Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

1698 Tour: Staffordshire

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Thence I went to Woolsely 7 mile farther, to Sr Charles Woolsley where I staid 6 weekes it being my aunt his Lady who Engaged My stay. His seate stands very finely by ye river Trent; there is also a moate almost round ye house. Ye house is old timble building, only a Large parlour and noble stair Case wth handsome Chambers Sr Charles has new built. It is built round a Court wth a gate house wch Leads to ye outward Court that has a paved walke, broad stone ye same as ye first Court is paved with.

There are green spaces and a fine green banck wth box or philteroy hedge Cut round. There are very good gardens abundance of fruite of all sorts and ye ffinest dwarfe trees I ever saw, so thick like a hedge and a huge Compass Every single tree, and very full of fruite of apples, pears and Cherries; there are fine flowers, Heber roses white and yellow; there was a fine Sena trees yt bears a great Branch of yellow fflowers. Ye ground Lyes all well about ye house and a fine park by the End of it, part of wch is on a high hill ye side of wch the deer sport themselves, wch looks just on ye house and is wonderfull pleasant: its a Large parke 6 miles round full of stately woods and replenish'd wth red and fallow deer, one part of it is pretty full of Billberryes wch thrive under ye shade of ye oakes, its a black berry as big as a large pea and are Ripe about Harvest. There is a very ill Custome amongst them now not to be broken, when they are Ripe. The Country Comes and makes Boothes and a sort of faire ye outside of ye parke, and so gather ye berries and sell ym about ye Country. The greenes they Call Wissums and on these wissums the Deer Brouse in ye winter and on holly of which there is great quantetys. In Kankwood just by there is also great quantety's of fferne wch tho' it over runs their ground and so spoiles ye grass where its much, yet ye usefullness of it renders it necessary to be preserv'd; when it is at its maturity wch happens just before harvest or hay tyme, ye whole Country are Employ'd in Cutting it up and burning it in heapes for ye sake of ye ashes wch they make fine and Rowle them up in Balls and so sell them or use them all ye year for washing and scouring, and send much up to London, ye ashe balls being Easily sent about, without wch they would have no ashes in the Country for such uses; for their fewell is altogether Coales wch Indeed are very good and plenty, you might have a load for 3 or 4 shillings brought home yt would serve a poore mans familly ye winter. Its in great pieces and so Cloven burns light so as the poorer sort works by it and so it serves for heate and light: its very shineing Coale all about this Country tho' they Complaine they have lost ye vein of the best sort wch they Call Channell Coale and is ye sort they have still in Wales and Lancashire wch burnt much Lighter and less waste, but this I thought to be very good, no better than it. I have in London given 40s for such a Load.

In this parke is severall ponds wch affords good ffish, as does ye moate and ye Trent as trout, Eeles, tench, perch &, the Largest perch I ever saw just Caught and dress'd immediately wch Eates in perfection. Ye hill in ye parck Called Hartshill is so high that from ye top of it you see near 20 miles round, and shews all ye Country wch in this part of Staffordshire is full of woods and jnclosures and good land, Except ye Kanck-wood wch is but a barren heath ground, but good wood-its fine for Hawking in ye heath. Its full of little Brookes and Rivulets wch abounds with Crawfish and they were the sweetest and Largest I have seen any where. From hence to Stafford town is 5 mile- you go by ye banck of ye Trent most of ye way and passing over two Rivers on stone bridges, Called ye Sore and the Pink wch both Empt themselves into ye Trent and so Enter ye town through a gate. Its an old built town, timber and plaister pretty much, in Long peaked Rooffes of tileing; 3 gates to the town-there was another wch Leads to the Castle wch now is ruinated, and only remaines on a hill the fortification trenches yt are grown over wth green. Ye streetes are pretty Large and well pitched; a broad space for ye market place Wherein is a good Market house on stone pillars wth a handsome town hall over it-some of the houses are pretty good. This Country is much for Entertainments, in every house you must Eate and drinke.

From thence back to Woolsley againe 5 miles, from thence to Heywood parke wch was 2 mile where Lived a Daughter of my aunt Woolsley-marryed Mr Hedgewood-a little neate box they Live in.

From thence back againe 2 miles. To the Kank wood is pleasant Rideing, its 20 mile long belongs to ye Lord Paget, there are 4 lodges; in it a great deale of wood and deer and goates. I went to Ffurnes Coppice wch is 4 mile-on it a fine Covert of tall trees on a hill and a mile farther was a fine wood Called Hedgford; Poole a quarter of a mile long full of good fish; thence home 5 mile. Another day I went to Stiles Coppice 3 mile off wch is on a high hill and a fine tufft of trees, it Looks but Little at a distance but is a fine Covert for ye sheep and Cattle: I went quite round it from whence Could see ye Country a good distance and see into 7 Countys together, Warwickshire, Leicestershire Glocestershire Derbyshire Staffordshire Shropshire and Cheshire; so home againe by Ridgly a mile aboute so it was 4 mile.

Another day I went to Boudezworth the Lord Pagets house 4 mile off, and passed by ye Coale pitts where they were digging: they draw up the Coale in baskets with a Little wheele or Windlass like a well-its very good.

Lord Paget's house is old Brick built, ye ffront is uniforme and very handsome with towers, but there is no good roome but a Long gallery thats worth seeing: its a fine parke; just by it is a high hill on wch is the remaines of an old ffortification, they Call it the Castle wall, its of very great antiquity but now grown over wth grass; from thence the prospect of the Country is great. The parke is of Large Extent and some of those pitts are in it-ye Channell Coales, but ye water has over flow'd some of them and spoyl'd their digging; thence I went home againe 4 miles- Another day I went to Panckeridge race over ye Kankwood 7 mile, where were most of ye Gentlemen and Ladies of the Country, severall Coaches and six horses, Indeed ye miles are Long and ye wayes bad in the winter that obliges them to drive more horses; these were persons of good Estates also. There appear'd only one horse to run for ye plaite which was a salver; thence to Woolesley again 7 mile more. Its a fine Country here about for Rideing one has a pleaseing prospect Every way Especially on any advanc'd ground.

I went to Brinsy Coppice wch was 4 mile, thence Could see towards Shrewsbury and ye high hill the Reekee, and in a Cleare day Could see something of Chester, and so home againe 4 mile more. Another day I went upon Jtching hill 1 mile wch is a sort of Rock, but ye stone is of a Red Coullour and looks Like a sandy stone by its Moldring, but they tell me when its wrought in a wall and have been season'd wth ye weather it grows very hard and serviceable in building. From thence I went a Compass round to Heywood parke 4 mile off and yn home againe 2 miles; and another day I went the same tour about to Heywood parke and back wch was 6 mile more. While I stay'd at Woolsley I went directly to Heywood parke above what I mentioned before and returned home wch was in all 8 miles, and another day I went to a poole in the Kanckwood 3 mile to ffish and from thence to Heywood parke thro' a very fine Coppice of trees on a hanging brow of a hill wch Look'd very fine, and so home 2 mile more. I name ye number of miles I went only to see ye whole acco of miles I travell'd this yeare. These Coppices there are many of them wch is a good shelter for ye Cattle.

Another journey to Darby town from Woolsley by Colton and Blithbery 3 mile, thence to Yoxwell 3 mile over Nedwood forest of ye King, wch is 40 mile in Extent, all ye way you have a fine prospect of ye Country, Enclosed good lands, admirable Corne of all sorts, good grass: I went in sight of Tetbery Castle wch is ye Kings-a great ffortification, but all decay'd-here 4 mile more and there it was that I pass ye river Dove on a stone Bridge Called Dovebridge wch Enters me into Darbyshire and thence its 8 mile more to Darby town.

Darby town Lies down in a bottom built all of brick or for ye most part; in it are 5 Churches built of stone ye biggest of wch I was in, ye tower was finely Carv'd full of niches and Pedistals where on Statues had been set, but nothing worth notice in ye jnside except a monument wch was over ye vault of ye Duke of Devonshire, on wch stands 2 Effigees at length all of white marble ye Earle and his Countess of Devonshire wth an arch or Cannopy of Stone over their heads; this is rail'd in wth Iron gates. There is also another statue of marble painted and Gilded lying at length wch is also railed in. Ye River Derwent runns by the town and turns many mills, and ye water Engine wch turns ye water into ye pipes that serves ye town, ye same wheele grinds also, but they do it for a half penny a strike wch is the same measure as our Bushill. At this Engine they Can grind if its never so high a flood, wch hinders all ye other from working at ye flood, they are quite Choaked up, but this they Can set higher or lower just as the water is. There are bays wch they make wth stones to keep the water to run to ye mill and thence it falls againe into ye Derwent; there is also a fine stone Conduit in the Market place, wch is very spacious, well pitch'd a good Market Cross. This is a dear place for strangers notwithstanding ye plentyfullness of all provision. My Dinner Cost me 5s and 8d , only 2 servant men wth me and I had but a shoulder of mutton and bread and beer.

Here they mak great quantetys of gloves, I did not observe or Learn any other trade or Manufacture, they had only shops of all sorts of things. They Carry much of their Carriages on sledges to secure their pitching in the streetes. Thence I went to Chartly 6 mile Lord Fferrers, and thence Bradby Lord Chesterfields, and passed by a fine parke of some Gentlemans in wch was a summer house on ye side of ye hill amongst fine tall trees wch Look'd very well, and on ye Right hand I turned up to ye Earle of Chesterfields parke full of fine Rows of trees running up ye avenue to ye house. One Enters an outward Court and drives round a Little pond like a ditch all pav'd wth stone, or great basin of stone, in which were two swans swimming about in yt little Compass; ye gates are all jron barrs and the whole front of ye house open jron pallasadoe spikes in a Compass round Like a half moone. Answerable to yt beyond ye stable yard is another such a demy Circle of open pallasadoe, yt lets you out to ye prospect of ye grounds beyond, full of regular Rows of trees. Ye house has a visto quite thro, by a glass bellcony door into ye gardens, and so to ye parke beyond on yt side. Ye front have something surpriseing in it; its all of free stone wch is dipt in oyle that adds a varnish to its Lustre as well as security to its foundation. Ye Roofe is not flatt as our Modern buildings so ye garret windows Come out on ye tileing wch is all flatt. None of ye windows are sashes which in my opinion is ye only thing it wants to render it a Compleate building: its halfe a roman H. There is an ascent of 5 or 6 steps all stone to ye gates, and so you proceed on a broad paved walke wch is divided by a Cross walke of ye same towards ye upper End; thence ye ascent by as many more stone steps into a noble hall yt has a Row of white marble pillars at ye upper End. Ye middle a Little roome wth a marble table in the middle wch is ye Balcony into ye Garden, but yts without Steps down into ye Garden. From these Rows of Pillars on ye Right hand runs a passage to ye Servants roome and all the offices, and at ye End is a Chappell wch was very neate. Over ye alter is a large ovall of Glass of ye sort of Private glass used in Windows to obscure ye Sight from without, but hinders not ye Light wth inside; this Look'd pretty as being particular and uncomt. on.

There was a little organ and Closets for ye Lord and Ladies to sitt in. From ye hall on the left hand Enters into a Large roome wth a billiard table, from thence into a Large parlour and 2 drawing-roomes,-there was a good dineing roome. Above, ye drawing Roome had Company in it, ye Earle having just marry'd his Eldest daughter Lady Mary to one Mr Cooke a Gentleman of a good Estate hard by, so there was Company to wishe her joy; but I was in severall bed Chambers, one had a Crimson damaske bed, ye other Crimson velvet set upon halfe paces: this best was ye bride Chamber wch used to be Call'd ye Silver roome where ye stands, table, and fire utensills were all massy silver, but when plaite was in nomination to pay a tax, ye Earle of Chesterfield sold it all and ye plaite of ye house, so that when ye table was spread I saw only spoones, salts and forks and ye sideboard plaite, noe plaites or dishes and but few salvers. Ye pictures was all burnt by a fire and so there are only bare walls. One Roome was painted over head-ye others frettwork, but yt wch is most admired, and justly so to be by all persons, and Excite their Curiosity to Come and see is ye gardens and waterworks. Out of ye Billiard Roome ye first was with Gravell walks, and a large fountaine in the middle with flower potts and Greens set Round ye Brimm of ye fountaines that are paved wth stone. You see but one garden at a tyme. The Pipes in ye fountaines play very finely, some of a great height, some fflushes ye water about; then you Come to a descent of severall steps wch discovers anothr fine garden wth fountaines playing through pipes besett on ye branches wth all sort of Greens and flower trees, dwarfe honeysuckles in a Round tuff growing upright, and all sorts of flower trees and greens finely cutt and Exactly kept. In one garden there are 3 fountaines wherein stands great statues; Each side on their pedistalls is a dial one for ye Sun ye other a Clock wch by ye water worke is moved and strikes ye hours, and Chimes ye quarters, and when they please play Lilibolaro on ye Chimes: all this I heard when I was there. On one side of this garden is a half Compass wth a breast wall on wch are high jron pallisadoes divided with severall Pillars, stone with Images on their tops about 2 yards distance; this opens to view ye parke and a sort of Cannall or pond wch is in it of a good bigness. Beyond this Garden is a Row of orange and Lemon trees set in ye ground, of a man's height and pretty big, full of flowers and some Large fruit almost Ripe: this has a pent house over it wch is Cover'd up very Close in the winter. This Leads on to a great wilderness and Just by it is another Square wth a fountaine whose brim is deck'd with flower potts full 0f flowers and all sorts of greens; on Either side is 2 or 3 rows of orange and Lemon trees in boxes one below another in growth.

Just against this is a wall Cover'd over wth Lawrell finely Cutt, and also in ye middle is an arch, and on Either side stone staires ascends it wch terminate in a sort of half pace all Cover'd over wth Lawrell, and this Enters a doore into another Garden through a little garden house. This also has a fine fountaine Like ye others, only as most of ye others was green walks this was Gravell, so was the garden on ye Right side of ye house. Ye front Garden wch has ye Largest fountaine has also a fine Green house and very fine flowers, and ye beds and borders are Cut in severall formes; ye Greens are very fine and ye hedges Cutt in severall formes; there was one tree not much unlike ye Cyprus green but ye branches were more spread and of a Little yellower green, ye Barke of ye Limbs yellow-it was ye Cedar of Lebonus. There was also fine strip'd stocks, Double Like a Rose. There was a Large Ewe tree in ye middle of one Garden Cut in forms, fine ffirrs and Cyprus and ffilleroy of wch some was striped Like silver, white, others yellow Like Gold, wch gave them their different names, and fine gilded and striped Hollys.

There was one green in a pott Call'd St John ye baptists herb, it was full of many Leaves and ye Coullour not much unlike the green they Call Solomons Seale but longer and bigger Leaves; its an annual plant. Here just by ye wilderness is ye tulip tree wch runns up of a great height and ye flower is on ye top; it flowers in August. There is a great avery of Birds wch stands Like a sumer house open; there is also many Close averys of Birds and severall Green shady walks and Close arbours. There are very fine woodbines grows like tuffs all in flower Red and white. There is some of ye fountaines that have figures in them that throws up water a greate height-a Cascade of water.

Then I returned into ye hall and so into a Coole roome in wch was a fountaine where I dranke a Glass of wine and so proceeded. This was 3 miles from Chartry, thence through a fine visto or Glide of trees wch runs along ye parke and so to Burton on ye Trent 2 long miles. This is a pretty large town; here is a very long stone bridge over ye Trent: the Streetes are very well pitch'd and some very broad.

Thence over Nedwood fforest 6 mile, and thence to Yoxsell, wch is 6 mile more to Woolsley and they are all Long miles; then I went againe to Stafford town 5 miles and from thence to Jnstree Mr Thetwins-its bad way. You go by St Thomas's wch was some old abbey-its still a good house.

Going along ye side of ye hill gives a great view of ye Country that is mostly jnclosures we passed between two parkes, ye one is Lord astons, and goe in sight of Tixall hall wch is a good house and Looks handsomely of stone building: the other was Mr Thetwins parke wch has fine Rows of trees-ffirrs Scots and Noroway and ye picanther-the ffront lookes nobly. Noe flatt Roofed houses in this Country but much in windows. Two Large bow windows on Each side runns up ye whole building, ye middle the same besides much flatt window between, so that ye whole is Little besides window. Its built brick and stone, the part to ye garden ward is new building. of ye new fashion and sash windows. Ye Court is 2 or 5 stepps up wth open jron pallasadoes ye breadth of ye house and a broad paved walk wch Leads up to ye doore in the Middle. Ye visto is quite through ye house to ye gardens and through a long walke of trees of a mile through the parke to a Lodge or summer house at ye End, wch Lookes very finely, it being a Riseing ground up to ye parke. There is a Crosse paved walke in ye Court wch Leads to a little house on Each End like summer houses, wth towers and balls on ye top; ye one Leads through to ye Churchyard wch is planted wth Rows of Ewe trees very uniforme and Cutt neately. Ye Church is new and very handsome, good frettworke on ye top, the wood worke well Carv'd, its seates good wanscoate and with locks.

In the Chancell are two monuments of Marble, one all white, ye other white with a border Black, and with white pillars; the middle at ye bottom is alabaster. The pillars of ye Church is made of ye Red stone wch is plenty in this Country and they are all polished over; the ffront is all white marble; stem ye same veined bleu, ye foot is black, ye Cover is wood Carv'd very well. The porch is very high on wch is a dyal, it almost breakes ones neck to Looke up at it for yt ye tower in wch are 5 bells. There is just against this a garden.

On ye other side the dwelling house wch is severall steps up it-Gravell walkes full of flowers and greens and a box hedge Cut finely with Little trees, some Cut round, and another hedge of strip'd holly Cut Even and some of Lawrell Cut Even Likewise. Out of this you go into a flower garden divided into knotts, in which were 14 Cyprus trees wch were grown up very tall some of them, and kept Cutt Close in four squares down to ye bottom. Towards ye top they Enclined to a point or spire. Thence into another garden wth gravell walkes, and so into a summer house through wch you Enter a good Bowling green, wch also goes out of another garden, wch takes in ye whole breadth of ye house and is full of flowers and greens and dwarfe trees and little borders of Severall sorts of greens Cut Even and Close, of tyme, severall sorts and of savin wch is another Coullour, and of Lavender Cotten another Coullour, and Rosemary and severall others. From this Bowling green in ye Middle you descend 18 stepps in a Demi Circle inwards halfe way, then ye stones are set round and so ye half pace is, and ye other stepps are Round turned outward, and ye Lowest much ye Largest as was ye uppermost of ye first. This leads to a place designed for ponds to keep ffish, in but this place will not admitt of any water works altho' its a deep Dirty Country. They neither have good gravell or marle to make a pond secure to hold water, nor are they near Enough ye springs, but are forced to be supply'd wth water by pipes from ye River trent that is a mile off, and yet the whole place seems a quage, and when one is descended ye hill this seemes to be the only thing wanting, for just by the Bowling-green is a very fine wilderness with many Large walks of a great Length full of all sorts of trees, scycamores, willows, Hazel, Chesnutts, walnuts, set very thicke and so shorn smooth to ye top wch is left as a tuff or Crown-they are very Lofty in growth wch makes ye Length of a walke Look Nobly. There is also a Row on ye outside of firrs round Every grove 2 yards or 3 distant-some silver ffirrs-some Norroway-some Scotts and pine trees: these hold their beauty round ye groves in ye winter when ye others Cast their Leaves. This was from Stafford 3 mile and to Woolsley was 3 mile more through narrow stoney Lanes through great Heywood.

Att Jnstree, Mr Shetwins, I saw a fine pomegranate tree as tall as myself, the Leafe is a long slender Leafe of a yellowish green Edged wth red and feeles pretty thicke, ye Blossom is white and very double. There was a terrass walke in one of ye Gardens that gave ye full prospect of ye Country a great way about-its a deep Country-you are going these 3 miles to Woolsley a great while. There was at Sr Charles Woolsly's some of ye best good land and some of ye worst, as is ye Kankwood, but here ye Roads are pretty good and hard wch makes it pleasant. There is much fine fruite here Sr Charles takeing great delight in his Gardens, I must say I never saw trees so well dress'd and pruned, ye walls so Equally Cover'd as there. There is severall sorts of strawbery's but ye vermillion is ye finest, very large as any Garden strawbery and of a fine scarlet Coullour, but its a Later sort; there was a pretty almond tree in Bloome ye flower not unlike a Rosemary flower. From thence I tooke my progress Northward and went from hence to NewCastle under Line, through Stone wch was 9 miles, and then to Trentum, and passed by a great house of Mr Leveston Gore, and went on the side of a high hill below which the River Trent rann and turn'd its silver streame forward and backward into s. s wch Looked very pleasant Circleing about ye fine meadows in their flourishing tyme bedecked wth hay almost Ripe and flowers. 6 mile more to NewCastle under Line where is the fine shineing Channell Coale; so ye proverb to both ye NewCastles of bringing Coales to ym is a needless Labour, one being famous for this Coale thats Cloven and makes white ashes as is this, and ye NewCastle on ye Tyne is for ye sea Coale yt Cakes and is what is Common and famillier to every smith in all villages. I went to this NewCastle in Staffordshire to see the makeing of ye fine tea potts. Cups and saucers of ye fine red Earth in imitation and as Curious as yt wch Comes from China, but was defeated in my design, they. Comeing to an End of their Clay they made use of for yt sort of ware, and therefore was remov'd to some other place where they were not settled at their work so Could not see it; therefore I went on toBeteby 6 miles farther and went by a Ruinated Castle ye walls still remaining Called Healy Castle-this was deep Clay way. This town is halfe in Staffordshire and halfe in Cheshire, one side of ye streete in ye one, and ye other in ye latter, so yt they often jest on it in travelling one wheele goes in Staffordshire ye other wheele in Cheshire.

Celia Fiennes, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1888)

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