Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

Another tour of the Midlands

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From London to Rusbery 18 mile by Stanes-pretty house and gardens in sight of Windsor in Buckinghamshire -thence Uxbridge 7 mile, pretty good way, thence Amersham 9 mile all in the Alesbury road, thence Barkinstead 6 Long miles, steep hills into Hartfordshire, a good market town, good jnns, thence Dunstable 7 or 9 Long miles steep hills, thence Arsly in Bedfordshire 10 mile, which I Entred at Astick 2 mile from Arlsy, 2 good old houses of the Edwards and Browns, but this was base way, narrow, and Lanes Rooty and Long. Thence Bedford town 9 miles good way, a village in a mile or two distance, Hanlow, Clifton Sheford Checkston and Bedford. Ye great road Comes in good way, thence Turvoy 5 mile belonging to the Earle of Peterborough where he was.

They make much bonelace in these towns. In the Church are fine tombs and monuments of that familly, the first with two Ladyes on Each side, he higher, one in a widdows dress all marble finely Gilt and painted on a bed, and Rowles of Matt very naturall at their head and feete. There was another and the Lady dyed in Childbed the Child by her Costly Carved and Gilt and 4 beadmen at the feete (he allowed for four old mens maintenance), by it another and his Lady all rich marble Gilt and painted.

Here I Enter Buckinghamshire againe over the Bridge, so to Northampton 10 mile over a pretty good road, and Entred the shire within 4 mile of the town.

I describe nothing more of Northampton, but the Church was finish'd, the Entrance with a breast wall and paved and stepps within round 3 sides of the Church, which was begun wn I was there before. So I proceeded on to Litchfield very good way as Exactly straight as a Line, the Whatling Streete way, but it was deep heavy ground as in all these Rich Countrys. I passed between two noble seates, Homby on the Right hand on the side of a hill in woods, stone buildings with towers almost Like a Castle, old built, the rows of trees Exact on Each side and avenues, which is Earle of Ffevershams. The other on the left hand Lay Low within a thicket of wood on all sides but the front, where it appear'd Like a Princes Court of Brick and Stone, very fine, Lord Sunderlands, with a Large Parke walled in of a good Extent. Thus I went to a Bridge not very Large of stone but it is the Boundary of three Countys.

I pass'd from Northampton into Leicestershire with Warwickshire on my Left hand, and so went to a Rich Land, here it Lookes of a Redder Earth.

I Came to Cross wayes where was a Latterworth hand poynting 4 wayes to Coventry, Leicester, London, and Litchfield, and some thing farther to High Crosse which is Esteemed ye middle of England, where the two great Roads meete that divides the Kingdom in the Saxons tyme in 4 parts, the Whatling Streete on which still I Continued, and the Ffosse way; thus to a Little place Called Smockington, fitted for jnns, on a Road, very Co-odious. Here I Lay in Warwickshire 10 mile, thence 6 mile to Anderton and Talmouth 7, where I Enter Staffordshire, soe Litchfield 6 mile, thence Woolsly Eight, from thence to Budsworth, Lord Pagets in a ffine Parke, Large Coale mines about it. The house is old but the front very regular, 3 Juttings out, Large Compass windows, a good Little parlour, out of the hall another Large one with drawing roome and bed Chamber and good back staires and Entrys, Large Light fit for attendance. then you go up and Enter a dineing roome, drawing roome and Chamber, a Long gallery that is the Length of the house and broad, and which adds to its greatness. The End opens doores on a terrass out in the garden of same breadth and Length up to an orchard or wilderness which Lookes very nobly. Here at Each End is two good Chambers of state, Lofty, with anty Chambers and for servants and back staires. There are many very good roomes of a second rate wch if well ffurnish'd would Look well. The Leads are a greate many stepps up on the top, a Large Cupilow of windows, and ye walls round ye Leads are so high a person of a middle stature Cannot Look over them scarce when on tiptoe, which is a Greate Lessening of its beauty wch would give a Large prospect round of the Country of 10 or 12 miles off. There is an addition of new wall on the battlements wch is visible so its Likely it was from some accident from ye Leads Enduced ye walls being built higher. This Lord has a greate Command and Royalty in the County, the Kank forrest of 20 mile is his, most of ye gentlemen in the County pay him Chiefe Rent and some hold Right in some of their Land by waiteing on him on some solemn feast dayes in the yeare, and bring up his dinner and waite on him as he Eates, if then in the Country. But these things are better wav'd then sought and is not done few tymes in an age to keep up the Custom.

Ffrom Woolsly after an 8 weekes stay I went to Wolverhampton 11 long mile, then to Churchhill neare Sturbridge 9 or 1o mile farther, by the many Glasshouses where they Blow Broad Glass, but they were not at work on that sort when I was there. At Church-hill was at a farmer Like a Gentleman's' a new pretty house of brick, but wanted ffurniture and Cleaneing and good order, but a hearty Mr and Mrs . The hill is pretty high and gives a great view of the Country which most belongs to Mr Foley-Tom of 10,000 ? -Large Commonage, there he has a Little Lodge, new brick; his own house is 6 or 1o mile thence all within his own grounds, and has great jron works and mines, this is within two mile of Kederminster, as farre on the other side to Sturbridge. Thence I went to Worcester town a sandy way, and here are in some places quicksands. This is a 10 Long mile to Worcester but pretty flatt way for the most part, thence to Newhouse 12 or 14, the basest way for hills, stony narrow hollow wayes very difficult to pass.

I went from Newhouse to Stoake four miles, Mr Foley's the speaker's son has a very fine pile of building, the wing to Herreford being now up in the Shell, which is all for state, great parlour, drawing roome, and bed Chambers, with their appendixes and backstaires, and a great staircase with Chambers over for state. This is Entred into out of the Greate hall, the middle of the house raiseing many stepps out of the Court, the Entrance to which on Each side has buildings uniform for Coach house stables, dairy out houses. The wing to the garden side is finish'd, being their appartment, a pretty staircase that two Easily go up, light from the Skye, jron railes and barristers, this from an arch jsle below which goes to the kitchen, and hath a doore into this front Court and into the gate backward, tho' not visible on the garden side by ye disguise of painting. From this you ascend these staires to the dineing roome which is Even to the great hall and must Enter from it when ffinish'd. Out of this on the Right hand was Mr Paul Folie's the father's studdy, long and Large, with back staires and a servants roome. On the Left hand is a drawing roome, beyond his Ladys bed Chamber, Closet and Servants roome, and next it are these staires of jron Railes that goes up to the next stage, which is over this same wing and is the appartment of the young Mr Folie and his Lady which now is the heir and in possession.

There is their Chamber, her fine Closet, a servants roome and a Large studdy for him; there is also two Large Chambers for strangers which takes the whole wing over the dineing roome and studdy. There is also a Little roome at the end for strangers opposite to Mr folie's roome which Lookes to the front. This dineing roome is what they Eate in allwayes-is well wanscoated. There is a fountaine bason just faceing ye balcony doore that Leads to a terrass paved with black and white marble and jron palisadoes; it has a long space and broad for walking and two Enclosed on Each side by same jron work a step up or two these doores from ye Ladies Closet and the Studdy, out on them in the middle goes the staires two wayes, all jron work, and meete halfe way and Joyne in ye next descent on Gravel, which is in a halfe moon and so design'd to be Left in a Low place with a Cascade beneath, and the Gravell walke and grass walks to go by it and beyond it in many rows of trees. The walled Gardens and walks one below another. This terrass gives a vast prospect of the Country, it being scituated on the ascent of a hill. Many rows of trees in Meadows below it adds to its beauty being all within his own Ground, he has a Great Estate and a Great parke up above it with Great woods. The adornment of the Rooffe is flower potts and ffigures Globes and Scallop shells, it will be v noble Compleate buildings and deserves 10000? a yeare to Live Like it.

The offices are all below and Even with the first Entrance of the ffront, what is ffinished is neate good wanscoate and tapistry, there is two or three damaske beds and one velvet one what they had before, so noe new ffurniture but ye best wing noe doubt will be finely finish'd and furnish'd. The prospect is Large and jndeed to view, at Least in the summer and in Drye tyme, Herrifordshire is Like a fruitfull Garden. Near Richards Castle is the Bone well a fountain alway full of ffish and ffroggs bones tho' often Cleared of them yet still renewed.

Ffrom Newhouse I Came over Maubern Hills which are Like the Alps and have had much wet, the roads deep and difficult, to upton in Worcester 10 mile, where I pass the severn on a stone bridge-here it is not broad. Thence Pursha 5 mile, thence Esham 4 and Weston 4, in Glocestershire to my Cos'n Ffiennes, thence to Morton Hindmost up a vast stony high hazardous hill of neare two mile Long ascending all the way from Weston-this is in sight of Cambden-so to Morton, 6 miles down as steep a stony hill 2 mile before I Came to my aunts. Thence to Broughton in Oxfordshire passing by 4 shires stone- Warwick, Worcester, Glocester and Oxfordshire, and so by Kingston; thence to oxford 18, Abbington where is a fine town Hall for the Judges, two barrs and all seates aboute set on stone pillars, the staires to the top is about 100, ye Leads fine and gives a Large prospect all about. There is halfe way the staires, a place to go in and in Gallerys round Company may stand to heare Causes all above the Judges heads-this is Buckinghamshire. Then to Newbery by Market Hillsly its 16 mile, which town has been famous v for whipps and presents a King or Queen when they pass through it with one of great price and also wth a purse of Gold. From thence to Way hill through Lanes and woods 14 mile, this is in Hampshire, thence to Newtontony in Wiltshire 6 mile.

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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