Picture of Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

places mentioned

Letter 1, Part 3: Norfolk and Cambridgeshire

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From High-Suffolk, I pass'd the Waveney into Norfolk, near Schole-Inn; in my passage I saw at Redgrave, (the seat of the family) a most exquisite monument of Sir John Holt, Knight, late lord chief justice of the King's-Bench, several years, and one of the most eminent lawyers of his time. One of the heirs of the family is now building a fine seat about a mile on the south-side of Ipswich, near the road.

The epitaph, or inscription on this monument, is as follows.

M. S.
Totius Angliae in Banco Regis
per 21 Annos continuos
Capitalis Justitiarii
Gulielmo Regi Annaeq; Reginae
Consiliarii perpetui:
Libertatis ac Legum Anglicorum
Assertoris, Vindicis, Custodis,
Vigilis Acris & Intrepidi,
Rolandus Frater Vnicus & Haeres
Optime de se Merito
Die Martis Vto. 1709 Sublatus est
ex Oculis nostris
Natus 30 Decembris, Anno 1642.

When we come into Norfolk, we see a face of diligence spread over the whole country; the vast manufactures carry'd on (in chief) by the Norwich weavers, employs all the country round in spinning yarn for them; besides many thousand packs of yarn which they receive from other countries, even from as far as Yorkshire, and Westmoreland, of which I shall speak in its place.

This side of Norfolk is very populous, and throng'd with great and spacious market-towns, more and larger than any other part of England so far from London, except Devonshire, and the West-riding of Yorkshire; for example, between the frontiers of Suffolk and the city of Norwich on this side, which is not above 22 miles in breadth, are the following market-towns, viz.

Thetford, Hingham, Harleston,
Dis, West Deerham, E. Deerham,
Harling, Attleboro', Watton,
Bucknam, Windham, Loddon, &c.

Most of these towns are very populous and large; but that which is most remarkable is, that the whole country round them is so interspers'd with villages, and those villages so large, and so full of people, that they are equal to market-towns in other counties; in a word, they render this eastern part of Norfolk exceeding full of inhabitants.

An eminent weaver of Norwich, gave me a scheme of their trade on this occasion, by which, calculating from the number of looms at that time employed in the city of Norwich only, besides those employed in other towns in the same county, he made it appear very plain, that there were 120000 people employed in the woollen and silk and wool manufactures of that city only, not that the people all lived in the city, tho' Norwich is a very large and populous city too: But I say, they were employed for spinning the yarn used for such goods as were all made in that city. This account is curious enough, and very exact, but it is too long for the compass of this work.

This shews the wonderful extent of the Norwich manufacture, or stuff-weaving trade, by which so many thousands of families are maintained. Their trade indeed felt a very sensible decay, and the cries of the poor began to be very loud, when the wearing of painted callicoes was grown to such an height in England, as was seen about two or three years ago; but an Act of Parliament having been obtained, tho' not without great struggle, in the years 1720, and 1721, for prohibiting the use and wearing of callico's, the stuff trade reviv'd incredibly; and as I pass'd this part of the country in the year 1723, the manufacturers assured me, that there was not in all the eastern and middle part of Norfolk, any hand, unemployed, if they would work; and that the very children after four or five years of age, could every one earn their own bread. But I return to speak of the villages and towns in the rest of the county; I shall come to the city of Norwich by itself.

This throng of villages continues thro' all the east part of the county, which is of the greatest extent, and where the manufacture is chiefly carry'd on: If any part of it be waste and thin of inhabitants, it is the west part, drawing a line from about Brand, or Brandon, south, to Walsingham, north. This part of the country indeed is full of open plains, and somewhat sandy and barren, and feeds great flocks of good sheep: But put it all together, the county of Norfolk has the most people in the least tract of land of any county in England, except about London, and Exon, and the West-Riding of Yorkshire, as above.

Add to this, that there is no single county in England, except as above, that can boast of three towns so populous, so rich, and so famous for trade and navigation, as in this county: By these three towns, I mean the city of Norwich, the towns of Yarmouth and Lynn; besides, that it has several other sea-ports of very good trade, as Wisbich, Wells, Burnham, Clye, &c.

NORWICH is the capital of all the county, and the center of all the trade and manufactures which I have just mentioned; an antient, large, rich, and populous city: If a stranger was only to ride thro' or view the city of Norwich for a day, he would have much more reason to think there was a town without inhabitants, than there is really to say so of Ipswich; but on the contrary, if he was to view the city, either on a Sabbath-day, or on any publick occasion, he would wonder where all the people could dwell, the multitude is so great: But the case is this; the inhabitants being all busie at their manufactures, dwell in their garrets at their looms, and in their combing-shops, so they call them, twisting-mills, and other work-houses; almost all the works they are employed in, being done within doors. There are in this city thirty-two parishes besides the cathedral, and a great many meeting-houses of Dissenters of all denominations. The publick edifices are chiefly the castle, antient and decayed, and now for many years past made use of for a jayl. The Duke of Norfolk's house was formerly kept well, and the gardens preserved for the pleasure and diversion of the citizens, but since feeling too sensibly the sinking circumstances of that once glorious family, who were the first peers and hereditary earl-marshals of England.

The walls of this city are reckoned three miles in circumference, taking in more ground than the city of London; but much of that ground lying open in pasture-fields and gardens; nor does it seem to be, like some antient places, a decayed declining town, and that the walls mark out its antient dimensions; for we do not see room to suppose that it was ever larger or more populous than it is now: But the walls seem to be placed, as if they expected that the city would in time encrease sufficiently to fill them up with buildings.

The cathedral of this city is a fine fabrick, and the spire-steeple very high and beautiful; it is not antient, the bishop's see having been first at Thetford; from whence it was not translated hither till the twelfth century; yet the church has so many antiquities in it, that our late great scholar and physician, Sir Tho. Brown, thought it worth his while to write a whole book to collect the monuments and inscriptions in this church, to which I refer the reader.

The River Yare runs through this city, and is navigable thus far without the help of any art, (that is to say, without locks or stops) and being encreas'd by other waters, passes afterwarde thro' a long tract of the richest meadows, and the largest, taks them all together, that are any where in England, lying for thirty miles in length, from this city to Yarmouth, including the return of the said meadows on the bank of the Waveney south, and on the River Thyrn, north.

Here is one thing indeed strange in itself, and more so, in that history seems to be quite ignorant of the occasion of it. The River Waveney is a considerable river, and of a deep and full channel, navigable for large barges as high as Beccles; it runs for a course of about fifty miles, between the two counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, as a boundary to both; and pushing on, tho' with a gentle stream, towards the sea, no one would doubt, but, that when they see the river growing broader and deeper, and going directly towards the sea, even to the edge of the beach; that is to say, within a mile of the main ocean; no stranger, I say, but would expect to see its entrance into the sea at that place, and a noble harbour for ships at the mouth of it; when on a sudden, the land rising high by the sea-side, crosses the head of the river, like a dam, checks the whole course of it, and it returns, bending its course west, for two miles, or thereabouts; and then turning north, thro' another long course of meadows (joining to those just now mention'd) seeks out the River Yare, that it may join its water with her's, and find their way to the sea together.

Some of our historians tell a long fabulous story of this river's being once open, and a famous harbour for ships belonging to the town of Leostof adjoining; But that the town of Yarmouth envying the prosperity of the said town of Leostof , made war upon them; and that after many bloody battles, as well by sea as by land, they came at last to a decisive action at sea with their respective fleets, and the victory fell to the Yarmouth men, the Leostof fleet being overthrown and utterly destroyed; and that upon this victory, the Yarmouth men either actually did stop up the mouth of the said river, or oblig'd the vanquished Leostof men to do it themselves, and bound them never to attempt to open it again.

I believe my share of this story, and I recommend no more of it to the reader; adding, that I see no authority for the relation, neither do the relators agree either in the time of it, or in the particulars of the fact; that is to say, in whose reign, or under what government all this happened; in what year, and the like: So I satisfy my self with transcribing the matter of fact, and then leave it as I find it.

In this vast tract of meadows are fed a prodigious number of black cattle, which are said to be fed up for the fattest beef, tho' not the largest in England; and the quantity is so great, as that they not only supply the city of Norwich, the town of Yarmouth, and county adjacent, but send great quantities of them weekly in all the winter season, to London.

And this in particular is worthy remark, That the gross of all the Scots cattle which come yearly into England, are brought hither, being brought to a small village lying north of the city of Norwich, call'd St. Faiths, where the Norfolk grasiers go and buy them.

These Scots runts, so they call them, coming out of the cold and barren mountains of the Highlands in Scotland, feed so eagerly on the rich pasture in these marshes, that they thrive in an unusual manner, and grow monstrously fat; and the beef is so delicious for taste, that the inhabitants prefer 'em to the English cattle, which are much larger and fairer to look at, and they may very well do so: Some have told me, and I believe with good judgment, that there are above 40,000 of these Scots cattle fed in this country every year, and most of them in the said marshes between Norwich, Beccles, and Yarmouth.

YARMOUTH is an antient town, much older than Norwich; and at present, tho' not standing on so much ground, yet better built; much more compleat; for number of inhabitants, not much inferior; and for wealth, trade, and advantage of its situation, infinitely superior to Norwich.

It is plac'd on a peninsula between the River Yare and the sea; the two last lying parallel to one another, and the town in the middle: The river lies on the west-side of the town, and being grown very large and deep, by a conflux of all the rivers on this side the county, forms the haven; and the town facing to the west also, and open to the river, makes the finest key in England, if not in Europe, not inferior even to that of Marseilles itself.

The ships ride here so close, and as it were, keeping up one another, with their head-fasts on shore, that for half a mile together, they go cross the stream with their bolsprits over the land, their bowes, or heads, touching the very wharf; so that one may walk from ship to ship as on a floating bridge, all along by the shore-side: The key reaching from the drawbridge almost to the south-gate, is so spacious and wide, that in some places 'tis near one hundred yards from the houses to the wharf. In this pleasant and agreeable range of houses are some very magnificent buildings, and among the rest, the custom-house and town-hall, and some merchants houses, which look like little palaces, rather than the dwelling-houses of private men.

The greatest defect of this beautiful town, seems to be, that tho' it is very rich and encreasing in wealth and trade, and consequently in people, there is not room to enlarge the town by building; which would be certainly done much more than it is, but that the river on the land-side prescribes them, except at the north end without the gate; and even there the land is not very agreeable: But had they had a larger space within the gates, there would before now, have been many spacious streets of noble fine buildings erected, as we see is done in some other thriving towns in England, as at Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Frome, &c.

The key and the harbour of this town during the fishing-fair, as they call it, which is every Michaelmas, one sees the land cover'd with people, and the river with barks and boats, busy day and night, landing and carrying off the herrings, which they catch here in such prodigious quantities, that it is incredible. I happen'd to be there during their fishing-fair, when I told, in one tide, one hundred and ten barks and fishing vessels coming up the river, all loaden with herrings, and all taken the night before; and this was besides what was brought on shore on the Dean, (that is the seaside of the town) by open boats, which they call cobles,4 and which often bring in two or three last5 of fish at a time. The barks6 often bring in ten last a piece.

This fishing-fair begins on Michaelmas Day, and lasts all the month of October, by which time the herrings draw off to sea, shoot their spawn, and are no more fit for the merchants business; at least not those that are taken thereabouts.

The quantity of herrings that are catch'd in this season are diversly accounted for; some have said, that the towns of Yarmouth and Leostof only, have taken forty thousand last in a season: I will not venture to confirm that report; but this I have heard the merchants themselves say, (viz.) That they have cur'd, that is to say, hang'd and dry'd in the smoak 40,000 barrels of merchantable redherrings in one season, which is in itself (tho' far short of the other) yet a very considerable article; and it is to be added, that this is besides all the herrings consum'd in the country towns of both those populous counties, for thirty miles from the sea, whither very great quantities are carry'd every tide during the whole season.

But this is only one branch of the great trade carry'd on in this town; Another part of this commerce, is in the exporting these herrings after they are cur'd; and for this their merchants have a great trade to Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, Messina, and Venice; as also to Spain and Portugal, also exporting with their herring very great quantities of worsted stuffs, and stuffs made of silk and worsted; camblets, &c. the manufactures of the neighbouring city of Norwich, and the places adjacent.

Besides this, they carry on a very considerable trade with Holland, whose opposite neighbours they are; and a vast quantity of woollen manufactures they export to the Dutch every year. Also they have a fishing trade to the north-seas for white fish, which from the place are called the North-Sea cod.

They have also a considerable trade to Norway, and to the Baltick, from whence they bring back deals, and fir-timber, oaken plank, baulks, sparrs, oars, pitch, tar, hemp, flax, spruce canvas, and sail-cloth; with all manner of naval stores, which they generally have a consumption for in their own port, where they build a very great number of ships every year, besides re-fitting and repairing the old.

Add to this the coal trade between Newcastle and the river of Thames, in which they are so improv'd of late years, that they have now a greater share of it than any other town in England; and have quite work'd the Ipswich men out of it, who had formerly the chief share of the colliery in their hands.

For the carrying on all these trades, they must have a very great number of ships, either of their own, or employ'd by them; and it may in some measure be judg'd of by this, That in the year 1697, I had an account from the town register, that there was then 1123 sail of ships using the sea, and belong'd to the town, besides such ships as the merchants of Yarmouth might be concerned in, and be part-owners of, belonging to any other ports.

To all this I must add, without compliment to the town, or to the people, that the merchants, and even the generality of traders of Yarmouth, have a very good reputation in trade, as well abroad as at home, for men of fair and honourable dealing, punctual and just in their performing their engagements, and in discharging commissions; and their seamen, as well masters as mariners, are justly esteem'd among the ablest and most expert navigators in England.

This town however populous and large, was ever contained in one parish, and had but one church; but within these two years they have built another very fine church, near the south-end of the town. The old church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was built by that famous Bishop of Norwich, Will. Herbert, who flourished in the reign of William II, and Hen. I. William of Malmsbury calls him Vir pecuniosus ; he might have called him Vir Pecuniosissimus , considering the times he lived in, and the works of charity and munificence, which he has left as witnesses of his immense riches; for he built the cathedral church; the priory for sixty monks; the bishop's palace, and the parish-church of St. Leonard, all in Norwich; this great church at Yarmouth, the church of St. Margaret at Lynn, and of St. Mary at Elmham. He remov'd the episcopal see from Thetford to Norwich, and instituted the Cluniack Monks at Thetford, and gave them, or built them a house. This old church, is very large, and has a high spire, which is a useful sea-mark.

Here is one of the finest market-places, and the best serv'd with provisions, in England, London excepted, and the inhabitants are so multiplied in a few years, that they seem to want room in their town, rather than people to fill it, as I have observ'd above.

The streets are all exactly strait from north to south, with lanes or alleys, which they call rows, crossing them in strait lines also from east to west; so that it is the most regular built town in England, and seems to have been built all at once; Or, that the dimensions of the houses, and extent of the streets, were laid out by consent.

They have particular privileges in this town, and a jurisdiction by which they can try, condemn, and execute in especial cases, without waiting for a warrant from above; and this they exerted once very smartly, in executing a captain of one of the king's ships of war in the reign of King Charles II, for a murther committed in the street, the circumstance of which did indeed call for justice; but some thought they would not have ventur'd to exert their power as they did; however, I never heard that the government resented it, or blamed them for it.

It is also a very well governed town; and I have no where in England observed the Sabbath-Day so exactly kept, or the breach so continually punished as in this place, which I name to their honour.

Among all these regularities, it is no wonder if we do not find abundance of revelling, or that there is little encouragement to assemblies, plays, and gaming-meetings at Yarmouth, as in some other places; and yet I do not see that the ladies here come behind any of the neighbouring counties, either in beauty, breeding, or behaviour; to which may be added too, not at all to their disadvantage, that they generally go beyond them in fortunes.

From Yarmouth I resolv'd to pursue my first design, (viz.) To view the sea-side on this coast, which is particularly famous for being one of the most dangerous and most fatal to the sailors in all England, I may say in all Britain; and the more so, because of the great number of ships which are continually going and coming this way, in their passage between London and all the northern coasts of Great-Britain. Matters of antiquity are not my enquiry, but principally observations on the present state of things, and if possible, to give such accounts of things worthy of recording, as have never been observed before; and this leads me the more directly to mention the commerce and the navigation when I come to towns upon the coast, as what few writers have yet medled with.

The reason of the dangers of this particular coast, are found in the situation of the county, and in the course of ships sailing this way, which I shall describe as well as I can, thus; the shoar from the mouth of the river of Thames to Yarmouth Road, lies in a strait line from S.S.E. to N.N.W. the land being on the W. or larboard side.

From Winterton Ness, which is the utmost northerly point of land in the county of Norfolk, and about four miles beyond Yarmouth, the shoar falls off for near sixty miles to the west, as far as Lynn and Boston, till the shoar of Lincolnshire tends north again for about sixty miles more, as far as the Humber, whence the coast of Yorkshire, or Holderness, which is the East Riding, shoots out again into the sea, to the Spurn, and to Flambro' Head, as far east almost as the shoar of Norfolk had given back at Winterton, making a very deep gulph or bay, between those two points of Winterton and the Spurn Head; so that the ships going north, are oblig'd to stretch away to sea from Winterton Ness, and leaving the sight of land in that deep bay which I have mention'd, that reaches to Lynn, and the shoar of Lincolnshire, they go, I say, N. or still N.N.W. to meet the shoar of Holdemess, which I said runs out into the sea again at the Spurn; This they leave also and the first land they make, or desire to make, is called as above, Flambro' Head; so that Winterton Ness and Flambro' Head, are the two extremes of this course, there is, as I said, the Spurn Head indeed between; but as it lies too far in towards the Humber, they keep out to the north to avoid coming near it.

In like manner the ships which come from the north, leave the shoar at Flambro' Head, and stretch away S.S.E. for Yarmouth Roads; and the first land they make is Winterton Ness (as above). Now, the danger of the place is this; If the ships coming from the north are taken with a hard gale of wind from the S.E. or from any point between N.E. and S.E. so that they cannot, as the seamen call it, weather Winterton Ness, they are thereby kept in within that deep bay; and if the wind blows hard, are often in danger of running on shoar upon the rocks about Cromer, on the north coast of Norfolk, or stranding upon the flat shoar between Cromer and Wells; all the relief they have, is good ground tackle to ride it out, which is very hard to do there, the sea coming very high upon them; Or if they cannot ride it out then, to run into the bottom of the great bay I mention'd, to Lynn or Boston, which is a very difficult and desperate push: So that sometimes in this distress whole fleets have been lost here all together.

The like is the danger to ships going northward, if after passing by Winterton they are taken short with a north-east wind, and cannot put back into the Roads, which very often happens, then they are driven upon the same coast, and embay'd just as the latter. The danger on the north part of this bay is not the same, because if ships going or coming should be taken short on this side Flambro', there is the River Humber open to them, and several good roads to have recourse to, as Burlington Bay, Grimsby Road, and the Spurn Head, and others, where they ride under shelter.

The dangers of this place being thus consider'd, 'tis no wonder, that upon the shoar beyond Yarmouth, there are no less than four light-houses kept flaming every night, besides the lights at Castor, north of the town, and at Goulston S, all which are to direct the sailors to keep a good offing, in case of bad weather, and to prevent their running into Cromer Bay, which the seamen call the Devils Throat.

As I went by land from Yarmouth northward, along the shoar towards Cromer aforesaid, and was not then fully master of the reason of these things, I was surprised to see, in all the way from Winterton, that the farmers, and country people had scarce a barn, or a shed, or a stable; nay, not the pales of their yards, and gardens, not a hogstye, not a necessary-house, but what was built of old planks, beams, wales and timbers, &c. the. wrecks of ships, and ruins of mariners and merchants' fortunes; and in some places were whole yards fill'd, and piled up very high with the same stuff laid up, as I suppos'd to sell for the like building purposes, as there should be occasion.

About the year 1692, (I think it was that year) there was a melancholy example of what I have said of this place; a fleet of 200 sail of light colliers (so they call the ships bound northward empty to fetch coals from Newcastle to London) went out of Yarmouth Roads with a fair wind, to pursue their voyage, and were taken short with a storm of wind at N.E, after they were past Winterton Ness, a few leagues; some of them, whose masters were a little more wary than the rest, or perhaps, who made a better judgment of things, or who were not so far out as the rest, tack'd, and put back in time, and got safe into the roads; but the rest pushing on, in hopes to keep out to sea, and weather it, were by the violence of the storm driven back, when they were too far embay'd to weather Winterton Ness, as above; and so were forc'd to run west, every one shifting for themselves, as well as they could; some run away for Lyn Deeps but few of them, (the night being so dark) cou'd find their way in there; some but very few rid it out, at a distance; the rest being above 140 sail were all driven on shore, and dash'd to pieces, and very few of the people on board were sav'd: At the very same unhappy juncture, a fleet of loaden ships were coming from the north, and being just crossing the same bay, were forcibly driven into it, not able to weather the Ness, and so were involved in the same ruin as the light fleet was; also some coasting vessels loaden with corn from Lyn, and Wells, and bound for Holland, were with the same unhappy luck just come out, to begin their voyage, and some of them lay at anchor; these also met with the same misfortune, so that in the whole, above 200 sail of ships, and above a thousand people perished in the disaster of that one miserable night, very few escaping.

Cromer is a market town close to the shoar of this dangerous coast, I know nothing it is famous for (besides it's being thus the terror of the sailors) except good lobsters, which are taken on that coast in great numbers, and carryed to Norwich, and in such quantities sometimes too, as to be convey'd by sea to London.

Farther within the land, and between this place and Norwich, are several good market towns, and innumerable villages, all diligently applying to the woollen manufacture, and the country is exceeding fruitful and fertil, as well in corn as in pastures; particularly, (which was very pleasant to see) the phesants were in such great plenty, as to be seen in the stubbles like cocks and hens; a testimony tho' (by the way) that the county had more tradesmen than gentlemen in it; indeed this part is so entirely given up to industry, that what with the seafaring men on the one side, and the manufactures on the other, we saw no idle hands here, but every man busie on the main affair of life, that is to say, getting money: Some of the principal of these towns are Alsham, North Walsham, South Walsham, Wursted, Caston, Reepham, Holt, Saxthorp, St. Faith's, Blikling, and many others. Near the last Sir John Hobart, of an antient family in this county, has a noble seat, but old built. This is that St. Faiths, where the drovers bring their black cattle to sell to the Norfolk graziers, as is observed above. From Cromer, we ride on the strand or open shoar to Weyburn Hope, the shoar so flat that in some places the tide ebbs out near two miles: From Weyburn west lyes Clye, where there are large salt-works, and very good salt made, which is sold all over the county, and some times sent to Holland, and to the Baltick: From Clye, we go to Masham, and to Wells, all towns on the coast, in each whereof there is a very considerable trade cary'd on with Holland for corn, which that part of the county is very full of: I say nothing of the great trade driven here from Holland, back again to England, because I take it to be a trade carryed on with much less honesty than advantage; especially while the clandestine trade, or the art of smuggling was so much in practice; what it is now, is not to my present purpose.

Near this town lye the Seven Burnhams, as they are call'd, that is to say seven small towns, all called by the same name, and each employ'd in the same trade of carrying corn to Holland, and bringing back------&c.

From hence we turn to the S.W. to Castle-Rising, an old decay'd burrough town with perhaps not ten families in it, which yet (to the scandal of our prescription right) sends two members to the British Parliament, being as many as the city of Norwich itself, or any town in the kingdom, London excepted can do.

On our left we see Walsingham, an antient town, famous for the old ruins of a monastery of note there, and the shrine of our Lady, as noted as that of St. Thomas-a-Becket at Canterbury, and for little else.

Near this place are the seats of the two ally'd families of the Lord Viscount Townsend, and Robert Walpole, Esq; the latter at this time one of the lords commissioners of the Treasury, and minister of state, and the former one of the principal secretaries of state to King GEORGE, of which again.

From hence we went to Lyn, another rich and populous thriving port-town. It stands on more ground than the town of Yarmouth, and has I think parishes, yet I cannot allow that it has more people than Yarmouth, if so many. It is a beautiful well built, and well situated town, at the mouth of the River Ouse, and has this particular attending it, which gives it a vast advantage in trade; namely, that there is the greatest extent of inland navigation here, of any port in England, London excepted. The reason whereof is this, that there are more navigable rivers empty themselves here into the sea, including the Washes which are branches of the same port, than at any one mouth of waters in England, except the Thames and the Humber. By these navigable rivers the merchants of Lynn supply about six counties wholly, and three counties in part, with their goods, especially wine and coals, (viz.) By the Little Ouse, they send their goods to Brandon, and Thetford, by the Lake to Mildenhall, Barton-Mills, and St. Edmunds-Bury; by the river Grant to Cambridge, by the Great Ouse it self to Ely, to St. Ives, to St. Neots, to Barford-Bridge, and to Bedford; by the River Nyne, to Peterboro'; by the dreyns and washes to Wysbich, to Spalding, Market-Deeping, and Stamford; besides the several counties, into which these goods are carryed by land carriage, from the places where the navigation of those rivers ends; which has given rise to this observation on the town of Lynn, that they bring in more coals, than any sea-port between London and Newcastle; and import more wines than any port in England, except London and Bristol; their trade to Norway, and to the Baltick Sea is also great in proportion, and of late years they have extended their trade farther to the southward.

Here are more gentry, and consequently is more gayety in this town than in Yarmouth, or even in Norwich it self; the place abounding in very good company.

The situation of this town renders it capable of being made very strong, and in the late wars it was so; a line of fortification being drawn round it at a distance from the walls; the ruins, or rather remains of which works appear very fair to this day; nor would it be a hard matter to restore the bastions, with the ravelins and counterscarp, upon any sudden emergency, to a good state of defence; and that in a little time, a sufficient number of workmen being employed, especially because they are able to fill all their ditches with water from the sea, in such a manner as that it cannot be drawn off.

There is, in the market-place of this town, a very fine statue of King William on horseback, erected at the charge of the town. The Owse is mighty large and deep, close to the very-town itself, and ships of good burthen may come up to the key; but there is no bridge, the stream being too strong, and the bottom moorish and unsound: Nor for the same reason is the anchorage computed the best in the world; but there are good roads farther down.

They pass over here in boats into the fenn-country, and over the famous washes into Lincolnshire, but the passage is very dangerous and uneasy, and where passengers often miscarry and are lost; but then it is usually on their venturing at improper times, and without the guides, which if they would be persuaded not to do, they would very rarely fail of going or coining safe.

From Lynn, I bent my course to Downham, where is an ugly wooden bridge over the Ouse; from whence we pass'd the fenn country to Wisbich, but saw nothing that way to tempt our curiosity but deep roads, innumerable dreyns and dykes of water, all navigable, and a rich soil, the land bearing a vast quantity of good hemp; but a base unwholsom air; so we came back to Ely, whose cathedral, standing in a level flat country, is seen far and wide; and of which town, when the minster, so they call it, is describ'd, every thing remarkable is said that there is room to say; and of the minster this is the most remarkable thing that I could hear, namely, that some of it is so antient, totters so much with every gust of wind, looks so like a decay, and seems so near it, that when ever it does fall, all that 'tis likely will be thought strange in it, will be, that it did not fall a hundred years sooner.

From hence we came over the Ouse, and in a few miles to Newmarket: In our way near Snaybell we saw a noble seat of the late Admiral Russel, now Earl of Orford, a name made famous by the glorious victory obtain'd under his command over the French fleet, and the burning their ships at La Hogue; a victory equal in glory to, and infinitely more glorious to the English nation in particular, than that at Blenheim, and above all more to the particular advantage of the Confederacy, because it so broke the heart of the naval power of France, that they have not fully recover'd it to this day: But of this victory it must be said, it was owing to the haughty, rash, and insolent orders given by the King of France to his admiral, (viz.) To fight the Confederate fleet wherever he found them, without leaving room for him to use due caution if he found them too strong; which pride of France was doubtless a fate upon them, and gave a cheap victory to the Confederates; the French coming down rashly, and with the most impolitick bravery, with about five and forty sail to attack between seventy and eighty sail; by which means they met their ruin; whereas, had their own fleet been join'd, it might have cost more blood to have mastered them, if it had been done at all.

The situation of this house is low, and on the edge of the fenn-country, but the building is very fine, the avenues noble, and the gardens perfectly finished; the apartments also are rich; and I see nothing wanting but a family and heirs, to sustain the glory and inheritance of the illustrious ancestor, who rais'd it, sed caret pedibus , these are wanting.

Being come to Newmarket in the month of October, I had the opportunity to see the horse-races; and a great concourse of the nobility and gentry, as well from London as from all parts of England; but they were all so intent, so eager, so busy upon the sharping part of the sport, their wagers and bets, that to me they seem'd just as so many horse-coursers in Smithfield, descending (the greatest of them) from their high dignity and quality, to picking one another's pockets, and biting one another as much as possible, and that with such eagerness, as that it might be said they acted without respect to faith, honour, or good manners.

There was Mr. Frampton, the oldest, and as some say, the cunningest jockey in England, one day he lost 1000 guineas, the next he won two thousand; and so alternately he made as light of throwing away five hundred or one thousand pounds at a time, as other men do of their pocket-money, and as perfectly calm, cheerful, and unconcerned, when he had lost one thousand pounds, as when he had won it. On the other side, there was Sir R------Fagg, of Sussex, of whom fame says he has the most in him and the least to shew for it, relating to jockeyship, of any man there; yet he often carry'd the prize; his horses, they said, were all cheats, how honest soever their master was; for he scarce ever produced a horse but he look'd like what he was not, and was what no body cou'd expect him to be: If he was as light as the wind, and could fly like a meteor, he was sure to look as clumsie, and as dirty, and as much like a cart-horse as all the cunning of his master and the grooms could make him; and just in this manner he bit some of the greatest gamesters in the field.

I was so sick of the jockeying part, that I left the crowd about the posts, and pleased my self with observing the horses; how the creatures yielded to all the arts and managements of their masters; how they took their airings in sport, and play'd with the daily heats which they ran over the course before the grand day; but how! as knowing the difference equally with their riders, would they exert their utmost strength at the time of the race itself; and that to such an extremity, that one or two of them died in the stable when they came to be rubb'd after the first heat.

Here I fansy'd myself in the Circus Maximus at Rome, seeing the antient games, and the racings of the chariots and horsemen; and in this warmth of my imagination I pleas'd and diverted myself more and in a more noble manner, than I could possibly do in the crowds of gentlemen at the weighing and starting posts, and at their coming in; or at their meetings at the coffee-houses and gaming-tables after the races were over, where there was little or nothing to be seen, but what was the subject of just reproach to them, and reproof from every wise man that look'd upon them. N.B. Pray take it with you as you go, you see no ladies at New-Market, except a few of the neighbouring gentlemen's families who come in their coaches on any particular day to see a race and so go home again directly.

As I was pleasing myself with what was to be seen here, I went in the intervals of the sport to see the fine seats of the gentlemen in the neighbouring county, for this part of Suffolk, being an open champain country, and a healthy air, is form'd for pleasure, and all kinds of country diversions; nature, as it were, inviting the gentlemen to visit her, where she was fully prepar'd to receive them; in conformity to which kind summons they came; for the country is, as it were, cover'd with fine palaces of the nobility, and pleasant seats of the gentlemen.

The Earl of Orford's house I have mentioned already, the next is Euston Hall, the seat of the Duke of Grafton; it lies in the open country towards the side of Norfolk, not far from Thetford; a place capable of all that is pleasant and delightful in nature, and improved by art to every extreme that Nature is able to produce.

From thence I went to Rushbrook, formerly the seat of the noble family of Jermyns, lately Lord Dover, and now of the house of Davers. Here Nature, for the time I was there, droopt, and veil'd all the beauties of which she once boasted; the family being in tears, and the house shut up; Sir Robert Davers, the head thereof, and knight of the shire for the county of Suffolk, and who had married the eldest daughter of the late Lord Dover, being just dead, and the corpse lying there in its funeral form of ceremony, not yet buried; yet all look'd lovely in their sorrow, and a numerous issue promising and grown up, intimated that the family of Davers would still flourish, and that the beauties of Rushbrook, the mansion of the family, were not form'd with so much art in vain, or to die with the present possessor.

After this we saw Brently, the seat of the Earl of Dysert, and the antient palace of my Lord Cornwallis, with several others of exquisite situation, and adorn'd with the beauties both of art and nature; so that I think, any traveller from abroad, who would desire to see how the English gentry live, and what pleasures they enjoy, should come into Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and take but a light circuit among the country seats of the gentlemen on this side only, and they would be soon convinc'd, that not France, no not Italy itself, can out-do them, in proportion to the climate they lived in.

I had still the county of Cambridge to visit, to compleat this tour of the eastern part of England, and of that I come now to speak.

We enter Cambridgeshire out of Suffolk with all the advantage in the world; the county beginning upon those pleasant and agreeable plains call'd New Market-Heath, where passing the Devil's Ditch, which has nothing worth notice but its name, and that but fabulous too, from the hills call'd Gogmagog, we see a rich and pleasant vale westward, covered with corn-fields, gentlemen's seats, villages, and at a distance, to crown all the rest, that antient and truly famous town and university of Cambridge; capital of the county, and receiving its name from, if not as some say, giving name to it; for if it be true---that the town takes its name of Cambridge from its bridge over the River Cam; then certainly the shire or county, upon the division of England into counties, had its name from the town, and Cambridgeshire signifies no more or less than the county of which Cambridge is the capital town.

As my business is not to lay out the geographical situation of places, I say nothing of the buttings and boundings of this county: It lies on the edge of the great level, call'd by the people here the fenn-country; and great part, if not all, the Isle of Ely, lies in this county and Norfolk: The rest of Cambridgeshire is almost wholly a corn country; and of that corn five parts in six of all they sow, is barly, which is generally sold to Ware and Royston, and other great malting-towns in Hertfordshire, and is the fund from whence that vast quantity of malt, call'd Hertfordshire malt is made, which is esteem'd the best in England. As Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk, are taken up in manufacturing, and fam'd for industry, this county has no manufacture at all; nor are the poor, except the husbandmen, fam'd for any thing so much as idleness and sloth, to their scandal be it spoken; what the reason of it is, I know not.

It is scarce possible to talk of anything in Cambridgeshire but Cambridge itself; whether it be that the county has so little worth speaking of in it, or that the town has so much, that I leave to others; however, as I am making modern observations, not writing history, I shall look into the county as well as into the colleges, for what I have to say.

As I said, I first had a view of Cambridge from Gogmagog Hills: I am to add, that there appears on the mountain that goes by this name, an antient camp, or fortification, that lies on the top of the hill, with a double or rather treble rampart and ditch, which most of our writers say was neither Roman nor Saxon, but British: I am to add, that King James II. caused a spacious stable to be built in the area of this camp, for his running-horses, and made old Mr. Frampton, whom I mention'd above, master or inspector of them: The stables remain still there, tho' they are not often made use of. As we descended westward, we saw the fenn country on our right, almost all cover'd with water like a sea, the Michaelmas rains having been very great that year, they had sent down great floods of water from the upland countries, and those fenns being, as may be very properly said, the sink of no less than thirteen counties; that is to say, that all the water, or most part of the water of thirteen counties, falls into them, they are often thus overflow'd. The rivers which thus empty themselves into these fenns, and which thus carry off the water, are the Cam or Grant, the Great Ouse, and Little Ouse, the Nene, the Welland, and the river which runs from Bury to Milden-Hall; the counties which these rivers drain, as above, are as follows,

Lincoln, Warwick, Norfolk,
*Cambridge, Oxford, Suffolk,
*Huntingdon, Leicester, Essex.
*Bedford, *Northampton,
Buckingham, *Rutland,

N. Those mark'd with (*) empty all their waters this way, the rest but in part.

In a word, all the water of the middle part of England which does not run into the Thames or the Trent, comes down into these fenns.

In these fenns are abundance of those admirable pieces of art call'd duckoys; that is to say, Places so adapted for the harbour and shelter of wild-fowl, and then furnish'd with a breed of those they call decoy-ducks, who are taught to allure and entice their land to the places they belong to, that it is incredible what quantities of wild-fowl of all sorts, duck, mallard, teal, widgeon, &c. they take in those duckoys every week, during the season; it may indeed be guess'd at a little by this, that there is a duckoy not far from Ely, which pays to the landlord, Sir Tho. Hare 500l. a year rent, besides the charge of maintaining a great number of servants for the management; and from which duckoy alone they assured me at St. Ives, (a town on the Ouse, where the fowl they took was always brought to be sent to London;) that they generally sent up three thousand couple a week.

There are more of these about Peterbro' who send the fowl up twice a week in waggon loads at a time, whose waggons before the late Act of Parliament to regulate carriers, I have seen drawn by ten, and twelve horses a piece, they were loaden so heavy.

As these fenns appear cover'd with water, so I observ'd too, that they generally at this latter part of the year appear also cover'd with foggs, so that when the Downs and higher grounds of the adjacent country were gilded by the beams of the sun, the Isle of Ely look'd as if wrapp'd up in blankets, and nothing to be seen, but now and then, the lanthorn or cupola of Ely Minster.

One could hardly see this from the hills and not pity the many thousands of families that were bound to or confin'd in those foggs, and had no other breath to draw than what must be mix'd with those vapours, and that steam which so universally overspread the country: But notwithstanding this, the people, especially those that are used to it, live unconcern'd, and as healthy as other folks, except now and then an ague, which they make light of, and there are great numbers of very antient people among them.

I now draw near to Cambridge, to which I fansy I look as if I was afraid to come, having made so many circumlocutions beforehand; but I must yet make another digression before I enter the town; (for in my way, and as I came in from New Market, about the beginning of September;) I cannot omit, that I came necessarily through Sturbridge Fair, which was then in its height.

If it is a diversion worthy a book to treat of trifles, such as the gayety of Bury Fair, it cannot be very unpleasant, especially to the trading part of the world, to say something of this fair, which is not only the greatest in the whole nation, but in the world; nor, if I may believe those who have seen them all, is the fair at Leipsick in Saxony, the mart at Frankfort on the Main, or the fairs at Neuremberg, or Augsburg, any way to compare to this fair at Sturbridge.

It is kept in a large corn-field, near Casterton, extending from the side of the River Cam, towards the road, for about half a mile square.

If the husbandmen who rent the land, do not get their corn off before a certain day in August, the fair-keepers may trample it under foot and spoil it to build their booths, or tents; for all the fair is kept in tents, and booths: On the other hand, to ballance that severity, if the fair-keepers have not done their business of the fair, and remov'd and clear'd the field by another certain day in September, the plowmen may come in again, with plow and cart, and overthrow all and trample it into the dirt; and as for the filth, dung, straw, &c. necessarily left by the fair-keepers, the quantity of which is very great, it is the farmers fees, and makes them full amends for the trampling, riding, and carting upon, and hardening the ground.

It is impossible to describe all the parts and circumstances of this fair exactly; the shops are placed in rows like streets, whereof one is call'd Cheapside; and here, as in several other streets, are all sorts of trades, who sell by retale, and who come principally from London with their goods; scarce any trades are omitted, goldsmiths, toyshops, brasiers, turners, milleners, haberdashers, hatters, mercers, drapers, pewtrers, china-warehouses, and in a word all trades that can be named in London; with coffee-houses, taverns, brandy-shops, and eating-houses, innumerable, and all in tents, and booths, as above.

This great street reaches from the road, which as I said goes from Cambridge to New-Market, turning short out of it to the right towards the river, and holds in a line near half a mile quite down to the river-side: In another street parallel with the road are like rows of booths, but larger, and more intermingled with wholesale dealers, and one side, passing out of this last street to the left hand, is a formal great square, form'd by the largest booths, built in that form, and which they call the Duddery; whence the name is deriv'd, and what its signification is, I could never yet learn, tho' I made all possible search into it. The area of this square is about 80 to a 100 yards, where the dealers have room before every booth to take down, and open their packs, and to bring in waggons to load and unload.

This place is separated, and peculiar to the wholesale dealers in the woollen manufacture. Here the Booths, or tents, are of a vast extent, have different apartments, and the quantities of goods they bring are so great, that the insides of them look like another Blackwell-Hall, being as vast ware-houses pil'd up with goods to the top. In this Duddery, as I have been inform'd, there have been sold one hundred thousand pounds worth of woollen manufactures in less than a week's time, besides the prodigious trade carry'd on here, by wholesale-men, from London, and all parts of England, who transact their business wholly in their pocket-books, and meeting their chapmen from all parts, make up their accounts, receive money chiefly in bills, and take orders: These they say exceed by far the sales of goods actually brought to the fair, and deliver'd in kind; it being frequent for the London wholesale men to carry back orders from their dealers for ten thousand pounds worth of goods a man, and some much more. This especially respects those people, who deal in heavy goods, as wholesale grocers, salters, brasiers, iron-merchants, wine-merchants, and the like; but does not exclude the dealers in woollen manufactures, and especially in mercery goods of all sorts, the dealers in which generally manage their business in this manner.

Here are clothiers from Hallifax, Leeds, Wakefield and Huthersfield in Yorkshire, and from Rochdale, Bury, &c. in Lancashire, with vast quantities of Yorkshire cloths, kerseyes, pennistons, cottons, &c. with all sorts of Manchester ware, fustians, and things made of cotton wool; of which the quantity is so great, that they told me there were near a thousand horse-packs of such goods from that side of the country, and these took up a side and half of the Duddery at least; also a part of a street of booths were taken up with upholsterer's ware, such as tickings, sackings, Kidderminster stuffs, blankets rugs, quilts, &c.

In the Duddery I saw one ware-house, or booth, with six apartments in it, all belonging to a dealer in Norwich stuffs only, and who they said had there above twenty thousand pounds value, in those goods, and no other.

Western goods had their share here also, and several booths were fill'd as full with serges, du-roys, druggets, shalloons, cantaloons, Devonshire kersies, &c. from Exeter, Taunton, Bristol, and other parts west, and some from London also.

But all this is still outdone, at least in show, by two articles, which are the peculiars of this fair, and do not begin till the other part of the fair, that is to say for the woollen manufacture, begins to draw to a close: These are the WOOLL, and the HOPS, as for the hops, there is scarce any price fix'd for hops in England, till they know how they sell at Sturbridge Fair; the quantity that appears in the fair is indeed prodigious, and they, as it were, possess a large part of the field on which the fair is kept, to themselves; they are brought directly from Chelmsford in Essex, from CanterburyMaidstone in Kent, and from Farnham in Surrey, besides what are brought from London, the growth of those, and other places.

Enquiring why this fair should be thus, of all other places in England, the center of that trade; and so great a quantity of so bulky a commodity be carryed thither so far: I was answer'd by one thoroughly acquainted with that matter thus: The hops, said he, for this part of England, grow principally in the two counties of Surrey and Kent, with an exception only to the town of Chelmsford in Essex, and there are very few planted any where else.

There are indeed in the west of England some quantities growing; as at Wilton, near Salisbury; at Hereford and Broomsgrove, near Wales, and the like; but the quantity is inconsiderable, and the places remote, so that none of them come to London.

As to the north of England they formerly used but few hops there, their drink being chiefly pale smooth ale, which required no hops, and consequently they planted no hops in all that part of England, north of Trent; nor did I ever see one acre of hop-ground planted beyond Trent, in my observations; but as for some years past, they not only brew great quantities of beer in the north; but also use hops in the brewing then-ale much more than they did before; so they all come south of Trent to buy their hops; and here being vast quantities bought, 'tis great part of their back carriage into Yorkshire, and Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, and all those counties; nay, of late, since the Union, even to Scotland it self; for I must not omit here also to mention, that the river Grant, or Cam, which runs close by the N.W. side of the fair in its way from Cambridge to Ely, is navigable, and that by this means, all heavy goods are brought even to the fair-field, by water carriage from London, and other parts; first to the port of Lynn, and then in barges up the Ouse, from the Ouse into the Cam, and so, as I say, to the very edge of the fair.

In like manner great quantities of heavy goods, and the hops among the rest, are sent from the fair to Lynn by water, and shipped there for the Humber, to Hull, York, &c. and for New-Castle upon Tyne, and by New-Castle, even to Scotland itself. Now as there is still no planting of hops in the north, tho' a great consumption, and the consumption increasing daily, this, says my friend, is one reason why at Sturbridge Fair there is so great a demand for the hops: he added, that besides this, there were very few hops, if any worth naming, growing in all the counties even on this side Trent, which were above forty miles from London; those counties depending on Sturbridge Fair for their supply, so the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Northampton, Lincoln, Leicester, Rutland, and even to Stafford, Warwick and Worcestershire, bought most if not all of their hops at Sturbridge Fair.

These are the reasons why so great a quantity of hops are seen at this fair, as that it is incredible, considering too, how remote from this fair the growth of them is, as above.

This is likewise a testimony of the prodigious resort of the trading people of all parts of England to this fair; the quantity of hops that have been sold at one of these fairs is diversly reported, and some affirm it to be so great, that I dare not copy after them; but without doubt it is a surprising account, especially in a cheap year.

The next article brought hither, is wool, and this of several sorts, but principally fleece wool, out of Lincolnshire, where the longest staple is found; the sheep of those countries being of the largest breed.

The buyers of this wool, are chiefly indeed the manufacturers of Norfolk and Suffolk, and Essex, and it is a prodigious quantity they buy.

Here I saw what I have not observ'd in any other country of England, namely, a pocket of wool. This seems to be first called, so in mockery, this pocket being so big, that it loads a whole waggon, and reaches beyond the most extream parts of it, hanging over both before, and behind, and these ordinarily weigh a ton or 25 hundred weight of wool, all in one bag.

The quantity of wool only, which has been sold at this place at one fair, has been said to amount to fifty or sixty thousand, pounds in value, some say a great deal more.

By these articles a stranger may make some guess, at the immense trade carry'd on at this place; what prodigious quantities of goods are bought, and sold here, and what a, confluence of people are seen here from all parts of England.

I might go on here to speak of several other sorts of English, manufactures, which are brought hither to be sold; as all sorts of wrought iron, and brass ware from Birmingham; edg'd tools, knives, &c. from Sheffield; glass ware, and stockings, from Nottingham, and Leicester; and an infinite throng of other things of smaller value, every morning.

To attend this fair, and the prodigious conflux of people, which come to it, there are sometimes no less than fifty hackney coaches, which come from London, and ply night and morning to carry the people to and from Cambridge; for there the gross of the people lodge; nay, which is still more strange, there are wherries brought from London on waggons to plye upon the little river Cam, and to row people up and down from the town, and from the fair as occasion presents.

It is not to be wondered at, if the town of Cambridge cannot receive, or entertain the numbers of people that come to this fair; not Cambridge only, but all the towns round are full; nay, the very barns, and stables are turn'd into inns, and made as fit as they can to lodge the meaner sort of people: As for the people in the fair, they all universally eat, drink, and sleep in their booths, and tents; and the said booths are so intermingled with taverns, coffee-houses, drinking-houses, eating-houses, cooks-shops, &c. and all in tents too; and so many butchers, and higglers from all the neighbouring counties come into the fair every morning, with beef, mutton, fowls, butter, bread, cheese, eggs, and such things; and go with them from tent to tent, from door to door, that there's no want of any provisions of any kind, either dress'd, or undress'd.

In a word, the fair is like a well fortify'd city, and there is the least disorder and confusion (I believe) that can be seen any where, with so great a concourse of people.

Towards the latter end of the fair, and when the great hurry of wholesale business begins to be over, the gentry come in, from all parts of the county round; and tho' they come for their diversion; yet 'tis not a little money they lay out; which generally falls to the share of the retailers, such as toy-shops, goldsmiths, brasiers, ironmongers, turners, milleners, mercers, &c. and some loose coins, they reserve for the puppet-shows, drolls, rope-dancers, and such like; of which there is no want, though not considerable like the rest: The last day of the fair is the horse-fair where the whole is clos'd with both horse and foot-races, to divert the meaner sort of people only, for nothing considerable is offer'd of that kind: Thus ends the whole fair and in less than a week more there is scarce any sign left that there has been such a thing there: except by the heaps of dung and straw; and other rubbish which is left behind, trod into the earth, and which is as good as a summer's fallow for dunging to the land; and as I have said above, pays the husbandmen well for the use of it.

I should have mention'd, that here is a court of justice always open, and held every day in a shed built on purpose in the fair; this is for keeping the peace, and deciding controversies in matters deriving from the business of the fair: The magistrates of the town of Cambridge are judges in this court, as being in their jurisdiction, or they holding it by special priviledge: Here they determine matters in a summary way, as is practis'd in those we call Pye-Powder Courts in other places, or as a court of conscience; and they have a final authority without appeal.

I come now to the town, and university of Cambridge; I say the town and university, for tho' they are blended together in the situation, and the colleges, halls, and houses for literature are promiscuously scatter'd up and down among the other parts, and some even among the meanest of the other buildings; as Magdalen College over the bridge, is in particular; yet they are all encorporated together, by the name of the university, and are govern'd apart, and distinct from the town, which they are so intermixed with.

As their authority is distinct from the town, so are their priviledges, customs, and government; they choose representatives, or Members of Parliament for themselves, and the town does the like for themselves, also apart.

The town is govern'd by a mayor, and aldermen. The university by a chancellor, and vice-chancellor, &c. Tho' their dwellings are mix'd, and seem a little confus'd, their authority is not so; in some cases the vice-chancellor may concern himself in the town, as in searching houses for the scholars at improper hours, removing scandalous women, and the like.

But as the colleges are many, and the gentlemen entertain'd in them are a very great number, the trade of the town very much depends upon them, and the tradesmen may justly be said to get their bread by the colleges; and this is the surest hold the university may be said to have of the townsmen and by which they secure the dependence of the town upon them, and consequently their submission.

I remember some years ago a brewer, who being very rich and popular in the town, and one of their magistrates, had in several things so much opposed the university, and insulted their vice-chancellor, or other heads of houses, that in short the university having no other way to exert themselves, and show their resentment, they made a by-law or order among themselves, that for the future they would not trade with him; and that none of the colleges, halls, &c. would take any more beer of him; and what follow'd? The man indeed brav'd it out a while, but when he found he cou'd not obtain a revocation of the order, he was fain to leave off his brewhouse, and if I remember right, quitted the town.

Thus I say, interest gives them authority; and there are abundance of reasons why the town shou'd not disoblige the university, as there are some also on the other hand, why the university shou'd not differ to any extremity with the town; nor, such is their prudence, do they let any disputes between them run up to any extremities, if they can avoid it. As for society; to any man who is a lover of learning, or of learn'd men, here is the most agreeable under heaven; nor is there any want of mirth and good company of other kinds: But 'tis to the honour of the university to say, that the governors so well understand their office, and the governed their duty, that here is very little encouragement given to those seminaries of crime the assemblies, which are so much boasted of in other places.

Again, as dancing, gaming, intriguing, are the three principal articles which recommend those assemblies; and that generally the time for carrying on affairs of this kind, is the night, and sometimes all night; a time as unseasonable as scandalous; add to this, that the orders of the university admit no such excesses: I therefore say, as this is the case, 'tis to the honour of the whole body of the university, that no encouragement is given to them here.

As to the antiquity of the university in this town, the originals and founders of the several colleges, their revenues, laws, government and governors, they are so effectually and so largely treated by other authors, and are so foreign to the familiar design of these letters, that I refer my readers to Mr. Camden's Britannia , and the author of the Antiquities of Cambridge , and other such learned writers, by whom they may be fully informed.

The present vice-chancellor is Dr. Snape, formerly master of Eaton School near Windsor; and famous for his dispute with and evident advantage over the late Bishop of Bangor, in the time of his government; the dispute between the university and the master of Trinity College has been brought to a head, so as to employ the pens of the learned on both sides; but at last prosecuted in a judicial way, so as to deprive Dr. Bently of all his dignities and offices in the university; but the Dr. flying to the royal protection, the university is under a writ of mandamus, to shew cause why they do not restore the doctor again, to which it seems they demur, and that demur has not, that we hear, been argued, at least when these sheets were sent to the press; what will be the issue time must shew.

From Cambridge the road lies north-west, on the edge of the fenns, to Huntingdon, where it joins the Great North-Road; on this side, 'tis all an agreeable corn country, as above; adorn'd with several seats of gentlemen, but the chief is the noble house, seat, or mansion of Wimple, or Wimple-Hall, formerly built at a vast expence, by the late Earl of Radnor; adorn'd with all the natural beauties of situation; and to which was added all the most exquisite contrivances which the best heads cou'd invent to make it artificially as well as naturally pleasant.

However, the fate of the Radnor family so directing, it was bought, with the whole estate about it, by the late Duke of Newcastle ; in a partition of whose immense estate, it fell to the Right Honourable the Lord Harley, (son and heir apparent of the present Earl of Oxford and Mortimer) in right of the Lady Harriot Cavendish, only daughter of the said Duke of Newcastle, who is married to his lordship, and brought him this estate, and many other, sufficient to denominate her the richest heiress in Great-Britain.

Here his lordship resides, and has already so recommended himself to this country, as to be by a great majority chosen knight of the shire for the county of Cambridge.

From Cambridge, my design obliging me, and the direct road, in part concurring, I came back thro' the west part of the county of Essex, and at Saffron Walden I saw the ruins of the once largest and most magnificent pile in all this part of England, (viz.) Audley End; built by, and decaying with the noble Dukes and Earls of Suffolk.

A little north of this part of the country rises the River Stour, which for a course of fifty miles or more, parts the two counties of Suffolk and Essex; passing thro' or near Haveril, Clare, Cavendish, Halsted, Sudbury, Buers, Nayland, Stretford, Dedham, Manningtree, and into the sea at Harwich; assisting by its waters to make one of the best harbours for shipping that is in Great-Britain; I mean Orwell Haven, or Harwich, of which I have spoken largely already.

As we came on this side we saw at a distance Braintree and Bocking, two towns, large, rich and populous, and made so originally by the bay trade, of which I have spoken at large at Colchester, and which flourishes still among them.

The manour of Braintree I found descended by purchase, to the name of Olmeus, the son of a London merchant of the same name; making good what I had observed before, of the great number of such who have purchased estates in this county.

Near this town is Felsted, a small place, but noted for a. free-school, of an antient foundation; for many years under the mastership of the late reverend Mr. Lydiat, and brought by him to the meridian of its reputation: 'Tis now supplied, and that very worthily, by the reverend Mr, Hutchins.

Near to this is the priory of Lees, a delicious seat of the late Dukes of Manchester, but sold by the present duke to the Dutchess Dowager of Bucks; his grace the Duke of Manchester removing to his yet finer seat of Kimbolton in Northamptonshire, the antient mansion of the family. From hence keeping the London road I came to Chelmsford, mentioned before, and Ingerstone, five miles west, which I mention again; because in the parish-church of this town are to be seen the antient monuments of the noble family of Petre; whose seat, and a large estate, lie in the neighbourhood; and whose whole family, by a constant series of beneficent actions to the poor, and bounty upon all charitable occasions, have gain'd an affectionate esteem thro' all that part of the country, such as no prejudice of religion could wear out, or perhaps ever may; and I must confess, I think, need not; for good and great actions command our respect, let the opinions of the persons be otherwise what they will.

From hence we crossed the country to the great forest, called Epping Forest, reaching almost to London. The country on that side of Essex is called the Roodings, I suppose because there are no less than ten towns almost together, called by the name of Roding, and is famous for good land, good malt, and dirty roads; the latter indeed in the winter are scarce passable for horse or man. In the midst of this we see Chipping Onger, Hatfield Broad-Oak, Epping, and many forest-towns, fam'd, as I have said, for husbandry and good malt; but of no other note. On the south-side of the county is Waltham-Abbey; the ruins of the abbey remain; and tho' antiquity is not my proper business, I cou'd not but observe, that King Harold, slain in the great battle in Sussex against William the Conqueror, lies buried here; his body being begg'd by his mother, the Conqueror allowed it to be carried hither; but no monument was, as I can find, built for him, only a flat grave-stone, on which was engraven, Harold Infoelix.

From hence I came over the forest again, that is to say, over the lower or western part of it, where it is spangled with fine villages, and these villages fill'd with fine seats, most of them built by the citizens of London, as I observed before; but the lustre of them seems to be entirely swallow'd up in the magnificent palace of the Lord Castlemain, whose father, Sir Josiah Child, as it were, prepar'd it in his life for the design of his son, tho' altogether unforeseen; by adding to the advantage of its situation innumerable rows of trees, planted in curious order for avenues and visto's, to the house, all leading up to the place where the old house stood, as to a center.

In the place adjoining, his lordship, while he was yet Sir Richard Child only, and some years before he began the foundation of his new house, laid out the most delicious as well as most spacious pieces of ground for gardens that is to be seen in all this part of England. The green-house is an excellent building fit to entertain a prince; 'tis furnish'd with stoves and artificial places for heat from an apartment, in which is a bagnio, and other conveniences, which render it both useful and pleasant; and these gardens have been so the just admiration of the world, that it has been the general diversion of the citizens to go out to see them, till the crowds grew too great, and his lordship was oblig'd to restrain his servants from shewing them, except on one or two days in a week only.

The house is built since these gardens have been finish'd: The building is all of Portland stone in the front, which makes it look extremely glorious and magnificent at a distance; it being the particular property of that stone, except in the streets of London, where it is tainted and ting'd with the smoak of the city, to grow whiter and whiter the longer it stands in the open air.

As the front of the house opens to a long row of trees, reaching to the great road at Leighton Stone; so the back-face, or front, if that be proper, respects the gardens, and with an easy descent lands you upon the terras, from whence is a most beautiful prospect to the river, which is all form'd into canals and openings, to answer the views from above, and beyond the river, the walks and wildernesses go on to such a distance, and in such a manner up the hill, as they before went down, that the sight is lost in the woods adjoining, and it looks all like one planted garden as far as the eye can see.

I shall cover as much as possible the melancholy part of a story, which touches too sensibly, many, if not most of the great and flourishing families in England: Pity and matter of grief is it to think that families, by estate, able to appear in such a glorious posture as this, should ever be vulnerable by so mean a disaster as that of stock-jobbing: But the general infatuation of the day is a plea for it; so that men are not now blamed on that account: South-Sea was a general possession; and if my Lord Castlemain was wounded by that arrow shot in the dark, 'twas a misfortune: But 'tis so much a happiness, that it was not a mortal wound, as it was to some men, who once seem'd as much out of the reach of it; and that blow, be it what it will, is not remember'd for joy of the escape; for we see this noble family, by prudence and management rise out of all that cloud, if it may be allow'd such a name, and shining in the same full lustre as before.

This cannot be said of some other families in this county, whose fine parks and new-built palaces are fallen under forfeitures and alienations by the misfortunes of the times, and by the ruin of their masters fortunes in that South-Sea Deluge.

But I desire to throw a veil over these things, as they come in my way; 'tis enough that we write upon them as was written upon King Harold's tomb at Waltham-Abbey, INFAELIX, and let all the rest sleep among things that are the fittest to be forgotten.

From my Lord Castlemain's house, and the rest of the fine dwellings on that side of the forest, for there are several very good houses at Wanstead, only that they seem all swallow'd up in the lustre of his lordship's palace; I say, from thence I went south, towards the great road over that part of the forest call'd the Flatts, where we see a very beautiful, but retired and rural seat of Mr. Lethulier's, eldest son of the late Sir John Lethulier, of Lusum in Kent, of whose family I shall speak when I come on that side.

By this turn I came necessarily on to Stratford, where I set out: And thus having finished my first circuit, I conclude my first letter; and am,


Your most humble,
And obedient servant.

4 The cobles are open boats, which come from the north, from Scarbro', Whitby, &c., and come to Yarmouth to let themselves out to fish for the merchants during the fair-time.

5 Note , a last is ten barrels, each barrel containing a thousand herrings.

6 The barks come from the coast of Kent and Sussex, as from Foulkston, Dover, and Rye in Kent, and from Brithelmston in Sussex, and let themselves out to fish for the merchants during the said fair, as the cobles do from the north.

Daniel Defoe, A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journies (London: JM Dent and Co, 1927)

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