England, Picturesque and Descriptive - A Reminiscence of Foreign Travel
by Joel Cook
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Farther northward in the Fenland, and over the border in Lincolnshire, was the Benedictine abbey of "courteous Crowland," though its remains are now scanty. It derives its name from the "Land of Crows," which in this part is drained by the Welland River and the great Bedford Level. On one of the many islands of firmer soil abounding in this oozy region the monks constructed their monastery, but had little space for cultivation, and brought their food from remoter possessions. Now, Crowland is no longer an island, for the drainage has made fast land all about, and the ruins have attracted a straggling village. Here is the famous "triangular bridge," a relic of the abbey. Three streams met, and the bridge was made to accommodate the monks, who, from whatever direction they approached, had to cross one of them. The streams now are conveyed underground, but the bridge remains like a stranded monster which the tide has abandoned, and gives the children a play-place. Its steep half-arches, meeting in the centre, are climbed by rough steps. The dissolved abbey served as a quarry for the village, and hence on this strange bridge and on all the houses fragments of worked stone and of sculpture everywhere appear. It was located at the eastern end of the village, where its ruins still stand up as a guide across the fens, seen from afar. Most of it is in complete ruin, but the north aisle of the nave has been sufficiently preserved to serve as the parish church of Crowland; round about the church and the ruins extends the village graveyard. Set up in the porch beneath the tower is a memorial for William Hill, the sexton, who died in 1792. When forty years old he was blinded by exposure during a snowfall, yet he lived for twenty-five years afterwards, able to find his way everywhere and to know every grave in the churchyard.

In the earlier days of Christianity the solitudes in this Fenland had peculiar attractions for the hermits who fled from the world to embrace an ascetic life. Thus the islands each gradually got its hermit, and the great monasteries grew up by degrees, starting usually in the cell of some recluse. Guthlac, who lived in the seventh century, was of the royal House of Mercia, and voluntarily exiled himself in the Fens. This region was then, according to popular belief, the haunt of myriads of evil spirits, who delighted in attacking the hermits. They assaulted Guthlac in hosts, disturbed him by strange noises, once carried him far away to the icy regions of the North, and not seldom took the form of crows, the easier to torment him; but his steady prayers and penance ultimately put them to flight, and the existence of his cell became known to the world. Ethelbald fled to Guthlac for refuge, and the hermit predicted he would become king, which in time came to pass. Guthlac died at Crowland, and the grateful king built a stone church there. The buildings increased, their great treasure being of course the tomb of the hermit, which became a source of many miracles. The Northmen in the ninth century plundered and destroyed Crowland, but it was restored, and in Edward the Confessor's time was one of the five religious houses ruled by the powerful abbot of Peterborough. It became the shrine of Waltheof, the Earl of Northampton beheaded for opposing William the Conqueror, and Crowland was thus made a stronghold of English feeling against the Normans, like the other monasteries of the Fens. Its fame declined somewhat after the Conquest, though its hospitality was fully maintained. It had little subsequent history. The abbey was garrisoned by the Royalists, and captured by Cromwell in 1643, after which it fell into ruin. Such has been the fate of almost all the religious houses in the Fens, the merits of which the people in the olden time judged according to a local rhyme which yet survives:

"Ramsay, the bounteous of gold and of fee; Crowland, as courteous as courteous may be; Spalding the rich, and Peterborough the proud; Sawtrey, by the way, that poor abbaye, Gave more alms in one day than all they."


Proceeding eastward out of the Fenland and among the hills of Norfolk, the little river Wensum is found to have cut a broad, deep, and trench-like valley into the chalk and gravel plateau. Upon the elevated bank of the river is the irregularly picturesque town of Norwich, with the castle keep rising above the undulating mass of buildings, and the cathedral and its noble spire overtopping the lower portion of the city on the right hand. Norwich is an ancient town, but very little is known with certainty about it anterior to the Danish invasions. We are told that its original location was at the more southerly castle of Caister, whence the inhabitants migrated to the present site, for—

"Caister was a city when Norwich was none, And Norwich was built of Caister stone."

Canute held possession of Norwich and had a castle there, but the present castle seems to date from the Norman Conquest, when it was granted to Ralph de Quader, who turned traitor to the king, causing Norfolk to be besieged, captured, and greatly injured. Then the castle was granted to Roger Bigod. The town grew, and became especially prosperous from the settlement there of numerous Flemish weavers in the fourteenth century and of Walloons in Elizabeth's reign. It managed to keep pretty well out of the Civil Wars, but a local historian says, "The inhabitants have been saved from stagnation by the exceeding bitterness with which all party and local political questions are discussed and contested, and by the hearty way in which all classes throw themselves into all really patriotic movements, when their party feeling occasionally sleeps for a month or two." Norwich is pre-eminently a town of churches, into the construction of which flint enters largely, it being dressed with great skill into small roughened cubical blocks.

The great attraction of Norwich is the cathedral, which stands upon a low peninsula enclosed by a semicircular sweep of the river, much of the ground in this region having been originally a swamp. The cathedral is generally approached from its western side, where there is an open space in front of the Close called Tombland, upon which two gates open from it. These are St. Ethelbert's and the Erpingham gate. The latter, opposite the western front of the cathedral, is named for its builder, "old Sir Thomas Erpingham," whose "good white head," Shakespeare tells us, was to be seen on the field of Agincourt. The cathedral is a Norman structure, cruciform in plan, with an exceptionally long nave, an apsidal choir, and attached chapels. The earliest parts of it were begun in 1096, and when partially completed five years afterwards it was handed over to the care of the Benedictine monks. Thirty years later the nave was added, but the cathedral was not completed until about 1150. Twice it was seriously injured by fire, and it was not thoroughly restored for a century, when in 1278 it was again consecrated with great pomp, in the presence of Edward I. and his court, on Advent Sunday. The spire, which is one of its most conspicuous features, was added by Bishop Percy in the fourteenth century, though, having been seriously injured by lightning, it had to be replaced afterwards. At the same time the building was greatly altered, its roofs raised and vaulted, and repairs went on until 1536. Yet, with all the changes that were made in this famous cathedral, no other in England has managed to preserve its original plan so nearly undisturbed.

Entering the nave from the westward, this grand apartment is found to extend two hundred and fifty feet, and to the intersection of the transepts comprises fourteen bays, three of them being included in the choir. The triforium is almost as lofty as the nave-arches, and the solidity of these, surmounted by the grandeur of the upper arcade, gives a magnificent aspect to the nave. Above is the fine vaulted roof, the elaborately carved bosses giving a series of scenes from sacred history extending from the Creation to the Last Judgment. Small chapels were originally erected against the organ-screen, one of them being dedicated to the young St. William, a Norfolk saint who in the twelfth century was tortured and crucified by some Jews. His body, clandestinely buried in a wood, was found, miracles were wrought, and it was translated to the cathedral. The Jews of Norwich were then attacked and plundered, and these outrages were renewed a century later. But times have fortunately changed since then. The choir extends to the eastern apse, and at the back of the altar recent alterations have exposed an interesting relic in a fragment of the original bishop's throne, an elevated chair of stone placed in the middle of the apse and looking westward. On either side are apsidal chapels. Among the monuments is that to Sir William Boleyn, grandfather to the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. He lived at Blickling, about thirteen miles from Norwich, where Anne is believed to have been born. Several bishops also lie in the cathedral, and among the later tombs is that of Dr. Moore, who died in 1779, and whose periwigged head is in grotesque juxtaposition with a cherub making an ugly face and appearing to be drying his eyes with his shirt. The spire of Norwich Cathedral rises two hundred and eighty-seven feet.

Norwich Castle is a massive block of masonry crowning the summit of a mound. Who first built it is unknown, but he is said by popular tradition to sit buried in his chair and full armed deep down in the centre of this mound, and "ready for all contingencies." But the castle has degenerated into a jail, and the great square tower or keep, ninety-five feet square and seventy feet high, is the only part of the original structure remaining. It has been refaced with new stone, and the interior has also been completely changed. The moat is planted with trees, and on the outside slope the cattle-market is held every Saturday. Norwich has some historical structures. In its grammar school Nelson was a scholar, and his statue stands on the green. On the edge of Tombland stands the house of Sir John Falstaff, a brave soldier and friend of literature, whose memory is greatly prized in Norfolk, but whose name has been forgotten by many in the shadow of Shakespeare's "Fat Jack." The chief centre of the town, however, is the market-place, on the slope of a hill, where modernized buildings have replaced some of the more antique structures. Here stands the ancient Guildhall, which in 1413 replaced the old Tolbooth where the market-dues were paid. Within is the sword surrendered to Nelson by Admiral Winthuysen at the battle of St. Vincent, and by him presented to the chief city of his native county of Norfolk. In the olden time the glory of Norwich was the Duke of Norfolk's palace, but it was destroyed at the end of the seventeenth century by the then duke in a fit of anger because the mayor would not permit his troop of players to march through the town with trumpets blowing. Not a brick of it now stands, the site being covered with small houses. Norwich was formerly famous for its trade in woollens, the Dutch introducing them at the neighboring village of Worsted, whence the name. Now, the coal-mines have aided the spinning-jenny, but the worsteds are overshadowed by other Norwich manufactures. Colman's mustard-factories cover ten acres, and Barnard's ornamental iron-work from Norwich is world-renowned. Norwich also contains an enormous brewery, but in this the city is not singular, for what is a Briton without his beer?


On the banks of the Welland River, a short distance above Crowland, is Stamford, in Lincolnshire, near which is located the well-known Burghley House, the home of Lord Treasurer Cecil, whose history is referred to in the notice of Hatfield House. This mansion, which is a short distance south of Stamford, is now the seat of the Marquis of Exeter, William Allayne Cecil. It is said to have furnished the text for Lord Bacon's "Essay on Building," it having been completed but a short time previously. The plans of this famous house are still preserved in London. It is a parallelogram built around an open court, with a lofty square tower projecting from the western front, and having octangular turrets at the angles. The northern (which is the main) front is divided into three compartments, and bears on the parapet 1587 as the date when the house was finished. Within the building a long corridor, commanding a view of the inner court, leads to a stone staircase which rises to the top of the structure and is peculiarly decorated. There is a fine chapel, and in an adjoining room was Giordano's renowned painting of "Seneca Dying in the Bath," which was eulogized in Prior's poems, he having seen it there, though it is now removed. One of the most interesting pictures in the gallery is that of Henry Cecil, the tenth Earl and the first Marquis of Exeter, his wife, and daughter. Tennyson has woven the romance of their marriage into a poem. Cecil, before coming into his title, was living in seclusion in Shropshire, and fell in love with a farmer's daughter. He married her under an assumed name, and only disclosed his true rank when, succeeding to his uncle's title and estates, he became the lord of Burghley and took her home to Burghley House. Tennyson tells how she received the disclosure:

"Thus her heart rejoices greatly, till a gateway she discerns With armorial bearings stately, and beneath the gate she turns; Sees a mansion more majestic than all those she saw before: Many a gallant gay domestic bows before him at the door. And they speak in gentle murmur, when they answer to his call. While he treads with footstep firmer, leading on from hall to hall. And, while now she wonders blindly, nor the meaning can divine, Proudly turns he round and kindly, 'All of this is mine and thine.' Here he lives in state and bounty, Lord of Burghley, fair and free, Not a lord in all the county is so great a lord as he. All at once the color flushes her sweet face from brow to chin: As it were with shame she blushes, and her spirit changed within. Then her countenance all over pale again as death did prove; But he clasp'd her like a lover, and he cheer'd her soul with love."

The building has many attractive apartments, including a ball-room and Queen Elizabeth's chamber, but it is doubted whether the maiden queen ever visited it, though she did stay at Burghley's house in Stamford, and here made the celebrated speech to her old minister in which she said that his head and her purse could do anything. Burghley's eldest son, Thomas, was created Earl of Exeter, and his descendants are now in possession of the house. His younger son, Robert, as previously related, was made Earl of Salisbury, and his descendants hold Hatfield House. The apartments at Burghley are filled with historical portraits. The grand staircase on the southern side of the house is finer than the other, but is not so full of character. The gardens of Burghley were planned by "Capability Brown," the same who laid out Kew. He imperiously overruled King George III. in the gardening at Kew, and when he died the king is said to have exclaimed with a sigh of relief to the under-gardener, "Brown is dead; now you and I can do what we please here." Within St. Martin's Church in Stamford is the canopied tomb of the lord treasurer, constructed of alabaster, and bearing his effigy clad in armor, with the crimson robes of the Garter; it is surrounded with the tombs of his descendants. It was into Stamford that Nicholas Nickleby rode through the snowstorm, and the coach stopped at the George Inn, which was a popular hostelrie in the days of Charles II., as it still remains.

North of Stamford, on the river Witham, is the interesting town of Grantham, containing the quaint grammar-school founded by Bishop Fox of Winchester in 1528 where Sir Isaac Newton was educated. It is recorded by tradition that his career here was not very brilliant as a scholar—a circumstance which may be told, if for nothing else, at least for the encouragement of some of the school-boys of a later generation.


Continuing northward down the river Witham, we come to a point where the stream has carved in a limestone-capped plateau a magnificent valley, which, changing its course to the eastward, ultimately broadens on its route to the sea into a wide tract of fenland. Here, upon a grand site overlooking the marshes and the valley, stands the city of Lincoln, with its cathedral crowning the top of the hill, while the town-buildings spread down the slope to the riverbank at Brayford Pool, from which the Witham is navigable down to Boston, near the coast, and ultimately discharges into the Wash. The Pool is crowded with vessels and bordered by warehouses, and it receives the ancient Fosse Dyke Canal, which was dug by the Romans to connect the Witham with the more inland river Trent. This was the Roman colony of Lindum, from which the present name of Lincoln is derived, and the noble cathedral crowns the highest ground, known as Steep Hill. William the Conqueror conferred upon Bishop Remigius of Fecamp the see of Dorchester, and he founded in 1075 this celebrated cathedral, which, with its three noble towers and two transepts, is one of the finest in England. Approaching it from the town, at the foot of the hill is encountered the Stonebow, a Gothic gateway of the Tudor age, which serves as the guild-hall. The centre of the western front is the oldest part of Lincoln Cathedral, and the gateway facing it, and forming the chief entrance to the Close, is the Exchequer Gate, an impressive structure built in the reign of Edward III. The cathedral arcade and the lower parts of the two western towers and the western doorway were built in the twelfth century. Subsequently an earthquake shattered the cathedral, and in the thirteenth century it was restored and extended by Bishop Hugh of Avelon, not being finished until 1315. The massive central tower is supported on four grand piers composed of twenty-four shafts, and here is hung the celebrated bell of Lincoln, "Great Tom," which was recast about fifty years ago, and weighs five and a half tons. The transepts have splendid rose windows, retaining the original stained glass. Lincoln's shrine was that of St. Hugh, and his choir is surmounted by remarkable vaulting, the eastern end of the church being extended into the Angel Choir, a beautiful specimen of Decorated Gothic, built in 1282 to accommodate the enormous concourse of pilgrims attracted by St. Hugh's shrine, which stood in this part of the building. In the cathedral is the tomb of Katherine Swynford, wife of John of Gaunt. Adjoining the south-eastern transept are the cloisters and chapter-house. The most ingenious piece of work of the whole structure is the "stone beam," a bridge with a nearly flat arch, extending between the two western towers over the nave, composed of twenty-two stones, each eleven inches thick, and vibrating sensibly when stepped upon. There is a grand view from the towers over the neighboring country and far away down the Witham towards the sea. The exterior of the cathedral is one of the finest specimens of architecture in the kingdom, its porches, side-chapels, decorated doorways, sculptured capitals, windows, cloisters, and towers admirably illustrating every portion of the history of English architecture. Its interior length is four hundred and eighty-two feet, the great transept two hundred and fifty feet, and the lesser transept one hundred and seventy feet. The western towers are one hundred and eighty feet high, and the central tower two hundred and sixty feet, while the width of the cathedral's noble western front is one hundred and seventy-four feet. Upon the southern side of the hill, just below it, are the stately ruins of the Bishop's Palace, of which the tower has recently been restored. Bishop Hugh's ruined Great Hall is now overgrown with ivy, but the walls can be climbed to disclose a glorious view of the cathedral.

The ancient Ermine Street of the Romans enters Lincoln through the best preserved piece of Roman masonry in England, the Newport Gate of two arches, where on either hand may be seen fragments of the old wall. Near the south-east corner of this originally walled area William the Conqueror built Lincoln Castle, with its gate facing the cathedral. The ruins are well preserved, and parts of the site are now occupied by the jail and court-house. Within this old castle King Stephen besieged the empress Maud, but though he captured it she escaped. Her partisans recaptured the place, and Stephen in the second siege was made a prisoner. It suffered many sieges in the troubled times afterwards. In the Civil War the townspeople supported the king, but being attacked they retreated to the castle and cathedral, which were stormed and taken by the Parliamentary army. Afterwards the castle was dismantled. One of the interesting remains in Lincoln is the "Jew's House," the home in the Hebrew quarter of a Jewess who was hanged for clipping coin in the reign of Edward I. But the noble cathedral is the crowning glory of this interesting old city, the massive structure, with its three surmounting towers standing on high, being visible for many miles across the country around.


We will now cross over the border from Lincoln into Nottinghamshire, and, seeking the valley of the Trent, find upon the steep brow of a cliff by the river the ancient castle of Nottingham, which is now surrounded by the busy machinery of the hosiery-weavers. When it was founded no one accurately knows, but it is believed to antedate the Roman occupation of the island. As long ago as the tenth century there was a bridge across the Trent at Snodengahame—meaning the "dwelling among the rocks"—as it was then called, and afterwards the town suffered from the Danes. It is also suffered during the troubled reign of King Stephen. The castle was built by one of the Peverils soon after the Norman Conquest, and was frequently the abode of kings. It was here that Roger Mortimer was seized prior to being tried and hanged in London. King David of Scotland and Owen Glendower of Wales were held prisoners in Nottingham Castle, and from it Richard III. advanced to meet his fate on Bosworth Field, while Charles I. set up his standard and gathered his army at Nottingham at the opening of the Civil Wars, the blowing down of the standard by a gale on Castle Hill being taken as ominous of the unfortunate termination of the conflict. The old castle, which has fallen into ruins, subsequently passed into possession of the Duke of Newcastle, who cleared away almost the whole of the ancient structure and built a house upon the site. The city was noted for its manufactures as early as the reign of King John, and the hand-knitting of stockings was introduced in the sixteenth century. Previously to that time hosiery had been cut out of cloth, with the seams sewed up the same as outer clothing. As early as 1589 a machine for weaving was invented, but failing to reap a profit from it, the inventor, a clergyman, took it to Paris, where he afterwards died broken-hearted. Ultimately, his apprentices brought the machines back to Nottingham, improved them, and prospered. Many improvements followed. Jedediah Strutt produced the "Derby ribbed hose;" then the warp-loom was invented in the last century, and the bobbin-traverse net in 1809. The knitting-machines have been steadily improved, and now hosiery-making is carried on in extensive factories that give an individuality to the town. The rapidity with which stockings are reeled off the machines is astonishing. An ordinary stocking is made in four pieces, which are afterwards sewed or knitted together by another machine. Some of the looms, however, knit the legs in one piece, and may be seen working off almost endless woollen tubes, which are afterwards divided into convenient lengths. Fancy hosiery is knitted according to patterns, the setting up of which requires great skill. Vast amounts of lace are woven, and in the factories female labor preponderates. The upper town of Nottingham, clustering around the castle on the river-crag, has a picturesque aspect from the valley below. Among the features of the lower town is the market-place, a triangular area of slightly over four acres, where the market is held every Saturday, and where once a year is also held that great event of Nottingham, the Michaelmas goose fair. Here also disport themselves at election-times the rougher element, who, from their propensity to bleat when expressing disapprobation, are known as the "Nottingham lambs," and who claim to be lineal descendants from that hero of the neighboring Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood.


We will now go down the valley of the Trent below Nottingham, and, mounting the gentle hills that border Sherwood Forest, come to the Roman station, Ad Pontem, of which the Venerable Bede was the historian. Here Paulinus was baptized, and it was early made the site of an episcopal see. The name was Sudwell at the Norman Conquest, and then it became Southwell, and the noted minster was one of the favorite residences of the Archbishop of York. It is a quiet, old-fashioned place, with plenty of comfortable residences, and in a large churchyard on ground sloping away from the main street, with the ruins of the archbishop's palace near by, is Southwell Minster. There are few finer examples of a Norman building remaining in England, the three towers, nave, transepts, and chapter-house forming a majestic group. An enormous western window has been inserted by later architects, rather to the detriment of the gable, and this produces a singular effect. The interior of the minster is magnificent. The Norman nave is of eight bays with semicircular arches, surmounted by a triforium of rows of arches almost equal to those below, and rising from piers with clustered side-columns. It is nearly three-fourths the height of the lower stage, and this produces a grand effect. The flat roof is modern, it and the bells having been replaced after the church was burned in the last century. The ruins of the archiepiscopal palace, erected six hundred years ago, have been availed of in one portion for a dwelling-house. Wolsey built part of it, and beneath the battlemented wall enclosing the garden there was not long ago found the skeleton of a soldier in armor, a relic of the Civil Wars. The name of the town is derived from its wells. The South Well is a short distance outside the limits in a little park. The Holy Well, which was inside the minster, is now covered up. Lady Well was just outside the church-walls, but a clergyman fell into it one dark night and was drowned, and it too has been closed. St. Catherine's Well was surmounted by a chapel, and is in repute as a cure for rheumatism. The ancient inn of the Saracen's Head in Southwell, not far from the minster on the main street, witnessed the closing scene of the Civil War. After the battle of Naseby the Scotch had reached Southwell, and Montreville, an agent of Cardinal Mazarin, came there to negotiate on behalf of King Charles in 1646. The Scotch commissioners had rooms in the archiepiscopal palace, and Montreville lodged at the Saracen's Head. After the negotiations had proceeded for some time, the king in disguise quitted Oxford in April, and after a devious journey by way of Newark appeared at Montreville's lodgings on May 6th. On the south side of the inn was an apartment divided into a dining-room and bedroom, which the king occupied, and in the afternoon, after dining with the Scotch commissioners, he placed himself in their hands, and was sent a prisoner to their head-quarters. The canny Scots before leaving stripped the lead from the roof of the palace, and it afterwards fell into ruin, so that Cromwell, who arrived subsequently, found it uninhabitable, and then occupied the king's room at the Saracen's Head, his horses being stabled in Southwell Minster. Southwell since has had an uneventful history.


Nor far away is the well-known Sherwood Forest, wherein in the olden time lived the famous forester and bandit Robin Hood. Roaming among its spreading oaks with his robber band, he was not infrequently a visitor to the bordering towns, sometimes for pleasure, but oftener for "business." Who Robin was, or exactly when he lived, no one seems to know. He is associated alike with the unsettled times of Kings John and Richard, with Henry V. and with Jack Cade, but so much mystery surrounds all reports of him that some do not hesitate to declare Robin Hood a myth. But whoever he was, his memory and exploits live in many a ballad sung along the banks of the Trent and in the towns and villages of Sherwood Forest. His abiding-place is now divided up into magnificent estates, the most famous of them being known as "The Dukeries." One of them, near Ollerton, is Thoresby Hall, the splendid home of the Earl of Manvers, a park that is ten miles in circumference. North of this is the stately seat of the Duke of Newcastle—Clumber Park—charmingly situated between Ollerton and Worksop. From the entrance-lodge a carriage-drive of over a mile through the well-wooded grounds leads up to the elegant yet homelike mansion. It is of modern construction, having been built in 1770 and received important additions since. Before that time the park was a tract of wild woodland, but the then Duke of Newcastle improved it, and constructed an extensive lake, covering ninety acres, at a cost of $35,000. It was originally intended for a shooting-box, but this was elaborately extended. In the centre of the west front is a colonnade, and between the mansion and the lake are fine gardens ornamented by a large fountain. The owner of Clumber is the lineal representative of the family of Pelham-Clinton—which first appeared prominently in the reign of Edward I.—and is Henry Pelham Alexander Pelham-Clinton, sixth Duke of Newcastle. Clumber is rich in ornaments, among them being four ancient Roman altars, but the most striking feature is the full-rigged ship which with a consort rests upon the placid bosom of the lake.

Adjoining Clumber Park is the most celebrated of "The Dukeries," Welbeck Abbey, which is one of the remarkable estates of England, a place peculiar to itself. The mansion is about four miles from Worksop, and the surrounding park contains a grand display of fine old trees, beneath which roam extensive herds of deer. Welbeck Abbey of White Canons was founded in the reign of Henry II., and dedicated to St. James. After the dissolution it was granted to Richard Whalley, and subsequently passed into possession of Sir Charles Cavendish, a son of the famous Bess of Hardwicke, whose grandson converted the abbey into an elaborate mansion, leaving little of the original religious building standing. The present house was constructed in the seventeenth century, its old riding-house being completed in 1623, and William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, who built it, was noted as the most accomplished horseman of his time. For several generations Welbeck remained in possession of the Dukes of Newcastle, until in the last century an only daughter and the heiress of the abbey married William Bentinck, the Duke of Portland, thus carrying the estate over to that family, which now possesses it. The founder of this ducal house came over from Holland as a page of honor with King William III. The present owner, who has just succeeded to the title, is the sixth Duke of Portland. The chief feature of the original Welbeck, the old riding-house, remains, but is no longer used for that purpose. It is a grand hall, one hundred and seventy-seven feet long, with a massive open-work timber roof of admirable design. The mansion is full of fine apartments, many of them elaborately decorated, but it is not from these that the estate gets its present fame. The late Duke of Portland, who was unmarried, was an eccentric man, and he developed a talent for burrowing underground that made his house one of the most remarkable in England and consumed enormous sums of money. The libraries of Welbeck, five superb rooms opening into each other, a spacious hall adjoining, one hundred and fifty-nine feet long, the stables, large gardens, hothouses, lodges, and other apartments, are all underground. They have glass roofs of magnificent design. They are approached from and connected with the rest of the mansion by subterranean passages, and, being lofty rooms, the cost of this deep digging and of the necessary drainage and other adjuncts may be imagined. The new riding house, the finest in existence, and also underground, but lighted by an arched glass roof, is three hundred and seventy-nine by one hundred and six feet, and fifty feet high. It is elaborately ornamented, and at night is lighted by nearly eight thousand gas-jets. Near it are the extensive hunting-stables, coach-houses, and that marked feature of Welbeck, the covered "gallop," one thousand and seventy-two feet long, with large "hanging rooms" at either end: these too are covered with glass, so as to get their light from the top. The whole place abounds in subterranean apartments and passages, while above ground are extensive gardens and dairies. In the gardens are the peach-wall, one thousand feet long, a similar range of pine-houses, a fruit-arcade of ornamental iron arches stretching nearly a quarter of a mile, with apple trees trained on one side and pear trees on the other, and extensive beds of flowers and plants. To construct and maintain all this curious magnificence there are workshops on a grand scale. This eccentric duke, who practically denied himself to the world, and for years devoted his time to carrying on these remarkable works at an enormous cost, employed over two thousand persons in burrowing out the bowels of the earth and making these grand yet strange apartments. When finished he alone could enjoy them, for Welbeck was for a long time a sealed book to the outer world. But the eccentric duke died, as all men must, and his successor opened Welbeck to view and to the astonishment of all who saw it. A few months ago the Prince of Wales and a noble company visited the strange yet magnificent structure, and then for the first time the amazed assemblage explored this underground palace in Sherwood Forest, and when their wonder was satisfied they turned on the myriads of gas-jets, and amid a blaze of artificial light indulged in a ball—an unwonted scene for the weird old abbey of the eccentric and solitary duke. Like the fairies and mermaids of old in their underground palaces, the prince and his friends at Welbeck right merrily

"Held their courtly revels down, down below."

Also in this neighborhood is Newstead Abbey, the ancient seat of the Byrons. It is about eleven miles from Nottingham, and was founded by the Augustinians in the time of Henry II. In 1540 it came into possession of Sir John Byron, and a century later was held for King Charles. The poet Byron's bedroom remains almost as he left it, and on the lawn is the monument to his favorite dog, "Boatswain." The abbey also contains several relics of Livingstone, the African explorer. Near it is Robin Hood's Cave, and the neighborhood is full of remains of the famous chieftain, such as his Hill and his Chair, and Fountain Dale where Robin encountered Friar Tuck.


Descending again to the banks of the Trent, we come to the causeway which carries over the flat meadows the Great North Road, the Roman military route to the north of England, which made it necessary to build a castle to hold the keys to its passage across the river. We are told that Egbert built the earliest fortress here, but the Danes destroyed it. Leofric, Earl of Mercia, rebuilt it, and gave the castle the name of the "New Work." But it too fell into decay, and in 1123 the present castle was built, which though much altered and afterwards sadly ruined, has come down to the present time. It was here that, after his army was swamped in the Wash, King John died, some say by poison, but the prosaic historian attributes the sad result to over-indulgence in "unripe peaches and new beer." In the Civil War it was a royal stronghold and sent King Charles large numbers of recruits. Then it was besieged by Cromwell, but stoutly resisted, and Prince Rupert by some brilliant manoeuvres relieved it. Finally, the king sought refuge within its walls after the defeat at Naseby, and here he was besieged by the Scotch until his voluntary surrender to them at Southwell, when two days afterwards, by his order, Newark capitulated to his captors. The Parliamentary forces afterwards dismantled the castle, and it fell into decay, but it has recently been restored as well as possible, and the site converted into a public garden. Within the town of Newark are several objects of interest. At the Saracen's Head Inn, which has existed from the time of Edward III., Sir Walter Scott tells us that Jeanie Deans slept on her journey from Midlothian to London. The most striking part of the town is the market-square, which is very large, and is surrounded by old and interesting houses, several of them projecting completely over the footwalks, and having the front walls supported upon columns—a most picturesque arrangement. One of these old houses has windows in continuous rows in the upper stories, having between them wooden beams and figures moulded in plaster. Through the openings between these old houses can be seen the church, which is one of the finest parish churches in this district, so celebrated for the magnificence of its religious houses. Surmounting its Early English tower is a spire of later date. The plan is cruciform, but with very short transepts, not extending beyond the aisles, which are wide and stretch the entire length of the church. There is a fine roof of carved oak, and some of the stained glass and interior paintings are highly prized. It was at Newark that Thomas Magnus lived and founded the grammar-school at which the antiquarian Dr. Stukeley was educated, and afterwards the famous Warburton, who became Bishop of Gloucester.

In Newark, about three hundred years ago, there was a tavern called the "Talbot Arms," named in honor of the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose countess was Mary, daughter of the famous Bess of Hardwicke by her second husband, Sir William Cavendish. Between the Talbots and the neighboring family of Stanhopes at Shelford there was a feud, which resulted in the Stanhopes defacing the tavern-sign. This was not taken notice of by the Earl of Shrewsbury, but the quarrel was assumed by the imperious countess and her brother, Sir Charles Cavendish. They despatched a messenger to Sir Thomas Stanhope, accusing him and his son of the insult, and declaring him a "reprobate and his son John a rascal." Then a few days later they sent a formal defiance: the Stanhopes avoided a duel as long as possible until they began to be posted as cowards, and then, having gone to London, whither Cavendish followed them, a duel was arranged with the younger Stanhope at Lambeth Bridge. They met after several delays, when it was found that Stanhope had his doublet so thickly quilted as to be almost impenetrable to a sword-thrust. Then there was a new dispute, and it was proposed they should fight in their shirts, but this Stanhope declined, pleading a cold. Cavendish offered to lend him a waistcoat, but this too was declined; then Cavendish waived all objections to the doublet and proposed to fight anyhow, but the seconds interposed, and the duel was put off. Stanhope was then again posted as a coward, and he and his adherents were hustled in the streets of London. A few days later Stanhope and his party were attacked in Fleet Street by the Talbots, and one of the former faction mortally wounded. The feud went on six years, when one day, Cavendish, riding near his home in Nottinghamshire with three attendants, was attacked by Stanhope and twenty horsemen. He fought bravely, and was badly wounded, but killed four and wounded two others of his opponents, when, reinforcements appearing, the Stanhope party fled, leaving six horses and nearly all their hats and weapons behind them. But all feuds have an end, and this one ultimately exhausted itself, the families within a century being united in marriage.


Following the Trent down to the Humber, and turning towards the sea, we come to the noted seaport of Hull, or, as it is best known in those parts, Kingston-upon-Hull. While not possessing great attractions for the ordinary tourist, yet Hull ranks as the third seaport of England, being second only to London and Liverpool. It is the great packet-station for the north of Europe, with steam lines leading to Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the Baltic, most of the English trade with those countries being centred at Hull. It is a town of extreme activity, its docks being all the time crowded with shipping, and its location, practically upon an island, with the river Humber on the south, the river Hull upon the east, and docks upon the northern and western sides, giving it every maritime convenience. The docks, though inferior to those of Liverpool, are the chief feature of the town. The Hull River itself forms a natural dock about a mile and a half long, and from this a chain of other docks leads through the warehouses and the town to the Humber. Hull possesses the Trinity House, one of the three ancient establishments in England—the others being at London and Newcastle—which were founded first as a religious fraternity in the fourteenth century, and became afterwards establishments for the relief of distressed and decayed seamen and their families. The present Trinity House building was erected in the last century. The chief ornament of Hull is the Wilberforce Monument, a pillar of sandstone seventy-two feet high, erected about a half century ago, and surmounted by a statue of the celebrated philanthropist. He was born on High Street August 24, 1759, this being the most important thoroughfare in ancient Hull, but now a narrow and inconvenient lane following the right bank of the Hull River. Here were in former days the houses of the great Hull merchants, and the Wilberforce House is about halfway down the street. It is a curious specimen of brickwork, of a style said to have been imported from Flanders in the reign of William and Mary. It is a low, broad house with a surmounting tower over the doorway. Hull has little else of interest in the way of buildings. Its Holy Trinity Church, in the market-place, is the largest parish church in England, having recently been thoroughly restored, and the Town Hall, built in the Italian style, with a clock-tower, is its finest edifice of modern construction.

We have now come into Yorkshire, and a few minutes' ride northward by railway along the valley of the Hull River brings the visitor to Beverley, an old-fashioned Yorkshire town of considerable antiquity, eight miles from the seaport. This was anciently a walled town, but of the entrance-gates only one survives, the North Bar, of the time of Edward III. It is a good specimen of brick architecture, with mouldings and niches upon the surface and battlements at the top. This is a favorite old town for the retired merchant and tradesman who wish to pass the declining years of life in quiet, and it contains many ancient buildings of interest. Several of these are clustered around the picturesque market-square, which is an enclosure of about four acres, and contains a quaint cross, a relic of the time when it was customary to build market-crosses. These ancient crosses, which were practically canopies erected over a raised platform, were generally used as pulpits by the preachers when conducting religious services in the open air. Sometimes they were memorials of the dead. We are told that there were formerly five thousand of these crosses of various kinds in England, but most of them were destroyed in the Civil Wars. At these old crosses proclamations used to be read and tolls collected from the market-people. The covered market-cross at Beverley was one of the last that was erected. The name of this interesting town is said to be derived from Beaver Lake, the site having at one time been surrounded by lakes that were formed by the overflowing of the Humber, in which beavers lived in great numbers. The Beverley Minster is an attractive Gothic church, and from the tops of its towers there is an excellent view over the rich and almost level valley through which the Hull River flows. Leconfield Castle, in the suburbs, was an ancient residence of the Percys, of which the moat alone remains.


Let us now ascend the estuary of the Humber, and, proceeding up its numerous tributaries, seek out various places of interest in the West Riding of Yorkshire. And first, ascending the river Don, we come to that great manufacturing centre of the "Black Country," sacred to coal and iron, Sheffield. Murray's Guide tells us that while Sheffield is one of the largest and most important towns in Yorkshire, it is "beyond all question the blackest, dirtiest, and least respectable." Horace Walpole in the last century wrote that Sheffield is "one of the foulest towns in England in the most charming situation." It is a crowded city, with narrow and badly-arranged streets, having few handsome public buildings, but bristling with countless tall chimneys belching forth clouds of heavy smoke that hang like a pall over the place. The Don and its tributaries have their beds defiled, and altogether the smoky city is in unpleasant contrast with the beauty of the surrounding country. But, unfortunately, an omelette cannot be made without breaking eggs, nor can Sheffield make cutlery without smoke and bad odors, all of which have amazingly multiplied within the present century, its population having grown from forty-five thousand in 1801 to over three hundred thousand now. It stands at the confluence of the rivers Don and Sheaf, its name being connected with the latter. Three smaller streams join them within the city and are utilized for water-power. The factories spread over the lowlands of the Don valley, and mount up its western slopes towards the moorlands that stretch away to Derbyshire; it is therefore as hilly as it is grimy. Sheffield at the time of the Norman Conquest was the manor of Hallam, which has passed through various families, until, in the seventeenth century, it became by marriage the property of the Duke of Norfolk. The present duke is lord of the manor of Sheffield, and derives a large income from his vast estates there. Sheffield Castle once stood at the confluence of the two rivers, but all traces of it have disappeared. The manor-house, which has been restored, dates from the time of Henry VIII. It is three stories high, and a turret staircase leads from floor to floor, and finally out upon the flat roof.

We are told that Sheffield manufactures of metals began in the days of the Romans, and also that Sheffield-made arrows fell thickly at Crecy and Agincourt. Richmond used them with effect at Bosworth Field, and in the sixteenth century we read of Sheffield knives and whittles. Almost the only ancient building of any note the city has is the parish church, but it is so much patched and altered that there is difficulty in distinguishing the newer from the older parts. The chief among the modern buildings is the Cutlers' Hall, a Grecian structure erected for the Cutlers Company in 1833, and enlarged a few years ago by the addition of a handsome apartment. This company, the autocrats of Sheffield, was founded in 1624 by act of Parliament with two express objects—to keep a check upon the number of apprentices and to examine into the quality of Sheffield wares, all of which were to be stamped with the warranty of their excellence. But recently the restrictive powers of this company have been swept away, and it is now little more than a grantor of trade-marks and an excuse for an annual banquet. Sheffield has extensive markets and parks, and the Duke of Norfolk is conspicuous in his gifts of this character to the city; but overtopping all else are the enormous works, which make everything into which iron and steel can be converted, from armor-plating and railway-rails down to the most delicate springs and highly-tempered cutlery. Their products go to every part of the world, and are of enormous value and importance.


Upon the Calder, another tributary of the Humber, northward of the Don, is the town of Wakefield, which, until the recent great growth of Leeds, was the head-quarters of the Yorkshire clothing-trade. It was here that in the Wars of the Roses the battle of Wakefield was fought on the closing day of the year 1460. The Duke of York wished to remain at Wakefield on the defensive against Queen Margaret's Lancastrian army of twenty thousand men, for his forces were barely one-fourth that number. The Earl of Salisbury, however, prevailed on him to advance to meet the queen, and he probably had no idea of the strength she had to oppose him. The duke was soon cut off, and was among the first to fall, his head having afterwards been put on the Micklegate bar at York. Scenes of great barbarity followed: the Duke of York's son, the Earl of Rutland, was murdered with shocking cruelty after the battle on Wakefield Bridge. Young Rutland's brother, afterwards Edward IV., erected a chapel on the bridge on the spot where he was slain, in order that prayer might be constantly said in it for the repose of the souls of the followers of the White Rose who were slain in the battle. It covers thirty by twenty-four feet, and has recently been restored by a successor of Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield." Near the bridge the spot is pointed out where the Duke of York was killed, now marked by two willows. There is a fine old three-gabled house in Wakefield which was built about the same date as the battle was fought, and is now divided into small shops. It is a good specimen of the ancient black-and-white timbered house, though the carved work on the front has been considerably defaced. It stands in the Kirkgate, which runs down to the Calder, and is known locally as the "Six Chimblies."


About nine miles north of Wakefield is the great commercial capital of Yorkshire and centre of the cloth-trade. Leeds, built in the valley of the river Aire. Twelve hundred years ago this region, embracing the valleys of the Aire and the Calder, was the independent kingdom of Loidis. It was soon overrun and conquered, however, by the Anglian hosts, and ultimately the conquerors built here the monastery that in Bede's time was presided over by the abbot Thrydwulf. This stood on the site of the present parish church, and in the eighth century it was called "the monastery at Leeta." It stood at the crossing of two important Roman roads in the midst of a forest. This was the beginning of the great city, for soon a hamlet gathered around the monastery, though long since the woods, and indeed all green things, were driven away from Leeds. The village was laid waste by William the Conqueror, and at the time of the Domesday Book it was one of one hundred and fifty manors held by Baron Ilbert de Lacy, whose possessions stretched halfway across Yorkshire. He built a castle at Leeds, which was afterwards a prison of Richard II., but has long since disappeared. In 1530, Leland described Leeds as "a pretty market-town, as large as Bradford, but not so quick as it." Charles I. incorporated it, and the cloth-market was then of some importance. In the Civil War it was taken by the Royalists, and afterwards retaken by Fairfax for the Parliament in a short, sharp struggle, in which a clergyman named Scholfield distinguished himself by his valor, and "by his triumphant psalm-singing" as work after work was captured from the enemy. Flemish workmen brought cloth-making into this part of Yorkshire as early as the reign of Edward III., and two centuries ago the cloth-makers prospered so much that they held a market twice a week at Leeds on a long, narrow bridge crossing the Aire. They laid their cloth on the battlements of the bridge and on benches below, and the country clothiers could buy for four cents from the innkeepers "a pot of ale, a noggin of porridge, and a trencher of boiled or roast beef." This substantial supply was known as the "brigg (bridge)-shot," and from the bridge ran the street known as the Briggate, which has since developed into one of the finest avenues of the city.

Leeds began to grow in the last century, when it became the chief mart of the woollen clothiers, while the worsted-trade gathered about Bradford. These still remain the centres of the two great divisions of the woollen industry, which is the characteristic business of Yorkshire. The factories began then to appear at Leeds, and in the present century the city has made astonishing advances, growing from fifty-three thousand population in 1801 until it exceeds three hundred thousand now. The great cloth-mart to-day is for miles a region of tall chimneys and barrack-like edifices, within which steadily roars machinery that represents some of the most ingenious skill of the human race. Within this hive of busy industry there still linger some memorials of the past among its hundreds of cloth-mills. Turning out of the broad Briggate into the quiet street of St. John, we come to the church built there by the piety of the wealthy clothier John Harrison, and consecrated in 1634. St. John's Church, which he built and presented to the town because the older parish church could scarce hold half the inhabitants, consists of a long nave and chancel, with a south aisle. It is of Gothic architecture, and much of the ancient woodwork, including the pulpit, remains. Arabesques moulded in white plaster fill the panels between the main roof-beams. This interesting church has undergone little historical change excepting the recent rebuilding of the tower. John Harrison is entombed in the church. The old parish church in Kirkgate has been within a few years entirely rebuilt. The other churches of Leeds, like this one, are all modern, and it also has an imposing Town Hall, opened by the queen in 1858, in which are held the annual musical festivals, which have attained much importance. A statue of the Duke of Wellington stands in the open square in front. The two Cloth Halls of Leeds, the Mixed Cloth Hall and the White Cloth Hall, where the business of selling was at first carried on, are now little used, the trade being conducted directly between the manufacturer and the clothier. Some of the mills are of enormous size, and they include every operation from the raw material to the finished fabric. But, with all their ingenious machinery, the cloth-weavers have not yet been able to supersede the use of the teasel, by which the loose fibres of wool are raised to the surface to form, when cut and sheared, the pile or nap. These teasels, which are largely grown in Yorkshire, are fastened into a cylinder, and at least three thousand of them will be consumed in "teasling" a piece of cloth forty yards long.


North of the valley of the Aire is the valley of the Wharfe River, and, following that pleasant stream a short distance up, we come to Rumbald's Moor and the water-cure establishments of the town of Ilkley, which is an array of villas and terraces spreading up the hillside from the southern bank of the river. The neighborhood is full of attractive rock-and river-scenery. In the suburbs is the palace of Ben Rhydding, built in the Scottish baronial style, with the Cow and Calf Rocks overhanging the adjacent park. The Panorama Rock also commands a wide prospect, while Rumbald's Moor itself is elevated over thirteen hundred feet. A few miles from Ilkley are the celebrated ruins of Bolton Abbey, standing on a patch of open ground, around which the Wharfe curves, but with much woods clustering near the ruins and on the river-bank. Bolton stands in a deep valley, and on the opposite side of the river rises the steep rock of Simon's Seat, sixteen hundred feet high. The architecture of the abbey is of various styles, the west front coming down to us from the reign of Henry VIII., while its gateway is much older. There is no south aisle to the abbey, and at present the nave and north aisle are roofed in and serve as the parish church. The east end of this aisle is divided from the rest by an ancient wooden screen so as to form a chapel, and beneath this is the vault where the former owners of Bolton—the Claphams and Mauleverers—were buried. Some years ago, when the floor was being repaired, their coffins were found standing upright, whereof the poet tells us:

"Through the chinks in the fractured floor Look down and see a grisly sight— A vault where the bodies are buried upright There, face by face and hand by hand. The Claphams and Mauleverers stand."

The ruins of the north transept are in fair preservation, and the choir has a beautiful arcade, while through the openings beneath there is a charming view of the green-bordered river and of the hills beyond. Bolton Hall, which was the ancient gateway of the abbey, is opposite its western front, and is one of the favorite homes in the shooting season of the Duke of Devonshire, its owner.

A pleasant walk of two miles along the Wharfe brings us to the famous Strid, where the river is hemmed in between ledges of rock, and the scene of the rushing waters is very fine, especially after a rain. Beautiful paths wind along the hillsides and through the woods, and here, where the ruins of Bardon Tower rise high above the valley, is a favorite resort of artists. At the most contracted part of the rocky river-passage the water rushes through a narrow trench cut out for about sixty yards length, within which distance it falls ten feet. The noise here is almost deafening, and at the narrowest part the distance across is barely five feet. It looks easy to jump over, but from the peculiar position of the slippery rocks and the confusing noise of the rushing water it is a dangerous leap.

"This striding-place is called 'the Strid.' A name which it took of yore. A thousand years hath it borne that name, And shall a thousand more."

It was here that young Romilly, the "Boy of Egremont," was drowned several centuries ago, the story of his death being told by Wordsworth in his poem of "The Force of Prayer." He had been ranging through Bardon Wood, holding a greyhound in a leash, and tried to leap across the Strid:

"He sprang in glee; for what cared he, That the river was strong and the rocks were steep? But the greyhound in the leash hung back, And checked him in his leap.

"The boy is in the arms of Wharfe, And strangled by a merciless force; For nevermore was young Romilly seen Till he rose a lifeless corse."

It is said that his disconsolate mother built Bolton Abbey to commemorate the death of her only son, and placed it in one of the most picturesque spots in England.


Proceeding still farther northward from the charming vale of Wharfe, we come to the valley of the Ure, which flows into the Ouse, a main tributary of the Humber, and to the famous cathedral-town of Ripon. This is a place of venerable antiquity, for it has been over twelve centuries since a band of Scotch monks came from Melrose to establish a monastery on the sloping headland above the Ure. A portion of the ancient church then founded is incorporated in the present Ripon Minster, which was built seven centuries ago. It was burned and partly injured by the Scotch in the fourteenth century, and subsequently the central tower and greater part of the nave were rebuilt. It has recently been entirely restored. The cathedral consists of a nave, with aisles extending the full width of the western front, and rather broad for its length; the transepts are short. Parallel to the choir on the southern side is a chapter-house. It is one of the smallest cathedrals in England, being less than two hundred and ninety feet long, and other buildings so encompass it as to prevent a good near view. There is an ample churchyard, but the shrine of St. Wilfrid, the founder, whose relics were the great treasure of the church, has long since disappeared. It appears that in ancient times there was great quarrelling over the possession of his bones, and that Archbishop Odo, declaring his grave to be neglected, carried them off to Canterbury, but after much disputing a small portion of the saint's remains were restored to Ripon. Beneath the corner of the nave is the singular crypt known as Wilfrid's Needle. A long passage leads to a cell from which a narrow window opens into another passage. Through this window we are told that women whose virtue was doubted were made to crawl, and if they stuck by the way were adjudged guilty. This is the oldest part of the church, and is regarded as the most perfect existing relic of the earliest age of Christianity in Yorkshire. The cathedral contains some interesting monuments, one of which demonstrates that epitaph-writing flourished in times agone at Ripon. It commemorates, as "a faint emblem of his refined taste," William Weddell of Newby, "in whom every virtue that ennobles the human mind was united with every elegance that adorns it."

In the neighborhood of Ripon is the world-renowned Fountains Abbey, of which the remains are in excellent preservation, and stand in a beautiful situation on the verge of the fine estate of the Marquis of Ripon, Studley Royal. The gates of this park are about two miles from Ripon, the road winding among the trees, beneath which herds of deer are browsing, and leading up to the mansion, in front of which is an attractive scene. The little river Skell, on its way to the Ure, emerges from a glen, and is banked up to form a lake, from which it tumbles over a pretty cascade. The steep bank opposite is covered with trees. John Aislabie, who had been chancellor of the exchequer, laid out this park in 1720, and such repute did his ornamental works attain that Studley was regarded as the most embellished spot in the North of England. Ultimately, through heiresses, it passed into the hands of the present owner. The pleasure-grounds were laid out in the Dutch style then in vogue, and the slopes of the valley were terraced, planted with evergreens, and adorned with statues. Modern landscape-gardening has somewhat varied the details, but the original design remains. In the gardens are the Octagon Tower, perched upon a commanding knoll, the Temple of Piety, near the water-side, and an arbor known as Anne Boleyn's Seat, which commands a superb view over Fountains Dale. Let us enter this pretty glen, which gradually narrows, becomes more abrupt and rocky, and as we go along the Skell leads us from the woods out upon a level grassy meadow, at the end of which stand the gray ruins of the famous Cistercian abbey. The buildings spread completely across the glen to its craggy sides on either hand. On the right there is only room for a road to pass between the transept and the limestone rock which rears on high the trees rooted in its crannies, whose branches almost brush the abbey's stately tower. On the other side is the little river, with the conventual buildings carried across it in more than one place, the water flowing through a vaulted tunnel. These buildings extend to the bases of the opposite crags. The ruins are of great size, and it does not take much imagination to restore the glen to its aspect when the abbey was in full glory seven or eight hundred years ago. Its founders came hither almost as exiles from York, and began building the abbey in the twelfth century, but it was barely completed when Henry VIII. forced the dissolution of the monasteries. It was very rich, and furnished rare plunder when the monks were compelled to leave it. The close or immediate grounds of the abbey contained about eighty acres, entered by a gate-house to the westward of the church, the ruins of which can still be seen. Near by is an old mill alongside the Skell, and a picturesque bridge crosses the stream, while on a neighboring knoll are some ancient yews which are believed to have sheltered the earliest settlers, and are called the "Seven Sisters." But, unfortunately, only two now remain, gnarled and twisted, with decaying trunks and falling limbs—ruins in fact that are as venerable as Fountains Abbey itself. Botanists say they are twelve hundred years old, and that they were full-grown trees when the exiles from York first encamped alongside the Skell.

Entering the close, the ruins of the abbey church are seen in better preservation than the other buildings. The roof is gone, for its woodwork was used to melt down the lead by zealous Reformers in the sixteenth century, and green grass has replaced the pavement. The ruins disclose a noble temple, the tower rising one hundred and sixty-eight feet. In the eastern transept is the beautiful "Chapel of the Nine Altars" with its tall and slender columns, some of the clustering shafts having fallen. For some distance southward and eastward from the church extend the ruins of the other convent-buildings. In former times they were used as a stone-quarry for the neighborhood, many of the walls being levelled to the ground, but since the last century they have been scrupulously preserved. The plan is readily traced, for excavations have been made to better display the ruins. South of the nave of the church was the cloister-court. On one side was the transept and chapter-house, and on the other a long corridor supporting the dormitory. This was one hundred yards long, extending across the river, and abutting against the crags on the other side. South of the cloister-court was the refectory and other apartments. To the eastward was a group of buildings terminating in a grand house for the abbot, which also bridged the river. All these are now in picturesque ruin, the long corridor, with its vaulted roof supported by a central row of columns with broad arches, being considered one of the most impressive religious remains in England. One of the chief uses to which the Fountains Abbey stone-quarry was devoted was the building, in the reign of James I., of a fine Jacobean mansion as the residence for its then owner, Sir Stephen Proctor. This is Fountains Hall, an elaborate structure of that period which stands near the abbey gateway, and to a great extent atones, by its quaint attractiveness, for the vandalism that despoiled the abbey to furnish materials for its construction. In fact, the mournful reflection is always uppermost in viewing the remains of this famous place that it would have been a grand old ruin could it have been preserved, but the spoilers who plundered it for their own profit are said to have discovered, in the fleeting character of the riches thus obtained, that ill-gotten gains never prosper.


Proceeding northward from Ripon, and crossing over into the valley of the river Swale, we reach one of the most picturesquely located towns of England—Richmond, whose great castle is among the best English remains of the Norman era. The river flows over a broken and rocky bed around the base of a cliff, and crowning the precipice above is the great castle, magnificent even in decay. It was founded in the reign of William the Conqueror by Alan the Red, who was created Earl of Richmond, and it covers a space of about five acres on a rock projecting over the river, the prominent tower of the venerable keep being surrounded by walls and buildings. A lane leads up from the market-place of the town to the castle-gate, alongside of which are Robin Hood's Tower and the Golden Tower, the latter named from a tradition of a treasure being once found there. The Scolland's Hall, a fine specimen of Norman work, adjoins this tower. The keep is one hundred feet high and furnished with walls eleven feet thick, time having had little effect upon its noble structure, one of the most perfect Norman keep-towers remaining in England. There is a grand view from the battlements over the romantic valley of the Swale. In the village is an old gray tower, the only remains of a Franciscan monastery founded in the thirteenth century, and the ruins of Easby Abbey, dating from the twelfth century, are not far away; its granary is still in use. The valley of the Swale may be pursued for a long distance, furnishing constant displays of romantic scenery, or, if that is preferred, excellent trout-fishing.


From the high hills in the neighborhood of Fountains Dale there is a magnificent view over the plain of York, and we will now proceed down the valley of the Ouse to the venerable city that the Romans called Eboracum, and which is the capital of a county exceeding in extent many kingdoms and principalities of Europe. This ancient British stronghold has given its name to the metropolis of the New World, but the modern Babylon on the Hudson has far outstripped the little city on the equally diminutive Ouse. It was Ebrane, the king of the Brigantes, who is said to have founded York, but so long ago that he is believed a myth. Whatever its origin, a settlement was there before the Christian era, but nothing certain is known of it beyond the fact that it existed when the Romans invaded Britain and captured York, with other strongholds, in the first century of the Christian era. Eboracum was made the head-quarters of their fifth legion, and soon became the chief city of a district now rich in the relics of the Roman occupation, their dead being still found thickly buried around the town. Portions of the walls of Eboracum remain, among them being that remarkable relic, the tower, polygonal in plan, which is known as the Multangular Tower, and which marks the south-western angle of the ancient Roman city. Not far away are the dilapidated ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, once one of the wealthiest and proudest religious houses in the North of England, but with little now left but portions of the foundations, a gateway, and the north and west walls of the nave. This abbey was founded in the eleventh century, and it was from here that the exiled monks who built Fountains Abbey were driven out. This ruin has been in its present condition for nearly two hundred and fifty years.

For over three centuries Eboracum was a great Roman city. Here came the emperor Severus and died in 211, his body being cremated and the ashes conveyed to Rome. When the empire was divided, Britain fell to the share of Constantius Chlorus, and he made Eboracum his home, dying there in 305. Constantine the Great, his son, was first proclaimed emperor at Eboracum. When the Romans departed evil days fell upon York; the barbarians destroyed it, and it was not till 627 that it reappeared in history, when Eadwine, King of Northumbria, was baptized there by St. Paulinus on Easter Day, a little wooden church being built for the purpose. Then began its ecclesiastical eminence, for Paulinus was the first Archbishop of York, beginning a line of prelates that has continued unbroken since. In the eighth century the Northmen began their incursions, and from spoilers ultimately became settlers. York prospered, being thronged with Danish merchants, and in the tenth century had thirty thousand population. In King Harold's reign the Northmen attacked and captured the town, when Harold surprised and defeated them, killing their leader Tostig, but no sooner had he won the victory than he had to hasten southward to meet William the Norman, and be in turn vanquished and slain. York resisted William, but he ultimately conquered the city and built a castle there, but being rebellious the people attacked the castle. He returned and chastised them and built a second castle on the Ouse; but the discontent deepened, and a Danish fleet appearing in the Humber there was another rebellion, and the Norman garrison firing the houses around the castle to clear the ground for its better defence, the greater part of the city was consumed. While this was going on the Danes arrived, attacked and captured both castles, slaughtered their entire garrisons of three thousand men, and were practically unopposed by the discontented people. Then it was that the stalwart Norman William swore "by the splendor of God" to avenge himself on Northumbria, and, keeping his pledge, he devastated the entire country north of the Humber.

York continued to exist without making much history for several centuries, till the Wars of the Roses came between the rival houses of York and Lancaster. In this York bore its full part, but it was at first the Lancastrian king who was most frequently found at York, and not the duke who bore the title. But after Towton Field, on Palm Sunday, March 29, 1461, the most sanguinary battle ever fought in England, one hundred thousand men being engaged, the news of their defeat was brought to the Lancastrian king Henry and Queen Margaret at York, and they soon became fugitives, and their youthful adversary, the Duke of York, was crowned Edward IV. in York Minster. In the Civil War it was in York that Charles I. took refuge, and from that city issued his first declaration of war against the Parliament. For two years York was loyal to the king, and then the fierce siege took place in which the Parliamentary forces ruined St. Mary's Abbey by undermining and destroying its tower. Prince Rupert raised this siege, but the respite was not long. Marston Moor saw the king defeated, Rupert's troopers being, as the historian tells us, made as "stubble to the swords of Cromwell's Ironsides." The king's shattered army retreated to York, was pursued, and in a fortnight York surrendered to the Parliamentary forces. The city languished afterwards, losing its trade, and developing vast pride, but equal poverty. Since the days of railways, however, it has become a very important junction, and has thus somewhat revived its activity.

The walls of York are almost as complete as those of Chester, while its ancient gateways are in much better preservation. The gateways, called "bars," are among the marked features of the city, and the streets leading to them are called "gates." The chief of these is Micklegate, the highroad leading to the south, the most important street in York, and Micklegate Bar is the most graceful in design of all, coming down from Tudor days, with turrets and battlements pierced with cross-shaped loopholes and surmounted by small stone figures of warriors. It was on this bar that the head of the Duke of York was exposed, and the ghastly spectacle greeted his son, Edward IV., as he rode into the town after Towton Field. It did not take long to strike off the heads of several distinguished prisoners and put them in his place as an expiatory offering. Here also whitened the heads of traitors down to as late as the last Jacobite rebellion. One of the buttresses of the walls of York is the Red Tower, so called from the red brick of which it is built. These walls and gates are full of interesting relics of the olden time, and they are still preserved to show the line of circumvallation of the ancient walled city. But the chief glory of York is its famous minster, on which the hand of time has been lightly laid. When King Eadwine was baptized in the little wooden church hastily erected for the purpose, he began building at the same place, at the suggestion of Paulinus, a large and more noble basilica of stone, wherein the little church was to be included. But before it was completed the king was slain, and his head was brought to York and buried in the portico of the basilica. This church fell into decay, and was burned in the eighth century. On its site was built a much larger minster, which was consumed in William the Conqueror's time, when the greater part of York was burned. From its ashes rose the present magnificent minster, portions of which were building from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, it being completed as we now see it in 1470, and reconsecrated as the cathedral of St. Peter with great pomp in 1472. Its chief treasure, was the shrine of St. William, the nephew of King Stephen, a holy man of singularly gentle character. When he came into York it is said the pressure of the crowd was so great that it caused the fall of a bridge over the Ouse, but the saint by a miracle saved all their lives. The shrine was destroyed at the Reformation, and the relics buried in the nave, where they were found in the last century. York Minster remained almost unchanged until 1829, when a lunatic named Martin concealed himself one night in the cathedral and set fire to the woodwork of the choir, afterwards escaping through a transept-window. The fire destroyed the timber roofs of the choir and nave and the great organ. Martin was arrested, and confined in an asylum until he died. The restoration cost $350,000, and had not long been completed when some workmen accidentally set fire to the south-western tower, which gutted it, destroyed the bells, and burned the roof of the nave. This mischief cost $125,000 to repair, and the southern transept, which was considered unsafe, has since been partially rebuilt.

Few English cathedrals exceed York Minster in dignity and massive grandeur. It is the largest Gothic church in the kingdom, and contains one of the biggest bells. "Old Peter," weighing ten and three-quarter tons, and struck regularly every day at noon. The minster is five hundred and twenty-four feet long, two hundred and twenty-two feet wide, ninety-nine feet high in the nave, and its towers rise about two hundred feet, the central tower being two hundred and twelve feet high. Its great charms are its windows, most of them containing the original stained glass, some of it nearly six hundred years old. The east window is the largest stained-glass window in the world, seventy-seven by thirty-two feet, and of exquisite design, being made by John Thornton of Coventry in 1408, who was paid one dollar per week wages and got a present of fifty dollars when he finished it. At the end of one transept is the Five Sisters Window, designed by five nuns, each planning a tall, narrow sash; and a beautiful rose-window is at the end of the other transept. High up in the nave the statue of St. George stands on one side defying the dragon, who pokes out his head on the other. Its tombs are among the minster's greatest curiosities. The effigy of Archbishop Walter de Grey, nearly six hundred and fifty years old, is stretched out in an open coffin lying under a superb canopy, and the corpse instead of being in the ground is overhead in the canopy. All the walls are full of memorial tablets—a few modern ones to English soldiers, but most of them ancient. Strange tombs are also set in the walls, bearing effigies of the dead. Sir William Gee stands up with his two wives, one on each side, and his six children—all eight statues having their hands folded. Others sit up like Punch and Judy, the women dressed in hoops, farthingales, and ruffs, the highest fashions of their age. Here is buried Wentworth, second Earl of Strafford, and scores of archbishops. The body of the famous Hotspur is entombed in the wall beneath the great east window. Burke's friend Saville is buried here, that statesman having written his epitaph. The outside of the minster has all sorts of grotesque protuberances, which, according to the ancient style of church-building, represent the evil spirits that religion casts out. Adjoining the north transept, and approached through a beautiful vestibule, is the chapter-house, an octagonal building sixty-three feet in diameter and surmounted by a pyramidal roof. Seven of its sides are large stained-glass windows, and the ceiling is a magnificent work.

York Castle occupied a peninsula between the Ouse and a branch called the Foss. Of this Clifford's Tower is about all of the ancient work that remains. It rises on its mound high above the surrounding buildings, and was the keep of the ancient fortress, constructed according to a remarkable and unique plan, consisting of parts of four cylinders running into each other. It dates from Edward I., but the entrance was built by Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, its governor under Charles I. The interior of the tower was afterwards burned, and George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, who was imprisoned there, planted a walnut tree within the tower which is still growing. It was in the keep of the Norman castle, which this tower replaced, that the massacre of the Jews, which grew out of race-jealousy at their great wealth, occurred in 1190. On March 16th the house of Benet, the leading Jew in York, was sacked by a mob and his wife and children murdered. Five hundred of his countrymen then sought refuge in the castle, and those who remained outside were killed. The mob besieged the castle, led by a hermit from the neighborhood "famed for zeal and holiness," who was clothed in white robes, and each morning celebrated mass and inflamed the fury of the besiegers by his preaching. At last he ventured too near the walls, and was brained by a stone. Battering-rams were then brought up, and a night's carouse was indulged in before the work of knocking down the castle began. Within was a different scene: the Jews were without food or hope. An aged rabbi, who had come as a missionary from the East, and was venerated almost as a prophet, exhorted his brethren to render up freely their lives to God rather than await death at the enemy's hands. Nearly all decided to follow his counsel; they fired the castle, destroyed their property, killed their wives and children, and then turned their swords upon themselves. Day broke, and the small remnant who dared not die called from the walls of the blazing castle that they were anxious for baptism and "the faith and peace of Christ." They were promised everything, opened the gates, and were all massacred. In later years York Castle has enclosed some well-known prisoners, among them Eugene Aram, and Dick Turpin, who was hanged there. The York elections and mass-meetings are held in the courtyard.

Here Wilberforce, who long represented York in Parliament, spoke in 1784, when Boswell wrote of him: "I saw what seemed a mere shrimp mount upon the table, but as I listened he grew and grew until the shrimp became a whale." The York streets are full of old houses, many with porches and overhanging fronts. One of the most curious rows is the Shambles, on a narrow street and dating from the fourteenth century. A little way out of town is the village of Holgate, which was the residence of Lindley Murray the grammarian. Guy Fawkes is said to have been a native of York, and this strange and antique old city, we are also credibly assured, was in 1632 the birthplace of Robinson Crusoe.


Starting north-east from York towards the coast, we go along the pretty valley of the Derwent, and not far from the borders of the stream come to that magnificent pile, the seat of the Earls of Carlisle—Castle Howard. More than a century ago Walpole wrote of it: "Lord Strafford had told me that I should see one of the finest places in Yorkshire, but nobody had informed me that I should at one view see a palace, a town, a fortified city: temples on high places; woods worthy of being each a metropolis of the Druids; vales connected to hills by other woods; the noblest lawn in the world, fenced by half the horizon; and a mausoleum that would tempt one to be buried alive. In short, I have seen gigantic places before, but never a sublimer one." Castle Howard was the work of Vanbrugh, the designer of Blenheim, and in plan is somewhat similar, but much more sober and simple, with a central cupola that gives it dignity. It avoids many of the faults of Blenheim: its wings are more subdued, so that the central colonnade stands out to greater advantage, and there are few more imposing country-houses in England than this palace of the Howards. This family are scions of the ducal house of Norfolk, so that "all the blood of all the Howards," esteemed the bluest blood in the kingdom, runs in their veins. The Earls of Carlisle are descended from "Belted Will"—Lord William Howard, the lord warden of the Marches in the days of the first Stuart—whose stronghold was at Naworth Castle, twelve miles north-east of Carlisle. His grandson took an active part in the restoration of Charles II., and in recompense was created the first Earl of Carlisle. His bones lie in York Minster. His grandson, the third earl, who was deputy earl-marshal at the coronation of Queen Anne, built Castle Howard. The seventh earl, George William Frederick, was for eight years viceroy in Ireland, resigning in 1864 on account of ill-health; and it is said that he was one of the few English rulers who really won the affections of the people of that unhappy country. He died soon afterwards.

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