Picture of Thomas Pennant

Thomas Pennant


places mentioned

Wybunbury to Darlaston

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I CONTINUED my journey along the London road, flat, tedious, and heavy. At the fourth stone lieth, a little out of the way, Wybunbury, a small village, supposed to have taken its name from Wibba, second king of the Mercians, who died in 615. The manor was antiently in the great family of the Praers. Sir Robert de Praer gave it to his son Richard, about the reign of King John, upon condition of rendering to the heirs of his elder brother two barbed arrows yearly, on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, in lieu of all other services. But the Praers remitted all their right in this manor, and the patronage of the church, to the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, in 1276, the fifth of Edward I. and the bishops continued to be lords of the manor till the second of Queen Elizabeth; about which time it was alienated : but the bishops still continue patrons of the church.

THERE had been, in much earlier times, a family in this place which took their name from it; for Richard de Wibbunbury was sheriff of Cheshire in 1233. Whether the Praers ever assumed that name, is uncertain. It is probable, that the Richard abovementioned was the same with the sheriff, and took the addition on receiving the place from his father.

THIS village was formerly surrounded with gentlemen's seats. Among those was Lee, the residence of a family of the same name; from which were descended the Lees, earls of Lichfield, derived from Benedict, a son of this house, who made a settlement at Quarendon, in Buckinghamshire, in the beginning of the reign of Edward IV.

THE church is a very handsome building, embattled and pinnacled: the tower lofty; the roof is timbered on the inside, and carved with the arms of the various benefactors. Part of the church was taken down in 1591; at which time many of the monuments were destroyed: of those remaining, are several in memory of the Delves of Doddington. The most antient is a large altar-tomb of alabaster, with the figures of a father, and son, and lady, engraven on the stone: at the feet of each is a dog, and beneath, a dolphin: on the front of the tomb, several figures, their progeny. The persons represented are Sir John Delves, his son John, and his wife Ellen, daughter of Ralph Egerton, of Wrinehill, in the county of Stafford; for his marriage with whom, probably on account of consanguinity, a dispensation was granted in 1439. 1

Sir John was in high favor with Henry VI. and enjoyed several lucrative posts under him. This he repaid by the most faithful adherence, raised forces in his support, and lost his life valiantly fighting, in the fatal field at Tewkesbury, on Saturday, May the 4th, 1471. His son, with numbers of persons of distinction, took refuge in the abbey. The furious Edward pursued them, with his drawn sword, into the church;2 but was opposed by a resolute priest, who for the present diverted his vengeance by lifting up the host, interposing the sacred mystery, and denied him admittance till he obtained a promise of pardon; depending on the king's word, they neglected making their escape, and continued in the sanctuary till the Monday, when the relentless monarch caused them to be drawn out and beheaded, according to the custom of the times, without any process. The bodies of this unfortunate pair were at first buried at Tewkesbury ,3 But afterwards translated to this place; where their remains lie, with the following inscription:

Hic jacet Johannes Delves, miles, et Elena uxor ejus, nec non Johannes Delves, armiger, filius et heres predicti Johis. qui quidem Johannes miles obiit quarto die Maii, anno Dni. MCCCCLXXI. quorum animabus propitietur Deus. Amen.

Ralph, the second son of Sir John, and his wife Catharine, are represented on a tomb by two brass plates. The inscription imports, that he died the 11th March, 1513.

THE tomb of Sir Thomas Smith, of the Hough, in this parish, and his lady, is magnificent in its kind. Sir Thomas lies beneath a canopy, supported by four pillars of the Ionic order, of white marble, gilt and painted. He is represented recumbent and armed, with his gauntlets lying at his feet: his hair long, curled, and flowing: his visage bearded and whiskered. His lady (Anne, daughter of Sir William Brereton) has a fashionable fore-top, a great ruff, and extended hood. Sir Thomas died on the 21st of December 1614; and his relict erected this monumental compliment.

ON getting into the great road, I passed on the left the scite of the antient seat of Lee, and an iron forge.

A LITTLE farther stood the antient seat of Doddington, originally belonging to a family of the same name; but in the reign of Edward II. it passed to the Praers: in 1352, the twenty-sixth of Edward III. to the Brescies, by marriage with the heiress of the house: but in the thirtieth of the same reign, John Brescie, with Margaret his wife, alienated it to John Delves, of Delves-hall in Staffordshire, one of the four renowned squires who distinguished themselves under the Lord Audley, at the battle of Poitiers. Sir John Berniers, Lord Bourchier, the noble translator of Froissart, relates the deed with all the simplicity of the original.

"But when Lord James Audeley sawe that shoulde nedes fyght (he sayde to the Prynce) I have alwaies served truly my lorde your father, and you also, and shall do as long as I live. I say this, because I made ones a vow, that the first batayle that other the Kynge your father, or anie of his chyldren, shoulde be at, howe that I wulde be one of the fyrst setters on, or else to dye in the fayle. Therefore I requyre your Grace, as in rewarde for any servyce that ever I dyde to the Kynge your father, or to you, that you will gyve me licence to departe fro' you, and to set up my self there, as I maye accomplyshe my vowe. The Prince, according to his desyre (and sayde) Sir James, God gyve you this daye that grace to be the best Knyght of all others, and to take hym by the hande. Than the Knyght departed fro the Prince, and went to the foremost front of all the batayles all, onely accompanyed with four Squyers, who promysed nat to fayle him. This Lorde James was a ryghte sage and a valiant knyght, and by hym was muche of the hooste ordeyned and governed the day before.— The Lord James Audeley, with his foure Squyers, was in the front of that battel, and these dyd marvels in armes; and by great prowes, he came and fought with Sir Arnolde Dandrchen, under his own banner; and there they fought longe togyder, and Sir Arnolde was there sore handled.—And there was Sir Arnolde Dandrchen taken prysoner by other men than by Syr James Audeley or his foure Squyers; for yt daye he never toke prisoner, but always foughte and wente on his enemyes.—On the Englyshe parte, the Lord James Audeley, with the ayde of his foure Squyers, foughte alwayes in the chyefe of the batayle: he was sore hurte in the bodye, and in the vysage. As longe as his breth served him he fought: at last, at the end of the batayle hys foure Squyers toke and brought hym out of the felde, and layed hym under a hedge syde, for to refreshe hym. And they unarmed hym, and bounde up his woundes as well as they coude.—After the battle, the Prince demanded of the Knyghtes that were aboute him, for the Lord Audley, if any knewe any thing of him. Some Knights yt were there answered and sayde, Sir, he is sore hurt, and lieth in a litter here beside; by my faith, said the Prince, of his hurts I am right sorye, go and knowe if he maye be broughte hider, or els I will go, and se him there, as he is. Than twoo Knights came to the Lord Audeley (and sayde) Sir, the Prince desireth greatly to see you: outher ye must go to him, or els he will come to you. A, Sir, sayde the Knighte, I thanke the Prince when he thinketh on so pore a knight as I am; then he called eyght of his servanntes, and caused them to here hym in hys lytter to the place where was the Prince. Than the Prince toke hym in his armes and kyst hym; and made him great chear, and sayd, Sir James, I ought gretly to honour you, for by your valiance ye have this day achyved ye grace and renowne of us al, and ye are reputed for the most valyant of al others. I retain you for ever to be my knight, with five hundred markes of yearly revenues. When Syr James Audeley was broughte to his lodgynge, thenne he send for Syr Peter Audeley, his brother, and for the Lorde Bartylemawe of Brennes, the Lorde Stephanne of Goutenton, the Lorde of Wylly, and the Lorde Raffe Ferres: all these were of his lynage: and than he called before them hys foure Squyers, that hadde served hym that daye well and trewlye : than he sayde to the sayde Lordes, Syrs, it hath pleased my Lorde the Prynce to gyve me five hundred markes of revenues by yere; for the which gyft I have done him but small servyce with my bodye. Sirs, beholde here these foure Squyers, who hath alwayes served me truely, and especyally thys day: that honour that I have is by their valyantnesse, wherefore I woll reward them: I gyve and resigne into their handes the gyft that my Lorde ye Prynce hath gyv'n me of five hundred markes of yerely revenues, to them and their heyres for ever. I clearly disheryte me thereoff, and inheryte them wythout any rebell or condytyon."4

I HAVE dwelt the longer on this account of the Lord Audley, not only as his history is so mingled "with that of his four 'squires, Delves, Dutton, Foulhurst, and Hawkeston; but because all five were Cheshire men; the 'squires, by attachment, following their neighbor to the scene of military glory. I must add, that their gallant leader enjoined them, as a further proof of his esteem, to bear in some parts of their coats of arms, his own proper atchievement gules, a fret d'or ;5 which the families constantly retained.

THE statues of Lord Audley and his four 'squires, cut in stone, are still preserved at Doddington Hall. Doctor Gower supposes that of Lord Audley to have been original; the others to have been made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when the late mansion was built.

SIR John (for he was knighted by Edward III) was distinguished by several marks of royal favor: had the wardship of the Dutchess of Bretagne: was constituted one of the justices of the King's Bench; and had licence to embattle his house at Doddington. He bequeathed his body to be buried in the church of St. James, at Audeley, in Staffordshire, and, dying on the 16th of August 1369, was interred there, according to his desire. Near him,, in the same church, were deposited the remains of his illustrious patron.

Audley lies a very few miles to the north-east of Doddington, seated on the top of a hill, on the road between Nantwich and Newcastle. A reverential curiosity once led me to visit the reliques of these heroes. Those of the Lord Audley lie beneath a plain altar-tomb, formerly having his figure on the slab, engraven on a small brass plate.

His 'squire is perpetuated in a more ostentatious manner, and represented in alabaster, at full length, with his coat of arms on his breast. The inscription is lost.

ONE of the residences of the Audleys was at this village; from which they took their name. A farm occupies the scite of their house; but in latter times they inhabited Heleigh Castle, about three miles distant.

THE Lords had many privileges here; such as court-leet, tumbrel, and gallows: nor could any one arrest a person here, except an officer of the manor. These estates passed, by marriage of Sir John Touchet, to Joan, daughter of the great Lord Audley, and sister and co-heir of his son Nicholas. George Touchet, Lord Audley, sold it, in 1577, to Sir Gilbert Gerrard; from whose family it descended to the Fleetwoods; and in this6 century was lost in a single night by the cast of a die.

THERE is a particularity in the situation of the house of Hardingwood, adjacent to this parish, which I cannot forbear mentioning. Whenever the family go to church (which is that of Lawton) they go out of the province of Canterbury into that of York; pass through two counties, viz. Staffordshire and Cheshire; three parishes, Woolstanton, Audley, and Lawton; three constableries, Tunstall, Chell, and Lawton; two hundreds, Pirehill and Nantwich; and two dioceses, Lichfield and Chester .

Doddington continued in the family of the Delves till the present century, when, by the failure of issue male, it descended to the Broughtons, of Broughton in the county of Stafford, by virtue of the marriage of Sir Bryan Broughton, in the year 1700, with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Delves, Baronet. The house is seated in a park, watered on one side by a large mere; with a small island, ornamented with an elegant rotundo. The present owner, Sir Thomas Broughton, is now building a new house, in a magnificent stile, and in a far more agreeable situation, at the head of the lake, at some distance from the old mansion. The antient house was fortified, and garrisoned during the civil wars; and taken and retaken in the course of the contest.

AFTER travelling about three miles further, in the same tedious lane, a portion of SHROPSHIRE presents a hilly front, and intersects the road. On the top of the ascent lies Wore, or Oare, a hamlet of a few houses, with a small chapel, dependent on the rectory of Muccleston, in the county of Stafford. Old Stow informs us, that Randolph Woolley, of London, merchant-taylor, left to the reader of the place .5 for freely instructing the children of the inhabitants of this parish.

FROM Wore I quitted, for the sake of a small digression, the London road, and at about two miles distance enter, at Bearston-mill, the county of

STAFFORD.7

A LITTLE farther stands Muccleston, a small village, seated on a rising ground. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a rectory, in the gift of John Crew ,8 Esquire, of Crew, lord of the manor. In 1085, the twentieth of the Conqueror, it was held by Kenning, one of the Taynes: it afterwards was possessed by the Morgans, of the west country, till about the first of Queen Elizabeth; when it was sold by Robert Morgan, Esquire, to Sir Thomas Offley, Knight, Lord Mayor of London in 1556; whom Fuller calls the Zaccheus of that city, not for his low stature, but high charity.

FROM the tower of the church, Margaret of Anjou, the faithful and spirited consort of Henry VI. saw the fierce battle of Bloreheath, fatal to the cause of her meek husband, then at Coleshill. Richard Nevil, Earl of Salusbury, commanded the Yorkists: he was at that time on his march from Middleham Castle, with four or five thousand men, under pretence of settling with the King the disputes of the two houses. Margaret, fearing for her husband's safety, directed Lord Audley to intercept him on the way. He posted himself on Bloreheath, with ten thousand troops, collected out of Cheshire and Shropshire, whose chieftains were distinguished by silver swans, the badges of their young prince. Salusbury, notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, determined to stand the fortune of the day; but wisely had recourse to stratagem. He encamped at night on the banks of a rivulet, not broad, but deep; and in the morning pretended a retreat; Audley following him with the impetuous valor natural to himself and the times, Salusbury made an instant attack on the divided forces of the Lancastrians. The field was long disputed, with the animosity usual in civil feuds. Audley fell, with two thousand four hundred of his troops, chiefly the flower of the Cheshire gentry; whose courage led them to the front of the battle. A great stone still marks the spot of their leader's death. The Queen fled to Ecclushal Castle. Salusbury joined the Duke of York at Ludlow. Michael Drayton commemorates the slaughter of the day, and preserves the names of the Cheshire heroes; for the county listed under both banners.

——————— ——————— The earl,
As hungry in revenge, there made a ravenous spoil.
There Dutton, Dutton kills; a Done doth kill a Done ;
A Booth, a Booth; and Leigh by Leigh is overthrown:
A Venables against a Venables doth stand;
A Troutbeck fighteth with a Troutbeck hand to hand:
There Molineux doth make a Molineux to die;
And Egerton the strength of Egerton doth try.

I RETURNED into the great road by Winnington forge and Willowbridge wells. The last were once in high esteem for their sanative waters, strongly impregnated with sulphur. They were formerly much frequented, on account of bathing, and drinking. A house for the reception of patients was built, and a bath inclosed; but at present the waters (which to look and taste differ not from common) are entirely deserted.

I RE-ENTERED the London road on Maer Heath, in the parish of Maer, or Mere; so stiled from a large piece of water, the head of the river Tern, which flowing through Shropshire, falls into the Severn three miles below Shrewsbury. Maer and Aston, an adjacent manor, were on the Conquest divided between William de Maer and Robert Stafford. Some centuries afterwards, a Stafford exchanged his part of Maer, with Ralph, the son of John Macclesfield; by which it came into that family, who sold it to John Lord Chetwynd .

THIS parish is remarkable for Saxon antiquities. On a hill is an antient fortress, or strong hold, composed of two deep ditches and a rampart, formed chiefly of stone; the precinct is not of any regular shape, for the fosses conform to the shape of the hill; as was usual with the Britons and the earlier Saxons. Two of the corners project naturally, and form a species of bastions. The entrance was on the side next the present road. The approach is very visible: it crept up the steep sides; divided about midway, one branch took to the left and the other to the right. Near this place finished his course Osred, the licentious king of the Northumbrians; a despiser of monks and corrupter of nuns: slain in battle in 716, at Mear, in the bloom of youth. This fortress is called the Bruff, corruptly from Burgh. It seems to have been cast up by Kinred, king of Mercia, against the invasion of Osred. Kinred probably gave his antagonist the usual funeral honors, and interred him, and his officers, with the respect due to their rank. Tumuli, or barrows, some round, others oblong, are scattered over the neighboring hills and heath. Under the large conical hill, called Coplow, might be deposited the corpse of Osred; beneath the others, those of his unfortunate followers. I must not pass over in silence the Camp-hills, notwithstanding the name has outlived the vestiges of entrenchments; nor does any tradition of the possessor remain. Shall we suppose it to be Osred, who might have been there before his defeat?

THIS country is gravelly, full of commons and low hills,9 entirely covered with heath; which still give shelter to a few black grous, and red. The mention of the heath reminds me, that about a century ago it was sometimes made use of instead of hops: a practice continued to this day in some of the Hebrides .

CROSS Hatton and Swinerton heaths. The last lies in a parish and manor of the same name, which was owned, from the Conquest to the reign of Henry VIII. by the Swinertons. Their ancestor was called Aslam, who held the estate from Robert de Stafford, and at the time of the general survey, possessed in this county alone eighty-one manors. This family produced numbers of knights; and, among them, Roger de Swinerton had the honor of being summoned to parlement in the reign of Edward III. He seems to have been favored in those reigns. In that of the first Edward, he obtained free warren for his manor, and got the privilege of a market and a fair to be held there. In the reign of Edward II. he was appointed governor of Stafford; afterwards, of the important castle of Harlech, in Meireonethshire; and was made constable of the Tower of London. In that of his successor, besides the honor above recited, he was made a banneret; and had for his several services an assignation out of the exchequer, of an hundred and forty-five pounds thirteen shillings and eight-pence. In the reign of Henry VIII. this manor of em>Swinerton passed into the family of the Fitzherberts, by the marriage of the youngest daughter of Humphry, last male heir of the line, to William Fitzherbert of Norbury, in which name it still continues.

THE church, and seat of Mr. Fitzherbert, command a vast view into Worcestershire and Shropshire. In the first is a tomb of a cross-legged knight; and a plain altar-tomb, inscribed Dominus de Swinnerton & Ellen uxor ejus .

IN the school-house is placed the colossal figure of our SAVIOUR, sitting. He is represented as if after the resurrection, shewing the wound in his side to the incredulous disciple. It was found under ground, near the place it now occupies; and seems to have been buried in the reforming times, to preserve it from the rage of the imagebreakers.

IN the house is a very fine full-length portrait of Sir John Fitzherbert, Knight.

ON descending a hill, I reached Darlaston, a village on the Trent. Near this place, on the summit of a hill, called Bury Bank, is an area of an oval form, about 250 yards in diameter, environed by a deep trench and ramparts: the entrance is on the north-west. On the south part is a tumulus, surrounded with a ditch. This I imagine to have been formed out of the ruins of some buildings, and to have been a sort of praetorium to the occupier of this post. It is supposed to have been the residence of Wulpherus, who reigned over Mercia from 656 to 675. The old name of Wiferecester in a manner confirms the opinion. Whether the neighboring Cop, or Low, was the place of his interment, as Plot thinks, is doubtful.

HERE I first meet with the Trent. This river rises in the Morelands, near Biddulph, out of Newpool, and two springs near Molecop. At this place it is an inconsiderable stream, becomes navigable at Burton on Trent, and, after flowing through this county (which it almost equally divides), that of Derby, Nottingham, and Lincoln, it loses its name in the Number, the great receptacle of the northern rivers. Poets have taken most beautiful liberties in their etymologies of the name of this river; for it neither derives it from its thirty kinds of fish, nor yet from its thirty rivers that swell its waters.

The bounteous Trent, that in himself enseams
Both thirty sorts of fish, and thirty sundry streams.

AFTER, quoting the sublime description of Milton, we shall give its simple derivation.

Rivers, arise! whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or Ooze, or gulphy Dun ,
Or Trent, which, like some earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads.

In fact, the name is Saxon; Trenta, Treonta, and formed from the word drie (three), on account of its rising from three heads.

AFTER crossing the river, and ascending a small bank, I find myself in a vast open tract rising to the left, called Stonefield. Here, in 1745, the Duke of Cumberland drew up his army to give battle to the rebels, who were supposed to have been on their march this way. His intelligence failed him, and the Scotch insurgents possessed themselves of Derby. In future times, posterity will almost doubt the fact, when they read that an inconsiderable band of mountaineers, undisciplined, unofficered, and half-armed, penetrated into the center of an unfriendly country, with one army behind them, and another in their front; that they rested there a few days; and that they retreated above three hundred miles, with scarcely any loss, continually pressed by a foe supplied with every advantage that loyalty could afford.

PARALLEL to my road runs that magnificent enterprize the Grand Trunk Canal, for the junction of the eastern and the western oceans; designed to give to each side of the kingdom an easy share in the commodities of both. In other countries, the nature of the land permits a ready execution of these designs. Egypt and Holland are levelled to the workmen's hands. Our aspiring genius scoffs at obstructions, and difficulties serve but to whet our ardor: our aqueducts pass over our once-admired rivers, now despised for the purposes of navigation: we fill vallies, we penetrate mountains. How would the prophet have been treated, who, forty years ago, should have predicted, that a vessel of twenty-five tons would be seen sailing over Stonefield? Yet such is the case at present.

Figitur in viridi (si fors tulit) anchora prato.

THIS great enterprize was begun on July 17th, 1766, near the south end of Hare-castle Hill, in this county. Its entire length is ninety-three miles, viz. sixty-one miles two furlongs from the south side of that hill to Wildon ferry , in the county of Derby; and thirty-one miles six furlongs on the north side, to its junction with the Duke of Bridgewater's canal at Preston on the Hill, in Cheshire .

To effect this work, there are forty locks on the south side; having in all three hundred and sixteen feet fall; and on the north side thirty-five, with three hundred and twenty-six feet fall. Six of the most southern locks are fourteen feet wide, adapted for the navigation of large vessels, from opposite to Burton to Gainsborough. At Middlewich, on the north side, is another, of the same width.

THE common dimensions of the canal are twenty-nine feet breadth at top; at bottom sixteen; and the depth four and a half, except in the part from Wilden to Burton, which is thirty-one feet broad at top, eighteen at bottom, and five and a half deep. The same is observed from Middlewich to Preston on the Hill; upon which vessels, capable of navigating in the estuary of the Severn, may pass to the port of Liverpool .

THE canal is carried over the river Dove, in an aqueduct of twenty-three arches, and the ground raised one mile and two furlongs in length, and to a very considerable height. It is also carried over the river Trent, on an aqueduct of six arches, of twenty-one feet span each: and again, over the river Dane, in Cheshire, in the same manner, on three arches of twenty feet diameter.

BESIDES these, there are near a hundred and sixty less aqueducts and culverts, for the conveyance of brooks and streams under the canal; many of which are in span from twelve to eighteen feet.

THE undertakers, for the conveniency of the several persons whose lands they have cut through, or when the canal intersects any public road, have built an hundred and eighty-nine cart-bridges, and eleven foot-bridges; and frequently, when the canal passed in sight of any gentleman's seat, have politely given it a breadth, or curvature, to improve the beauty of the prospect.

THE mountains, hills, or rocks, that obstructed the canal, are pierced through in the following places.

THE most southern tunnel, as it is called, is at Hermitage; where a work is carried under ground for the space of an hundred and thirty yards, with a haling-way for horses on one side.

THE tunnel through the mountain at Hare Castle, is cut through a variety of strata, and was a work of stupendous difficulty and expence, and executed in a manner worthy of the courage and skill of the great undertaker, Mr. Brindley. It passes under ground for the length of two thousand eight hundred and eighty yards; is nine feet wide and twelve high, lined and arched with brick. This traverses a country full of coals.

IN Cheshire, at Barnton, in the parish of Great Budworth, is another tunnel, five hundred and sixty yards long; at Saltenford, in the same parish, is another, three hundred and fifty yards long; and finally, at Preston on the Hill is another, which passes under ground twelve hundred and forty-one yards; each of them are seventeen feet four inches high, and thirteen feet six inches wide: at Preston on the Hill the canal emerges, and soon concludes its course, by falling into the canal formed by an useful Peer, the Duke of Bridgewater ;10 the latter drops into the Mersey at Runcorn, with a fall of eighty-two feet, eased by ten magnificent locks.

FROM Middlewich to Manchester is a dead level, which does not require a lock.

THE proprietors of the Grand Trunk Canal have employed on it about fifty boats, exclusive of those belonging to other persons, which amount at least to the same number. They are calculated to carry twenty-five tons each, and are drawn by one horse, for which the proprietors receive per mile three halfpence a ton.

IT would be ungrateful not to pay some respect to the memory of the great architect and contriver of these works, Mr. JAMES BRINDLEY. That rare genius was born at Tunsted, in the parish of Wormhill, Derbyshire, in the year 1716. His father was a small freeholder, who ruined himself by following the sports of the field, and disabled himself from giving his children any sort of education.

YOUNG James shewed very early the goodness of his heart, by maintaining the orphan family by such labor as he was capable of. At the age of seventeen he bound himself apprentice to a millwright near Macclesfield, when his amazing abilities were soon discovered. He speedily became a great proficient, and performed a number of things of which his master was totally ignorant. His gratitude was equal to his genius; for he overpaid any instructions which he received from his master, by maintaining him in a comfortable manner when he grew past working, and fell into distress.

THE first service the public received from him, was a very considerable improvement in the paper-press. He got great credit by a water-engine at Clifton, in Lancashire; and still more by the machinery of a new silk-mill at Congleton, to which he gave many most important movements. He highly facilitated the grinding of flints for the potteries; and in 1756, erected a steam-engine, on a new plan, by which he reduced the consumption of coal to one half.

IT was a peculiar felicity to the Duke of BRIDGEWATER, to find a genius such as Brindley, cotemporary to the great designs formed by his Grace. That wonderful mechanic naturally fell under the Duke's patronage, and was the grand contriver of all the works which his noble friend carried on. Many of his projects were of so stupendous a kind, and so incomprehensible to vulgar minds, as to subject him to great ridicule, till the scoffers were put to confusion by the successful execution.

WHEREVER any great difficulty arose, he constantly took to his bed, excluded all light, and lay in meditation for two or three days, till he had in idea completed the whole of his plan. A poet would have said, he was visited by his muse in those hours of seclusion. Brindley certainly was illuminated, amidst the darkness, by his attendant genius. He reminds me of the younger Pliny, who adopted almost a similar method:

"Clausae fenestrae manent. Mire enim Silentio et tenebris animus alitur. ab iis. quae avocant abductus, et liber, et mihi relictus, non oculos animo sed animum oculis sequor, qui eadem quae mens vident quoties non vident alia." 11

WHEN he found his health and faculties to decline, he virtuously determined to extend as far as possible his services, even beyond the grave. He communicated all his plans and designs to Mr. Hugh Henshall, his wife's brother, who had been employed by the proprietors, from the beginning, as clerk of the works. His assiduity and abilities seem to have compensated for the loss of his great ally; for the most difficult parts in the undertaking have been successfully executed, since Mr. Brindley's death,12 under the direction of Mr. Henshall .

NOTWITHSTANDING the clamors which were raised against this undertaking, in the places through which it was intended to pass, when it was first projected, we have the pleasure now to see content reign universally on its banks, and plenty attend its progress. The cottage, instead of being half-covered with miserable thatch, is now secured with a substantial covering of tiles or slates, brought from the distant hills of Wales or Cumberland. The fields, which before were barren, are now drained, and, by the assistance of manure, conveyed on the canal toll-free, are cloathed with a beautiful verdure. Places which rarely knew the use of coal, are plentifully supplied with that essential article upon reasonable terms: and, what is of still greater public utility, the monopolizers of corn are prevented from exercising their infamous trade; for, by the communication being opened between Liverpool, Bristol, and Hull, and the line of the canal being through countries abundant in grain, it affords a conveyance for corn unknown to past ages. At present, nothing but a general dearth can create a scarcity in any part adjacent to this extensive work.

THESE, and many other advantages, are derived, both to individuals and the public, from this internal navigation, and when it happens that the kingdom is engaged in a foreign war, with what security is the trade between those three great ports carried on; and with how much less expence has the trader his goods conveyed to any part of the kingdom, than he had formerly been subject to, when they were obliged to be carried coastways, and to pay insurance?

I BELIEVE it may be asserted, that no undertaking, equally expensive and arduous, was ever attempted by private people in any kingdom; and, in justice to the adventurers, it must be allowed that, considering the difficulties they met with, owing to the nature of the works, or the caprice of persons whose lands were taken to make the canal, that ten years and a half was but a short time to perform it in; and that satisfaction has been made to every individual who suffered any injury by the execution of the undertaking. The profits arising from tonnage are already very considerable; and there is no doubt but they will increase annually; and, notwithstanding the enormous sum of money it has cost in the execution, the proprietors will be amply repaid, and have the comfort to reflect, that by the completion of this project, they have contributed to the good of their country, and acquired wealth for themselves and posterity.


1 Collins's Baronet, ed. 1720. p. 300.

2 Stow's Annals, 421.

3 Leland Itin. vi. 33.

4 Ch. clxii. clxv. clxvii.

5 Dr. Gower's Material, &c. 47.

6 The last. ED.

7 This county, as well as Cheshire, was the seat of the Cornavii, and was in Saxon times part of the Mercian kingdom; and its inhabitants what Bede called the Middle Englishmen.

8 Created a peer of Great Britain in 1806. ED.

9 A considerable portion of this dreary tract is now enclosed and cultivated. ED.

10 Deceased in 1803. ED.

11 Epist. lib. ix. ep. 36.

12 He died at Tumhurst, in the parish of Wolstanton, Staffordshire, September 27th, 1772.

Thomas Pennant, The Journey from Chester to London (London: Wilkie and Robinson, 1811)

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