Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

1697 Tour: London to Yorkshire

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IN MAY 1697 ffrom London to Amwell Berry in Hartfordshire 19 mile, thence to Bishops Startford in Essex 13 mile, wch is a very pretty Neat Market town, a good Church and a delicate spring of Water wch has a wall built round it, very Sweet and Cleare water for drinking. There is a little river runns by the town yt feeds severall Mills.

Thence we went to Andleyend 10 miles, a house of ye Earle of Sussex wch makes a Noble appearance Like a town, so many towers and buildings off stone within a parke wch is walled round. A good River runs through it, we pass over the bridge. Its built round 3 Courts, there are 30 great and Little towers on the top, and a great Cupilow in the Middle. The roomes are Large and Lofty with good Rich old ffurniture tapistry, but Noe beds in yt part we saw. There are 750 (150?) Roomes in the house.

The Cannall in the Midst of the parke Look'd very fine, its altogether a Stately palace and was built for one of ye Kings. Thence to Little-berry one Mile, where is a house with abundance of Curiosityes all performed by Clock work and Such like, wch appears very Strange to the beholders, but the master was not at home so I saw no more than the Chaire they Set in when they are Carry'd about. All the Country is pleasant; between this and you go in sight of so many neate villages wth Rows of trees about them and very neate built Churches-Sometimes 5 or 6 of these are in view together in 3 or four mile of Each other- Ye Churches are stone-work. We went to Babaram where was a house of Sr Richd Bennets in a pleasant parke prettyly situated, only it is in a Low ground, but ye fine Rows of trees in the severall avenues Came just down to the Road: thence to Bornbridge 5 mile, thence to Hodmogoge hills 3 miles, wch looks at a distance Like a long Barn, but when you approach Near you see it a Great fortification or Ruines of a Castle, with great trenches one within another, and all ye buildings -there is only a long string of Stables to keep ye Kings hunting horses. The hill is of a great height from whence you have a great prospect of ye whole Country and of Cambridge wch is 3 mile off. The town Lyes in a bottom and Marshy Ground all about it severall miles wch is Garnish'd with willows; ye buildings are old and Indifferent. the Streetes mostly narrow, (except near the Market place), wch is pretty spacious -there stands the University Church. Trinity Colledg is the ffinest, yet not so Large as Christ-church College in oxford. In the first Court there is a very ffine ffountaine in the Middle of ye Quadrangle wth a Carved top and Dials round-there are Large Cloysters. The Library runns all ye rang of building at ye End and stands on 3 rows of stone pillars; it opens into the Gardens and walk wth 3 Large Gates or doores of Iron Carv'd very ffine wth fflowers and Leaves. The river runs at ye back side of most of ye Colleges; they have fine stone bridges over it and gates that Lead to fine walks; Ye rivers name is Cam.

The Library farre exceeds that of Oxford, the Staires are Wanscoated and very large and Easye ascent, all of Cedar wood, ye room spacious and Lofty paved wth black and white marble, ye sides are wanscoated and decked with all Curious books off Learning, their Catalogue and their Benefactors. There is two Large Globes at each End wth teliscopes and microscopes and ye finest Carving in wood, in flowers, birds, Leaves, ffigures of all sorts as I ever saw. There is a large Balcony opens at the End, very large, all finely painted all over ye history of the New Testament. Its a hundred and twenty steps to ye roofe and supported by noe pillars all Arch of Stone: You walke on ye Arch or Cradle as its term'd. There is 32 Little windows Cut in Stone just as you ascend to ye Cradle or Arch wch runns on Either side, and a pr of Staires of 8 stepps to every 3 windows wch Lead up to the Arch; thence you ascend the Leads over all wch are fine, secured by battlements round, there are 4 large Spires: at each corner one. On these Leads you May see a vast Country round.

You see Ely-minster and ye towers; this is a noble building and Stands on so advantagious a ground, and so Lofty built yt its perspicious above ye town; this is in Lieu of ye Theatre at Oxford there being none here. St Johns College Garden is very pleasant for ye fine walks both Close Shady walks and open Rows of trees and quickset hedges. There is a pretty bowling green with Cut arbours in the hedges. Queens Colledge is old but a stately and Lofty building. Claire Hall is very Little but most Exactly neate in all parts, they have walks wth Rows of trees, and bridges over the river and fine painted Gates into ye ffields. Katherine Hall is new built, the Chapple was not Quite ffinished; the apartments for ye fellows and Gentlemen Commoners are very ffine, a Large dineing roome, a good Chamber and good Studdy and this for 8? a year.

Here we are Entertained by some of our Companys acquaintance. From Cambridge we go just by Peterborough: we see the Minster and ye town, very plaine all built with Stone. The road is very pleasant to Ffenistanton, 8 miles to Godmanchester, and from thence Huntington 1 mile. We cross the River Lin over a bridge and so Enter Huntingtonshire. This river goes to Lin in Norfolke its a very pleasant Country to travel in in ye Summer, but after raines its in Some places deep, but the prospects are delighting; Little town and good Enclosure wth woods and same of the Country's. Huntington is but a Small Shire town; just by it is a house of the Lord Sandwich, yt it is pretty large. We enter a good Lofty hall, in it hangs the Ship in wch he was lost, that is the representation of it Cut out in Little and all things Exactly made to it; there is a good parlour and drawing roome: well proportion'd are ye rooms wth good old ffurniture and good Pictures. There is a Large dineing roome above wth good tapistry hangings, and its Ceil'd wth jrish oake Carv'd with points hanging down like fine ffret worke; this wood no spider will weave on or endure. There are good bed Chambers with good furniture and fine pictures; over one of the Chimneys is a fine picture of Venus were it not too much uncloth'd. The Gardens and Wilderness and Greenhouse will be very fine when quite ffinished with the dwarfe trees and gravell walks. There is a large fountaine or bason which is to resemble that in the privy garden at Whitehall, which will ffront the house. The high terrass walks Look out on the Road. all this Country is good Land and ffruitfull and much like Oxfordshire.

Ffrom Huntington we came to Shilton 10 mile, and Came in Sight of a great water on the Right hand about a mile off wch Looked Like Some Sea it being so high and of great Length: this is in part of the ffenny Country and is Called Whitlsome Mer, is 3 mile broad and six long. In ye Midst is a little jsland where a great Store of Wildfowle breeds, there is no coming near it; in a Mile or two the ground is all wett and Marshy but there are severall little Channells runs into it wch by boats people go up to this place. When you enter the mouth of ye Mer it lookes fformidable and its often very dangerous by reason of sudden winds that will rise Like Hurricanes in the Mer, but at other tymes people boate it round the Mer with pleasure. There is abundance of good ffish in it. This was thought to have been Sea some tyme agoe and Choak'd up and so remaines all about it for some miles a ffenny Marshy Ground for those little Rivers that runns into ye Sea some distance of miles. Thence to Wangfford 2 miles, thence to Stamfford 5 miles.

We pass over a down where is a Cross that directs three wayes York, London and Oatly, and here we Come in Sight of a Gentlemans house that stands finely on a hill in a parke, pretty high with fine groves about it. A little farther when we are pass'd the water att Wansford we enter Ruttlandshire wch seems more woody than ye others. Stamfford town is as fine a built town all of stone as may be seen; its on the side of a hill wch appears very fine in the approach.

Severall very good Churches with high Spires and towers very ornamentall' its not very Large, but much ffiner than Cambridge, and in its view has severall good houses. On the Right hand of Stamfford is a house of Mr Neals in a pretty neate parke pailed in; ye house not very big but Lookes well. On the Side of ye hill over against Stamfford and on the Left hand over against the town Stands My. Lord of Exeters Burly house, Eminent for its Curiosity. The Situation is the finest I ever saw, on the Edge of the hill and severall Rows of trees of severall acres about it quite to the Road. It stands in a very fine parke wch is full of deer and fine Rows of trees. On Either side a very broad Glide or visto that Lookes finely to ye River and to the adjacent hills, a distance, both with fine woods. The town of Stamfford appears very fine on the Left hand and most noble woods on the Right hand. The house Looks very nobly; ye Garden very fine within one another wth Lower and higher walls deck'd with all Sorts of trees and Greens; very fine Gravell walks and Grass squaires wth Statues and fine Grass walks, dwarfs and all sorts of Green trees and Curious things: very fine fountaines, there is one in the middle of the Garden thats just to ye Middle also of the house, that is of an exceeding great size. There is a fine vineyard, Warren and Groves wch makes its prospects very delightfull.

You enter a large Court walled, thence to a Space of Ground pretty Large, Encompass'd round wth a little wall of a yard High of free Stone very ffine wrought, on which are to be Iron railes and spires, that was not ffinish'd nor the space paved which is design'd to be of broad Stone: all before the house the little breast wall is in a Compass Like a halfe Moone.

The Sides up to the house are built in roomes for appartments, you ascend the house by Stone Steps-about 12- that all turn round; the upper Stepp is at Least 20 foot steps in Compass; the door you enter is of Iron Carv'd the ffinest I ever saw all sort of Leaves, flowers, figures, birds, beasts, wheate in ye Carving; very Large ye doors are- there is an Inside doore as Case to it. On the other side of the house is Such another door that Leads into a Court. The hall is a noble roome painted ffinely, ye walls with armory and Battles; its Lofty and paved with black and white Marble. You go thence into parlours, dineing rooms, drawing roomes and bed Chambers one leading out of another, at Least 20 that were very Large and Lofty, and most fine Carving in the Mantlepieces, and very fine paint in pictures, but they were all Without Garments or very little, that was the only fault, the immodesty of ye Pictures, Especially in My Lords appartment. This bed Chamber was ffurnish'd very Rich, the tapistry was all blew Silke and Rich Gold thread, so that the Gold appeared for ye Light part of all the worke. There was a blew velvet bed with gold ffringe and very Richly Embroidered, all the Inside with ovals on the head piece and tester, where the figures are so finely wrought in Satten stitch it Looks Like painting. There is also My Ladys appartt , Severall roomes very Richly ffurnished and very ffine tapistry with Silver and gold in Most; there was at Least 4 velvet beds 2 plaine and 2 figured-Crimson-green-Severall Coullours together in one; Severall Damaske beds and some tissue beds all ffinely Embroydered. My Ladys Closet is very ffine, the wanscoate of the best Jappan, the Cushons very Rich Work: there is a great deale of fine worke under Glasses and a Glass case full of all Sorts of Curiosityes of Amber stone Currall and a world of fine things. My Lord Excetter in his travells was for all sorts of Curious things if it Cost him never so much, and a great many of my Ladyes fine things were given her by her Mother ye Countess of Devonshire. There is a Chamber My Lady used to Lye in in the Winter, a green velvet bed and the hangings are all Embroydery of her Mothers work very ffine; the Silk Looks very fresh and ffigures Look naturall.

There is a drawing room by that, wch has a great Curiosity that my Lord brought from beyond sea, on the Mantlepiece under a glass; its nunns work the ffinest Embroidery that it Looks just Like point or the ffinest Linnen you can see; this Cost a great Sume. There are fine Chimney pieces of Marble and the windows the same, there are at least 20 rooms very Large and Lofty that are all painted on the top; there are at Least 20 on ye other side of the house all wth different ffrett work on the Ceiling, besides almost as many more roomes that are a building. Some the floores Not Laid, others Not ffinish'd yt the house will be a vast thing wn done. The floores were Inlaid in severall roomes, the Chapple is old and not to abide, the painting is good but the place is not Suteable to any part Else. The great variety of the roomes and ffine works tooke me up 2 full hours to go from one Roome to another over the house. The Bowling-green, Wilderness, nor Walke I was not in, being so great a tract of ground, but you see it all at a view on ye top of ye house; it is Esteemed the ffinest house and scituation that is in England and will be very Compleate when ffinish'd.

From thence we went to Streton 6 mile, a Little house of one Mr Horsman; very good Plantations of trees about it- Stone building. Rutlandshire seems more woody and Inclosed than some others. Thence to Colson where Lincolnshire Comes in; 2 mile thence towards Lincoln we go on a fine Champion Country much Like Salisbury plaine, and a Large prospect all round-at a distance you See woods and towns. This is the best part of this shire for most part is ffenny, and we went twenty six Miles all on Such Way quite to Lincoln town. We pass by Grantum which is a good town 16 mile from Lincoln, all built with Stone, but Lies down in a Low bottom. The Church has a very high Steeple, its Seen above a Great hill that is by it of a great Length and its a long tyme wn you see a great part of the Steeple before you come to see the Church or town it Lies so in a bottom. Lincoln opens to view at Least 6 miles off; it Stands on a very high hill and Looks very ffine; at the Entrance the houses Stand Compact together. The Streetes are but Little but its a vast hill to ascend into the town where the Minster stands, by that Means its very perspicious and Eminently in view a great Many Miles off. The tower, that Great Thoms nest, is 2 50 steps up, 8 persons may very well Stand up in the hollow of the bell together, its as much as a man Can Reach to the top of the bell with his hand when he is in the Inside; its rarely Ever rung but only by Ringing the Clapper to Each Side wch we did and that sounds all over the town. The houses are but small and not lofty nor ye Streetes of any breadth. The Sea has formerly Come up to the town and yre has been very deep water where now great part of ye town is built, so yt what was ye town formerly is that wch stands upon a precipice as it were of a hill. Ye water is Choake up now and ye sea Comes not near in Severall Miles and what water they have is Called Lincoln Dike-you pass it over on a bridge. We went thence by many very ffine Seates, we pass by Sr John Brownlows and Severall others; thence to Newark 12 mile in Nottinghamshire; just by it you see a very pretty new house of brick building of the Lord Lexingtons, wth the walls and towers that Looks very well. Newark is a very neate Stone built town, the Market place is very Large and Look'd ffine; just by it is the Great Church wch is Large and with a very high Spire, there is prayers twice a day in it. There remaines the holes in the Church walls that the bullets made which were shott into the town in the Siege Laid to it by the Parliament army in the Civil warrs: the Castle was then demolish'd so yt only the ruinated walls remaine wch is washed by a very pretty river. At this we Enter Nottinghamshire and here I met wth the strongest and best Nottingham ale that Looked very pale but Exceeding Clear. Thence to Nottingham town, its 12 mile more and we ffery'd over the Trent wch in some places is so deep, but waggons and horses ffords it. I rode along 7 or 8 mile by the Trent wch is a ffine River tho' not so broad as the Thames is at Kingston, but it look'd very pleasant to Ride by its bancks for so many miles, and on the other side was a high Ridge of hills shaded over from the top to the bottom wth fine trees and this for Severall Miles. When on the other hand you see a vast bottom Called Note Vale, ye wood belongs to one Mr Heckam. You pass by severall pretty houses by the river Side, Stone buildings, good Gardens, and a Little farther you see the Lord Kingstons house wch is Contigeous to Nottingham town, called Home Peirpoynt wch Looks finely in woods. The town of Nottingham is the neatest town I have seen, built of stone and delicate, Large and long Streetes much like London, and ye houses Lofty and well built. The Market place is very broad, out of wch runns a very Large Streete much like Holborn but the buildings ffine, and there is a Pyaza all along one side of one of the Streetes, wth Stone pillars for walking that runns the Length of the Streetes wch is a mile long. All the Streetes are of a good size all about ye town and well pitch'd, there are severall good houses in the town. There are 3 or 4 Large houses of the Duke of New-Castles wth the Castle wch is a fine thing-stands very high on a hill- and when you Come to the Castle you ascend 40 Steps to the Court and hall. The roomes are very Lofty and Large, 6 or 7 state roomes and a long gallery hung with fine Pictures of the ffamily; the wanscoate is most of Cedar. Some Roomes are hung with good tapistry. The Chamber of State is hung wth very Rich tapistry so much silver and gold in it that the 3 pieces that hung the Roome Cost 1500? : the bed was rail'd in as ye presence Chamber used to be, ye bed was damaske. The floore of the roome was jnlay'd wth Cyphers and the Corronet: here ye Princess Ann Lay when she fled in King James's tyme when the prince of orange was Coming over. On the Leads you have a very fine prospect of ye whole town and river; You see the Earle of Kingstones and Sr Thomas Willoughby's fine house on ye other side of ye town, and at a distance we see Beavior Castle the Earle of Rutland's house, and a prospect more than 20 mile about, shewing the diversityes of Cultivation and produce of the Earth. The land is very Rich and fruitfull, so the Green Meadows wth the fine Corrn ffields wch seemes to bring forth in handfulls. They soe most of Barley and have great Encrease, there is all sorts of Graine besides, and plaines and Rivers and Great woods and Little towns all in view. They make brick and tile by ye town-the Manufacture of the town mostly Consists in weaving of Stockings wch is a very Ingenious art. There was a man that spunn glass and made Severall things in glass-birds and beasts. I spunn some of the glass and saw him make a swan presently wth divers Coull'd glass; he makes Buttons wch are very strong and will not breake. Nottingham is ffamous for good ale, so for Cellars, they are all dugg out of the Rocks and so are very Coole. Att ye Crown Inn is a Cellar of 60 stepps down, all in ye Rock Like arch worke over your head: in ye Cellar I dranke good ale. We were very well Entertained and very Reasonably att the Blackmoors head; thence we went to Mansfield 12 mile and pass'd some part of the fine fforest of Sherwood. Mansfield is a Little Market town built with Stone, there is a Little river; they make and dye Tammy's here. There is one pretty Stone built house just by the water side of 40 Stepps ascent into it. At the End of the town is an hospital built by a quaker for ancient people, its a good neat building, they were to have 8 pound a year a piece and the roomes and Gardens, but its Chiefly for their friends. There is nothing remarkable here but the dearness of ye Inns, tho' in so plentifull a Country. We went thence to Wursup and went through a parke of ye Duke of Newcastles and by his house Calld Welbeake. Ye house is but old and Low buildings, but the parke is the Noblest wood I Ever saw, fine and stately Straight. A mile thence is a fine pile of Buildings of Stone very uniforme and high Called Worsup Mannour built by a Coe heir of the Devonshire house-3 sisters built 3 noble buildings, this and Ardeck and Chattsworth. A little beyond this is another Building the remaines of Worsup Abby. All the way to Blith is a very heavy Sandy Way 12 miles. At Blith was a very Sweete house and Gardens and Grounds, it was of Brick work Coyn'd with Stones and the Windows with Stone, all sashes; the building was so neate and Exact, it was Square wth 4 juttings out at Each Corner; it Stands high and Commands the Sight of the Country about. The fine river by it with fish ponds and Meadows and fine woods beyond makes it look very pleasant. The Gardens are very neate and after the London Mode, of Gravel and Grass walks and Mount, and the Squaires with dwarfes and Cyprus, ffirre and all sorts of Greens and fruite trees, its very ffruitefull-I Eate good fruite there. Its just by the Church so that a Large Arch wch did belong to the Church is now made a shady Seate to the Garden with Greens over it, under wch is a Sepulchre for ye ffamily. It belongs to one Mr Mellish a Merchant in London, its in all parts a most Compleate thing and its scituation most pleasant. Almost all ye road between this and DonCaster is sandy way, to Rosdin 3 mile, thence to DonCaster 6 miles-here Yorkshire beginns and here the Musick wellcom'd us into Yorkshire. DonCaster is a pretty Large town of Stone buildings, the streetes are good, there is a handsome Market Cross advanc'd on 20 steps at Least. The Church is neate and pretty Large, Severall Little Monuments. This town stands on the River Don, wch gives name to the town, here is also a good Large Meeteing place. We were here the Lord's day and well Entertained at the Angel. Thence we went to Wentbridge and pass'd by woods belonging to Sr Wentworth by his house 7 mile to Wentbridge, where had been a fire the night before Caused by the Lightening and thunder wch was remarkably great as we took notice of, 2 barnes and a house was burnt. Thence we ascended a very Steepe hill and so to Fferrybridge 3 mile where we pass'd the fine River Called the Aire, Large for Barges as was most of those Rivers I have mention'd.

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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