THE MALVERN HILLS.
The broad valley of the Severn is bounded on its western side by the boldly-rising Malvern range of hills, which are elevated so steeply and so suddenly above the plain that they produce an impression of size and height much greater than they really possess, and are more imposing than many summits that far surpass them in magnitude. There is reason, therefore, in Mrs. Browning's poetic expression:
"Malvern Hills, for mountains counted Not unduly, form a row."
The Malvern range is a ridge running nearly north and south, with a series of smooth, steep summits, the breadth of the range being barely half a mile. Their slopes are of turf and furze, often as steep as the pitched roof of a house, with crags projecting here and there. The chief summits are the North Hill, rising eleven hundred and fifty-one feet above the Severn, the Worcestershire Beacon, fourteen hundred and forty-four feet, and the Herefordshire Beacon, thirteen hundred and seventy feet. Their highest parts are covered with verdure, and nearly seventeen hundred different varieties of plants have been found on the range. These hills stand as one of Nature's bulwarks, an outwork of the mountain-region of Wales, dividing an upland from a lowland district, each furnishing totally different characteristics. They were the boundary between the Romans and the Britons, and their summits present some remarkable remains of ancient fortifications. The Worcestershire Beacon rises directly above the town of Great Malvern, and south of it a fissure called the Wyche sinks down to about nine hundred feet elevation, enabling a road to be carried across the ridge. Some distance south of this there is an even lower depression, by which the high-road crosses from Worcester to Hereford. Then to the southward is the Herefordshire Beacon, and beyond it several lower summits. These two gaps or gateways in this natural wall of defence are both guarded by ancient camps of unusual strength and still in good preservation. One of these camps on the Herefordshire Beacon, with ditches, ramparts, and a keep, encloses forty-four acres. Also on top of the ridge are found traces of the ditch that was dug to mark the dividing-lines between the hunting-grounds of the bishops who ruled on either hand in Hereford and in Worcester. The bishops in the olden time appear to have been as keen sportsmen as the nobles.
The town of Great Malvern, on the eastern slope of the hills, is elevated five hundred and twenty feet, and is in high repute as a watering-place. It had its origin in a priory, of which there still remains the fine old church, with a surmounting gray tower and an entrance-gateway which have escaped the general ruin of the monastery. Within this ancient church the ornaments of some of the old stalls in the choir are very quaint, representing a man leading a bear, a dying miser handing his money-bags to the priest and doctor, and three rats solemnly hanging a cat on a gallows. The priory was the nucleus about which gathered the town, or, properly speaking, the towns, for there are a series of them, all well-known watering-places. Great Malvern has North Malvern alongside it and Malvern Link on the lower hills, while to the southward are Malvern Wells and Little Malvern, with West Malvern over on the Hereford side of the ridge. They are aggregations of pretty villas, and the many invalids who seek their relief are drawn about in Bath-chairs by little donkeys. The view from the Worcestershire Beacon is grand, extending over a broad surface in all directions, for we are told that when the beacon-fires that were lighted upon this elevated ridge warned England of the approach of the Spanish Armada,
"Twelve fair counties saw the blaze From Malvern's lonely height."
The advantages the Malvern range offers as a sanitarium are pure air and pure water. The towns are elevated above the fogs of the valleys, and the rainfall is small, while both winter's cold and summer's heat are tempered. St. Anne's Well and the Holy Well are the great sources of pure water. The latter is at Malvern Wells, and the former on the side of the Worcestershire Beacon, at an elevation of eight hundred and twenty feet. Both are slightly alkaline, but St. Anne's Well is the most famous, and is tastefully enclosed. Water-cure establishments abound here, and with such air, such water, and such magnificent scenery it is no wonder that the Malvern Hills are among the most popular resorts of England.
THE RIVER WYE.
From the top of the Malvern Hills the western view looks down upon the attractive valley of the river Wye, a famous stream that takes its rise in the mountains of Wales, and after flowing through Herefordshire and Monmouthshire falls into the Severn. Rising on the south-eastern side of Plynlimmon, a group of three mountains elevated nearly twenty-five hundred feet, it is one of five rivers whose sources are almost in the same spot, but which flow in opposite directions—the Llyffnant, Rheidol, Dyfi, Severn, and Wye. For miles it is a mountain torrent, receiving other streams, and flowing eastward through Radnor and Brecknock, where it is the resort of artists and anglers. It passes near the burial-place of Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales, who died in 1282, and then, bordered by railway and highway, comes down through picturesque ravines past Hay and its ruined castle in a beautiful glen at the base of the Black Mountains, which rise abruptly from its southern bank. Near Hay, and overlooking the river, are the ruins of Clifford Castle, which was the birthplace of "Fair Rosamond." Here the Wye enters Herefordshire, the valley broadens, and the stream gradually leads us to the ancient town of Hereford, standing chiefly on its northern bank and in a delightful situation. This city does not lay claim to Roman origin, but it was nevertheless one of the fortified outposts of England on the border of Wales, and was often the scene of warfare. It was walled and vigorously defended, while hostelries and chapels were erected for the accommodation of pilgrims and other visitors. Hereford contained the shrines of St. Ethelbert and St. Thomas Cantelupe, but its chief relic of antiquity is the house that remains of the "old Butchers' Row," which was originally a large and irregular cluster of wooden buildings placed nearly in the middle of the locality known as the High Town. All but one of these houses have been taken down, and the one that remains shows window-frames, doors, stairs, and floors all made of thick and solid masses of timber, apparently constructed to last for ages. A shield over one of the doors bears a boar's head and three bulls' heads, having two winged bulls for supporters and another bull for a crest. On other parts are emblems of the slaughter-house, such as ropes, rings, and axes. Thus did our English ancestors caricature the imaginary dignity of heraldry. This attractive old house is a relic of the days of James I. Nell Gwynne was born in Hereford, and the small cottage in Pipe Lane which was her birthplace has only recently been pulled down. It was a little four-roomed house, and an outhouse opening on the Wye, which was standing in poor Nelly's days, remains. Hereford Cathedral is a fine Norman structure, begun in the eleventh century and recently restored. The most imposing portion of the interior is the north transept, which was built to receive the shrine of Cantelupe. The remains of the Black Friars' monastery are in the Widemarsh suburb. They consist chiefly of an interesting relic of that religious order, an hexagonal preaching-cross standing on a flight of steps and open on each side. Hereford Castle has disappeared, but its site is an attractive public walk overlooking the Wye, called the Castle Green.
THE MAN OF ROSS.
The Wye flows on through a fairly open valley, with broad meadows extending from the bases of the wooded hills to the river. On approaching Ross the meadows contract, the hills come nearer together, and the new phase of scenery in the glen which here begins makes the Wye the most beautiful among English rivers. Ross stands at the entrance to the glen, built upon a sloping hill which descends steeply to the Wye. It was the Ariconium of the Romans, and has been almost without stirring history. It has grown in all these centuries to be a town of about four thousand five hundred population, with considerable trade, being the centre of a rich agricultural section, and is chiefly known to fame as the home of Pope's "Man of Ross." This was John Kyrle, who was born at the village of Dymock, not far away, May 22, 1637. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where they still preserve a piece of plate which he presented as a parting gift. He afterwards settled at Ross, and lived to an advanced age, dying November 11, 1724. He was described as "nearly six feet high, strong and lusty made, jolly and ruddy in the face, with a large nose." His claim to immortality, which has made his name a household word in England, cannot better be described than by quoting some of Pope's lines:
"Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow? From the dry soil who bade the waters flow?... Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows? Whose seats the weary traveller repose? Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise? 'The Man of Ross,' each lisping babe replies. Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread! The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread: He feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state, Where age and want sit smiling at the gate: Him portioned maids, apprenticed orphans blest, The young who labor, and the old who rest. Is any sick? The Man of Ross relieves. Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes and gives. Is there a variance? Enter but his door. Balked are the courts and contest is no more.... Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue What all so wish, but want the power to do! Oh say what sums that generous hand supply, What mines to swell that boundless charity? Of debts and taxes, wife and children, clear. That man possessed—five hundred pounds a year!"
It is not often that a man can do so much to benefit his townsfolk out of the modest income of $2500 a year; and not only Pope, but Coleridge also, has found this a theme for verse. The house in which the "Man of Ross" lived is on the left-hand side of the market-place, and still stands, though much changed. It is now a drug-store and a dwelling. The floors and panelling of several of the chambers are of oak, while a quaint opening leads to a narrow corridor and into a small room, which tradition says was his bedroom, where he endured his last and only illness, and died. The bedroom looks out upon his garden, divided like the house, one-half being converted into a bowling-green. The surrounding walls are overrun with vines and bordered by pear trees. On the other side of the market-place is the town-hall, standing on an eminence and facing the principal street, which comes up from the river-bank. This hall is somewhat dilapidated, though still in daily use, and is supported on crumbling pillars of red sandstone. Ross is chiefly built upon the slope of a hill, terminating in a plateau, one side of which the Wye, flowing through a horseshoe bend, has scarped out into a river-cliff. Upon this plateau stands the little Ross Church with its tall spire, a striking building in a singularly fortunate situation. The churchyard, with an adjoining public garden called the Prospect, extends to the brow of the cliff. The church is cruciform, and its spire the landmark for the surrounding country. It was built in the fourteenth century, but is without architectural features. The "Man of Ross" rests within its walls, buried near the altar under a blue slab. His memory is the most cherished remembrance of Ross, and is mellowed as the ages pass. His fireside chair stands in the chancel, and they also show a book containing his autograph. A tablet to his memory is inserted in the wall, erected by a distant relative, Lady Betty Dupplin, for it is said, as is usually the case, that his good deeds excited more enthusiasm in strangers than among the people whom he benefited. Within the church, in front of a window, two trees are growing, another indirect and posthumous memorial of the "Man of Ross." They appeared about fifty years ago, and the story is that a rector of the parish had cut down a tree on the outside of the wall which the "Man of Ross" had originally planted, whereupon these suckers made their appearance within the building and asserted the vitality of the parent tree. They shot up against the seat which is said to have been his favorite one, and though at first objected to, the church-wardens bowed to the inevitable, and they are now among the most prized relics within the church. The public garden (the Prospect) adjoining the churchyard was another benefaction of the "Man of Ross," and with some private houses and a hotel it crowns the summit of the plateau. Here the hand of the "Man of Ross" again appears in a row of noble elms around the churchyard which he is said to have planted, some of them of great size. The view from the Prospect, however, is the town's chief present glory. It stands on the brink of the river-cliff, with the Wye sweeping at its feet around the apex of the long horseshoe curve. Within the curve is the grassy Oak Meadow dotted with old trees. On either hand are meadows and cornfields, with bits of wood, and the Welsh hills rise in the distance.
GOODRICH CASTLE AND SYMOND'S YAT.
The Wye flows on through its picturesque glen towards Monmouth, the water bubbling with a strong current. A raised causeway carries the road to Monmouth over the meadows. On the right hand are the ruins of Wilton Castle, built in Stephen's reign, and burned in the Civil War. Tourists go by small boats floated on the current down the Wye, and the boats are hauled back on donkey-carts, little trains of them being seen creeping along the Monmouth road. From Ross to Monmouth the river flows through a region of rolling hills, with abrupt declivities where the rapid stream has scarped the margin into cliffs and ridges. The valley narrows, and the very crooked river flows through bewitching scenery until by another great horseshoe bend it winds around the ruins of Goodrich Castle, reared upon a wooded cliff, with Goodrich Court near by. The latter is a modern imitation of a mediaeval dwelling, constructed according to the erratic whims of a recent owner. This Court once contained the finest collection of ancient armor in England, but most of it has been transferred to the South Kensington Museum. Goodrich Castle was once a formidable fortress, and it dates from the reign of Stephen. Here it was that in the days of Edward the Confessor, "entrenched in a stockade of wood, Goderic de Winchcomb held the ford" over the Wye, and gave the place his name. It grew in strength until the Civil War, when Sir Richard Lingen held it for the king. This was a memorable contest, lasting six weeks, during which the besiegers belabored it with the best battering-cannon they could procure, and used up eighty barrels of gunpowder voted by Parliament for the purpose. Then the defenders demanded a parley, but the assailants, angry at being so long baulked of their prey, insisted upon unconditional surrender. Afterwards the castle was demolished, but the fine old keep remains in good preservation, commanding a grand view over the winding valley of the Wye and to the Forest of Dean in one direction and the Malvern Hills in another. The ruins are of a quadrangular fortress, and within the courtyard Wordsworth once met the child whose prattle suggested his familiar poem, "We are Seven." Little now remains of Goodrich Priory, but the parish church of the village can be seen afar off, and contains a chalice presented by Dean Swift, whose grandfather, Thomas Swift, was once its rector.
Below Goodrich this wayward river makes an enormous loop, wherein it goes wandering about for eight miles and accomplishes just one mile's distance. Here it becomes a boundary between the two Bickner villages—Welsh Bickner and English Bickner. To the eastward is the Forest of Dean, covering over twenty-six thousand acres, and including extensive coal-pits and iron-works, the smoke from the latter overhanging the valley. The river-channel is dug deeply into the limestone rocks, whose fissured and ivy-clad cliffs rise high above the water, varied by occasional green meadows, where cattle are feeding. The river bends sharply to the westward past the crags at Coldwell, and then doubles back upon its former course. This second bend is around a high limestone plateau which is the most singular feature of the beautiful glen. The river sweeps in an elongated loop of about five miles, and returns to within eighteen hundred feet of its former channel, and the plateau rises six hundred feet to the apex of the headland that mounts guard over the grand curve—the famous Symond's Yat. On the top are the remains of an ancient British fort, and rocks, woods, fields, and meadows slope down to the river on almost every side, making a bewitching scene. It was here that the Northman Vikings in 911 fortified themselves after they landed on the Severn and penetrated through the Forest of Dean. They were led by Eric in quest of plunder, and captured a bishop, who was afterwards ransomed for two hundred dollars. Their foray roused the people, who besieged the Vikings, forming a square encampment which commanded their fortification, and remains of which are still visible. They drove the Vikings out with their hail of arrows, and punished them so terribly that the defile down which they fled is still known as "The Slaughter." The remnant who escaped afterwards surrendered on condition of being allowed to quit the country, and their experience had such wholesome influence that no Vikings came that way afterwards.
The Wye next bends around two bold limestone hills known as the Great and the Little Doward, each surmounted by ancient encampments, where arrowheads and other relics, not to forget the bones of a giant, have been found. In fact, bones seem to be a prolific product of this region, for the "bone-caves" of the Dowards produce the relics of many animals long vanished from the kingdom, and also disclose rude weapons of flint, showing that the primitive races of men were here with them. Beds of stalagmites, sand, and gravel covered these relics, deposited by an ancient stream which geologists say flowed three hundred feet above the present bed of the Wye. Then we come to the richly-wooded deer-park of the Leys with its exquisite views, and here the wildly romantic scenery is gradually subdued into a more open valley and a straighter stream as the Wye flows on towards Monmouth. The parts of the river just described are not more renowned for their beauty, though considered the finest in England, than for their salmon, and we are told that three men with a net have been known to catch a ton of salmon in a day, while the fishery-rights are let at over $100,000 annually.
The beautiful valley, with its picturesque scenery, expands somewhat as the Wye approaches its junction with the river Monnow and flows through a succession of green meadows. Here, between the two rivers on a low spur, a prolongation of their bordering hills, stands Monmouth, its ancient suburbs spreading across the Monnow. From the market-place, the chief street of the town leads down to these suburbs, crossing over an old-time bridge. The town has its church and the ruins of a priory, while perched on a cliff overlooking the Monnow is its castle, displaying rather extensive but not very attractive remains. John of Monmouth is said to have built this castle in the reign of Henry III. Here also lived at one time John of Gaunt and his son, Harry Hereford, who afterwards became Henry IV., and the latter's son, Harry Monmouth, was born in this old castle, growing up to become the wild "Prince Hal," and afterwards the victor at Agincourt. They still show a narrow window, with remains of tracery, as marking the room in which he first saw the light. Thus has "Prince Hal" become the patron of Monmouth, and his statue stands in front of the town-hall, representing the king in full armor, and inscribed, "Henry V., born at Monmouth August 9, 1387," but it is not regarded as remarkable for its artistic finish. The remains of the old priory are utilized for a school. It was founded by the Benedictines in the reign of Henry I., and in it lived Geoffrey of Monmouth, a familiar author in days when books were few. He was Bishop of St. Asaph's in the year 1152, and wrote his History of the Britons, wherein he combined all the fables of the time so ingeniously with the truth that they became alike history. Out of his imagination grew the tale of the "Round Table" and its knights.
Upon the old bridge crossing the Monnow stands an ancient gate-house, constructed in the style that prevailed in the thirteenth century, but it is doubtful if this was a military work, its probable use being the collection of tolls on the produce brought into the town. It is pierced with postern arches for the foot-passengers, and still retains the place for its portcullis. All around the Monmouth market-place are the old houses where the celebrated Monmouth caps were made that were so popular in old times, and of which Fluellen spoke when he told Henry V., "If Your Majesty is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps." Monmouth is not a large town, having but six thousand inhabitants, but it takes a mayor, four aldermen, two bailiffs, and twelve councillors to govern them, and its massive county-jail is a solid warning to all evil-doers. From the summit of the lofty Kymin Hill, rising seven hundred feet on the eastern side of the town, there is a grand panorama over the valley of the Wye. This hill is surmounted by a pavilion and temple, built in 1800 to record the naval victories of England in the American wars. Farther down the valley was the home of the late Lord Raglan, and here are the ruins of Raglan Castle, built in the fifteenth century. For ten weeks in the Civil War the venerable Marquis of Worcester held this castle against Fairfax's siege, but the redoubtable old hero, who was aged eighty-four, ultimately had to surrender.
TINTERN ABBEY AND CHEPSTOW CASTLE.
The Wye at Monmouth also receives the Trothy River, and the confluence of the three valleys makes a comparatively open basin, which, however, again narrows into another romantic glen a short distance below the town. Wild woods border the steep hills, and the Wye flows through the western border of the Forest of Dean, an occasional village attesting the mineral wealth by its blackened chimneys. Here, below Redbrook, was the home of Admiral Rooke, who captured Gibraltar in 1704, and farther down are the ruins of the castle of St. Briard, built in the days of Henry I. to check Welsh forays. Here lived the lord warden of the Forest of Dean, and for three centuries every Whit-Sunday they held the annual "scramble" in the church. It appears that a tax of one penny was levied on every person who pastured his cattle on the common, and the amount thus raised was expended for bread and cheese. The church was crowded, and the clerk standing in the gallery threw out the edibles to the struggling congregation below. The railway closely hugs the swiftly-flowing river in its steep and narrow glen as we pass Offa's Dyke and Chair and the Moravian village of Brockweir. Here the line of fortifications crossed the valley which the king of Mercia constructed to protect his dominions. The valley then slightly expands, and the green sward is dotted by the houses of the long and scattered village of Tintern Parva. The river sharply bends, and in the glen on the western side stand the ruins of the far-famed Tintern Abbey in the green meadows at the brink of the Wye. The spot is well chosen, for nowhere along this celebrated river has Nature indicated a better place for quiet, heavenly meditation not un-mixed with earthly comforts.
Walter de Clare founded Tintern Abbey in 1131 for the Cistercian monks, and dedicated it to St. Mary. It was built upon an ancient battlefield where a Christian prince of Glamorgan had been slain by the heathen, but of the buildings erected by De Clare none now exist, the present remains being of later date, and the abbey church that is now in ruin was erected by Roger Bigod, Duke of Norfolk. It is a magnificent relic of the Decorated period. The vaulted roof and central tower are gone, but the arches which supported the latter remain. The row of columns on the northern side of the nave have fallen, with the clerestory above them, but the remainder of the structure has suffered little damage. The western front, with its noble window and exquisite tracery, is very fine. Ivy and ferns overrun the walls and form a coping, while green sward has replaced the pavement, so that it would be difficult to imagine a more enchanting ruin, and as such Tintern is renowned the world over. Lord Houghton has written:
"The men who called their passion piety, And wrecked this noble argosy of faith,— They little thought how beauteous could be death, How fair the face of time's aye-deepening sea, Nor arms that desolate, nor years that flee, Nor hearts that fail, can utterly deflower This grassy floor of sacramental power Where we now stand communicants."
Tintern Abbey is two hundred and twenty-eight feet long. It had no triforium, and the clerestory windows are rather large. The great east window was even more elaborate than the western, but all of it has fallen excepting the central mullion and the stronger portion of the tracery which branches out on either side from it. There yet remain in the building a few tiles with heraldic emblems, some broken monuments, and some heaps of choice carvings, shattered as they fell, but afterwards collected and piled against the walls. The Duke of Beaufort, to whose estate it belongs, has done everything possible to arrest decay, and all is kept in perfect order. A door leads out of the southern transept to a few fragments of buildings in the fields on that side, but most of the convent was on the northern side, where its ruins surround a grass-grown quadrangle. A cloister once ran around it; on the eastern side is the chapter-house, with the dormitory above, and on the western side the remains of the abbot's lodgings and the guest-chambers have been converted into cottages. The refectory and guest-hall are to the northward, with ruins of the octagonal columns that supported the roof. Such is this magnificent relic of the Cistercians, and yet it is but one of seventy-six abbeys that they possessed before Henry VIII. dissolved them. From the high-road down the valley of the Wye, which skirts the green meadows along its southern face, is the best view of the abbey, and the ruddy gray stone ruins, with the grassy fields and the background of wooded hills beyond the broad river, make up a picture that cannot easily be forgotten. Yet Tintern is most beautiful of all when the full moon rising over the eastern hills pours a flood of light through the broken east window to the place where once stood the high altar.
The valley of the Wye again broadens, and the river flows in graceful curves through the meadows, guarded on either hand by cliffs and woods. The river is here a tidal-stream, having a rise of twelve feet, so that it is now a strong current, flowing full and swift between grassy banks, and anon is a shrunken creek, fringed by broad borders of mud. The railway on the eastern bank runs over the meadows and through occasional tunnels in the spurs of the cliffs. The high-road climbs the hill on the western bank, known as the Wynecliff, from the top of which there is a grand view over the valley and to the southward towards and beyond Chepstow. This cliff rises nine hundred feet above the river, and is the great monarch of a realm of crags that poke up their heads in all directions. Across the Wye, on a tongue of land projecting into the stream, Sir John Wyntour in the Civil War, with one hundred and eighty Royalists, hastily built a fort to command the river. Before their intrenchments were complete the enemy in superior force attacked and completely routed them; but twenty escaped, and Wyntour, cutting his way through the assailants' lines, took refuge in the beetling crags behind known as the Tidenham Rocks. The cavalry pursued him, when he forced his horse down a part somewhat less precipitous than the rest, reached the bank in safety, and escaped by swimming his horse over the river. The precipice is still known as Wyntour's Leap. Below, the Wye flows through Chepstow, with iron bridges spanning it to carry the road and railway across. The main part of the town on the western part is built upon a slope that in places descends somewhat rapidly to the river. Parts of the old walls are still preserved, strengthened at intervals by round towers. Chepstow has its ruined church, once a priory, within which Henry Marten the regicide was buried after twenty years' imprisonment in the castle.
The great point of interest is Chepstow Castle, built here to command the Wye, and standing in a fine situation on the edge of the river in a naturally fortified position. Upon the land-side deep trenches and outworks protect it, while a grassy meadow intervenes between its gateway and the Wye, that here makes a sharp curve. To get the castle in between the crags and the river, it was constructed upon a long and narrow plan, and is divided into four courts. The main entrance on the eastern side is through a ponderous gateway flanked by solid towers and with curiously-constructed ancient wooden doors. Entering the court, there is a massive tower on the left hand with an exterior staircase turret, while on the right the custodian lives in a group of comparatively modern buildings, beneath which is a vaulted chamber communicating with the river. Within this tower, whose walls are of great thickness, Henry Marten was imprisoned. He was one of the court that tried King Charles, and his signature is upon the king's death-warrant. He was a spendthrift, and afterwards had a quarrel with Cromwell, who denounced him as an unbeliever, and even as a buffoon. When Charles II. made the proclamation of amnesty, Marten surrendered, but he was tried and condemned to death. He plead that he came in under the proffer of mercy, and the sentence was commuted to a life imprisonment; and after a short confinement in the Tower of London he was removed to Chepstow, where he died twenty years later, in 1680. Passing into the smaller second court, for the rocks contract it, there is a strong tower protecting its entrance, and at the upper end are the ruins of the great hall, relics of the fourteenth century. Two or three windows, a door, and part of an arcade remain, but roof and floor are gone. A still smaller court lies beyond, at the upper end of which is a gateway defended by a moat, beyond which is the western gate and court of the castle, so that this last enclosure forms a kind of barbican. Chepstow was elaborately defended, and its only vulnerable points were from the meadows on the east and the higher ground to the west; but before the days of artillery it was regarded as impregnable, and excellently performed its duty as a check upon the Welsh. Fitzosbern, Earl of Hereford, built the older parts in the eleventh century, but the most of Chepstow dates from that great epoch of castle-building on the Welsh border, the reign of Edward I. We are told that the second Fitzosbern was attainted and his estates forfeited, but that the king one Easter graciously sent to him in prison his royal robes. The earl so disdained the favor that he burned them, which made the king so angry that he said, "Certainly this is a very proud man who hath thus abused me, but, by the brightness of God, he shall never come out of prison so long as I live." Whereupon, says Dugdale, who tells the tale, he remained a prisoner until he died. Chepstow was then bestowed upon the De Clares, who founded Tintern Abbey, and it afterwards passed by marriage to the Bigod family. Chepstow in the Civil War was held for the king, and surrendered to the Parliamentary troops. Soon afterwards it was surprised at the western gate and retaken. Cromwell then besieged it, but, the siege proving protracted, he left Colonel Ewer in charge. The Royalist garrison of about one hundred and sixty men were reduced to great extremity and tried to escape by a boat, but in this they were disappointed, as one of the besiegers, watching his opportunity, swam across the Wye with a knife in his teeth and cut the boat adrift. Then the castle was assaulted and taken, and the commander and most of the garrison slain. Parliament gave it to Cromwell, but after the Restoration it was returned to the heirs of the Marquis of Worcester, its owner, and it still belongs to his descendant, the Duke of Beaufort. The neighborhood of Chepstow has many pleasant villas in beautiful sites, and the broadening Wye flows a short distance beyond through the meadow-land, and then debouches into the estuary of the Severn.
THE GOLDEN VALLEY.
Still journeying westward beyond the beautiful valley of the Wye, we will ascend its tributary, the Monnow, to its sources in the Black Mountains on the borders of Wales. We skirted along the northern side of these mountains with the Wye, while the Monnow takes us fairly into them. The little river Dore is one of the head-waters of the Monnow, and it flows through the picturesque region known as the Golden Valley, just on the edge of Brecon, where the trout-fishing is as attractive as the scenery. All its streams rise upon the flanks of the Black Mountains, and the village of Pontrilas is its railway-station at the entrance to the valley. This village is devoted to the manufacture of naphtha, for which purpose mules bring wood from the neighboring forests, and it was once honored with the presence of a hotel. This was its principal mansion, Pontrilas Court, but it has long since been converted into a private residence. This court is a characteristic Elizabethan mansion, standing in a beautiful garden almost smothered in foliage and running vines. About a mile up the valley is the pretty village of Ewias Harold, with its church on one sloping bank of the little river and its castle on the other. Within the church alongside the chancel there is a recumbent female figure holding a casket in its hands. The tomb upon which it is placed was some time ago opened, but nothing was found within excepting a case containing a human heart. The monument probably commemorates an unknown benefactress whose corpse lies elsewhere, but who ordered her heart sent to the spot she loved best. The castle, standing on an eminence, was once a strong fortress, and tradition says it was built by Harold before he was king, but it does not occupy a prominent place in history. Ascending a hill to the northward, a view is obtained over the valleys of the three picturesque streams—the Dore, Dulas, and Monnow—that afterwards unite their waters; and, proceeding up the Dore, we come to the village of Abbey Dore, with the roofless ruins of its abbey, a part of which is utilized for the parish church, though scarcely anything is now left beyond fragments of the conventual buildings. This was a Cistercian monastery founded by Robert of Ewias in the reign of Henry I. We are now in the heart of the Golden Valley, which seems to be excavated out of a plateau with long, terrace-like hills bounding it on either hand, their lower parts rich in verdure, while their summits are dark and generally bare. Every available part of the lower surface is thoroughly cultivated, its hedgerows and copses giving variety to the scene. As we move up the valley the Scyrrid Vawr raises its notched and pointed summit like a peak dropped down upon the lowlands. This mountain, nearly fifteen hundred feet high, whose name means the "Great Fissure," is severed into an upper and lower summit by a deep cleft due to a landslip. It is also known as the Holy Mountain, and in its day has been the goal of many pilgrims. St. Michael, the guardian of the hills, has a chapel there, where crowds resorted on the eve of his festival. It used to be the custom for the Welsh farmers to send for sackloads of earth out of the cleft in this Holy Mountain, which they sprinkled over their houses and farm-buildings to avoid evil. They were also especially careful to strew portions over the coffins and graves of the dead. At the village of Wormridge, where some members of the Clive family are buried, there is a grand old elm on the village-green around which the people used to assemble for wrestling and for the performance of other rural amusements. At the base of this tree stood the stocks, that dungeon "all of wood" to which it is said there was
"——neither iron bar nor gate, Portcullis, chain, nor bolt, nor grate, And yet men durance there abide In dungeon scarce three inches wide."
This famous valley also contains the pretty church and scanty ruins of the castle of Kilpeck; also the church of St. Peter at Rowlstone, where the ornamental representations of cocks and apostolic figures all have their heads downward, in memory of the position in which St. Peter was crucified. Here also, on the edge of the Black Mountains, is Oldcastle, whose ruins recall its owner, Sir John "of that ilk," the martyr who was sentenced in 1417 to be taken from the Tower of London to St. Giles' gallows, there to be hanged, and burned while hanging, as "a most pernicious, detestable heretic." At Longtown, the residence of the Lacies, there are remains of the walls and circular keep of their strong Border fortress. Kentchurch, on the slope of Garway Hill, is a seat of the Earl of Scudamore, where anciently lived John of Kent, a poet and mathematician, of whom Symonds tells us in his Records of the Rocks that "he sold his soul to the devil, and constructed the bridge over the Monnow in a single night." The ruined castle of Grosmont is about a mile distant: it was often besieged by the Welsh, and we are told that on one occasion "the king came with a great army to raise the siege, whereof, as soon as the Welshmen had understanding, they saved their lives by their legges." It was here that Henry of Monmouth defeated the Welsh, capturing Glendower's son Griffith.
ABERGAVENNY AND LLANTHONY.
Rounding the southern extremity of the Black Mountains, and proceeding farther westward, we enter another beautiful region, the Vale of Usk, a stream that flows southward into the estuary of the Severn. Here is Abergavenny, with its ancient castle guarding the entrance to the upper valley, and with mountains on every side. Here rises, just north of the town, the Sugar Loaf, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two feet high, and on the left hand the mass of old red sandstone known as the Blorenge, one thousand seven hundred and twenty feet high. A few miles up the tributary vale of Ewias, which discloses glorious scenery, are the ruins of Llanthony Priory. The valley is a deep winding glen cut out by the Hodeni between the great cliffs of the Black Mountains on the one side and the ranges around the Sugar Loaf on the other. In places the cliffs are precipitous, but, generally, the lower slopes furnish pasture-land and occasional woods, while the upper parts are covered with bracken fern, with a few trees and copses. The priory stands on a gentle slope at the base of the Black Mountains, elevated a short distance above the stream. Its original name was Llanhodeni, or "the Place by the Hodeni." It was founded by two hermits in the beginning of the twelfth century—William de Lacy, a Norman knight, and Ernisius, chaplain to Maud, wife of Henry I. They first built a small chapel dedicated to St. David; gifts flowed in, and they were soon enabled to construct a grand religious house, occupied by Augustinian monks, of whom Ernisius became the first prior. Predatory raids by the Welsh, however, harassed the monks, and after submitting for some time to these annoyances they migrated to Gloucester, and founded another priory alongside the Severn. Later, however, they returned to the old place and kept up both establishments, but in the reign of Edward IV. the older was merged into the newer "because of the turbulence of the neighboring people and the irregular lives of its inmates." The ruins of Llanthony are supposed to date from about 1200, and are of a marked though simple beauty. The convent buildings are almost all gone, excepting fragments of the cellars and chapter-house. The prior's residence has become a farm-house, and where the monks sat in solemn conclave is now its outbuildings. The towers are used, one for chambers and the other for a dairy. The main part of the church is, however, carefully preserved with a green turf floor, and the western towers up to the level of the walls of the nave are still quite perfect, though the west window is gone and parts of the adjacent walls have perished. The north transept has fallen, but the southern transept is still in fair condition, lighted at the end by a pair of round-headed windows, with a circular one above; a semicircular arch on its eastern side opens into a chapel. The choir is also well preserved. These ruins exhibit semicircular with pointed arches in indiscriminate combination, and during the present century decay has caused much of them to fall. It was to Llanthony that Walter Savage Landor removed in 1809, selling much of his family estates in order to buy it. He projected grand improvements, including the restoration of the priory, the construction of roads and bridges, and the cultivation of extensive tracts on the mountainside, so that it became of note among literary men as the home of one of the most original of their guild. His biographer tells us that he imported sheep from Segovia, and applied to Southey and other friends to furnish him tenants who would introduce improved agricultural methods. The inhabitants of this remote region were morose and impoverished, and he wished to reclaim them. To clothe the bare spots on the flanks of the mountains, he bought two thousand cones of the cedars of Lebanon, each calculated to produce a hundred seeds, and he often exulted "in the thought of the million cedar trees which he would thus leave for shelter and the delight of posterity." But he met the fate of many projectors. After four years' struggle he became disgusted with Llanthony and its people: he was in a quarrel with almost everybody, and his genius for punctiliousness had turned nearly the whole neighborhood against him. He had sunk his capital in the estate and its improvements, and becoming embarrassed, it was taken out of his hands and vested in trustees. His half-built house was pulled down, and the disgusted Landor left England for the Continent. At Llanthony he composed Latin verses and English tragedy, but his best literary labor was performed after he left there. A few miles farther up the valley is Capel-y-Ffyn, where Father Ignatius within a few years has erected his Anglican monastery. He was Rev. Mr. Lyne, and came from Norwich, where he was in frequent collision with the bishop. After much pother and notoriety he took his Protestant monastic settlement to this nook in the heart of the Black Mountains, where he and his monks perform their orisons in peace.
NEWPORT, CARDIFF, AND LLANDAFF.
We now follow down the Usk, and at its mouth upon the Severn estuary is Newport, in Monmouthshire, where there are large docks and a considerable trade. The ruins of Newport Castle stand on the western bank of the river. In the suburbs is Caerleon, where the Romans long had the garrison-post of the second Augustan legion. The museum here is filled with Roman remains, and the amphitheatre, called "King Arthur's Round Table," is alongside. Proceeding westward about twelve miles along the shore of the Severn estuary, we come to Penarth Roads in Glamorganshire, sheltered under a bold headland at the mouths of the Ely and the Taff, and the flourishing Welsh seaport of Cardiff on the banks of the latter stream. This is the outport of the Welsh coal and iron region, and the Marquis of Bute, who is a large landowner here, has done much to develop its enormous trade, which goes to all parts of the world. Its name is derived from Caer Taff, the fortress on the river Taff, and in early times the Welsh established a castle there, but the present one was of later construction, having been built by Robert Fitzhamon, the Anglo-Norman conqueror of Glamorgan. It was afterwards strongly fortified, and here the unfortunate Robert, son of William the Conqueror, was imprisoned for twenty-eight years by his brother Henry I., his eyes being put out for his greater security. The tower where he was confined still stands alongside the entrance gateway, and during his long captivity we are told that he soothed his weariness by becoming a poet. The ancient keep remains standing on its circular mound, but the castle has been restored and modernized by the Marquis of Bute, who occasionally resides there, and has given it a fine western front flanked by a massive octagonal tower. The moat is filled up, and, with the acclivities of the ramparts, is made a public walk and garden. In the valley of the Taff, a short distance from Cardiff, is the famous "Rocking Stone," standing on the western brink of a hill called Coed-pen-maen, or the "Wood of the Stone Summit." It was anciently a Druids' altar, and with a surface of about one hundred square feet is only two to three feet thick, so that it contains about two hundred and fifty cubic feet of stone. It is the rough argillaceous sandstone that accompanies the coal-measures in this part of Wales, and a moderate force gives it quite a rocking motion, which can be easily continued with one hand. It stands nearly in equilibrium upon a pivotal rock beneath. Two miles from Cardiff is the ancient and straggling village of Llandaff, which was the seat of the earliest Christian bishopric in Wales, having been founded in the fourth century. Its cathedral, for a long time dilapidated, has within a few years been thoroughly restored. All the valleys in the hilly region tributary to Cardiff are full of coal and iron, the mining and smelting of which have made enormous fortunes for their owners and developed a vast industry there within the present century. About nine miles north of Cardiff is Caerphilly Castle, which has the most remarkable leaning tower in Britain, it being more inclined from the perpendicular than any other that is known. It is about eighty feet high, and leans over a distance of eleven feet. It rests only on a part of its southern side, and maintains its position chiefly through the strength of the cement. This castle was built by the De Clares in the reign of Henry III., and large additions were made to it by Hugh Despenser, who garrisoned it for Edward II. in order to check the Welsh. It is a large concentric castle, covering about thirty acres, having three distinct wards, seven gate-houses, and thirty portcullises. It was here that Edward II. and his favorites, the Despensers, were besieged by the queen in 1326. The defence was well conducted, and the besiegers were greatly annoyed by melted metal thrown down on them from the walls, which was heated in furnaces still remaining at the foot of the tower. They made a desperate assault, which was partially successful, though it ultimately failed; and we are told that while in the castle they let the red-hot metal run out of the furnaces, and, throwing water on it from the moat, caused an explosion which tore the tower from its foundations and left it in its present condition. The fissures made by the explosion are still visible, and it has stood thus for over five centuries. The castle ultimately surrendered, the king having previously escaped. The Despensers were beheaded, and their castle never regained its ancient splendor.
Journeying westward from Cardiff along the coast of Glamorganshire, upon the Bristol Channel, we come to the Welsh Bay of Naples, where the chimneys replace the volcano of Vesuvius as smoke-producers. This is the Bay of Swansea, a very fine one, extending for several miles in a grand curve from Porthcawl headland on the eastern verge around to the Mumbles, where a bold limestone cliff runs far out into the sea and forms a natural breakwater. Within this magnificent bay, with its wooded and villa-lined shores, there is a spot that discloses the bare brown hills guarding the entrance to the valley of the river Tawe, up which the houses of Swansea climb, with a dense cloud of smoke overhanging them that is evolved from the smelting-furnaces and collieries behind the town. Forests of masts appear where the smoke permits them to be visible, and then to the right hand another gap and overhanging smoke-cloud marks the valley of the Neath. The ancient Britons called the place Aber-tawe, from the river, and there are various derivations of the present name. Some say it came from flocks of swans appearing in the bay, and others from the porpoises or sea-swine, so that the reader may take his choice of Swan-sea or Swine-sea. In the twelfth century it was known as Sweynsey, and perhaps the best authority says the name came from Sweyne, a Scandinavian who frequented that coast with his ships. When the Normans invaded Glamorgan, Henry Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, captured Swansea, and in the twelfth century built a castle there. King John gave it a charter, and it became a town of some importance, as he granted it extensive trading-privileges. In another charter, given by the lord of the manor in 1305, the first allusion is made to Welsh coal, for the people among other privileges are allowed to dig "pit-coal in Ballywasta." Thus began the industry that has become the mainstay of prosperity in South Wales. Warwick's Castle at Swansea has entirely disappeared, the present ruins being those of a castle afterwards built by Henry de Gower, who became Bishop of St. David's. What is left of it is almost hidden by modern buildings. It has the remains of a curtain-wall and two towers, the larger of which has an arcade beneath the battlement—an unusual but pleasing feature. Lewellyn harassed the town and castle, but it had not much history until the Civil War, when there was a little fighting for its possession. A Parliamentary ship appeared in the bay and demanded the surrender of the town, which was refused; but in the following year the Parliamentary troops captured it. Subsequently the castle changed hands several times—the guide-book states "rather politically than gloriously." Cromwell ultimately took possession in 1648, resided at Swansea for some time as lord of the manor, and was very liberal to the town. The castle was dismantled and partly destroyed, the keep being used as a jail. Swansea, like all the cities in the Welsh coal and metal region, has grown greatly during the present century. Walter Savage Landor lived here for a while, just when the copper-works were beginning to appear in the valley of the Tawe. Their smoke defiled the landscape, and he exclaimed, "Would to God there was no trade upon earth!" He preferred Swansea Bay above the gulf of Salerno or of Naples, and wrote, "Give me Swansea for scenery and climate! If ever it should be my fortune to return to England, I would pass the remainder of my days in the neighborhood of Swansea, between that place and the Mumbles."
Swansea's earliest dock was made by walling a tidal inlet called Port Tennant, and is still used. Its former great dock was the North Dock, constructed in the old bed of the Tawe, a newer and more direct channel being made for the river. It has two recently-constructed and larger docks. Up the valley of the Tawe the town spreads several miles, and here are the enormous copper-works and smelting-furnaces which make a reproduction of the infernal regions, defile the air, but fill the purses of the townsfolk. Swansea is the greatest copper-smelting depot in the world, drawing its ores from all parts of the globe. There had been copper-works on the Neath three centuries ago, but the first upon the Tawe were established in 1745. From them have grown the fame and wealth of the Cornish family of the Vivians, who have been copper-smelters for three generations at Swansea, and in front of the town-hall stands the statue of the "Copper King," the late John Henry Vivian, who represented Swansea in Parliament. There are also iron, zinc, lead, and tin-plate works, making this a great metallurgical centre, while within forty miles there are over five hundred collieries, some existing at the very doors of the smelting-works. It is cheap fuel that has made the fortune of Swansea.
The bold promontory of the Mumbles, which bounds Swansea Bay to the westward, has become a popular watering-place, into which it has gradually developed from the fishing-village nestling under Oystermouth Castle. The bay was once a great producer of oysters, and dredging for them was the chief industry of the inhabitants. The remains of the castle stand upon a knoll overlooking the sea, and with higher hills behind. The Duke of Beaufort, to whom it belongs, keeps the ruins carefully protected, and they are in rather good preservation. The plan is polygonal, approaching a triangle, with its apex towards the sea, where was the only entrance, a gateway guarded by two round towers, of which only the inner face now remains. The interior court is small, with the keep at the north-eastern angle, having a chapel at the top. There are some other apartments with vaulted chambers underground. Henry de Bellamont is believed to have built this fortress at about the time of the construction of Swansea Castle, but it has not contributed much to history, though now a picturesque ruin.
On the eastern side of Swansea Bay enters the Vale of Neath, where is also a manufacturing town of rapid growth, while within the Vale is beautiful scenery. Neath is of great antiquity, having been the Nidum of the days of Antoninus. At the Crumlyn Bog, where white lilies blossom on the site of an ancient lake, legend says is entombed a primitive city, in proof whereof strains of unearthly music may be occasionally heard issuing from beneath the waters. In the valley on the western bank of the river are the extensive ruins of Neath Abbey, said once to have been the fairest in all Wales. This religious house was founded by Richard de Granville in the twelfth century, but its present buildings are of later date. Within its walls Edward II. took refuge when he escaped from Caerphilly, for it had the privilege of sanctuary; but after leaving Neath a faithless monk betrayed him, and he was put to death most cruelly at Berkeley Castle. Only a ruined gateway remains of Neath Castle, blackened by the smoke of smelting-works.
CAERMARTHEN AND PEMBROKE.
Proceeding westward along the coast of the jutting peninsula formed by South Wales, another grand bay indents the shore, and on the bold banks of the Towy is Caermarthen, which gives the bay its name. Here there was a Roman station, on the site of which the castle was built, but by whom is not accurately known. The Parliamentarians captured and dismantled it, and it has since fallen into almost complete decay, though part was occupied as a jail till the last century. In Caermarthen Church, Richard Steele the essayist is buried, while from the parade is a beautiful view up the Vale of Towy towards Merlin's Hill and Abergwili, which was the home of that renowned sage. Around the sweeping shores of Caermarthen Bay, about fifteen miles to the westward, is Tenby Castle, the town, now a watering-place, being singularly situated on the eastern and southern sides of a narrow rocky peninsula entirely surrounded by the sea, excepting to the northward. This was the Welsh "Precipice of Fishes," and its castle was strongly fortified. It stood a five days' siege from Cromwell, and its shattered ruins, with the keep on the summit of the hill, show a strong fortress. From the top there is a magnificent view of the neighboring shores and far across the sea to the lofty coasts of Devonshire. Manorbeer Castle, belonging to Lord Milford, is near Tenby, and is considered the best structure of its class in Wales. It is the carefully-preserved home of an old Norman baron, with its church, mill, dove-house, pond, park, and grove, and "the houses of his vassals at such distance as to be within call." The buildings have stone roofs, most of which are perfect, and it has been tenantless, yet carefully preserved, since the Middle Ages. Parts of it have stood for six centuries. In the upper portion of the Vale of Towy is the Golden Grove, a seat of the Earl of Cawdor, a modern Elizabethan structure. Here lived Jeremy Taylor, having taken refuge there in the Civil War, and he here wrote some of his greatest works.
Beyond Caermarthenshire is Pembrokeshire, forming the western extremity of the Welsh peninsula. The river Cleddan, flowing south-westward, broadens at its mouth into the estuary known as Milford Haven. It receives a western branch, on the side of which is the county-town, Haverfordwest, placed on a hill where the De Clares founded a castle, of which little now remains but the keep, used (as so many of them now are) as the county-jail. Cromwell demolished this castle after it fell into his hands. The great promontory of St. David's Head juts out into the sea sixteen miles to the westward. The Cleddan flows down between the towns of Pembroke and Milford. The ruins of Pembroke Castle upon a high rock disclose an enormous circular keep, seventy-five feet high and one hundred and sixty-three feet in circumference. It was begun in the eleventh century, and was the birthplace of Henry VII. in 1456. Here Cromwell was repulsed in 1648, but the fortress was secured for the Parliament after six weeks' siege. The garrison were reduced to great straits, but were only subdued by the skilful use of artillery in battering down the stairway leading to the well where they got their water: the spring that supplied them is still there. Pembroke has extensive trade, and its shipbuilding dockyard covers eighty acres. Opposite this dockyard is Milford, the harbor being a mile and a half wide. The railway from London runs down to the pier, and passengers are transferred to steamers for Ireland, this being the terminus of the Great Western Railway route, two hundred and eighty-five miles from the metropolis. Milford Haven, at which we close this descriptive journey, stretches for ten miles inland from the sea, varying from one to two miles in breadth, affords ample anchorage, and is strongly fortified. The ancient Pictou Castle guards the junction of the two branches of the Cleddan above Milford, while Carew Castle stands on a creek entering Milford Haven on the south-eastern shore, and is an august though ruined relic of the baronial splendors of the Middle Ages. It well represents the condition of most of the seacoast castles in this part of Wales, of one of which Dyer has written.
"His sides are clothed with waving wood, And ancient towers crown his brow. That cast an awful look below; Whose rugged sides the ivy creeps, And with her arms from falling keeps. 'Tis now the raven's bleak abode; 'Tis now th' apartment of the toad; And there the fox securely feeds. And there the poisonous adder breeds, Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds; While ever and anon there fall Huge heaps of hoary, mouldered wall. Yet time has seen, that lifts the low And level lays the lofty brow,— Has seen this broken pile complete, Big with the vanity of state;— But transient is the smile of fate."
LONDON, SOUTH-WEST TO LAND'S END.
Virginia Water—Sunninghill—Ascot—Wokingham—Bearwood—The London Times—White Horse Hill—Box Tunnel—Salisbury—Salisbury Plain—Old Sarum—Stonehenge—Amesbury—Wilton House—The Earls of Pembroke—Carpet-making—Bath—William Beckford—Fonthill—Bristol—William Canynge—Chatterton—Clifton—Brandon Hill—Wells—The Mendips—Jocelyn—Beckington—Ralph of Shrewsbury—Thomas Ken—The Cheddar Cliffs—The Wookey Hole—The Black Down—The Isle of Avelon-Glastonbury—Weary-all Hill—Sedgemoor—The Isle of Athelney—Bridgewater—Oldmixon—Monmouth's Rebellion—Weston Zoyland—King Alfred—Sherborne—Sir Walter Raleigh—The Coast of Dorset—Poole—Wareham—Isle of Purbeck—Corfe Castle—The Foreland—Swanage—St. Aldhelm's Head—Weymouth—Portland Isle and Bill—The Channel Islands—Jersey—Corbiere Promontory—Mount Orgueil—Alderney—Guernsey—Castle Cornet—The Southern Coast of Devon—Abbotsbury—Lyme Regis—Axminster—Sidmouth—Exmouth—Exeter—William, Prince of Orange—Exeter Cathedral—Bishop Trelawney—Dawlish—Teignmouth—Hope's Nose—Babbicombe Bay—Anstis Cove—Torbay—Torquay—Brixham—Dartmoor—The River Dart—Totnes—Berry Pomeroy Castle—Dartmouth—The River Plym—The Dewerstone—Plympton Priory—Sir Joshua Reynolds—Catwater Haven—Plymouth—Stonehouse—Devonport—Eddystone Lighthouse—Tavistock Abbey—Buckland Abbey—Lydford Castle—The Northern Coast of Devon—Exmoor—Minehead—Dunster—Dunkery Beacon—Porlock Bay—The River Lyn—Oare—Lorna Doone—Jan Ridd—Lynton—Lynmouth—Castle Rock—The Devil's Cheese-Ring—Combe Martin—Ilfracombe—Morte Point—Morthoe—Barnstaple—Bideford—Clovelly—Lundy Island—Cornwall—Tintagel—Launceston—Liskeard—Fowey—Lizard Peninsula—Falmouth—Pendennis Castle—Helston—Mullyon Cove—Smuggling—Kynance Cove—The Post-Office—Old Lizard Head—Polpeor—St. Michael's Mount—Penzance—Pilchard Fishery—Penwith—Land's End.
ASCOT AND BEARWOOD.
Leaving London by the South-western Railway, and skirting along the edge of Windsor Park, we pass Virginia Water, the largest artificial lake in England. Upon its bosom float miniature frigates, and its banks are bordered by a Chinese fishing temple, and a colonnade which was brought from the African coast near Tunis. Here also are a hermitage overlooking the lake, and the triangular turreted building known as the Belvedere, where a battery of guns is kept that was used in the wars of the last century. Not far beyond is Sunninghill, near which was Pope's early home, and in the garden of the vicarage are three trees planted by Burke, Chesterfield, and Bolingbroke. Farther westward is the famous Ascot race-course on Ascot Heath, where the races are run in June upon a circular course of about two miles, the neighborhood containing many handsome villas. Still journeying westward, the route passes Wokingham, where Gay, Swift, Pope, and Arbuthnot were on one occasion detained at the Rose Inn in wet weather, and whiled away the time by composing the song of "Molly Mog."
Just beyond Wokingham is the fine estate of Bearwood, the seat of John Walter, Esq., the proprietor of the London Times, one of the stately rural homes of England. Here, in a large and beautiful park which retains much of its original forest character, and standing upon the terraced bank of a lovely lake, Bearwood House has within a few years been entirely rebuilt, its feature being the central picture-gallery containing a fine collection of paintings, around which clusters a suite of grand apartments. The estate includes several thousand acres, and in the many pleasant cottages scattered over it and the homes at Bearwood village many of the aged and infirm employes of the Times pass their declining years. The Times, which was founded January 1, 1788, by the grandfather of the present proprietor, has steadily grown in commanding influence until it occupies the front rank in English journalism and is the leading newspaper of the kingdom. Its proprietor has recently entirely rebuilt its publication-offices in Printing-House Square and on Queen Victoria Street in London, adapting all the modern appliances of improved machinery and methods to its publication. It is at Bearwood, however, that his philanthropic ideas also find a broad field of usefulness in caring for those who have grown gray in the service of the Times, and thither every year go the entire corps of employes to enjoy an annual picnic under the spreading foliage of the park, while no home in England is more frequented by Americans or extends to kin from across sea a more generous hospitality.
KING ALFRED'S WHITE HORSE.
In the chalk hills of Berkshire, beyond Reading and north of Hungerford, there rises an eminence over nine hundred feet high, known as the White Horse Hill. It is a famous place; upon the summit, covering a dozen acres, and from which eleven counties can be seen, there is a magnificent Roman camp, with gates, ditch, and mound as complete as when the legions left it. To the westward of the hill, and under its shadow, was the battlefield of Ashdown, where Alfred defeated the Danes and broke their power in 871. He fought eight other battles against the Danes that year, but they were mere skirmishes compared with the decisive victory of Ashdown, and in memory of it he ordered his army to carve the White Horse on the hillside as the emblem of the standard of Hengist. It is cut out of the turf, and can be seen to a great distance, being three hundred and seventy-four feet long. After a spell of bad weather it gets out of condition, and can only be restored to proper form by being scoured, this ceremony bringing a large concourse of people from all the neighboring villages. The festival was held in 1857, and the old White Horse was then brought back into proper form with much pomp and great rejoicing. The ancient balladist thus quaintly describes the festivity on these memorable occasions:
"The owld White Harse wants zettin to rights, and the squire hev promised good cheer, Zo we'll gee un a scrape to kip un in zhape, and a'll last for many a year. A was made a lang, lang time ago, wi a good dale o' labor and pains. By King Alferd the Great, when he spwiled their consate and caddled[B] thay wosbirds[C] the Danes. The Bleawin Stwun in days gone by wur King Alferd's bugle harn, And the tharnin tree you med plainly zee as is called King Alferd's tharn. There'll be backsword play, and climmin the powl, and a race for a peg, and a cheese. And us thenks as hisn's a dummell[D] zowl as dwont care for zich spwoorts as theze."
Leaving London by the Great Western Railway, and passing beyond Berkshire, we cross the boundary into Wiltshire, and go through the longest railway-tunnel in England, the noted Box Tunnel, which is a mile and three-quarters in length and cost over $2,500,000 to construct. It goes through a ridge of great-oolite, from which the valuable bath-stone is quarried, and the railway ultimately brings us to the cathedral city that boasts the tallest church-spire in England—Salisbury, the county-town of Wiltshire, standing in the valley formed by the confluence of three rivers, the Avon, Bourne, and Wiley.
[Footnote B: caddled, worried.]
[Footnote C: wosbirds, birds of evil omen.]
[Footnote D: dummell, stupid.]
The celebrated cathedral, which in some respects may be considered the earliest in England, is the chief object at Salisbury, and was founded by Bishop Poore in 1220. It was the first great church built in the Early English style, and its spire is among the most imposing Gothic constructions in existence. The city of Salisbury is unique in having nothing Roman, Saxon, or Norman in its origin, and in being even without the remains of a baronial fortress. It is a purely English city, and, though it was surrounded by walls, they were merely boundaries of the dominions of the ecclesiastics. The see of Salisbury in 1215 was removed from Old Sarum to its present location in consequence of the frequent contests between the clergy and the castellans, and soon afterwards the construction of the cathedral began. King Henry III. granted the church a weekly market and an annual fair lasting eight days, and the symmetrical arrangement of the streets is said to have been caused by the original laying out of the city in spaces "seven perches each in length and three in breadth," as the historian tells us. The cathedral close, which is surrounded by a wall, has four gateways, and the best view of the cathedral is from the north-eastern side of the close, but a more distant view—say from a mile away—brings out the proportions of the universally admired spire to much greater advantage. The chief cathedral entrance is by the north porch, which is a fine and lofty structure, lined with a double arcade and having an upper chamber. The nave is beautiful, though it suffers somewhat in warmth of coloring from lacking stained glass, and the cloisters, which are entered from the south-western transept, are admirable, being of later date and exhibiting a more developed style than the remainder of the cathedral. Their graceful windows and long gray arcades contrast splendidly with the greensward of the cloister-garth. They include an octagonal chapter-house, fifty-eight feet in diameter and fifty-two feet high, which has been restored in memory of a recent bishop at a cost of $260,000. The restoration has enriched the house with magnificent sculptures representing Old-Testament history, and the restoration of the cathedral is also progressing. The adjoining episcopal palace is an irregular but picturesque pile of buildings, with a gateway tower that is a prominent feature.
Salisbury has plenty of old houses, like most English towns, and it also has a large square market-place, containing the Gothic Poultry Cross, a most graceful stone structure, and also the council-house of modern erection, in front of which is a statue of Sidney Herbert. Its ancient banquet-hall, built four hundred years ago by John Halle, and having a lofty timber roof and an elaborately-carved oak screen, is now used as the show-room for a shop.
To the northward of Salisbury is that region filled with prehistoric relics known as Salisbury Plain. Here are ancient fortresses, barrows, and sepulchral mounds, earthworks, dykes, and trenches, roadways of the Roman and the Briton, and the great British stronghold, guarding the southern entrance to the plain, which became the Old Sarum of later times. Until within a century this plain was a solitary and almost abandoned region, but now there are good roads crossing it and much of the land is cultivated. It is a great triangular chalk-measure, each side roughly estimated at twenty miles long. The Bourne, Wiley, and Avon flow through it to meet near Salisbury, and all the bolder heights between their valleys are marked by ancient fortifications. Wiltshire is thus said to be divided between chalk and cheese, for the northern district beyond the plain is a great dairy region. Let us journey northward from Salisbury across the plain, and as we enter its southern border there rises up almost at the edge the conical hill of Old Sarum, crowned by intrenchments. When they were made is not known, but in 552 they were a British defence against the Saxons, who captured them after a bitter fight and overran the plain. Five centuries later William the Norman reviewed his army here, and after the first Domesday survey summoned all the landholders of England to the number of sixty thousand, who here swore fealty to him. The Normans strengthened it with a castle, and soon a cathedral also rose at Old Sarum, while a town grew around them. But all have disappeared, though now there can be traced the outlines of streets and houses and the foundations of the old cathedral. When the clergy removed to Salisbury it is said they determined the new site by an arrow shot from the ramparts of Old Sarum, and moving the cathedral soon attracted the people. Old Sarum for some time remained a strong fortress with many houses, but the cathedral was taken down in 1331 and its materials used for building the famous spire at Salisbury. The castle decayed, the town was gradually deserted, and as long ago as the sixteenth century we are told there was not a single house left there. And such it is to this day. Climbing the steep face of the hill, the summit is found fenced by a vast earthen rampart and ditch enclosing twenty-seven acres with an irregular circle, the height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the rampart being over one hundred feet. A smaller inner rampart as high as the outer one made the central citadel. Nearly all the stone has long ago been carried off to build Salisbury, and weeds and brushwood have overrun the remarkable fortress that has come down to us from such venerable antiquity. Under the English "rotten-borough" system Old Sarum enjoyed the privilege of sending two members to Parliament for three centuries after it ceased to be inhabited. The old tree under which the election was held still exists, and the elder Pitt, who lived near by, was first sent to Parliament as a representative of Old Sarum's vacant mounds.
A few miles' farther journey to the northward over the hills and valleys, and among the sheep that also wander on Salisbury Plain, brings us to that remarkable relic of earlier ages which is probably the greatest curiosity in England—Stonehenge. When the gigantic stones were put there, and what for, no man knows. Many are the unanswered questions asked about them, for the poet says:
"Thou noblest monument of Albion's isle! Whether by Merlin's aid from Scythia's shore To Amber's fatal plain Pendragon bore, Huge frame of giant hands, the mighty pile, To entomb his Britons slain by Hengist's guile: Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore, Taught 'mid thy massy maze their mystic lore; Or Danish chiefs, enriched by savage spoil, To Victory's idol vast, an unhewn shrine, Reared the huge heap; or, in thy hallowed round, Repose the kings of Brutus' genuine line; Or here those kings in solemn state were crowned; Studious to trace thy wondrous origin, We muse on many an ancient tale renowned."
Stonehenge is about nine miles north of Salisbury, near the town of Amesbury, where another ancient camp, known as "The Ramparts," crowns a wooded hill, around which the Avon flows, the camp enclosing nearly forty acres. Stonehenge stands in a bleak, bare situation on Salisbury Plain, and in its original perfection, as nearly as can now be judged, consisted of two concentric circles and two ellipses of upright stones, surrounded by a bank and ditch, outside of which is a single upright stone and traces of a hippodrome. The entrance to the cluster of circles was from the north-east, and the avenue to it is still traceable by the banks of earth. The outer circle at Stonehenge originally consisted of thirty upright stones fixed in the ground at intervals of about three and a half feet. On the top of them thirty other stones formed a continuous ring about sixteen feet above the ground. Within this circle, and leaving a space about nine feet wide between, was another circle of thirty or forty unhewn stones about four to seven feet high. Within this, again, was the grandest part of the structure—a great ellipse formed of five triplets of stones or trilithons, each composed of two uprights and one placed crosswise. Within these was the inner ellipse of nineteen obelisks surrounding the altar-stone. Such was Stonehenge originally, but its ruins now appear very differently, and are only a confused pile of huge stones, for the most part such as are found on the neighboring plain and known as sarsens (a siliceous sandstone), though some of the smaller ones may be boulders brought from a distance. The diameter of the enclosure is three hundred and thirty-six feet. On the outer circle sixteen of the uprights and six of the surmounting stones forming the ring remain in their original positions. Two of the inner trilithons, the highest rising twenty-five feet, remain perfect, and there are two single uprights, which lean considerably. The flat slab or altar-stone is lying on the ground. The avenue of approach opens in front of the inner ellipse and in a line with the altar-stone. In the avenue, outside the enclosure, is a block sixteen feet high in a leaning position, and known as the Friar's Heel. The legend tells us that when the great Enemy of the human race was raising Stonehenge he muttered to himself that no one would ever know how it was done. A passing friar, hearing him, exclaimed, "That's more than thee can tell," and then fled. The Enemy flung this great stone after him, but hit only the friar's heel. The investigators of Stonehenge say that when standing on the altar-stone the midsummer sun is seen to rise to the north-east directly over the "Friar's Heel." The traces of the avenue in which it stands are, however, soon found to divide into two smaller avenues, one running south-east and the other north, and the latter is connected beyond with a long enclosure called the Cursus, and marked by banks of earth stretching east and west for about a mile and a half: there is nothing known of its use. The whole country about Stonehenge is dotted with groups of sepulchral barrows, and at the western end of the Cursus is a cluster of them more prominent than the others, and known as the "Seven Burrows." Stonehenge itself inspires with mystery and awe, the blocks being gray with lichens and worn by centuries of storms. Reference to them is found in the earliest chronicles of Britain, and countless legends are told of their origin and history, they usually being traced to mythical hands. In James I.'s reign Stonehenge was said to be a Roman temple, dedicated to Coelus; subsequently, it was attributed to the Danes, the Phoenicians, the Britons, and the Druids by various writers. Sir Richard Hoare, who has studied the mystery most closely, declines all these theories, and says the monument is grand but "voiceless." Horace Walpole shrewdly observes that whoever examines Stonehenge attributes it to that class of antiquity of which he is himself most fond; and thus it remains an insoluble problem to puzzle the investigator and impress the tourist. Michael Drayton plaintively and quaintly confesses that no one has yet solved the mystery:
"Dull heape, that thus thy head above the rest doest reare, Precisely yet not know'st who first did place thee there. Ill did those mightie men to trust thee with their storie; Thou hast forgot their names who rear'd thee for their glorie; For all their wondrous cost, thou that hast serv'd them so, What 'tis to trust to tombes by thee we easily know."
Returning along the valley of the Avon past the almost lifeless town of Amesbury, where there formerly was a grand Benedictine monastery long since gone to decay, we cross over to the Wiley Vale, and at about three miles distance from Salisbury come to the Earl of Pembroke's seat at Wilton House. The ancient town of Wilton—or, as it was originally called, Willytown—stands at the confluence of the rivers Nadder and Wiley. The Britons established it, and it was one of the capitals of the West Saxons. It was famous long before the Norman Conquest, and it afterwards obtained renown from the number and importance of its monastic establishments, having had no less than twelve parish churches, though not a trace of its abbey now remains. Henry VIII. dissolved it, and gave the site and buildings to Sir William Herbert, who was afterwards created Earl of Pembroke, and from its relics Wilton House was largely constructed. The town is now chiefly noted as the manufactory of Axminster and Wilton carpets, dextrously woven by operatives who use most primitive machinery. The Earl's Park adjoins the town, and in it is Wilton House, one of the grandest palaces in England, standing upon the site of the abbey. The buildings were designed by Holbein, and the garden front being burned in 1648, was rebuilt soon afterwards, while the entire structure was enlarged and remodelled during the present century, the cloisters being then added for the display of the fine collection of sculptures. The plan of the house is a quadrangle, with a glazed cloister occupying the central square. Within this cloister and the hall leading to it are the well-known Pembroke Marbles—statues, busts, urns, vases, bassi-relievi, and fragments of great value from Grecian and Roman works. This collection was formed during the last century, being gathered by the then earl from various sources. In the hall are statues, but its chief interest comes from the numerous suits of armor with which it is adorned, chiefly memorials of the battle of St. Quentin, fought in 1557, when the Earl of Pembroke commanded the British forces. One of the suits was worn by the earl himself, and two others by the Constable of France and the Duc de Montpensier, both being taken prisoner. On either side are entrances to various apartments containing valuable paintings. The chief of these is the "Family Picture," regarded as Vandyke's masterpiece—seventeen feet long and eleven feet high, and filling one end of the drawing-room. It contains ten full-length figures—Philip, Earl of Pembroke, and his countess and their children. Above them, hovering in the clouds, are three other children, who died in early life. In the Double Cube-room, which is regarded as a gem in its way and has a most magnificent fireplace, there are some thirteen other paintings by Vandyke. Other paintings by Italian masters are also distributed on the walls of the various apartments, but the Vandykes are regarded as the gems of the collection. The library is a large and lofty apartment, with an oak-panelled ceiling, and a fine collection of volumes with appropriate furnishing. Out of the library window the western view over the terrace discloses charming pleasure-grounds, laid out in the Italian style from designs by a former Countess of Pembroke, while in the background is a beautiful porch constructed by Holbein. To the gardens, summer-houses and conservatories add their attractions, while beyond is the valley of the Nadder, over which a picturesque bridge leads to the park. This bridge has an Ionic colonnade, and in the park are some of the finest cedars to be seen in the kingdom. Here, it is said, Sir Philip Sidney wrote Arcadia, and the work shows that he drew much inspiration from these gardens and grounds, for it abounds in lifelike descriptions of Nature.
At Wilton also lived George Herbert the poet, and later Sidney Herbert, who was afterwards made Lord Herbert of Lea, and whose son is now the thirteenth Earl of Pembroke. A statue of Sidney Herbert has already been referred to as standing in Pall Mall, London, and another is in Salisbury. He was secretary of war, yet was the gentle and genial advocate of peace and charity to all mankind, and his premature death was regarded as a public calamity. He erected in 1844 the graceful New Church at Wilton. It was the Earls of Pembroke in the last century who were chiefly instrumental in bringing the manufacturers of fine carpets over from France and Flanders and laying the foundation of that trade, in which England now far surpasses those countries. The factory at Axminster, on the southern coast, was also afterwards transferred to Wilton. These carpets are all hand-made, and the higher class, which are an inch or more in thickness and of the softness of down when trod upon, are also of the most gorgeous design and brilliancy of colors.
Crossing over the hills to the north-west of Salisbury Plain, we descend to the attractive valley of another river Avon, and come to the "Queen of all the Spas in the World," the city of Bath. It is the chief town of Somersetshire, and is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills. The abbey and principal streets are in the valley, while above, on its northern slope, rise terraces and crescents, tier upon tier, to a height of nearly eight hundred feet, the most conspicuous being the Royal and the Lansdowne Crescents. Many of the buildings are handsome, and are constructed of the white great-oolite, known as bath-stone. To its waters this famous resort owes its importance, but from an insignificant place Bath has risen to the highest point of popularity as a fashionable watering-place and in architectural magnificence through the genius of Architect Wood and Master-of-Ceremonies Beau Nash. The legendary king Bladud is said to have first discovered the Bath waters twenty-seven hundred years ago, and to have built a town there and dedicated the medicinal springs to Minerva, so that "Bladud's Well" has passed into a proverb of sparkling inexhaustibility. The Romans, passionately attached to the luxury of the hot springs, made Bath one of their chief stations, and here and in the neighborhood the foundations of their extensive buildings have been traced, with the remains of altars, baths, tessellated pavements, and ornaments, and few British towns can produce such a collection of Roman relics. In the height of the Roman power in the fifth century the city extended nearly three miles along the valley, and was surrounded by a wall twenty feet high and nine feet thick. Such a fascinating spot was naturally selected for the foundation of a religious house at an early period, and we consequently find that the abbey of Bath was built by King Offa in the eighth century, and refounded by King Edgar in the tenth century. It existed until the dissolution in 1539. The church fell into decay in the reign of Henry VII., and the present abbey-church was then built, being for a long time unfinished. It has recently been restored. It stands at the southern extremity of High Street, and is a fine specimen of Perpendicular Gothic, the plan being a cross, with a tower at the intersection rising one hundred and sixty-two feet and flanked by octagonal turrets. The church is two hundred and ten feet long, and has a fan-traced, stone-vaulted roof seventy-eight feet high, while the western front contains a magnificent window flanked by turrets carved with angels, who are ascending and descending, but have, unfortunately, all lost their heads. The Pump Room, which is one of the chief buildings, is a classical structure with a Corinthian portico bearing the motto, "Water, best of elements!" A band plays in the spacious saloon, which also contains a statue of the genius of Bath, Beau Nash, whose monument is in the abbey-church. Here the waters, which are the hottest in England, reaching a temperature of 120 deg., tumble continually from a drinking-fountain into a serpentine basin beneath. There are numerous other baths replete with comforts for the invalid, for this is essentially a hospital town, and the city also contains many stately public and private buildings, and its Victoria Park and Sydney Gardens are beautiful and popular resorts. The wild scenery of the neighborhood provides myriads of attractive drives and walks, while on top of Lansdowne Hill, where Beckford is buried, is his tower, one hundred and fifty feet high and commanding extensive views. The Bath waters, which are alkaline-sulphurous with a slight proportion of iron, are considered beneficial for palsy, rheumatism, gout, and scrofulous and cutaneous affections. The chief spring discharges one hundred and twenty-eight gallons a minute. While a hundred years ago Bath was at the height of its celebrity, the German spas have since diverted part of the stream of visitors.
FONTHILL AND BECKFORD.
It was at Bath that Pitt and Sheridan lived, but its most eccentric resident was William Beckford, the author of Vathek, who came to Bath from Fonthill, not far from Salisbury. His father, a London alderman, owned Fonthill, and died in 1770, leaving his son William, aged ten, with $5,000,000 ready money and $500,000 annual income. He wrote Vathek in early life after extensive travels, but founded its scenes and characters upon places and people at Fonthill. He then began building Fonthill Abbey, shrouding his proceedings in the greatest mystery and surrounding his estate with a wall twelve feet high and seven miles long, guarded by chevaux-de-frise to keep out intruders. The building of the abbey was to him a romance pursued with wild enthusiasm. So anxious was he to get it finished that he employed relays of men, working day and night and throughout Sunday, keeping them liberally supplied with liquor. The first tower was built of wood, four hundred feet high, to see its effect, and it was then taken down and the same form put up in wood covered with cement. This fell down, and the third tower was built of masonry. When the idea of the abbey occurred to Beckford he was extending a small summer-house, but he was in such a hurry that he would not remove the summer-house to make a proper foundation for the tower, but carried it up on the walls already standing, the work being done in wretched style and chiefly by semi-drunken men. He employed five hundred men day and night at the work, and once the torches used set fire to the tower at the top, a sight that he greatly enjoyed. Beckford lived at the abbey, practically a hermit, for nearly twenty years, but his fortunes being impaired he removed to Bath in 1822. Preparatory to selling Fonthill, he opened the long-sealed place to public exhibition at a guinea a ticket, and sold seventy-two hundred tickets. Then for thirty-seven days he conducted an auction-sale of the treasures at Fonthill, charging a half-guinea admission. He ultimately sold the estate for $1,750,000. In 1825 the tower, which had been insecurely built, fell with a great crash, and so frightened the new owner, who was an invalid, that, though unhurt by the disaster, he died soon afterwards. The estate was again sold and the abbey taken down, so that now only the foundations can be traced.
Proceeding about twelve miles down the beautiful valley of the Avon, we come to its junction with the Frome, where is located the ancient city and port of Bristol, the capital of the west of England. A magnificent suspension-bridge spans the gorge of the Avon, connecting Bristol with its suburb of Clifton, and it is believed that the earliest settlements by the Romans were on the heights of Clifton and the adjoining Brandon Hill. The Saxons called it Bright-stow, or the "Illustrious City;" from this the name changed to Bristow, as it was known in the twelfth century, and Bristold in the reign of Henry III. When the original owners concluded that it was time to come down from the hills, they founded the city in the valley at the junction of the two rivers. A market-cross was erected where the main streets joined, and Bristow Castle was built at the eastern extremity, where the Avon makes a right-angled bend. The town was surrounded with walls, and in the thirteenth century the course of the Frome was diverted in order to make a longer quay and get more room for buildings. Few traces remain of the old castle, but portions of the ancient walls can still be seen. In the fifteenth century the city-walls were described as lofty and massive and protected by twenty-five embattled towers, some round and some square. The abbey of St. Augustine was also then flourishing, having been founded in the twelfth century. Bristol was in the Middle Ages the second port of England, enjoying lucrative trade with all parts of the world, and in the fifteenth century a Bristol ship carrying nine hundred tons was looked upon with awe as a leviathan of the ocean. Sebastian Cabot, the great explorer, was a native of Bristol, and his expeditions were fitted out there, and it was Bristol that in 1838 built and sent out the first English steamer that crossed the Atlantic, the Great Western. It still enjoys a lucrative trade, and has recently opened new docks at the mouth of the Avon, seven miles below the city, so that this venerable port may be considered as renewing its prosperous career. It has over two hundred thousand population, and in past times had the honor of being represented in Parliament by Edmund Burke. When ancient Bristol was in its heyday, Macaulay says the streets were so narrow that a coach or cart was in danger of getting wedged between the buildings or falling into the cellars. Therefore, goods were conveyed about the town almost exclusively in trucks drawn by dogs, and the wealthy inhabitants exhibited their riches not by riding in gilded carriages, but by walking about the streets followed by a train of servants in gorgeous liveries and by keeping tables laden with good cheer. The pomp of christenings and funerals then far exceeded anything seen in any other part of England, and the hospitality of the city was widely renowned. This was especially the case with the banquets given by the guild of sugar-refiners, where the drink was a rich beverage made of Spanish wine and known as "Bristol milk." In 1831 the opposition of the Recorder of Bristol to the Reform Bill resulted in serious riots, causing a great fire that burned the Mansion House and a large number of other prominent buildings. The troops suppressed the riots after shooting several rioters, and four were afterwards hanged and twenty-six transported. The city has since enjoyed a tranquil history.