to the character of the edifice, while the woods are of a form and extent to confirm the grandeur of the place.
1 his elevated situation looks over a vast expanse of country ; and though the painter may consider it as an extent of unselected objects be- yond the reach of his pencil ; though it is not bounded by mountains, or varied by features of peculiar distinction, it is, nevertheless, magnificent from its space, as well as pleasing from the variety of cultivation that overspreads it: and should the eye be satiated with the unvaried luxuriance of the more distant landscape, it returns with new delight to retrace the Thames, winding through its meads, and reflecting the woods that hang down the declivities to its margin.
Such is Cliefden; nor shall Taplow, a sister domain, refuse to our description its more serene, and less imposing beauties.
Taplow-house is an ancient edifice, that belongs also to the Earl of Inchiquin, and is a very picturesque object on the southern point of the long range of woody hills which has been already described.
This place, though it yields the palm of magnificence to Cliefden, exceeds it in the charm of variety, and the possession of what, in fashionable phraseology, are denominated liveable comforts.
The walks formed in the hanging woods that adorn it, are extensive; and, from buildings placed in commanding points, or openings made to particular objects, the country is seen in various directions, and the circumstances of it selected into distinct pictures.
From an opening at the termination of the upper walk, the view is taken which illustrates our description of the scenery around us.
Cliefden is there seen, from between two screens of trees, and across a woody chasm, standing proudly on its shelving brow.
In the bottom, the Thames appears divided into two branches which form an island, whereon is distinguished the villa of Sir George Young: beyond, are the insulated grounds of Mr. Martindale, the meads of Hedsor, and the rising country of Buckinghamshire.
But our preference, if we may be allowed to express it, leads us to the lower walk in Taplow woods; which, though it sinks below, and consequently loses, the great expanse of prospect, acquires something far better in that perspective distinctness of the objects within its reach, which is so essential to picturesque beauty.
The extent of horizon is lost; but the partial glimpses of it from particular points, or through artificial openings, which the hand of taste has curiously provided lor particular objects, produces in the mind a more composed delight.
From one shady seat Windsor castle appears insulated in foliage; and from another, Eton college is seen in a similar framework of branchy verdure:—thus distinguished, and thus viewed, in possession of a contrasted brightness, through these informal apertures, and from beneath deep canopies of shade, they afford a rare and charming example of perspective beauty.
But this is not all; many circumstances, both natural and accidental, which, from the higher stations, are either overlooked or involved in the wide circumference of prospect, acquire from the nearer view, afforded by our present situation, an individual and interesting importance: from being lost in the extent of surface over which the eye hurries with indis- criminating impatience, they become predominant features in the selected landscape.
The mills which stretch from the banks of the river to the islands, with their rushing waters ; the farms and cottages that are scattered about the nearer part of the country ; the rural villas which are reflected in the stream; the cattle in the meads, with the occupation of the fisherman, and the floating machinery of the navigation, all contribute to enliven, with continual variety, the permanent beauties of the place.
The expansive gaze of Cliefden may excite the pleasing wonder of an hour; but the recesses of Taplow will delight for days, and weeks, and seasons.
Not far from hence, in the side of the hill, and near the river, was discovered some years since a circular cave, nineteen feet high, and ten feet in diameter, cut out of the solid rock towards the foundation, with an artificial arched roof of hewn chalk.
Nor must we forget to mention, that between Cliefden and Taplow, we passed Boulter’s lock, the last of twenty-four similar machines erected to assist the navigation of the river; which, after a course of about a mile, with the richest scenery on one side, and an inhabited shore on the other, reaches Maidenhead bridge.
It is an elegant structure of Portland stone, consisting of seven principal and six lesser arches, and was built, about fourteen years ago, after a design of the late Sir Robert Taylor.
In passing over it the Thames presents two such different views, that one scarce knows how to reconcile their contrasted appearance: to tire north is seen the bold range of woody heights, crowned with Taplow, Cliefden, and Hedsor; while to the south the river flows through one unvaried, uninteresting level, enlivened with no other object than the solitary tower of Bray church.
Maidenhead is a market and corporate town, situate, on (he gentle declivity of air hill, on the Berkshire side of the Thames.
Leland calls it South Ailington, and Stow, Sudlington; and according to the description of the former, was, in his time, " neatly and well built.
’’ Its present name, in the opinion of Camden, was derived from the veneration paid there to the head of some British virgin, of whose virtues or miraculous powers, however, no record remains.
In the fourteenth century, the passage over the river was higher up; but after a wooden bridge was built, the place began to acquire some degree of consideration.
It was incorporated in the twenty-sixth year of Edward the Third, by tire name of the Gild, or Fraternity of the Brothers and Sisters of Maidenhead; and, after the Reformation, by that of a warden and burgesses: but in the reign of James the Second, its municipal form was changed into that of high steward, mayor, and aldermen.
The town stands in the parishes of Bray and Cookham; but has a chapel peculiar to the corporation, whose minister is chosen by the inhabitants, and not subject to the visitation of the bishop.
The mayor, his predecessor, and the steward, are justices of the peace, and the former is also clerk of the market, coroner, and judge of the town court, which is held once in three weeks.
An handsome chapel stands near the entrance of the high street, and a very elegant town hall has been lately erected.
On the south side of the town is the pleasant seat of the late Portlock Peniston Powney, Esquire, a very respectable country gentleman, an indefatigable magistrate, and one of the representatives for the borough of Windsor, who died while this page was preparing lor publication.
About a mile below Maidenhead, on the Berkshire side of the river, is the pleasant village of Bray; from whose manor, and that of Cookham, rents were assigned to Philippa, queen of Edward the Third.
—Camden entertains an opinion, that this part of the kingdom was occupied by the Bi'oroci, who submitted to Caesar, and obtained his protection.
This conjecture is not without a plausible foundation; though we cannot but think him rather fancifully employed, when he endeavours to make the name of Bray a contraction of the original denomination.
But this place is chiefly indebted for the celebrity it possesses to the dubious tradition of an accommodating vicar, who is related to have changed his religion at four different periods, under as many successive sovereigns ; being governed by no other principle, than that of living and dying in possession of this vicarage.
The ballad that relates the history, for in no other record can we find it, is not supported by the archives of the parish; and we are rather disposed to consider it as levelled, bv an unlucky wit, against some particular ecclesiastical character living at the period when it was written; and whose unconscien- tious sacrifice of spiritual to temporal interests, might justify the severity of the sing-song satirist.
The next object which solicited our attention was Monkey Island, a charming little spot, planted with trees, and rendered very commodious for water parties, by two pretty pavilions, erected by the last Duke of Marlborough.
One of them having been originally decorated with a kind of Arabesque painting, in which monkies were the predominant objects, the island received from thence, as we believe, the title by which it is distinguished.
It now belongs to Mr. Townley Ward, of the Willows, a beautiful situation near the v illage of Clewer.
As the river bends towards the east, the shady hills of Windsor forest rise from a wide extent of open fields to a near horizon on the right, and form a bold contrast to the unvaried level of the Buckinghamshire side of the river, on the left; while Windsor castle on its heights, and Eton college beneath it, occupy the distance.
The Berkshire shore is here adorned by Down Place, a very elegant villa, the late residence of the Duke of Argyle.
Its first tenant, and long before it had attained its present style and improvement, was Jacob Tonson the bookseller; a name connected with that constellation of genius which illuminated the early part of the passing century.
On the opposite side of the river, and at some distance from it, a large and thick grove of lolty trees obscures Dorney-court, the seat of Sir Charles Palmer.
This place was formerly a demesne of the neighbouring abbey of Burnham; but has long been the property of the family who now possess it.
As the Thames approaches Windsor, the castle increases in grandeur: Eton college is also more distinctly seen; and, in the turns of the river, both these interesting objects are separately and aggregately viewed with various effect and impression.
Clewer, with its spire and village circumstances, happily contrasts its simple, sylvan pictures with the proud scenery beyond it.
It is, indeed, from thence that the castle, blending all its parts into one rich mass of building, and rising from the town which forms its base, appears in its most perfect state of characteristic magnificence.
of the Willows, the residence of Mr. Ward, it would be superfluous to say more, than that its situation is on the banks of this part of the river; where the interior charm of rural elegance is combined with the splendour of adjacent objects.


The stream now bore us quickly on to Windsor bridge, which, with the circumstances about it, is so correctly given by the pencil, as to justify my passing on at once to sketch a brief history of the town to which it belongs.
Windsor is situate at the east end of the county of Berks, on a rising hill, on the banks of the Thames, and has always had the additional title of New, to distinguish it from old Windsor, an elegant and charming village beyond it.
Camden conjectures, plausibly enough, that the winding course, or shore of the river, gave rise to the name, being by the Saxons called Winuleyhopa.
In ancient records it is called Windleshora, and by Lelancl Win- delesore; and became famous in succeeding ages by the favour and residence of our princes, as well as from being appointed the seat of the most noble order of the Garter.
The earliest and most authentic notice of Windsor is found in the instrument of donation, which King Edward the Confessor made thereol, among other lands, to the monastery of Saint Peter, Westminster.
It did not, however, continue long in their possession; as William the Conqueror, in the first year of his reign, being enamoured of its pleasant situation, prevailed on the abbot and monks of Westminster to exchange it for Wokendune, Ferings, and other places in the county of Essex.
Indeed, no sooner was he in possession of the place, than he built a royal seat, or castle, on the summit of the hill: for as early as the fourth year of his reign, it is recorded that he kept his court, and ordered a synod to he held here at Whitsuntide.
He also designed the parks, made large forests for the chase, and established laws for the preservation of the deer and other game.
This castle is described in Domesday-book, as containing half an hide of land, parcel of the manor of Clewer.
Henry the First not only enlarged it with many stately buildings, but strengthened it with walls and ramparts; and in the tenth year of his reign summoned his nobility, and held his Whitsuntide here, with great state and magnificence.
In the succeeding reign, in a treaty of peace between King Stephen and Duke Henry, afterwards Henry the Second, this castle is called mota deWindesor, the fortress of Windsor.
In 1177, Henry the Second held a parliament here, at which were present the great barons, the king’s chief tenants, William, King of Scotland, and his brother David.
Hugh de Pudsey, Bishop of Durham and Earl of Northumberland, being appointed regent of the kingdom.
when Richard the First went to the holy Land, took up his residence at W indsor, as a place of great strength.
King John, for the same reason, in 1215 lodged m the castle, previous to his granting Magna Charta; which accounts for Runnymede being appointed for that renowned festival of liberty.
But that king, soon after manifesting a disposition to break his late solemn engagement, this castle was besieged by the barons, though without success.
In 1263, when Henry the Third and his barons were in a state of hostility, it was delivered up by treaty to the latter; but, in the same year, it was recovered by surprise, and made a place of rendezvous lor the king's party.
Edward (he First, with his Queen Eleanor, took great delight in this castle, and had four children born here.
Edward the Second made it also the place of his residence; and His son, of glorious name, afterwards Edward the Third, was born here, and on that account, called Edward of Windsor.
The affection this prince bore to his native place induced him to take down the old castle, except the three towers on the west end, in the lower ward, and to rebuild it in a new and stately form.
He also made it the seat of the most noble order of the Garter, which he had previously instituted in the year 1349.
Nor should it be forgotten that, at this period, the kings of France and Scotland were both prisoners in this castle.
It may be presumed to have been about the thirty-fourth year of this king’s reign, when the most considerable enlargement or re-edification was made; as it appears that writs, dated the fourteenth of April in the same year, were directed to several sheriffs, to impress diggers and hewers of stone, and various artificers, from London and other parts of England into the king’s service at Windsor.
These magnificent works were carried on under the direction of William of Wickham, afterwards bishop of Winchester.
In succeeding reigns other considerable additions were made to the buildings within the castle.
Henry the Seventh added the stately fabric adjoining the king’s lodgings in the upper ward.
Henry the Eighth rebuilt the great gate at the entrance into the lower ward.
Edward the Sixth began, and Oueen Mary perfected, the bringing water into a fountain of curious workmanship, in the middle of the upper ward.
Oueen Elizabeth made a terrace on the north side of the castle ; and Charles the First caused the gate to be built at the east end of it, leading into the park.
This residence of so many kings cannot be supposed to have escaped the rage of republican fury in the rebellion of the last century: but Charles the Second, after the Restoration, not only repaired its injuries, and improved its buildings, but furnished it with consummate magnificence.
He also enlarged the terrace made by Queen Elizabeth, and carried it round tire south and east sides of the upper court; and, in the year 1676.
breed it with a solid rampart of free-stone, and shaped the ground in well adapted slopes towards the park.
The works of Verrio on the walls and ceilings of some of the larger apartments, were begun and completed in the reigns of James the Second and William the Third.
Queen Anne made several additions to this castle, particu- larly the flight of steps on the east side of the terrace.
His present Majesty has also very much improved this royal residence; and, am one other decorations, has enriched it with the celebrated car- toons of Raphael.
But Saint George’s chapel has been a most peculiar object of His Majesty’s splendid taste and pious munificence.
This edifice has ever been admired for the style of its architecture, and the richness of its ornaments: nor has it been less revered as being the sepulchre of Edward the Fourth, Henry the Sixth, Henry the Eighth, his queen, Lady Jane Seymour, and Charles the First; but it has been lately repaired, altered, and fitted up in such a manner, as to render it one of the most elegant, solemn, and sumptuous places of public worship in this kingdom, and to give it a claim to the title of the " beauty of holiness."
The castle is about a mile in circumference, and divided into two spacious courts.
The centre is occupied by the round tower, the residence of the governor, having been formerly separated from the lower court by a strong wall, and drawbridge.
The lower court is divided into two parts by Saint George’s chapel.
On the north, or inner side, are the several houses and apartments of the dean, canons, and other olficers: on the south and west sides of the outer part, are the houses of the poor knights of Windsor.
In this court are also several apartments belonging to the olficers of the crown, and the order of the Garter.
The upper court is a spacious and regular square, containing on the north side the royal apartments, and Saint George’s chapel and hall.
They are usually called the Star Building, from a star and garter that appear in the middle of the structure, on the front next the terrace.
On the south and east sides are the apartments of the Prince of Wales, and the great olficers of state.
In the centre of the area is an equestrian statue in copper, of Charles the Second, in a Roman habit, and supported by a marble pedestal.
The situation of the castle cannot be better described than in the language of Camden.
" It is on an high hill, that riseth with a gentle ascent: it enjoyeth a most delightful prospect round about; for right in front it overlooketh a vale, lying out far and wide; garnished with corn fields, flourishing with meadows, decked with groves on either side, and watered with the most mild and gentle river Thames.
Behind it arise hills every where, neither rough nor over high, attired, as it were, with woods, and even dedicated by nature to hunting and game."
The terrace, which is one thousand eight hundred and seventy feet in length, commands a prospect at once magnificent and polished, full of grandeur, beauty, and variety.
Thus have we given a brief description of the exterior circumstances of this princely and venerable structure: but its interior arrangements are beyond the grasp of this work.
It would require a volume to describe its trophied halls, pictured galleries, stately chambers, glittering armouries, and the long splendour of apartments enriched by the munificence of many successive monarchs.
Some of them maintained their courts, and kept their state in it: but George the Third, after performing the duties of a good king in the metropolis of his empire, retires hither to practise the virtues of a good man; and to display the best example, in the first place.
The little park embraces the north and east sides of the castle, and is about four miles in circumference, declining gently from the terrace to the Thames.
It is a charming spot, pleasantly wooded, and there is a row of ancient trees near the Oueen’s Lodge, which is said to have been planted by order of Queen Elizabeth, and still retains her name.
Windsor great park adjoins the south side of the town.
An avenue, of near three miles in length, leads to the summit of an hill, near the ranger’s lodge, from whence there is a most luxuriant prospect of the castle, Eton college, and the country beyond them.
This park possesses a circuit of fourteen miles; and since the death of the late Duke of Cumberland, who held (lie olfice of ranger, His present Majesty has taken it under his own immediate care; and amuses himself in giving it every advantage which the united efforts of good husbandry, and landscape improvement, can bestow upon it.
It consists of near four thousand acres, beautifully diversified in hill and dale; many parts of it nobly planted with venerable bodies of wood, varied with wild and romantic scenery.
While this extent of domain remained in the hands of a ranger, he employed it as a temporary advantage, and never thought of bestowing on it any permanent improvement.
But His Majesty having thought proper to take that olfice upon himself, every rational experiment which can add beauty, or produce advantage, is brought forward; and persons of the first eminence and skill are employed in the execution of a magnificent plan of embellishment in the park; as well as to hold forth an example of improved husbandry to the imitation, and, as it may be hoped, to the adoption, of the surrounding country.
The principal outlines of this plan embrace a vast compass of draining, which is completed, without deformity, after the mode adopted in the county of Essex; an extensive scene of planting upon the high grounds and eminences, where a grandeur of effect can be produced ; a delicate opening of the bottom parts, in order to throw the vales into beautiful savannas; a selection of the fine sylvan parts into harbours for game; with sheep walks for large flocks; and the formation of two contrasted farms at the opposite ends of the park.
The one, from the lightness of the soil, is established upon the Norfolk system of husbandry, under a rotation of six-course cropping, with all the advantages of turnip cultivation ; and the other, which consists of a loamy soil, is carried on in due conformity to the agricultural practice of Flanders, where the course of husbandry almost invariably consists in an alternate crop for man and beast; one of the most productive dispositions to which land can be applied.
These rural occupations, abstracted from the very great utility that may result from them, form a subject of the most interesting consideration, as they afford to His Majesty a pleasing relaxation from the cares of royalty, and tend to the preservation of that health, which is the ardent wish of an affectionate people.
—These improvements were originally suggested, and have since been conducted, by Mr. Kent, whose perfect skill in every branch of the cultivation of land, aided by a benevolent mind, a general knowledge, and prolitable taste, has so illuminated agricultural philosophy, as not only to enlarge its utility, but to render it a liberal and elegant science.
The royal forests of Windsor, according to Roque, form a circuit of fifty-six miles, abounding with deer and game, and are a magnificent appendage of the castle to which they belong.
They were originally formed and preserved for the exercises of the chase, by our ancient sovereigns, and are still employed in those recreations by His present Majesty.
This extensive tract of land contains many pleasant villages; and though much of the soil is barren and uncultivated, yet it is finely diversified with hills, vales, and woods, interspersed with charming seats and elegant villas; and may be said to possess those sylvan beauties which invited Mr. Pope to make it the subject of his early muse.
About three miles from Windsor is Cranbourn-lodge, which belongs to the Duke of Gloucester, as ranger of Cranbourn chase.
It was built by the Earl of Ranelagh, paymaster of the army in the reign of William the Third, and has been since bought by the crown.
At a small distance from thence is Saint Leonard’s hill; clad with venerable oaks and stately beeches ; and whose summit is crowned by the seat of General Harcourt.
From this charming place, the view comprehends a vast circumference of country; and looks on Windsor castle with the happiest effect, and in circumstances of peculiar advantage.
Here were discovered, in the year 1705, many ancient coins, instruments of war, and a curious antique lamp, which has been engraved at the expence of the society of antiquaries, who have adopted it for their crest.
In the forest, on the heath, about live miles from Sunning-hill, where there is a mineral spring, and near Easthamsted park, are the traces of a very large irregular Roman fortification, double trenched, called Caesar’s camp: and near the race-ground, about a mile from Sunning-hill wells, on Ascot-heath, are four barrows, which lie on the south side, near the turnpike road that leads to Oakingham.
The trenches round the larger of them are about twelve feet wide, and two deep.
From the middle of the trenches to the centres of the tops is about forty-seven feet; and, from the outside of the trenches, to the feet of the lesser hillocks, about forty- five feet: and those which have no trenches round them are cpiite flat at the top, not above three feet high, and about forty feet over.
About two miles south-west from these barrows is Tower-hill: it is small and irregular, very steep on every side except the north-east, where there is an entrance to the intrenchment that runs round the summit of the hill, and follows all its irregularities.
The hill is about three miles from Caesar’s camp; a quarter of a mile from which are Wickham bushes; and a little south from them is a raised road, ninety feet wide, with a trench on each side, running east and west, vulgarly termed the Devil’s Highway.
The town of Windsor is of considerable extent, and of great antiquity, having been constituted a borough by Edward the First, in whose reign it first sent members to parliament; which privilege, with some little interruption, it has since enjoyed.
According to its last charter, granted by James the Second, its corporation consists of a mayor, high steward, deputy steward, town clerk, two bailiffs, and twenty-eight burgesses, who are denominated Brethren of the Guildhall; thirteen of whom are named benchers, and ten of them called aldermen, from whom the mayor is annually chosen.
The guildhall, or town-house, is an handsome building, supported and adorned with columns and arches of Portland stone.
It was erected in the year 1686, chiefly at the expence of the corporation.
In the centre of the town where the four principal streets meet, there formerly stood a cross, which was erected in the reign of Richard the Second by John Sadeler, and was afterwards beautified and repaired in the year 1635 by bishop Goodman, but was destroyed in the civil wars: its site, however, is still regarded, and all proclamations and public orders are read and declared there.
The manor of Windsor, which was granted by the charter of Charles the Second to the corporation, on paying a quit-rent of four pounds live shillings and three pence per annum, possesses a considerable jurisdiction.
On the opposite side of the river is the village of Eton, famous lor its college, which ranks as the first school in the British empire.
Henry the Sixth purchased, on the twelfth day of September, 1440, of William Waplade, Nicholas Clopton, and John Faryndon, Esquires, the perpetual advowson of the parish of Eton, for the purpose of founding a college.
The charter of foundation bears date October the eleventh, 1440, and a further charter is dated, in the succeeding year, the eleventh day of March, 1441.
The building was begun in July, 1441, as appears by the patent for collecting workmen.
By the second charter dated at Sliene, are appointed one provost, ten priests, or fellows, four clerks, six choristers, one master, and twenty scholars.
Some of its endowments were taken away by Edward the Fourth, and its settlement underwent considerable alteration; but being particularly exempted in the act of dissolution, it has continued to increase in prosperity and character to the present time.
The foundation still consists of a provost, seven fellows, two priests, eight clerks, ten choristers, two masters, and seventy scholars.
The college contains two quadrangles; the first has the upper school, a modern building, to the west; the chapel is to the south; the provost’s lodgings and election chamber are to the east; and to the north are the lower school, the masters’ chambers, and the long chamber, or dormitory.
In the centre of it is a bronze statue of the founder, King Henry the Sixth, by Francis Bird, which was presented to the college by the late Doctor Godolphin, its provost.
The interior quadrangle is formed by a cloister, with the hall, library, and fellows’ apartments.
The chapel is a very spacious and stately Gothic structure; and in the antichapel is a marble statue of the founder, by Bacon, which was placed there in the year 1786, at the expence of the Reverend Mr. Betham, a late fellow of the college.
The library is a large and elegant apartment, and contains a very valuable and curious collection of books, having been enriched, among other donations, by the literary bequest of Doctor Wadding- ton, bishop of Chester, valued at two thousand pounds, and the rare collection of Richard Topham, Esquire, keeper of the records in the Tower, which was presented by lord chief justice Rees es to this colleo-e.
But the emotions of a grateful mind would not be satisfied, if this page were not graced with the name of Doctor Edward Barnard ; whose skill in the police, if it may be so called, of school government, has remained unrivalled to the present hour; and who raised Eton college to a pre-eminence, which it never enjoyed before, or has attained since, his administration of its learning and discipline: nor will his learned successors refuse to strengthen, by their assent, this feeble testimony of regard to our common master.
The village part of Eton is divided from the college by a small bridge, and consists of a long street, in which there is a chapel for the use of the inhabitants.
It readies to the banks of the river, and appears to be a suburb of Windsor on the opposite shore.


Here we resumed our voyage, and passed Windsor bridge, that still remains a wooden structure, when so many places of far inferior character have thrown their arches of stone across the stream.


A rapid current then bore us quickly on to the margin of those academic groves, above whose tufted foliage Eton college lifts its antique towers, and awakens, in the mind of her matured offspring, the affecting apostrophe of its own inspired bard:—

Ah happy hills! ah pleasing shade!
Ah fields belov’d in vain!
Where once my careless childhood stray’d,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow;
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.


The river, having passed Eton, winds round Windsor little park, with the castle rising on its brow, in every appearance of picturesque beauty and grandeur.
Sometimes a range of battlements is seen above the trees; or a single tower appears through a casual opening in the branches.
Larger members of this magnificent edifice are beheld for a moment; and, in one particular point of the river, as the boat passes on, an whole long extended front appears in review.


The park being surrounded by a wall, nothing is seen of it from the water but the trees that shade it: these, however, form very rich masses of foliage, and not only break the castle into various distinct parts, but sometimes form a verdant base to the whole of it.
To the left of the stream, one range of osiers, on the banks, or on the islets, continues from Eton to Datchet, whose bridge, though without any architectural pretensions, is an enlivening object.
It consists of several piers of brick, faced with stone, and crowned with a light wooden and painted balustrade.
The village of Datchet contains several pleasant country residences; but derives its beauty from external objects; the river that Hows beside, and the castle that rises before, it.
Near this place is Ditton park.
The house is a large and venerable edifice, surrounded with a moat, and stands in a spacious park, enriched with many a stately and wide-spreading oak.
The mansion is said to have been erected by Sir Ralph Winwood, secretary of state to King James the First.
It afterwards came into possession of the Montagues, and descended to the Duchess of Manchester, eldest daughter and joint heiress of that noble family.
Lord Beaulieu, by his marriage with this lady, became possessed, and is the present possessor, of il.
The Thames, after having passed Datchet, still clings, as it were, to the domain of the castle; and, when it stretches from it, continues to wind m lingering meanders, and a long way on its stream, olfers retrospective views of those towers which are the pride of its course.
The river now flows between banks of osiers, and is sometimes enveloped in them: a circumstance that strengthens the effect of those parts, from whence the woody heights of Windsor great park are seen to rise in the horizon.
Such is the alternate state of the stream till we approached old Windsor, which may be called a village of villas; whose contrasted forms and situation, with the ancient elms that shade its banks, render it a polished scene of rural beauty.
It was in ancient times the seat of several Saxon kings; and, in the reign of William the First, is recorded to have possessed an hundred houses: but when that monarch fixed his residence on the neighbouring hill, it gradually sunk into decay, and New Windsor arose under the guardianship of the fortress that he erected.
In this place Beaumont lodge is a distinguished object, on a rising ground, at some distance from the river, which here spreads at once into a large pool, and then resumes its former channel.
We now leave the county of Berks, which has afforded so long a range of delightful country, where nature displays the most luxuriant scenes, embellished, by art, with rare exertions of taste and grandeur, to enter the county of Surrey; whose first object is Cooper’s Hill, so well sung in the poem of Denham, which gives him all his fame.
This spot comprehends a vast breadth of prospect, and commands the finest reaches of the Thames : nor is there any place from whence Windsor castle is seen in a point of view so favourable to that royal structure: it appears wholly unconnected and independent, holding itself up, as it were, to receive the homage of the surrounding country.
Lord Shuldham’s house enlivens the side of the hill, and Kingswood lodge, a charming situation, belonging to Mr. Smith, is seen above it.
Ankerwyke house olfers a very different object on the other side of the river.
It is a very ancient and curious mansion, covered with foliage, and screened with trees.
It was formerly a Benedictine nunnery, founded by the Montfichets in the reign of Henry the Second, and still retains the air of monastic solitude.
Its garden here gives a sweeping bank to the river, and many a tree of unusual form and beauty bangs over the water.
Runnymede next appears on the right.
A spot sacred to British freedom; and where our forefathers obtained.
after many a sturdy struggle, the confirmation of that liberty which we happily enjoy, in peace and security, under the mild and benign sway of His present Majesty.
Near the opposite shore is an ait, called Magna Charta Island, which was fortified, on that occasion, by the jealous barons: it is now covered with willows, that shade the hut of a solitary fisherman.
Near this interesting place the river Coin, which forms the boundary between the counties of Buckingham and Middlesex, steals through plantations of osiers into the Thames.
The Coin takes its rise near the small market-town of Chesham, in the former county ; and, passing by Cheneys, formerly the seat of an ancient family of that name, but now llie burial place of the Dukes of Bedford, it waters the town of Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, and, m a few miles, reaches Uxbridge, a well known market-town in Middlesex.
This place gives the title of Earl to the ancient family of Paget; and is remarkable for an unsuccessful negotiation which took place, and lasted eighteen days, between Charles the First and the parliament, in 1644.
The old house, in which the commissioners met, is said to be standing in the west end of the town.
1 he river then takes its course by the village of her, that derives its name from Roger de Iveri, to whom it was granted by William the Conqueror.
It soon after divides itself into several branches m the moors of Drayton and Harmondsworth.
I lie former of these villages contained a venerable seat of the Earl of Uxbridge, which was entirely pulled down by the late lord.
In the latter was an alien Benedictine priory, and there is still a barn of a very uncommon size and construction, whose foundations were not laid for the purpose to which they arc now employed.
Harmondsworth was granted by Edward the Sixth to Sir William Paget, and is still in the possession of his descendant, the Earl of Uxbridge.
Rut the principal stream of the river " goeth," in the language of Leland, " through goodly meadows to Colnbrook, and so to the Thames."
This town is situated in the two counties of Middlesex and Buckingham, and has a chapel said to have been founded by Edward the Third.
Gale, Burton, Baxter, and Stukeley, agree with Camden in fixing Pontes at Colnbrook, though Leland inclines to Reading.
Egham spire is seen across the marsh to the left, and, on approaching Stanes, the tower of the church, with a very small part of the town, amidst a line of trees, presents itself across a jut of land, and relieves the meagre approach to that place.
We now passed the London Mark-stone, as it is called, which determines the ancient boundary to the jurisdiction of the city of London on the Thames.
On a moulding round the upper part of it, which is much decayed, is inscribed, " God preserve the city of London, AD 1280.
It is supposed (the Saxon word scana signifying a stone) to have given a name to the adjoining town of Stanes, so well known in the great western avenue to London.
Doctor Stukeley is of opinion, that this place was a Roman station : and, according to Camden, the tract of country which lies between the high road to Hounslow and the Thames, was called the Forest and Warren of Stanes, till it was disforested and diswarrened by Henry the Third.
of its present state we are well pleased to observe, that its old bridge, which was a disgrace to the road and the river, will be shortly superseded by one now building of stone, from a design of Thomas Sandby, Esquire, prolessor of architecture in the R.
oyal Academy.
Beyond Stanes the river soon makes a bold reach, with Saint Anne’s hill rising full to the view, in a pyramidal shape, with a lew scattered elms on the top, that form a landmark to the surrounding country.
This elevated spot derives its name from a chapel dedicated to Saint Anne, which formerly stood there.
As there was nothing.
on either bank, to attract the attention, it turned to the stream itself, which presented a watery picture of uncommon beauty.
A succession of meanders checks the current, so that it can scarce be seen to flow: and the river, while it retains its usual breadth, possesses all the beauties of a dimpled stream; which, as we lingered on it.
bore many a stately swan on its silver bosom.
Here we doubled a long narrow projecting meadow, called Penton Hook; and opposite to it, a large stream of water is taken from the Thames, called the Abbey river.
It was originally formed by the monks of Chertsey, for the purpose of supplying their fish-ponds, and grinding their corn.
It continues near three miles, and after supplying 0\ley-miH.
from whence it derives its more modern name of Oxley river, it returns again to the Thames above Chertsey-bridge.
To another fine bend of the river succeeds the village of Laleham, on the left bank of it.
containing several pretty houses, intermingled with groups of elms.
On the opposite side is a beautiful pasture field of great extent, called Laleham Burrway, which belongs to the in- habitants of the village, whose cattle swim over to it every morning, and return at night.
Tradition relates, that it was given bv the monks of Chertsey to the fishermen of Laleham, in return for having supplied them with fish during a plague.
On one part, the site of an ancient building is still visible, which is said to have been a pest-house, in those times when England was occasionally- visited by that dreadful calamity.
Saint Anne’s hill is now seen in a lateral position across the flat, with a glimpse of the v illa of the Right Honourable Charles Fox, that stands near the summit, commanding delightful views of the river as low as Hampton, and almost as high as Windsor, the view of which is alone obstructed by Cooper’s bill.
The high grounds of Oatlands are just caught in the distance; but except Chertsey church, and the abbey house, no objects appear to vary the scene, till, on a sudden turn of the river.
Chertsey-bridge presents itself, backed by the high woody grounds of Wooburn farm.

CHERTSEY BRIDGE from Wooburn Farm

Chertsey, which is an ancient market-town of no great extent, stands on the Surrey side of the Thames, in a low but not unhealthy situation, and about a mile distant from the river.
Its former consequence appears to have been derived from its abbey of Benedictine monks, founded in the year 666, by Erchenwald, bishop of London, in the early ages of the church; but was completed, and chielly endowed by Frithwald, Earl of Surrey, who styles himself in his charter of foundation, " petty prince of the province of the Surreians, under Wulpher, King of the Mercians."
Bocca, the abbot, and ninety monks, having been killed, and the abbey burned to the ground during the Danish wars, it was re-founded by King Edgar and bishop Elhelwold.
On its surrender, in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth, the king granted it, with all its lands, to the abbey of Bisham, in Berkshire; and, after the dissolution of that house, the site of Chertsey was finally granted to Sir William Fitzwilliam.
Its abbot enjoyed the dignity of sitting in parliament; and at the dissolution, its revenues were valued at six hundred and fifty-nine pounds.
Here the remains of the pious and unfortunate Henry the Sixth were privately buried, but were afterwards removed to Windsor, and re-interred with all the funeral honours due to his rank.
A drawing of the abbey, which, however, gives no idea of monastic magnificence, and a map of the lands adjoining, are to be seen in a book relating to the possessions of the monastery, kept in the king’s remembrancer’s olfice in the exchequer, and deposited there at the period of the dissolution.
The spot whereon it stood, with some grounds about it, were granted by Oueen Anne to Doctor Batty.
It was afterwards sold to Sir John Wayte, who about the year 1710 built an handsome house on it; which, with the lands, he sold to a Mr. Hinde; from whom it passed by purchase to Mr. Barwell, formerly governor of Ben- ffa l • and in his family it still continues.
Some of the ruins of this abbey existed in the early part of the present century ; hut not a vestige of them now remains.
A very old woman, who died about twenty years ago, was used to relate, that when she was a girl, her father, who was a bricklayer, took down an old tower, in which huno- a bell, that was supposed to have been employed in calling the monks to prayer; hut was then removed to Eton college for a far better purpose, to summon the scholars to school.
—Cowley the poet retired to this town, and died here in 1G67.
\ he house where he resided still retains its ancient form, though incapable of receiving another inhabitant.
It is the property of that worthy magistrate and excellent man, Alderman Clark, of London.
In the neighbourhood of this place is a very remarkable, and perhaps solitary example of an uninterrupted continuance of hereditary possession, in a small farm occupied by a person of the name of Wapshote; whose ancestors appear, from the most satisfactory documents, to have successively lived on the spot, ever since the reign of Alfred, when this individual little property was granted to Reginald de Wapshote, the progenitor of the present family.
" At Cheortesey," says Leland, " there is a goodly bridge of wood over the Tamise;" hut an elegant structure of stone now supplies its place, from a design of Mr. Payne, which was completed in 1785.
It consists of five principal and two collateral arches, with projecting balconies over the abutments.
We now return to our voyage; and, on the first turn of the stream, Botleys, the elegant seat of Sir Joseph Mawbey, is seen to great advantage, at the distance of about two miles on the Surrey side of the river.
Chertsey mead stretches on in a fine display of luxuriant verdure, and the grounds of Wooburn farm rise from it in a very beautiful but highly enriched brow, whose verdant swells and tufted groves, too soon yield to the osiery shores that obstruct the prospect o! it.
The idea of introducing every rural circumstance within the verge of a garden was first conceived, as well as completed, by Philip Southcote, Esquire, on this spot, in the early part of the present century; when he gave an example of the ornamented farm, which is now become a very principal branch in the art of modern gardening.
Wooburn farm, which was the first ferine ornee in point of time, continues to preserve an equal rank as to completeness of character and execution.
The brow of the hill commands two lovely prospects, the one gay and extensive, over a fertile plain watered by the Thames, and broken by Saint Anne’s hill and Windsor castle: Chertsey mead lies just below, spreading in a rich lawn to the banks of the river over which Chertsey-bridge is seen to stretch its arches: beyond it the country is full of farms, villages, and villas, and every mark of cultivation and opulence.
The other view is more wooded; the steeple of a church or the turrets of a seat, sometimes rise above the trees, and the different windings of the Thames are terminated by Walton Bridge, a conspicuous object, that enriches the scene.
This charming place is become the property of Lord Petre.

WALTON BRIDGE from Oatlands

The river now affords no objects but osiers on the right, and a dreary towing-path on the left, till it approaches, in a bold meander, to Elam farm, rich in verdure, and trees of luxuriant beauty.
A small rivulet steals through the grounds from the Wey into the Thames; and the Wey is soon seen to yield its waters to the sovereign river.
This charming retirement is the seat of the Earl of Portmore, at Weybridge in Surrey.
The house is an handsome regular structure; the park contains five hundred acres, and, though an entire flat, possesses many agreeable parts, and derives no common beauty from its confluent rivers.
The opposite meadows, by a few scattered clumps, are made to harmonize with the general scene.
This place received its earliest improvements from the Countess of Dorchester, in the reign of James the Second.
The river Wey rises near Alton in Hampshire, and enters the county of Surrey in the vicinity of Farnham, a place remarkable for its plantations of hops.
It is a considerable market-town, whose name is supposed to have been derived from the great quantity of fern which formerly grew about it.
Henry Blois, bishop of Winchester, in the reign of his brother, King Stephen, built a castle here; which, being made the retreat of rebels, was demolished by the command of Henry the Third: but it was afterwards rebuilt by the bishops of Winchester, to whom it still belongs.
It was, however, again destroyed by Waller’s army, in the civil wars of the last century; and the present episcopal palace was erected by bishop Morley contiguous to it.
The ruins of a large tower, called Jesus Tower, now serve as a garden.
On a branch of the Wey, and not far from the main stream, are th'e remains of Waverley abbey, the first of the Cistercian order established in England.
It was founded in the year 112S, by William Gifford, bishop of Winchester.
It possessed thirteen monks at the dissolution, and was then valued at one hundred and ninety-six pounds per annum.
It was granted, with its estate, to Sir William Fitzwilliam, in the twenty-eighth year of Henry the Eighth.
Great part of this abbey was irreverently pulled down, for the materials, by the Holdhams, and Mr. Child, while it was in their possession.
Its site is now the property of Sir Charles Rich: and the ruins, which are still considerable, and piously preserved, give a venerable and solemn decoration to the pleasure grounds that adorn his elegant seat.
The Wey now takes a south-eastern course to Godaiming, a neat ancient town situate on the high road to Portsmouth, and soon reaches Guilford, a place of the first consideration in the county where it stands.
Its situation is remarkable, being on the sides of two chalk hills, sloping down to the river, that runs in a narrow channel between them.
On the south side of the northernmost of these hills, on an artificial mound, stands the castle, a square building of flints, ragstones, and Roman brick, with considerable outworks about it.
The churches and other edifices also bear evident marks of the antiquity and former importance of this town.
It is governed by a mayor, aldermen, and bailiffs, and has sent members to parliament since the twenty-third year of Edward the First.
It gave the title of Earl to the Duke of Lauderdale, which being extinct, Sir Francis North, lord keeper, was, in 1682, advanced to the title of Baron Guilford, by Charles the Second ; and his grandson Francis to that of Earl of Guilford, by George the Second, in 1752.
From this place the river Wey is navigable for vessels of considerable burthen; and taking its course by Woking, once a royal mansion, enters the Thames at Weybridge.
The navigation of the Thames will also be increased by the canal which is just completed from Basingstoke in Hampshire; and forms a junction with the Wey, about a mile before it reaches Weybridge.
The winding character of the Thames in this part of it, gives a very pleasing variety to the adjacent objects.
The little tower of Shepperton church, and the grand sweeping brow of Oatlands appear in a succession of different views.
On approaching Shepperton, it forms a very pretty group of houses and trees, with the church rising above them.
An inclosed ground in this parish, called Warr Close, where spears, spurs, and bones have been found, is supposed to have been the field of battle between Caesar and Cassivelanus; and at a small distance to the west, is part of a Roman camp, engraved by Doctor Stukeley.
In this part of the river, where it makes a bold sweep to the right, the hanging grounds of Oatlands, which had been before seen but in parts, present themselves in a long range of sylvan beauty.
This place, which is of considerable extent, and very highly embellished, is now the property and residence of his Royal Highness the Duke of York.
Its terrace is well known for the peculiar circumstances of its beautiful prospect.
The Thames is seen, at some distance, as it flows near Walton-bridge; and a large body of water, that stretches on beneath the terrace, is so contrived as to have the appearance of uniting with the river; and, from the judicious concealment of its terminations, might be considered as the Thames itself; while it is of a size and form calculated to preserve the character it assumes.
But besides the effect produced by Walton-bridge in assisting this admirable deception, it becomes, by the aid of its collateral arches, an imposing object in the landscape.
This place owes its improvements to the late Duke of Newcastle, its former possessor, when lie was Earl of Lincoln; and the grotto, which is the finest of its kind in the kingdom, was formed and arranged by the superintending taste of the late Lady Lincoln.
On Saint George’s hill, between this place and Cobham, are the remains of a Roman encampment.
The river still continues to meander, and, in one broad bend flows down to Hawford, a small place in Middlesex, which, from its situation in the central point of two angles made by the stream, commands an home scene of peculiar beauty.
The rich brow of Oat- lands, with its hanging glades, and the meads from whence it appears to rise, fills the whole line of prospect beyond the water; a picturesque part of Walton-bridge is seen above a projecting meadow to the left, and is connected with Walton, of which the lodges at the entrance of Oatlands park form a part.
When we add the two fine reaches of the river, with the meadows through which it flows covered with cattle, we have endeavoured to convey some idea of the picture which we beheld from the banks of this little village.
At Coway Stakes, near this place, Camden is of opinion that Caesar passed the Thames, and entered the territories of Cassivelanus.
This account is disputed by other antiquaries in favour of the Medway; and it has been a subject of some controversy among them: but general Roy, in his magnificent work on the Military Expeditions of the Romans in Britain, supports the opinion of the venerable Camden by the following relation.
" Caesar now finding that there was no body of the enemy to obstruct his march, advanced towards the Thames.
Being arrived at the bank of the river, at a place where it was fordable, near Oatlands in Surrey, he saw the Britons drawn up on the opposite side, to prevent his passage.
Though the ford was made difficult, and the bank of the river fortified with sharp-pointed stakes, nevertheless Caesar ordered the cavalry to pass, and the foot to follow close behind them.
This was done so quickly, and the Britons were attacked with so much spirit, that they soon quitted the banks and fled."
Wooden stakes are still discernible at the bottom of the river; some of which, according to the report of the neighbourhood, have been taken up by antiquarian zeal, and formed into antiquarian toys.
We now approached Walton-bridge, which is built of a light- coloured brick, and ornamented with stone.
It consists of four principal arches, and a long range of collateral ones to preserve the road from inconvenience in times of flood.
At this place was the celebrated wooden bridge completed by the late Mr. Decker, in the year 1750, which contained an arch of an hundred feet in diameter, the mechanical arrangement of whose timbers rendered it an object of national curiosity: but its strength not proving equal to its beauty, it was thought expedient to take it down, and supply its place with a less elegant, but more solid, structure.
The village of Walton, whose parish is of large extent, and contains several country seats, is supposed to derive its name from a Roman station, of which considerable vestiges still remain.
The bridge appears to great advantage on a retrospective view; and, through the arches, which are of a large span.
Oatlands is seen once more in beautiful perspective.
The view now becomes confined by thick banks of osiers on either side of the river: but the turret of Sun- bury church soon appears; and.
in about two miles, we reached that sumptuous village, where a long range of fine houses enrich the shore ; which is contrasted by a flat uninteresting country on the Surrey side, enlivened by no object but the tower of Moulsey church.
A small opening into cultivated fields, with their shady back-ground, and the high-road passing through them, forms an agreeable contrast to the long continuance of buddings that distinguish Sunbury, which we had just passed, as well as to the mass of inferior houses in the village of Hampton, that we now approach.


The principal ornament of this place is the villa of the late David Garrick, and the present residence of his widow.
It is an elegant building, and, with its accessory circumstances, produces a very pretty effect, though little more than the pediment is seen from the water; the lower part of the facade being obscured by a lolty wall that screens it from the road; beneath which, an arch-way forms a communication between the lawn that falls down to the water, and the garden that is more immediately connected with the house.
On this lawn, which is shaped with great taste, is a Grecian rotunda, with an Ionic portico, that contains a fine statue of Shakspeare in white marble, by Roubiliac.
It is altogether a classic scene; while the temple of Shakspeare continues a beautiful object in the retrospective view, for a considerable way down the river.
But we were influenced, rather by the retrospect of our mind, directed to the first actor of the English stage, when we beheld this tribute whicli he paid to the first poet of it.
We, who remember well his matchless talents, are not afraid to declare, that we never knew abilities which, in a comparative scale of excellence, were ecjual to his; and that the clearest idea of perfection we ever possessed from human skill, was produced by his dramatic representations.
When therefore we viewed the place where he dwelled; when we saw that it retained, and promised long to retain, the beauty it received from him, we felt an heightened regret, that his unrivalled powers were passed for ever; that, in a few years, there will be no living memory of his excellence; and that the wonders of his genius will be so soon consigned to the fading care of traditionary fame.
The river is now divided by a line of islands of considerable length, pleasantly planted with trees, and in a state of cultivation.
The last of them, which is small, and near Hampton-court bridge, is decorated with weeping willows.
On taking the right hand channel of the river, the high elms of Bushey park, which approaches the bank, are seen across the islands ; while a part of Hampton-court bridge, appeared immediately before us, and the hills of Surrey occupied the distance.
The bridge is of wood, and of a light, airy construction.
At a small distance from it the Mole falls into the Thames.
This river, by some called the Swallow, proceeds from several springs in the southern part of the county of Surrey, which, uniting in Ryegate hundred, form one stream, that runs northward towards Dorking, a well known market-town in the same county.
From thence it passes beneath Box hill, and soon after, is generally believed to disappear and rise again in the vicinity of Letherhead, and from that circumstance is supposed to derive its name.
But the fact appears to be, that a tract of soft ground, near two miles in length, called the Swallows, in very dry seasons, absorbs the waste water in caverns in the sides of the banks; but not so as to prevent a constant stream from taking its course in an open channel above ground, winding round in the vallies from Dorking to Letherhead; though not of that breadth as when it crosses the road at Mickleham; beyond which, at Burford-bridge, its channel in very hot seasons is sometimes dry.
At Letherhead, which was, formerly, a market-town, it passes under a stone bridge of many arches, and from thence proceeds to Cobham.
It there skirts the beautiful grounds of Pains-hill, where Mr. Hamilton formed a paradise from the dreary waste, and which has been since possessed by the late Mr. Bond Hopkins.
The stream then continues to wind through a long succession of meadows, till it reflects the turrets, and refreshes the park, of Esher place.
The house, which is a stately edifice, formerly belonged to cardinal Wolsey; but, except the towers, was entirely rebuilt, in its original style of architecture, by the late Right Honourable Henry Pelham, in whose family it still remains.
The Mole now pursues its tranquil course to Moulsey, a village to which it gives a name, and from thence hastens to the Thames.


On the opposite shore is the palace of Hampton-court, which was begun by cardinal Wolsey in the year 1514, soon after his advancement to the see of York.
As a proof of its extent and magnificence, it contained two hundred and eighty silken beds for the accommodation of visiters, with suitable hangings, and the most costly furniture; but as the erection and splendid embellishment of this superb structure excited an uncommon degree of envy and malevolence against the cardinal, he, with his usual policy, prevented any premeditated mischief by presenting it to his sovereign, Henry the Eighth, who greatly enlarged and adorned it.
It was then a very fine palace, as we may judge from the following account given by Hentzner, who visited it in the time of Oueen Elizabeth.
The chief area is paved with square stone: in its centre is a fountain that throws up water, covered with a gilt crown; on the top of which is a statue of justice, supported by columns of black and white marble.
The chapel of this palace is most splendid, in which the queen's closet is quite transparent, having its windows of crystal.
We were led into two chambers, called the presence or audience chambers, which shone with tapestry of gold and silver, and silk of different colours: here is besides, a small chapel richly hung with tapestry, where the queen performs her devotions.
In her bedchamber, the bed was covered with very costly coverlids of silk.
At no great distance from this room we were shewn a bed, the tester of which was worked by Anne Boleyn, and presented by her to her husband, Henry the Eighth.
All the other rooms, being very numerous, are adorned with tapestry of gold, silver, and velvet.
In the hall are these curiosities.
—A very clear looking-glass, ornamented with columns and little images of alabaster; a portrait of Edward the Sixth, brother to Oiieen Elizabeth, the true portrait of Lucretia; a picture of the battle of Pavia; the history of Christ’s passion, carved in mother of pearl; the portrait of Mary Oueen of Scots; the picture of Ferdinand Prince of Spain, and of Philip his son; that of Henry the Eighth, under which was placed a Bible, curiously written upon parchment, an artificial sphere, and several musical instruments.
In the tapestry are represented negroes riding on elephants; and there is also the bed in which Edward the Sixth is said to have been born; and where bis mother, Jane Seymour died in childbed.
In one chamber were several excessively rich tapestries, which are hung up when the queen gives audience to foreign ambassadors : there were also numbers of cushions, ornamented with gold and silver; with many counterpanes and coverlids of beds lined with ermine.
In short, all the walls of the palace shine with gold and silver.
Here is also a certain cabinet called Paradise, where, besides that every thing glitters with silver, gold, and jewels, there is a musical instrument made all of glass, except the strings.
Afterwards we were led into the gardens, which were most pleasant."
This palace, the favourite residence of so many kings, was the prison of Charles theFirst, in 1647 .
of its ancient grandeur little now remains, except the stately Gothic hall, which was, in the last reign, fitted up as a theatre by Oueen Caroline, though it was not used more than eight times for the purpose of dramatic representation.
But Hampton-court received its present magnificent form from the partial favour of King William the Third, and the superior genius of Sir Christopher Wren; and is well worthy of the architect who built, and the sovereign who inhabited it.
The facade towards the garden extends three hundred and thirty feet; and that which presents itself with so much grandeur to the Thames, is, within a few feet, of the same length.
Though built with a very red brick, which is by no means favourable to the display of modern architecture, the design is conceived in the true style of magnificence, possesses, in an high degree, and almost exclusively in this kingdom, what may be called the palace character; and is suited to the residence of a British monarch.
The very numerous apartments are fitted up in great splendour, according to the fashion of their day, and contain a prolusion of valuable portraits and other pictures of the first masters.
The cartoons of Raphael, which were once the boast of this palace, where a gallery was expressly built for their reception, have been removed to Windsor castle.
The gardens and park are about three miles in circumference ; but the former retain all the formal arrangements of their original disposition.
The manor of Hampton was given by Lady Gray to the Knights Hospitallers, and, according to Tanner, there appears to have been an house for some sisters of that order, before they were all removed to Buckland in the year 11 SO.
Hampton was erected into an honour by Henry the Eighth.
The Thames washes two sides of Hampton-court park, into which there are occasional views from the water; and its trees, always rising above the pale, serve to enrich the bank.
The park pavilions are very pretty objects, and happily call the eye hom the very unattractive village of Thames Ditton, on the opposite shore.
At a very small distance beyond them, the river makes rather a sudden bend to the left, and passes before a succession of three delightful villas, whose forms and surrounding pleasure grounds are so happily contrasted, that they give a rich and elegant variety to the Surrey side of the stream.
On the approach to Kingston, which now succeeds, the tower of the church is seen to rise above a large mass of houses, intermingled with the vanes of malt-kilns: we were glad, therefore, to catch a distant and imperfect view of Richmond hill, through the openings of a wooden bridge that disgraces the river.
Kingston upon Thames is an ancient market and corporate town : it sent members to parliament in the fourth, fifth, and sixth years of Edward the Second, and the forty-seventh of Edward the Third, and ceased to be a borough in consequence of a petition from the corporation to be relieved from that burthen.
Its name is derived from har ing been the residence of certain Saxon kings.
Lambarde says, that it has a claim to the title of regia villa (the royal or king’s town), " bothe for that it had been some house for the princes, and also bycause dyvers kinges had been anoynted theare."
Edward the Elder, his son Athelstan, Edmund, Edred, Edwy, Edward the Martyr, and Ethelred, who reigned in the tenth century, are recorded to have been crowned in this place.
A council was held in this town even at a more early period, in the year 838, at which Egbert, his son Athelwolf, with all the bishops and nobles of the land, were present.
Among other immunities granted to it by preceding kings, Edward the Fourth gave it a charter of incorporation, by the name of the Bailiffs and Freemen of Kingston, which was confirmed, with the addition of many other privileges, by several succeeding monarchs.
The town hall, which stands in the market-place, was built in the reign of Oueen Elizabeth, to whose bounty this place is indebted for a grammar school, founded on the site of a religious house, whose chapel is now used as the school-room.
The church is a considerable structure, though no part of it appears to be more ancient than the reign of Richard the Second.
The bridge is of very great antiquity, as the master and brethren of the bridge at Kingston is mentioned in records at so early a period as the reign of Henry the Third.
The manor of Kingston was a royal demesne, both in the reign of Edward the Confessor and William the Conqueror.
It was granted by King John to the corporation, to whom it still belongs.
A small stream, called Hogs-mill river, over which there is a bridge of three arches runs through the southern part of the town, and falls into the Thames.
From this ancient place the river, in a gently bending reach, brings us to Tedclington, a corruption of its ancient name, Tide-ending; town: and though the tide has been checked in its flow by the bridges that have been erected on the lower part of the river, it still continues, but with an enfeebled wave, to reach this place.
It is a pretty village, whose little church, with the adjoining villas, and their ornamental gardens, render it a pleasing picture from the water.
Thus has the Thames borne us on its stream to the tide:—in the succeeding volume, it will bear us on its tide to the sea.
END of volume THE FIRST.