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From London to Land's End by Daniel Defoe

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This etext was prepared by David Price
ccx074@coventry.ac.uk, from the 1888 Cassell & Company edition.

From London to Land's End


I find so much left to speak of, and so many things to say in every
part of England, that my journey cannot be barren of intelligence
which way soever I turn; no, though I were to oblige myself to say
nothing of anything that had been spoken of before.

I intended once to have gone due west this journey; but then I
should have been obliged to crowd my observations so close (to
bring Hampton Court, Windsor, Blenheim, Oxford, the Bath and
Bristol all into one letter; all those remarkable places lying in a
line, as it were, in one point of the compass) as to have made my
letter too long, or my observations too light and superficial, as
others have done before me.

This letter will divide the weighty task, and consequently make it
sit lighter on the memory, be pleasanter to the reader, and make my
progress the more regular: I shall therefore take in Hampton Court
and Windsor in this journey; the first at my setting out, and the
last at my return, and the rest as their situation demands.

As I came down from Kingston, in my last circuit, by the south bank
of the Thames, on the Surrey side of the river; so I go up to
Hampton Court now on the north bank, and on the Middlesex side,
which I mention, because, as the sides of the country bordering on
the river lie parallel, so the beauty of the country, the pleasant
situations, the glory of innumerable fine buildings (noblemen's and
gentlemen's houses, and citizens' retreats), are so equal a match
to what I had described on the other side that one knows not which
to give the preference to: but as I must speak of them again, when
I come to write of the county of Middlesex, which I have now
purposely omitted; so I pass them over here, except the palace of
Hampton only, which I mentioned in "Middlesex," for the reasons

Hampton Court lies on the north bank of the River Thames, about two
small miles from Kingston, and on the road from Staines to Kingston
Bridge; so that the road straightening the parks a little, they
were obliged to part the parks, and leave the Paddock and the great
park part on the other side the road--a testimony of that just
regard that the kings of England always had, and still have, to the
common good, and to the service of the country, that they would not
interrupt the course of the road, or cause the poor people to go
out of the way of their business to or from the markets and fairs,
for any pleasure of their own whatsoever.

The palace of Hampton Court was first founded and built from the
ground by that great statesman and favourite of King Henry VIII,
Cardinal Wolsey; and if it be a just observation anywhere, as is
made from the situation of the old abbeys and monasteries, the
clergy were excellent judges of the beauty and pleasantness of the
country, and chose always to plant in the best; I say, if it was a
just observation in any case, it was in this; for if there be a
situation on the whole river between Staines Bridge and Windsor
Bridge pleasanter than another, it is this of Hampton; close to the
river, yet not offended by the rising of its waters in floods or
storms; near to the reflux of the tides, but not quite so near as
to be affected with any foulness of the water which the flowing of
the tides generally is the occasion of. The gardens extend almost
to the bank of the river, yet are never overflowed; nor are there
any marshes on either side the river to make the waters stagnate,
or the air unwholesome on that account. The river is high enough
to be navigable, and low enough to be a little pleasantly rapid; so
that the stream looks always cheerful, not slow and sleeping, like
a pond. This keeps the waters always clear and clean, the bottom
in view, the fish playing and in sight; and, in a word, it has
everything that can make an inland (or, as I may call it, a
country) river pleasant and agreeable.

I shall sing you no songs here of the river in the first person of
a water-nymph, a goddess, and I know not what, according to the
humour of the ancient poets; I shall talk nothing of the marriage
of old Isis, the male river, with the beautiful Thame, the female
river (a whimsey as simple as the subject was empty); but I shall
speak of the river as occasion presents, as it really is made
glorious by the splendour of its shores, gilded with noble palaces,
strong fortifications, large hospitals, and public buildings; with
the greatest bridge, and the greatest city in the world, made
famous by the opulence of its merchants, the increase and
extensiveness of its commerce; by its invincible navies, and by the
innumerable fleets of ships sailing upon it to and from all parts
of the world.

As I meet with the river upwards in my travels through the inland
country I shall speak of it, as it is the channel for conveying an
infinite quantity of provisions from remote counties to London, and
enriching all the counties again that lie near it by the return of
wealth and trade from the city; and in describing these things I
expect both to inform and divert my readers, and speak in a more
masculine manner, more to the dignity of the subject, and also more
to their satisfaction, than I could do any other way.

There is little more to be said of the Thames relating to Hampton
Court, than that it adds by its neighbourhood to the pleasure of
the situation; for as to passing by water to and from London,
though in summer it is exceeding pleasant, yet the passage is a
little too long to make it easy to the ladies, especially to be
crowded up in the small boats which usually go upon the Thames for

The prince and princess, indeed, I remember came once down by water
upon the occasion of her Royal Highness's being great with child,
and near her time--so near that she was delivered within two or
three days after. But this passage being in the royal barges, with
strength of oars, and the day exceeding fine, the passage, I say,
was made very pleasant, and still the more so for being short.
Again, this passage is all the way with the stream, whereas in the
common passage upwards great part of the way is against the stream,
which is slow and heavy.

But be the going and coming how it will by water, it is an
exceeding pleasant passage by land, whether we go by the Surrey
side or the Middlesex side of the water, of which I shall say more
in its place.

The situation of Hampton Court being thus mentioned, and its
founder, it is to be mentioned next that it fell to the Crown in
the forfeiture of his Eminence the Cardinal, when the king seized
his effects and estate, by which this and Whitehall (another house
of his own building also) came to King Henry VIII. Two palaces fit
for the kings of England, erected by one cardinal, are standing
monuments of the excessive pride as well as the immense wealth of
that prelate, who knew no bounds of his insolence and ambition till
he was overthrown at once by the displeasure of his master.

Whoever knew Hampton Court before it was begun to be rebuilt, or
altered, by the late King William, must acknowledge it was a very
complete palace before, and fit for a king; and though it might
not, according to the modern method of building or of gardening,
pass for a thing exquisitely fine, yet it had this remaining to
itself, and perhaps peculiar--namely, that it showed a situation
exceedingly capable of improvement, and of being made one of the
most delightful palaces in Europe.

This her Majesty Queen Mary was so sensible of, that, while the
king had ordered the pulling down the old apartments, and building
it up in that most beautiful form which we see them now appear in,
her Majesty, impatient of enjoying so agreeable a retreat, fixed
upon a building formerly made use of chiefly for landing from the
river, and therefore called the Water Galley, and here, as if she
had been conscious that she had but a few years to enjoy it, she
ordered all the little neat curious things to be done which suited
her own conveniences, and made it the pleasantest little thing
within doors that could possibly be made, though its situation
being such as it could not be allowed to stand after the great
building was finished, we now see no remains of it.

The queen had here her gallery of beauties, being the pictures at
full-length of the principal ladies attending upon her Majesty, or
who were frequently in her retinue; and this was the more beautiful
sight because the originals were all in being, and often to be
compared with their pictures. Her Majesty had here a fine
apartment, with a set of lodgings for her private retreat only, but
most exquisitely furnished, particularly a fine chintz bed, then a
great curiosity; another of her own work while in Holland, very
magnificent, and several others; and here was also her Majesty's
fine collection of Delft ware, which indeed was very large and
fine; and here was also a vast stock of fine china ware, the like
whereof was not then to be seen in England; the long gallery, as
above, was filled with this china, and every other place where it
could be placed with advantage.

The queen had here also a small bathing-room, made very fine,
suited either to hot or cold bathing, as the season should invite;
also a dairy, with all its conveniences, in which her Majesty took
great delight. All these things were finished with expedition,
that here their Majesties might repose while they saw the main
building go forward. While this was doing, the gardens were laid
out, the plan of them devised by the king himself, and especially
the amendments and alterations were made by the king or the queen's
particular special command, or by both, for their Majesties agreed
so well in their fancy, and had both so good judgment in the just
proportions of things, which are the principal beauties of a
garden, that it may be said they both ordered everything that was

Here the fine parcel of limes which form the semicircle on the
south front of the house by the iron gates, looking into the park,
were by the dexterous hand of the head gardener removed, after some
of them had been almost thirty years planted in other places,
though not far off. I know the King of France in the decoration of
the gardens of Versailles had oaks removed, which by their
dimensions must have been above an hundred years old, and yet were
taken up with so much art, and by the strength of such engines, by
which such a monstrous quantity of earth was raised with them, that
the trees could not feel their remove--that is to say, their growth
was not at all hindered. This, I confess, makes the wonder much
the less in those trees at Hampton Court gardens; but the
performance was not the less difficult or nice, however, in these,
and they thrive perfectly well.

While the gardens were thus laid out, the king also directed the
laying the pipes for the fountains and JET-D'EAUX, and particularly
the dimensions of them, and what quantity of water they should cast
up, and increased the number of them after the first design.

The ground on the side of the other front has received some
alterations since the taking down the Water Galley; but not that
part immediately next the lodgings. The orange-trees and fine
Dutch bays are placed within the arches of the building under the
first floor; so that the lower part of the house was all one as a
greenhouse for sometime. Here stand advanced, on two pedestals of
stone, two marble vases or flower-pots of most exquisite
workmanship--the one done by an Englishman, and the other by a
German. It is hard to say which is the best performance, though
the doing of it was a kind of trial of skill between them; but it
gives us room, without any partiality, to say they were both
masters of their art.

The PARTERRE on that side descends from the terrace-walk by steps,
and on the left a terrace goes down to the water-side, from which
the garden on the eastward front is overlooked, and gives a most
pleasant prospect.

The fine scrolls and BORDURE of these gardens were at first edged
with box, but on the queen's disliking the smell those edgings were
taken up, but have since been planted again--at least, in many
places--nothing making so fair and regular an edging as box, or is
so soon brought to its perfection.

On the north side of the house, where the gardens seemed to want
screening from the weather or the view of the chapel, and some part
of the old building required to be covered from the eye, the vacant
ground, which was large, is very happily cast into a wilderness,
with a labyrinth and ESPALIERS so high that they effectually take
off all that part of the old building which would have been
offensive to the sight. This labyrinth and wilderness is not only
well designed, and completely finished, but is perfectly well kept,
and the ESPALIERS filled exactly at bottom, to the very ground, and
are led up to proportioned heights on the top, so that nothing of
that kind can be more beautiful.

The house itself is every way answerable on the outside to the
beautiful prospect, and the two fronts are the largest and, beyond
comparison, the finest of the kind in England. The great stairs go
up from the second court of the palace on the right hand, and lead
you to the south prospect.

I hinted in my last that King William brought into England the love
of fine paintings as well as that of fine gardens; and you have an
example of it in the cartoons, as they are called, being five
pieces of such paintings as, if you will believe men of nice
judgment and great travelling, are not to be matched in Europe.
The stories are known, but especially two of them--viz., that of
St. Paul preaching on Mars Hill to the self-wise Athenians, and
that of St. Peter passing sentence of death on Ananias--I say,
these two strike the mind with the utmost surprise, the passions
are so drawn to the life; astonishment, terror, and death in the
face of Ananias, zeal and a sacred fire in the eyes of the blessed
Apostle, fright and surprise upon the countenances of the beholders
in the piece of Ananias; all these describe themselves so naturally
that you cannot but seem to discover something of the like
passions, even in seeing them.

In the other there is the boldness and courage with which St. Paul
undertook to talk to a set of men who, he knew, despised all the
world, as thinking themselves able to teach them anything. In the
audience there is anticipating pride and conceit in some, a smile
or fleer of contempt in others, but a kind of sensible conviction,
though crushed in its beginning, on the faces of the rest; and all
together appear confounded, but have little to say, and know
nothing at all of it; they gravely put him off to hear him another
time; all these are seen here in the very dress of the face--that
is, the very countenances which they hold while they listen to the
new doctrine which the Apostle preached to a people at that time
ignorant of it.

The other of the cartoons are exceeding fine but I mention these as
the particular two which are most lively, which strike the fancy
the soonest at first view. It is reported, but with what truth I
know not, that the late French king offered an hundred thousand
LOUIS D'ORS for these pictures; but this, I say, is but a report.
The king brought a great many other fine pieces to England, and
with them the love of fine paintings so universally spread itself
among the nobility and persons of figure all over the kingdom that
it is incredible what collections have been made by English
gentlemen since that time, and how all Europe has been rummaged, as
we may say, for pictures to bring over hither, where for twenty
years they yielded the purchasers, such as collected them for sale,
immense profit. But the rates are abated since that, and we begin
to be glutted with the copies and frauds of the Dutch and Flemish
painters who have imposed grossly upon us. But to return to the
palace of Hampton Court. Queen Mary lived not to see it completely
finished, and her death, with the other difficulties of that reign,
put a stop to the works for some time till the king, reviving his
good liking of the place, set them to work again, and it was
finished as we see it. But I have been assured that had the peace
continued, and the king lived to enjoy the continuance of it, his
Majesty had resolved to have pulled down all the remains of the old
building (such as the chapel and the large court within the first
gate), and to have built up the whole palace after the manner of
those two fronts already done. In these would have been an entire
set of rooms of state for the receiving and, if need had been,
lodging and entertaining any foreign prince with his retinue; also
offices for all the Secretaries of State, Lords of the Treasury,
and of Trade, to have repaired to for the despatch of such business
as it might be necessary to have done there upon the king's longer
residence there than ordinary; as also apartments for all the great
officers of the Household; so that had the house had two great
squares added, as was designed, there would have been no room to
spare, or that would not have been very well filled. But the
king's death put an end to all these things.

Since the death of King William, Hampton Court seemed abandoned of
its patron. They have gotten a kind of proverbial saying relating
to Hampton Court, viz., that it has been generally chosen by every
other prince since it became a house of note. King Charles was the
first that delighted in it since Queen Elizabeth's time. As for
the reigns before, it was but newly forfeited to the Crown, and was
not made a royal house till King Charles I., who was not only a
prince that delighted in country retirements, but knew how to make
choice of them by the beauty of their situation, the goodness of
the air, &c. He took great delight here, and, had he lived to
enjoy it in peace, had purposed to make it another thing than it
was. But we all know what took him off from that felicity, and all
others; and this house was at last made one of his prisons by his
rebellious subjects.

His son, King Charles II., may well be said to have an aversion to
the place, for the reason just mentioned--namely, the treatment his
royal father met with there--and particularly that the rebel and
murderer of his father, Cromwell, afterwards possessed this palace,
and revelled here in the blood of the royal party, as he had done
in that of his sovereign. King Charles II. therefore chose
Windsor, and bestowed a vast sum in beautifying the castle there,
and which brought it to the perfection we see it in at this day--
some few alterations excepted, done in the time of King William.

King William (for King James is not to be named as to his choice of
retired palaces, his delight running quite another way)--I say,
King William fixed upon Hampton Court, and it was in his reign that
Hampton Court put on new clothes, and, being dressed gay and
glorious, made the figure we now see it in.

The late queen, taken up for part of her reign in her kind regards
to the prince her spouse, was obliged to reside where her care of
his health confined her, and in this case kept for the most part at
Kensington, where he died; but her Majesty always discovered her
delight to be at Windsor, where she chose the little house, as it
was called, opposite to the Castle, and took the air in her chaise
in the parks and forest as she saw occasion.

Now Hampton Court, by the like alternative, is come into request
again; and we find his present Majesty, who is a good judge too of
the pleasantness and situation of a place of that kind, has taken
Hampton Court into his favour, and has made it much his choice for
the summer's retreat of the Court, and where they may best enjoy
the diversions of the season. When Hampton Court will find such
another favourable juncture as in King William's time, when the
remainder of her ashes shall be swept away, and her complete
fabric, as designed by King William, shall be finished, I cannot
tell; but if ever that shall be, I know no palace in Europe,
Versailles excepted, which can come up to her, either for beauty
and magnificence, or for extent of building, and the ornaments
attending it.

From Hampton Court I directed my course for a journey into the
south-west part of England; and to take up my beginning where I
concluded my last, I crossed to Chertsey on the Thames, a town I
mentioned before; from whence, crossing the Black Desert, as I
called it, of Bagshot Heath, I directed my course for Hampshire or
Hantshire, and particularly for Basingstoke--that is to say, that a
little before, I passed into the great Western Road upon the heath,
somewhat west of Bagshot, at a village called Blackwater, and
entered Hampshire, near Hartleroe.

Before we reach Basingstoke, we get rid of that unpleasant country
which I so often call a desert, and enter into a pleasant fertile
country, enclosed and cultivated like the rest of England; and
passing a village or two we enter Basingstoke, in the midst of
woods and pastures, rich and fertile, and the country accordingly
spread with the houses of the nobility and gentry, as in other
places. On the right hand, a little before we come to the town, we
pass at a small distance the famous fortress, so it was then, of
Basing, being a house belonging then to the Marquis of Winchester,
the great ancestor of the present family of the Dukes of Bolton.

This house, garrisoned by a resolute band of old soldiers, was a
great curb to the rebels of the Parliament party almost through
that whole war; till it was, after a vigorous defence, yielded to
the conquerors by the inevitable fate of things at that time. The
old house is, indeed, demolished but the successor of the family,
the first Duke of Bolton, has erected a very noble fabric in the
same place, or near it, which, however, is not equal to the
magnificence which fame gives to the ancient house, whose strength
of building only, besides the outworks, withstood the battery of
cannon in several attacks, and repulsed the Roundheads three or
four times when they attempted to besiege it. It is incredible
what booty the garrison of this place picked up, lying as they did
just on the great Western Road, where they intercepted the
carriers, plundered the waggons, and suffered nothing to pass--to
the great interruption of the trade of the city of London,

Basingstoke is a large populous market-town, has a good market for
corn, and lately within a very few years is fallen into a
manufacture, viz., of making druggets and shalloons, and such
slight goods, which, however, employs a good number of the poor
people, and enables them to get their bread, which knew not how to
get it before.

From hence the great Western Road goes on to Whitchurch and
Andover, two market-towns, and sending members to Parliament; at
the last of which the Downs, or open country, begins, which we in
general, though falsely, call Salisbury Plain. But my resolution
being to take in my view what I had passed by before, I was obliged
to go off to the left hand, to Alresford and Winchester.

Alresford was a flourishing market-town, and remarkable for this--
that though it had no great trade, and particularly very little, if
any, manufactures, yet there was no collection in the town for the
poor, nor any poor low enough to take alms of the parish, which is
what I do not think can be said of any town in England besides.

But this happy circumstance, which so distinguished Alresford from
all her neighbours, was brought to an end in the year -, when by a
sudden and surprising fire the whole town, with both the church and
the market-house, was reduced to a heap of rubbish; and, except a
few poor huts at the remotest ends of the town, not a house left
standing. The town is since that very handsomely rebuilt, and the
neighbouring gentlemen contributed largely to the relief of the
people, especially by sending in timber towards their building;
also their market-house is handsomely built, but the church not
yet, though we hear there is a fund raising likewise for that.

Here is a very large pond, or lake of water, kept up to a head by a
strong BATTER D'EAU, or dam, which the people tell us was made by
the Romans; and that it is to this day part of the great Roman
highway which leads from Winchester to Alton, and, as it is
supposed, went on to London, though we nowhere see any remains of
it, except between Winchester and Alton, and chiefly between this
town and Alton.

Near this town, a little north-west, the Duke of Bolton has another
seat, which, though not large, is a very handsome beautiful palace,
and the gardens not only very exact, but very finely situate, the
prospect and vistas noble and great, and the whole very well kept.

From hence, at the end of seven miles over the Downs, we come to
the very ancient city of Winchester; not only the great church
(which is so famous all over Europe, and has been so much talked
of), but even the whole city has at a distance the face of
venerable, and looks ancient afar off; and yet here are many modern
buildings too, and some very handsome; as the college schools, with
the bishop's palace, built by Bishop Morley since the late wars--
the old palace of the bishop having been ruined by that known
church incendiary Sir William Waller and his crew of plunderers,
who, if my information is not wrong, as I believe it is not,
destroyed more monuments of the dead, and defaced more churches,
than all the Roundheads in England beside.

This church, and the schools also are accurately described by
several writers, especially by the "Monasticon," where their
antiquity and original is fully set forth. The outside of the
church is as plain and coarse as if the founders had abhorred
ornaments, or that William of Wickham had been a Quaker, or at
least a Quietist. There is neither statue, nor a niche for a
statue, to be seen on all the outside; no carved work, no spires,
towers, pinnacles, balustrades, or anything; but mere walls,
buttresses, windows, and coigns necessary to the support and order
of the building. It has no steeple, but a short tower covered
flat, as if the top of it had fallen down, and it had been covered
in haste to keep the rain out till they had time to build it up

But the inside of the church has many very good things in it, and
worth observation; it was for some ages the burying-place of the
English Saxon kings, whose RELIQUES, at the repair of the church,
were collected by Bishop Fox, and being put together into large
wooden chests lined with lead were again interred at the foot of
the great wall in the choir, three on one side, and three on the
other, with an account whose bones are in each chest. Whether the
division of the RELIQUES might be depended upon, has been doubted,
but is not thought material, so that we do but believe they are all

The choir of the church appears very magnificent; the roof is very
high, and the Gothic work in the arched part is very fine, though
very old; the painting in the windows is admirably good, and easy
to be distinguished by those that understand those things: the
steps ascending to the choir make a very fine show, having the
statues of King James and his son King Charles, in copper, finely
cast; the first on the right hand, and the other on the left, as
you go up to the choir.

The choir is said to be the longest in England; and as the number
of prebendaries, canons, &c., are many, it required such a length.
The ornaments of the choir are the effects of the bounty of several
bishops. The fine altar (the noblest in England by much) was done
by Bishop Morley; the roof and the coat-of-arms of the Saxon and
Norman kings were done by Bishop Fox; and the fine throne for the
bishop in the choir was given by Bishop Mew in his lifetime; and it
was well it was for if he had ordered it by will, there is reason
to believe it had never been done--that reverend prelate,
notwithstanding he enjoyed so rich a bishopric, scarce leaving
money enough behind him to pay for his coffin.

There are a great many persons of rank buried in this church,
besides the Saxon kings mentioned above, and besides several of the
most eminent bishops of the See. Just under the altar lies a son
of William the Conqueror, without any monument; and behind the
altar, under a very fine and venerable monument, lies the famous
Lord Treasurer Weston, late Earl of Portland, Lord High Treasurer
of England under King Charles I. His effigy is in copper armour at
full-length, with his head raised on three cushions of the same,
and is a very magnificent work. There is also a very fine monument
of Cardinal Beaufort in his cardinal's robes and hat.

The monument of Sir John Cloberry is extraordinary, but more
because it puts strangers upon inquiring into his story than for
anything wonderful in the figure, it being cut in a modern dress
(the habit gentlemen wore in those times, which, being now so much
out of fashion, appears mean enough). But this gentleman's story
is particular, being the person solely entrusted with the secret of
the restoration of King Charles II., as the messenger that passed
between General Monk on one hand, and Mr. Montague and others
entrusted by King Charles II. on the other hand; which he managed
so faithfully as to effect that memorable event, to which England
owes the felicity of all her happy days since that time; by which
faithful service Sir John Cloberry, then a private musketeer only,
raised himself to the honour of a knight, with the reward of a good
estate from the bounty of the king.

Everybody that goes into this church, and reads what is to be read
there, will be told that the body of the church was built by the
famous William of Wickham; whose monument, intimating his fame,
lies in the middle of that part which was built at his expense.

He was a courtier before a bishop; and, though he had no great
share of learning, he was a great promoter of it, and a lover of
learned men. His natural genius was much beyond his acquired
parts, and his skill in politics beyond his ecclesiastic knowledge.
He is said to have put his master, King Edward III., to whom he was
Secretary of State, upon the two great projects which made his
reign so glorious, viz.:- First, upon setting up his claim to the
crown of France, and pushing that claim by force of arms, which
brought on the war with France, in which that prince was three
times victorious in battle. (2) Upon setting up, or instituting
the Order of the Garter; in which he (being before that made Bishop
of Winchester) obtained the honour for the Bishops of Winchester of
being always prelates of the Order, as an appendix to the
bishopric; and he himself was the first prelate of the Order, and
the ensigns of that honour are joined with his episcopal ornaments
in the robing of his effigy on the monument above.

To the honour of this bishop, there are other foundations of his,
as much to his fame as that of this church, of which I shall speak
in their order; but particularly the college in this city, which is
a noble foundation indeed. The building consists of two large
courts, in which are the lodgings for the masters and scholars, and
in the centre a very noble chapel; beyond that, in the second
court, are the schools, with a large cloister beyond them, and some
enclosures laid open for the diversion of the scholars. There also
is a great hall, where the scholars dine. The funds for the
support of this college are very considerable; the masters live in
a very good figure, and their maintenance is sufficient to support
it. They have all separate dwellings in the house, and all
possible conveniences appointed them.

The scholars have exhibitions at a certain time of continuance
here, if they please to study in the new college at Oxford, built
by the same noble benefactor, of which I shall speak in its order.

The clergy here live at large, and very handsomely, in the Close
belonging to the cathedral; where, besides the bishop's palace
mentioned above, are very good houses, and very handsomely built,
for the prebendaries, canons, and other dignitaries of this church.
The Deanery is a very pleasant dwelling, the gardens very large,
and the river running through them; but the floods in winter
sometimes incommode the gardens very much.

This school has fully answered the end of the founder, who, though
he was no great scholar, resolved to erect a house for the making
the ages to come more learned than those that went before; and it
has, I say, fully answered the end, for many learned and great men
have been raised here, some of whom we shall have occasion to
mention as we go on.

Among the many private inscriptions in this church, we found one
made by Dr. Over, once an eminent physician in this city, on a
mother and child, who, being his patients, died together and were
buried in the same grave, and which intimate that one died of a
fever, and the other of a dropsy:

"Surrepuit natum Febris, matrem abstulit Hydrops,
Igne Prior Fatis, Altera cepit Aqua."

As the city itself stands in a vale on the bank, and at the
conjunction of two small rivers, so the country rising every way,
but just as the course of the water keeps the valley open, you must
necessarily, as you go out of the gates, go uphill every wry; but
when once ascended, you come to the most charming plains and most
pleasant country of that kind in England; which continues with very
small intersections of rivers and valleys for above fifty miles, as
shall appear in the sequel of this journey.

At the west gate of this city was anciently a castle, known to be
so by the ruins more than by any extraordinary notice taken of it
in history. What they say of it, that the Saxon kings kept their
court here, is doubtful, and must be meant of the West Saxons only.
And as to the tale of King Arthur's Round Table, which they pretend
was kept here for him and his two dozen of knights (which table
hangs up still, as a piece of antiquity to the tune of twelve
hundred years, and has, as they pretend, the names of the said
knights in Saxon characters, and yet such as no man can read), all
this story I see so little ground to give the least credit to that
I look upon it, and it shall please you, to be no better than a

Where this castle stood, or whatever else it was (for some say
there was no castle there), the late King Charles II. marked out a
very noble design, which, had he lived, would certainly have made
that part of the country the Newmarket of the ages to come; for the
country hereabout far excels that of Newmarket Heath for all kinds
of sport and diversion fit for a prince, nobody can dispute. And
as the design included a noble palace (sufficient, like Windsor,
for a summer residence of the whole court), it would certainly have
diverted the king from his cursory journeys to Newmarket.

The plan of this house has received several alterations, and as it
is never like to be finished, it is scarce worth recording the
variety. The building is begun, and the front next the city
carried up to the roof and covered, but the remainder is not begun.
There was a street of houses designed from the gate of the palace
down to the town, but it was never begun to be built; the park
marked out was exceeding large, near ten miles in circumference,
and ended west upon the open Downs, in view of the town of

This house was afterwards settled, with a royal revenue also, as an
appanage (established by Parliament) upon Prince George of Denmark
for his life, in case he had out-lived the queen; but his Royal
Highness dying before her Majesty, all hope of seeing this design
perfected, or the house finished, is now vanished.

I cannot omit that there are several public edifices in this city
and in the neighbourhood, as the hospitals and the building
adjoining near the east gate; and towards the north a piece of an
old monastery undemolished, and which is still preserved to the
religion, being the residence of some private Roman Catholic
gentlemen, where they have an oratory, and, as they say, live still
according to the rules of St. Benedict. This building is called
Hide House; and as they live very usefully, and to the highest
degree obliging among their neighbours, they meet with no
obstruction or disturbance from anybody.

Winchester is a place of no trade other than is naturally
occasioned by the inhabitants of the city and neighbouring villages
one with another. Here is no manufacture, no navigation; there was
indeed an attempt to make the river navigable from Southampton, and
it was once made practicable, but it never answered the expense so
as to give encouragement to the undertakers.

Here is a great deal of good company, and abundance of gentry being
in the neighbourhood, it adds to the sociableness of the place.
The clergy also here are, generally speaking, very rich and very

As there is such good company, so they are gotten into that new-
fashioned way of conversing by assemblies. I shall do no more than
mention them here; they are pleasant and agreeable to the young
peoples, and sometimes fatal to them, of which, in its place,
Winchester has its share of the mirth. May it escape the ill-

The hospital on the south of this city, at a mile distant on the
road to Southampton, is worth notice. It is said to be founded by
King William Rufus, but was not endowed or appointed till later
times by Cardinal Beaufort. Every traveller that knocks at the
door of this house in his way, and asks for it, claims the relief
of a piece of white bread and a cup of beer, and this donation is
still continued. A quantity of good beer is set apart every day to
be given away, and what is left is distributed to other poor, but
none of it kept to the next day.

How the revenues of this hospital, which should maintain the master
and thirty private gentlemen (whom they call Fellows, but ought to
call Brothers), is now reduced to maintain only fourteen, while the
master lives in a figure equal to the best gentleman in the
country, would be well worth the inquiry of a proper visitor, if
such can be named. It is a thing worthy of complaint when public
charities, designed for the relief of the poor, are embezzled and
depredated by the rich, and turned to the support of luxury and

From Winchester is about twenty-five miles, and over the most
charming plains that can anywhere be seen (far, in my opinion,
excelling the plains of Mecca), we come to Salisbury. The vast
flocks of sheep which one everywhere sees upon these Downs, and the
great number of those flocks, is a sight truly worth observation;
it is ordinary for these flocks to contain from three thousand to
five thousand in a flock, and several private farmers hereabouts
have two or three such flocks.

But it is more remarkable still how a great part of these Downs
comes, by a new method of husbandry, to be not only made arable
(which they never were in former days), but to bear excellent
wheat, and great crops, too, though otherwise poor barren land, and
never known to our ancestors to be capable of any such thing--nay,
they would perhaps have laughed at any one that would have gone
about to plough up the wild downs and hills where the sheep were
wont to go. But experience has made the present age wiser and more
skilful in husbandry; for by only folding the sheep upon the
ploughed lands--those lands which otherwise are barren, and where
the plough goes within three or four inches of the solid rock of
chalk, are made fruitful and bear very good wheat, as well as rye
and barley. I shall say more of this when I come to speak of the
same practice farther in the country.

This plain country continues in length from Winchester to Salisbury
(twenty-five miles), from thence to Dorchester (twenty-two miles),
thence to Weymouth (six miles); so that they lie near fifty miles
in length and breadth; they reach also in some places thirty-five
to forty miles. They who would make any practicable guess at the
number of sheep usually fed on these Downs may take it from a
calculation made, as I was told, at Dorchester, that there were six
hundred thousand sheep fed within six miles of that town, measuring
every way round and the town in the centre.

As we passed this plain country, we saw a great many old camps, as
well Roman as British, and several remains of the ancient
inhabitants of this kingdom, and of their wars, battles,
entrenchments, encampments, buildings, and other fortifications,
which are indeed very agreeable to a traveller that has read
anything of the history of the country. Old Sarum is as remarkable
as any of these, where there is a double entrenchment, with a deep
graff or ditch to either of them; the area about one hundred yards
in diameter, taking in the whole crown of the hill, and thereby
rendering the ascent very difficult. Near this there is one farm-
house, which is all the remains I could see of any town in or near
the place (for the encampment has no resemblance of a town), and
yet this is called the borough of Old Sarum, and sends two members
to Parliament. Whom those members can justly say they represent
would be hard for them to answer.

Some will have it that the old city of SORBIODUNUM or Salisbury
stood here, and was afterwards (for I know not what reasons)
removed to the low marshy grounds among the rivers, where it now
stands. But as I see no authority for it other than mere
tradition, I believe my share of it, and take it AD REFERENDUM.

Salisbury itself is indeed a large and pleasant city, though I do
not think it at all the pleasanter for that which they boast so
much of--namely, the water running through the middle of every
street--or that it adds anything to the beauty of the place, but
just the contrary; it keeps the streets always dirty, full of wet
and filth and weeds, even in the middle of summer.

The city is placed upon the confluence of two large rivers, the
Avon and the Willy, neither of them considerable rivers, but very
large when joined together, and yet larger when they receive a
third river (viz., the Naddir), which joins them near Clarendon
Park, about three miles below the city; then, with a deep channel
and a current less rapid, they run down to Christchurch, which is
their port. And where they empty themselves into the sea, from
that town upwards towards Salisbury they are made navigable to
within two miles, and might be so quite into the city, were it not
for the strength of the stream.

As the city of Winchester is a city without trade--that is to say,
without any particular manufactures--so this city of Salisbury and
all the county of Wilts, of which it is the capital, are full of a
great variety of manufactures, and those some of the most
considerable in England--namely, the clothing trade and the trade
of flannels, druggets, and several other sorts of manufactures, of
which in their order.

The city of Salisbury has two remarkable manufactures carried on in
it, and which employ the poor of great part of the country round--
namely, fine flannels, and long-cloths for the Turkey trade, called
Salisbury whites. The people of Salisbury are gay and rich, and
have a flourishing trade; and there is a great deal of good manners
and good company among them--I mean, among the citizens, besides
what is found among the gentlemen; for there are many good families
in Salisbury besides the citizens.

This society has a great addition from the Close--that is to say,
the circle of ground walled in adjacent to the cathedral; in which
the families of the prebendaries and commons, and others of the
clergy belonging to the cathedral, have their houses, as is usual
in all cities, where there are cathedral churches. These are so
considerable here, and the place so large, that it is (as it is
called in general) like another city.

The cathedral is famous for the height of its spire, which is
without exception the highest and the handsomest in England, being
from the ground 410 feet, and yet the walls so exceeding thin that
at the upper part of the spire, upon a view made by the late Sir
Christopher Wren, the wall was found to be less than five inches
thick; upon which a consultation was had whether the spire, or at
least the upper part of it, should be taken down, it being supposed
to have received some damage by the great storm in the year 1703;
but it was resolved in the negative, and Sir Christopher ordered it
to be so strengthened with bands of iron plates as has effectually
secured it; and I have heard some of the best architects say it is
stronger now than when it was first built.

They tell us here long stories of the great art used in laying the
first foundation of this church, the ground being marshy and wet,
occasioned by the channels of the rivers; that it was laid upon
piles, according to some, and upon woolpacks, according to others.
But this is not supposed by those who know that the whole country
is one rock of chalk, even from the tops of the highest hills to
the bottom of the deepest rivers.

They tell us this church was forty years a-building, and cost an
immense sum of money; but it must be acknowledged that the inside
of the work is not answerable in the decoration of things to the
workmanship without. The painting in the choir is mean, and more
like the ordinary method of common drawing-room or tavern painting
than that of a church; the carving is good, but very little of it;
and it is rather a fine church than finely set off.

The ordinary boast of this building (that there were as many gates
as months, as many windows as days, as many marble pillars as hours
in the year) is now no recommendation at all. However, the mention
of it must be preserved:-

"As many days as in one year there be,
So many windows in one church we see;
As many marble pillars there appear
As there are hours throughout the fleeting year;
As many gates as moons one year do view:
Strange tale to tell, yet not more strange than true."

There are, however, some very fine monuments in this church;
particularly one belonging to the noble family of Seymours, since
Dukes of Somerset (and ancestors of the present flourishing
family), which on a most melancholy occasion has been now lately
opened again to receive the body of the late Duchess of Somerset,
the happy consort for almost forty years of his Grace the present
Duke, and only daughter and heiress of the ancient and noble family
of Percy, Earls of Northumberland, whose great estate she brought
into the family of Somerset, who now enjoy it.

With her was buried at the same time her Grace's daughter the
Marchioness of Caermarthen (being married to the Marquis of
Caermarthen, son and heir-apparent to the Lord of Leeds), who died
for grief at the loss of the duchess her mother, and was buried
with her; also her second son, the Duke Percy Somerset, who died a
few months before, and had been buried in the Abbey church of
Westminster, but was ordered to be removed and laid here with the
ancestors of his house. And I hear his Grace designs to have a yet
more magnificent monument erected in this cathedral for them, just
by the other which is there already.

How the Dukes of Somerset came to quit this church for their
burying-place, and be laid in Westminster Abbey, that I know not;
but it is certain that the present Duke has chosen to have his
family laid here with their ancestors, and to that end has caused
the corpse of his son, the Lord Percy, as above, and one of his
daughters, who had been buried in the Abbey, to be removed and
brought down to this vault, which lies in that they call the Virgin
Mary's Chapel, behind the altar. There is, as above, a noble
monument for a late Duke and Duchess of Somerset in the place
already, with their portraits at full-length, their heads lying
upon cushions, the whole perfectly well wrought in fine polished
Italian marble, and their sons kneeling by them. Those I suppose
to be the father of the great Duke of Somerset, uncle to King
Edward IV.; but after this the family lay in Westminster Abbey,
where there is also a fine monument for that very duke who was
beheaded by Edward VI., and who was the great patron of the

Among other monuments of noble men in this cathedral they show you
one that is very extraordinary, and to which there hangs a tale.
There was in the reign of Philip and Mary a very unhappy murder
committed by the then Lord Sturton, or Stourton, a family since
extinct, but well known till within a few years in that country.

This Lord Stourton being guilty of the said murder, which also was
aggravated with very bad circumstances, could not obtain the usual
grace of the Crown (viz., to be beheaded), but Queen Mary
positively ordered that, like a common malefactor, he should die at
the gallows. After he was hanged, his friends desiring to have him
buried at Salisbury, the bishop would not consent that he should be
buried in the cathedral unless, as a farther mark of infamy, his
friends would submit to this condition--viz., that the silken
halter in which he was hanged should be hanged up over his grave in
the church as a monument of his crime; which was accordingly done,
and there it is to be seen to this day.

The putting this halter up here was not so wonderful to me as it
was that the posterity of that lord, who remained in good rank some
time after, should never prevail to have that mark of infamy taken
off from the memory of their ancestor.

There are several other monuments in this cathedral, as
particularly of two noblemen of ancient families in Scotland--one
of the name of Hay, and one of the name of Gordon; but they give us
nothing of their history, so that we must be content to say there
they lie, and that is all.

The cloister, and the chapter-house adjoining to the church, are
the finest here of any I have seen in England; the latter is
octagon, or eight-square, and is 150 feet in its circumference; the
roof bearing all upon one small marble pillar in the centre, which
you may shake with your hand; and it is hardly to be imagined it
can be any great support to the roof, which makes it the more
curious (it is not indeed to be matched, I believe, in Europe).

From hence directing my course to the seaside in pursuit of my
first design--viz., of viewing the whole coast of England--I left
the great road and went down the east side of the river towards New
Forest and Lymington; and here I saw the ancient house and seat of
Clarendon, the mansion of the ancient family of Hide, ancestors of
the great Earl of Clarendon, and from whence his lordship was
honoured with that title, or the house erected into an honour in
favour of his family.

But this being a large county, and full of memorable branches of
antiquity and modern curiosity, I cannot quit my observations so
soon. But being happily fixed, by the favour of a particular
friend, at so beautiful a spot of ground as this of Clarendon Park,
I made several little excursions from hence to view the northern
parts of this county--a county so fruitful of wonders that, though
I do not make antiquity my chief search, yet I must not pass it
over entirely, where so much of it, and so well worth observation,
is to be found, which would look as if I either understood not the
value of the study, or expected my readers should be satisfied with
a total omission of it.

I have mentioned that this county is generally a vast continued
body of high chalky hills, whose tops spread themselves into
fruitful and pleasant downs and plains, upon which great flocks of
sheep are fed, &c. But the reader is desired to observe these
hills and plains are most beautifully intersected and cut through
by the course of divers pleasant and profitable rivers; in the
course and near the banks of which there always is a chain of
fruitful meadows and rich pastures, and those interspersed with
innumerable pleasant towns, villages, and houses, and among them
many of considerable magnitude. So that, while you view the downs,
and think the country wild and uninhabited, yet when you come to
descend into these vales you are surprised with the most pleasant
and fertile country in England.

There are no less than four of these rivers, which meet all
together at or near the city of Salisbury; especially the waters of
three of them run through the streets of the city--the Nadder and
the Willy and the Avon--and the course of these three lead us
through the whole mountainous part of the county. The two first
join their waters at Wilton, the shiretown, though a place of no
great notice now; and these are the waters which run through the
canal and the gardens of Wilton House, the seat of that ornament of
nobility and learning, the Earl of Pembroke.

One cannot be said to have seen anything that a man of curiosity
would think worth seeing in this county, and not have been at
Wilton House; but not the beautiful building, not the ancient
trophy of a great family, not the noble situation, not all the
pleasures of the gardens, parks, fountains, hare-warren, or of
whatever is rare either in art or nature, are equal to that yet
more glorious sight of a noble princely palace constantly filled
with its noble and proper inhabitants. The lord and proprietor,
who is indeed a true patriarchal monarch, reigns here with an
authority agreeable to all his subjects (family); and his reign is
made agreeable, by his first practising the most exquisite
government of himself, and then guiding all under him by the rules
of honour and virtue, being also himself perfectly master of all
the needful arts of family government--I mean, needful to make that
government both easy and pleasant to those who are under it, and
who therefore willingly, and by choice, conform to it.

Here an exalted genius is the instructor, a glorious example the
guide, and a gentle well-directed hand the governor and law-giver
to the whole; and the family, like a well-governed city, appears
happy, flourishing, and regular, groaning under no grievance,
pleased with what they enjoy, and enjoying everything which they
ought to be pleased with.

Nor is the blessing of this noble resident extended to the family
only, but even to all the country round, who in their degree feel
the effects of the general beneficence, and where the neighbourhood
(however poor) receive all the good they can expect, and are sure
to have no injury or oppression.

The canal before the house lies parallel with the road, and
receives into it the whole river Willy, or at least is able to do
so; it may, indeed, be said that the river is made into a canal.
When we come into the courtyards before the house there are several
pieces of antiquity to entertain the curious, as particularly a
noble column of porphyry, with a marble statue of Venus on the top
of it. In Italy, and especially at Rome and Naples, we see a great
variety of fine columns, and some of them of excellent workmanship
and antiquity; and at some of the courts of the princes of Italy
the like is seen, as especially at the court of Florence; but in
England I do not remember to have seen anything like this, which,
as they told me, is two-and-thirty feet high, and of excellent
workmanship, and that it came last from Candia, but formerly from
Alexandria. What may belong to the history of it any further, I
suppose is not known--at least, they could tell me no more of it
who showed it me.

On the left of the court was formerly a large grotto and curious
water-works; and in a house, or shed, or part of the building,
which opened with two folding-doors, like a coach-house, a large
equestrian statue of one of the ancestors of the family in complete
armour, as also another of a Roman Emperor in brass. But the last
time I had the curiosity to see this house, I missed that part; so
that I supposed they were removed.

As the present Earl of Pembroke, the lord of this fine palace, is a
nobleman of great personal merit many other ways, so he is a man of
learning and reading beyond most men of his lordship's high rank in
this nation, if not in the world; and as his reading has made him a
master of antiquity, and judge of such pieces of antiquity as he
has had opportunity to meet with in his own travels and otherwise
in the world, so it has given him a love of the study, and made him
a collector of valuable things, as well in painting as in
sculpture, and other excellences of art, as also of nature;
insomuch that Wilton House is now a mere museum or a chamber of
rarities, and we meet with several things there which are to be
found nowhere else in the world.

As his lordship is a great collector of fine paintings, so I know
no nobleman's house in England so prepared, as if built on purpose,
to receive them; the largest and the finest pieces that can be
imagined extant in the world might have found a place here capable
to receive them. I say, they "might have found," as if they could
not now, which is in part true; for at present the whole house is
so completely filled that I see no room for any new piece to crowd
in without displacing some other fine piece that hung there before.
As for the value of the piece that might so offer to succeed the
displaced, that the great judge of the whole collection, the earl
himself, must determine; and as his judgment is perfectly good, the
best picture would be sure to possess the place. In a word, here
is without doubt the best, if not the greatest, collection of
rarities and paintings that are to be seen together in any one
nobleman's or gentleman's house in England. The piece of our
Saviour washing His disciples' feet, which they show you in one of
the first rooms you go into, must be spoken of by everybody that
has any knowledge of painting, and is an admirable piece indeed.

You ascend the great staircase at the upper end of the hall, which
is very large; at the foot of the staircase you have a Bacchus as
large as life, done in fine Peloponnesian marble, carrying a young
Bacchus on his arm, the young one eating grapes, and letting you
see by his countenance that he is pleased with the taste of them.
Nothing can be done finer, or more lively represent the thing
intended--namely, the gust of the appetite, which if it be not a
passion, it is an affection which is as much seen in the
countenance, perhaps more than any other. One ought to stop every
two steps of this staircase, as we go up, to contemplate the vast
variety of pictures that cover the walls, and of some of the best
masters in Europe; and yet this is but an introduction to what is
beyond them.

When you are entered the apartments, such variety seizes you every
way that you scarce know to which hand to turn yourself. First on
one side you see several rooms filled with paintings as before, all
so curious, and the variety such, that it is with reluctance that
you can turn from them; while looking another way you are called
off by a vast collection of busts and pieces of the greatest
antiquity of the kind, both Greek and Romans; among these there is
one of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in basso-relievo. I never
saw anything like what appears here, except in the chamber of
rarities at Munich in Bavaria.

Passing these, you come into several large rooms, as if contrived
for the reception of the beautiful guests that take them up; one of
these is near seventy feet long, and the ceiling twenty-six feet
high, with another adjoining of the same height and breadth, but
not so long. Those together might be called the Great Gallery of
Wilton, and might vie for paintings with the Gallery of Luxembourg,
in the Faubourg of Paris.

These two rooms are filled with the family pieces of the house of
Herbert, most of them by Lilly or Vandyke; and one in particular
outdoes all that I ever met with, either at home or abroad; it is
done, as was the mode of painting at that time, after the manner of
a family piece of King Charles I., with his queen and children,
which before the burning of Whitehall I remember to hang at the
east end of the Long Gallery in the palace.

This piece fills the farther end of the great room which I just now
mentioned; it contains the Earl of Montgomery, ancestor of the
house of Herbert (not then Earls of Pembroke) and his lady,
sitting, and as big as life; there are about them their own five
sons and one daughter, and their daughter-in-law, who was daughter
of the Duke of Buckingham, married to the elder Lord Herbert, their
eldest son. It is enough to say of this piece, it is worth the
labour of any lover of art to go five hundred miles to see it; and
I am informed several gentlemen of quality have come from France
almost on purpose. It would be endless to describe the whole set
of the family pictures which take up this room, unless we would
enter into the roof-tree of the family, and set down a genealogical
line of the whole house.

After we have seen this fine range of beauties--for such, indeed,
they are--far from being at an end of your surprise, you have three
or four rooms still upon the same floor, filled with wonders as
before. Nothing can be finer than the pictures themselves, nothing
more surprising than the number of them. At length you descend the
back stairs, which are in themselves large, though not like the
other. However, not a hand's-breadth is left to crowd a picture in
of the smallest size; and even the upper rooms, which might be
called garrets, are not naked, but have some very good pieces in

Upon the whole, the genius of the noble collector may be seen in
this glorious collection, than which, take them together, there is
not a finer in any private hand in Europe, and in no hand at all in
Britain, private or public.

The gardens are on the south of the house, and extend themselves
beyond the river, a branch of which runs through one part of them,
and still south of the gardens in the great park, which, extending
beyond the vale, mounts the hill opening at the last to the great
down, which is properly called, by way of distinction, Salisbury
Plain, and leads from the city of Salisbury to Shaftesbury. Here
also his lordship has a hare-warren, as it is called, though
improperly. It has, indeed, been a sanctuary for the hares for
many years; but the gentlemen complain that it mars their game, for
that as soon as they put up a hare for their sport, if it be
anywhere within two or three miles, away she runs for the warren,
and there is an end of their pursuit; on the other hand, it makes
all the countrymen turn poachers, and destroy the hares by what
means they can. But this is a smaller matter, and of no great
import one way or other.

From this pleasant and agreeable day's work I returned to
Clarendon, and the next day took another short tour to the hills to
see that celebrated piece of antiquity, the wonderful Stonehenge,
being six miles from Salisbury, north, and upon the side of the
River Avon, near the town of Amesbury. It is needless that I
should enter here into any part of the dispute about which our
learned antiquaries have so puzzled themselves that several books
(and one of them in folio) have been published about it; some
alleging it to be a heathen or pagan temple and altar, or place of
sacrifice, as Mr. Jones; others a monument or trophy of victory;
others a monument for the dead, as Mr. Aubrey, and the like.
Again, some will have it be British, some Danish, some Saxon, some
Roman, and some, before them all, Phoenician.

I shall suppose it, as the majority of all writers do, to be a
monument for the dead, and the rather because men's bones have been
frequently dug up in the ground near them. The common opinion that
no man could ever count them, that a baker carried a basket of
bread and laid a loaf upon every stone, and yet never could make
out the same number twice, this I take as a mere country fiction,
and a ridiculous one too. The reason why they cannot easily be
told is that many of them lie half or part buried in the ground;
and a piece here and a piece there only appearing above the grass,
it cannot be known easily which belong to one stone and which to
another, or which are separate stones, and which are joined
underground to one another; otherwise, as to those which appear,
they are easy to be told, and I have seen them told four times
after one another, beginning every time at a different place, and
every time they amounted to seventy-two in all; but then this was
counting every piece of a stone of bulk which appeared above the
surface of the earth, and was not evidently part of and adjoining
to another, to be a distinct and separate body or stone by itself.

The form of this monument is not only described but delineated in
most authors, and, indeed, it is hard to know the first but by the
last. The figure was at first circular, and there were at least
four rows or circles within one another. The main stones were
placed upright, and they were joined on the top by cross-stones,
laid from one to another, and fastened with vast mortises and
tenons. Length of time has so decayed them that not only most of
the cross-stones which lay on the top are fallen down, but many of
the upright also, notwithstanding the weight of them is so
prodigious great. How they came thither, or from whence (no stones
of that kind being now to be found in that part of England near it)
is still the mystery, for they are of such immense bulk that no
engines or carriages which we have in use in this age could stir

Doubtless they had some method in former days in foreign countries,
as well as here, to move heavier weights than we find practicable
now. How else did Solomon's workmen build the battlement or
additional wall to support the precipice of Mount Moriah, on which
the Temple was built, which was all built of stones of Parian
marble, each stone being forty cubits long and fourteen cubits
broad, and eight cubits high or thick, which, reckoning each cubit
at two feet and a half of our measure (as the learned agree to do),
was one hundred feet long, thirty-five feet broad, and twenty feet

These stones at Stonehenge, as Mr. Camden describes them, and in
which others agree, were very large, though not so large--the
upright stones twenty-four feet high, seven feet broad, sixteen
feet round, and weigh twelve tons each; and the cross-stones on the
top, which he calls coronets, were six or seven tons. But this
does not seem equal; for if the cross-stones weighed six or seven
tons, the others, as they appear now, were at least five or six
times as big, and must weigh in proportion; and therefore I must
think their judgment much nearer the case who judge the upright
stones at sixteen tons or thereabouts (supposing them to stand a
great way into the earth, as it is not doubted but they do), and
the coronets or cross-stones at about two tons, which is very large
too, and as much as their bulk can be thought to allow.

Upon the whole, we must take them as our ancestors have done--
namely, for an erection or building so ancient that no history has
handed down to us the original. As we find it, then, uncertain, we
must leave it so. It is indeed a reverend piece of antiquity, and
it is a great loss that the true history of it is not known. But
since it is not, I think the making so many conjectures at the
reality, when they know lots can but guess at it, and, above all,
the insisting so long and warmly on their private opinions, is but
amusing themselves and us with a doubt, which perhaps lies the
deeper for their search into it.

The downs and plains in this part of England being so open, and the
surface so little subject to alteration, there are more remains of
antiquity to be seen upon them than in other places. For example,
I think they tell us there are three-and-fifty ancient encampments
or fortifications to be seen in this one county--some whereof are
exceeding plain to be seen; some of one form, some of another; some
of one nation, some of another--British, Danish, Saxon, Roman--as
at Ebb Down, Burywood, Oldburgh Hill, Cummerford, Roundway Down,
St. Ann's Hill, Bratton Castle, Clay Hill, Stournton Park,
Whitecole Hill, Battlebury, Scrathbury, Tanesbury, Frippsbury,
Southbury Hill, Amesbury, Great Bodwin, Easterley, Merdon, Aubery,
Martenscil Hill, Barbury Castle, and many more.

Also the barrows, as we all agree to call them, are very many in
number in this county, and very obvious, having suffered very
little decay. These are large hillocks of earth cast up, as the
ancients agree, by the soldiers over the bodies of their dead
comrades slain in battle; several hundreds of these are to be seen,
especially in the north part of this county, about Marlborough and
the downs, from thence to St. Ann's Hill, and even every way the
downs are full of them.

I have done with matters of antiquity for this county, unless you
will admit me to mention the famous Parliament in the reign of
Henry II. held at Clarendon, where I am now writing, and another
intended to be held there in Richard II.'s time, but prevented by
the barons, being then up in arms against the king.

Near this place, at Farlo, was the birthplace of the late Sir
Stephen Fox, and where the town, sharing in his good fortune, shows
several marks of his bounty, as particularly the building a new
church from the foundation, and getting an Act of Parliament passed
for making it parochial, it being but a chapel-of-ease before to an
adjoining parish. Also Sir Stephen built and endowed an almshouse
here for six poor women, with a master and a free school. The
master is to be a clergyman, and to officiate in the church--that
is to say, is to have the living, which, including the school, is
very sufficient.

I am now to pursue my first design, and shall take the west part of
Wiltshire in my return, where are several things still to be taken
notice of, and some very well worth our stay. In the meantime I
went on to Langborough, a fine seat of my Lord Colerain, which is
very well kept, though the family, it seems, is not much in this
country, having another estate and dwelling at Tottenham High
Cross, near London.

From hence in my way to the seaside I came to New Forest, of which
I have said something already with relation to the great extent of
ground which lies waste, and in which there is so great a quantity
of large timber, as I have spoken of already.

This waste and wild part of the country was, as some record, laid
open and waste for a forest and for game by that violent tyrant
William the Conqueror, and for which purpose he unpeopled the
country, pulled down the houses, and, which was worse, the churches
of several parishes or towns, and of abundance of villages, turning
the poor people out of their habitations and possessions, and
laying all open for his deer. The same histories likewise record
that two of his own blood and posterity, and particularly his
immediate successor William Rufus, lost their lives in this forest-
-one, viz., the said William Rufus, being shot with an arrow
directed at a deer which the king and his company were hunting, and
the arrow, glancing on a tree, changed his course, and struck the
king full on the breast and killed him. This they relate as a just
judgment of God on the cruel devastation made here by the
Conqueror. Be it so or not, as Heaven pleases; but that the king
was so killed is certain, and they show the tree on which the arrow
glanced to this day. In King Charles II.'s time it was ordered to
be surrounded with a pale; but as great part of the paling is down
with age, whether the tree be really so old or not is to me a great
question, the action being near seven hundred years ago.

I cannot omit to mention here a proposal made a few years ago to
the late Lord Treasurer Godolphin for re-peopling this forest,
which for some reasons I can be more particular in than any man now
left alive, because I had the honour to draw up the scheme and
argue it before that noble lord and some others who were
principally concerned at that time in bringing over--or, rather,
providing for when they were come over--the poor inhabitants of the
Palatinate, a thing in itself commendable, but, as it was managed,
made scandalous to England and miserable to those poor people.

Some persons being ordered by that noble lord above mentioned to
consider of measures how the said poor people should be provided
for, and whether they could be provided for or no without injury to
the public, the answer was grounded upon this maxim--that the
number of inhabitants is the wealth and strength of a kingdom,
provided those inhabitants were such as by honest industry applied
themselves to live by their labour, to whatsoever trades or
employments they were brought up. In the next place, it was
inquired what employments those poor people were brought up to. It
was answered there were husbandmen and artificers of all sorts,
upon which the proposal was as follows. New Forest, in Hampshire,
was singled out to be the place:-

Here it was proposed to draw a great square line containing four
thousand acres of land, marking out two large highways or roads
through the centre, crossing both ways, so that there should be a
thousand acres in each division, exclusive of the land contained in
the said cross-roads.

Then it was proposed to since out twenty men and their families,
who should be recommended as honest industrious men, expert in, or
at least capable of being instructed in husbandry, curing and
cultivating of land, breeding and feeding cattle, and the like. To
each of these should be parcelled out, in equal distributions, two
hundred acres of this land, so that the whole four thousand acres
should be fully distributed to the said twenty families, for which
they should have no rent to pay, and be liable to no taxes but such
as provided for their own sick or poor, repairing their own roads,
and the like. This exemption from rent and taxes to continue for
twenty years, and then to pay each 50 pounds a year to the queen--
that is to say, to the Crown.

To each of these families, whom I would now call farmers, it was
proposed to advance 200 pounds in ready money as a stock to set
them to work; to furnish them with cattle, horses, cows, hogs, &c.;
and to hire and pay labourers to inclose, clear, and cure the land,
which it would be supposed the first year would not be so much to
their advantage as afterwards, allowing them timber out of the
forest to build themselves houses and barns, sheds and offices, as
they should have occasion; also for carts, waggons, ploughs,
harrows, and the like necessary things: care to be taken that the
men and their families went to work forthwith according to the

Thus twenty families would be immediately supplied and provided
for, for there would be no doubt but these families, with so much
land given them gratis, and so much money to work with, would live
very well; but what would this do for the support of the rest, who
were supposed to be, to every twenty farmers, forty or fifty
families of other people (some of one trade, some of another), with
women and children? To this it was answered that these twenty
farmers would, by the consequence of their own settlements, provide
for and employ such a proportion of others of their own people
that, by thus providing for twenty families in a place, the whole
number of Palatinates would have been provided for, had they been
twenty thousand more in number than they were, and that without
being any burden upon or injury to the people of England; on the
contrary, they would have been an advantage and an addition of
wealth and strength to the nation, and to the country in particular
where they should be thus seated. For example:-

As soon as the land was marked out, the farmers put in possession
of it, and the money given them, they should be obliged to go to
work, in order to their settlement. Suppose it, then, to be in the
spring of the year, when such work was most proper. First, all
hands would be required to fence and part off the land, and clear
it of the timber or bushes, or whatever else was upon it which
required to be removed. The first thing, therefore, which the
farmer would do would be to single out from the rest of their
number every one three servants--that is to say, two men and a
maid; less could not answer the preparations they would be obliged
to make, and yet work hard themselves also. By the help of these
they would, with good management, soon get so much of their land
cured, fenced-off, ploughed, and sowed as should yield them a
sufficiency of corn and kitchen stuff the very first year, both for
horse-meat, hog-meat, food for the family, and some to carry to
market, too, by which to bring in money to go farther on, as above.

At the first entrance they were to have the tents allowed them to
live in, which they then had from the Tower; but as soon as leisure
and conveniences admitted, every farmer was obliged to begin to
build him a farm-house, which he would do gradually, some and some,
as he could spare time from his other works, and money from his
little stock.

In order to furnish himself with carts, waggons, ploughs, harrows,
wheel-barrows, hurdles, and all such necessary utensils of
husbandry, there would be an absolute necessity of wheelwrights or
cartwrights, one at least to each division.

Thus, by the way, there would be employed three servants to each
farmer, that makes sixty persons.

Four families of wheelwrights, one to each division--which, suppose
five in a family, makes twenty persons. Suppose four head-
carpenters, with each three men; and as at first all would be
building together, they would to every house building have at least
one labourer. Four families of carpenters, five to each family,
and three servants, is thirty-two persons; one labourer to each
house building is twenty persons more.

Thus here would be necessarily brought together in the very first
of the work one hundred and thirty-two persons, besides the head-
farmers, who at five also to each family are one hundred more; in
all, two hundred and thirty-two.

For the necessary supply of these with provisions, clothes,
household stuff, &c. (for all should be done among themselves),
first, they must have at least four butchers with their families
(twenty persons), four shoemakers with their families and each
shoemaker two journeymen (for every trade would increase the number
of customers to every trade). This is twenty-eight persons more.

They would then require a hatmaker, a glover, at least two
ropemakers, four tailors, three weavers of woollen and three
weavers of linen, two basket-makers, two common brewers, ten or
twelve shop-keepers to furnish chandlery and grocery wares, and as
many for drapery and mercery, over and above what they could work.
This makes two-and-forty families more, each at five in a family,
which, is two hundred and ten persons; all the labouring part of
these must have at least two servants (the brewers more), which I
cast up at forty more.

Add to these two ministers, one clerk, one sexton or grave-digger,
with their families, two physicians, three apothecaries, two
surgeons (less there could not be, only that for the beginning it
might be said the physicians should be surgeons, and I take them
so); this is forty-five persons, besides servants; so that, in
short--to omit many tradesmen more who would be wanted among them--
there would necessarily and voluntarily follow to these twenty
families of farmers at least six hundred more of their own people.

It is no difficult thing to show that the ready money of 4,000
pounds which the Government was to advance to those twenty farmers
would employ and pay, and consequently subsist, all these numerous
dependants in the works which must severally be done for them for
the first year, after which the farmers would begin to receive
their own money back again; for all these tradesmen must come to
their own market to buy corn, flesh, milk, butter, cheese, bacon,
&c., which after the first year the farmers, having no rent to pay,
would have to spare sufficiently, and so take back their own money
with advantage. I need not go on to mention how, by consequence
provisions increasing and money circulating, this town should
increase in a very little time.

It was proposed also that for the encouragement of all the
handicraftsmen and labouring poor who, either as servants or as
labourers for day-work, assisted the farmers or other tradesmen,
they should have every man three acres of ground given them, with
leave to build cottages upon the same, the allotments to be upon
the waste at the end of the cross-roads where they entered the

In the centre of the square was laid out a circle of twelve acres
of ground, to be cast into streets for inhabitants to build on as
their ability would permit--all that would build to have ground
gratis for twenty years, timber out of the forest, and convenient
yards, gardens, and orchards allotted to every house.

In the great streets near where they cross each other was to be
built a handsome market-house, with a town-hall for parish or
corporation business, doing justice and the like; also shambles;
and in a handsome part of the ground mentioned to be laid out for
streets, as near the centre as might be, was to be ground laid out
for the building a church, which every man should either contribute
to the building of in money, or give every tenth day of his time to
assist in labouring at the building.

I have omitted many tradesmen who would be wanted here, and would
find a good livelihood among their country-folks only to get
accidental work as day-men or labourers (of which such a town would
constantly employ many), as also poor women for assistance in
families (such as midwives, nurses, &c.).

Adjacent to the town was to be a certain quantity of common-land
for the benefit of the cottages, that the poor might have a few
sheep or cows, as their circumstances required; and this to be
appointed at the several ends of the town.

There was a calculation made of what increase there would be, both
of wealth and people, in twenty years in this town; what a vast
consumption of provisions they would cause, more than the four
thousand acres of land given them would produce, by which
consumption and increase so much advantage would accrue to the
public stock, and so many subjects be added to the many thousands
of Great Britain, who in the next age would be all true-born
Englishmen, and forget both the language and nation from whence
they came. And it was in order to this that two ministers were
appointed, one of which should officiate in English and the other
in High Dutch, and withal to have them obliged by a law to teach
all their children both to speak, read, and write the English

Upon their increase they would also want barbers and glaziers,
painters also, and plumbers; a windmill or two, and the millers and
their families; a fulling-mill and a cloth-worker; as also a master
clothier or two for making a manufacture among them for their own
wear, and for employing the women and children; a dyer or two for
dyeing their manufactures; and, which above all is not to be
omitted, four families at least of smiths, with every one two
servants--considering that, besides all the family work which
continually employs a smith, all the shoeing of horses, all the
ironwork of ploughs, carts, waggons, harrows, &c., must be wrought
by them. There was no allowance made for inns and ale-houses,
seeing it would be frequent that those who kept public-houses of
any sort would likewise have some other employment to carry on.

This was the scheme for settling the Palatinates, by which means
twenty families of farmers, handsomely set up and supported, would
lay a foundation, as I have said, for six or seven hundred of the
rest of their people; and as the land in New Forest is undoubtedly
good, and capable of improvement by such cultivation, so other
wastes in England are to be found as fruitful as that; and twenty
such villages might have been erected, the poor strangers
maintained, and the nation evidently be bettered by it. As to the
money to be advanced, which in the case of twenty such settlements,
at 1,000 pounds each, would be 80,000 pounds, two things were
answered to it:-

1. That the annual rent to be received for all those lands after
twenty years would abundantly pay the public for the first
disburses on the scheme above, that rent being then to amount to
40,000 pounds per annum.

2. More money than would have done this was expended, or rather
thrown away, upon them here, to keep them in suspense, and
afterwards starve them; sending them a-begging all over the nation,
and shipping them off to perish in other countries. Where the
mistake lay is none of my business to inquire.

I reserved this account for this place, because I passed in this
journey over the very spot where the design was laid out--namely,
near Lyndhurst, in the road from Rumsey to Lymington, whither I now
directed my course.

Lymington is a little but populous seaport standing opposite to the
Isle of Wight, in the narrow part of the strait which ships
sometimes pass through in fair weather, called the Needles; and
right against an ancient town of that island called Yarmouth, and
which, in distinction from the great town of Yarmouth in Norfolk,
is called South Yarmouth. This town of Lymington is chiefly noted
for making fine salt, which is indeed excellent good; and from
whence all these south parts of England are supplied, as well by
water as by land carriage; and sometimes, though not often, they
send salt to London, when, contrary winds having kept the Northern
fleets back, the price at London has been very high; but this is
very seldom and uncertain. Lymington sends two members to
Parliament, and this and her salt trade is all I can say to her;
for though she is very well situated as to the convenience of
shipping I do not find they have any foreign commerce, except it be
what we call smuggling and roguing; which, I may say, is the
reigning commerce of all this part of the English coast, from the
mouth of the Thames to the Land's End of Cornwall.

From hence there are but few towns on the sea-coast west, though
there are several considerable rivers empty themselves into the
sea; nor are there any harbours or seaports of any note except
Poole. As for Christchurch, though it stands at the mouth of the
Avon (which, as I have said, comes down from Salisbury, and brings
with it all the waters of the south and east parts of Wiltshire,
and receives also the Stour and Piddle, two Dorsetshire rivers
which bring with them all the waters of the north part of
Dorsetshire), yet it is a very inconsiderable poor place, scarce
worth seeing, and less worth mentioning in this account, only that
it sends two members to Parliament, which many poor towns in this
part of England do, as well as that.

From hence I stepped up into the country north-west, to see the
ancient town of Wimborne, or Wimborneminster; there I found nothing
remarkable but the church, which is indeed a very great one,
ancient, and yet very well built, with a very firm, strong, square
tower, considerably high; but was, without doubt, much finer, when
on the top of it stood a most exquisite spire--finer and taller, if
fame lies not, than that at Salisbury, and by its situation in a
plainer, flatter country visible, no question, much farther; but
this most beautiful ornament was blown down by a sudden tempest of
wind, as they tell us, in the year 1622.

The church remains a venerable piece of antiquity, and has in it
the remains of a place once much more in request than it is now,
for here are the monuments of several noble families, and in
particular of one king, viz., King Etheldred, who was slain in
battle by the Danes. He was a prince famed for piety and religion,
and, according to the zeal of these times, was esteemed as a
martyr, because, venturing his life against the Danes, who were
heathens, he died fighting for his religion and his country. The
inscription upon his grave is preserved, and has been carefully
repaired, so as to be easily read, and is as follows:-

"In hoc loco quiescit Corpus S. Etheldredi, Regis West Saxonum,
Martyris, qui Anno Dom. DCCCLXXII., xxiii Aprilis, per Manos
Danorum Paganorum Occubuit."

In English thus:-

"Here rests the Body of Holy Etheldred, King of the West Saxons,
and Martyr, who fell by the Hands of the Pagan Danes in the Year of
our Lord 872, the 23rd of April."

Here are also the monuments of the great Marchioness of Exeter,
mother of Edward Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, and last of the
family of Courtneys who enjoyed that honour; as also of John de
Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and his wife, grandmother of King Henry
VII., by her daughter Margaret, Countess of Richmond.

This last lady I mention because she was foundress of a very fine
free school, which has since been enlarged and had a new
benefactress in Queen Elizabeth, who has enlarged the stipend and
annexed it to the foundation. The famous Cardinal Pole was Dean of
this church before his exaltation.

Having said this of the church, I have said all that is worth
naming of the town; except that the inhabitants, who are many and
poor, are chiefly maintained by the manufacture of knitting
stockings, which employs great part indeed of the county of Dorset,
of which this is the first town eastward.

South of this town, over a sandy, wild, and barren country, we came
to Poole, a considerable seaport, and indeed the most considerable
in all this part of England; for here I found some ships, some
merchants, and some trade; especially, here were a good number of
ships fitted out every year to the Newfoundland fishing, in which
the Poole men were said to have been particularly successful for
many years past.

The town sits in the bottom of a great bay or inlet of the sea,
which, entering at one narrow mouth, opens to a very great breadth
within the entrance, and comes up to the very shore of this town;
it runs also west up almost to the town of Wareham, a little below
which it receives the rivers Frome and Piddle, the two principal
rivers of the county.

This place is famous for the best and biggest oysters in all this
part of England, which the people of Poole pretend to be famous for
pickling; and they are barrelled up here, and sent not only to
London, but to the West Indies, and to Spain and Italy, and other
parts. It is observed more pearls are found in the Poole oysters,
and larger, than in any other oysters about England.

As the entrance into this large bay is narrow, so it is made
narrower by an island, called Branksey, which, lying the very month
of the passage, divides it into two, and where there is an old
castle, called Branksey Castle, built to defend the entrance, and
this strength was very great advantage to the trade of this port in
the time of the late war with France.

Wareham is a neat town and full of people, having a share of trade
with Poole itself; it shows the ruins of a large town, and, it is
apparent, has had eight churches, of which they have three

South of Wareham, and between the bay I have mentioned and the sea,
lies a large tract of land which, being surrounded by the sea
except on one side, is called an island, though it is really what
should be called a peninsula. This tract of land is better
inhabited than the sea-coast of this west end of Dorsetshire
generally is, and the manufacture of stockings is carried on there
also; it is called the Isle of Purbeck, and has in the middle of it
a large market-town, called Corfe, and from the famous castle there
the whole town is now called Corfe Castle; it is a corporation,
sending members to Parliament.

This part of the country is eminent for vast quarries of stone,
which is cut out flat, and used in London in great quantities for
paving courtyards, alleys, avenues to houses, kitchens, footways on
the sides of the High Streets, and the like; and is very profitable
to the place, as also in the number of shipping employed in
bringing it to London. There are also several rocks of very good
marble, only that the veins in the stone are not black and white,
as the Italian, but grey, red, and other colours.

From hence to Weymouth, which is 22 miles, we rode in view of the
sea; the country is open, and in some respects pleasant, but not
like the northern parts of the county, which are all fine carpet-
ground, soft as velvet, and the herbage sweet as garden herbs,
which makes their sheep be the best in England, if not in the
world, and their wool fine to an extreme.

I cannot omit here a small adventure which was very surprising to
me on this journey; passing this plain country, we came to an open
piece of ground where a neighbouring gentleman had at a great
expense laid out a proper piece of land for a decoy, or duck-coy,
as some call it. The works were but newly done, the planting
young, the ponds very large and well made; but the proper places
for shelter of the fowl not covered, the trees not being grown, and
men were still at work improving and enlarging and planting on the
adjoining heath or common. Near the decoy-keeper's house were some
places where young decoy ducks were hatched, or otherwise kept to
fit them for their work. To preserve them from vermin (polecats,
kites, and such like), they had set traps, as is usual in such
cases, and a gibbet by it, where abundance of such creatures as
were taken were hanged up for show.

While the decoy-man was busy showing the new works, he was alarmed
with a great cry about this house for "Help! help!" and away he
ran like the wind, guessing, as we supposed, that something was
catched in the trap.

It was a good big boy, about thirteen or fourteen years old, that
cried out, for coming to the place he found a great fowl caught by
the leg in the trap, which yet was so strong and so outrageous that
the boy going too near him, he flew at him and frighted him, bit
him, and beat him with his wings, for he was too strong for the
boy; as the master ran from the decoy, so another manservant ran
from the house, and finding a strange creature fast in the trap,
not knowing what it was, laid at him with a great stick. The
creature fought him a good while, but at length he struck him an
unlucky blow which quieted him; after this we all came up to see
what the matter, and found a monstrous eagle caught by the leg in
the trap, and killed by the fellow's cudgel, as above.

When the master came to know what it was, and that his man had
killed it, he was ready to kill the fellow for his pains, for it
was a noble creature indeed, and would have been worth a great deal
to the man to have it shown about the country, or to have sold to
any gentleman curious in such things; but the eagle was dead, and
there we left it. It is probable this eagle had flown over the sea
from France, either there or at the Isle of Wight, where the
channel is not so wide; for we do not find that any eagles are
known to breed in those parts of Britain.

From hence we turned up to Dorchester, the county town, though not
the largest town in the county. Dorchester is indeed a pleasant
agreeable town to live in, and where I thought the people seemed
less divided into factions and parties than in other places; for
though here are divisions, and the people are not all of one mind,
either as to religion or politics, yet they did not seem to
separate with so much animosity as in other places. Here I saw the
Church of England clergyman, and the Dissenting minister or
preacher drinking tea together, and conversing with civility and
good neighbourhood, like Catholic Christians and men of a Catholic
and extensive charity. The town is populous, though not large; the
streets broad, but the buildings old and low. However, there is
good company, and a good deal of it; and a man that coveted a
retreat in this world might as agreeably spend his time and as well
in Dorchester as in any town I know in England.

The downs round this town are exceeding pleasant, and come up on,
every side, even to the very streets' end; and here it was that
they told me that there were six hundred thousand sheep fed on the
downs within six miles of the town--that is, six miles every way,
which is twelve miles in diameter, and thirty-six miles in
circumference. This, I say, I was told--I do not affirm it to be
true; but when I viewed the country round, I confess I could not
but incline to believe it.

It is observable of these sheep that they are exceeding fruitful,
the ewes generally bringing two lambs, and they are for that reason
bought by all the farmers through the east part of England, who
come to Burford Fair in this country to buy them, and carry them
into Kent and Surrey eastward, and into Buckinghamshire and
Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire north; even our Banstead Downs in
Surrey, so famed for good mutton, is supplied from this place. The
grass or herbage of these downs is full of the sweetest and the
most aromatic plants, such as nourish the sheep to a strange
degree; and the sheep's dung, again, nourishes that herbage to a
strange degree; so that the valleys are rendered extremely fruitful
by the washing of the water in hasty showers from off these hills.

An eminent instance of this is seen at Amesbury, in Wiltshire, the
next county to this; for it is the same thing in proportion over
this whole county. I was told that at this town there was a meadow
on the bank of the River Avon, which runs thence to Salisbury,
which was let for 12 pounds a year per acre for the grass only.
This I inquired particularly after at the place, and was assured by
the inhabitants, as one man, that the fact was true, and was showed
the meadows. The grass which grew on them was such as grew to the
length of ten or twelve feet, rising up to a good height and then
taking root again, and was of so rich a nature as to answer very
well such an extravagant rent.

The reason they gave for this was the extraordinary richness of the
soil, made so, as above, by the falling or washing of the rains
from the hills adjacent, by which, though no other land thereabouts
had such a kind of grass, yet all other meadows and low grounds of
the valley were extremely rich in proportion.

There are abundance of good families, and of very ancient lines in
the neighbourhood of this town of Dorchester, as the Napiers, the
Courtneys, Strangeways, Seymours, Banks, Tregonells, Sydenhams, and
many others, some of which have very great estates in the county,
and in particular Colonel Strangeways, Napier, and Courtney. The
first of these is master of the famous swannery or nursery of
swans, the like of which, I believe, is not in Europe. I wonder
any man should pretend to travel over this country, and pass by it,
too, and then write his account and take no notice of it.

From Dorchester it is six miles to the seaside south, and the ocean
in view almost all the way. The first town you come to is
Weymouth, or Weymouth and Melcombe, two towns lying at the mouth of
a little rivulet which they call the Wey, but scarce claims the
name of a river. However, the entrance makes a very good though
small harbour, and they are joined by a wooden bridge; so that
nothing but the harbour parts them; yet they are separate
corporations, and choose each of them two members of Parliament,
just as London and Southwark.

Weymouth is a sweet, clean, agreeable town, considering its low
situation, and close to the sea; it is well built, and has a great
many good substantial merchants in it who drive a considerable
trade, and have a good number of ships belonging to the town. They
carry on now, in time of peace, a trade with France; but, besides
this, they trade also to Portugal, Spain, Newfoundland, and
Virginia; and they have a large correspondence also up in the
country for the consumption of their returns; especially the wine
trade and the Newfoundland trade are considerable here.

Without the harbour is an old castle, called Sandfoot Castle; and
over against them, where there is a good road for ships to put in
on occasions of bad weather, is Portland Castle, and the road is
called Portland Road. While I was here once, there came a
merchant-ship into that road called Portland Road under a very hard
storm of wind; she was homeward bound from Oporto for London, laden
with wines; and as she came in she made signals of distress to the
town, firing guns for help, and the like, as is usual in such
cases; it was in the dark of the night that the ship came in, and,
by the help of her own pilot, found her way into the road, where
she came to an anchor, but, as I say, fired guns for help.

The venturous Weymouth men went off, even before it was light, with
two boats to see who she was, and what condition she was in; and
found she was come to an anchor, and had struck her topmasts; but
that she had been in bad weather, had lost an anchor and cable
before, and had but one cable to trust to, which did hold her, but
was weak; and as the storm continued to blow, they expected every
hour to go on shore and split to pieces.

Upon this the Weymouth boats came back with such diligence that in
less than three hours they were on board them again with an anchor
and cable, which they immediately bent in its place, and let go to
assist the other, and thereby secured the ship. It is true that
they took a good price of the master for the help they gave him;
for they made him draw a bill on his owners at London for 12 pounds
for the use of the anchor, cable, and boat, besides some gratuities
to the men. But they saved the ship and cargo by it, and in three
or four days the weather was calm, and he proceeded on his voyage,
returning the anchor and cable again; so that, upon the whole, it
was not so extravagant as at first I thought it to be.

The Isle of Portland, on which the castle I mentioned stands, lies
right against this Port of Weymouth. Hence it is that our best and
whitest freestone comes, with which the Cathedral of St. Paul's,
the Monument, and all the public edifices in the City of London are
chiefly built; and it is wonderful, and well worth the observation
of a traveller, to see the quarries in the rocks from whence they
are cut out, what stones, and of what prodigious a size are cut out

The island is indeed little more than one continued rock of
freestone, and the height of the land is such that from this island
they see in clear weather above half over the Channel to France,
though the Channel here is very broad. The sea off of this island,
and especially to the west of it, is counted the most dangerous
part of the British Channel. Due south, there is almost a
continued disturbance in the waters, by reason of what they call
two tides meeting, which I take to be no more than the sets of the
currents from the French coast and from the English shore meeting:
this they call Portland Race; and several ships, not aware of these
currents, have been embayed to the west of Portland, and been
driven on shore on the beach (of which I shall speak presently),
and there lost.

To prevent this danger, and guide the mariner in these distresses,
they have within these few months set up two lighthouses on the two
points of that island; and they had not been many months set up,
with the directions given to the public for their bearings, but we
found three outward-bound East India ships which were in distress
in the night, in a hard extreme gale of wind, were so directed by
those lights that they avoided going on shore by it, which, if the
lights had not been there, would inevitably happened to their

This island, though seemingly miserable, and thinly inhabited, yet
the inhabitants being almost all stone-cutters, we found there were
no very poor people among them, and when they collected money for
the re-building St. Paul's, they got more in this island than in
the great town of Dorchester, as we were told.

Though Portland stands a league off from the mainland of Britain,
yet it is almost joined by a prodigious riff of beach--that is to
say, of small stones cast up by the sea--which runs from the island
so near the shore of England that they ferry over with a boat and a
rope, the water not being above half a stone's-throw over; and the
said riff of beach ending, as it were, at that inlet of water,
turns away west, and runs parallel with the shore quite to
Abbotsbury, which is a town about seven miles beyond Weymouth.

I name this for two reasons: first, to explain again what I said
before of ships being embayed and lost here. This is when ships
coming from the westward omit to keep a good offing, or are taken
short by contrary winds, and cannot weather the high land of
Portland, but are driven between Portland and the mainland. If
they can come to an anchor, and ride it out, well and good; and if
not, they run on shore on that vast beach and are lost without

On the inside of this beach, and between it and the land, there is,
as I have said, an inlet of water which they ferry over, as above,
to pass and re-pass to and from Portland: this inlet opens at
about two miles west, and grows very broad, and makes a kind of
lake within the land of a mile and a half broad, and near three
miles in length, the breadth unequal. At the farthest end west of
this water is a large duck-coy, and the verge of the water well
grown with wood, and proper groves of trees for cover for the fowl:
in the open lake, or broad part, is a continual assembly of swans:
here they live, feed, and breed, and the number of them is such
that, I believe, I did not see so few as 7,000 or 8,000. Here they
are protected, and here they breed in abundance. We saw several of
them upon the wing, very high in the air, whence we supposed that
they flew over the riff of beach, which parts the lake from the
sea, to feed on the shores as they thought fit, and so came home
again at their leisure.

From this duck-coy west, the lake narrows, and at last almost
closes, till the beach joins the shore; and so Portland may be
said, not to be an island, but part of the continent. And now we
came to Abbotsbury, a town anciently famous for a great monastery,
and now eminent for nothing but its ruins.

From hence we went on to Bridport, a pretty large corporation town
on the sea-shore, though without a harbour. Here we saw boats all
the way on the shore, fishing for mackerel, which they take in the
easiest manner imaginable; for they fix one end of the net to a
pole set deep into the sand, then, the net being in a boat, they
row right out into the water some length, then turn and row
parallel with the shore, veering out the net all the while, till
they have let go all the net, except the line at the end, and then
the boat rows on shore, when the men, hauling the net to the shore
at both ends, bring to shore with it such fish as they surrounded
in the little way they rowed. This, at that time, proved to be an
incredible number, insomuch that the men could hardly draw them on
shore. As soon as the boats had brought their fish on shore we
observed a guard or watch placed on the shore in several places,
who, we found, had their eye, not on the fishermen, but on the
country people who came down to the shore to buy their fish; and
very sharp we found they were, and some that came with small carts
were obliged to go back empty without any fish. When we came to
inquire into the particulars of this, we found that these were
officers placed on the shore by the justices and magistrates of the
towns about, who were ordered to prevent the country farmers buying
the mackerel to dung their land with them, which was thought to be
dangerous as to infection. In short, such was the plenty of fish
that year that the mackerel, the finest and largest I ever saw,
were sold at the seaside a hundred for a penny.

From Bridport (a town in which we see nothing remarkable) we came
to Lyme, the town particularly made famous by the landing of the
Duke of Monmouth and his unfortunate troops in the time of King
James II., of which I need say nothing, the history of it being so
recent in the memory of so many living.

This is a town of good figure, and has in it several eminent
merchants who carry on a considerable trade to France, Spain,
Newfoundland, and the Straits; and though they have neither creek
or bay, road or river, they have a good harbour, but it is such a
one as is not in all Britain besides, if there is such a one in any
part of the world.

It is a massy pile of building, consisting of high and thick walls
of stone, raised at first with all the methods that skill and art
could devise, but maintained now with very little difficulty. The
walls are raised in the main sea at a good distance from the shore;
it consists of one main and solid wall of stone, large enough for
carts and carriages to pass on the top, and to admit houses and
warehouses to be built on it, so that it is broad as a street.
Opposite to this, but farther into the sea, is another wall of the
same workmanship, which crosses the end of the first wall and comes
about with a tail parallel to the first wall.

Between the point of the first or main wall is the entrance into
the port, and the second or opposite wall, breaking the violence of
the sea from the entrance, the ships go into the basin as into a
pier or harbour, and ride there as secure as in a millpond or as in
a wet dock.

The townspeople have the benefit of this wonderful harbour, and it
is carefully kept in repair, as indeed it behoves them to do; but
they could give me nothing of the history of it, nor do they, as I
could perceive, know anything of the original of it, or who built
it. It was lately almost beaten down by a storm, but is repaired

This work is called the Cobb. The Custom House officers have a
lodge and warehouse upon it, and there were several ships of very
good force and rich in value in the basin of it when I was there.
It might be strengthened with a fort, and the walls themselves are
firm enough to carry what guns they please to plant upon it; but
they did not seem to think it needful, and as the shore is
convenient for batteries, they have some guns planted in proper

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