From Its Source in Gloucestershire to the Nore;
with Observations on the Public Buildings and Other Works of Art in Its Vicinity.
In Two Volumes [both of which are here].
SAMUEL IRELAND, Thomas Egerton (bookseller).
on Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide

[I have here presented Ireland's text and images in a much more accessible form]

Frontispiece Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
London, June 1, 1799.
Published by T & J Egerton, Whitehall .
[See reference in Preface below]


My Lord,
Slender as my pretensions are to the public favor, I have the greater reason to shelter myself under a distinguished patronage.
Your Lordship's sanction of my labors will be a powerful recommendation; the true taste which you you are well known to possess in the fine arts, and to which you have contributed so many elegant specimens, emboldens me, however otherwise diffident; and prompts me to hope that my attempt may not prove altogether unworthy of the public eye.

Amidst the many elegant scenes displayed on the banks of the river Thames, few are more deservedly celebrated than those which your Lordship enjoys; and which receive additional recommendation from the condescension with which they are rendered accessible.
Plain and unadorned language, raised scarce above the style of common narrative, may, perhaps, fall short of the dignity of the subject; but to have aimed at one more luxuriant, by blending the simplicity of prose with the fanciful ornaments of poetic diction, would have been still farther remote from the true province of this work, which, professing to hold up the most faithful mirror to nature, takes as little licence with the pencil as the pen.

I Flatter myself, your Lordship will not disapprove the frequent references to antiquity.
The subject, rich as it is, would have wanted wanted interest without them; and your partiality to that source of information will besides give farther sanction to my pursuit.
I have the Honor,
My Lord,
To subscribe myself,
With great Respect,
Your Lordship's
Very obliged and obedient Servant,

Jan ?, 1799


Encouraged by the very favorable reception which the public has given to
A Picturesque Illustration of a Tour on the Continent,
the author of this work has been induced to gratify a wish long since formed, of attempting to display the rich scenery of his own country, a country where nature and art are so happily combined, as to adorn and fertilize even its remotest parts, and to have not only afforded the means of happiness, but added luxury to the enjoyments of a great people. Upon entering into such a discussion, the object that naturally first engages our attention is the river Thames, a scene of industry, and a source of oppulence, to which we owe so much both in convenience, salubrity, and every relative blessing that can add to the greatness of the first commercial city in the world.

Indeed it is rather matter of surprise, amidst the numerous publications on the subject of picturesque scenery, which have lately employed the pen and pencil of our writers and artists, that so leading and capital a feature in landscape should not have caught the eye, and have pre-occupied the powers of some one, perhaps, better skilled in description, though not less ardent in admiration of its picturesque beauties.

In illustrating the present pursuit, the bridges are certainly the principle objects, and from their number will naturally exclude that variety of scenery, which would otherwise more fully have diversified the subject.
Such other views, however, as are introduced, have been selected as the best suited to characterise the face of the country.
They are all from the pencil of the author;
(except the view of Strawberry-hill, which is from a drawing given to him seven or eight years ago, by his late valuable friend Francis Grose):
the principal part of them were taken in the summer of 1790, the others from sketches made several years since, when the idea of this work first suggested itself, in consequence of frequent excursions on this noble river.
In the descriptive part he has aimed at a plain and simple style of narrative, and rejected the technical phraseology of art, judging that

Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchanged and universal light;
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At one the source, and end, and test of art.

In the historic parts little more could be done, than to endeavour at a judicious selection of such passages from the learned as appeared best calculated to give information; and in this, as far as the compass of his work would admit, he is willing to hope he has been in some degree successful.
The engravings are executed by the same artist who was engaged in the former work, and the writer flatters himself equally merit a claim to the public approbation.
The superior excellence of the figure of Thames, at the entrance to Somerset-place, which was modelled by John Bacon, Esq. R.A., is a work of such superior excellence, as to render any apology for its introduction here as a frontispiece, unnecessary.

The maps annexed to these volumes are added merely to display the course of the river, not as correct geographical delineations of the counties through which it passes.

Map1 Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Course of the RIVER THAMES

Thames Head, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Thames Head bridge &c.
The engine with sails, which appears in the annexed view,
raises water from the head, and by its mechanical power,
throws up several tons of water every minute,
supplying the Thames and Severn canal.


The source of the Thames, this first of British rivers, is derived from a copious spring, called Thames Head, near the village of Tarlton, about two miles south-west of Cirencester, and is contiguous to the fosse-way leading to Somersetshire.

Though I could have wished to have introduced into this work, a view of the source itself, I have yet thought fit to exhibit an adjoining spot [picture above] in preference, as forming a better object for the pencil.

Which Source? Which name?

Some writers have asserted, that the source of this river is in the neighbourhood of Cobberly, in Gloucestershire, at a place called Seven-Wells Head; but as the former opinion is most prevalent, I shall date the present enquiry from thence.

The name also of this river has long been matter of controversy, even amongst the learned, on whom we ought to rely; it therefore becomes necessary previously to investigate the various opinions and authorities that have been advanced on the subject.
The vulgar appellation it bears above Oxford is Thame-Isis, evidently formed from a combination of the words Thame and Isis; the supposed conflux of which gave rise to a poem of some eminence, called "The Marriage of Thame and Isis".
How this river obtained the latter name, or at what period, I cannot learn: Stow seems to concur in this poetical fiction, and deems every one ignorant who gives the river anyother appellation than that of Isis; but to shew that no great reliance is to be placed on his opinion, I will use his own words, which are so flatly contradictory to themselves as to invalidate his authority: he says, in the fifth chapter of his Survey of London, that
"the Thames beginneth a little above a village called Winchcomb in Oxfordshire, and still increasing, passeth first by the university of Oxford, &c. to London",
and in the next chapter, that the Isis
"goeth unto Thame in Oxfordshire" (which is more than fifteen miles below Oxford)
"where joining with a river of the same denomination, it loseth the name of Isis or Ouse, and from thence is called Thamesis all along as it passeth."
As Master Stow, therefore, does not seem to understand himself, I must, to clear up this disputed point, refer to Camden, on whose authority I am inclined to rely.
He says,
"it plainly appears, that the river was always called Thames, or Tems, before it came near the (town of) Thame; and that in several ancient charters, granted to the abbey of Malmesbury, as well as that of Enesham; and from the old deeds relating to Cricklade, it is never considered under any other name, than that of Thames."
To prove this assertion, he instances, that
"in an ancient charter granted to abbot Adhelm, there is mention made of certain lands upon the east part of the river,—cujus vocabulum Temis, juxta vadum qui appellatur Summerford; and this ford is in Wiltshire."
He likewise says, it no where occurs under the name of Isis.

All historians, who mention the incursions of Ethelwold into Wiltshire, A.D. 905, or of Canute, in 1016, concur likewise in the same opinion, by declaring,
"that they passed over the Thames at Cricklade."
There is still further reason for confiding in these authorities, as it is not probable, that the Thames Head, an appellation by which the source has usually been distinguished, should give birth to a river of the name of Isis, which river, after having run half its course, should reassume the name of Thames, the appellation of its parent spring.
As to the origin of its name, it may possibly be derived from the Saxon Temere, or from the British word Tavuys, which implies a gentle stream, and from which many rivers in this island derive their appellation; as as Tame in Staffordshire, Teme in Herefordshire, Tamar in Cornwall, &c.
Having thus briefly, and from the best authority adducible, endeavoured to establish the name of the river which is the present subject of discussion, I flatter myself, I shall avoid the imputation of blending the history of two rivers, where I mean only to treat of one—the THAMES.

Thames Head

The great supply of water, that swells the early course of this river, the Thames Head, is occasioned by the first heavy fall of snow and rain in the winter season, from different parts of the wolds or hills in Gloucestershire; which, pouring into the valleys beneath, unites with the springs in Kemble Vale, contiguous to the Thames Head.


The village of Kemble, from which this vale takes its name, is finely situated on an eminence, and commands a rich extent of scenery, happily diversified by the easy winding of the stream, which terminates in a faint view of the Oxfordshire hills.
About a mile below the source of the river is the first mill constructed for grinding corn, which is called Kemble mill; near which the stream receives considerable accession from several springs issuing out of the eastern side of the wolds, as well as others that flow from Ash? coppice, and the vicinity of Somerford; at which place the river may properly be said to form a constant current; which, though not more than nine feet wide in the summer months, yet in the winter season becomes such a torrent as to overflow, the neighbouring meadows for many miles around;

When the calm river, raised with sudden rains,
Or snows dissolved, o'erflows th'adjoining plains.

In the summer months, the Thames Head is so perfectly dry, as to appear no other than a large dell, interspersed with stones and weeds.
From Somerford the stream gently winds its course to the village of Ashton Keynes, and thence to the town of Cricklade, where being united with the river Churn from Cirencester, and other streams from Malmesbury, Barnesly, and the Eastern side of Wiltshire, they form unitedly a river sufficient for the navigation of boats of about seven tons burthen.

Thames and Severn Canal

Sapperton Tunnel, Thames & Severn Canal,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Entrance to the Tunnel leading to Sapperton Hill, Gloucestershire

The new canal, formed by the junction of the Thames and Severn navigation, is an object so nearly connected, as not to be thought irrelevant to the present enquiry and at the same time, of such importance, as to warrant the introduction of it.
This canal may be considered as the most elaborate and stupendous work of art that, perhaps, any country, has yet accomplished; in uniting two of the noblest rivers in this kingdom.
A project was formed more than a century ago to join these rivers, and a survey made by Joseph Moxon, hydrographer to King Charles II. to prove its practicability.
The idea is likewise suggested by Mr. Pope, in a letter to the Honorable Mr.Digby, dated 1722, which, as it is written with a strong poetic and lively imagination, I shall give in his own words:—

"I could pass whole days in only describing the future, and as yet visionary, beauties that are to rise in those scenes (in Lord Bathurst's woods, at Cirencester) the palace that is to be built, the pavilions that are to glitter, the colonades that are to adorn them; nay more, the meeting of the Thames and 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 a hundred years hence: but till this destined time shall arrive, that is to manifest those wonders, Mrs. Digby must content herself with seeking what is at present no more than the finest wood in England."

That once distant period is now arrived, and the happy junction accomplished, under the survey of an able engineer, Mr. Robert Whitworth, in 1782.

It may not be improper to mention, that a canal was formed by act of parliament, in 1730, from the Severn to Wallbridge, near Stroud, at which place the present work commences: The new canal ascends by Stroud, through the vale of Chalford, to the height of three hundred and forty-three feet, by means of twenty-eight locks, and from thence to the entrance of the tunnel near Sapperton, a distance of about seven miles three furlongs.
The canal is forty-two feet in width at top, and thirty at the bottom; proper warehouses are constructed on its banks for the reception of merchandize from the Severn vessels, and convenience of lading the navigation barges.
The canal is continued by a subterraneous passage or tunnel, excavated beneath Sapperton hill, and under that part of Lord Bathurst's grounds called Haley wood, making a distance of two miles and three furlongs.
The tunnel, the entrance to which is the subject of the view annexed to this section, is near fifteen feet in width, and has sufficient depth of water to navigate barges from sixty to seventy tons burthen; these barges are about eighty feet in length, twelve in width, and draw about four feet of water when loaded; hence the canal descending one hundred and thirty-four feet, by fourteen locks, joins the Thames at Lechlade, a distance of about twenty miles and two furlongs.
This work has been achieved, with immense labor and perseverance, out of a loose rock rock of lime and stone; and, to secure the water, it is lined throughout with well-tempered clay.
Over this canal are many handsome bridges of single arches, particularly that at Thames Head, (as described in the view prefixed [above],) from whence this canal receives a considerable body of water, as well as at Cirencester, where it is again supplied from the river Churn.
Near the south west side of the town of Cirencester a large basin is constructed, with wharfs and warehouses for the convenience of this navigation.
The basin is supplied with water by an aqueduct formed under Lord Bathurst's pleasure grounds, which are before his house.
The length of the canal from the Severn at Froomlade to Inglesham, where it joins the river Thames, is more than thirty miles; the expence of which has considerably exceeded the sum of two hundred thousand pounds, three thousand of which, I am credibly informed by a principal proprietor, have been expended in the gun-powder alone, used for the purpose of blowing up the rock.
This immense work was completed on the 14th of November, 1789, within a period of less than seven years from its commencement.
Nor is it an easy task to describe the various advantages that seem likely to be derived from its extensive communication with the different parts of Wales, Bristol, Gloucester, Shrewsbury, &c.; its more upland navigation, as connected with the canals of Staffordshire and Worcestershire, and its immediate intercourse with the Thames from Lechlade towards Oxford, Wallingford, &c. to London:
so various, and so important, are the benefits derived from hence, both to the individual and the public, the inhabitant who receives with little expense the produce of the most distant quarter of the island delivered at his own door, and the traveller who passes smoothly and securely by it through roads no longer cut to pieces with heavy carriages, that it is much to be wished this work may prove as beneficial to the spirited and enterprising proprietors, as it is a blessing to more than the countries through which it passes.
The course of this canal having brought me to Earl Bathurst's grounds, so highly famed for their many beauties in point of natural situation, as well as artificial culture; I should deem myself deficient in observation were I to pass them unnoticed.
This extensive park is more than twelve miles in circumference; and is intersected by four grand vistas, each of which forms a happy termination of extensive scenery.
Approaching the house, the view towards Cirencester combines a fine assemblage of buildings, not amusing only, but very striking to the imagination at first sight; yet the tower of a Gothic church rising so immediately over a modern mansion, and seeming to form a part of it, upon a more deliberate view presents to the mind rather an heterogeneous mass, or accidental form of beauty, than such a correct model, as would be proper to record by the pencil.
It seems incongruous as the fabulous centaur, or as "Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam Jungere si velit".
In passing these grounds, the mind naturally reverts to that Augustan period, in which some of the brightest literary characters that ever at any one time adorned this country, gave additional splendor to this enchanting spot.

These scenes could Addison's chaste notes inspire.
Here Pope harmonious struck his silver lyre,
Caught 'midst these solemn shades the glorious plan,
To vindicate the ways of God to man.

Arbuthnot here, and Swift, with useful art,
Reared Satire's dreaded scourge, or steeled her dart.
Here, Prior, the Graces formed thy softer lay;
And taught the moral strains to blameless Gay.
Each pleased the master's praises to engage,
The famed Mæcenas of that happier age!

Pye's Farringdon Hill.

The table on which the immortal Pope once reclined, I am informed, has since quitted the service of the Muses, and is now removed to a common alehouse in the neighbourhood.

The town of Cirencester is famed for its antiquity, many evident marks of which are still remaining to prove it was formerly a Roman station, and the fragments of the old walls evince it to have been a place of considerable defence, and in size not inferior to any town in the county.

As it was not the intention to confine myself entirely to a description of picturesque objects on the banks of the Thames, I shall digress a little for the sake of mentioning some superior works of art, which I found at Badminton, the seat of the duke of Beaufort, in my route to Bath; the excellence of some, and the rare preservation of others (particularly the gallery of portraits) render them highly meriting the notice of the antiquary and admirer of the arts.
Among the portraits, that of John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III. is a fine specimen of painting at that early period.
The armour in particular is finished with exquisite precision, richly embossed with gold, and has more the air of a splendid birth-day suit, than a covering for defence in battle.
The portrait, likewise, of his eldest son, the duke of Beaufort, is not inferior to the former.
In this collection is the famous satirical picture picture of Fortune, by Salvator Rosa, mentioned in Bernardo Dominici's lives of the Neapolitan artists.
It was painted while he was at Rome, and there publickly exhibited at the feast of St. John, to the great mortification of his brother share.
The writings of this great artist were in equal estimation with his pictures, and from their pointed satirical allusions, drew forth an equal number of enemies.
For one of them, he was driven into exile; and there is an excellent portrait of him by himself, in this collection, drawn with a scroll of paper in his hand, said to be the satire for which he was banished.
Here is likewise a beautiful portrait of that exquisite artist, Guido, from his own pencil in a large high-crowned hat and black drapery; and one of Cornelius Janson, by himself, in a singular attitude, with the two fore-fingers of the right hand in an upright posture.
I mention these pictures, as well for their great excellence, as that it may be a means of procuring prints from them, which I do not remember to have seen.
Several pictures by Berchem, Teniers, &c.
will be found to merit the highest encomium.
The cartooon in the chapel, painted in chiaro oscuro, is certainly the work of a great master.
The subject is the Transfiguration.
It is said to be by the hand of Raphael, and, at his interment, to have been selected from his other works, and carried on his bier; but I suspect this not to have been the fact, as it is most probable the finished picture at Rome would have obtained that singular honor.
This cartoon is in size about eleven feet by nine, and seems to have been originally much larger; it has suffered greatly by time.
That this work was not added to the cartoons in the royal collection, is a circumstance much to be lamented; an offer of three thousand pounds is reported to have been made for that purpose, but refused by its noble owner.

Returning towards Cirencester, I cannot avoid mentioning the church at Tetbury, a modern structure recently finished from a plan of Mr. Hiorne, of Warwick, which for taste and simplicity in the Gothic, without redundancy of parts, is the happiest selection I remember to have any where seen.

Having, in the first section, aimed at a brief account of the course of the Thames from its source to the town of Cricklade, I shall resume the subject at that place, the name of which has given rife to much controversy.
A Greek school was anciently founded here, or rather restored, by the learned archbishop of Canterbury, Theodorus, and afterwards translated to Oxford; from this school the name of Greeklade is said to have been given to the town: but Camden thinks, and with more probability, that it derives its appellation from the British Cerigwlad, i.e.
a stoney country, which epithet well agrees with the nature of its soil. The town was formerly of much repute; at present neither the derivation of its name, or its former consequence, entitle it to much notice; it being only remarkable for a very large parish church—for the mode by which they convey their dead to interment, (which is by fastening the coffin on the front of a post-chaise)—and for the provision, which, while they had the power, they were accustomed to make for the living, by a more high-priced, than constitutional, estimate of their borough franchises.

[ This next paragraph and image is shown by Ireland in the Lechlade section but seems appropriate here, ]

In the lower church-yard, at Cricklade, is a curious ancient cross, of which, though I have not been able to procure the history, the annexed sketch will give some idea.

Cricklade Cross,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Cricklade Cross

At Cricklade we found the stream so shallow, as not to be in many places more than fourteen inches deep, and so overgrown with weeds, as to be rendered scarcely navigable even for the smallest fishing-boat.

Eisey Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Eisey Bridge, Wiltshire

In pursuing the course of the stream, about a mile below this town, we find the first bridge, which is constructed of wood, with a hand-rail merely for the safety of foot-passengers.
The sketch of it may serve to point out the humble state of this noble river and its appendages near its source, as contrasted with its more expanded course and magnificent decorations as it approaches the capital, where

With rapid course it seeks the sacred main,
And fattens, as it runs, the fruitful plain.

From this wooden bridge, which is called Eisey bridge, the town of Cricklade forms a pleasing termination of prospect across the intervening meadows, which though flat, and rather uninteresting, are happily relieved and intersected by the winding current of the stream.

Castle Eaton

Below Water Eaton, there is little variation of prospect, till we reach Castle Eaton, where there is a small bridge and water-mill, so pleasingly combined with other objects of rural and unaffected scenery, as to render them worthy the pencil of the first artiSt.


Kempsford,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Kempsford, Wiltshire

Approaching Kempsford, a large village in Gloucestershire, the river quits Wiltshire, and again enters its native county, dividing it from Berkshire at Inglesham, where the scenery is greatly improved, by the combination of an ancient Gothic church, with its usual appendage, a comfortable vicarage-house: these are pleasantly situated on a verdant slope, rising from the margin of the Thames, which, though shallow, is yet beautifully transparent, and, as it ripples in its course, displays a sheltered and gravelly bed, where the neighbouring cattle luxuriantly balk themselves in the noon-tide sun.
Within this pleasant retreat the Vicarage, we found, not the vicar, but his locum tenens, an humble Welsh curate, with a wife and two children, existing on twenty five pounds a year, and honestly confessing he had, on this side the grave, no wish beyond the addition of ten pounds to his salary; and could he have obtained this, he might have said with Swift ,
These things in my possessing, Are better than the bishop's blessing.
Surely if the wish of this honest curate be sincere, and his morals equal to his simplicity, he cannot fall very short of the character of a primitive christian.

Adjoining to the church, which is a venerable old structure, there lately stood a very extensive mansion-house, once occupied by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
He resided here for some time, but taking a dislike to the place, on account of the unfortunate death of his only son (which happened here) he granted the manor of Kenemeres, Kenemeresford, or Kempsford, with other other lands, to the collegiate church of St. Mary the Less, Newark, or New Work, of which he was the founder, 28 of Ed. III.
Within the tower of the church, on the capitals of the pillars, are the arms of this duke, of the earl of Gloucester, and of king Alfred; and on the outside of the church door is nailed a large horse-shoe, said to have belonged to Henry IV.
This ancient mansion has, by order of its possessor, lord Coleraine, been levelled to the ground, within the last six years, when the materials Were purchased by Loveden, Esq; of Burscott Park, with which he has erected an elegant modern house.
The out-offices and grand entrance to this extensive building are yet standing, and are occupied as farm-houses.


About three miles from this village is situated the town of Fairford, rendered famous by its church and painted windows.
Its founder, John Tames, was a considerable merchant, and in the fifteenth century commanded a large vessel, in which he captured a Spanish ship bound for Rome.
The cargo, among other valuables, consisted of a great quantity of painted glass, intended for his holiness the pope; this part of the prize he brought to his patrimonial estate, where he erected the church, a handsome structure, purposely to deposit these paintings, which consist of twenty-eight in number, and are intended to illustrate some striking passages in the Old and New Testament.
They are handed down to us as the works of Albert Durer, which, contrary to the received opinion, I by no means credit.
The original designs may possibly have been by him; if so, much of their excellence has been lost by their being copied on the glass, as in point of drawing they are very defective.
The figures of the prophets are in every respect, in my estimation, by much the best part of the work.
On the whole, though there is much clearness and brilliancy in the colouring, yet they are much inferior to what I expected, from the high eulogiums I had often heard on their merit.

Hannington Bridge

The river from Kempsford increases considerably in width as it approaches the town of Lechlade, a distance of about six miles, in which course are several weirs, and one large wooden bridge at Hannington, from whence Highworth church and village appear in the distance, forming a pleasing object.


About three miles below Hannington is Inglesham, where the Severn canal unites with the Thames, which is there considerably improved, by being cleared of its weeds and other impediments to navigation, through the the attention of the public-spirited proprietors in this undertaking.


Lechlade is a large town in Gloucestershire, situated on the confines of Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
The ground on which it stands was formerly called the Lade, from which appellation, conjoined with that of the contiguous river Lech, it derives its compound name, Lechlade. That river here empties itself into the Thames, which, at this place, is so much increased by the junction of the rivers Colne and Churn, as to be capable of navigating vessels from ninety to an hundred tons burthen.
In a meadow, near Lechlade, was lately discovered a large subterraneous building, supposed to have been a Roman bath; it is near fifty feet in length, forty in breadth, and four feet in height; and is supported by pillars pillars of brick, and curiously inlaid with stones of variegated colours.

[ Here Ireland refers to the cross in the churchyard at Cricklade, which section has been moved to the appropriate place above. ]

St John's Bridge, Lechlade,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
St John's and the adjoining bridge, across the new cut, near Lechlade, Gloucestershire

The river, from Lechlade, though considerably improved, has yet required the assistance of art to aid its navigation; a spacious cut, therefore, has been formed for that purpose, a little below the town, which runs nearly parallel with the old river, and contiguous to St. John's Bridge.
A handsome arch is thrown across this new cut, which with the old structure adjoining, forms no unpleasing object; the spire of Lechlade Church appearing over the bridge, and the singular circumstance of two navigable streams coming so nearly in contact, so highly enrich the scenery, as not to be overlooked by the eye of the picturesque traveller.
The old bridge is of great strength and antiquity; but I have not been able to procure any information of the period in which it was built.


About half a mile below the bridge, is the village of Burscott, on the confines of Berkshire, near which is a new lock and pound, just finished, which has the appearance of being well constructed, both for convenience, and dispatch of business.
On an eminence, at some distance, is Burscott Park; in which is erected the mansion of Mr. Loveden, from the remains of Kempsford house, as mentioned in the last section: the mere value of the lead found on this house amounted to five hundred pounds, for which sum the whole of the materials were purchased.
Mr. Loveden has added greatly to the beauty of his situation, by introducing into his park, at a considerable expence, a small canal, from the body of the river, which the constant attention of that gentleman has also considerably improved, by means of embankments, and the removal of various obstructions.
The growth, however, of the weeds with which it is over-run, though unpleasant to the eye, and an impediment to the navigation, is certainly the means of preserving many of its finny inhabitants from the ravage of the poacher.
The increase of weeds, it must likewise be observed, serves to restrain the current, and thereby keep up a greater body of water: their growth, as well as that of all subaqueous plants, is well known to have an increase proportionate to that of vegetation in the open air, after a shower of rain.

Ice forming on the bed of the River

Remarking that all the watermen, and persons concerned in the navigation, have an idea, and boldly assert, that the river, in this vicinity, freezes first at the bottom; and that they frequently find isicles and congelations adhering to the keels and bottoms of their boats, when there is no appearance of ice on the surface; and feeling myself not satisfied with this trite and vulgar opinion, I am induced to refer for a more philosophical and convincing proof of the assertion; when in Dr. Plott I find the following observation:—
That the watermen frequently meet the ice-meers, or cakes of ice, in their rise, and sometimes in the under-side including stones and gravel, brought with them ab imo; and he observes, it is consonant to reason, for that congelations come from the conflux of salts, before dispersed at large, is as plain as the vulgar experiment of freezing a pot by the fire; and that induration and weight come also from thence, sufficiently appears from the great quantities of them that are always found in stones, bones, testaceous, and all other weighty bodies.
He likewise seems to credit the assertion of a person who once saw a hatchet casually fall overboard into the river, near Wallingford, which was afterwards brought up and found in one of these ice-meers.—

As my author sometimes deals in the marvellous, I shall forbear any comment on these observations.

Kelmscott & Eaton Hastings

The scenery in this vicinity corresponds with the neglected state of the river, being flat, and very uninteresting, till by various windings of the stream, the distance expands, and a pleasing view of Farringdon Hill presents itself, which with the various easy slopes of the neighbouring hills, aided by the villages of Eaton on the right, and Kempscott on the Oxfordshire side of the river, happily relieve the eye, and convey no unpleasing idea to the admirers of the native beauties of English landscape.


Radcot Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Radcot Bridge and Faringdon Hill &c.

Radcote Bridge next presents itself to view; it is the oldest structure we have yet passed; but respecting the period in which it was raised, the common sources of information have failed.
From authentic accounts it appears, that a causeway was certainly begun in the neighbourhood, as early as William the Conqueror, most probably by Robert D'Oyley, who came over with him, and was a very distinguished man in his day he built Oxford Castle, and appears to have been concerned in another work of the same kind, leading from Friar Bacon's study, at Oxford.
This bridge and its vicinity are rendered famous by a considerable battle fought in the reign of Richard II. 1387, between his highly honored favorite Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, Marquis of Dublin, and Duke of Ireland, and the discontented barons, among whom were Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, the Earls of Derby, Warwick, &c.
in which the troops of the favorite were routed, and he, by swimming across the river, effected his escape.
In the poem of Thame and Isis the fact is thus recorded:

Here Oxford's hero, famous for his boar -

[ While Valour prompts behind, and prudence calls before]

While clashing swords upon his target found,
And showers of arrows from his breast rebound,
Prepared for worst of fates, undaunted stood,
And urged his beast into the rapid flood:
The waves in triumph bore him, and were proud.
To sink beneath their honourable load.

After this defeat he fled the realm, and died in banishment, at Louvain, about five years afterwards, as it is said, in consequence of a wound received from the tusks of a boar, in the chase of that animal; his body was, three years after his death, brought to England by order of the king, and at his expence, was with great solemnity interred at Colne, in Essex.
The family crest of the Veres, Earls of Oxford, was a boar.

About a mile distant from the bridge, is Farringdon Hill, a beautiful eminence, which is terminated by a small grove seen at a considerable distance, from the different points, in the various windings of the river; it derives its name from the neighbouring town of Farringdon, and rises with an easy ascent from the vale of White Horse, beneath; which vale takes its name from the supposed figure of a white horse in chalk, which, if ever it had reality, is probably much restored by the custom of weeding it at stated periods; the popular opinion runs, that it was formed in commemoration of a victory obtained by Alfred over the Danes; by others it is said to have been marked out by Hengist, who certainly bore on his standard the figure of a white horse; something of this kind is still to be seen in Dorsetshire, near Dorchester, representing the figure of a giant and his club.
The hill commands an extensive and richly diversified scene, spreading over part of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire, as well as of the valley beneath.
Between Radcote Bridge and Farringdon Hill stands an elegant house, built by Henry James Pye, Esq.
the present laureate, (now occupied by Mr. Hallet): the spot is happily chosen, and he has celebrated its beauties in a poem of much merit.

State of the River

At a small distance from Radcote Bridge runs the canal which leads to Abingdon.
Useful to the commerce of the country, and laudable as the enterprize of forming navigable navigable canals all over the kingdom, must be acknowledged to be, it is still with some regret we view the old stream falling almost into total neglect and disuse.
Such, however, in this neighbourhood during the summer months, is the situation of this noble river, which is then shallow in water, and overgrown with oziers and weeds; its locks and wiers are falling fast into decay; and in many places we find only a few old timbers remaining, to mark where such aids to navigation were once thought of utility.

Rivers Windrush and Evenlode

In the winter season the river, which hereabouts considerably overflows the adjacent meadows, is much augmented by the addition of the Windrush, a large brook, which flowing from the Cotswold hills, enters Oxfordshire near Burford, and passing by Witney, joins the Thames to the south-west of the Evenlode, another river, which, rising near Stow, in the wold in Gloucestershire, likewise falls into the Thames, near Cassington, northwest of Oxfordshire.

It is observed of the river Windrush, that it is of so nitrous a quality, and so impregnated with that abstersive salt, that thence the blanketting, manufactured at Witney, acquires a degree of whiteness superior to what is made in any other part of the kingdom.
[Paragraph repositioned ].


Of Burford, Dr. Plott remarks, that within his memory a whimsical ceremony was observed there of making yearly a large dragon, and carrying it up and down the town, with much jollity, on Midsummer eve, to which they added a huge giant of proportionate size.
This custom, he conjectures, was to commemorate a victory obtained by the West Saxons over Ethelbald, King of the Mercians, about the year 750, at a place contiguous to the town, still called Battle Edge.
On the banner of the Mercian king was depicted a golden dragon.


Pursuing the course of the river, on the right appears Buckland, the seat of Sir Robert Throckmorton—a modern structure situated on an eminence.
This mansion was built by its present possessor, near the site of the former edifice, part of which still remains.
Its situation is truly picturesque, embowered amidst a thicket of stately trees, and commands a most enchanting view of the river beneath, and an extensive distance, which though flat, highly abounds with the richest luxuriance of nature.


The windings of the river here, in its course, form many pleasing breaks in the landscape; and if the spire of a church, as has been frequently observed, gives a happy termination to village scenery, that of Bampton claims peculiar notice, as it is a perpetual object from the river for many miles, both above and below it.
The remark made by Charles the Second, on that of Harrow on the Hill, which, from its conspicuous situation, he stiled the visible church, will not ill apply to that of Bampton.

Approaching the villages of Hinton and Longworth, the Witham Hills, in Oxfordshire, are most happily combined, and so beautifully soften into each other, as to form a distance worthy the pencil of Claude le Lorraine; and it is to be regretted that the noble city of Oxford is so concealed from the eye, as not to lend its aid towards giving a kind of classical finishing to that scenery in nature, which Claude labored so much to perfect from art and imagination.


Newbridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
New Bridge, Oxfordshire

As we approach towards New Bridge, about four miles farther, the scenery becomes more confined, and the stream much narrower; yet from the immense piers or pointed sterlings, the fall, in the winter months, may be supposed to be amazingly rapid.
The bridge is a plain and simple structure, in the Gothic stile, and of great antiquity, but has no appearance of date;
it has on one side the letter O and on the other B in Roman characters, to denote the division of the counties of Oxford and Berks.
The bridge is about two miles from Kingston Inn, in the high road to Witney.

Bablock Hythe

With a flat, confined, and rather uninteresting scene, the stream still pursues its humble course towards Bablac Hythe, a little below which the face of the country wears a more agreeable aspect; the river expands, and becomes a clear pellucid stream, beautifully enriched with verdure; and the grazing cattle on its margin, give a happy idea of that landscape we are accustomed to view on the banks of the Thames, nearer the capital.

Stanton Harcourt

Stanton Harcourt,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Stanton Harcourt Oxfordshire

The majestic remains of Stanton Harcourt, (the ancient seat of the Harcourts,) present a venerable pile of building, at the distance of about two miles, on the Oxfordshire side of the river.
On a nearer approach, its consequence is not diminished; it is continually receiving the fostering aid of its noble possessor; who, with a knowledge of the modern elegancies of building, and refinements of art, is not unmindful of the precious remains of antiquity.
The noble family of the Harcourts, it is well known, are descended from the Harcourts in Normandy, who have been in possession of this mansion for near six hundred years.
The first barony was granted to Sir Simon Harcourt, Lord High Chancellor, in the reign of Queen Ann, who obtained this title of Baron Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt.
The earldom was created in 1749.
Much of this noble structure was pulled down by the late Earl.
The kitchen of this building is of great antiquity, and singularly constructed; it is a spacious square room ; and though a kitchen without a chimney, beneath the eaves of the roof are matters contrived to give vent to the smoke.
It seems to be the opinion of the learned in antiquity, that the windows, from their form, were inserted about the time of Henry the Fourth.
An old writer observes, ""it is either a kitchen within a chimney, or a kitchen without one"
The inside of the chapel, which is no longer in use, was a private oratory for the family, and remains with its painted and gilded ornaments in the ceiling, in a tolerable state of preservation.

In the great hall, which joined to the chapel, was formerly much stained glass, on which were depicted the different quarterings borne by the Harcourts, and also the portraits and armorial bearings of several persons habited like warriors, who were of this ancient family.
This glass has been lately removed, to prevent its destruction.
Mr. Pope seems not to have been as good an antiquary as a poet; for in one of his letters he mentions a pane of glass in this apartment, as a valuable antique, which, upon viewing it at Lord Harcourt's house in town, clearly appears to be a forgery, as the character of the letters and figures of the date, "A°Dm" is evidently more modern.
In the tower of this chapel, which is accessible by a winding stair-case, are three apartments; the upper of these is still called Pope's room, from his having occupied it as a study, during a whole summer which he passed in this mansion.
Here he finished his translation of the fifth book of the Iliad, which circumstance he has inscribed, with a diamond, on a pane of red glass, carefully preserved by Earl Harcourt; and which he has politely favoured me with the use of, to form from thence a facsimile.

Pope's glass engraving Stanton Harcourt,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Pope's glass engraving,Stanton Harcourt Oxfordshire

In the church-yard, on a tablet affixed to the south side of the wall adjoining, is the epitaph written by Pope, on the two lovers, John and Sarah Drew, who were struck dead by lightening in an adjoining field, during the residence of our poet at this place.

Here likewise are several very curious monuments, one in the south aisle, particularly deserving attention, of a Margaret Byron, wife to Sir Robert Harcourt, who was sent over to Rouen, in Normandy, to receive Margarete of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI. in 1445; and, for the various eminent services rendered to his Sovereign and his country, received the honor of the garter about the year 1463; he is lying in armour, with the mantle of the garter thrown over him; and by him, his lady, who has likewise the mantle of the order, with the garter above the left arm, with the motto,
Annexed to the end of this section, is a sketch of this lady's figure, from the monument, which, I presume, will not be unacceptable to the admirer of antiquity, as there are but two other instances known of ladies wearing the insignia of the garter•, one of which is in the church of Ewelm, in this county, of Alice, daughter of Thomas Chaucer, wife to William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk: the other of Constance, daughter of John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, and Duke of Exeter, first married to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and after, to Sir John Gray, Knight of the Garter, in the reign of Henry V. and Earl of Tankerville, in Normandy.
Her monument is in the church of St. Catherine, near the Tower, but quite defaced.
At Stanton Harcourt is likewise a handsome monumental figure of Sir Robert Harcourt, who was standard-bearer to Henry VII. at the battle of Bosworth Field; and also Sheriff for the county of Oxford: in the same reign he was made Knight of the Bath, at the creation of Henry, Duke of York, afterwards Henry VIII.
These monuments are finely preserved, and have been lately restored with much care; they are good specimens of the monumental sculpture of the times, as well as the personal decorations and habiliments at that period in use.

Margaret Byron monument at Stanton Harcourt,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Margaret Byron's monument

Eynsham Bridge (Swinford Bridge)

Eynsham Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Ensham Bridge

From New Bridge, at the distance of about seven miles, we reach the ancient village of Ensham, near which is an elegant bridge of stone, consisting of three arches, erected about 15 years since, by Lord Abingdon, whose liberality and public spirit have, I am credibly informed, been amply repaid by the revenue derived from this undertaking.

The building at the extremity of the bridge was intended for an inn; but, though provided with all proper accommodation and out-buildings, has not proved so fortunate a speculation, having never yet, in any way, been occupied.
The situation of this bridge is truly picturesque; the river considerably expands itself, and beautifully meanders amidst the neighbouring meadows, fertile in pasture, and happily screened by the contiguous hills, which form a gentle slope towards its margin.
On the Oxfordshire side, the various breaks in the distant scenery, the happy combination of village objects, and tinkling of the distant folds, seem to give an additional beauty and serenity to the landscape in the minds of those who chance to trace this spot, in the close of a genial summer evening.
The village of Ensham, whose Gothic tower adorns the neighbouring scene, is a place of great antiquity, and in times as far remote as the charter of King Etheldred, is termed "a famous place".
A small part of the ruins of the abbey is still remaining: it was endowed, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Benedict, about the year 1005.
It received considerable benefactions and repairs in the reign of Henry I.; and, at the dissolution of other religious houses, in the year 1539, fell into the rapacious hands of Henry VIII.

Who having spent the treasures of his crown,
Condemns their luxury to feed his own.
Thus he the church at once protects and spoils;
But Prince's swords are sharper than their styles.

These remains give but a faint idea of its former extent and magnificence.
A singular custom, of very ancient date, is recorded of the royalty of Ensham:— It was a privilege formerly allowed to the town's-people, or, rather to the church, on Whit-Monday— to cut down, and bring away (wherever the churchwardens 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; whence, if they could draw it out again, notwithstanding all the impediments that could be given by the servants of the abbey, it was then their own.
It seems a goodly kind of fraud enough, to use the labours and exertions of a whole village, in dragging a supply of fuel, the property of the public, into the abbey, only to make a scramble for the purpose of getting it out again; nor is there reason to suppose that much of it was ever restored to the people of the town, after having once been in the clutches of the good fathers, who, doubtless, were not wanting in ways and means to accomplish what could not be achieved by force; as Prior observes of the lion's skin, which being too short .
"Was lengthen'd by the fox's tail, And art supplied where strength might fail"


From Ensham to Woodstock is a pleasant ride of about four miles; and here, I persuade myself, that the nature of the subject will be thought a sufficient apology for digressing a little from my regular path.
The varied beauties of nature in its vicinity, aided by a combination of all that is sublime and magnificent in the works of art, naturally call forth the utmost degree of attention from the curious, and may, at least, tend to evince to foreigners, into whose hands this work may fall, that England is as rich in the choicest production of the fine arts, as any other country in Europe; and that Blenheim Castle, first raised as a monument of British gratitude, in reward of British valour, is now equally celebrated as a repository of whatever is splendid and elegant,

Blenheim,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

FROM Woodstock the grand entrance to Blenheim Castle is through a magnificent triumphal arch, raised to the memory of John, Duke of Marlborough, by Sarah his Duchess.
It is from this distance the stately pile is most happily viewed; its various towers, rising into the horizon, beautifully break the massy and more ponderous form it wears on a nearer approach.
The verdure of the swelling lawn on which it stands, the spacious and easy slope inclining towards the rich valley below, aided by a fine expanse of water, wearing the appearance of a noble river, terminated by a spacious stone bridge (the center arch of which is of superior demensions to the famed Rialto, at Venice, being a hundred and one feet) with a happy assemblage of rich groves and and plantations in the distance, form a beautiful coup d'œuil, surpassing any thing I remember to have seen in this or any other country.
The creation of this lake or river was the work of the famous Brown, who has been heard to boast,
"that the Thames would never forgive him for what he had done at Blenheim.".
He has, at any rate, taken away part of the sting of the following epigram, applied to the first Duke, who erected this bridge:

The lofty bridge his high ambition shews,
The stream an emblem of his bounty flows.

The brevity of the plan on which the present work is conducted, renders it impossible to do justice to the scenery; but the annexed view may be considered as a faithful hint of the superior excellence of its natural situation.
Approaching nearer to this stately pile, its architectural defects will, to the discriminating eye, become more conspicuous; Neither the taste nor style are such as are reconcilable with the principles of either Vitruvius or Palladio, yet what it wants in elegance is amply atoned for in strength, and that ponderous and massy style, for which it has incurred so much censure, may, from the idea of its durability, at least be tolerated, while it bears lasting testimony, that Vanbrugh built, as Britons fought,
"Not for an age, but for all time.
I Shall forbear further observation on this noble structure, on which so much has been already written, and only remark on the transcendancy of its internal decorations, which combined with so much true judgment and exquisite taste, render it at present, the first assemblage of the works of art in this kingdom.

To enumerate all the pictures in this superb collection would be superfluous, to pass them over in silence highly reprehensible.
The best works of Rubens, and in the highest preservation, are here selected, with much judgment and princely munificence: among those in the east drawing-room is a Bacchanalian subject, in which the heads of the woman and boys eating grapes exhibit a brilliant specimen of the rich and animated colouring of that great master.
In the grand cabinet is a picture of Christ blessing the children, in which is introduced the artist's own portrait.
The Saviour's return from Egypt, and Lot's departure out of Sodom, presented to the Duke by the city of Antwerp, are each highly objects of admiration to the eye of the connoisseur; and of the latter it may be said, that Antwerp, though rich in the works works of this great master, could not have selected one, by which they could have better testified their respect and veneration.
The Catherine of Medicis, in black drapery, is a chef d'œuvre in portrait of Rubens; the clear colouring of the head and richness of the satin are both inimitable: and the portraits of the wife and child of this artist, presented to the Duke by the city of Brussels, are still further proofs of his excellence in the art, as well as a testimony borne by the first city in Flanders, to the forbearing hand of the conqueror, who, in the midst of victory, nobly upheld his shield for the protection of the softer elegancies of peace.
I Am happy to observe, amidst the excellent productions of that great master, notwithstanding his rich and brilliant style of colouring, that the works of our English artist, Sir Joshua, lose nothing of their original lustre; I instance particularly the portrait of Lady Charlotte Spencer, in the character of a gipsey, and the large and beautiful assemblage of portraits in the Marlborough family, both of which seem to bid defiance to the hand of Time, as well as detraction.
In the grand cabinet is a picture of the Miraculous Conception, in which a beautiful head of the Virgin, encircled with stars, highly merits attention; it is a capital production of Carlo Dolci.
In the great drawing-room, famed for its tapestry recording the military exploits of the first Duke, is a pair of beautiful pictures enwreathed with flowers, by Rottenhamer, painted with much sweetness, and in a very superior stile.
Some of the best works of Luca Giordano will be found here, particularly the capital picture of Seneca bleeding to death, in which we have only to regret the unpleasantness of the subject, which from its superior excellence gives additional pain to the beholder.
To particularize each picture, and to describe every bust and elegant decoration, with which this mansion abounds, would be only giving a repetition of what has been said before on the same subject.

From every window of the noble library, which occupies the whole of the west front, and is full two hundred feet in length, and indeed from every apartment in the mansion, the picturesque eye is highly gratified, with the richly variegated scenery of pendant groves and waving lawns; of distant columns, proudly bearing record to its noble founder's greatness, and of gardens so luxuriant in nature, and so happily improved by art, as to perfectly accord with each other: nor is the eye offended with that part of the flower-garden from the design of Madame Pompadour, at Versailles, in which, though we find a regularity in the disposition of the parterres, there is yet a superior air of taste in the tout ensemble. In the midst of this extensive and elegant scenery, the mind naturally reverts to a ruder period, when all around assumed a solitary state, and majestic pomp.
The antiquity of Woodstock Park may be ascertained, from its having been a royal residence, as early as the time of King Alfred, who is said, by old writers, to have translated Boetius de Consolatione Philosophise, in this place, and who, about the same time, in all probability, founded the university of Oxford.—Camden says, that in the time of King Ethelred, father of Edward the Confessor, it was so considerable a place, that he there held a convention of the states, and enacted several statutes.
In the reign of Henry I. it is conjectured that the park was enclosed by a stone wall, not for deer only, but as a receptacle for foreign animals, such as lions, leopards, camels, lynxes, &c. among which a porcupine is mentioned by William of Malmesbury, of which he says.
"hilpidis setis coopertam, quas in canes insectantes naturaliter emittunt.".
- This extraordinary property of this animal, though corresponding with the vulgar idea at present entertained, is, I understand, much questioned by the more informed naturalists of our age. Henry II. resided in this palace, where Malcolm, King of Scotland, and Rice, Prince of Wales, came to pay homage to that Monarch in 1164: and here the honour of knighthood was conferred on Jeffery, surnamed Plantagenet, the King's second son by the fair Rosamond.
The Princess Elizabeth was confined in this place a considerableable time, by order of her unnatural sister Queen Mary; in which imprisonment the following lines are said to have been written by her, with charcoal, on the window shutter of the apartment: as I do not recollect they are mentioned by Mr. Walpole, in his Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, I shall present them with all their defects to the reader, who may perhaps infer, that she was more distinguished for her politics than her poetry.

Oh! Fortune! how thy restless wavering state.
Hath fraught with cares my troubled witt,
Wittness this present prisoner, whither Fate
Could bear me, and the joys I quit,
Thou caused'st the guiltie to be losed.
From bands wherein are innocents inclosed,
Causing the guiltless to be straites reserved,
And freeing those that death well deserved,
But by her malice can be nothing wroughte,
So God send to my foes all they have thought.

The remains of this palace, as it stood in the year 1714, I have endeavoured in the annexed sketch to preserve for the curious in topography, as I cannot learn that it has ever been engraved, nor is it generally known.
The original drawing is in the possession of the Duke of Marlborough.
It is much to be regretted, that the first Duke, through the persuasion of the Earl of Godolphin, should have suffered these valuable remains to be razed to the ground, though its relative situation, as a picturesque object, it is natural to suppose, would have preserved it from depredation.
The site on which this palace stood, is marked to posterity by the circumstance of two sycamore trees, planted on a fine elevation, at a small distance from the bridge: their broad and spreading arms seem to point to the eye of observation and philosophy the happy spot where royalty once resided, and at the same time to indicate the sure and fatal ravages either of relentless Time, or the equally destructive effects of a Gothic and tasteless mind. In this park was born the father of English poetry, GeofFry Chaucer, who resided here for a considerable time, near the area before the grand entrance, upon the spot on which a modern house now stands:

Here he dwelt —
For many a chearful day these ancient walls
Have often heard him, while his legends blithe
He sang, of love, or knighthood, or the wiles
Of homely life, through each estate and age,
The fashions and the follies of the world
With cunning hand pourtraying.

On a beautiful elevation in this park stands the high lodge, commanding one of the most extensive and elegant scenes in the kingdom.
In this earthly paradise, the witty and dissipated earl of Rochester once lived; and in this charming retreat he died, according to Dr. Burnett, full of penitence and remorse, earnestly desirous of exchanging this Elysian scene for one more permanent.
Nor does this fact rest solely on the authority of this venerable prelate; for we find it recorded in a very elegant pastoral by the muse of a contemporary poet, whose effusions have not often, if ever, been so happy.

As on his death-bed gasping Strephon lay,
Strephon the wonder of the plains,
The noblest of th'Arcadian swains;
Strephon the bold, the witty, and the gay:
With many a sigh and many a tear he said,
Remember me, ye shepherds, when I'm dead,

Ye trifling glories of this world, adieu,
And vain applauses of the age;
For when we quit this earthly stage,
Believe me, shepherds, for I tell you true;
Those pleasures which from virtuous deeds we have,
Procure the sweetest slumbers in the grave.

Then since your fatal hour must surely come,
Surely your heads lie low as mine,
Your bright meridian sun decline;
Beseech the mighty Pan to guard you home:
If to Elysium you would happy fly
Live not like Strephon, but like Strephon die.

The death of Rosamund at Woodstock and her burial at Godstow

Amidst the various beauties of this noble and extensive park, rich in Arcadian scenery, and abounding in subject for poetic fiction, one is naturally led to contemplate the hapless fate of the frail and beauteous Rosamond, whose celebrated name at all times recurs with that of Woodstock.
Little indeed remains now to authenticate the truth of her fatal story, except the faint traces of her famous bath, amidst the dark recesses of the groves, about the northern part of the park.
Of the bower constructed for her reception—nor of the mazy labyrinth through which she might have been conducted to the palace, concealed from the jealous jealous eye of Queen Eleanor— it is much to be lamented, that no vestiges are now discoverable; nor does even the rudest sketch of the pencil exist, to throw any light on this romantic subject.

What art can trace the visionary scenes,
The flow'ry groves and everlasting greens,
The babbling sounds that mimic Echo plays,
The fairy shade and its eternal maze?

Remains of Henry II's Palace at Woodstock in 1714,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Remains of Henry II's Palace as it stood at Woodstock Park in 1714

Certain it is, that at the age of fifteen, the charms of this unfortunate daughter of Lord Clifford attracted the attention of the amorous Monarch. The history of this accomplished fair one is too well known to need a repetition.
The manner of the Queen's discovering her secret retreat, and the cause of Rosamond's death, are variously related.
By some it is said, that sitting withoutside her bower, to take the air, while busied at her work, she spied the Queen; and in attempting her escape, dropped her ball of silk, which catching in her foot, unravelled, and left a clue for the Queen to discover her retreat.
By others it is conjectured, that the thread of silk was dropped accidentally by the king, at the entrance to the bower; but it may as reasonably be concluded, agreeable to the old ballad, that the enraged Queen forced the secret from the Knight who was entrusted with the care of the labyrinth.

And forth she calls the trusty knight.
In an unhappy hour,
Who, with his clue of twined thread
Came from this famous bower.

Historians of the greatest veracity seem not to credit her being poisoned: it is more than probable that the story might have arisen from the figure of a cup said to have been sculptured on her tomb—no uncommon decoration in a Catholic church. Brompton, Knighton, and Higden, historians of repute, all seem to agree that she died a natural death, soon after her concealment in the bower.
Equivocal, and uncertain as the cause of the death of this unfortunate beauty may appear, it is beyond controversy, that she was interred in the choir at Godstow Nunnery, near Oxford, where, in the early and innocent part of her life, she had resided a considerable time; and in the year 1191, according to Hoveden, the corpse was removed by order of Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, who, on visiting this nunnery, and observing a tomb covered with silk, and lighted by a profusion of wax tapers, enquired to whom it belonged, and being answered, to Rosamond, mistress to King Henry, he exclaimed, in a fit of zeal,
"Take this harlot from hence, and bury her without the church, lest through her the Christian religion should be scandalized, and that other women, warned by her example, may refrain from unlawful and adulterous love." .
The Queen, in Mr. Addison's Opera of Rosamond, thus enjoins her attendants:

Beneath those hills, a convent stands,
Where the famed streams of Isis stray,
Thither the breathless corpse convey,
And bid the cloistered maids with care.
The due solemnities prepare.

Of this nunnery little remains but the chapel given in the annexed sketch, and a wall, which denotes it to have been a place of of considerable extent.
The ground is in several places broken up, and the appearance of an arched way is plainly discernable; but the story of its having been a subterraneous passage to Woodstock does not seem probable.
The same idea takes place with respect to most of the religious houses in the kingdom; as if popular enquiry could not rest satisfied with detecting the pranks and doublings of nun and priest above ground, but must still, mole-like, be delving after supposed hidden mysteries and communications below.

Godstow Nunnery,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Godstow Nunnery, or Place of God, was founded about the latter end of the reign of Henry I. by Editha, an inspired matron of Winchester.
She persuaded herself, or was persuaded by her priest, that she was directed by a vision to this neighbourhood, where a light from Heaven was to appear, that would point out the spot on which she should should erect a nunnery.
Assisted, afterwards, by various donations of the pious, (for whatever visions she might have been promised, it does not appear that any of them were visions of gold) she was enabled to compleat her project, and about the year 1138, the building was consecrated, and Editha presided as abbess over twenty-four fair nuns.

Henry II. and his son, King John, were liberal benefactors to this religious institution.
The latter bequeathed a considerable fund for masses to be said, and.
"that these holy virgins might relieve with their prayers, the soules of his father, King Henrie, and of Lady Rosamond, there interred,".
Immense sums were expended at Rosamond's interment, as well by her noble parents as by her enamoured sovereign, who was lavish in the decorations of this fair unfortunate's tomb; the workmanship of which, according to the description of Ranulph Higden, the historian, seems to have been of wood, and of wonderful contrivance, that her chest, coffin, or tomb, to be seen in the chapter-house, is not above two feet long, or perhaps square, but a stupendous piece of workmanship, wherein might be seen the conflicts of champions, the gestury of animals, the flight of birds, with fishes leaping, and all done without the assistance of man.
Notwithstanding the body was removed, as before observed, from the place where it was originally deposited, yet the opinion of the bigoted priest did not obtain much among the minds of the well-informed, by whom she was considered after her death as little less than a saint;

And, 'spite of Fame, her fate reversed believe,
O'erlook her crimes, and think she ought to live.

Leland records the following inscription on a cross, which, he says, stood near the entrance of the nunnery-gate.
"Qui meat hac oret, signum salutis adoret.
Utque sibi detur veniam Rosamunda precetur.
After the removal of the body from the church it was placed in the chapter-house, whence, says Speed .
"the chaste sisters gathered her bones, and put them in a perfumed leather bag, inclosing them so in a lead, and layde them againe in the church under a fayre large grave-stone; about whose edges a fillet of brasse was inlayed, and thereon written her name and praise:
these bones were at the suppression of that nunnery so found.
This agrees with Leland's account of its situation after the dissolution of the nunnery, who says .
"Rosamunde's tumbe at Godstowe nunnery was taken up of late; it is a stone with this inscription,
her bones were closed in lede, and within that, bones were closed in lether; when it was opened, there was a sweet smell came out of it."

A Large stone coffin is now standing in the chapel, which there is little reason to believe ever contained the remains of this faded flower.
The following lines are written on the wall, said to have been copied from those on her tomb:
"Hic jacet in tumba, Rosa Mundi, non Rosamunda;
Non redolet, sed olet, quæ redolere solet.
Perhaps this recital of well-known circumstances may be thought prolix, and foreign to the subject; but as the mind is naturally fond of incident bordering on romance, this legendary tale, as it beguiles the moment, may plead an apology for its introduction.

Godstow Bridge and the remains of the Nunnery,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Godstow Bridge and the remains of the Nunnery

Godstow Bridge

Godstow Nunnery, of which so much has been said in the last section, is contiguous to the bridge bearing that name, approaching which, the view from the river continues to improve in every break and easy winding of its current.
The depth of water is encreased, and its verdant meadows greatly enrich the distant prospect, abounding in picturesque scenery, combining the villages of Handborough and Garsington; these are screened by the range of the Witham Hills, which form a kind of amphitheatre, and on a nearer approach give a grandeur to the landscape, we have not before witnessed.
Yet even here the imagination is not gratified: the contiguity of the noble palace of Blenheim, which we have just quitted, recurs to the mind, and we naturally regret, that those hills will in no part admit a distant view of that that noble edifice.
Thus no sooner are we pleased with objects as they appear, but we are desirous of associating with them other forms which cannot be brought within our reach; and though the barrier is placed by the hand of nature, we are still too apt to disquiet ourselves and verify the observation of Prior, that

The wished-for something unpossessed,
Corrodes and leavens all the rest.

The Gothic simplicity and the antiquity of Godstow bridge, with the adjoining remains of the nunnery wall, and contiguous woody scenery; the perpetual moving picture on the water, produced by the passage of west country barges, and the gayer scenery presented by the pleasure boats, and select parties from the neighbouring university, render it in every point of view a happy subject for the pencil.

Godstow New Lock Cut

A Cut is now forming at some distance above the bridge, which will turn the current of the river a little from its present channel, towards the ruins of the nunnery wall, and when it falls in again with the old stream a little below the bridge, will considerably aid the navigation.

Port Meadow

The beauty of the scenery a little below Godstow still encreases, and the river nobly expanding itself, seems proudly urging its course, to pay its tribute to that ancient and noble seminary of learning, Oxford, whose venerable towers and lofty domes all happily unite to form a general mass of objects superior to any thing which this country can boaSt. Passing nearer to the city, as we approach the village of Medley, each particular in this noble assemblage of buildings is beautifully marked, and happily discriminated by the chearful rays of light now darting on them from a mid-day sun.


Near Medley was anciently a very considerable monastery, of which little now remains to mark its former greatness.

Oxford Canal

Within about a mile of the city the Warwickshire canal approaches very near to the Thames stream, and from that point runs almost parallel with it, till it reaches the place of its destination.
The immense utility of this navigation, in the article of coals particularly, promises consequences to this city and the neighbouring country, which, it is to be hoped, will compensate for the heavy expence and great delays which have attended the execution of this spirited adventure.

Hythe Bridge [ on the old river - so not through Osney Lock ]

We next approach so High or Hithe Bridge, which consists of three arches, but is so confined in situation, as to afford no point sufficiently picturesque to give it a place in this work.

University and City of Oxford

Of the University and ancient City of Oxford, at once the pride of our own country, and justly the admiration of foreigners, so much has been already written, that it is scarcely possible to advance any thing new on the subject: yet, unequal as I feel myself to the talk of making any addition to the history and antiquities of this place, it is, at the same time, so closely connected with my present enquiry, and so richly stored with the elegancies of art and science, that on some of these subjects, I presume, I am by the very nature of my undertaking, called upon to hazard an opinion of my own; I shall, therefore, briefly remark on such works of art, as either appear to have superior merit, or afford observations that may tend to aid a comparison between the state of the arts, at a former period, and that which they hold at present.

Magdalen Bridge (River Cherwell)

Magdalen College and Bridge, Oxford,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Magdalen College and Bridge, Oxford

The annexed view of Magdalen bridge, though not properly an appendage of the Thames, has still so much merit in its design, as to render it no unfit object to place at the head of this section: it was begun in the year 1772, by Mr. John Gwynn, who was a native of this city ; whose work, tho' by no means a perfect model of beauty, will still be thought to add more credit to the architect, in point of taste and design, than to those who had the conservancy of the river over which it passes.
It is a spacious stone bridge, five hundred and twenty-six feet in length, consisting of eleven arches, five of which are without the necessary accompanyment, water; under the other six run two shallow branches of the river Cherwell: it certainly forms a noble entrance to the city from the London road, and may possibly be of some utility at a future period, when taste and good sense may take into consideration, should the thing be practicable, the uniting of two streams, which connected would constitute one river that will do honour to the university.

The High Street

The High-street, to which the bridge leads, contains the noblest and most deversified assemblage of architectural objects, perhaps, in this country, and strongly impresses the mind with an idea of the magnificence and Gothic splendor of earlier times.
The easy curve in which this entrance is constructed, adds much to its beauty, as straight lines (notwithstanding the opinion of Sir Christopher Wren, in his intended plan of London) are certainly not pleasing to the critical eye, though they may contribute to the health and convenience of a great city.

Magdalen College

Magdalen College, at the foot of the bridge, is a noble specimen of the Gothic style of building: its lofty tower, which is about one hundred and fifty feet high, was erected anno 1492, under the direction of that princely prelate Wolsey, who was at that time Fellow and Bursar of the college.
The scale of it may be said to correspond with the daring aims and character of his mind; and if, as some have said, he exhausted the revenues of the college in this undertaking, it marks them so much the more strongly.
Within these walls the antiquary will find much matter for speculation, particularly in noticing the hieroglyphics cut in stone, which surround the cloisters ; the history of which has been formerly matter of much controversy; nor is it yet decided, whether it is the work of licentiousness, or a system of morality for the benefit of the college; so little are we able, in the present day of refinement, to judge of the intentions of our forefathers (at least when speaking in such parables) whether to scourge or to promote impiety.
The most prevalent opinion that I have been able to collect, is that they were intended (strange as the ideas may be, which some of these symbolical figures may seem at first view to present) to shadow out the virtues and qualities that should unite in the character of their president.
Some painted glass in the anti-chapel, though much impaired, has yet excellence enough to recommend it to notice.
The altar-piece, representing the Resurrection, painted by Isaac Fuller, is so devoid of merit, as to render it no farther an object of attention than to point out the low state of history painting at that period, comparatively with that of the present day; if ever his his taste, as has been reported, led him to the study of Michael Angelo, it certainly seems to have forsaken him when he selected only his imperfections.
Mr. Addison, who was a more elegant writer than a critic on painting, has bestowed much encomium on this work in a Latin poem, to be found in the Musæ Anglicanæ.

May Day at Magdalen

An ancient custom is still observed in this college:—On May-day morning the choristers sing a latin hymn, precisely as the clock strikes five; and the bridge and neighbourhood, should the morning prove fair, are generally thronged with the listening croud.
A lamb used formerly to be roasted whole on the leads of the tower, for breakfast; but in this age of refinement, a dinner is substituted, at which the lamb is not forgotten.

The Botanical Gardens

The court to the grand entrance of the physic-garden, on the left, as you pass the bridge, is from a design of Inigo Jones, executed by Nicholas Stone: it is in the Doric order, with rustic decorations, and is not unworthy so great a master.

Queens College

Queen's College is a modern structure, begun about the year 1672, and somewhat resembling the style of the Luxemburgh palace.
The cupola is certainly not proportionate to the rest of the facade, being much too large, and totally misplaced.
It has besides more the air of a canopy held over the Queen than an embellishment to a public edifice.
The nick-name of salt-cellar and pepper-box, bestowed on this building and the neighbouring spires of All Souls, by some young students, though ludicrous, is not inapplicable to the whimsical combination of objects, which from hence present themselves in a certain point of view.
Queen's College was founded by Robert Egglesfield, Confessor to Queen Philippa, Consort of King Edward III in 1340.
To the admirers of painted glass twelve windows of considerable merit will be found in the chapel, dated 1518; and one over the altar, representing the Nativity, by Price, in 1717.

Several ancient customs are still observed in this college, particularly one on a New-year's-day, when the Bursar of the college gives to each member a needle and thread, with this injunction,
"take this and be thrifty.".
This custom is said to derive its origin from the founder's name, Egglesfield, the anagram of which forms in the French, aiguille a needle, and fil a thread.
The ceremony of introducing a boar's head on Christmas-day is still attended to, and accompanied with much solemnity, by an old monkish carol, which is sung by the Taberders, who bring in the boar's head.
The origin of the custom of bringing up this boar's head at Christmas is said to have arisen from a taberder or scholar of the society, who walking in the vicinity of Oxford, and reading Aristotle's Logic, was encountered by a wild boar, and in defending himself thrust his Aristotle down his throat, and choaked him, when

Instead of avoiding the mouth of the beast,
He rammed in a volume, and cried—Græcum est.

I Am doubtful whether this story has not been invented to shew the effect of logic, which I believe to this day is often thrust down the throat of the hearer, and is found instead of improving the faculties, to have overwhelmed them.

All Souls

In the chapel of the college of All Souls, founded by Bishop Chichely in 1437, over the altar is a picture by Mengs.
The subject is Christ's first appearance to Mary Magdalen after his resurrection, or as it is usually called, the Noli me tangere: there is much clear and brilliant colouring in this picture, particularly in the body of the principal figure.
The countenance of the Magdalen is happily and elegantly expressed with a placid mixture of dignity and grief suited to the occasion; but there is about the eyes too much glare of redness.
The drawing of the principal figure is likewise formal, and wants elegance; it is, however, with all its defects, a work of much merit.
An engraving has been made from it by the late Mr. Sherwin.
Several other pictures are to be found in this college on historical subjects, by Sir James Thornhill, whose merit in that branch of the art, as an English painter, seems to me to have been unrivalled, till the exertions made by several of our artists in the present period.
In a small room adjoining to the library are some specimens of painted glass, which have been removed from thence, and are coeval with the foundation of this college.
Among these are the portraits of Henry VI. and of the founder.

An All Souls Custom

The ancient custom is still observed here of celebrating the discovery of a large mallard, or drake, said to be found in a drain or sewer, at the time of digging for the foundation of the college.
This mallard has by some been degraded into a goose; be it one or the other, it is certainly the cause of a jovial evening in the hall, on the 14th of January, when this merriment is heightened by an excellent old song, sung in commemoration of this event.
I shall give as a specimen the introductory and concluding stanzas.

Griffin, bustard, turkey, capon,
Let other hungry mortals gape on;
And on the bones their stomach fall hard;
But let All Souls men have their mallard.

Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
It was a swapping, swapping, mallard.

The Romans once admired a gander.
More than they did their chief commander;
Because he saved, if some don't fool us,
The place that's call'd from the head of Tolus.
Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
It was a swapping, swapping, mallard.

Therefore let us sing, and dance a galliard,
To the remembrance of the mallard:
And as the mallard dives in pool,
Let us dabble, dive, and duck in bowl.
Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
Oh! by the blood of King Edward,
It was a swapping, swapping, mallard.

The venerable and Gothic pile, Saint Mary's church, forms no inconsiderable object in the range of buildings on the north of the High-street.
The body of it was erected in the reign of Henry VII.; and the ponderous tower, with its lofty spire and ornaments, niches, and statues, was added by the first Bishop of Oxford, in the reign of Henry VIII., who was the last Abbot of Oseney.
The elegant portal was raised by Dr. Owen, Chaplain to Archbishop Laud, in 1637, and strikes me, from the taste of its embellishments and contour of the figure of the Virgin and the infant Christ holding a cross in the pedestal above, as being from a design of Rubens or Diepenbeck.
It is singular that the figure of the child holding the cross should have, in those or any other times, been deemed an object worth dwelling upon, as a corroborative proof, among others, of the Archbishop Laud's attachment to popery.
It is even supposed to have formed an article of impeachment against that prelate; but enthusiasm in religious tenets has ever been too fatally marked with sanguinary measures, and a deviation from that which ought to be their first principle humanity.

University College

On the south side of the High-street stands University College, founded by King Alfred in 872: but the present structure was raised in 1634.
The hall is of still more modern date, and is in a superior stile of Gothic design.
The figure of Alfred, by Wilton, in the common room, is the best piece of sculpture I remember to have seen of that artist: it will not add, however, to this eulogy, when it is observed to be from a model of Rysbrack.

Christs Church

Of that magnificent edifice, the college of Christ's Church, founded by Wolsey, its stately entrance and happy selection of Gothic proportions, too much cannot be said in commendation; but it is with regret to be observed, that the excellence of its grand front is considerably injured by the contracted situation of the street on which it stands.
The spacious and noble quadrangle inspires the mind on a first view with every idea of ancient grandeur; and were there no other remains of the cardinal's princely mind, this alone would bear lasting testimony to his unbounded munificence.
The beautiful roof of the elegant stair-case leading to the hall is supported only by a single pillar, which, with the Gothic fret-work in the cieling of the spacious hall above, and the vaulted roof of the choir, particularly said to have been constructed under the direction of Wolsey, are truly deserving of critical observation.
The elegant tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and is well adapted to harmonize with the rest of the building.
Among the many portraits in the hall are two by Sir Joshua Reynolds; the one a fine head of Dr. Markham; the other, of still superior excellence, the charming portrait of Dr. Robinson, the Lord Primate of Ireland, on which if I may venture an opinion, I think his best work in portrait. Here are two fine heads, the one of Lord Chief Baron Skinner; the other of Welbore Ellis, Esq; (now Lord Mendip,) by Gainsborough: and an excellent head of Dr. Hooper, Bishop of Bath and Wells, by Hogarth; of which an engraving, in this rage for the works of that great master, should not be withheld from the public.
At the north corner of the west end of the church, is a window painted by I. Oliver, the subject Peter delivered out of prison by the angel; the colouring in parts is brilliant, and the drawing throughout much to be admired: it was painted by Isaac Oliver, whom Mr. Walpole conjectures to have been the son of James, the younger brother of the celebrated Peter Oliver.
This window was painted by him, when in a very advanced age, having the following inscription: "Oliver ætat suæ 84, anno 1700, pinxit deditque.".
I shall remark farther, from Mr. Walpole, of this artist,
"that he was estimable for his own merit, and that of his family, and that he alone preserved the secret of painting on glass.".
Of the elegant additional building to the north-east of the great quadrangle, called Peckwater Court, the three sides were founded by Dr. Radcliffe, a Canon of this church, under the direction of Dean Aldrich, equally famed for his abilities in the elegant arts, and for his talents as a man of learning.
It is regularly noble in its parts, without a redundancy of ornament, and will, in all probability, long remain a monument of the taste and good sense of its architect, the Dean. The apartments in the library are noble and spacious, and well constructed for the purposes to which they are applied, except some of the lower ones, which, I confess, might have been decorated with better judgment: I mean those applied to the reception of General Guise's collection of pictures; many of which, if original, are so defaced by the hands of injudicious picture cleaners, as to leave very faint remains of excellence, and scarcely to merit a place in the cabinet of a competent and well-skilled amateur in the graphic art.
I shall point out a few among them, that seem to have the most excellence, and appear to be genuine works of the masters to whom they are imputed.
The Martrydom of Erasmus, a sketch for the great picture in St. Peter's church at Rome, by N.
Poussin; A sketch of a man and horse, by Vandyck; Three heads, cartoons, by Raphael, on paper; A portrait of the Duke d'Alva, by Titian; and that of a Venetian Nobleman, its companion, the heads and hands of which are clear and richly coloured; A holy family, by Parmegiano, the children beautifully painted; The Virgin contemplating her Child, Primaticcio, the head of the Virgin is graceful, and full of elegance; but the figure much too tall; Of the family of the Caracci, represented in a butcher's shop, imputed to the pencil of Annibal, as it is a disputed picture, I shall suspend my judgment as to the master, yet it may be safely allowed to be a work of great merit - The anxiety of the soldier, who is buying the meat, is forcibly expressed, as are likewise the inferior parts of the picture, it is to be regretted, that so much merit has been lavished on so disgusting a subject; Of two pictures, said to be by Raphael, the one a Nativity, the other a Madona, they have been so repaired by a modern hand, that he has fairly eclipsed the fair original.

New College

In New College, founded by William of Wyckham, the painted glass, by that excellent artist, Jervaise, after the cartoons of Sir Joshua Reynolds, is highly deserving commendation.
Though Mr. Jervaise cannot be said to have restored the art of painting on glass, he certainly has greatly contributed to its excellence, by having happily united his labours with some of the first artists of the present day, to give that species of painting something more to recommend it than mere gaudy colouring.
This idea will be better proved by a comparison of his works with the old windows in the chapel of this college, which were painted as early as its foundation.
Much is due to Mr. Wyatt for his judicious care in attempting to restore the remains of the ancient Gothic altar in the chapel, which, though it may have suffered greatly from the hand of time, and certainly more from the ravages of reformation, is not yet so defaced, that it should be out of the power of so masterly an artist, to restore in it, one of the finest specimens of ancient elegance in the Gothic style, remaining in this Kingdom.

Wadham College

In Wadham College will be found a work of Isaac Fuller of a singular kind.
It is an altar-piece, painted on an ash-coloured cloth, which serves as a middle tint to the shades, which are of brown crayon.
The lights are heightened by white, and being worked up as a crayon picture, and pressed with hot irons, which cause an exsudation from the canvass, so incorporate the crayon with the texture of the canvass, as to render the colours proof against the hard rubbing even of a brush.

Trinity College

The second court at Trinity College, is, from a design of Sir Christopher Wren, and may justly vie with any modern edifice in this this university.
A curious manuscript of Euclid is shewn in the library: it is a translation from the Arabic into Latin, before the discovery of the original Greek by Adelardus Bathoniensis, in 1130.

Worcester College

In Worcester College will likewise be found an invaluable treasure, Inigo Jones's Palladio, with his own manuscript notes in Italian.
It was bequeathed to this college by Dr. Clarke.
In the possession of the Duke of Devonshire is another work of this kind, with notes in Latin.

In the various colleges and halls in this venerable receptacle of knowledge, each has its share of learned and curious treasures, which, from the brevity of this work, are too numerous to be particularized.
I have, therefore, only aimed at a few slight remarks on such objects as struck me most forcibly, and which, I hope, may serve as an apology for passing unobserved many things that more informed minds might have brought forward to notice, in one of the first seminaries in the universe.

Folly Bridge [South Bridge, demolished and rebuilt in 1826]

Christs Church College and Folly Bridge, Oxford,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Christ's Church College and South Bridge, Oxford

On quitting Oxford, we passed the ancient bridge, formerly called Grand Pont, or South Bridge, but which is now better known by the appellation of Folly Bridge.
It is said, by some, to have derived this name from the circumstance of Friar Bacon having chosen this spot, being on the side of a public road, and on the banks of a navigable river, for the situation of his study—a situation, of all others, it should seem, the least adapted to the purposes of retirement and cultivation of the mind.
Another, and more probable, account is, that it was so called from some original defect in the arches, which were obliged to be supported by additional means.
The bridge was built, according to Anthony Wood's account of Oxford, as early as the Conquest, by Robert D'Oyley, on the site of one still older, which is said, by authentic records, to have been standing prior to the time of King Etheldred.
The ancient tower, called Friar Bacon's Study, to which I have just referred, stood at the south end of this bridge, and was occupied by him as an observatory.
This friar was of the Franciscan order, and a celebrated astronomer.
From his philosophical discoveries, and particularly the invention of gun-powder, he had, amongst the vulgar, the imputation of being a magician, and, from those better informed, the epithet of Doctor Mirabilis.
It was ridiculously said of this tower, that whenever it fell, a more learned man than the friar must necessarily be passing under it.
Without reproach to the learning of the university, it appears, however, to have stood some centuries, and, at length, a few years since, it came down, in the course of other improvements than those of science, and not because some one more learned than the friar happened to be then passing that way.

Christs Church Meadow

The noble College of Christ Church, and its contiguous buildings, form a beautiful combination of objects from the neighbouring meadows on the margin of the river.

The River Cherwell

At the extremity of these meadows the river Cherwell unites itself with the Thames, which gently winds its current through a delightful range of verdant scenery, Oxford still remaining in view,


Iffley near Oxford,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
View of Iffley near Oxford

till we reach the village of Iffley, about a mile and a half below the city.
This enchanting spot is a combination of all that is desirable in picturesque landscape.
It is situated on a beautiful eminence, commanding an extensive distance, which includes every object in the university; the scene is completed by the meandering course of the river beneath, on the banks of which, immediately under the eye, is a spacious mill, worked by the current of the stream, which gives a happy foreground to the rural objects above.
From such an assemblage, what a complete selection of parts for the pencil of a Hobbima or a Ruysdael! The admirers of English landscape, will, I flatter myself, receive some gratification from the annexed sketch, which, being faithful, will convey a tolerable idea of the beauties of the scenery.
The church of Iffley, on the summit, is a fine remain of the Saxon style of building, particularly its portal, which is richly decorated.
Dr. Nowel has a most enviable and charming residence in this vicinity.


A Little below this scene we reach Sandford lock and mill, where the soft and elegant views, for which this river in some parts is so peculiarly distinguished, begin to display themselves in an eminent degree.

Nuneham Courtney>

The luxuriant hand of Nature has here been peculiarly diffusive: the rich clumps of trees and verdant lawns, perpetually meeting the eye at every break of the river, on our approach to Nuneham Courtenay, strongly impress the mind of the admirer of rural objects, and leave not a wish to examine the easy negligences of nature by the rigid and severe rules of art; the effect of such an enquiry can only tend to diminish our pleasures in the pursuit of picturesque scenery, where nature will be found to be invariably right, though some parts, taken separately, might be pointed out as disgusting, and

Figures monstrous and mis-shaped appear,
Considered singly, or beheld too near,
Which, but proportioned to their light, or place,
Due distance reconciles to form and grace.

Nuneham Courtney,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Earl Harcourt's at Nuneham Courtenay, Oxon.

Pursuing the course of the river, the landscape, as we approach Earl Harcourt's, at Nuneham Courtenay, both from its natural situation, and highly cultivated state of improvement, forms a selection of picturesque objects so happily combined as to be deemed classically elegant.
The well-chosen situation of this mansion is worthy the taste of its noble owner, where, from every point, the eye of observation meets the highest gratification.
The city of Oxford, at the distance of six miles, happily bounds the view towards the north, while, on the other side, the town of Abingdon gradually rises, amidst a rich and fertile country, interspersed with villages and fruitful woods.
The Berkshire Downs and Vale of White Horse appear across the neighbouring meadows, which are pleasingly intersected by the easy winding of the river, which, for many miles, is visible from either side this charming retreat.
The house, which is of stone, was built by the late Earl, about thirty years since, and is well situated amidst a beautiful park of twelve hundred acres in extent; which park, with the gardens containing about thirty-eight acres, were principally laid out by the celebrated Mr. Brown.
The flower garden does not contain more than an acre and a quarter; yet its beautiful irregularity, and happy situation by nature, together with its high state of cultivation from the hand of taste, in the disposal of the shrubberies, &c. aided by the well-chosen selection of busts, vases, &c. render it altogether the most perfect assemblage I remember to have seen.
The beauties of this enchanting spot cannot be more happily expressed than in the elegant elegant lines of Andrew Marvel, inscribed on a tablet above the center arch in the bower:

Society is all but rude.
To this delicious solitude;
Where all the flowers and trees do close,
To weave the garland of repose.

Within the house are many elegant apartments, particularly the drawing room, the design of which seems to have been from the Banquetting-housc, at Whitehall.
The selection of pictures is, as may be imagined from the well-known taste of the noble owner, formed with much judgment.
Four large landscapes in the great drawingroom, by Van Artois, three of which are enriched with the figures of Teniers, are a happy combination of the superior talents of those great masters.
The celebrated landscape by Rubens, the subject of which is, a cart overturning by moonlight, or, as it is called, La Charette Embourbee, is a duplicate of that in the Houghton collection.
The Naval regatta, on the Texel, by Van de Velt, junior, is one of the first works of that excellent painter; the variety of vessels, and multitude of figures, all busily employed, are touched with so much delicacy and precision, as to mark the superiority of the master; the clear tone of colouring in the sky, and happy transparency of the water, in this picture, are wonderful.
The Moon-light on the water, by Vander Meer, and the Landscape, by Both, are capital works.

I Shall forbear to remark further on this valuable collection of pictures, and refer to the ancient maps of England, which are curiously wrought in tapestry, and are here preserved in a spacious room, built expressly for their reception by their noble possessor.
They were purchased, about ten years since [ say 1785? ], at the sale of the late Mr. Sheldon's effects, at his mansion at Weston, near Long Compton, in Warwickshire.
These maps are certainly the earliest specimens of tapestry-weaving in this kingdom.
The rivers, hills, clumps of trees, and even windmills, are particularly expressed, and with much art in their execution; but the names of the towns, &c.
are frequently illspelt.
The names of Francis and Richard Hickes appear on them; but whether they were the weavers or designers of this work, is not clearly understood.
For the introduction of this manufactory into the kingdom, we are indebted to Mr. William Sheldon, in the reign of Hen. VIII.
In every map the Sheldon arms, with all their quarterings, are introduced.
This Mr, William Sheldon died in 1570.
The maps were purchased by Mr. Horace Walpole, at the above sale for thirty guineas, and were by him presented to Earl Harcourt.
At a small distance from the house, the late Earl has erected an elegant church from a plan of his own in the Ionic order, which, from the singularity of its design, is highly deserving notice.

Radley Hall [ 50 years later in 1847 to become Radley School, ]

Descending the beautiful lawns, which form an easy slope towards the margin of the river, the spacious mansion of Sir James Stonehouse, at Radley, on the opposite side of the water, appears a pleasing object,

Carfax Conduit

and to the left of the grounds, in a very picturesque situation, the eye is delighted with the fine remains of that venerable piece of antiquity removed from Oxford, commonly called Carfax, which is here preserved by his Lordship from any further depredation, except that of all-consuming Time.

Carfax Conduit, Nuneham Courtney,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The recess in which it is placed is amidst a stately and variegated thicket of trees, so happily disposed as to seem purposely designed for its reception.
The original situation of this piece of antiquity is well known to have been in the centre of the principal street in Oxford; and, probably, from its situation in the middle of four ways, or quatre voiz (in old French) it obtained the vulgar appellation of Carfax; or, perhaps, with as much probability, from Carrefour, the place where several streets meet.
The decayed state of this building, and its inconvenient situation, induced the University very lately to take it down, and judiciously to place it in hands, where it might remain a gratification to the curious, and a pleasing monument of antiquity.

The noble Earl has caused some Latin and English lines to be inscribed on this building, on its being placed in his ground; the latter of which run as follows:

This building called Carfax,
Erected for a Conduit at Oxford,
By Otho Nicholson, In the year of our Lord MDCX.
And taken down 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.

A Brief account of this venerable pile may perhaps not prove unacceptable to the reader;
I shall give it from a manuscript formerly in the possession of Mr. Hanwell, deputy treasurer of Christ Church College, in the university of Oxford: he says.
"It was built in 1610, by Otho Nicholson, M.A., the expence of which building, together with the charge of bringing the water by pipes from the conduit-house, near Hinksey, cost two thousand five hundred pounds.
After its erection the founder was made treasurer to King James I.

In Christ Church Library, which was formerly a chapel, is a small monument, erected to his memory;
it is adorned with sculptures corresponding with the decorations on the Carfax;
on the south of which are twelve sun-dials, three towards each point of the compass:
between each corner is finely carved, in a kind of open work, the capital letter O; a small figure of a mermaid holding a comb and looking-glass:
then the capital letter N.
and a small figure of the sun, &c.
The letters O.N.
the initials of the founder's name, form a rebus, from the analogy between the arms and name of the founder—no uncommon mode formerly of expressing devices:
on the west side are the arms of the city and university of Oxford, with those of the founder;
and on the north and east are similar devices.
Under the curious arches, which concenter in the top, is a large cistern, over which is a figure of the Empress Maud, riding on an ox, which figure is surrounded with brass net work;
this building is adorned with many curious emblematic devices, coats of arms of England, Scotland, France, &c.
the seven worthies, King James, King David, &c."

and at the conclusion of this manuscript is added—.
"But I leave a more elegant account done by a better hand;
only I say this, 'He that won't commend me, Let him come and mend me.'"

Above Abingdon

Quitting this delightful scenery, and pursuing the course of the river towards Abingdon, about a mile below Nuneham, the retrospective view of the country, and noble buildings interspersed in its vicinity, is truly delightful.

Swift Ditch and the New Cut

[The "old stream" known as Swift Ditch was the main navigation before 1060.
It was reinstated as such in 1624.
But in 1790, just before Samuel Ireland was there, the main navigation was re-routed through Abingdon Lock, called by Ireland "Abbey Lock".
Old Culham Bridge is still in place, opposite Abingdon Marina, but carries no traffic, and is navigable with some difficulty by canoes only.

Within about a mile of the town of Abingdon, a new cut is formed for the convenience of the navigation, which has rendered the old stream towards Culham bridge entirely useless; this cut has not only shortened the distance towards Abingdon very considerably, but is become necessary from the shallowness of the stream, which in dry seasons has not sufficient water for the purposes of navigation.

Abingdon Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
View at Abingdon, Berks.

The approach towards Abingdon by an easy sweep of the current affords a very pleasing view, but the drought of the present season rendered the passage at Abbey Lock impracticable, and subjected us to some inconvenience, as we were there obliged to have the boat dragged over.

River Ock

Near Abingdon the river Ock washes the south side of the town.
This small river derives its source from the Vale of White Horse, near Kingston-Lisle, and gently winding its current empties itself, near Abingdon, into the Ouse, which river flowing northward from Faringdon divides its stream as it enters this town.

The annexed view, though not properly upon the Thames, is yet so closely connected with it, as to render it a necessary appendage to this work.

[ The previous view is of Abingdon Bridge; the following view is of old Culham Bridge over the Swift Ditch.
He is writing just as the main navigation moved from the Swift Ditch to the main channel through Abingdon Lock and Bridge.
So he could mean either.


Abingdon is of very great antiquity; its ancient appellation was Sheovesham; and Camden conjectures that synods were held here as early as 742; and an anonymous writer observes,
"that it was in ancient times a famous city, goodly to behold, full of riches, encompassed with very fruitful fields, green meadows, spacious pastures, and flocks of cattle abounding with milk.
Here the king kept his court, and hither the people resorted, while consultations were depending about the greatest and most weighty affairs of the kingdom.
Ciss, a King of the West Saxons, built a spacious abbey here, about the year 675, soon after after which it assumed the name of Abbandun, or the Abbey's Town.

This abbey was soon after destroyed by the Danes, but by the liberality of King Edgar, and the industry of the Norman abbots, it recovered its magnificence, and rivalled in wealth and grandeur any abbey in the kingdom.

William the Conqueror resided here some time; and in this abbey his son Henry received his education.

Of the cross, of excellent workmanship, erected in the Market-place by Henry VI. as mentioned by Leland and others, no traces are remaining; it was destroyed in the cival wars.

The consequence of this abbey was such, as to afford a principal support to the town, till the reign of Henry V.
by whom a bridge was constructed over the Thames at Culham, and another at Burford, across the river Ouse.

[ The bridge at Culham was the old Culham Bridge over what we now call the Swift Ditch.
The "Bridge at Burford across the River Ouse" is what we now call Abingdon Bridge over the Thames (or as some say 'Isis' - which occasionally is equated with 'Ouse' - though perhaps this refers to a stream which now enters the Abbey Stream just below Abingdon Weir?)

Old Culham Bridge over Swift Ditch,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Culham Bridge near Abingdon

From that circumstance the town of Abingdon acquired so much additional traffic, as to rank amongst the first towns in the county.
The building these bridges, in 1416, was under the immediate order of the King, as appears from the following Latin distich, formerly inscribed on a window, in the church of St. Helens, in this town:

Henricus Quintus, quarto fundaverat anno,
Rex pontem Burford, super undas atque Culhamford.

The work was considerably assisted by the donations of Jeffray Barbur, a wealthy merchant of this place who gave a thousand marks towards completing it, and making a causeway between the bridge of Culham and that of Abingdon, and in consequence the high road to London was turned through the town.
His monument, which is now in the church of St. Helens, was originally in the abbey church, whence it was removed by the inhabitants at the Dissolution.

The following lines, selected from a quaint translation of some Latin verses, mentioned by Ashmole, may tend to give a general idea of the state of bridge building in the time of Henry V. and of the great advantages expected to be derived from it by the people at large.

King Henry the Fifth, in the fifth of his reign,
At Burford and Culham did bridges build twain.
Between these two places, but from Abingdon most,
The King's highways now may be easily past;
In one thousand four hundred and ten more by six,
This so pious work did his Majesty fix:
Ye passengers now who shall travel this way,
Be sure that you mind for the founder to pray.

- - - - .
King Henry the Fifte, in his fourth yere,
He hath y found for his folke a bridge in Berkeschure,
For cartis with cariage may goo and come clere,
That many wynters afore were marred in thc myre,
And som oute of her sadels flette to the grounde.
Went forthe in the water wist no man whare,
Five wekys after, or, they were y founde,
Her kyn and her knowlech caught hem up with care.

- - - - .
Upon the day of Seynt Albon they began this game,
And John Huchyns layde the firste stoon in the Kynges name.
It was a solace to see in a somer sesonn,
I wysse workyng onys,
iiii &c iiii relyv'd be reson,
- - - -
To wete who wrought best were set for the nonce.
The peple preved her power with the pecoyse.
The mattok was mann handeled right wellea whyle;
With spades and schovells they made such a noyse.
That men myght here hem thens a myle.
Wyves went oute to wite how they wroughte,
V feare in a flok, it was a fayre sight;
In brod cloths bright, white brede they brought,
Cheese and chekenes clerelych a dyght.
- - - - .
The gode Lord of Abendon, of his londe,
For the breed of the bridge [twenty-two] foot large,
It was a greet socour of erthe and of fonde,
And that he abated the rent of the barge.

And C. pownde, and xv li. was truly payed.
Be the bondes of John Huchyns and Banbery also,
For the waye and the barge, thus it must be sayed,
Thereto witnesse Abendon, and many oon moo.
For now is Culham Hithe, y com to an ende,
An al the contre the better, and no man the worse;
Few folke there were coude that way wende,
But they waged a wed, or payed of her purse;
And if it were a begger had breed in his bagge,
He schulde be ryght soone y bid for to goo aboute,
And of the pore penyles the hicreward wold habbe.
A hood or a girdel, and let hem goo withoute;
Many moo myfcheves there were I say,
Culham hithe hath cauiid many a curse;
Y blyssed be our helpers, we have a better waye,
Without any peny for cart and for horse.
Thus accordid the kynge and the covent,
And the commons of Abendonn, as the abbot wolde;
Thus they were eased, and set all in oon assent,
That al the brekynges of the bridge, the town here schulde.
This was preved acte also in parlement,
In perpetual pees to have and to holde;
This tale is y tolde in noon other extent,
But for myrthe, and in memory to young and to olde.

A Handsome wharf is lately completed at the extremity of the town of Abingdon, beyond which the new cut, forming a small curve, joins the main river a little below Culham bridge;

[ Again we are reminded the river has just changed in 1790 - the new cut is what we know as the main stream - and what he calls the main river we now call the unnavigable Swift Ditch. ]

which [that is Culham Bridge], with the neighbouring town, affords no unpleasing object.

Sutton Courtney

[ Culham cut and lock were not operational till 1809 so Ireland is talking of the old weir at Sutton Courtney Mill. ]

The village of Sutton Courtenay, about a mile from the bridge, happily terminates the view from the water; and the contiguous mill and lock greatly enrich the beauty of the scenery.
The toll of this lock is very heavy on the commerce of this river, being one pound fifteen shillings on every barge.
We passed it on a Sunday, and consequently the mill not being at work, the want of water obliged us to have the boat dragged over the the neighbouring meadows for more than half a mile, which occasioned no small delay, and a considerable expence.

The general face of the country in our farther progress was dull and uninteresting 'till we approached Dorchester; where, passing Appleford, the village of Long Wittenham, and the contiguous range of hills, considerably enrich the scene.

Within this church, under the King's Arms, which are placed over the rood-loft, is the following whimsical Latin distich—

Qui Leo de Juda est, & flos de Jesse, leones.
Protegat, & stores Carole Magne tuos.

Near this is a figure of Death, under which is the following couplet—

Man is a glass, life is as water weakly wall'd about,
Sin brought in Death, Death breaks the glass,
so runs this water out.

Clifton Hampden (before the bridge, built in 1864)

Clifton Hampden,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Clifton, Oxfordshire

From Long Wittenham the river winds suddenly towards Clifton, a village in Oxfordshire, where the combination of objects is truly picturesque.
A small church, situated on a richly variegated bank, rising almost; perpendicularly on the border of the river, (on which the traffic of the ferry-boats gives a perpetually moving picture) cannot but attract the eye of observation.


The water here is remarkably shallow, yet perfectly transparent, and beautifully shews the clear and gravelly bed of the river.
Passing Burcot, the mansion of Mr. Bush, the extensive woody scenery of his grounds forms a beautiful screen on the Oxfordshire side of the river for a considerable distance.
As we approach Little Wittenham, the scenery is rich, and the objects so happily combined, and within so confined a space, as to render them fit subjects for the pencil.

Days Lock (1789)

Towards Dorchester the river narrows exceedingly, and for a great extent runs nearly in a straight line, which gives it more the appearance of a pleasurable canal than a navigable river.

Here the sombre shades of the neighbouring woods are beautifully reflected, and give a happy serenity to the scene.

River Tame

Near this spot the river Tame empties itself into the main stream, where a wooden bridge is constructed for a communication with the neighbouring meadows.
This river rises in the county of Bucks, and passes the town to which it gives appellation; where,

With a faint kiss it mocks the walls of Tame,
And leaves behind her nothing but a name.

It next visits Dorchester,

Which wondering at her speed,
Most gladly bids the happy match succeed.

So sings the author of the poem on the Marriage of Tame and Isis.


Dorchester is a town at present of little consequence, but formerly it held a considerable rank among the British cities, by the name of Civitas Dorcinia.

It was anciently a bishop's see, founded by one Birinus, called the apostle of the West Saxons, to whom the common people paid so great a veneration, that in the history of Alchester it is said,
"A round hill there still appears, where the superstitious ages built Birinus a shrine, teaching them that had any cattle amiss, to creep to that shrine.
A blacksmith in the town is in possession of the gold ring, said to have been that of Birinus.

Near this ancient town of Dorchester, the Tame forms a junction with the main river, from which it is by many absurdly believed to have derived the appellation of Thames.
The beauty of the scenery from the vicinity of Dorchester, greatly improves in verdure and richness.

The easy sloping hills on the Berkshire side of the river are crowned with a variegated combination of sylvan objects; while here and there a chalky break in the cliff renders the view strikingly diversified, and highly interesting.
The short reaches in the river, as we approach towards Shillingford, it must be allowed, prevent that extent of scenery which is perhaps necessary to form what may be called majestic in landscape; yet the parts, though simple, are so happily associated, as to be truly gratifying to the eye.

Shillingford Bridge (replaced 1826)

Shillingford Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Shillingford Bridge, Berks

The light and elegant bridge of Shillingford, with the variety of carriages that are continually passing and repassing, aided by the gliding objects on the water beneath, greatly add to the natural beauty of the landscape.
In this delightful retreat the skilful angler finds high gratification in his pursuit, and ample sources of contemplation.

Here blissful thoughts his mind engage,
To crouded, noisy scenes unknown;
Waked by some bard's instructive page,
Or calm reflections all his own.

The river makes a beautiful curve below Shillingford, at the termination of which Bensington, or Benson church, which has been recently repaired, meets the eye in a pleasing point of view; little more than the spire, which is perfectly white, appears above a luxuriant range of yellow waving corn fields, fields, while in the distance the back ground is formed from the hills of Nettlebed and the adjoining woods.
The village of Benson, though at present of little note, is extremely ancient, and formerly had the appellation of a royal vill.
It was taken from the Britons in 572, and held by the West Saxons for two hundred years after;
when Offa, King of Mercia, being determined they should hold no place on this side the water, forcibly possessed himself of it in 778.
At a small distance from this village formerly stood a beautiful structure, occupied as a royal palace, called Ewelm, or New Elm, which was built by William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, but has long been suffered, from its unhealthy situation, to fall into decay.
West of the church a Roman road passed the river near this place, and took its direction towards Sylchester, in Hampshire, formerly the celebrated Vindoma or Vindonum of the Romans, and the Caer Segont of the Britons.

Benson Lock

A little below Benson is a spacious lock and mill, which, with the gentle fall of its waters, forming a continual cascade, connects a pleasing selection of objects, highly worthy the exertions of an artist; and it is with regret I feel that the present work is so limited as to admit but a small part of those beauties, which are ever presenting themselves to the eye.


From Benson lock the ancient bridge and town of Wallingford appear, at about a mile distance, across the neighbouring meadows; but the objects there are not so happily combined for the pencil, as at the view from below the bridge, whence the annexed sketch was taken.

[ The image does not appear in the Volume copied but was found elsewhere. ]

Wallingford Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Wallingford Bridge

The antiquity of the bridge, from its appearance, seems to vie with the oldest structure of the kind on the Thames: it is truly Gothic, and of immense strength.

The pointed angular sterlings on the upper side are so well constructed, as to be capable of resisting the most violent torrent of water from the winter floods.
[ It was destroyed by flood in 1809 ].
The spire of the church was built about eighteen years since, at the sole expence of the late Judge Blackstone; and, though singular in its taste, is not an unpleasing object.
Wallingford is supposed to have been the chief city of the Attrebatii, and is called by Antoninus, Attrebatum.
Camden conjectures its British name to have been Guallhen, which signifies the "old fort": from thence its present appellation "Wallingford" is derived.
Here the shallowness of the stream certainly rendered it most commodious for the purposes of fording across.
The town of Wallingford, in the reign of Edward the Confessor (which was prior to the construction of the bridge) appears by Doomsday Book to have contained two hundred and seventy-six houses,
"yielding nine pounds tax,—and those that dwelt there did the King service on horseback, or else by sea.".
A Fine ruin of the old castle presents itself not far from the river side, formerly so well fortified as to be deemed impregnable; which is proved from the frequent attacks made on it by King Stephen, in which he was always repulsed.
The origin of this castle is allowed to have been as early as the invasion of the Romans, and its demolition about the time of the Danes and Saxons.
It was restored after the defeat of Harold, by William the Conqueror, who passing with his army across the Thames at the ford, encamped on this spot before he marched to London.
It appears that this place made a vigorous defence in favour of the Empress Matilda, and her son Henry then abroad, against Stephen, who raised a considerable fort on the opposite side of the river at a place called Craumash.
Henry soon after coming to England, attempted the relief of the place, while Stephen was equally desirous of giving succour to the besiegers.
Both parties, however, being dissatisfied with their situation, wisely agreed to a compromise; and a conference being held on the banks of the Thames, the result was, that Stephen should enjoy the crown during his life, and that Henry should succeed him.

The castle probably remained in a ruinated state from about that period till the time of the civil wars, when an order was issued for its total demolition.

That original order, signed by Thurlow, Secretary to Cromwell, was in the possession of an Alderman of Wallingford, who died about six years since.

This town lost much of its popularity from a dreadful plague, which happened in the year 1348; at which time, according to Leland, it contained fourteen churches; at present it has only three.
Its consequence, history says, was much diminished by the building of Culham and Dorchester bridges, which removed a great part of the traffic to Abingdon and other towns contiguous.
The manor of Wallingford was, with other manors, granted for the support of the Dukedom of Cornwall, a title first conferred on the Black Prince, son of Edward III.
in 1355, and which appertained to that Dukedom till the reign of Henry VIII. when Cardinal Wolsey having formed the noble design of erecting Christ Church College, at Oxford, the monarch granted him this manor and castle in aid of the undertaking; but on the Cardinal's disgrace, they reverted to the King.
The castle remains to this day in the possession of the college; but the manor was annexed by the Sovereign to that of Ewelm, or New Elm, near Benson.
Within the west gate of the town formerly stood a priory of black monks, which belonged to the Abbey of St. Alban's, and which was suppressed by order of Wolsey.
This suppression, it is conjectured, might have given a colour of sanction to the King for proceeding farther in a general seizure of all ecclesiastical revenues; but it does not appear by his general conduct, that he stood in need of any example of rapacity.
Near Brightwell, adjoining to Wallingford, formerly stood a castle, of which no traces are now remaining.
It was taken by storm previous to the conclusion of the peace between King Henry and Stephen.


A Little below the town of Wallingford, at Mongewell, on the Oxfordshire side of the river, the late Bishop of Salisbury, and now of Durham, Dr. Barrington, possesses a delightful retreat, richly embosomed, amidst a thicket of trees.
Full in view of the house a beautiful verdant lawn starts the borders of the Thames, which, gliding at a pleasing distance from it,


gradually makes its course with a considerable increase of water towards the village of Moulsford, while the distant Oxfordshire hills present a beautiful termination of the scene.

Cleeve Lock

Cleve mill and lock, a little lower down the stream, meet the eye


Goring,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

before we reach the picturesque combination of objects at the village of Goring, whose romantic and sequestered situation it is not possible for the eye of observation to pass unnoticed.

The Berkshire hills form a richly variegated background, and the easy ascent of the lawns in the front happily intersect the principal objects, and give a charming relief to the whole.
In the annexed view this scene is faintly represented; yet faint as it is, it cannot fail to strike the admirer of simple nature in landscape, as a combination of objects worthy to be impressed on the mind.


The village of Streetly on the opposite side the river, has equal claim to notice; it is situated on a Roman highway near Ickenild-street, which here enters Berkshire, and runs across the neighbouring downs,


passing Basselden; near which place, on an easy ascent from the borders of the river, stands the grotto-house, lately the residence of Mr. Sykes.

It is happily screened by the Berkshire hills, and was originally occupied by Lady Fane, whose shells and corals may perhaps be thought to have been too highly complimented, in some lines preserved in Dodsley's Miscellanies.


The village of Gathanton is a pleasing object on the Oxfordshire side the river, from whence we enter a beautiful enclosure, formed by the surrounding woods.
The happy serenity of the approaching evening gives an air of solemnity to the scene, while the moon, faintly rising, gleams through the beautifully variegated trees.
The profound stillness of the air was not unpleasantly disturbed by the largest flight of ravens, daws, &c.
that I remember to have seen; it consisted of some thousands, who nightly cross the river to take up their abode among the neighbouring woods.
At a small distance from the river, on the Berkshire side, Sir Francis Sykes has erected a spacious mansion, which is secluded from the view by the intercepting hills.

The house, though superbly furnished, is still wanting in the more elegant decorations of the fine arts, which have not yet gained admission.


At Pangbourn the river widens considerably, and the fall of water is so great on the opening of the lock, as to cause much delay in the progress of the navigation.

This place is much frequented by the angler, who, in his favourite pursuit, may occasionally find equal cause for an exertion of his patience as his skill in the art.
Among the various sorts of fish produced in this part of the river, the pike in particular is found of a remarkable large size.


The village of Whitchurch, on the opposite side, presents no unpleasing object in landscape.
The road from Pangbourn towards Reading runs, for a considerable distance, nearly parallel with the river, and affords in many places a rich and variegated scenery.

Purley Hall

Purley-hall, about a mile distance, is the residence of Warren Hastings, Esq.
Its appearance seems by no means suited in point of elegance to the splendor of an Eastern Governor.
It is somewhat singular, that the greater part of this house was erected by the famous Mr. Hawes, the great South-Sea defaulter.


Lower down, on the Oxfordshire side of the river, at Hardwick, is the residence of Mr. Gardener, formerly in the possession of Mr. Powis.
It is happily sheltered by the neighbouring hills, and at an agreeable distance from the river.
This house was probably in former times a monastery; and its situation is chosen with that degree of attention to the conveniencies, and even luxuries, of this transitory state, for which the founders of most of our religious houses have been famed.


A Small distance from hence is the village of Maple-Durham, contiguous to which is a fine old mansion, occupied by Mr. Blount; which, by the style of its architecture, seems to have been built about the period of Elizabeth or James.
It stands at the extremity of the village, and its grand front commands a rich and beautiful park; but the opposite side towards the river is so walled in, and encumbered with out-buildings, as to banish the river scenery, which can alone give a complete finish to a picturesque view.


From hence the stream bends its course towards Caversham, a distance of about three miles, which affords but little variety of scenery.
The warren in the neighbourhood of Caversham is very extensive, and commands a beautiful view across the river.

Caversham Bridge

Caversham Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Caversham Bridge

The scenery towards Caversham, as we approach the bridge, is much confined, nothing presenting itself but a faint view of the old Abbey gate, at Reading:
I have therefore selected the eastern view of the bridge, as best adapted to illustrate the present pursuit, where the tower of the old church and part of the village appearing in the fore-ground, with the range of hills in the distance, give a tolerable idea of the country.
Caversham had formerly a small priory, which was a cell to the monastery at Nottely, in Buckinghamshire.
In the Philosophical Transactions, No.
261, is the following singular circumstance in Natural History:
"There was discovered in the neighbourhood a large stratum of oyster-shells, lying on a bed of green sand, and extending to five or six acres of ground, with a bed of blueish clay immediately above it.
Among these many were found with both the valves or shells lying together, and though in moving them, one of the valves hath frequently broke off from its fellow, it is plain by comparing and joining them, that they originally belonged to each other.

The town of Reading, with its churches and the remains of the abbey and castle, forms a noble and extended view across the Forebury, as it is vulgarly called, or rather the Fauxbourg or suburbs.
Reading, the most considerable town in the county, is situated on the Thames and Kennett, which latter rises near Merdon in Wiltshire, and is navigable for vessels of an hundred tons burthen, from Newbury to this town, through which it takes its course in several considerable streams, and abounds with gudgeons, pike, eels, dace, and trout, the latter of which grow to an amazing size.
Of Reading Castle, which Leland conjectures stood at the West end of Castle Street, no remains are now discoverable;
it is therefore more probable, that on the ruins we find near the precincts of the abbey, the castle stood, which was the retreat of the Danes in 871, where they fortified themselves after their defeat by King Alfred.

In the next year it was abandoned to the Saxons, who destroyed the town;
and in the reign of Henry II. this castle was totally demolished, as being a place of refuge for the adherents of King Stephen.
The abbey was founded by Henry I. on the site of a small nunnery, erected by the mother of Edward the Martyr, to expiate his death, which was perpetrated by one of her domestics.
It was endowed with great revenues for two hundred Benedictine monks, and dedicated to the Virgin and a numerous list of Saints.

In riches and magnificence it certainly vied with any abbey in the kingdom, and its abbots being mitred sat in the House of Peers, and assumed a high authority, which Henry VIII. in no small degree humbled, by hanging up Farrington, the last abbot of this place, with two of his monks, for refusing to surrender, on the demand of the visitors, soon after the Reformation.
It is remarkable, that on the same day the abbot of Glastonbury suffered the like punishment for the same offence.
This abbey has been the burial-place of many royal and noble persons, among whom the remains of a part of Henry I. the founder, were deposited—I say a part, for Dr. Ducarel observes, that his heart, eyes, tongue, brains and bowels, were conveyed to the priory church of Notre Dame du Pres, at Rouen, in Normandy.
His second Queen, Adeliza, and his daughter, the Empress Maud, were likewise interred here.

This royal dame was daughter of a King—wife to a King (Henry IV. Emperor of Germany)—and mother to King Henry II.
The following distich was inscribed on her tomb:
"Magna ortu, majorque viro, fed maxima partu, Hie jacet Henrici filia, sponsa, parens.
Little remains of this extensive abbey, except part of Our Lady's chapel, and the refectory, which is upwards of eighty feet long, and forty broad— an ample space for the luxuriant tables of the pampered abbots, where

Triumphant plenty, with a cheerful grace,
Basked in their eyes, and sparkled in their face:
No learned debates annoyed their downy trance,
Or discomposed their pompous ignorance.
Deep sunk in down, they, by Sloth's gentle care,
Shunned the inclemencies of morning air,
And left to tattered crape the drudgery of prayer.

The anecdote of King Harry and one of the Abbots of Reading, though well known, has so much humour that I cannot avoid repeating it verbatim from Fuller's Church History.
He calls it .
"A pleasant and true story:—.
King Henry VIII. as he was hunting in Windsor Forest, either casually lost, or (more probably) wilfully losing himself, struck down about dinner-time to the Abbey of Reading, when disguising himself, much for delight, (more for discovery to see unseen) he was invited to the Abbot's table, and passed for one of the King's guards, a place to which the proportion of his person might properly entitle him.
A sirloin of beef was set before him, (so knighted, saith tradition, by this King Henry;) .
on which the King laid on lustily, not disgracing one of that place, for whom he was mistaken.

'Well fare thy heart', (quoth the Abbot) .
'and here in a cup of sack I remember the health of his Grace your Master; I would give an hundred pounds on the condition I could feed so heartily on beef as you doe.
Alas! my weak and squeasie stomach will hardly digest the wing of a small rabbet or chicken.'.
The King pleasantly pledged him, and heartily thanked him for his good chear;
after dinner departed, as undiscovered as he came thither.
Some weeks after, the Abbot was sent for by a Pursuivant, brought up to London, clapt in the tower, kept close prisoner, fed for a short time on bread and water; yet not so empty his body of food, as his mind was filled with fears, creating many suspitions to himself, when, and how he had incurred the King's displeasure.
At last a sir-loin of beef was set before him, on which the Abbot fed as the farmer of his grange, and verified the proverb, that two hungry meals make the third a glutton.
In springs King Henry, out of a private lobbie, where he had placed himself the invisible spectator of the Abbot's behaviour;
'My Lord,' (quoth the King) 'presently deposit your hundred pounds in gold, or else no going hence all the daies of your life.
I have been your physician, to cure you of your squeasie stomach; and here, as I deserve, I demand my fee for the same.'.
The Abbot down with his dust, and glad he had escaped so, returning to Reading, as somewhat lighter in purse, so much more merrier in heart than when he came thence.

A great part of the remains of this venerable abbey, were removed a few years since by General Conway, for the purpose of building a bridge contiguous to Park-place, on the road between Henley and Wargrave.
The great gate of the abbey, of which I have prefixed a sketch at the end of this section, though it has undergone many material alterations, is in very good repair.
It had formerly embattlements, the loss of which has considerably diminished its venerable appearance.

Reading Abbey Gate,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Reading Abbey Gate

Nearly opposite to Reading, is the noble mansion built by the Earl of Cadogan;
it is situated on an eminence, and commands a very extensive and diversified view of Berkshire, and the adjacent countries.
The honours of this family were derived from William Cadogan, who signalized himself under the great Duke of Marlborough.

He was first created Baron Reading, and afterwards, Viscount Caversham.
The house is now occupied by Major Marsac.

The River Kennet (Kennet & Avon Canal)

A Little below Reading, the river Kennett, gently winding through the adjacent meadows, unites itself with the Thames, which is here considerably expanded in its course towards Sunning Bridge,—a distance of about three miles.


Sonning Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sunning Bridge

Sunning Bridge is a plain modern [1775-] structure of brick, well adapted for convenience and durability.

The annexed view was taken from below the bridge, as the objects there combined most happily to afford a picturesque landscape.
The house, which appears over the bridge, is the residence of Lady Rich, whose family has long occupied this spot.
The village of Sunning is agreeably situated on an easy ascent on the banks of the Thames, and is of great antiquity;
it was formerly the see of a Bishop, whose diocese included the counties of Berks and Wilts.
The see was afterwards removed to Sherbourn, and thence translated to Salisbury, whose Bishop is now Lord of the Manor of Sunning, and formerly had a palace there.

The antiquity of this place is strongly marked by the sepulchral monuments and ancient inscriptions within the church, one of which containing some lines on two infants of the family of Rich above mentioned, I am induced from their style to insert:

The father's air, the mother's look,
The sportive smile, and pretty joke,
The rosy lips, sweet babbling grace,
The beauties of the mind and face,
And all the charms of infant souls,
This tomb within its bosom holds.

[ Either something has changed or Ireland has mistaken his rivers! There is St Patrick's Stream which was probably a mouth of the Loddon, before its current was reversed by the weir at Shiplake, and then the main Loddon enters below Shiplake weir. ]

The river Kennet washes this place, into which a small rivulet, called the Loddon, empties itself, previous to its junction with the Thames, which is here of considerable width, and ample depth of water, but affords no great variety of scenery, for near three miles,


till we reach Cotterell's Mill and Lock, which objects, though humble in themselves, yet constitute a very picturesque scene, highly deserving observation.


The village of Wargrave, appearing at a small distance, has acquired much celebrity by the residence of Lord Barrymore.
The dwelling, which is situated on a lawn, close to the river side, though but an insignificant cottage, has, from its innumerable visitors, given rise to no inconsiderable expence.
The theatre, of which so much has been said, is just rebuilt, at an expence of about six thousand pounds, and is, in point of size, I think, larger than that of the Haymarket.
It has every accommodation of a royal theatre, with the addition of one elegant apartment, which is used as a supper-room.
The present rage for theatrical exhibitions, and imaginary scenes of human woe, it is mnch to be feared has produced many a real scene of distress, towards the last act, that has been incompatible with the strictness of dramatic law, having neither poetical nor moral justness in the denouement of the plot.

Park Place

From Wargrave a beautiful range of hills extends to General Conway's, at Park Place, near which a large house has been recently built, by Mr. Hill, commanding a very extensive view of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, &c.
The river winding beneath this noble eminence, affords new beauties of the soft and elegant in picturesque landscape.
The house of Lady Taylor, on the Oxfordshire side of the river, is enviably situated, and comprises a full view of General Conway's grounds, to which you enter beneath a spacious arch of rustic stone work, happily suited to the noble scenery which presents itself within, where the verdant swelling lawn meeting the eye, forms an immense amphitheatre, surrounded with rich shrubbery, from whence, by an easy ascent, we are led to a grand colonnade, representing a Roman aqueduct, falling into decay, and majestic even in ruins.
Its decorations of busts and ornaments are judiciously adapted to their situation.
A winding subterraneous passage leads on to the menagerie, which contains a beautiful selection of the feathered race; among which the East India cyrus, considerably larger than the crane, the silver pencilled pheasant, from China, with black breast and red legs, and the elegant plumage of the gold pheasant, appeared to be most worthy of admiration.
The various and extensive views from the different points, in traversing this park, are so happily and richly diversified, as to surpass description.
On a well chosen eminence, the right honourable possessor of this beautiful spot, has, at a great expence, erected an ancient Druids temple, which was presented to him by the inhabitants of the island of Jersey, in 1785, as a testimony of the respect and veneration due to his vigilance as a governor, and his amiable qualities as a man.
The following lines, which were transmitted with this venerable pile of antiquity, will best speak the sentiments of the inhabitants on the occasion—

Cet ancien Temple des Druides,
Decouvert le 12 Aout 1785,
Sur la Montagne de St. Helier.
Dans l'ile de Jersey,
A été présenté par les habitans,
A son Excellence le General Conway,
leur Gouverneur.
Pour des Siecles caché, aux regard des mortels,
Cet ancien monument, ces pierres, ces autels,
Où le sang des humains offert en sacrifice,
Ruissela, pour des Dieux qu'en fantoit le caprice;
Ce monument sans prix par son antiquité,
Temoignera pour nous á la postérité;
Que dans tous les dangers Cesarée eut un pére.
Et redira, Conway, aux siécles ávenir.
Quén vertu du respect dû a ce souvenir.
Elle te fit ce don, acquis a ta vaillance.
Comme un juste tribut de sa reconnoisance.

The stones which compose this temple, are forty-five in number, and were all so carefully marked when taken down, as to be with ease restored to their original form, when brought to this spot.
The circumference of the temple is sixty-six feet; its height upwards of seven.
Within this building, in its original situation in the isle of Jersey, were found two medals, one of the Emperor Claudius, the other so obliterated by time, as to be unintelligible.
For a more minute account of this antiquity, I refer the curious to the 8th vol.
of the Archæologia and for a sketch of it, as it now stands, [ to the end of this section ] .

Park Place Druids Temple,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Having traversed these charming grounds in which the hand of nature has been so peculiarly luxuriant, we were highly gratified within the dwelling-house, by a view of the no less excellent productions of art, by the noble Countess of Aylelbury, whose imitations of Cuyp, Rosa de Tivoli, Vandyck, Gainsborough, &c.
in needle-work, are little inferior in effect to their originals.
They are worked in worsteds, with so much taste, and so happily managed in the various tints, as to deceive at a small distance;
one in particular, a portrait from Vandyck, in which the colours are so artfully blended, as to appear across the room a sketch of that great master.

Quitting the enchanting scenery of Park-place, by an easy descent towards the river-side, the bridge and town of Henley, at the distance of about a mile and a half, present a scene, which, though more confined, is yet happily contrasted with the extensive one we have just quitted.

Henley Bridge

Henley Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799 Henley Bridge, Oxon

The elegant bridge of Henley consists of five elliptical arches, with a handsome ballustrade of stone-work, and is, in point of simplicity and beauty of design, equal to any structure of the kind on this noble river.
It is built from a plan of the late ingenious Mr. Hayward, of Shropshire, who did not live to see the work begun.
On the key-stone of the center arch, above the bridge, is sculptured a head of Isis; and on the other side, a venerable head of Thames ; both from the chisel of the accomplished Mrs. Damer, the excellence of whose works is too well known to need any comment.
This beautiful bridge was finished in the year 1787, at an expence of near ten thousand pounds.
The former one was of wood, but the one prior to that was of stone, and of a very ancient date.
Some traces of its piers are yet visible when the water is low.
Camden seems doubful, whether this was the bridge over which, according to Dio, the Romans pursued the Britons, who, he asserts, crossed the river in this neighbourhood.


The town of Henley is of great antiquity, and by some writers said to be the oldest town in the county;
it anciently belonged to the family of the Molins, from whence it came to the Hungerfords, by whose means, in the reign of Henry VI. a licence was obtained for two annual fairs; at present it has four.
Little remains in this town, worthy the attention of the curious.
Its delightful situation on the Thames, and the richness of the adjacent country, must ever render it an object to be admired.

Fawley Court

A Little below Henley Bridge is Fawley Court, the seat of Mr. Freeman.
It is a square brick house, built by Inigo Jones, on which he has bestowed very few of those Italian ornaments that so frequently overload many of his designs.
The structure is very plain, and convenience has judiciously taken place of every other consideration.
It is altogether a work not unworthy of its great architect.
The situation is happily chosen in point of distance from the river, as well as from the town of Henley.
The mausoleum belonging to the family is at the pleasant village of Fawley, about a mile and a half distant from the house, and is a spot that a man would rather chuse to live in than be buried at.


About two miles from Fawley Court, is the pleasant village of Hambleton, the church of which contains a beautiful monument in alabaster, erected by the D'Oyley family.
It consists of twelve figures, as large as life, executed in so superior a style of sculpture, and so well preserved, as highly to deserve attention.
The poetry of the epitaphs has much merit, and, as it records the virtues of a family in this county, of great celebrity, justly claims a place in this work.

To the memory of that noble Knight,
Sir Cope D'Oyley, late Deputy of the county of Oxon, &c.
heyre of the ancient family of the D'Oyley's, in Oxfordshire;
founder of Oseney and Missenden, and the castle of Oxford:
who put on immortality, the 4th of August, 1633.
Likewise Martha his wife, with five sons and five daughters.

Under the Knight's figure are the following lines:

Ask not of me, who's buried here?.
Goe ask the Commons, ask the Sheire.
Goe ask the Church, they'll tell thee who,
As well as blubbered eyes can do.
Goe ask the Heraulds, ask the poore,
Thine ears shall hear enough to ask no more.
Then, if thine eyes bedew this sacred urne,
Each drop a pearl will turne.
To adorn his tombe, or if thou can'st not vent,
Thou bring'st more marble to his monument.

Under the Lady's figure follows this exemplary character, which, as the world goes, may be thought a little exaggerated:

Wouldst thou, reader, draw to life,
The perfect copy of a wife,
Read on, and then redeem from shame.
That lost, that honourable name;
This dust was once in spirit a Jael,
Rebecca in grace, in heart an Abigail;
In works a Dorcas, to the church a Hanna,
And to her spouse Susanna.
Prudently simple, providently wary,
To the world a Martha, and to heaven a Mary.

Medmenham Abbey

In a fine situation, on the banks of the river, between Henley and Great Marlow, stand the remains of the small abbey of Medenham, rendered famous by a modern convention of monks, whose Abbot was a noble Peer.
If we may judge by the old French motto, "Fay ce que voudras," which is still remaining over their door, the principles of these lay brothers, it may be presumed, were not quite so rigid as those of the monks of La Trappe.
Of the mysteries of this fraternity various accounts have been handed about, probably none of them with authority.
The only printed one I have met with is in Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea; where the author's account of this institution far exceeds that of the Alcoran des Cordeliers, or any other author who has written on the subject of monkish institutions.
He describes their tenets in so offensive and disgusting a point of view, as to have rendered the recital of them unworthy a place, even in Romance; and, for the honour of human nature, gives us every reason to hope that his description is not founded on truth.
Little remains of the furniture of this pious seminary, but an enormous large cradle of sufficient dimensions to receive the fullest sized friar of that or any other order.

The abbey is now occupied by a poor family, who shew this valuable relick.

This abbey was founded as early as King John, and was a cell to the Cistertian monks of Wooburn in Bedfordshire.

In the reign of Henry VIII. it was made part of the endowment of Bustlesham or Bisham Abbey, in Berkshire.
From the return made by the commissioners, at the Dissolution, it appears from its poverty to have been of small import, having only two monks, who both
"desyren to go to houses of religion—servants none, woods none, debts none, bells, &c. worth £2. 1s. 8d., the house wholly in ruins, and the value of the moveable goods only £1. 3s. 8d.".
The sketch at the end of this section is a faithful view of the present state of this building.

The fascinating scenery of this neighbourhood has peculiarly attracted the notice of the clergy of former periods, who, in spite of the thorny and crooked ways, which they have asserted to be the surest road to heaven, have been careful to select some flowery paths for their own private journeying thither;

Hurley Place

among which ranks Hurley Place, on the opposite side of the river, now in the possession of Mr. Wilcox.
It was formerly a monastery under the appellation of Lady Place, and a cell of Benedictine monks to Westminster Abbey, founded by Geoffry de Mandeville, in the reign of William the Conqueror, the only remains of which are the Abbey Yard, and some part of a chapel, or perhaps refectory (now stables) of which the arches of the windows, though made of chalk in the Conqueror's reign, are still fresh as if lately built.
Some farther slight remains of the convent may likewise be traced.
Under the great hall is a vault, in which some bodies, in monkish habits, were discovered not many years ago.
On the dissolution of the monastery, Hurley became the possession of a family, whose name was Chamberlain, from whence it descended to Lovelace, Esq; whose son went on an expedition with Sir Francis Drake, and with the Spanish gold obtained in that enterprize, built the present house, on the ruins of the ancient convent.
The family of Lovelace was ennobled by Charles I.
The house is spacious, and built much in the style of King James's Gothic.
The hall, as was the fashion of that day, occupies half the space of the house.
The grand saloon is decorated in a singular style; in the pannels are painted upright landscapes, the leafings of which are executed with a kind of silver lacker.
The views appear to be Italian, they are in a bold style, and reputed to be the works of Salvator Rosa, expressly painted for this apartment.
His receipt for them is said to be in the hands of Mr. Wilcox; but as that gentleman was from home when I viewed the house, I cannot vouch for the truth of the assertion.
During the reign of James II. private meetings of the principal nobility were held in a subterraneous vault beneath this house, for calling in the Prince of Orange.
Mr. Wilcox has, at the end of this vault, caused to be written an inscription, which I shall transcribe in his own words:

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 animorum, atque hæc certamina tanta,
Pulveris exiqui jactu compressa quiescunt.
Be it also remembered, that in this place, 600 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 that 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 III. and his Queen, 14th November, 1785.

On the decline of the Lovelace family, the estate came into the possession of the Duke of Marlborough, of whom the mansion-house and woodlands were purchased, by Mrs. Williams *, sister to Dr. Wilcox, late Bishop of Rochester;
{ * This lady held in one lottery, two fortunate tickets, one of £ 500 the other of £ 20,000 which enabled her to make this purchase.
from whom it devolved to her nephew, the Bishop's son, its present worthy possessor, whose exemplary goodness of heart is an honour to humanity.
The situation of this house, were it unincumbered from some of its Gothic walls and out-buildings, would be delightful.
It commands a rich prospect of the Buckinghamshire hills and Marlow woods;


amidst which, at Harleford, Mr. Clayton, the late member, built the the present charming villa, on an easy slope, rising from the margin of the river, which comprises a fine view in each direction,

Bisham Abbey

particularly towards Bisham Abbey, now occupied by Mr. Vansittart, but formerly by Sir John Hoby Mill.
The site of this abbey was originally granted by Edward VI. to the Hoby family.
It is singular, that in its first charter, it was dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, his mother; in the second, to the Blessed Virgin Mary only; and in the time of Richard II. it is styled the Conventual Church of the Holy Trinity.
It is rather difficult to account for the propriety of these various dedications;
however, after being thus banded about, it at length fell into the hands of Henry VIII. who claiming a right paramount to the blessed saints, seized on it with all its privileges, to his own use and benefit.
That Prince often visited visited this abbey; and in the possession of the late Sir Joseph Ayloffe was a Masque, printed by Caxton, which was presented to him, on his approach to the abbey, with the Dramatis Personæ of the family there resident.
Queen Elizabeth resided some time in this house; and one large state apartment yet retains the name of the Queen's council-chamber.
In the church of Bisham is a sumptuous monument erected to the family of the Hobys, worth the attention of the curious.
An old woman's story is told of a small sculptured monument in this church, containing two children, which children, Calumny has reported to have been the offspring of Elizabeth;
but we have reason to believe, from her Majesty's general system of politics, in public concerns, that she would have been too good a politician in love, to have erected a monument, avowing herself not to have been the character which she was so ambitious to preserve—the virgin Queen.
The bones of the founder of this abbey, John Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, are said to have been removed hither, by Maud, his widow, from the abbey of Cirencester, by a license from Henry V. for that purpose.

[ At this point appears the following image which the text appears to refer to as Medmenham Abbey.]

Medmenham Abbey?,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Marlow Bridge [1789 - 1832]

Marlow Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Marlow Bridge

From Bisham Abbey, the town of Marlow, considered as a picturesque object, receives much addition from the New Bridge, which is of wood, and has been recently finished at an expence of about eighteen hundred pounds.
It has a remarkable ascent, and forms the best object as a wooden bridge, that I remember to have seen.
The ballustrades are painted white, in imitation, of stone-work;
and the whole scenery contiguous is pleasingly variegated by the rich verdure of the adjacent woods.

Marlow Lock

Below the bridge, the objects combine most happily for the pencil, where the river branches out into two channels, one of which (the water being penned up by the Marlow Lock) causes a perpetual fall into the other stream, just below the bridge, which makes a pleasing, though shallow, cascade.
Between this lock and Battersea, which is a distance of about fifty miles, in all the deep waters, the lampreys are caught in great plenty in the spring of the year, and are sold to the Dutch as bait for their turbot and other fisheries.
In one season, it is said, there have been sold not less than five hundred thousand.
The price of the lampreys was forty shillings per thousand; but the Dutch having lately contracted for an increased quantity, at sixty shillings, it has rendered them so scarce, as to raise the price for our own use to nearly six pounds.
The Thames has sometimes furnished upwards of a million of this fish annually. Marlow is remarkable for its manufactory of bone-lace, and the great quantities of malt and meal, which are brought hither from the neighbouring towns, and conveyed to London by water.
It may not be improper to remark, that in the reign of Elizabeth, about the year 1584, the locks between this and Oxford, from neglect, created much complaint and altercation.
At Marlow Lock many lives were lost from the sudden and immense fall of water, and neglect of the millers; in consequence of which, complaint was made to the Lord Treasurer, in October, 1585, and answered the next day by the persons concerned in locks, weirs, and mills, when it was determined, that all disorders arising from neglect, &c.
were to be reformed by the ordinary proceedings of the Queen's Majesty's laws, and not otherwise.
At that period there were seventy locks, twenty-two of which were erected within the last six years; sixteen flood-gates, and seven weirs: there were then not more than ten or twelve barges went so high as Marlow or Bisham, and in the reign of Edward IV. it appears there were only four.
This stream was let at that period for three hundred pounds per annum.

Quarry Woods

The scenery of this neighbourhood is truly beautiful:
the Quarry Woods extend a considerable distance, and form a noble screen on the Berkshire side of the river.
The village of Little Marlow lies about a mile distant; it had formerly a monastery of Benedictine monks, founded earlier than the reign of King John, of which no traces are now remaining.
A Little below this village is Hedsor Wharf;

Chalfont St Giles

and let me not be censured in the digression, when I lead the reader thence to the small village of St. Giles, Chalfont, in Bucks, a distance of about five miles, in order to mention the name and residence of the immortal Milton.
Here, when the plague in 1665 raged in London, this much revered poet took refuge.
The house in which he resided, and of which I have preserved the annexed sketch, is now standing, and, in all probability, from its appearance, remains nearly in its original state.

Milton's House Chalfont St Giles,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

As the biography of great and learned men has been deemed worthy the pens of writers of the first talents, any pictorial illustration of that biography, it is presumed, will not be thought unworthy the attention of of the curious.
This house was taken for him by Elwood the Quaker, who was recommended as a proper person to read Latin to him, and be his solacer in retirement.
Here his companion first saw a complete copy of the divine poem, Paradise Lost, which was finished on this spot:
and here, in all probability, the greater part of the Paradise Regained was written;
as it is well known that his friend Elwood suggested this idea to him (after reading the first poem) in these words:
"Thou hast said a great deal on the subject of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say on Paradise Found?".
To which he made no answer, but sat some time musing, then broke off the discourse, and fell upon an other subject.
Some time after, when in London, Milton shewed him the Paradise Regained; and in a pleasant tone of voice said to him,
"This is owing to you, for you put it into my head, by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.".
In the neighbourhood of this village, it may not be improper to mention Beaconsfield, the residence of another poet of distinguished eminence— the courtly Waller—to whom Fortune had dealt with much more liberality; and to whom, though Nature had given brilliant talents, yet she had certainly been more sparing than with the immortal Milton.
As a lyric poet Waller stands unrivalled, and in tenderness of style is justly said to have moved all hearts but hers he meant to move.

Yet, what he sung, in his immortal strain,
Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain:
All, but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
Attend his passion, and approve his song.

He [Waller] died at Beaconsfield, in 1687, at the advanced age of eighty-two, after having consulted Sir Charles Scarborough, on a violent tumour in his legs, which soon ended in his dissolution.
One day, asking what that swelling meant; his physician replied, "Sir, your blood will run no longer:"— on which, according to his biographer, he repeated some lines of Virgil, and went home to die.
A handsome monument is erected to his memory, by his son's executors, on the east side of the church-yard, near the family vault, where an old walnut-tree is yet remaining, at the west end of the monument, carefully enclosed within the iron rails around the tomb; part of the branches hanging over the spiral pillar that rises from the monument, has a pleasing effect, and happily illustrates the rebus alluded to in the family arms, which is a walnut-leaf.
The Latin inscription on the monument is by Rymer.
A Short ride from hence to the seat of the Duke of Portland, at Bulstrode, will amply repay the attention of the connoisseur, where he will meet with a selection of pictures by the best masters, worthy the mansion of their liberal and noble possessor.

Hedsor and Cliveden

Resuming the subject—the river from Hedsor Wharf, winds beautifully beneath the range of Cliefden Hills, commanding a distant view of Lord Boston's and Cliefden House, which are both so happily situated on an eminence, as to comprise, though not one of the most extensive, yet one of the most richly diversified scenes in the kingdom.
The terrace before Cliefden House is reported to be higher than that of Windsor Castle.
Cliefden House, was begun by George Villiers the second Duke of Buckingham, in the reign of Charles II.
and is evidently copied from the plan of Burleigh on the Hill, the residence of the first Duke, his father, which plan Mr. Walpole tells us was the design of John Thorpe, a folio volume of whose works are in the possession of Lord Warwick.
Of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, the following lines of Pope, as they are applicable to the present subject, and to the dissipated scene exhibited on this spot, justly claim recital.

On once a flock bed, but repaired with straw,
With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw;
The George and Garter dangling from that bed,
Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red,
Great Villiers lies—alas! how changed from him,
That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim!.
Gallant and gay, in Cliefden's proud alcove,
The bower, of wanton Shrewsbury and love.

The last line alludes to an intrigue between the Countess of Shrewsbury and the Duke of Buckingham, which occasioned a rencontre between the Duke and her husband, in which the latter was stain.
It is said, that the the Countess, disguised as a page, held the Duke's horse during the combat, and afterwards slept with him in the shirt stained with her husband's blood.
After the death of the Duke, which happened in 1688, in the 60th year of his age, the Earl of Orkney made considerable improvements in this house, as did Frederic, the late Prince of Wales, who resided many years on this charming spot.
It is now in the possession of the Earl Inchiquin, and is occupied by his daughter the Countess of Orkney.

Near the beautiful village of Cookham, on a large ait, Sir Geore Young has lately finished a handsome house, intended, I am informed, for his constant residence: delightful as the situation may prove in the summer months, the winds and floods, it is to be feared, will render it uncomfortable in the winter season.

Cliveden Spring,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Cliveden Spring

A Little below this house, at the foot of Cliefden Wood, rises Cliefden spring, which by an easy descent forms a small, yet beautiful cascade, that gently murmuring over its gravelly bed, empties itself into the river Thames.
To this charming retreat, (by permission of the Earl of Inchiquin, to whom it belongs) social parties frequently repair to take their repast beneath its cooling shade.
In one of these convivial meetings the following lines were given by the author of this work as an impromptu on the spot; let the occasion plead their appology.

Secure from summer's sultry ray.
Haste hither swains, and with you bring.
Your lasses debonnaire and gay,
To taste of Cliefden's cooling spring.

Here bowering shades to love invite.
And realize the poet's dream;
Here Thames allures the ravished sight,
While murmuring glides cool Cliefden's stream.

Gay Ovid of his nymphs may write.
With quill fresh plucked from fancy's wing,
Yet here from nature I'll indite.
The charms of Cliefden's cooling spring.

Let Horace too his nectar boast,
And be the juicy grape his theme,
Yet here in beverage cool I'll toast .
The nymph of Cliefden's cooling stream.

Nor will I scorn young Bacchus' aid,
While she is here for whom I sing;
He shall beneath this fragrant shade.
Infuse his grape in Cliefden's spring,

If here the sigh of love prevails,
The dart of envy finds no sting;
Old Thames will smile, and tell no tales.
Of what is done at Cliefden's spring.

Boulter's Lock

Between Cliefden and Taplow is Boulter's Lock, which is the last on the Thames, and the twenty second from Gloucestershire.

Taplow House

Taplow Woods join those of Cliefden, and continue near two miles in beautiful gradation towards Taplow House, occupied by the Earl of Inchiquin, in whose park, on a beautiful eminence, stands a venerable oak, said to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth, when in confinement here.
But I rather suspect it must have been at that period of sufficient growth to have afforded ample shade to her Majesty, in her noontide walks, which could not have been the case had she planted it herself.
It is the noble remains of a very aged tree,
"Whose antique root peeps out Upon the brook that brawls along this wood.".
The beautiful irregularity of its majestic limbs and foilages would form a grand study for a painter.
The ravages which time has made on this once sturdy oak, have been relieved with extraordinary care, by large sheets of lead, which are nailed over the decayed parts.
The spot on which it stands is happily chosen to solace the "mind diseased", amidst the miseries of confinement.

Queen Elizabeth I's Tree, Taplow,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

END OF VOLUME I, Source to Taplow

VOLUME II, Maidenhead to the Nore

Map, Maidenhead to Nore, Taplow,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Having passed a variety of scenes, rich in the beauties of natural landscape, and in which Art has occasionally lent her fostering aid; we are now approaching towards such a combination of magnificence, both natural and artificial, as is perhaps not to be equalled in this kingdom!.
Castles and palaces proudly vieing with each other in displaying the munificence of their Sovereign ;—.
stately mansions of an ancient and splendid Nobility ;—.
and rich and costly villas, principally raised and supported by that spirit of enterprise and industry in commerce, which is so happily characteristic of the genius of Britain.

Maidenhead Bridge

Maidenhead Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Maidenhead Bridge, Cliefden Woods &c.

The handsome bridge at Maidenhead was Constructed from a design of the late Sir Robert Taylor, and is a work of much merit.
It is of stone, and consists of seven large semi-circular arches, with three smaller ones of brick at each end.
It has been finished about nine years, at an expence of nineteen thousand pounds, independent of the purchase of lands contiguous, to render the work compleat.
Below the bridge, on a retrospective view, the hills of Taplow and Cliefden aid the landscape considerably, and render the scenery more picturesque and beautiful than any thing that has yet occurred.
From this point the annexed view was taken.


The town of Maidenhead, which gives name to the hundred, lies partly in the parish of Bray, and partly in that of Cookham.
The ancient name of this place was Southialington.
Whence its present name was derived we know not; but it is conjectured by some visionary to have taken its origin from one of the eleven hundred virgins said to have suffered martyrdom with St. Ursula, their leader, near Cologne in Germany; but a shrewd Jesuit, one Simordus, judging like a priest of the improbability of so many virgins meeting together, has reduced their number to two, viz.
Ursula, their leader, and one other, named Undecimilla.
In the time of Edward the Third, it seems to have obtained a more rational name, that of the brothers and sisters of Maidenhithe, under which it was incorporated.


About a mile below the bridge is the village of Bray, rendered famous by its accommodating Vicar, who, during the reign of Charles the Second, and the four succeeding Monarchs, never failed to conform to the prevailing principle of the times; and, as it is told, when reprobated for his apostacy, justified himself by saying,
"He had always been governed by what he thought a very laudable maxim—never on any terms (if he could avoid it) to part with his vicarage -".
or, as the song has said for him,

Old principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance.
Passive obedience is a joke,
A jest is non-resistance.

Whether this Vicar of Bray, the object of so much raillery, ever existed at all, or whether it was levelled at Vicars in general, I know not; certain it is, that in the reign of Charles the Second, Dr. Caswell was Vicar of Bray, in Berkshire, near fifty years, and that he was not considered as particularly accommodating in his principles to the changes of the times.
His successor, whose name was Brown, also held this vicarage fifty years; and he too was deemed steady in his principles; he died about thirty years since.
These facts may possibly do away the imputation of apostacy from the respectable names I here mention.
The following story has been in circulation relative to a Vicar of Bray, for the truth of which I cannot vouch: -.
"Charles the Second had been hunting in Windsor Forest, and in the chase was separated from his attendants.
In returning, he lost his road, and came to Bray after it was dark, where, on enquiring for the Vicar's house, and being introduced, he told him that he was a traveller who had lost his way, and having spent all his money, begged that he would render him assistance to proceed on his journey, and that he would soon repay him with the greatest honesty.
The Vicar told him he was an impostor, and bade him go out of his house with great rudeness.
But the Curate (who was with the vicar) said that he pitied the traveller, and lent him a little money.
The King then discovered who he was, and upbraiding the Vicar for his inhumanity, said,
'The Vicar of Bray shall be Vicar of Bray still, but the Curate shall be Canon of Windsor.' ".
and it is said that the King "made his word good."

Monkey Island

A Little below Bray is a small island, on which two handsome buildings were erected by a former Duke of Marlborough, about fifty years since.
It now bears the appellation of Monkey Island, and is a pleasant summer retreat, commanding a rich view of Windsor and the neighbouring country.

This part of England is conjectured by Camden to have been inhabited by the Bibroci, who submitted themselves to Cæsar, and obtained his protection, and with it a security in the possession of one of the most beautiful spots in this kingdom.

William Camden,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
William Camden

Down Place and the Willows

Down Place, the seat of the late Duke of Argyle (now of Mr. Church), and the Willows, occupied by Mr. Ward, are charming situations, and enriched in the distance with the noble buildings of Windsor and Eton, in such a point of view, as are no where else to be equalled.

Clewer, [bend just above Queen Elizabeth II Bridge]

Approaching nearer to Windsor, the Castle becomes a more distinct object for an artist; and were I to fix on a spot for a picture, it should be at turning the bend of the River at Clewer, when by the evening sun the parts are so beautifully discriminated, and so happily massed by the shadows, as to form a splendid object, in which beauty and dignity are equally combined.
Eton College would greatly enrich the scenery, as it stands unincumbered with buildings, and in such a situation as to bring it within the reach of the eye in the general disposition of objects.
I regret that I cannot introduce an illustration of a scene so remarkably striking, as a combination of the works of nature and art: the parts, I fear, would be so reduced as to render them trifling and unintelligible.

Windsor Castle Views

From every point in which the noble Castle of Windsor is viewed, it affords beauties peculiar and interesting.
The north view annexed has an ample share of those beauties, as it comprises the most extensive range of buildings, and those best massed and adapted, from the size of this undertaking, to give some idea of the magnitude of the whole.

Windsor Castle(1),  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle(2),  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Windsor Castle


Windsor,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The derivation of the name of this renowned place is from the Saxon, and means a winding shore.
In the charter granted byEdward the Confessor to the monks of Westminster, it is stiled Windleshora.

Struck with the beauties of the situation, William the Conqueror conceived it would be a fit retirement for the sovereigns of this country, and soon made the Abbot believe the same; accordingly he bartered with him certain lands, &c.
in Essex, and thereby annexed it to the Crown.
The mass of the present palace was erected nearly in the form in which it now stands, by Edward the Third, who was born here.

The King appointed William of Wyckham (afterwards Bishop of Winchester), the architect and principal conductor of this great undertaking.

This good man was very near being disgraced by the ambiguity of a sentence which he caused to be cut in one of the towers, viz.
" This made Wyckham"
which in fact implied no more than that this undertaking made the fortune of Wyckham.
St. George's Chapel was likewise begun by Edward the Third, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and St. George of Cappadocia, but finished nearly in its present state by Edward the Fourth,

Edward IV,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

[Edward IV] whose monument was discovered on the 13th of March, 1789, by the workmen employed in repairing the Chapel.
The surveyor and two of the canons attended on opening the vault, when the body appeared reduced to a skeleton, and inclosed in a leaden and wooden coffin, measuring fix feet three inches in length.
The head was reclined to the left or north side, without any appearance of cerecloth or wrapper, rings, or other insignia.

The bottom of the coffin was covered with a muddy liquor, about three inches deep, of a strong saline taste.
This liquor was analyzed by Dr. James Lind of Windsor.
Near the body of he King was found a wooden coffin, supposed to have contained the body of his Queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in which no remains appeared.
She died about three years after the King, in confinement, at Bermondsey Abbey, and is supposed to have been secretly interred.
On the walls of this vault were written in chalk, much resembling the character of the times, "Edwardus IV." with several names, probably those of the workmen employed at the funeral.
This Prince is reported to have been of remarkable personal strength and beauty.
If, like Sampson, his strength lay in his hair, he certainly had much to boast.
It is somewhere mentioned, that the bits of the cross shewn in the various parts of Italy would have erected a superb building; so of the hair of this Prince enough has been produced to have supplied Westminster Hall with full bottoms for ages to come.
It is to be wished that less black lead had been applied to the steel-work of this King's monument near the altar of the chapel, which we are told was the work of that great artist Qnintin Matsys.

In the opposite aile was interred the rival of Edward, the unhappy Henry the Sixth.

The following elegant lines of Pope on this King are worthy repetition;

Let softest strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
And palms eternal flourish round his urn.
Here o'er the Martyr-King, the marble weeps,
And, fast beside him, once-fear'd Edward sleeps:
Whom not th' extended Albion could contain,
From old Belerium to the northern main,
The grave unites; where e'en the Great find rest,
And blended lie th' oppressor and th' opprest!

Alexander Pope,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The altar-piece of this Chapel, by Mr. West, has infinite merit; but it has been remarked of the figure of Judas, that if that was his resemblance, it would have done away all confidence, and consequently have prevented his betraying his master.
Too much cannot be said in commendation of the recent attention shewn to this place, which is perhaps one of the noblest Gothic structures in the world; its late repairs and embellishments have cost twenty thousand pounds; and it is to be supposed that the wretched gateway leading to the northwest front of this Chapel will not long remain a reproach to the taste of the present period of improvement.
In the same ruinous and decayed state remains the tomb-house, which was originally intended by Henry the Seventh as a mausoleum for his family; but the Monarch soon after determining on the same design in Westminster Abbey, this building was not compleated.
It afterwards came into the hands of Cardinal Wolsey, who obtained a grant of it from Henry the Eighth, intending it as a burying-place for himself; but his disgrace intervening, it was left unfinished.
Nothing now remains but a kind of sarcophagus in the centre of this building, with some few ornaments, as left by the Cardinal, at whose disgrace four thousand two hundred and fifty ducats had been paid to the statuary, and three hundred and eighty pounds sterling to the gilder.
Lord Bacon says, in his Life of Henry the Eighth,
"That this monument was so glorious, that it far exceeded that of Henry the Seventh in Westminster Abbey.".
Charles the Second intended to convert it into a banqueting house; and for that purpose employed Verrio to decorate its ceiling, parts of which yet remain.
James the Second wished to gratify the Pope, by making it the residence of his nuncio, at whose public entry, under the direction of that bigotted Prince, a splendid banquet was given in the Castle in 1687.
By this splendid and public reception, the minds of the people became enflamed to such a degree, that they attacked the building with all the fury of religious zeal, and left it nearly in the state in which it now remains.
It has been rumoured by some, that it was the intention of his present Majesty to fit it up as a chapter-room for the order of the Garter; by others, that it was to be used as a burial-place for the royal family:
any state, but the present, would certainly be an alteration for the better.

The north terrace of this castle was greatly improved by Queen Elizabeth, who added to it many buildings, which are easily discernible by their style.
She frequently graced this walk with her presence about the hour of noon, and is said to have directed the planting of that row of trees, near the Queen's Lodge, which bears her name.
Not far from this place are the remains of that venerable tree, known by the name of Herne's Oak, which has been immortalized by our divine bard Shakspeare in his Merry Wives of Windsor
He makes Master Page thus describe this tree and the keeper of the forest:

There is an old tale goes, that Herne the hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak with great ragged horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle;
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain,
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.

Herne's Oak,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Herne's Oak, Windsor Park

To this dread spot did those merry wives beguile Sir John, to

All encircle him about,
And, fairy like, to pinch the unclean knight.

The story of this Herne, who was keeper of the forest in the time of Elizabeth, runs thus :—.
That having committed some great offence, for which he feared to lose his situation, and fall into disgrace, he was induced to hang himself on this tree.
The credulity of the times easily worked on the minds of the ignorant to suppose that his ghost should haunt the spot.
This rendered it a fit scene of action for the purpose of our bard to terrify and expose the cowardice of the fat knight, who, in the following speech, confirms the idea of Herne's ghost being supposed to walk near this place, and is even desirous of imitating the keeper's voice;

Divide me like a bribe-buck, each a haunch;
I will keep my sides to myself,
my shoulders for the fellow of this walk,
And my horns I bequeath your husbands.
Am I a woodman ? ha! speak I like Herne the hunter ?

Some idea has prevailed of an intention to cut down this celebrated tree, which it is much to be wished may not be true.
The dell near it has in part been recently filled up.
As I do not know that any engraving has been made of this tree, the annexed view may possibly afford some pleasure to the curious reader.

We shall now refer to the internal decorarations of this noble palace.
The pictures, of which little can be said in their commendation, are few in number, and of those few a very small part can be selected as worthy the attention of the connoisseur.
The cartoons of the divine Raphael, seven in number, so well known, and so deservedly admired, are here preserved with every degree of care; and it is to be regretted, that no apartment can be found of sufficient dimensions to contain the whole of this rare treasure, the inestimable value of which was first pointed out by the great Rubens at Brussels, whither these pictures were sent by Leo X.
to be copied in tapestry under the direction of Van Orley and of Michael Coxis, two painters of great eminence in their day.
These tapestries, with a great number of others from Julio Romano, &c.
are exhibited annually in the Colonade before St. Peter's church at Rome on the day of Corpus Domini.
These invaluable works originally consisted of twelve pieces; but unfortunately four of the number have been totally destroyed by damps and neglect.
The subjects of these four were the Adoration of the Magi, the Conversion of St. Paul, the Martyrdom of St. Etienne, and St. Paul preaching before Felix and Agrippa; the tapestries of which are in being; of the fifth a third part only remains, which is now in the possession of William Hoare, Esq.
of Bath, R.

The subject is the Murther of the Innocents.
The pin-marks, which served as guides in the tracing it for the tapestry, appear evidently in the picture.
Upon the communication by Rubens to Charles I. that these excellent works were highly deserving a place in his noble collection, little persuasion was necessary to induce this accomplished Prince to become a purchaser of them.
At the sale of this Monarch's effects after his death, they were purchased by the order of Cromwell, who commissioned one of his officers to bid for them, and publicly to declare the bidding as for his Highness.
Fifty pounds was the sum offered; and such was the respect or dread of the name of the bidder, that they were instantly knocked down to him, though at the same time it was known, unlimited commissions were then in the room from France, Spain, Italy, &c.
Much praise is certainly due to the Protector in this transaction, who although no connoisseur, was well aware of the high value of these works, which he afterwards, in a state exigency, pawned to the Dutch for fifty thousand pounds.

They remained in Holland till the Revolution, after which King William ordered them hither, when they were deposited in a gallery built expressly for their reception at Hampton-Court.
To enter into a discussion of their great excellence, which every sensible mind must feel, or to point out their glaring defects, which every eye must see, would only be censuring the finite abilities of human nature, and confirming what daily experience gives proof of, that the most exalted talents are ever liable to the extreme of absurdity, and errors the most palpable.

A Large picture by Rubens of sleeping nymphs and prying satyrs, with animals by Snyders, is a work of great merit; the colouring of the females is in his best manner, but the contour of the figures is strongly marked with grossness of idea, and an affected swell of the muscles much out of nature.
A Whole length of the Dutchess of Richmond, by Van Dyck;
the portraits of Killigrew and Carew;
and that of Henrietta Maria, in white satin drapery,
are all works of infinite merit, particularly the latter, which is allowed to be the first production in portrait of that great master.
The picture of the Misers, in Queen Elizabeth's, or the Picture Gallery, by Quintin Matsys (called the Blacksmith) is an elaborate work of art; its merits, and the history of the painter, are so universally known, that it becomes needless to enlarge on the subject.
The allegorical picture of Lady Digby trampling on Envy, &c.
said to be by Van Dyck, I do not conceive to be his; a small picture on that subject, in the possession of Mr. Hervey of Chigwell, being the only one supposed to have been ever painted by Van Dyck.
A Remarkable fine portrait, by Holbein, of the Duke of Norfolk, and one ascribed to Rembrandt, of the celebrated Countess of Desmond, who is said to have reached her hundred and fiftieth year within a few days; and in her youth to have danced at Court with Richard III. whom she declared to have been.
"as goodly a man as ever her eyes beheld, not crooked, but very properly shaped."

Richard III,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
From a painting in Glass belonging to Trinity College.
Supposed to be a Portrait of Richard Duke of Gloster.
afterwards King Richard III

In the same room a head by Parmegiano has great taste in the design, but the colouring appears rather too red.
There is extant an etching of this picture by his own hand.
Of two pictures painted by De Gennari in the King's Drawing-room, the one Jupiter and Danae, and the other a sleeping shepherd, the merit is by no means a sufficient apology for the gross indelicacy with which the subjects have been treated.
But it must be remembered, that they were painted in the licentious reign of Charles II. and by the express order of that amorous Monarch; and being left as part of the furniture of the Castle, though a veil might perhaps have been thrown over them, have not yet been withdrawn from the public eye.
In an apartment not publicly shewn, is a curious and finely preserved whole length portrait of that elegant and (for the age in which he lived) refined poet, the unfortunate Earl of Surry.
He is habited in scarlet drapery, hat and feather, and scarlet stockings and shoes.
It is much in the style of Holbein, but certainly is not of his hand.
An engraving of this picture would be a great acquisition to the admirers of portrait.
It is with regret we observe, that in this stately Residence of the first Prince in Europe under whom the arts have made so rapid a progress, so few works of excellence can be pointed out to attract the notice of foreigners, or of the connoisseur in our own country.

We are, however, in some degree, compensated for the want of specimens of ancient art by the modern decorations from the pencil of Mr. West, which give additional fame to the artist, and reflect honour on our munificent Sovereign;
but we regret that the glorious period recorded in this work, the heroism and virtues of the renowned Edward III. one of the first Monarchs that has graced the throne of this realm, was not represented in St. George's Hall:
that spacious apartment would have afforded sufficient scope for the display of the artist's superior talents, and is better adapted to the grandeur of this undertaking, the historical correctness of which demands a brief description.
The work is composed of seven pictures:
in the first of which Edward is opposed by Gondomar Du Foy (Philip's general) in crossing the river Somme, near Abbeville, which he did not accomplish till the next day, when he obtained the glorious victory on the plains of Cressy;
the event of this battle is recorded in a picture of larger size, where the Monarch appears tenderly embracing his son, who looks with attention on the slain King of Bohemia lying at his feet.
The conduct of this brave old Monarch (who was almost blind with age) and likewise that of his noble attendants, was truly heroic.
Fearing that victory was going adverse to their wishes, they all agreed, lest by any circumstance they should be separated, to tie their horses bridles together, and conquer or die, in which situation they were all found the next day, near the body of their brave old King, from whom the Prince of Wales achieved his armorial bearings, the plume of feathers, and motto, "Ich dien," " I serve," which is worn to this day.
In a smaller work is introduced the Surrender of Calais, where the Queen is interceding with the King to save the lives of the six burgesses, whose hands are tied behind them.
The companion to this picture is the Entertainment given by the King to his prisoners, in which the Lord Eustace de Ribbemont, the gallant French officer who engaged with the King, unknown, in single combat, at the siege of Calais, is introduced.
The King here makes himself known, and is in the act of nobly rewarding the valour of his enemy with a crown of pearls, and at the same instant granting him his liberty.
This brave Frenchman was afterwards slain at the battle of Poictiers.
In the same small size is the battle of Nevil's Cross, near Durham, where Queen Philippa, in the absence of the King, takes the command of the troops, makes prisoner David King of Scotland, and is nobly victorious.
In a large picture, the same size with that of the Battle of Cressy, is the First Installation of the Garter.
The scene St. George's Chapel.

The Bishops of Winchester and Salisbury are performing the service; and the King, Queen, and Knights are all kneeling round the altar.
In the gallery above appear the King's Children, the captive King of Scotland and Bishop of St. Andrew's, French prisoners, and spectators.
In the fore ground are two alms or poor knights kneeling, and behind them two foreign Ambassadors, the one a Knight of Gascony, the other of Normandy.
Behind is Mr. West's portrait, &c.
The decorations of this charming picture are the trophies taken at the battles of Cressy and Nevil's Cross, the arms of the first Knights of the order of the Garter, &c.
It is remarked that this glorious Monarch was possesied of trophies obtained in victory from most of the Princes in Europe.
The seventh picture, which is of the same size with the former, is the battle of Poictiers, fought on the 19th of September, 1356, and gloriously won by the Prince of Wales.
King John, and his younger son Philip, as captives, are presented to the Prince by Denis de Morbeque, a Knight of Artois, whose singular fortune in this adventure will apologize for the short anecdote that follows.

"This Knight had in his youth committed a murder at St. Omer's, and was in consequence forced to fly his native country.
Taking refuge in England, he had entered the service of Edward, under whom he had served about five years, and being in this engagement, near the King of France at the moment of the defeat, boldly rushed through the crowd, and addressing himself to the King in good French, said,
'Sir, yield your person'.
The King, looking on him, said,
'To whom shall I yield? and where is my cousin the Prince of Wales? if I might see him, I would speak with him.'.
Sir Denis answered,
'Sir, he is not here about; but if it please you to yield to me, I shall bring you to him.'.
'Why, who are you?' said the King.
'Sir', said he, 'I am Denis of Morbeque, a knight of Artois; but I now serve the King of England, because I am banished the realm of France, and have forfeited all I had there.'.
Then the King gave him his right gauntlet, saying,
'Unto you I yield my self.'

These pictures have all infinite merit in their respective subjects.
The drawing throughout out is excellent, the colouring generally clear and animated, and the nice attention to the costume and manners of that time reflect the highest honour on the historical knowledge of the painter; yet I must still adhere to the remark already thrown out, that the subject would have had a better effect, and have more strongly impressed the mind with the achievements of our glorious Monarch, had they been on a greater scale, and the figures large as life.
Over the chimney is a picture by the same hand.
The subject is the history of St. George, which history, though much talked of, is not generally known; I shall therefore quote the following ancient legend of that tutelar saint and patron of England, from the Legenda Aurea of William Caxton, who says,

"Saynt George was knyghte born at Capadose.
On a tyme he came into the province of Libya, to a cyte whyche is sayed Sylene, and by this cyte was a stagne or ponde lyke a see, wherein was a dragon whych envenymed alle the contre, and the peple of the cyte gave to him every day two sheep for to fede hym, and when the sheep fayled, there was taken a man and a sheep.
Thenne was an ordaniunce made in the toune, that there shuld be taken the chyldren and yung peple of them of the towne, by lotte, and that it so happed the lotte fyl upon the Kynge's doughter, whereof the Kynge was sory, and sayde, for the love of Goddes, take golde and silver, and alle that I have, and let me have my doughter; and the peple sayd, how, Syr, ye have made and ordayned the lawe, and our children be now deed, and now ye wold do the contrarye; your doughter shall be gyven, or else we shall brenne you and you holdes.
When the Kynge saw he he might no more doo, he began to weepe, and returned to the peple, and demanded eight dayes respyte, and when the eight dayes were passed, thenn dyd the Kynge araye his doughter lyke as she should be wedded, and ledde hyr to the place where the dragon was.
When she was there, Saynt George passed by, and demaunded of the Ladye what she made there; and she sayde, go ye your wayes, fayre young man, that ye perish not also.
The legend then relates, that the dragon appered, and Saynt George, upon his horse, bore himself against the dragon, and smote hym with his spere, and threw hym to the ground, and delivered the Ladye to her fader, who was baptized, and all his peple.
It says farther, that St. George was afterwards beheaded by order of the Emperour Dacien, in the year of our Lord 287, and concludes,
'This blessed holy martyr, Saynt George, is patrone of this roiaume of Englonde, and the crye of men of warre, in the worshyp of whome is founded the noble Ordre of the Garter, and also a noble college in the castle of Wyndsore by Kynges of Englonde, in which college is the harte of Saynte George, whyche Sygysmunde, the Emperor of Almayne, brought and gave for a great and precious relique to K.
Harrye the Fyfthe; and also the say'd Sygysmunde was a broder of the say'd Garter, and also here is a peyce of hys hede; whyche college is nobly endowed to the honor and worshyp of Almighty God, and his blessed martyr Saynt George."

Eton College

Eton College,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Eton College

Eton College, that noble seminary of learning, has every advantage from situation which the luxuriant hand of nature could bestow.

The valley in which it stands is healthy and fertile, and happily calculated for the residence of youth.
The College was founded by that unfortunate Monarch Henry VI. in the year 1440, for the support of a provost and seven fellows, and the education of seventy King's scholars, an appellation given to those on the royal foundation.
The chapel of this college is a fine Gothic structure, and apparently by the same architect who designed that stately edifice King's College, Cambridge, whose name, Mr. Walpole says, he is informed by his friend Mr. Baker of Cambridge (a well known antiquary), was Cloos, father of Nicholas Cloos, one of the first fellows of that college, and afterwards Bishop of Litchfield; though Godwin says,
"the Bishop himself was master of the King's works here, as far as King Henry the Sixth's share reacheth, and contriver and designer of the whole.".
Whether father or son are entitled to that honour, little doubt remains, from the similarity of taste and disposition of the parts, but that this chapel, with that of King's College, were both the works of the same architect.
The modern introduction of the Doric order in the screen of this chapel is so dissimilar in style to the rest of the building, as in point of taste to be more than questionable, and will, no doubt, ere long be made to correspond with the rest of this justly esteemed edifice.

Henry VI,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

There is much to be admired in the whole length marble statue, by Bacon, of the founder of this college, at the west end of the chapel; but it wants muscular expression, and leaves the mind more impressed with the idea of a female than a male figure.

Jane Shore,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Jane Shore.
"Give gentle mistress Shore one gentle kiss the more".
King Richard III. Act 3. Sc 1.

In the Provost's apartments is a curious old portrait of Jane Shore, painted on pannel; it is ill drawn, and worse coloured, and gives but a poor idea of the taste for beauty of that day.
The forehead is large, and the features small and uninteresting.
A thin veil, which is her only covering, is loosely thrown over her figure.
The hair is of a yellowish auburn, approaching the tint of the ancient golden locks so often celebrated by our poets.
I have little doubt of its originality, and the idea is greatly strengthened by the probability of her confessor having been Provost of this college.
Here is preserved another copy of this celebrated favourite, from a picture at Cambridge, in which the hair is enriched with jewels, and the neck with gold, which appears, from many circumstances of similarity, upon comparison, to be a corroborating proof of the originality of the one before mentioned.

Francis Rous,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

A Curious portrait of Rouse, speaker of the Bare-bones Parliament, and of Sir Henry Wotton, are likewise preserved in the Provost's apartments.

Eton College Custom

Of the old custom celebrated every third year at Eton, under the name of the Montem, various conjectures have been formed; but its origin has not been ascertained.
It is said by some to have been an old monkish institution observed yearly for the purposes of raising money by the sale of salt, absolutions, or any other articles, to produce a fund that might enable the college to purchase lands; and that the mount now called Salt Hill, with other land contiguous, is said to belong to the college; which idea, upon the authority of the late Provost, Dr. Roberts, I can assert has no foundation in truth.
The custom of having a procession of the scholars can be clearly proved as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who, when she visited this college, desired to see an account of all the ancient ceremonies observed there from its foundation to that period, in the number of which it appears, that an annual procession of the scholars was one, and that at such time verses were repeated, and sums of money were gathered from the public for a dinner, &c.
to which fund was added the small pittances extorted from the boys who were recently admitted, by those of a longer standing.
Formerly the dresses used in this procession were obtained from the theatres, and salt was actually carried in the bags, the mischievous application of which may probably of late times have been the cause of discontinuing this custom; for when a countryman had given them money, if he asked for any thing in return, the bearer usually filled his mouth with salt, to the no small entertainment of the surrounding multitude.
The present mode of conducting the ceremony is of a more civilized nature: the fancy dresses of the salt-bearers, and what are called scouts, are of different coloured silk, and very expensive; and the sum gathered much more considerable.
This institution has for some years been patronized by their Majesties, who honour the ceremony with their presence, and testify their approbation by the most convincing rehetoric, a purse of fifty pounds each.
The sum collected at the last Montem (on Whit-Tuesday 1790) amounted to full five hundred pounds.
This sum was presented to the captain or senior of the collegers at the time of the ceremony, soon after which he was removed to King's College, Cambridge, which college is supplied with its members from this seminary, in nearly the same manner as Christ Church and NewCollege Oxford, are supplied from Westminster and Winchester.
The motto on their flags at this procession was "Pro more et Monte".

From Eton the spire of Stoke, or Stoke Poges church, is discernible at a distance of about four miles.
This place is not unworthy notice, from having been the residence of Gray the poet, where, in the mansion house of a Lady Cobham, it is well authenticated he wrote his beautiful Elegy in a Country Church-yard
But alas ! poor Gray meets the fate that is often attendant on men of extraordinary talents; since though he lies buried here, not even the day of his exit is recorded on the grave-stone which covers the family-vault in this churchyard.

Stoke Pogis Churchyard,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

It is with pleasure I add, that, about seven years after his death, a handsome mural monument was erected in Westminster Abbey, by two friends (whose names are honourably concealed), to which Mr. Mason's muse has added four elegant lines.

Quitting Eton, the view of Windsor Castle (from what is called the Play Ground of the college) is truly magnificent.
The remarkable curve of the river from Eton to Datchet, thoroughly justifies the supposed derivation of the name of Winding Shore, given to the adjacent town of Windsor, below which the river has a fall of near four feet,

Datchet Bridge

[ Datchet Bridge no longer exists! The bridge Samuel Ireland saw was built in 1770 and collapsed in 1795.
It was replaced in 1812, but finally removed in 1851 when it was replaced by the Albert Bridge and Victoria Bridge.

Datchet Bridge (1770-1795),  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
South East View of Datchet Bridge

On the approach to Datchet, the wooden bridge * has a light appearance from every point of view; but is decaying so fast as to become dangerous, though it has not been built above fifteen or sixteen years.
I am informed it is soon to be taken down, and one of stone to be erected in its stead.
{ This bridge has since fallen down. }

Below the bridge, the banks of the river are are enriched with several handsome villas, which command a noble view of Windsor castle, &c.

Ditton Park

In Ditton Park is the seat of Lord Beaulieu.
This ancient mansion was built by Sir Ralph Winwood, secretary of state to James I. on the site of that which was formerly occupied by Cardinal Wolsey.
The old chimnies are yet standing, which mark the style of building of that period.
From Sir Ralph Winwood it came into the family of Montague, and by marriage to the present possessor.
This park is famed for its stately old oaks, which strongly indicate the antiquity of the place.

Above old Windsor

On the approach to Old Windsor, the Long Walk and Snow-hill in Windsor Park have a noble and picturesque appearance.
The contemplative mind cannot fail to sympathize with the elegant author of the Chase, and

Tread with respectful awe.
Windsor's green glades, where Denham, tuneful bard,
Charmed once the listening Dryads with his song,
Sublimely sweet.

Lady Denham,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Miss Brook, afterwards Lady Denham

Sir John Denham,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sir John Denham

The excellence of this situation has called forth the superior talents of this justly admired bard, Sir John Denham, whose poem on Cooper's Hill will never be neglected, while there exists taste to relish nervous poetry, so happily combined with the elegancies of versification and the truth of nature.
Of this universally admired work, some ill-natured doubts were thrown out in the last century, by Sir John Suckling, in his Session Of the Poets
He there intimates, that this poem was only the adopted child of Sir John Denham, but was in truth the legitimate issue of a country vicar, who received of the Knight forty pounds as a compensation.
These insinuations have not, however, obtained any credit with posterity.
Of the house formerly our poet's, no traces are now remaining; but in the vicinity several elegant houses have been erected, particularly Mr. Smith's, at Kingswood Lodge, and Mrs. Harcourt's, whose residence is not far from the spot on which he lived.

Old Windsor

[ NB this is Old Windsor, not Windsor.
The lock at Windsor is Romney Lock.
Old Windsor lock is the next downstream.

In the neighbourhood of Old Windsor the scenery is romantic and beautiful, particularly the situation of Lady Onslow's, formerly Mr. Bateman's; and on the other side of the river, Ankerwycke, a seat lately occupied by Mr. Bouverie, which, though in a low situation, has its peculiar advantages in verdant prospects across the river.
The house was formerly a Benedictine nunnery, built by Sir Gilbert de Mountfichet, in the time of Henry II.


Passing Ousely, towards Egham, the high road on the border of the river affords a delightful ride through Runney Mead, a spot where, however powerfully the imagination may be struck with the richness and beauty of the scenery, yet higher and much more important considerations must here impress themselves upon every generous and feeling mind.
If a Tory by principle, and a pensioner from necessity, could say,
"Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.
Far from me, and from my friends, be such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue.
That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon!.
Surely in others an ardour, not less than enthusiastic, and a veneration, not less than religious, ought to follow the memory of those constitutional patriots, the Barons, who, at the risque of their lives and fortunes, here wrested an assumed power out of the hands of a tyrant, and contributed to restore an equal and reasonable influence in the state to those, from whom alone the title to govern can originate—the people."

{Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland}

Samuel Johnson,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Samuel Johnson

In Egham church are two ancient monuments erected to the familyof Sir John Denham, father to the poet, who was a considerable benefactor to this parish.
The late Mr. Garrick has paid a handsome tribute, in the following lines, to the memory of the Rev.Thomas Beighton, who was vicar of this place forty-five years, and died October 23rd, 1771, at the age of seventy-one;

Near half an age,with ev'ry goodman's praise,
Among his flock, the shepherd passed his days;
The friend, the comfort of the sick and poor,
Want never knocked unheeded at his door.
Oft when his duty called, disease and pain.
Strove to confine him, but they strove in vain.
All mourn his death, his virtues long they tryed;
They knew not how they loved him, till he dyed.
Peculiar blessings did his life attend,
He had no foe, and Camden was his friend.

Hythe End - The island ( = Old Hive? )

The river a little below Egham is very shallow, and at a place contiguous, called Old Hive, is rendered famous for barbelfishing, and sometimes fine carp are caught near this spot.

The London Stone

On the bank of the river, at Colneditch, not far from the church of Staines, stands what what is called London-Mark-Stone, which is the ancient boundary to the city jurisdiction on the Thames.
On a moulding round the upperpart of the stone(which is much decayed by age) is inscribed,
"God preserve the city of London. A.D. 1280.".
This stone was, during the mayoralty of Sir Watkin Lewes, in 1781, placed on a new pedestal, on which is inscribed, that it was erected exactly over the spot where the old one formerly stood.
From hence the jurisdiction of the city of London extends over the river Thames as low as Yendal, or Yenleet, to the east, including part of the rivers Medway and Lea ; and it is the office of the Lord Mayor's Deputy, the Water Bailiff, to search for, and punish all persons who infringe the laws made for the preservation of the river and its fish.
And in order to maintain the rights and privileges of this river, the Lord Mayor holds a Court of Conservancy eight times in the year, in the four counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex, when a Jury for each is charged on oath to make inquisition after all offences committed on the river, in order to proceed to judgment against those who shall be found guilty.


From the Saxon word stana, or stone, the town of Staines most probably derived its appellation.
To the notice of the curious, it has at present little to recommend it, except the tower of the church, which is reported to be a design of Inigo Jones, who resided some time in this town.
From the Saxon word stana, or stone, the town of Staines most probably derived its appellation.

Staines Bridge

Staines Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Staines Bridge

Its ancient decayed wooden bridge, I am happy to find, is shortly to be removed, and will receive an elegant substitute of stone, from a design of the ingenious Thomas Sandby, Esq. R.A. whose plan has been already approved by the Commissioners.
To that gentleman, whose known urbanity renders him ever willing to communicate that scientific information, with which he is so amply stored, I am indebted for the annexed sketch.

Staines Proposed Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Staines Proposed Bridge by Sandby
[ It fell down! ]

The new bridge will stand nearly in the direction of the old one, and the building on the right, on the Surrey side, is intended (if approved of) as a spacious inn.
The bridge consists of three eliptical arches, the center sixty feet in width, and the two side ones fifty-two each.
The building of this bridge is contracted for at the sum of eight thousand four hundred pounds, and is intended to be begun early in the spring.

River Colne

A Little below Staines bridge one branch of the Colne from Uxbridge falls into the Thames, and another at Hampton Court, which supplies the reservoir of that palace with water.

Passing down the river from Staines, St. Ann's Hill appears in a very conspicuous and elevated situation, and often at a happy distance breaks upon the eye with the various and sudden windings of the river,


till we reach Laleham, famed for the entertainment it affords to the pensive lover of angling.
The river at Laleham narrows considerably, and about the shallows or gulls, the water is beautifully transparent.
Here the tranquillity of the scenery, the various objects perpetually gliding on the stream, and groupes of cattle from the adjacent meadows drinking and laving in the river, form a subject truly gratifying to the contemplative mind.
From hence to Chertsey, the water has a fall of near four feet.

Chertsey Bridge

Chertsey Bridge,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Chertsey Bridge

Chertsey bridge is a handsome plain structure, begun in 1780, and finished in 1785, under the direction of Mr. Payne, the architect, whose works make no inconsiderable figure on the river Thames.
It consists of seven arches, each formed of the segment of a circle.
It is built of Purbeck stone, at an expence of about thirteen thousand pounds, which falls equally upon the counties of Surrey and Middlesex.
The original contract was for seven thousand five hundred pounds.

Chertsey Abbey

The town of Chertsey has formerly been a place of much consequence, from its abbey, of which little now remains.
I am favoured by Mr. Pembroke of Chertsey, with a curious drawing of the abbey, and map of the lands and river adjoining, which were annexed to some old deeds belonging to the church, to which he had lately occasion to refer.
They are in a book relating to the possessions of the monastery kept in the King's Remembrancer's office in the Exchequer, and were there deposited at the period of the Dissolution.
It is presumed the drawing was made about the reign of Henry IV.
The sketch annexed will give a good idea of the form of the abbey at that period.

Chertsey Abbey,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Chertsey Abbey c. Henry IV

In all probability this building received the remains of the ill-fated Henry VI. mentioned by Shakspeare in his play of Richard III. where Lady Ann, attending the funeral, says,
"Come now towards Chertsey with your holy load,
Taken from Paul's to be interred there.
From Chertsey the body was afterwards removed to Windsor by Henry VII. in a private manner.
Out of the ruins of this abbey Sir Henry Carew, Master of the Buck-hounds to King Charles II. built a stately mansion.

St Anne's Hill

On St. Ann's Hill is yet standing part of an old stone wall, the remains of a chapel dedicated to St. Ann;
and not far from it is Monk's Grove, near which has been discovered a well, to which medicinal qualities had formerly been ascribed.
It had been lost for a considerable time; and since its restoration, has been occasionally resorted to under an opinion of its efficacy in many cases.
Upon the subject of antiquity, it may not be out of place to mention a living antique who resides in this neighbourhood—a farmer of the name of Wapshote, whose ancestors have lived on the spot ever since the time of Alfred, by whom the farm was granted to Reginald de Wapshote, the ancestor of the present family.
In spite of the antiquity of this family, and amidst the various changes and chances of human life, their fortunes have by no vicissitude been elevated or depressed perhaps a surer test of their integrity than if they had been ennobled.

Alfred,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799


Cowley, the poet, resided in Chertsey some time, and died in what is called the Porch House, which is now standing, but has lost its appendage, the porch.
This house is the property of Mr. Alderman Clark of London, by whom I am favoured with the drawing, as it stood a few years since, and of which this sketch is a faithful copy.

Cowley's House,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The retreat of Cowley to this place was in consequence of disgust; wearied out with the vexatious attendance upon a Court, and the fatigues of business.
In this retreat he vainly flattered himself with meeting that solace and recreation which we are too apt to expect on withdrawing ourselves from the world.
Even the long experience and good sense of Cowley misled him in this pursuit; every thing seems to have taken a contrary turn, and nothing but disappointment and vexation followed.
The nature of these disappointments will be best explained in his own words, from a letter preserved accidentally by Peck.
It is addressed to Dr. Spratt, dated
"Chertsey, May 21, 1665.
The first night that I came hither I caught so great a cold, with a defluxion of rheum, as made me keep my chamber ten days.
And, two after, had such a bruise on my ribs with a fall, that I am yet unable to move or turn myself in my bed.
This is my personal fortune here to begin with.
And, besides, I can get no money from my tenants, and have my meadows eaten up every night by cattle put in by my neighbours.
What this signifies, or may come to in time, God knows; if it be ominous, it can end in nothing less than hanging.
Another misfortune has been, and stranger than all the rest, that you have broke your word with me, and failed to come, even though you told Mr. Bois that you would.
This is what they call Monstri simili.
I do hope to recover my late hurt so farre within five or six days (though it be uncertain yet whether I shall ever recover it) as to walk about again.
And then, methinks, you and I and the Dean might be very merry upon S. Anne's Hill.
You might very conveniently come hither the way of Hampton Town, lying there one night.
I write this in pain, and can say no more: Verbum sapienti.
Dr. Johnson recommends this letter to the consideration of all who may pant for solitude.

Catherine Sedley Countess of Dorchester,  Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester. Obit 1717

The beautiful grounds of the Hon. Mr. Petre, adjoining to the town of Chertsey, stand on an elegant slope, inclining towards the bank of the river.
The scenery is so happily chosen, as not only to afford infinite variety of prospect, but likewise to admit the various display of taste and refinement in modern gardening, of which Woburn Farm stands an early specimen.
The prospects of the adjacent country, rich in villages and fertile meadows, and diversified with the beautiful winding of the river Thames, afford a view equal to any thing of the kind that this noble river presents. Adjoining these grounds is Ham Farm, the seat of the Earl of Portmore, at Weybridge.
It received its early improvement from the Countess of Dorchester, in the reign of James II. but has of late years been much neglected.
The park comprises about five hundred acres.
Its contiguity to the rivers Thames and Wey render it an eligible situation; the latter river runs through the grounds, in its course from Guildford, from whence it is navigable for vessels of considerable burthen.
A stream from what is called the Virginia Water, in Windsor park, likewise runs through the grounds, in its course from Mr. Petre's park.
The rich and verdant terrace that terminates the grounds of Ham Farm towards the banks of the river, is much to be admired, at the extremity of which the swing bridge thrown across the Wey, at its junction with the Thames, makes a truly picturesque object.

Cowey Stakes

Near this place, according to Camden, at Cowey Stakes, Cæsar passed the Thames (that being the only spot then fordable) and entered the territories of Cassivelan.
On the other side of the river the British troops had planted themselves, and had fenced the bank with sharp stakes, securely driven into the ground, which the venerable Bede says
"are seen to this day; and it appears upon the view, that each of them is as thick as a man's thigh; and that being soddered with lead, they stick in the bottom of the river immoveable."
These stakes, which are of oak, are still discernible, though from age they have lost their former colour.
The late Speaker, Arthur Onslow, had a set of knife and fork handles made from them, which, when worked, were as black and as heavy as ebony.


By an easy bend of the river, we pass the pleasant village of Shepperton, the retreat of the contemplative angler, who patiently sits whole days bending over the placid stream, to watch

The fond credulity
Of silly fish, which, worldling-like, still look
Upon the bait, but never on the hook.

The "Angler's Wish", an elegant composition of an amiable and ingenious character of the last age, is so apt to the present purpose, that I flatter myself a quotation from it will not be unacceptable to the admirer of this recreation.

I in these flowery meads would be:
These chrystal streams should solace me;
To whose harmonious bubbling noise,
I with my angle would rejoice:
Sit here and see the turtle dove
Court his chaste mate to acts of love.

Or, on that bank, feel the west wind
Breathe health and plenty; please my mind,
To see sweet dew-drops kiss these flowers,
And then washed off by April showers:
Here hear my Kenna sing a song:
There see a black-bird feed her young,

Or a laverock build her nest:
Here give my weary spirits rest,
And raise my low-pitched thoughts above
Earth, or what poor mortals love:
Thus free from law-suits, and the noise
Of Princes Courts, I would rejoice.

Or with my Bryan* and a book,
Loiter long days near Shawford brook;
There sit by him, and eat my meat,
There see the sun both rise and set:
There bid good morning to next day,
There meditate my time away:
And angle on, and beg to have
A quiet passage to a welcome grave.

{* Said to be his [Isaac Walton's] favourite dog.}
Isaac Walton, the author of the Complete Angler, from which this extract is made, and whose works lately passed through two editions, given by the late Sir John Hawkins, learnt his art upon the banks of our river.
Angling was his principal amusement: and from the choice of our pleasures (at least as he inculcates, and the history of his life is a strong confirmation of his doctrine) may not unreasonably be deduced the character of our morals.
In any period, and particularly in that age, he must be considered as an extraordinary man.
Without birth or education, in the humble situation of a sempster or milliner, the purity of his morals, the simplicity of his manners, his various information and philanthropy, procured him access to the most learned men of his time, amongst whom his common appellation was that of "Honest Izaac".
His lives of many of the most eminent characters of his time, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Herbert, &c. are represented as one of the most favourite books of the late Dr. Johnson, who says, { Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson, vol. i. p.487 }
" That it was wonderful that he, who was in a very low situation of life, should have been familiarly received by so many great men, and that at a time when the ranks of society were kept more separate than they are now."
He seems still to retain, amongst the highest characters of the present age for worth and learning, the same estimation which he formerly held; for there appears to have been a strong inclination in one of our present prelates, {Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson vil i p.437} the Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Home, then President of Magdalen College, Oxford, if not also at the same time in one of the present Judges of Scotland, {p.437} Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, to give an edition of his Lives; and it was the very earnest wish of Dr. Johnson, {p.438}
" that this pious work (as he terms it) of preserving and elucidating the writings of an author by whom he had been most pleasingly edified,"
should be perfected by some worthy, respectable, and able hand.
This digression from the subject, will, I flatter myself, be palliated by the ardent wish I feel to be ranked amongst the admirers of this excellent character, and, as he is styled,
"Common father of all anglers."


The Thames here abounds with almost every different species of fish that is to be found in other British rivers, such as perch, eels, roach, dace, bleak, barbel, &c.
of the latter it is to be observed, they never are seen below London bridge, the others are found as low as the water continues fresh.
The flounders are seldom found above Fulham, whither they are conveyed by the tide.
Of the lamprey I have remarked in a former Section.
The salmon appears in the river about the middle of February, and sells at a very advanced price: its capture is prohibited from the 10th day of September to the 25th of January.
The shad, like the salmon, is a fish of passage; it appears about the beginning of June, but is held in little estimation; the usual size is from four to five pounds, but it sometimes is found of nearly twice that weight.


The Terrace of Oatlands, on the opposite side the river, (now in the possession of the Duke of York) is a superb ornament to the banks of the Thames; but the house has nothing beyond situation to recommend it.
One object in these grounds should not be unnoticed, although a species of building not always gratifying to the well informed mind.

Oatlands Grotto, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Oatlands Grotto

It is the Grotto, which, in that style, exceeds in taste and elegance every thing I believe of the kind in the kingdom.
It was constructed and finished by three persons, a father and his two sons, whose lives, in the opinions of some, might have been devoted to objects of more utility, yet it certainly bespeaks them to have possessed great ingenuity, and unceasing application.
This grotto is reported to have cost near twelve thousand pounds.
There was formerly a noble palace in this park, a good view of which is given in the back ground of a portrait of Ann of Denmark, Queen to James I. painted by Van Somers, in 1617.
It is now in Kensington palace.
Little remains of this palace, but a gate, erected from a design of Inigo Jones, and which has been removed a small distance from its original situation, and repaired, with the addition of an inscription by the Duke of Newcastle, its former possessor.
On St. George's Hill, in the neighbourhood of this park, are evident remains of a Roman encampment.
Walton bridge, from Oatlands, has a beautiful appearance.
A spacious body of water formed beneath the terrace, is so happily managed as to appear to be the main river, which, from its windings in the neighbourhood, is concealed from the view.

Walton Bridge

Walton Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Walton Bridge 1788-1859

The celebrated old bridge at Walton was built by the late Mr. Decker, for which he obtained an Act of Parliament in 1747, and in 1750 that handsome structure was completed.
The plan of this elegant bridge was by a Mr. White of Weybridge, though some other person has taken the merit of its design.
The happy construction of this bridge was such, that being composed of timbers tangent to a circle of a hundred feet in diameter, either of which falling into decay, might, with ease, be unscrewed; and, with equal facility, receive a new substitute, without disturbing the adjoining timbers.
Of this bridge, the sketch prefixed will give a faint idea.

Walton Bridge 1750, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Walton Bridge 1750-1783

Such was its dangerous state, that about four years since, it was judged expedient to take down a great part of it, when the centre arches of the present bridge, which are of brick, were rebuilt at an expence of two thousand pounds, under the direction of the late Mr. Payne.
This bridge is the property of Mr. Sanders; and it must be confessed, that what it has gained in solidity and strength, it has lost in taste and elegance.

Change in the river's course

Walton is said formerly to have joined the county of Middlesex, till, about three hundred years since, the old current of the Thames was changed by an inundation, and a church was destroyed by the waves.
Here are still some vestiges of a Roman camp.


From Walton, the scenery of this gentle river is continually increasing in beauty, and as we reach Sunbury, its banks are so highly enriched in villas, that the lines of an ancient poet may not unaptly apply to illustrate the scene;

We saw so many woods and princely bowers,
Sweet fields, brave palaces, and stately towers,
So many gardens drest with curious care,
That Thames with royal Tiber may compare.

At Sunbury, the seat of the late Earl of Pomfret makes no inconsiderable figure.
It seems an epitome of part of the façade of Hampton Court, and has often borne the appellation of that palace in miniature.

Garrick's Villa

In the neighbourhood of Hampton, the favourite retreat of our theatrical monarch, the late Mr. Garrick, is a handsome villa erected by him, which may not improperly be said to have been dedicated to
" The feast of reason, and the flow of soul."
On the verdant lawn sloping towards the Thames, stands a handsome pavilion, in which is placed a whole length statue of our immortal Shakspeare, { Reported to have cost three thousand pounds.} sculptured in beautiful white marble, by the inimitable Roubilliac.
The bard seems deep in contemplation, and,

As imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown,
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Shakespeare, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Part of the internal decorations of the house are from the pencil of that original and unrivalled genius, Hogarth, the scourge of vice and immorality,
" Who held, as 'twere, the mirror up to Nature, to shew Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the Time, his form and pressure."
The four election pictures by this master, the subjects of which are so well known, and their mischievous consequences so severely felt in this country, as to need no farther comment, here present themselves, in which, if nice discrimination of character, and just expression of the human passions are sought after, and allowed to be the first excellence in works of genuine satire, surely these from the pencil of our Hogarth must remain a lasting proof of his unrivalled excellence; nor is the mechanical part of these pictures less to be admired than the designs.
The colouring is rich, and the figures are boldly and characteristically drawn.
By the same hand is likewise another work; which has, for its subject, the Examination of the Recruits before Shallow and Silence, which, though inferior to the former in merit, will yet evince to the world that the genius of the artist was only obscured when copying the ideas of others, since even the brilliant imagination of Shakspeare could lend no aid to the natural talent of Hogarth, who, to be admired, must always think and act for himself.
I cannot quit this mansion, without adverting to the rare talents of its former possessor, Mr. Garrick, who, as a living commentator on our immortal bard, stands unrivalled; but in this view, so inadequate and imperfect are the traces of human memory, and so soon, even if it were indelible, in the general wreck of mortality, does this evidence pass away, that even now there remain not very many witnesses, whose grateful remembrance can, with any lively impressions, pay the due tribute to his varied and unequalled excellence; or, to use the elegant language of a modern bard, who, deploring the transitory fate of superior talents in the mimic art, says,

The Actor only shrinks from Time's award,
Feeble Tradition is his memory's guard;
By whose faint breath his merits must abide
Unvouched by proof, to substance unallyed,
Even matchless Garrick's art to heaven resigned,
No fixed effect, no model leaves behind.


From Hampton, the approach to the bridge presents a favourable association of objects for the pencil.
The west end of the old building, formerly the banqueting house, breaks happily on the eye to complete the scene, and it is from that point of view only that this majestic pile can be introduced into the landscape to advantage.

Hampton Court Bridge

Hampton Court Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Hampton Court Bridge

Hampton Court bridge, which is of wood, has a light and pleasing effect, and was finished about twenty-five years since, under the direction of a Mr. White of Weybridge;
the former bridge was so ill constructed as only to remain fit for use about thirteen or fourteen years.

River Mole

Very near the bridge, at what is called Molesey, the river Mole, from Dorking, falls into the Thames.
The water is here very shallow in many places, being not more than twenty inches deep; but opposite the palace, in one spot, where the water-gallery formerly stood, it is near thirty feet.

Hampton Court Palace

The palace of Hampton Court, it is well known, was built by the princely Wolsey, whose munificence in the undertaking excited no small degree of jealousy and envy in his Sovereign; the wary Prelate therefore thought it wise to make a peace-offering of his rising edifice; and in return, the King suffered him to reside in his palace of Richmond.
The plan of this magnificent building, when thus abandoned by the Cardinal, was so extensive, as to admit of two hundred and eighty beds, adorned with rich silk and gold hangings.
Of the original splendour of this edifice there are few remains;
the principal object to be admired is the spacious hall, formerly the banqueting room;
its noble vaulted roof is in the best taste of Gothic design, and fully impresses the mind with the general style of elegance in which it was originally finished.

Anne Boleyn, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

In this hall, a grand banquet, it is said, was given by the Cardinal to his Sovereign, expressly for the purpose of introducing to his notice Ann Boleyn;
but I conjecture that this report is without foundation, as the scene, with more probability, was at York-place, the then residence of the Cardinal, now Whitehall.
Cavendish, who wrote the life of the Cardinal, in the time of Queen Mary, says, he was himself present at the banquet, and thus describes it:
" Before the King, &c. began to dance, they requested leave to accompany the ladies at mum-chance;
leave being granted, then went the masquers and first saluted all the dames, and then returned to the most worthiest, and then opened the great cup of golde, filled with crownes and other pieces, to cast at.
Thus perusing all the gentlewomen, of some they wonne, and to some they lost;
and having viewed all the ladies, they returned to the Cardinal with great reverence, pouring down all their gold, which was above two hundred crowns.
At all, quoth the Cardinal, and casting the die, he wonne it, whereat was made great joy.

In the last reign, the stately hall at Hampton Court was converted into a theatre, where the Queen intended two plays should be performed weekly, while the court was held there;
but Colly Cibber says, that only seven plays were performed in it after it was altered;
one of which was for the entertainment of the Duke of Lorraine, afterwards Emperor of Germany.
For an elaborate description of this magnificent palace, as it stood in the reign of Elizabeth, I refer the curious reader to the Itinerary of Hentzner, who, after enumerating the many elegancies it then contained, concludes with remarking, that
" in short, all the walls of the palace shine with gold and silver."
This scene of magnificence and pomp of former Kings became, at a later period, the prison of the ill-fated monarch, Charles I. whose fortunes, when considering him as a Prince accomplished in the fine arts, we cannot but deplore;
however, the pernicious examples before him, and hereditary lessons, perhaps too readily imbibed, destined him to a rougher fate, than either in times less agitated, or under other circumstances, his elegant mind and milder manners should seem to have merited.

Of the ancient splendor of Hampton Court, we have at present few remains:
the apartments now standing having been originally used as offices merely for domestic purposes, consequently convey no idea of the magnificence of the times at which they were built.
The old palace was taken down in 1690, to give place to the present elegant structure, which was raised under the auspices of King William, and under the skilful direction of Sir Christopher Wren.
Before this building was began, the Monarch suggested an idea of erecting one in the neighbourhood of Hampton, at the west end of the town, on an elevation about half a mile distant from the river—a situation certainly preferable in point of scenery to that of Hampton Court;
but the length of time, which he was given to understand such an undertaking would require in its completion, induced him to relinquish the design.
The present palace was completed in about four years, and just before the death of Queen Mary, to whose taste and superior skill in the arts, it is but justice to say, from the authority of its architect, this building owes much of its elegance.
The grand facade towards the garden extends three hundred and thirty feet, and that towards the Thames three hundred and twenty-eight.
The portico and colonade, of duplicated pillars of the Ionic order, at the grand entrance, and indeed the general design of these elevations, are in a superior style of magnificence.
The want of height in the cloysters under the apartments, is an error in taste of which Sir Christopher Wren stands exculpated, as they were executed in that manner, according to the King's express desire.
In this palace are said to be two thousand apartments, which constitute in point of extent and convenience, one of the noblest structures this country affords.
On one side of the quadrangle, called the Fountain Court, is the apartment which was constructed for the reception of the cartoons of Raphael, and which, it must be confessed, was a preferable situation to that at present allotted to them at Windsor.
The pictures, which are now placed in their stead, are so inferior in merit to those excellent works that once graced this apartment, that they seem a mockery of the arts.
The other pictures contained in this palace are in general of a superior class, but are too numerous to be particularised in this work.

This palace is supplied with water for domestic uses by a pipe conveyed under the Thames, about half a mile above Kingston Bridge, from a place called Coomb, which is four miles distant from Kingston.
This water has the property of not furring any vessel it is boiled in; turns all vegetables black, and is said to possess many medicinal qualities.

Quitting Hampton Court several elegant villas, in the vicinity of Thames Ditton, present themselves to view, among which, Miss Boyle's, formerly occupied by the Earl of Hertford, and that of Richard Joseph Sullivan, Esq.
once in the possession of Lady Digby, particularly claim attention; they have every requisite, from their vicinity to the river, Hampton Court Park, and a charming surrounding country, to render their situation truly enviable.

Ditton to Kingston

The river scenery from Thames Ditton to Kingston, receives a pleasant addition from the contiguity of the road to its banks, parallel to which it runs a considerable length, affording a perpetual variety of objects highly gratifying.

Kingston Bridge

Kingston Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Kingston Bridge

The old wooden bridge of Kingston consists of twenty arches;
it was originally supported by a toll, but in 1567 was endowed with lands amounting to forty pounds per annum, for the repairs, &c. from which time the toll has been taken off.


Kingston was formerly the residence of several Saxon Kings, from which circumstance it obtained its present name.
The antient appellation of this place was Mereford, from a ford over the river.
In this ancient town the famous Earl of Warwick, styled the king-maker, is said to have had his residence, at a house called Hircomb's Place.
Kingston was incorporated by King John, and sent Members to Parliament, as early as the reign of Edward the Second.
From this ancient burgh, which at present affords little gratification to the inquisitive mind,

King John, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799


we approach Teddington, formerly called Tide-ending Town, from the tide, as it is said, having flowed so high, before the building of London Bridge; and at present its last gentle efforts are certainly felt here, though it is a distance of more than seventy miles from its mouth.
I have reason to believe that few rivers in Europe carry their tide so high into the internal parts of the country through which they pass.
What causes concur to produce this effect, is more than I shall attempt to explain;
but its advantages in point of trade and navigation to the country, as well as the capital, are as obvious as they are reciprocal; and the circumstance itself seems to have well justified the choice of the seat of empire, and fixing it in a place which had, of all others in the realm, the most ready and extensive communication with its provinces.


The village of Twickenham next presents itself to view, a spot long famed for the residence of taste and elegance, and where the muses have delighted to stray, on the banks of our gentle river.

Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Strawberry Hill

At the entrance of this charming village the Honourable Mr. Walpole has given us a specimen of his taste, in a happy selection of Gothic parts and ornaments, in his villa at StrawStrawberry Hill.
This cabinet, rich in the choicest works of the fine arts, is, from the politeness of its owner, well known to the amateurs in this country, who find easy access on proper application.
Though the subject has not novelty to recommend it, yet I cannot refrain from mentioning this rich appendage to the banks of the Thames.
The annexed view is taken from a drawing made about six years since by my late ingenious and much esteemed friend, Francis Grose, Esq.

Francis Grose, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Francis Grose Esquire. F.A.S.

In the construction of the various apartments in this house, Mr. Walpole has judiciously availed himself of the best specimens of the ancient Gothic now remaining, particularly those from the gate of the choir at Rouen, the tomb of Archbishop Wareham at Canterbury, St. George's Chapel, &c.
In the Holbein Chamber are some good copies of the works of that master by Vertue, from the originals in the late Queen Caroline's closet at Kensington:
likewise an excellent original drawing in pen and ink by Holbein, a design intended for a chimneypiece in an apartment in one of the palaces of Henry VIII.
In the grand gallery are many good portraits by Reubens, Van Dyck, Jansens, Lilly, &c.
A fine specimen of the state of the art of painting in the fifteenth century, by Mabuse, the subject of which is the marriage of Henry VII. will be highly gratifying to the antiquary and admirer of the early productions of art in painting.
The celebrated eagle, from the Baths of Caracalla, brought over by Sir Horace Mann, and of which Mr. Walpole has caused an engraving to be made, happily adorns the centre of this elegant gallery, and need only to be seen to be admired.
In this repository of elegance are some of the best specimens in miniature painting, by the Olivers, Cooper, &c. that are extant.
A valuable treasure, by the former master, is here preserved, which Mr. Walpole informs us, was discovered in an old house in Wales, belonging to a descendant of Sir Kenelm Digby; it was there so carefully enclosed in ebony and ivory cases, as to remain at present as perfect as if just painted.
Of this descendant Mr. Walpole made the purchase.
The most beautiful part of which is the portrait of Sir Kenelm and his lady, and two sons, from Van Dyck, which must be certainly deemed the chef d'œuvre of this charming painter.
A Small bell in silver, in the cabinet, from the hand of Benvenuto Celini, is so exquisitely sculptured, as to rival every production of the kind I remember to have seen.
The ebony furniture, cabinet, and curious relics of antiquity, particularly the Abbot of Glastonbury's chair, are all well adapted to the Gothic of the house.
Cardinal Wolsey's hat, here preserved, is said, by the inscription within the crown, to have been found in the great wardrobe by Bishop Burnet, and seems to carry with it genuine marks of originality; at present, however, the rage for Cardinal's hats seems so much on the decline, that it may perhaps be difficult ere long to find heads to fit them, and those of the whole conclave may possibly share the fate of Wolsey's, in being consigned to the wardrobes of the curious only.
The library is spacious and well-stored with the choicest productions of the graphic art, particularly in portraits, in which this collection is allowed to stand pre-eminent.
Amidst the many elegancies in this retreat, the modern decorations from the pencil of Lady Di. Beauclerc, particularly those from the subject of Mr. Walpole's tragedy of the Mysterious Mother, are works that do honor to the age, and on which it is impossible to speak of the fair artist, without seeming to be lavish in adulation.
The noble owner has built an apartment for their reception.

Pope's Villa

Pope's House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Pope's House

In the adjoining village of Twickenham, the once-famed residence of the immortal Pope is conspicuously marked towards the river, by two of the noblest drooping willows, perhaps in the kingdom, which are reported to have been planted by his hand.
In the year 1715, this admired spot was purchased by Pope; and here, in the various improvements and additions he was perpetually making, he seems to have found a principal solace and amusement in his declining years.
Whatever may be the present opinion of this place, from the altered, and perhaps improved taste of the times, his own high opinion of the excellencies of his grotto and garden will be best understood from his letter written to Edward Blount, Esq. dated June 2, 1725.
Since the death of our poet, these grounds have been considerably enlarged, and the house has received the addition of two side wings, from its late possessor Sir William Stanhope, who purchased it at the death of Pope; notwithstanding these additions and alterations, the simplicity of the building is still the same, and it may yet be called Pope's.

Grateful posterity, from age to age,
With pious hand the ruin shall repair;—
Some good old man, to each enquiring sage
Pointing the place, shall cry—The Bard lived there.

The house, &c. is now in the possession of the Right Honourable Welbore Ellis, Esq., who married the daughter of the late Sir William Stanhope.
The remains of this charming Ethic writer were deposited, agreeable to his own request, in the parish church of Twickenham, in the same vault with those of his parents, to whose memory he had erected a plain monument, with a Latin inscription written by himself.
A More elegant monument in marble was erected for our poet in the same gallery, by his friend and editor Dr. Warburton, late Bishop of Gloucester, on which is affixed, in a medallion, a head of Pope, and a short memorial in Latin.
On the outside of this church, at the east end, is a small tablet, erected by the poet to the memory of Mary Beach, a faithful old servant, who nursed him in his infancy, and constantly attended him for thirty-eight years.
She died November 5, 1725, at the age of seventy-eight.

The many beautiful seats in this selected spot, that are and have been occupied by persons of the most eminent talents in this country, give the best testimonies of the superior excellence of its situation, where every feature that is elegant and admirable in landscape is combined. From hence the eye wandering to the opposite banks of this beauteous "Vale of Thames" is gratified with the rich and shadowy walks of Ham and Petersham, formerly the retreat of the once lovely Queensfbury and her favourite Gay.
Here, in the midst of this rich and embowered scene, stands the villa built by the late Earl of Harrington, from a design of the great Lord Burlington, which by his warmest advocates, must be allowed to want that taste and architectural knowledge for which he is so justly admired.
This house was erected on the site of one formerly built by the Earl of Rochester, Lord High Treasurer to King James II., which was destroyed by fire, and with it were consumed the library and valuable manuscripts of the first Earl of Clarendon, author of the History of the Rebellion.

The noble ascent of Richmond Hill clustered with elegant villas, and contrasted by the rich and verdant meadows of Twickenham, are happily combined by the elegant bridge of Richmond, and form a scene highly luxuriant and gratifying to the eye.


Amongst many other persons of rare and extraordinary talents, who have selected this charming scenery as a retreat from the bustle of the world, the name of Thomson, author of the Seasons, &c. who resided here a considerable time, surely demands the "tribute of a passing sigh".
He lies buried in the parish church, under a plain grave-stone without any inscription.
His death was occasioned by a cold caught in a boat on the river Thames, after being heated with a walk, in the summer of 1748.
On the death of this good man and excellent poet, few indeed were the exertions of the poetic muse; amongst those few his friend Collins has deplored his death with such sincerity, and unaffected elegance, as to need no apology for the introduction of the following stanzas.

In yonder grave a Druid lies
Where slowly winds the stealing wave!
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise,
To deck its poet's sylvan grave!

In yon deep bed of whispering reeds,
His airy harp shall now be laid,
That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds,
May love thro' life the soothing shade.

Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore,
When Thames in Summer wreaths is drest,
And oft suspend the dashing oar,
To bid his gentle spirit rest!

And oft, as Ease and Health retire
To breezy lawn, or forest deep,
The friend shall view yon whitening spire,*
And 'mid the varied landscape weep.

{ * Richmond spire. }
The affection of this friend was such as to induce him to quit Richmond immediately on the death of Thomson.

At Roehampton

I cannot pass this neighbourhood without noticing the adjoining village of Roehampton, where, in the mansion of the Earl of Besborough, whose taste is as distinguished as his polite attention to the stranger, the amateur will be gratified with a small, but elegant selection of the best works in the art of painting.

Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge(2), Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Richmond Bridge (2)

The charming village of Richmond, from the singular beauty of its situation, has not improperly been termed the Frescati of England.
It received the addition of the present elegant stone bridge from a design of the late Mr. James Payne.
The arches are semicircular, and the structure taken altogether is not inferior to the first work of the kind on this river.
The annexed view was taken below the bridge, where the rich and variegated scenery of the adjacent country, with the beautiful hill in the back ground, render the landscape highly interesting and worthy selection.
The village of Richmond formerly bore the name of Shene, which in the Saxon tongue signifies bright or shining, an appellation it lost in 1501, when Henry VII. built a new palace here on the site of the old one, and bestowed on it its present name, from that of his own earldom, before he obtained the crown.
The palace was scarcely finished, when Henry ended his days here.
It likewise received the last breath of his renowned grand-daughter Queen Elizabeth.
As this palace was destroyed in the civil wars, and no trace of it now remains, I have subjoined a sketch of it from a very scarce print, by Hollar, in my possession, as it stood in the time of Charles I. the engraving was made in 1638.

Richmond Palace, Hollar 1638, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Richmond Palace, Hollar 1638

On part of the site on which this palace stood, the Duke of Queensbury's house was erected.
Richmond has been long famous for the residence of our Monarchs.
Here died the valiant Edward III. of grief, as it is said, for the loss of his warlike son, whose death, according to Camden,
" was such an affliction to him, and to all England, as was not to be conquered by the ordinary methods of consolation"
The Monarch did not survive his son twelve months.

Richard II, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Richard II

Here also died Ann wife of Richard II. who first taught our fair country-women the present mode of riding on horseback: Richard was so affected at her death, that he neglected, and even avoided the house;
but in the reign of Henry V. it received considerable repairs and additions, and continued in a perfect state till destroyed by fire in the reign of Henry VII.
The additions and improvements made to the grounds at Richmond by his present Majesty, are such as reflect honor on the judgement of the sovereign, and are such as the peculiar elegance of the situation demanded from the hand of regal taste and magnificence.
The center part of the lodge in Richmond Park, which is of Portland stone, was built in the late reign from a design of Messrs. Morris and Wright, and intended as a retreat for his Majesty, and the royal family, after taking the diversion of hunting in the park.
The wings, which are of brick, have been since added by her Royal Highness the late Princess Amelia, when ranger of that park, but I believe have never been completed.

Sion House

Sion House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sion House

Of the many striking objects that present themselves from the Terrace, Syon House appears the most conspicuous; and from hence it is seen to most advantage, as its happy distance in this point of view renders it more picturesque than on a nearer approach.
It was formerly a convent, founded by Henry V. in 1414, for sixty virgins of the order of St. Bridget of Zion, thirteen priests, four deacons, and eight lay-brothers; each sex to live in separate convents, and not to be allowed to come out, except by the Pope's special licence.

Cromwell, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

By a letter, however, addressed from this convent to Thomas Lord Cromwell, from one Richard Layton, who styles himself his "assured poor priest", we find him
"certifyinge the incontynense of the nunnes at Syon with the friores",
without the sanction of his holinesse's licence; and that
" one Bushope would have persuaded one of his brederen, a smithe, to have made a keaye for the doare, to have in the night time received in wenches for him, and his fellowes, and specially a wyfe of Uxbridge, now dwelling not far from the old Lady Derby, nigh Uxbridge, which wyfe his old customer hath byne many times here at the grates, communying with the sayd, and he was desirous to have her convoyed in to him. The said Bufhope also persuaded a nunne, to whom he was confessor, ad libidinem corporis perimplend."
Whether from these enormities, or from the partialities of this convent to the avowed enemy of the Sovereign, the Maid of Kent, does not appear; but it is certain that the King made this monastery the first object of his resentment, at the dissolution in 1537, previous to which, he caused Richard Reynolds, a Brigettin monk, of Syon House, and an eminent doctor in divinity, to be tried for opposing his will, in the article of supremacy; and for which opposition he was hanged at Tyburn on the 4th of May, 1535.
At the dissolution the revenues of this religious house amounted to one thousand nine hundred and forty-four pounds eleven shillings and eight pence farthing, per annum:
after which period the abbess, nuns, lay-sisters, &c. to the number of seventy-three, were all pensioned during their lives; and as a matter of information to the curious, I relate, that the last abbess of Syon Monastery was interred in Denham church, near Uxbridge, and on her grave-stone is inscribed as follows;
" Of youre charite prayfor the soule of dame Agnes Jordan, sometyme Abbas of the monasterye of Syon, whiche departed this lyfe the xxix day of January, in the yere of our Lord God MVCXLVI. on whos soule IHU have mercy, Amen."
Some fragments of pious sentences in Latin appear around the figure.
The coats of arms are torn off.
In Isleworth Church, in the neighbourhood of Syon, another religious female of this convent was interred, on whose grave-stone is inlaid a small brass plate, with an engraved figure of a nun, and under it this inscription.
" Here lyeth the body of Margaret Dely, a syster professed, in Syon, who deceased the VII of October, AD 1561, on whose soule Jhu have mercy.
I Am favoured with these inscriptions by the Rev. Mr. Brand, who has preserved the off-tracts in his valuable collection of portraits.
After the dissolution this house was granted to the Protector, the Duke of Somerset, who built out of the ruins a palace, which now remains on the same spot where the church belonging to the monastery formerly stood.
After the fall of the Protector, it was obtained by Percy ninth Earl of Northumberland, from whom it descended to the present illustrious possessor.
In 1646 the Dukes of York and Glocester, and the Princess Elizabeth, were sent hither by an order of Parliament, and were so well treated, by the Earl and Countess of Northumberland, that the unfortunate father, on visiting them the next year, thought it no small alleviation to his misfortunes, to see them thus happy in their confinement.
This extensive mansion received its last alteration in 1632, from the hand of Inigo Jones, who new-faced the inner-court, materially altered the apartments, and finished the great hall in nearly the state in which it appears at present.
The entrance to the vestibule from the hall by a noble flight of marble steps, is in a great stile of design.
The grand gallery in this building, although in some respect deserving notice, is yet for want of height so conspicuously defective as to destroy the general effect.
The gardens, which were originally planned by the Protector, agreeable to the dark and mysterious reserve of the times, have within a few years been modernized by the late Duke, and nature has been suffered to display herself in all her wonted pride of simplicity and unaffected negligence.
The elegant gateway and open colonade at the grand entrance on the Western Road, from a design of Mr. Adam (erected in compliment to the King of Denmark, at the time the late Duke gave a magnificent ball and entertainment) is truly elegant, and does credit to its architect; but it is elegance apparently ill-applied, when we consider the antiquity and style of the building to which it leads.

Osterley House

Sir Thomas Gresham, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sir Thomas Gresham
Founder of the Royal Exchange
and Gresham College

Osterley House, in this neighbourhood, has a double claim to notice in this work, as having been part of the demesne appurtenant to Syon, and having also been after the dissolution, granted by the crown to the Protector Somerset.
Upon his attainder it was given, with the manor of Heston, by Queen Elizabeth, to Sir Thomas Gresham, who erected on the site a noble mansion, and from whom, through several owners, it passed to the family of Child, in the beginning of the present century.
In the number of those who held it, before it passed into this family, (towards the close of the last century) there was one, whose name had so much notoriety, that I cannot forbear to mention it; this was the son of the famous Praise-God Barbone, a Nicholas Barbone, doctor of physic, who held these premises, till they were so deeply mortgaged, as to oblige him to alienate them.
The present house was built and ornamented by the late Robert Child, Esq. under the direction of Mr. Adam.
The architectural design, as well as the internal decoration of the building, has shewn a taste and air of grandeur, that does honour to its owner.
The apartments are splendid in ornaments, consisting of the richest hangings of silk, velvet, and gobelin tapestry, elegant sculptured marbles, and highly enriched entablatures in mosaic work, &c.
The well chosen collection of pictures, by the first masters, must likewise evince to the foreigner, who visits this mansion of taste, that the fruits of commerce in this country, yield ample means to vie with the first-rate splendor of nobility.

River Brent

At Old Brentford the Brane, or Brent, a brook rising at Finchley Common, and passing through the west part of the town, unites itself with the Thames, which is in this spot so shallow at ebb-tide, as not to be above three feet deep.


Brentford gave the title of Earl in the twentieth of Charles I. to Patrick Ruthen Earl of Forth, in Scotland, who, for his valiant services in the King's party, was made general of his army.
Before it was new paved, this place was remarked as being the worst public road, near the capital, for carriages, in the kingdom.
Under these circumstances, it seems a little extraordinary, that it should have received the commendation, which it is well known frequently to have had, from the mouth of one who had undoubtedly the means of making the comparison,
" Dat he liked to ride dro' Brentford, it wash so like Hawnoversh. "

Kew gardens

Kew Gardens, though not very large, form a principal ornament to the banks of the river Thames, and I understand it is to the taste and good sense of the late Earl Bathurst, under the auspices of Queen Caroline, and the later improvements and additions under the direction and botanical skill of the Earl of Bute, that we see a flat and barren soil, without either wood or water, rising at once into a state of elegant cultivation, and vieing with the choicest productions of nature.
The various temples, mosques, pagodas, &c. are not, perhaps, altogether consistent with the present mode of decoration in gardening, but they were suited to the taste of the times, and were at least the means of circulating immense sums, and giving employment to many industrious artificers.


Swans, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The river from Hampton, and in this neighbourhood, is amply enriched with that noble water-fowl the swan, whose round and beautiful form, when sailing along the stream, has not, perhaps, in the works of nature, its equal; yet, when out of its favourite element, no bird makes a more inelegant figure, stretching out its neck with an air singularly unmeaning, and with all its motions equally awkward and ungraceful.
This bird has long been rendered domestic, and is as delicate in its food, as in its proper point of view it is in form elegant: corn, bread, or herbs growing in the water, and seeds or roots found near its margin, are its constant diet.
The swan is remarked for its longevity;
some naturalists have asserted that it lives to the age of three hundred years, and to support the assertion draw their inference from its slow approaches to maturity, it being two months hatching, and a year growing to its proper size.
Though the swan may remain longer in the shell than any other bird we know, yet two months is by no means proportionate to its extraordinary longevity; I think the firm and hard texture of the flesh of an old swan, is a much more convincing argument.
The goose, it is observed, has been known to live to an hundred years, but the Michaelmas-day festivities, since the period of good Queen Bess, have put the proof of the assertion totally out of the question.
The swan was by the ancients consecrated to Apollo, from the belief of its singing melodiously when near expiring.
In aid of this opinion Pandasius affirms, that he had often heard swans sweetly singing in the lake of Mantua, as he was rowed up and down in a boat; and Aldrovandus the Bolognesc, who died so late as the beginning of the seventeenth century, and who was perhaps one of the most inquisitive men in the world, in respect to natural history (though perhaps with more credulity than belongs to this sceptic age) says, that even in other times, and on other occasions, he is assured, beyond all doubt, that
"nothing was more common in England, than to hear swans sing; that they were bred in great numbers in the sea near London; and that every fleet of ships that returned from their voyages from distant countries, were met by swans that came joyfully out to welcome their return, and salute them with a loud and chearful singing."
Of the melodious faculty of this bird, as we have no testimony ancient or modern that can be relied on, we must leave him with that share of fame which his beautiful and elegant form has acquired.
The swan has ever been held in great esteem in England, and by an act of Edward IV. none except the son of a King was permitted to keep one, unless possessed of five marks a year; and by a subsequent act, taking their eggs, in like manner as those of the hawk, was punished with imprisonment, for a year and a day, and a fine at the King's will.
In Coke's Reports, part VII, in the case of swans it is remarked,
" that he who stealeth a swan in an open and common river, lawfully marked, the same swan shall be hung in a house by the beak, and he who stole it shall, in recompence thereof, give to the owner so much wheat as may cover all the swan, by putting and turning the wheat upon the head of the swan, until the head of the swan be covered with wheat."
The chief reason for making the stealing of swans thus penal, is said to be from the conjecture, that if either of a pair die, or be otherwise separated from its mate, the other does not long survive.
Great attention is paid at present to the preservation of this noble bird.
At stated periods of the year, the King's barge and those of two of the city companies, the Vintners and Dyers, proceed up the river, nearly as high as Marlow, to mark the young ones, which ceremony bears the appellation of swan-hopping.

Kew Bridge

[ Ferry Before 1759, 1st Kew Bridge 1759-1789; 2nd Kew Bridge 1789-1903; 3rd Kew Bridge 1903 - ]

Kew Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Kew Bridge from Strand on the Green

The present handsome stone-bridge at Kew, from a design of the late Mr. Payne, is in its construction simple, yet elegant, and does credit to the skill of its architect.
The form of this bridge is much hurt by the necessary addition of so many brick arches at either end, particularly those which have been occasioned by the marshy situation of the shore on the Surry side.
It was erected nearly parallel with the old structure, which did not stand more than thirty years, the act of parliament having passed for its building in 1758.
The present bridge was opened for carriages, &c. on the King's birth-day, the 4th of June, 1790.
The advantages of the Kew-bridge tontine, which has been established only a few years, I am informed are so great as to produce a net interest to the last class of subscribers, of more than nine per cent.

Gunnersbury House

In this neighbourhood, among other buildings of public notice, that of GunnersburyHouse, near Brentford, should not pass unobserved, as having been the work of Inigo Jones, the celebrity of whose name cannot preserve it from the censure it so justly merits.
It is a design unequal in its parts, composed of large unwieldy ornaments of foreign growth, injudiciously thrust into apartments which were originally constructed too small for convenience.
We have a large stair-case, though noble in itself, yet enormous for the size of the house, and to which every consideration has been sacrificed; and also a grand front, composed merely of a portico, which seems waiting for that period, when an additional wing on either side may give it something like a finish.,br> It is some palliation, however, of the errors of the present day, in building, when we find that even the good sense and rare talents of Inigo Jones can sometimes slumber, and leave us the painful reflection, that to err, is the lot of humanity.

Strand on the Green

The rage for building has extended itself in no inconsiderable degree on the banks of the Thames, in the neighbourhood of Kew:
Strand on the Green, by no means the most eligible situation, and lately a small village, inhabited by fishermen, is now one continued range of houses,


till we reach Chiswick, which has justly gained much celebrity from the charming villa, now in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire, but formerly the residence of that extraordinary genius Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, from whose design it was erected.
His extensive munificence, and liberal patronage of the fine arts, justly rendered him the Mecænas of his age, but with higher qualities than merely the ability to reward merit in others, he was himself superior, in this science, to most of those whom he patronized.
The general idea of this building is evidently from Palladio, and I have heard it remarked as being copied from the famous Rotonda, of Marchese Capra, in the environs of Vicenza.
The criticisms that have been made on this building, are certainly not without justice;
it stands on too contracted a space for the extensive nature of the design, being only seventy feet square, exclusive of the portico.
A contemporary wit, Lord Hervey, happily exercised his talents in observing,
" The house was too small to inhabit, and too large to hang to one's watch "
and he has not inelegantly worked up the
" Quam bene non habitas" of Martial, in the following sarcastic little epigram:

Possessed of one great hall for state,
Without one room to sleep or eat,
How well you build let flattery tell—
And all mankind how ill you dwell.

Yet in spite of all this, and also the redundancy and massiveness of parts, which are too frequently to be found in the smaller apartments in this house, the severest critic must allow, there is a degree of taste and classic elegance in the whole, that must ever render it an object of first-rate admiration.
The great veneration in which the works of Inigo Jones were held by Lord Burlington, is almost proverbial; he is known to have purchased the gate of Beaufort Garden in Chelsea, a work of this architect, and to have removed it with a religious care and attention to his villa at Chiswick; and in the garden, near the river, he has given us an exact model of the portico of Covent Garden church.
As a further instance of the excess to which some may think this veneration was carried, I have heard it related, that a person in Wapping, accidentally seeing some butter wrapped in a dirty paper, filled with architectural sketches, found, on enquiry, that there was a large parcel of the same designs in the shop of a cheesemonger in the neighbourhood; on examining them, little doubt remained of their being genuine designs of Inigo Jones; he accordingly exchanged cleaner paper for them, and soon after he came into possession of this treasure, was applied to by Lord Burlington, who on expressing a desire to become a purchaser, obtained them for the moderate sum of two thousand pounds.
I do not vouch for the truth of this story.
The garden scenery of this elegant villa is rich in orange trees, cypresses, sirs and forest trees.
The avenue of cedars of Libanus, leading to the house, are said to have been planted by the noble Earl, and the good effect produced from them in maturity, exhibits a proof of his lordship's taste in their original designation.
The statues of Palladio and his favorite Inigo Jones, decorate this entrance from the garden.
It is to be regretted that the sculptured ornaments of these grounds, are scattered with too much profusion.
They are principally the works of Scheemaker, and may with justice be admired; but it is possible to have a redundancy of excellence, in works of art so applied.
The internal decorations of this beautiful villa must be allowed to correspond with the external building.
Here the best works of the best masters, both in the Italian and Flemish schools are selected, but are too numerous, and too well known, to be particularised in this work.

Chiswick Churchyard, Gainsborough

Quitting this scene, which presents every thing that can give a relish to earthly enjoyment, we are led to its reverse, a scene of solitude and reflection—The church-yard! that solemn retreat, "from whose bourne no traveller returns."
Here are deposited the remains of some whose extraordinary talents yet live in remembrance, amongst whom rests the inimitable Gainsborough, who died August 2, 1788, at the age of sixty-one.
As a man and an artist he has left few equals; yet after three years interment, we find no frail testimonial bearing record to his superior genius, nor even a grave-stone to indicate where he lies, but it is to his works we must refer for a lasting monument of his excellence.


Here likewise rests our great English satyrist William Hogarth, who died October 26, 1764, aged sixty-seven years; and on whose monument, which is ornamented with a mask, a laurel wreath, a pallette, pencils, and a book inscribed "Analysis of Beauty", are the following lines by his friend the late Mr. Garrick:

Farewell, great Painter of mankind,
Who reached the noblest point of art;
Whose pictured morals charm the mind,
And through the eye correct the heart.

If Genius fire thee, reader, stay,
If Nature touch thee, drop a tear;
If neither move thee, turn away,
For Hogarth's honoured dust lies here.

The annexed sketch of the monument of this extraordinary genius, whose talents must ever do honour to the country that produced him, as it has never been engraved, will, I trust, prove not unacceptable to his admirers.

Hogarth's Monument, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

East Sheen

On the opposite shore adjoining to Mortlake is East Sheen, long the residence of Sir William Temple, who upon his retreat hither in 1672, seems to have entertained a high opinion of this soil and situation, and to have expected much from its produce, as we find by a letter written from Brussels to Lord Lisle, before his first coming over in August 1667, where he says,
" I am contriving here this summer how a succession of cherries may be compassed from May to Michaelmas, and how the riches of Sheen vines may be improved by half a dozen sorts which are not yet known there, and which I think much beyond any that are."
What might have been expected from the Sheen vines, or what was produced, we know not, but at present we hear nothing of the superior excellence of the grape at that place.
Here Sir William Temple was often visited by King William soon after his landing, and as often pressed to become his Secretary of State, which on account of age and infirmities he declined. It was about this period that Dr. Swift came to offer his services to Sir William, who there took him as an amanuensis.
About the end of the year 1689, soon after the unfortunate death of his son Mr. John Temple, Sir William exchanged his situation for Moor Park, one at that period every way its inferior, where he resided till the year 1698, when worn out with the gout, and a natural decay, he died in his seventieth year.
Agreeable to his will, his heart was buried in a silver box, under the sun-dial in his garden, opposite to the window, whence he used to contemplate and admire the works of nature, with his dearly beloved sister the ingenious Lady Gyffard.

Barn Elms

Amongst the elegant retreats which adorn the banks of the Thames in this vicinity, the sequestered villa of Sir Richard Hoare, at Barn Elms, should not be passed unnoticed.
The verdant and spacious lawn that slopes from the house towards the river, is frequently the scene of much festivity to many chearful parties from the capital: even as far back as the time of Congreve, we find mention made of the fame of this retreat; in his comedy of Love for Love Mrs. Frail observes,
" that had she gone to Barn Elms with a man alone, something might have been said."
The celebrated Mr. Heydegger of opera memory formerly resided here, and had the honour of entertaining the late King with much splendor.
The tall elms were trimmed and illumined on the occasion, and in all probability were taught to do every thing but dance before the Sovereign.
In the year 1776 the city of London caused a towing-path to be made from Putney to Richmond, which enclosed these grounds, and gave additional security to the neighbouring meadows.

Putney Bridge

[ 1729-1885 - it lasted 90 years after Samuel Ireland saw it in its "apparently dangerous state" ]

Putney Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Putney Bridge & Church

From hence passing down the river, the decayed and apparently dangerous state of Putney-bridge cannot fail to disgust the observer.
This disgraceful appendage to the river was erected in the year 1729, when the pontage or toll was settled on the subscribers by act of parliament; and, as I am informed, was within twelve months after so greatly advantageous to them, as to repay all their disbursements.
At the extremities of this tottering bridge stand the rival churches of Putney and Fulham, which are said to have been built by two sisters.
Amongst the many elegant mansions that adorn the village of Putney, few have been erected on the banks of the Thames. That of the late Sir Joshua Vanneck stands conspicuous, but has nothing about it to render it an object worthy attention.
In a small white house between these premises and the bridge, it may perhaps not be generally known that Richardson, the ingenious novellist resided, and produced his much admired work of Sir Charles Grandison, &c.
Putney is rendered famous from having been the birth-place of Thomas Cromwell Earl of Essex, whose father was a blacksmith in this village.
The great talents and integrity of this able statesman merited a less severe fate than that which attended him.
He was brought to the scaffold by the tyrant Henry, on the 8th of July, 1540.


The town of Fulham, on the Middlesex shore, derives its name from the Saxon, Fullon-ham, i.e. a house of fowle.
Whether the adjoining old palace, which has so long been occupied by the Bishops of London, was originally this "house of fowle," to denote the good living within, or whether from the neighbourhood producing good poultry, is not generally known.
The Saxon chronicle informs us that in this spot an army of Danes wintered, in the year 879, previous to their flight into Ghent in Flanders.

The river scenery, below Putney, though by no means equal in luxuriance to that above the bridge, has yet, if we may judge from the late increase of buildings in its vicinity, many admirers.
The view towards Battersea-rise and Wandsworth is richer in houses than verdant scenery.
Wandsworth is said to have obtained its name from the river Wandle, which passes through the town, and empties itself beneath a bridge into the Thames.
At Chelsea Reach the river increases much in width, and is famed in particular winds for its extreme agitation, and sometimes dangerous roughness, which has given rise to a quaint saying among the watermen:
" That a set of fidlers having been drowned in this reach, many years ago, the river has been occasionally dancing ever since."
Ludicrous and vulgar as this remark may appear, we find a passage equally absurd, and no more deserving credit, on the high authority of Aristotle, who tells us of a merry river,
" the river Elusina, that dances at the noise of music; for with music it bubbles, dances and grows sandy, and so continues till the music ceases, but then it presently turns to its wonted calmness and clearness "
and to complete the wonders that rivers have been capable of performing without either the aid of music or fidler;
Josephus tells us of a river in Judea that
" runs swiftly all the six days of the week, and stands still and rests all their sabbath."

Battersea Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Battersea Church

Battersea Church is a neat structure of brick with the addition of stone coins, and ornaments; it has been erected within a few years, and would merit farther commendation if the spire had been otherwise formed; it seems to have been modelled from a candle extinguisher.

Viscount Bolingbroke

The village of Battersea is remarkable for having been the birth-place of one of the most extraordinary persons this kingdom has produced, Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.
He was born here in 1672, and on the 15th of November, 1751, after a life of strange political vicissitudes, ended his earthly career, where he had often wished to fetch his last breath, at Battersea, in which church he was interred, in the vault of his noble ancestors, and a marble monument erected to his memory, with a suitable inscription.

The greater part of the old mansion has been recently pulled down, what remains is applied to the uses of the neighbouring distillery, where a horizontal mill, on a novel construction, for the purpose of grinding linseed, was erected about three years since, by a Mr. Fowler, at a considerable expence.
The height of this building is about eighty feet, its diameter towards its base fifty-two feet, and at the extreme height forty-seven.
Its advantages over the ordinary windmill are said to be very considerable; it was designed by a Mr. Hooper of Margate, where another mill, on the same plan was erected some years since, which was the first of the kind ever constructed in this kingdom.

On the opposite shore is the pleasant villa of Lord Dartrey, and adjoining to it that of Lady Mary Cook, both of which are rapidly losing the beauties of their situation, by the increase of buildings in their vicinity.

Battersea Bridge

[ 1st bridge: 1766 - 1885; 2nd bridge 1890 - ]

Within two miles of the capital, the curious observer is again offended with another tasteless object, the wooden bridge of Battersea, where the breadth of the river, and its contiguity to the metropolis, certainly demanded a more elegant structure.
The original cost of this bridge was twelve thousand eight hundred pounds, which sum was raised by sixteen persons, in shares of eight hundred pounds each.
The present heavy expence of toll, it might reasonably have been supposed, would have defrayed the extra charge of a bridge of stone; but, I am informed, that heavy as that expence may appear, it barely affords common interest to the persons concerned in the undertaking.
If the advantages arising to the subscribers from the toll of this bridge are so inconsiderable, it is much to be regretted, that some parliamentary aid had not been solicited, to have produced a sum equal to the expence of raising a magnificent structure.
The contracted scale on which this undertaking was begun (in consequence of which the bridge was thrown across a narrow part of the river) has been productive of great inconvenience.
It should certainly have abutted on the Chelsea side, nearly opposite the church, in which direction it would have stood in a right angle with the current of the river: not being so placed, its piers are continually receiving injury from the vessels and barges striking against them.

Chelsea Church - Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas More, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sir Thomas More

To the ancient church of Chelsea so many modern additions have been made, so ill adapted to the original design as to render the external appearance of this structure little deserving attention.
Of the internal decorations, among other monuments worthy the notice of the curious, I shall mention that on the south side of the choir, erected by Sir Thomas More, in the year 1532, to the memory of his two wives, consisting of a black marble tablet, which gives an account of his father's employments, &c. in a long Latin inscription of his own composition.
Sir Thomas, soon after he was made Treasurer of the Exchequer, about the year 1520, purchased some land at Chelsea, on the banks of the river, on which he erected a spacious mansion of brick, the greater part of which is now standing, and is reduced to the humble uses of a paper manufactory.
Its situation is in Cheyne Walk, adjoining to the house of the Bishop of Winchester; it has undergone many alterations, and has lost much of its Gothic and venerable appearance.
The entrance to two regular arched subterraneous passages appears in the court-yard before the house; one is reported to lead to Kensington, the other to Hammersmith, for what secret purposes we are yet to learn.
Of the chapel, gallery, &c. said by his biographers to have been erected by him in the garden of this house, no traces are now discernible.
In the year 1533, with some difficulty, he obtained leave to resign the great seal, and as the affair was not immediately known, the next morning, being a holiday, he went to Chelsea church with his lady and family, where during the service, he sat, as usual, in the choir, wearing a surplice; and because it had been a custom, after mass was done, for one of his gentlemen to go to his lady's pew, and tell her that my lord was gone before; he came now himself, and making her a low bow said,
" Madam, my lord is gone ":
she, thinking it to be no more than his usual humour, took no notice of it; but in the way home, to her great mortification he unriddled the jest, by acquainting her with what he had done the preceding day.
This ill-fated great statesman was beheaded on Tower-hill, July 5, 1735.
His body was interred in the chapel of the Tower, and being afterwards begged by his daughter Margaret, was deposited in the south side of the chancel, in the church of Chelsea.
The same piously disposed daughter soon found means to procure his head also, which had remained fourteen days stuck on a pole, on London bridge; this she carefully preserved for some time in a leaden box, till a proper opportunity offered of removing it to Canterbury, when she placed it in a vault belonging to the Roper's family (into which she married) under a chapel adjoining to St. Dunstan's church in that city.
Wood says,
" the head had remained on the bridge some months, and that the daughter was taken up for it, and being examined before the Council, declared she bought it, that it might not become food for fishes in the Thames; so after a short imprisonment she was discharged."

Chelsea Bridge & Church, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

Sir Hans Sloane

In the church-yard of Chelsea is the family monument of that eminent physician and naturalist, Sir Hans Sloane, Founder of the British Museum, and President of the Royal Society.
Sir Hans purchased the manor of Chelsea, and gave, with his wonted liberality, the entire freehold of the botanical garden to the Company of Apothecaries in 1721, upon condition only, that they should present yearly to the Royal Society fifty new plants, till the number should amount to two thousand.
This garden was established by the Company in 1673; and from its excellent situation on the banks of the Thames, and its celebrated museum, from Bloomsbury to the manor house at Chelsea, his then residence.
This house stood in Cheyne-walk, near what is called Saltero's Coffee-house.
Here he does not seem to have lived in seclusion from the world, as he was continually receiving the visits of the learned and great, and still more to his praise, was ever accessible to a numerous train of poor, who never asked advice, or sued for relief in vain.
In his ninetieth year he felt strong indications of an universal decay, which brought with them none of those terrors so frequently attendant on the approach of death.
After an illness of three days, he expired on the 11th of January, 1752, and was interred on the 18th, according to the directions of his will, in the same vault with his lady, in Chelsea church-yard.

John Locke

At Little Chelsea, in a house formerly occupied by Lord Shaftesbury, and since by Mr. Serjeant Wynne, resided the justly celebrated John Locke.
A small summer-house still remains in the gardens, which used to be his favourite apartment, and in which (a ridiculous instance of the veneration paid by posterity to eminent talents) has recently been shewn, part of the bed on which he slept.

Chelsea College

Chelsea College & Ranelagh House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Chelsea College & Ranelagh House

Chelsea College forms no inconsiderable ornament to the river Thames;
it is one of the many superb and useful buildings erected in this country, in the gay and careless reign of Charles II.
It were fruitless to enquire why a dissipated and licentious reign, like that of Charles, should have encouraged and patronised so many great works; but certain it is, that no other period has produced an equal number, in which so much excellence and utility have been united.
It is no less singular, that in the opinion of a very distinguished writer, the late Mr. Justice Blackstone, the fabric also of our constitution was, at that time, brought to a point of theoretical perfection, which it cannot exceed.
Sir Christopher Wren, whose name must ever be dear to the admirer of the arts, happily for this reign, shone forth a modern Vitruvius, and it is to his taste, and superior skill in architecture, that we owe the design of this noble building.
On the spot on which it was erected stood formerly a college, founded by James I. for the study of polemic divinity, of which the King laid the first stone, and contributed something towards its establishment; the clergy too threw in their mite, and the public likewise contributed: yet, all these assistances were found unequal to its support, and being left unfinished, it soon fell into neglect and decay.

Nell Gwyn, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Eleanor Gwyn,
Actress & Mistress of Charles II. Ob. 1687

The ground on which it stood having escheated to the crown, Charles II. as it is reported, at the instigation of Nell Gwyn, began to erect the present building, which was continued by James his successor, and completed by William,and Mary.
The north front of this building is enriched with a noble pediment, supported by columns of the Tuscan order, in a bold and masterly stile of design; beneath which, on each side, is a spacious room, the one used as a chapel, and the other as a dining-hall for the pensioners.
In the former is a good picture of the Resurrection, by Seb. Ricci, and in the latter some inferior works of Verrio, said to be finished by Cook.
This great and extensive work is constructed of brick, with pillars and rusticated stone coins, and is so happily disposed in all its parts, as to convey an high idea of the sound judgment of the architect, and his superior knowledge both of what is useful and elegant.
It were to be wished that the blanks both above and below the principal windows, which are of brick, had remained in their natural colour, as they are now very offensive to an observing eye, and form so many white unmeaning spots.
The expence of the building was estimated at one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and the ground belonging to it consists of forty acres.
Here are accommodations for upwards of four hundred pensioners, who are amply provided with every convenience that can contribute to their comfort and happiness.
A Bronze figure of the merry monarch, habited as a Roman, stands in the middle of the entrance.
The south front has two large wings, which, from their extent and regularity of design, present a grand object towards the water.


Contiguous to this noble charity is another handsome addition to this river, the spacious amphitheatre of Ranelagh! whose pleasurable round has been so often and so long frequented by all ranks of people, as to render a particular description needless.
It derived its name from an Earl of Ranelagh, whose house was situated on this spot.

Chelsea Waterworks

Of the innumerable benefits derived from the river Thames, Chelsea and its neighbourhood have had an ample share, by means of the water-works which have supplied them with that necessary element, before obtained with great difficulty, and which must every where be classed amongst the first necessaries of life.
These works are divided into two thousand shares;
the proprietors were incorporated by act of parliament in 1722, and have power to purchase lands, & mortmain, to the value of one thousand pounds per annum.

Vauxhall Gardens

The much admired gardens of Vauxhall, on the south side of this river, however well adapted to their purpose, would not here have been noticed, were it not for the superior excellence of the statue of Handel, which is certainly a chef d'œuvre of Roubilliac, although the first great display of the sculptor's abilities.
This master of harmony is characterised as Orpheus sounding his lyre; and the excellence of the sculpture exhibits such a model of perfection, both in design and execution, as might stand the test of criticism, even of a Michael Angelo.
This figure is a whole length in beautiful marble, not quite so large as life, and is a singular instance of a statue erected to living merit; it has been within a few years judiciously removed from its exposed situation, to a recess within the great room, secured from the inclemency of the season, and the still ruder touch of the hands of the vulgar.
This combination of rare talents in the person represented, and the happy idea of the sculptor, gave rise to the following well-turned compliment:

Drawn by the fame of these embowered retreats,
See Orpheus rising from the Elysian seats!
Lost to the admiring world three thousand years,
Beneath great Handel's form he re-appears.

On the derivation of the name of these gardens I will venture a conjectural opinion from a remark of the late Dr. Ducarel.
He says, Guy Faux, or Vaux, was once an inhabitant of Lambeth, and lived in a large mansion called Faux-Hall, and that he was probably lord of the manor of this place.
The site whereon this mansion stood, was near or on the spot, now called Cumberland-gardens.
May it not therefore from hence reasonably be concluded, that the name of these gardens originated from this source?


The scenery of the Thames on the Lambeth side, receives no additional beauty from the miserable range of buildings erected on its banks, along what was, and is still in parts, called Lambeth-marsh.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth there was no house built either on this or on Millbank, the opposite shore, so called from a mill formerly standing on the spot, on which the house, late Sir Robert Grosvenor's, now stands.

From hence the eye is disgusted with the massive and insipid towers of the church of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, which has with justice been so universally condemned, nor would it have been mentioned here, but from my wish to rescue the name of Vanbrugh from the unmerited reproach of having been its architect.
It is the work of a Mr. Archer, who I strongly suspect had applied himself with more industry than taste, to the study of the works of that artist, and seems here, with a strange fatality, to have selected all his defects.
The remark of the late Lord Chesterfield on this building has not less of wit than justness of criticism:
" That it is like an elephant thrown on its back, with its feet erect in the air."

Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Lambeth Palace [ & Westminster Bridge ]

The venerable palace and church of Lambeth, in whatever point they are viewed from the Thames, meet the eye as a stately pile of antiquity.
The ground on which the palace stands, originally belonged to the see of Rochester; but from its contiguity to the court became an object to the Metropolitan, and in 1168, Baldwin, then Archbishop of Canterbury, purchased this spot of the Bishop of Rochester, and erected a palace thereon.
This structure was, about eighty years after, much improved by the proud prelate Boniface, who retired hither to make his peace with heaven, after cudgelling the subprior and monks of St. Bartholomew, for refusing him the priorship of their monastery.
The grand west entrance was built by Cardinal De la Pole; the more modern additions of the chapel and hall by Archbishop Juxon, are both so dissimilar in taste and design to the original plan, as to form at the entrance an heterogeneous and motley assemblage of objects.
Adjoining to the hall is the Lollard's Tower, the work of Archbishop Chichely.
In the upper apartments of this tower, which is lined with stout oak, are still remaining several large iron rings and staples, driven into the wall, to which the unfortunate adherents to the cause of Wickliffe were chained, before they were brought to the stake.
The severities exercised under this prelate, however palliated by the spirit and prejudices of the times, will yet be thought, in the cooler judgment of posterity, to sully a name that would otherwise have done honor to any age.
Thanks to Heaven we live in a period when every man may think and speak freely, without the dread of chains or faggots, and when Protestant and Catholic seem to have but one wish, to live peaceably, and in all things to conform themselves to one another.

Lambeth House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Lambeth House

The gallery of this palace has been recently modernized by the present excellent prelate, but the old portraits are still remaining, among which are several worthy attention, viz. Cardinal De la Pole, who built the room, and Archbishops Warham, Chichely and Parker.
The library was founded in 1610 by Archbishop Bancroft, who bequeathed to it all his books:
it has since been so considerably increased by the succeeding archbishops, as to consist at present of more than twenty-five thousand volumes.
The gardens belonging to this palace contain about nine acres, and have a communication across the road to the Thames.
In the adjoining parish church of Lambeth, on the south side of the choir, is a small painting on glass, of a pedlar and his dog, said to be the portrait of the person who bequeathed to the parish a piece of ground near the east end of the abutment, on the Surry side of Westminster-bridge: the spot is now called Pedlar's-acre, and contains one acre seventeen poles.

Pedlar, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The nature of this bequest was, that the priest of the parish should give consent to burying the pedlar's favourite dog within the church walls, which being acceded to, the parish became seized of this land in the year 1504, at which period it was valued at two shillings and eight-pence per annum.
In 1752 a lease of it was granted to a Mr. Wells for sixty-one years, at one hundred pounds per annum, and a fine of eight hundred pounds.
It is now estimated at two hundred and fifty pounds per annum.
Fabulous as this story may appear, yet it may be thought worthy of relation, as it tends to shew the amazing increased value of landed property within the period of two hundred and eighty years.
In the church-yard the monument or altar tomb of the Tradescant family may be entitled to notice.
Their laborious researches, in the study of every branch of natural history, must render their name ever respected by the admirers of that species of philosophy.


Westminster Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Westminster Bridge

Approaching Westminster, the grand assemblage of venerable and Gothic scenery, combined with the stately bridge, and other modern edifices raised within the last century, cannot fail to inspire the mind of every observer, whether native or foreigner, with an exalted idea of the wealth and splendor of the British empire.
The variety of objects comprised in this view, are of an extent too diffused to be brought within the size of the present work; the annexed sketch from below the bridge, was therefore preferred, and, I flatter myself, will be deemed the most judicious selection; and in the history of these objects, I shall confine myself within narrow limits to some general remarks on their external forms, as they appear to Illustrate the picturesque scenery of the river Thames.
The abbey church of St. Peter's Westminster, considered in this point of view, certainly appears flat and wanting height; and it is with regret we find that after so many centuries, whether from poverty or avarice, the necessary appendage of a steeple has yet been withheld.
In 1713 Sir Christopher Wren, in his memorial relative to this church, says, it clearly appears to have been the original intention to erect a steeple by the
" beginnings which are discoverable on the corners of the cross, but left before it rose so high as the ridge of the roof."
Sir Christopher's design for a steeple, which I have seen, is light and elegant, and perfectly adapted to the Gothic style of the whole structure; but he says, he has
" varied a little from the usual form in giving twelve sides to the spire, instead of eight."

Westminster, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Westminster, Showing the Abbey Hall, Bridge &c.

He has decorated the angles of the pyramids with a flower the Botanists call Calceolus, an ornament that it is to be wished had been more generally applied in the course of the repairs which took place under this able architect.
The want of Gothic ornaments in the many additions made by him, is but too apparent; yet our knowledge of his architectural skill is such, as to induce us, with respect to these omissions, to vary the charge, and throw it rather upon those who are known to have limited him too much in point of expence.
The decayed and dangerous state of this immense pile required so many additions and repairs in the beginning of the present century, as to render it a work of twenty-five years in completing; and deficient as it may appear in the want of well-adapted ornaments, we are yet pleased to find, that what was done, was under the conduct of his judicious eye, or we might now have witnessed amongst other absurdities of the present century, the richer columns of the five Roman orders lending their feeble aid, as buttresses, to support the Gothic remains of the Abbey of Westminster.
The elegant structure, called Henry VII's or our Lady's Chapel, was finished in 1502.
Towards the erection of this building, the King contributed in the whole sixteen thousand pounds, and afterwards added three thousand pounds more, which was delivered to the Abbot of Westminster, to defray the expence of masses to be said at six-pence each, between the period of his death and burial.

Poets Corner Westminster Abbey, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Poets Corner Westminster Abbey

It is much to be regretted that this "nice embroidered" fabric, as Sir Christopher Wren terms it, was constructed of such perishable materials as the stone from Caen in Nomandy.
Had the penurious and priest-rid Monarch applied the sum expended in six-penny masses to defray the extra-charge of good Portland or freestone, the produce of our own country, we should yet have had the gratification of viewing the building in something like that state of perfection, which entitled it to be termed "the miracle of the world";
and the Sovereign, though he had lost the prayers of the church, would at least have obtained (what might have answered quite as well) the good wishes of every man of taste in the kingdom.
I think I may, without censure, here observe, that this justly admired structure is so shamefully misplaced, as to destroy all symmetry in the south front of the abbey, and to appear rather an excrescence than an ornament.
The prudence of modern times, however, has taken no small pains in keeping pace with the want of taste in our ancestors, by crouding this noble building with so many additions, as almost to obscure what appears censurable in them, by recent absurdities still greater of their own.
I am informed that an estimate has been made to new-case the whole of this fine Gothic specimen, with artificial stone-work of Coade's manufactory, and to preserve every ornament agreeable to the original design; the expence is estimated at ten thousand pounds.

Part of Westminster, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Part of Westminster

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall is generally allowed to be the largest room in Europe unsupported by pillars, its length is two hundred and seventy feet, and its breadth seventy four; the height is well proportioned, and its curious vaulted roof of oak is in a fine style of Gothic design.
It is to the period of Richard II. that we owe the building of this stately hall, which was finished in its present form in 1397, and in two years after the King kept here a jovial Christmas, entertaining each day upwards of ten thousand guests, and employing two thousand cooks.

Westminster Hall Entrance, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

How various has been the change of scenery exhibited in this hall since that period of feasting!
Now, except at coronations, nothing is heard but Parliaments have sat here! Peers have been tried! and a King condemned to death!
It does, indeed, at stated periods, exhibit the mock heroism of a champion's challenge; but instead of social scenes of festivity, it is in general devoted to contention not more bloody, though in its consequences much more serious, than that of the champion—the altercation and wrangling of the bar.
And here it may not be amiss to mention the dangers that have sometimes threatened the gentlemen of the long robe, from the high tides, which have occasionally been known to rise more than twenty-two feet, and to have overflowed this hall and its neighbourhood.
The last of these calamities was in February, 1791, when the lawyers, who were necessitated to pass Westminster-hall, and Palace-yard, were obliged to retreat in boats.
A similar circumstance of distress occurred about thirty-six years ago, which is humorously adverted to by Henry Fielding, in his farce of Pasquin, in the following lines, where the representative of law says,

We have our omens too! the other day
A mighty deluge swam into our hall,
As if it meant to wash away the law.

An idea, I am informed, has been suggested of removing the various buildings and incumbrances which at present surround this hall, which I doubt not would reveal many Gothic parts and ornaments that have been so long and so shamefully obscured from the notice of the curious.

Interior of Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Interior of Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster

Westminster Bridge

The entire removal of the decayed buildings of the Exchequer Chambers, &c. towards the river, would likewise make a spacious opening for the display of Westminster-bridge, a structure which, amidst all our boasted improvements in this species of building, we have not yet exceeded.
This elegant work was begun and completed from a design, and under the management, of Mr. Charles Labelye, a native of Switzerland.
The first stone was laid on the 29th of January, 1739, by Henry Earl of Pembroke, a nobleman to whose skill and taste we owe much of its excellence.
The whole of the superstructure is of Portland stone, except the spandrels of the arches, which are built of purbeck, a material, that is not only much cheaper, but being of a darker hue, makes a good back-ground, and gives a relief to the other parts constructed with Portland stone.
The bridge was opened for carriages seven years, nine months, and sixteen days after the laying of the first stone, and was completely finished, says the architect, in eleven years, nine months, and twenty-one days;
he likewise informs us that the whole expence did not exceed two hundred and eighteen thousand eight hundred pounds.
This bridge is twelve hundred and twenty-three feet in length, and its five principal arches have each more space than the width of Westminster-hall:
The quantity of stone used in this building, is nearly double to that employed in St. Paul's cathedral.
It is matter of astonishment that we find at that period so much opposition made to the building of a stone bridge.
The plan and estimate for one composed of wood was laid before the Commissioners, and favorably received; but on urging the builder to fix a sum for keeping it in repair, for a certain number of years, he declined making any proposal; notwithstanding which the wooden project had many friends, and it was only by a small majority in the House of Lords that the plan for a stone bridge was carried; those in the minority obtained the appellation of Wooden Peers.
The utility of a bridge on this spot was urged as far back as the reign of Elizabeth.
The ferry at this place is known to have been established ever since the time of the Romans, and on digging the foundation of this bridge, was found a copper medal, well preserved; upon one side of which was the head of the Emperor Domitian, and on the reverse the figure of a woman, holding a pair of scales in her right hand, and supporting a cornucopia with her left.
At the completion of Westminster-bridge, the advantges arising from the ferry-boat, which had from time immemorial been the property of the Archbishop of Canterbury, having ceased, the sum of two thousand two hundred and five pounds, was given to that see as an equivalent.


The great improvements recently made upon the Thames by the embankments at the Dukes of Richmond and Buccleugh, and at the Earl of Fife's, are not only ornamental, but give an additional depth of water in aid to the navigation of the river.

The cabinet of pictures in the house of the Duke of Buccleugh, is highly deserving the attention of the curious.

The decayed old building next the water, which formed part of the offices in the house of the late Dutchess of Portland, was the kitchen belonging to the old palace of Whitehall, and it is to be hoped, from its ruinous state, will soon be removed, and the embankment continued down the river, till it joins that of Somerset-place.

Whitehall Banqueting House

Whitehall Banquetting House, Westminster, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799

The upper part of the elegant banquetting-house at Whitehall appears conspicuous from the river; in the façade of this noble structure, the happy adaption of the various orders and just proportions of all its ornaments, render it, in my judgment, a model of perfection, and a study for professors in the science of architecture, and if more attended to, the critical observer would not have so frequent occasion to take offence at the absurdities of modern elevations.
This edifice was begun in 1619; it was from a design of Inigo Jones, and was executed by Nicholas Stone, master-mason and architect to the King; it was finished in two years, and cost seventeen thousand pounds.
Mr. Walpole says, that the pay of Inigo Jones, at the period of building this structure, was only eight shillings and four-pence per diem, and forty-six pounds per annum for house-rent, &c.
The emblematical pictures representing the apotheosis of King James, in the cieling, are the works of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, and justly rank amongst his first productions; he was paid three thousand pounds for this undertaking.

[ The copy used which says printed in 1799 contains this picture of 1814. ]

Ice Fair 1814, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland

Hungerford Stairs

Hungerford Stairs and Market derive their appellation from an Earl of Hungerford, whose house formerly stood on the site which the market now occupies:
a little below Hungerford-stairs, the Bishops of Norwich had their inn or lodgings, called Norwich House, which having been purchased by Heath Archbishop of York, in 1556, was then called York House.
The premises were afterwards purchased and occupied by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and after his death were parcelled out into streets, which still retain the name of York-buildings, &c.;
The present gate to which, leading from the water, is the work of Inigo Jones, and remains another testimony of his unequalled excellence as an architect.
The lions on this water-gate were sculptured by Andrew Kearne, a German.


The elevated and very conspicuous situation of that pile of building called the Adelphi, where so much brick and mortar has been heaped together, forms such a mountain of absurdity, as scarcely to be deemed worthy a criticism.
Withoutside this ponderous mass we find a series of trifling ornaments, fit only to be viewed through a microscope, or to decorate a lady's dressing-room; and though they may claim the merit of foreign growth, and of having been designed by the antients, they were either totally discarded by them, or used only for inferior purposes.
The back apartments in these buildings are principally in darkness, and almost deprived of air, while the grand front is parching in the summer months, nearly under the heat of the torrid zone; and should the inhabitants escape the miseries of suffocation, the perpetual rumbling of the coal carts, carriages, &c. beneath this pile, will at least keep them in constant apprehension of being destroyed by an earthquake.
This building was erected on the spot called Durham-yard, where formerly stood the palace of the Bishops of Durham, which was originally erected by Thomas De Hatfield, Bishop of that see, in 1345.
In the reign of Edward VI. the mint was established here, by the influence of Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral; it was afterwards the residence of the ambitious John Dudley, Earl of Northumberland; and Sir Walter Raleigh likewise obtained from Queen Elizabeth the use of Durham-place.

Savoy Hospital

Savoy Hospital, Westminster, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Savoy Hospital

Of the ancient palace called the Savoy, which was begun by Henry VII. and finished by his son, little of the front, towards the river, now remains;
the former edifice was celebrated in antient times, as being the residence of Monarchs, and the prison of John King of France, after the battle of Poictiers, in 1356.
It was entirely destroyed by Wat Tyler in 1381, from his enmity to its great possessor John of Gaunt.
Of the present remains, part is converted into barracks, and part to a loathsome prison, which it is to be wished, for the honor of humanity, may soon be removed, together with its ruins, so disgraceful to the scenery of the river and its vicinity.

Somerset Place

Somerset Place, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Somerset Place

Adjoining these ruins, Somerset-place, that immense and extensive fabric, though far from being completed, must necessarily claim our attention, by raising ideas of magnificence in the mind of the spectator;
it is erected on a noble terrace fifty-three feet wide, and the building, when finished, will extend about eleven hundred feet.
From this terrace the scenery of our noble capital, and justly-famed river Thames, taken in any point of view, exceeds, in my judgment, every thing of the kind in this country.
This elegant superstructure is supported on a rough rustic basement, adorned with a lofty arcade consisting of thirty two arches, each twelve feet wide, and twenty-four high.
The grand semicircular arch in the middle of the basement is, as I am informed, for the reception of the King's barges.
The length of the arcade is happily relieved by projections, distinguished by rusticated columns of the Tuscan order.
On the terrace the south or principal front consists of a rustic basement, over which the Corinthian order prevails, and must be allowed to have an air of magnificence;
yet this front, considered as a grand assemblage, has been deemed censurable, as consisting of too many distinct parts, and not forming one complete and perfect whole.
The dome in the center is certainly too small for the extent of the building, it should have had a diameter nearly equal to the central projection, whereas it is but the breadth of the peristyle over which it is placed.

Design for a Bridge near Somerset Place, Thomas Sandby

Bridge Design near Somerset Place, Thomas Sandby, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Design for a Bridge near Somerset Place by Tho. Sandby

I Have the pleasure of communicating to the public the annexed elegant design for a bridge, by Thomas Sandby, Esq.
Professor of Architecture to the Royal Academy, which if thrown across the Thames from the western extremity of Somerset-place, would in a great measure remove the objection that has been raised to the length of that building, and add a specimen of taste and magnificence to the public works of this great city, surA a 2 pasting passing any thing it has yet received.
This design was made by the ingenious architect for the purpose of illustrating his lectures on the subject of bridge-building, and from the view before us, we have ample proof of his ability, in a happy combination of the most elegant forms, with all that can be attained in point of utility.
It consists of seven principal arches, each ninety-two feet wide.
The piers are adorned with Doric pilastres, and a noble entablature, each wing contains various apartments, and is crowned with a dome sixty-six feet in diameter.
Over the center arch is an ornamental building composed of the Ionic and Corinthian orders.
The piers are constructed with niches for statues, and pannels for bas reliefs.
At each end, the entrance to the bridge is through a grand arch forty-six feet high, and twenty-three wide, leading to the carriageway, which is fifty-five feet in breadth; at each side of that arch is a smaller one for foot passengers, continued to a covered colonnade of the Ionic order, where the foot-way between the columns is thirteen feet broad.
The bridge, including its wings, extends one thousand and sixty-two feet, and its height to the upper ballustrades in the center and wings one hundred and twelve feet.

Somerset House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Somerset House

I cannot quit the subject of Somerset place without adverting to the Strand front, which is deservedly admired as being the most elegant part of the edifice;
it consists of a rich and ornamental rustic basement supporting an excellent example of the Corinthian order, containing a principal and attic story.
The decorations of this front are in a superior taste, and do honor to the scientific knowledge of the architect;
it has, however, not escaped the criticism of some who have thought the basement too predominant, being nearly the same height as the order above.
At the grand entrance of this building, the arches are likewise deemed too high for their width, and are thought to injure the general effect of this elegant facade;
but had the architect been less circumscribed in space, he would undoubtedly have obviated this objection.
Entering the quadrangle, an excellent statue of Father Thames, modelled by Bacon, will, from its superior merit, claim the world's attention;
but we are sorry to add, that it is a general remark that this river God is totally misplaced, and so far removed from his proper element, as to induce us to believe that from indignation and disgust, he will not, under these circumstances, be prevailed upon to dispense the blessings of his urn.
The erect figure above it is tame and feminine, and in merit much inferior to the rest of the composition.
Some objections have been made to the height of three sides of the quadrangle; but if there are parts in the external of this great and magnificent undertaking, which to nice and critical observation may appear censurable, few such objections can reasonably be made to the internal, where utility in general will be found to prevail in every department.

Coade Stone

The opposite shore of the river Thames, though not rich in public buildings, has yet some works in art and science that demand our attention.
In Mrs. Coade's manufactory of artificial stone will be found numberless statues, busts, vases, pedestals, and every architectural enrichment known to the ancients or moderns, with their foliages and most minute ornaments, all of which are executed with more more delicacy and sharpness than is to be found in the best sculptures, and at less than half the expence.
The durability of the various articles produced in this work, as far as the experience of twenty-three years can ascertain, leaves no doubt but that that desirable quality will be annexed to its other recommendations.
The arcanum of the composition seems to rest with the proprietors, as several attempts have been made to establish works on a similar plan, but none have as yet succeeded.
The most elegant and expensive production I have seen from this manufactory, is the screen in the chapel of St. George at Windsor, where every minute Gothic ornament and projection is retained, and with apparent superiority to any performance of the chissel.
When we consider that these nicer, productions are burnt or baked in a kiln, it becomes matter of astonishment that they preserve with so much delicacy their original and proper form.

Mr Beaufoy's Vineyard

Not far from Mrs. Coade's, on the banks of our Thames, is to be found in the highest state of cultivation, the richest and perhaps the most diversified vineyard the world can boast, where the various productions of the grape yield every luxuriant wine that can be named, from "humble port to imperial tokay", and from which fertile production, we have no longer reason to dread the failure of foreign vintages.
Such is the magic power of the soil of Mr. Beaufoy, the proprietor of this prolific spot.

Cuper's Garden

On this site stood Cuper's Garden, which derived its name from one Boyder Cuper, a gardener in the Arundel family at the time this spot was in the hands of Lord Arundel.
Here many damaged statues from this noble Lord's collection were lodged, on the demolition of Arundel-house, which stood on the site now called Howard-street, on the opposite shore.

Shot Tower

A Little below this place a new structure has been lately erected, called the patent shot manufactory.
It is near one hundred and fifty feet high, about nineteen feet in diameter, and works half a tun of lead in an hour.
It cost near six thousand pounds, but cannot be considered as an object ornamental to the river Thames.

Middle Temple

The venerable hall of the Middle Temple, breaking through a thicket of trees across the garden, has from the water a truly picturesque appearance.
This magnificent building was erected, according to the date on the east window, which is of painted glass, in 1570.
It is a spacious and well-proportioned room, and the fine Gothic vaulted deling, which is of oak, is enriched with ornaments suitable to the times, and kept in good preservation.
On the small pannels around the hall are painted the arms of the gentlemen who have been readers to the society, they are judiciously placed, and have a good effect.

Inner Temple

The Inner Temple hall is considerably less, and, from its style of architecture, is certainly of older date;
there is little doubt of its being the same building in which we find, on the 16th of October, 1555, a magnificent dinner given at a call of Serjeants, when they sat down to a standing dish of wax, representing the Court of Common Pleas, and a bill of fare, that in length might vie with a modern bill in chancery, and from which one would suppose they had stripped the parks of all their red deer, and the Thames of all its swans, having on this occasion convened no less than ninety four of these birds.
About seven years after, in 1562, at a Christmas gambol, we find the Lord Chancellor, with all the great law officers, hunting in this hall, a fox and a cat, with nine or ten couple of hounds, the huntsman blowing his horn, until the fox and the cat are set upon by the hounds, and killed beneath the fire.
Dudley Earl of Leicester was the hero of this feast, who on the occasion was called Palaphilos Prince of Sophie, and was supposed to be entertained by a person stiling himself a Sovereign Prince, when supper being ended,
" the Constable Marshall presented himself with drums afore him,
mounted on a scaffold borne by four men,
and goeth three times round about the harthe crying aloud, A Lord, A Lord, &c.
then he descendeth and goeth to dance, &c.
and after he calleth his court, every one by name, one by one, in this manner:
Sir Francis Flatterer, of Fowlehurst, in the county of Buckingham.
Sir Randle Rackabite, of Rascall-hall, in the county of Rakehell.
Sir Morgan Mumchance, of Much Monkery, in the county of Mad Mopery.
Sir Bartholomew Baldbreech, of Buttocksbury, in the county of Brekeneck.
This done, the Lord of Misrule addresseth himself to the banquet,
which ended with some minstrelsye, mirth and dancing, every man departeth to rest.
With such mummeries were our ancient sages in the law, and rulers of the land, content to regale themselves; and it is to be regretted, that as elegance and refinement have progressively increased in later times, the statutes have become more voluminous, and bills in chancery have lengthened in the same ratio.

The recent improvements to the Temple Gardens, and embankments into the river, have added greatly to the views from the Thames, and it were to be wished that a proper attention was paid to the regulation of the coal-lighters, by keeping them nearer to the shore, and not suffering them to block up the channel, as is frequently the case when a large fleet arrives in the river.

Black Friars' Bridge

The noble addition of Black-friars-bridgc to the river Thames, whether considered as an ornament, or an object of convenience to our capital, cannot but yield the highest gratification to the mind of every well-wisher to the interest of this island, as well as the citizen of this great emporium of the universe.
The spacious and numerous public roads which the communication with the borough of Southwark, and the counties of Kent, Surrey, &c. have opened since the erection of this bridge, evince at once the judicious choice of situation for such a structure.
In February 1754, the city determined on building a bridge on this spot, and in January, 1756, a petition was presented to Parliament, in consequence of which an act passed, empowering the Mayor, &c. to procure a loan of one hundred and sixty thousand pounds, the sum required to complete this undertaking;
the interest was to be paid out of the tolls granted by the act.
Amongst the many designs proposed for a bridge that of Mr. Robert Milnes was approved, and the first stone laid on the 30th of October, 1760, by the then Lord Mayor.
It was completed in the latter end of the year 1768, at the expence of one hundred and fifty-two thousand eight hundred and forty pounds, three shillings and ten-pence.
The length of this bridge is nine hundred and ninety-five feet; the breadth of the carriage-way twenty-eight, and of the two footpaths seven feet each.
It consists of nine eliptical arches, the center of which is one hundred feet wide.
The eliptical form, as it gives more space, is well adapted to aid the navigation, though the circular is generally allowed to be superior in strength.
The upper surface of this bridge forms, in the opinion of many, too large a portion of a circle, a fault generally imputed by foreigners, and perhaps with justice, to most of our buildings of this kind.
The design of this bridge must be allowed to have an ample share of elegance.
The Ionic pillars projecting from the piers give a happy relief to the whole, and appear singularly light and beautiful from the river.
It were to be wished that the materials for this work had been selected of a more durable quality, as it might then have shewn to posterity the merits of its architect, who stands a fair chance at present of outliving his own work.

Black Friars' Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Black Friars' Bridge

At the building of this bridge the city was authorised to fill up the channel of Bridewell-dock, that

King of dykes, than which no sluice of mud
With deeper sable blots the silver flood.

The mouth of this creek, Stowe says, in 1307, was of such a width and depth, that - ten or twelve ships navies at once, with merchandises, were wont to come to the aforesaid bridge of Fleete.
It is to be observed that draw-bridges were at that period upon London-bridge, through which vessels of a certain size might pass, and land their cargoes in the mouth of the fleet.

Black Friars' Bridge & St Paul's, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Black Friars' Bridge and St Paul's

St Paul's Cathedral

 St Paul's Cathedral, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
St Paul's Cathedral

From Black-friars-bridge, amidst the noble amphitheatre of buildings on the London side of the river, the stately cathedral of St. Paul, at once the boast of art and science in our countiy, raises its majestic dome.
The first stone of this grand edifice was laid on the 21st of June, 1675, and was completed in 1710, from the design of Sir Christopher Wren, to whose extraordinary talents alone (not from any hint borrowed from the church of St. Peter's at Rome, as has been generally conceived,) we owe this perfect and sublime undertaking.
The highest stone on the top of the lanthorn was laid by the hand of the architect's son, Mr. Christopher Wren, at the particular request of his father.
It is a singular circumstance that this work was begun and finished by one architect and under one prelate, Dr. Compton, Bishop of London, when the church of St. Peter, at at Rome, was one hundred and forty-five years in building, and under the reign of nineteen Popes.
Wren, in his Parentalia, mentions an extraordinary incident which occurred at the commencement of this undertaking:
" That when the surveyor in person had set out the dimensions of the great dome, a common labourer was ordered to bring a flat stone from the heaps of rubbish, to be laid for a direction to the mason; the stone which was immediately brought and laid down for that purpose, happened to be a piece of a grave-stone, with nothing remaining of the inscription, but this single word in large capitals,
from hence it is thought Sir Christopher caught the idea of the Phœnix, which is placed on the south portico, and to which he has added the motto "Resurgam."
From the same work we are told the expence of the building was chiefly supported by an easy duty on sea-coal brought to the port of London.
If every part of the impost on that necessary article had been as laudably applied, we should have had less reason to be dissatisfied with the gallantries of Charles II.
To go into a particular detail of the excellencies of this superb pile of building, it is presumed will not be expected within the narrow limits of this work, nor can I, by my feeble eulogium, add one iota to the fame of its great architect, whose genius may be said to have awakened the spirit of science in our country.
Sir Christopher Wren died at the age of ninety-one, on the 25th of February, 1723, and was interred beneath the south aisle of the choir, near the east end.
The close of the Latin epitaph written by his son is happily applied, but is unfortunately so obscurely placed, as to be seen only by those who descend beneath the church:

Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice.

At this period, when the sculptor's aid is called forth to decorate this noble edifice, surely the first memorial erected within its walls, should have been dedicated to the fame and extraordinary talents of Sir Christopher Wren.
The remark already thrown out in this work, of want of a larger space, as we approach our most distinguished buildings, for the purpose of displaying them to advantage, is here remarkably conspicuous;
a removal of all the buildings between this edifice and the river, not to except Doctor's Commons, and even Apothecary's Hall, would rid the neighbourhood of many intricate ways, and lay open in a proper point of view, one of the first structures in the world.

Pauls Wharf Hill

Paul's Wharf Hill, adjoining to Doctor's Commons, as appears by the leases granted from the Dean and Chapter, formerly held the name of Camera Dianæ, which Camera was a spacious vaulted room full of mazes and labyrinths, and in which Henry II. is reported have kept his Diana or favourite Rosamond, when she was absent from Woodstock-park.

Albion Mills

The extensive building on the Surry side of Black Friars Bridge, called the Albion Mills, from its commodious situation, and various advantages of conveyance, &c. it is presumed would have enabled the proprietors to have brought that valuable article corn to market at a reduced price; but report, perhaps calumny, deemed the undertaking a monopoly; and whether from incendiaries or accident, it ceased to be an object of dissatisfaction, from the conflagration which happened within the last year.
From this building, the busy scenery of the opposite shore, abounding in wharfs, warehouses and various conveniencies for the aid of our commerce, gives the highest idea of the industry and consequent opulence of our capital;
yet with how much regret must we deplore the want of the execution of that noble plan designed by Sir Christopher Wren, after the fire of London, in which he proposed to have built a spacious wharf and quay from London-bridge to the Temple, and so to have ranged all the halls belonging to the several companies of the city, with proper warehouses for merchants interspersed, as to have rendered it at once, the most beautiful and useful arrangement of structures in the world:
but the hurry of rebuilding, and the disputes at that time about property, prevented this glorious scheme from taking place.

St. Mary le Bow

Among the many works of Sir Christopher Wren which adorn our capital, and enrich the scenery of the river, the steeple of St. Mary le Bow, in Cheapside, classes as one of the first;
the happy disposition of the various orders of architecture, in which he seems to have soared above the ordinary rules of science, forms an assemblage of taste and elegance, rarely to be met with.
This church was built on the walls of an old temple that stood on the Roman causeway, which was eighteen feet below the level of the present street.

Mansion House

 Mansion House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Mansion House

A Large mass of stone presents itself farther eastward, which we are told is the Mansion House; but whether from its ponderous appearance it is the attic or the base of that building is not easily distinguishable.

 Mansion House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Mansion House

It has been ludicrously suggested that this city mansion was erected from the design of a ship carpenter, which was received in preference to one presented by Lord Burlington; this is said to have been the work of Palladio, and that upon a question put at the time in a city committee, who this Palladio was; and it being answered, that he was a papist, and a non-freeman of the city of London, his design was immediately voted inadmissible.
Had it been the fortune of the city, that her honors had at that time been in such hands as distinguished them in the year 1791, this disgrace would never have stained their annals.
The then chief magistrate, skilled in more than science, and wealthy as the east, with a sway like that of the company which rules in Hindostan, possesses at once the empire and commerce of the arts; and as the Ganges is permitted to waft no treasure, no model of elegance, or product of value, without paying tribute to them; so no navigable stream throughout the globe can flow, without acknowledging the more extended control of his deeper seated empire; nor would the name of Palladio have been unknown at Guildhall, or any advantage public or private to be derived from that name have escaped the discerning eye and commercial talents of that vigilant Lord Mayor of London.

Bear Garden

On the opposite shore, which is called Bank-side, was formerly the Bear Garden, or "British Circus", where Stowe says,
" bears, bulls, and other beasts were kept to be baited, as also mastives in several kennels, nourished to bait them."
Savage as this custom may now appear, it certainly was considered in the time of Elizabeth as a fit entertainment for persons of the first quality, and we are told that she accompanied the French Ambassador to this scene of brutality, as to a rational and pleasant amusement.

Globe Theatre

 Globe Theatre, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Globe Theatre

Adjoining to this spot stood the Globe Theatre, where our immortal Shakespeare is known to have occasionally trod the stage; and for which, in 1603, he with his fellow commedians obtained a licence.
Most of his plays are said to have been performed here, and at the theatre at Black-friars.
During the hours of exhibition, which were always by day-light, a flag was displayed played on the roof of the building, which was of an hexagonal form, though from its name, most probably it was round within.
When the sanguinary sports of the Bear Garden were over, the same spectators, it is most probable, resorted to the adjoining theatre.
Taylor, the water-poet, observes,
" that after the players began to play on the Bank-side, and to leave playing in London and Middlesex, then there went such great concourse of people by water, that the small number of watermen remaining at home, were not able to carry them, by reason of the court, the terms and other employments."
It is scarcely possible to find in the history of our amusements, a change equal to that which has taken place in the hours of play going, when instead of quitting the theatre by day-light, it is now within a few hours of the breakfast time of our ancestors, before we can possibly reach home.

Along the banks on the city side of the river from Black-friars, were formerly many stately inns, a name given to the town residences of the nobility and persons of consequence, at that time, amongst which may be ranked Baynard's Castle, which being rebuilt in 1428, by Humphrey Duke of Glocester, was on his demise granted by Henry VI. to Richard Duke of York, who in 1458 we find lodged here with his train of four hundred men, besides which his noble followers had each a numerous suite.
To the north-east of St. Paul's Wharf stood Beaumont's Inn, the residence of Lord Hastings, in the reign of Edward IV. in 1465.

Queen Hithe - Queen's Wharf

Queen Hithe or harbour is of great antiquity, possibly as early as the time of the Saxons; large boats, and even ships here discharged their lading.
In the time of Henry III. it obtained its present name, being called Ripa Reginæ, or Queen's Wharf.
The ships of the Cinque Ports were obliged to bring their corn here, and were not permitted to land it at any other place.

Worcester Place

Near Vintner's-hall stood Worcester place, the residence of John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, Lord High Treasurer of England;

Tower Royal

 King Stephen, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
King Stephen

and near it the Tower Royal, supposed to have been founded by Henry I. and which, Stowe says, was the residence of King Stephen.
Edward III. gave it the title of Inn Royal, from having been the residence of that Monarch.
Richard II. likewise lodged here in 1386, when he entertained his royal guest, Leon III. King of Armenia, after being expelled his kingdom by the Turks.
John Duke of Norfolk, the friend and adherent of Richard III. made likewise this tower his residence, having obtained a grant of it from his Sovereign.

Whittington College

Whittington College, in the church of St. Michael Royal, from the name of its founder, should not be passed unnoticed; it was built in 1424, and was suppressed at the reformation.
The alms-houses still exist.
The famous cat of this thrice-elected Lord Mayor is now generally understood to have been a Newcastle collier, a name which these vessels still bear.

Three Cranes

The three cranes in the Vintry was allotted, by royal order, for the landing of wines and other merchandize.
For a curious account of the jovial feasting given by Sir Henry Picart, vintner, Lord Mayor in 1356, I refer the reader to Stowe's Survey.


At Dowgate formerly stood one of the Roman gates for passengers, who took boat here at the trajectus or ferry.
In the reign of Edward III. customs were paid by ships resting here, in the same manner as at Queenhithe.

River Walbrook

Near this runs concealed into the Thames, the antient Wal-brook, or river of Wells, which rises to the north of Moorfields;
it passed through London-wall between Bishopsgate and Moorgate, and so on through the city to this place.

The Erber

In the reign of Edward III. at the Erber, not far from hence, was formerly a noble palace, occupied by the family of the Scroops, the Nevills, and Richard the great Earl of Warwick.
It was rebuilt in 1584, by Sir Thomas Pullison, Lord Mayor, and became afterwards the residence of the renowned Sir Francis Drake.

The Steelyard

The Steel-yard has been a famous quay for the landing of merchandise, as far back as the tenth century:
here was the Guildhall of the Easterlings, or the Germans of the Steel-yard; who, under certain restrictions, came hither with their ships, and were accounted "worthy of good laws."
It was then called Staplehoff, or general house of trade of the German nations; but in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, about the year 1597, as we became more politic, and grew wiser with respect to commerce, this house was shut up and the Germans expelled the kingdom.

Coal Harbour

Of coal-harbour we find historical mention as far back as Edward II.
A magnificent house was built here by a Sir John Poultney, who was four times Lord Mayor of London, from whom it was named Poultney-Inn.
In 1397 it became the residence of John Holland, Duke of Exeter, and Earl of Huntington, who gave a splendid entertainment in this house to his royal brother-in-law Richard II.
After passing through the hands of many noble owners, this inn was at length granted to the Earl of Shrewsbury, by Edward VI from whom it obtained the name of Shrewsbury house.

In having thus adverted to the many antient buildings which once graced the bank of our river Thames, and to the royal and noble possessors of them, I hope I shall not be censured as having deviated from my intention;
this brief account may at least tend to show the vicissitudes of human scenes, and the high estimation in which this capital has ever been held, not by the mercantile orders only, but by princes and nobles of the first worth and consequence.

London Bridge

 London Bridge, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
London Bridge

We now approach London-bridge, a specimen of the Gothic labors of our ancestors, and no less a subject of reproach to those who have the superintendance of it in the present day.
This perilous absurdity, for such in its present renovated, if not mutilated state, it presents itself to a modern eye, has in its day been stiled the "wonder of the world", and properly enough may now bear that epithet, it being a matter of astonishment to every one, that it is yet in existence.
The enormous size of the sterlings, which are and must be increasing, as the piers fall into decay, will, in all probability, in the course of time, shut up the current through the few arches that still remain in use.
These sterlings are by no means coeval with the bridge, nor are they, as is vulgarly supposed, at all necessary either in aid of the depth of water, or to restrain the current at ebb, when the river is found navigable so many miles above the reach of the tide:
the water is now so dammed up by these incumbrances, that at the return of the tide, it is near five feet higher above than below the bridge, and in its fall has so many tremendous cataracts, and hideous roarings, as to fill the mind of the spectator with horror.
When the nuisance of the houses on the upper part of this bridge was removed in 1756, it is matter of astonishment that the whole of this disgraceful lumber was not taken away.
The expence which has been incurred, on a moderate computation, within the last century, would have defrayed twice the charge of building an elegant structure, and would probably have saved the lives of perhaps thousands of his majesty's best subjects, the industrious and laborious poor.
Among the many dreadful calamities that have happened near this bridge, the premeditated death of Mr. Temple, only son of Sir William, of whom I have had occasion to make mention in this work, is deserving notice.
On the 14th of April, 1689, he hired a boat on the Thames, and directing his waterman to London-bridge, (having previously filled his pocket with stones) there plunged himself into the stream, and instantly sunk to rise no more.
The apology for this rash action was thus worded in a note, found at the bottom of the boat.
"My folly in undertaking what I could not perform, whereby some misfortunes have befallen the King's service, is the cause of my putting myself to this sudden end.
I wish him success in all his undertakings, and a better servant.
The singular reflection of his father on this occasion,
"That a wise man might dispose of himself, and make his life as short as he pleased"—
breathed more the principles of stoicism, and of the philosophy of Zeno, than of parental affection, or the lessons of Christianity.

The width of the river is here nine hundred and fifteen feet, and the bridge consists of nineteen irregular arches, each so unlike its neighbour in size and shape, as to baffle any attempt at criticism.
This bridge was constructed in 1176, by one Peter, Curate of Colechurch in London, a person high in reputation for his architectural skill;
he died four years before it was finished, which was in 1209, a period of thirty-three years;
it was completed by three merchantsof London.
The architect was interred in a chapel erected at his own expence, on the the east side of this bridge.
In the year 1758, two years after the demolition of this and other buildings, it was described as a beautiful arched Gothic structure, sixty-five feet long, twenty broad, and fourteen high, paved with black and white marble, and in the middle a sepulchral monument, wherein was deposited the remains of Master Peter the Curate.
This chapel had an entrance from the river by a winding stair-case, and likewise one from the street, and was therefore calculated to receive the prayers of those who travelled by water as well as by land.

An anecdote of the ancestor of the Duke of Leeds, as an act of singular gallantry, is not unworthy of record here.
Edmund Osborne, in the year 1536, was an apprentice to Sir William Hewitt, a cloth-worker, who resided on this bridge, at which time a servant maid, playing with the only child of her master at the window, accidentally let it fall into the river:
young Edmund, who was witness to the calamity, instantly plunged after it, and fortunately restored the infant to its afflicted parent.
The reward of this spirited action was, at a proper period, the hand of the fair daughter, and with it the knight's lands and beeves:
Many wealthy and noble suitors, (amongst whom was the Earl of Shrewsbury,) had paid their addresses to this damsel, yet the gallantry of Edmund obtained the preference, and he became Lord Mayor of London in 1582;
his portrait is now at Kiveton, the seat of the Duke of Leeds, in his magisterial habit, with gold chain and bonnet.

London Bridge Mills

At the south end of London-bridge, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, mills were constructed for grinding corn, in order to supply the poor with flour at a reasonable rate in times of scarcity.

London Bridge Waterworks

In the same reign, in 1582, an engine was erected here to supply the city with water, by Peter Morice, a Dutchman, who obtained a lease of one arch for five hundred years, at the annual rent of ten shillings, and in two years after, from the great utility experienced in this undertaking, he procured a second, since which two other arches have been included in this work, and in the year 1701, the whole was sold by the representatives of Morice to Richard Soames, citizen and goldsmith, for the sum of thirty six thousand pounds, after which this property was divided into three hundred shares, at five hundred pounds each, and the proprietors obtained a charter of incorporation.

[ 300 x £ 500 = £ 150,000 - £ 36,000 = £ 114,000 profit ! 114k / 36k = 317 %]

 Billingsgate, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
N.E. View of Billingsgate

Fishmongers' Hall

Adjoining to the bridge is Fishmongers' hall, the only specimen of the range of city halls along the river towards the Temple, agreeable to the idea of Sir Christopher Wren.
The south front of this building is of brick, with stone coins -, it is decorated with a portal of the Ionic order, and a suitable pediment, forming altogether a happy combination of strength and elegance.
In the great hall is a large wooden figure of Sir William Walworth, whom Stowe calls "the glory of their company", but of whom he says,
"they know nothing more than that he slew Jack Straw, which is a mere fable";
he likewise says of the fishmongers,
"that they are men ignorant of their own antiquities."
They have however since discovered by the inscription that appears under the figure, that it was not Jack Straw, but Wat Tyler, whom the worthy knight slew "in his alarmes"

 William Walworth? Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Sir William Walworth?

and could Master Stowe now witness the decorations of their tables on Court and other days of festivity, he would be led to acknowledge, that what they then wanted in antiquarian skill, is now amply compensated by their information in the culinary arts.

The Monument

The Monument, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799    The Monument, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
View on Fish Street Hill including the Monument, St Magnus' Church &c.

The noble pillar, emphatically called the Monument, which though Pope says, it "lifts its head and lies," may yet be declared in all its parts, to speak one lasting truth to posterity, that it is the paragon of modern excellence in building;
and may even vie in some respects, with the most celebrated columns of antiquity consecrated to the names of Trajan and Antoninus, both of which it exceeds in height.
The Biographical Dictionary says, that
"Sir Christopher Wren built the Monument hollow, that it might serve as a tube to discover the parallax of the earth, by the different distances of the star in the head of the dragon, from the zenith, at different seasons of the year; but finding it was liable to be shaken by the motion of the coaches and carts, almost constantly passing by, laid that thought aside."
This noble column is of the Doric order, and fluted; the height is two hundred and two feet, and on its pedestal is a bas-relief sculptured by Gabriel Cibber:
the truth of the allegory I shall not here discuss;
it was begun in 1671, and finished in 1677, at an expence of fourteen thousand five hundred pounds;
the damage sustained by the dreadful conflagration at that period was estimated at ten millions, seven hundred and sixteen thousand pounds;
and we can only regret the wretched choice of situation for this elegant column;
had it been placed at the top of Cheapside, it would as well have informed us of the dreadful calamity it is meant to perpetuate, and have been a splendid addition to the public buildings of our capital.
A Fanatical preacher, at the time, after descanting on the various causes why such a calamity should have been permitted, defines it to have evidently arisen from the city's gluttony; for
"that it commenced at Pudding-lane, and ended at Pye-corner."

The Monument, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Monument commemorating the Great Fire of London

The Black Bell

Black Prince, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Black Prince

Nearly opposite to the Monument formerly stood the residence of our valiant Edward the Black Prince;
Stowe says, in his time it was made a common hosterie or inn, having a black bell for its sign.

St Dunstan's in the East

The beautiful spire of St. Dunstan's in the East, cannot fail to attract the attention of the curious observer from every point of view.
The geometrical skill of Sir Christopher Wren has no where appeared more conspicuous than in this bold attempt of placing the spire on the top of four Gothic arches, a base that seems so insecure as to fill the mind with apprehensions for its safety, while we have had experience of its braving the tempests for more than one hundred and twenty years, and have reason to believe it will yet continue for ages to come.

The Custom House

Custom House, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Custom House
[This would be Thomas Ripley's building of c.1720 on Wren's foundations.
It was to burn down in 1814 whilst being replaced. ]

Of the Custom-house little can be said in its commendation, as a public building;
the want of space within, and on the quay, to transact the immense business of this great city, is so notorious to the mercantile world, as to afford matter of astonishment that some means have not yet been found to remove the whole; and by erecting a more extensive structure, and giving a greater space of quay towards the river, to render this spot as well an ornament to the city, as a convenience to the merchants of this great emporium of commerce.

The Tower of London

Tower of London, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Tower of London

Of the Tower of London, that part of it called the White Tower, makes a grand addition to the scenery of our river;
its formidable appearance naturally leads the mind back to that period when the defence of our capital was more an object of attention than its commerce.
This building has long borne the appellation of Cæsar's Tower, but on what authority we are yet to learn:

William I, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
King William I.

It was erected in the year 1078, in the reign of William the Conqueror, and under the direction of Gundulph Bishop of Rochester, who, while he was employed here, Stowe tells us,
"was lodged in the house of one Elsmere, a citizen of London."
This building originally stood by itself, but in the year 1092, received the castellated addition on the south side, towards the Thames, which was called St. Thomas's Tower, beneath which is what is denominated Traitor's bridge.
In the reign of Richard I. this tower was inclosed by Longchamp Bishop of Ely, with embattled walls and a spacious ditch, which communicated with the river.
For the many additions and improvements it has since, received, as well as for its internal decorations, I refer the reader to the particular history of the place, which, at present harmless and inoffensive as it may seem, once displayed scenes of horror, perhaps greater than were even imagined in the Bastile, and these perpetrated in the name of religion, a convenient mask, under which, in some degree, were disguised the lust and caprices of a tyrant.

Winding Staircase in the White Tower, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799    Chapel in the White Tower, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Winding Staircase and the Interior of the Chapel in the White Tower.

The Pool of London

Tower of London, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
The Pool and Tower of London [repeated from above]

Our attention is now pointed to the glorious scene which presents itself from Tower wharf down the river, through what is called the Pool; where groves of shipping of all nations appear emulous to unlade their burthens, from each quarter of the globe, into the lap of Britannia; and

Where the crouded ports
With rising masts, an endless prospect yield,
With labours burn, and echo to the shouts
Of hurried sailor, as he hearty waves
His last adieu, and loosening every sheet,
Resigns the spreading vessel to the wind.

Through this immense maritime forest, we have a comparative view at once of the wealth of every port in Europe;
each vessel here displaying its variegated colours, to denote from whence it bears that produce which adds to the wants, and even luxuries of our capital.
The various docks and vast piles of building that range along the shores of the river, which are principally occupied by sea-faring and commercial people dependant on its navigation, afford a scene of laborious industry strongly characterizing the spirit and commerce of the country.
The erecting of houses along the shore from Wapping, seems to have been in the time of Elizabeth, a matter of good policy to preserve that neighbourhood from the frequent inundations of the river, by obliging the inhabitants to defend their own banks.
The narrowness of the streets on this and the opposite shore may be accounted for by the regulations made in 1656, when we find to prevent the increase of buildings, all new works then carrying on within ten miles of London, were obliged to have four acres of freehold land laid to them, except such buildings as should be raised below London-bridge within two furlongs of the Thames, and belonged to mariners and ship-builders.

Gulliver's Birthplace

At Rotherhithe they seriously claim the credit of having produced Dean Swift's Captain Lemuel Gulliver, whom he describes to have lived in Love-lane, in that parish, and where some credulous old people are now happy to shew the identical house in which he resided.

Cuckold's Point

King John, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
King John.

Below Rotherhithe is what is called Cuckold's Point:
Horns, as is generally the case, distinctly mark the spot;
the history of these horns runs thus:
That King John having kissed a miller's wife at Eltham, and being detected by the husband (to quiet his feelings, by gilding his horns) gave him all the land he could see from that spot towards the river.
The enormous value then set on the virtue of a wife, appears so far to exceed any estimate of modern times, that we are apt to doubt the truth of the relation.
An annual fair is now held at Charlton, on St. Luke's day, which is called Horn Fair, a scene exhibiting as much licentiousness in low life, as ever has on any occasion proceeded from the example of superior situation.

Lea River Cut

On the opposite shore, a cut or canal, formed from the Lea River at Bow, empties itself into the Thames.
This cut is of essential service to the neighbouring manufactories, particularly the distilleries in its vicinity.
At high tide there is a depth of water of near twenty feet.


Approaching Deptford we should not pass unnoticed the dock-yard of Mr. Randall, where we find that thirty-two King's packet-boats, with which government were formerly supplied from Falmouth, have within the last five years been launched.
Deptford was anciently called West Greenwich;
it derived its present name from the deepness of the ford over the river Ravensborn, upon which the town is seated.
Here the King's dock-yard, victualling-office, store-houses, and other extensive buildings, meet the eye, as objects that cannot but yield pleasure to the mind of every Englishman, as in this approach to our capital, they manifest our ability and state of preparation, to ward off any hostile attempt, however unwilling we may be to throw the guantlet, or to give the first offence.

Greenwich Hospital

Greenwich Hospital, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Greenwich Hospital.

Mindful as we have been in providing the means of defence for our country, we have certainly not been less so in affording a comfortable existence and quiet retreat for the brave veterans of our navy, by the erection of that stately pile of building, Greenwich hospital.
This noble edifice has more the appearance of a regal palace, which was its first destination, than an hospital.
The vicinity of this building had long been the residence of our Monarchs; and its ancient retreat bore the appellation of Placentia; but being much decayed in the reign of Charles II. was taken down by his order, and one of the present wings erected on the site, as part of an intended palace.
About ten years after this Monarch's death, his grand-daughter, Queen Mary, desirous of prosecuting his plan, called in the aid of Sir Christopher Wren; under whose skill and direction the opposite wing, called Queen Anne's building, the painted hall, grand colonade, &c. were completed.
The west front of this building, which is of brick, was finished by Sir John Vanbrugh, then surveyor of the hospital; and is, I am informed, intended to be cased with stone.
The Queen's house, at the extremity of this building, was from a design of Inigo Jones:
It was at the particular order of Queen Mary left standing; and the grand design of the hospital was of course made subservient to this direction.
The north or river front of this princely structure consists of two ranges of stone buildings; in which the coupled Corinthian columns, supporting the pediments, afford a beautiful relief, and produce a happy mass of light and shade.
The two noble domes, which are supported by columns corresponding with the order below, and the grand range of colonade terminated by the distant rising hills of Greenwich, combine a splendor of scenery scarcely to be equalled in this country.
The great defect in this structure appears to be want of height in the basement story.

Greenwich Hospital, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Greenwich Hospital.

The chapel, which has been recently erected from a design of the late Mr. James Stuart, publisher of the Antiquities of Athens, is the most complete specimen of the Grecian style that I remember to have seen:
it is simple, yet elegant; and its various ornaments are so judiciously adapted, as in no part to appear redundant, or ill applied.
The decorations of this chapel are principally from the designs of Mr. West, and many of them executed in artificial stone of Coade's manufacture.
The pulpit, which is circular, is supported by six fluted columns, made of lime-tree wood: and above is a richly-carved entablature, with suitable decorations.
When we consider Greenwich hospital as a specimen of architectural elegance, the taste of every observer cannot fail to be highly gratified; but when we view it on a more extended scale, as an object of national beneficence, exerted in relieving the brave and worn-out veterans of the British navy, how must the exulting heart of every Englishman glow with the idea!
I am proud to confess, that the scene before us surpasses all this noble river has yet produced.
Here the multitudes of old pensioners, assembled together, or dispersed in smaller groupes, recounting their former acts of bravery, and the hazards of the boisterous ocean, seem, like the gentle river that washes the walls of their edifice, to be smoothly gliding from this perilous existence

To that silent shore,
Where billows never break, or tempests roar.

Isle of Dogs

Poplar Marsh, on the opposite side the river, is a large peninsula, known by the appellation of the Isle of Dogs; and, though flat, and uninteresting in the landscape, is yet in its soil rich and fertile, producing remarkably large cattle, and a species of grass which is esteemed a great restorative in the distempers to which these animals are subjected.
The Isle of Dogs derives its name from having been the place where the King's hounds were formerly kept, during the royal residence at Greenwich.


By a wind of the river round this marsh we pass Blackwall, distinguished by its docks constructed for the building of our East India ships, which generally come to their moorings off this place, as they seldom go much higher up the river.
The vast influx of wealth from the commerce of the East, or rather our despotism in that devoted country, renders it, in the minds of some, whose philosophy and nicer feelings have never been acted upon by the more than religious influence of their pagodas, a matter of doubt, whether this accumulation of wealth has not been more than balanced by such an inroad of their luxuries and vices, as sooner or later may tend to enervate the political as well as physical state of our constitution.

Charlton Church

Charlton church, and the Gothic mansion of Sir Thomas Wilson, are by their elevated situation placed in a conspicuous and pleasing point of view.


Upon the river, a little below, the attention is caught by an object of the first consequence to our country, Woolwich—famed as the "Mother dock of our royal navy", and which is said to have furnished as many men of war as any two docks in England.
Here the spacious magazines of masts, planks, pitch, tar, &c. and the warren stored with guns, mortars, and every other instrument of destruction, seem to bid defiance to any hostile attacks in times less tranquil than the present, and to give a degree of security to the feelings of the most timid politician.
The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich was built in 1719:
here forty-eight gentlemen cadets are admitted, but none under the age of twelve years;
they are taught Latin, French, Mathematics, and every branch of military science necessary to qualify them for the service of the artillery, and the business of engineers; the whole expence is defrayed by government.
The hulks lying off Woolwich, in which near three hundred wretched convicts are confined, present a scene on our river, that it were to be wished could be removed.
Might not the lead, or other mines, and repairs of our roads, give more useful employment to these people whom the law has wisely doomed to an exemplary punishment?
It is a singular circumstance that the parish of Woolwich is said to contain as much land on the Essex as on the Kent side of the river.
In the last century, many acres in this neighbourhood were laid under water by frequent inundations, at which time the division of the counties was deemed to be in the middle of the current.
It is therefore possible that at the time when the embankments took place on the Essex coast, this land was given by the county as a compensation for the damages sustained by the town of Woolwich, by the encroachments then made in the river.
These embankments surround the marshes of what is called the Devil'shouse, of which a very small shattered remain still exists.
This Devil's-house was formerly a large mansion of the family of Devall, with whose name the vulgar have taken this liberty.
Some vestiges of an extensive building are yet discernible.

Below what is called the Gallions, the scenery on the Essex shore considerably improves, and towards Barking, a large creek is formed from the river, for the convenience of the neighbouring county.

Dagenham Breach

In the beginning of the present century [ 1700s ], the damage sustained from inundations, at what is called Dagenham Breach, was of such direful consequence, as to become an object of national importance.
It was occasioned by the blowing up of a small sluice or trunk made for the drain of the land-waters on the banks of the Thames, and was at its beginning not more than sixteen feet broad, but for want of proper attention, the constant force and fall of the water, in a few years increased to so great a depth, as to extend in several branches, above a mile and a half into the country.
It is computed that more than one hundred and twenty acres of marsh ground were washed into the Thames by this inundation.
After many unsuccessful projects, carried on at an enormous expence by the land-owners, to stop up this breach; it was at length relinquished by them as impracticable;
Parliament, however, considering it as a circumstance worthy their attention, and highly necessary for preserving the navigation of the Thames, appointed trustees for conducting this work.
On the 26th day of January, 1715, they entered into a contract with a Captain John Perry, for making up and stopping the breach in the levels of Dagenham and Havering, and for so effectually excluding the water, as to leave no leakage of the fourth part of an inch, even at the highest tides.
This arduous work was accomplished in less than two years, for twenty-five thousand pounds, the sum agreed upon between the Captain and the Trustees.

The Belvedere near Erith

On the summit of a hill near Erith on the opposite shore, stands the noble mansion of Lord Eardly, called Belvedere; its elevated situation, richly embosomed within an extensive thicket of trees, presents a beautiful object, not only from hence, but for several miles, as we pursue the course of the river.
From the house, the beautiful serpentine form of the Thames, enriched with vessels from every quarter of the globe, proudly swelling their sails, at each returning tide; and the distant view of our extensive capital, compose as grand an assemblage of objects as can be pointed out in any part of the island.
The collection of pictures within the Belvedere may be allowed, from the judiciousness of its choice, to vie in excellence with any other of equal magnitude.
Below the mansion, the humble and lowly situation of Erith Church, with its ivy and moss-grown tower, presents a scene truly picturesque:
within the view is comprised at this autumnal season of the year, not less than fifteen sail of East Indiamen, all at their moorings, a scene that in no other river in the world, I may venture to assert, can be equalled.

The River Darent

About two miles below Erith the river Darent, which rises at Tunbridge, unites with the Thames;


the chalk quarries of Purfleet on the opposite shore, convey a faint idea of the noble Cliffs of Albion, and are so pleasingly combined as to present a just and leading idea of the characteristical features of English landscape.
Quitting what is called Long Reach, the Thames now becomes much agitated, and partakes in a great degree of the briny quality of its parent ocean.


At Northfieet a wet dock is constructing within the excavations made in the Chalk Cliffs by a Mr. Cleverly, a ship-builder, which promises from its advantageous situation to become in time an object of much national as well as private emolument.


As we approach Gravesend, the immense number of Dutch and other fishing boats occasionally lying off that town, gives, at a certain distance, such an idea of a numerous fleet, as might in former times have created some apprehension, for our safety, notwithstanding the military strength of Tilbury fort, and the gallantry and vigour of the troops there stationed.
Gravesend, the first port on our river is well situated for commerce, and is famed for fish, filth, and asparagus.
The abbot of St. Mary le Grace, of Tower-hill, being desirous, as is related, of
"promoting the interest of the town, obtained of Richard II. a grant to the men of Gravesend and Milton, of the exclusive privilege of conveying passengers from thence to London, on the conditions that they should provide boats on purpose, and carry all persons either at two-pence per head, with his bundle, or the whole boat's fare should be four shillings."
This charter has been confirmed by succeeding princes; and the boats which have been rendered, of late, very commodious, are obliged to depart for London at every flood, on the ringing of a bell for a quarter of an hour; the same ceremony is observed at their return from Billingsgate, at every ebb tide.
In the year 1380 this town was burned by the French and Spaniards, who came up the Thames in row gallies, and committed this outrage in return for the ravage and plunder of the English army in France commanded by the Lord Nevil.
Henry VIII. to prevent a repetition of this outrage, raised a platform of guns to the east of the town,

Tilbury Fort

Tilbury Fort, Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland 1799
Tilbury Fort.

and erected Tilbury Fort on the opposite shore, which has been since improved as a regular fortification from a plan of Sir Martin Beckman, chief engineer to Charles II.
The bastions are said to be the largest in England: it is doubly moated, with a counterscarp, ravelins, &c. and on the platform are placed one hundred and six cannons, from twenty-four to forty-six pounders, besides smaller ones planted on the bastions and curtains.
If with all this force the river Thames and the capital are not safe from the attack of the enemy, we must even rely on that of the Tower of London, and the vigilant endeavours of the Master of our Ordinance, in a more extended application of his new system of general fortifications.
All outward-bound ships are compelled to anchor in Gravesend road, till they have been examined by the officers of the customs, and a centinel is placed at the Block-house below the town, to give notice when they are coming up the river by firing a gun;
and here the outward-bound ships generally take in provision, an essential advantage to the mercantile class of inhabitants in this town.

A Little below Milton is a small Gothic building, not undeserving the attention of the antiquary; it is the remains of a church or religious house, now used as a barn: near which a new coal-wharf has been lately established, where coals are landed to avoid the port duty, a practice not uncommon on the Essex side of the river, though novel here, and from which the neighbouring country is supplied with that article, six-pence per bushel cheaper than at Gravesend.


Near the town of Cliff begins a part of the river which is called the Hope;
the view from whence of the Chalky Cliffs, on the Kentish Shore, and the more extended scenery of the Essex hills affords no unpleasing prospect;
here the river widens considerably, being half a league across, and at some certain boisterous periods, when the wind and tide oppose each other, the damage done to the shipping is very considerable.

Canvey Island

At the Isle of Canvey on the Essex shore,we cannot help noticing the singular appearance of empty cockle shells that cover the strand for a considerable distance, and have been there observed as long as can be traced by the memory of man.

The Crowstone

At the extremity of this isle a branch of the Thames forms what is called Lea Road, on the bank of which is affixed a stone denoting the boundary of the city jurisdiction on the Essex shore; it is dated anno 1285.

The Nore Lightship

Below this place the beacon called the Nore Light appears full in view, it is fixed in the hulk of a Dutch vessel, stationed nearly in the center of the Nore, between what is called Shoebury Ness, and the Isle of Sheppey.
The breadth of water between Shoebury Ness on the Essex coast, and the western extremity of the Isle of Grain in Kent, may properly be termed the mouth of the Thames; it is about six miles across.

Here our majestic river loses itself in the embraces of the ocean, whose spacious bosom expands itself far beyond the reach of such objects of picturesque beauty as have been delineated in this work, and seems to call for powers of description exceeding the ordinary standard of prose composition.

Under this impression I cannot more happily close my subject, than in the elegant and nervous language of a modern bard, whose animated versification is so immediately adapted to the present enquiry, and so beautifully illustrative of the glorious scenery before us:

Now the ocean bay
Beneath the radiance glisters clear and pale;
And white from farre appears the frequent sail,
By Traffick spread. Moored where the land divides,
The British red-cross waving in the gale,
Hulky and black, a gallant warre-ship rides,
And over the greene wave with lordly port presides.
----Oh, glorious happy care !
To bid Britannia's navies greatly dare,
And through the vassal seas triumphant reign,
To either India waft victorious warre,
To join the poles in Trade's unbounded chain,
And bid the British Throne the mighty whole sustain.