Bristol Cathedral was the convent-church of St. Augustine's Abbey, and was begun in the twelfth century. It formerly consisted only of the choir and transepts, the nave having been destroyed in the fifteenth century, but the nave was rebuilt in uniform style with the remainder of the church in 1876. The cathedral presents a mixture of architectural styles, and in it are the tombs of the Earls of Berkeley, who were its benefactors for generations. Among them was Maurice, Lord Berkeley, who died in 1368 from wounds received at Poictiers. The abbot, John Newland, or Nail-heart, was also a benefactor of the abbey, and is said to have erected the magnificent Norman doorway to the west of it leading to the college green. The most attractive portion of the interior of the cathedral is the north aisle of the choir, known as the Berkeley Chapel, a beautiful specimen of Early English style. The side-aisles of the choir are of the same height as the central aisle, and in the transepts are monuments to Bishop Butler, author of the Analogy, and to Robert Southey, who was a native of Bristol. This cathedral is not yet complete, the external ornamentation of the nave and the upper portions of the western towers being unfinished. Forty-seven bishops have sat upon the episcopal throne of Bristol. The old market-cross, which stood for four centuries in Bristol, was removed in the last century, but in 1860 it was replaced by a modern one erected upon the college green. The church of St. Mary Redcliffe, standing upon a red sandstone rock on the south side of the Avon, is the finest church in Bristol, and Chatterton calls it the "Pride of Bristowe and Western Londe." It is an Early Perpendicular structure, two hundred and thirty-one feet long, with a steeple rising over two hundred feet, founded in the twelfth century, but enlarged and rebuilt in the fifteenth century by William Canynge, who was then described as "the richest merchant of Bristow, and chosen five times mayor of the said town." He and his wife Joan have their monuments in the church, and upon his tomb is inscribed the list of his ships. He entered holy orders in his declining years, and founded a college at Westbury, whither he retired. It has for many years been the custom for the mayor and corporation of Bristol to attend this church on Whitsunday in state, when the pavement is strewn with rushes and the building decorated with flowers. In the western entrance is suspended a bone of a large whale, which, according to tradition, is the rib of the dun cow that anciently supplied Bristol with her milk. Sebastian Cabot, in all probability, presented the city with this bone after his discovery of Newfoundland. The chief popular interest in St. Mary Redcliffe, however, is its connection with Thomas Chatterton, born in a neighboring street in 1752, the son of a humble schoolmaster, who ultimately went up to London to write for the booksellers, and there committed suicide at the early age of seventeen. A monument to this precocious genius, who claimed to have recovered ancient manuscripts from the church-archives, stands in the churchyard. Bristol is full of old and quaint churches and narrow yet picturesque streets, with lofty gabled timber-houses.
The great gorge of the Avon, five hundred feet deep, is, however, its most attractive possession. The suspension-bridge, erected by the munificence of a citizen, spans this gorge at the height of two hundred and eighty-seven feet, and cost nearly $500,000. It is twelve hundred and twenty feet long, and has a single span of seven hundred and three feet crossing the ravine between St. Vincent's Rocks and the Leigh Woods. Alongside this gorge rises Brandon Hill, which Queen Elizabeth sold to two citizens of Bristol, who in turn sold it to the city, with a proviso that the corporation should there "admit the drying of clothes by the townswomen, as had been accustomed;" and to this day its western slope is still used as a clothes-drying ground. From this the tradition arose—which, however, Bristol denounces as a libel—"that the queen gave the use of this hill to poor freemen's daughters as a dowry, because she took compassion on the many plain faces which she saw in one of her visits." Some hot springs issue out of St. Vincent's Rocks, and these give Clifton fame as a watering-place. A fine pump-house has been built there, and the waters are said to be useful in pulmonary complaints. From this beginning large and ornamental suburbs have been terraced on the rocks and hills above the springs, while on the summit is an observatory. There is a hermitage cave of great antiquity carved in the perpendicular face of the rock just above the river, and known as the "Giant's Hole." The entire neighborhood is full of charming scenery, and thus the ancient port presents varied attractions, combining business profit with recreation, while from the hilltops there are glorious views extending far down Bristol Channel to the dim hills of South Wales.
Proceeding southward into Somersetshire, we arrive at the cathedral city of Wells, which is united with Bath in the well-known bishopric of Bath and Wells, and is considered the most completely representative ecclesiastical city in England. It gets its name from its numerous springs, taking their rise from the wells in the Bishop's Garden, where they form a lake of great beauty, while bright, clear water runs through various streets of the town. After leaving the edge of the Bristol Channel the plain of the Somersetshire lowlands is bordered by rocky uplands, of which the most important is the elevated plateau known as the Mendip Hills, carved on the outside with winding valleys having precipitous sides. Wells nestles in a wide grassy basin at the foot of the Mendips, its entire history being ecclesiastical, and that not very eventful. It never had a castle, and no defensive works beyond the wall and moat enclosing the bishop's palace. It seems to have had its origin from the Romans, who worked lead-mines among the Mendips, but the first fact actually known about it is that the Saxon king Ina established here a house of secular canons "near a spring dedicated to St. Andrew." It grew in importance and privileges until it became a bishopric, there having been fifteen bishops prior to the Norman Conquest. The double title of Bishop of Bath and Wells was first assumed in the days of King Stephen. In looking at the town from a distance two buildings rise conspicuously—the belfry of St. Cuthbert's Church and the group of triple towers crowning the cathedral. There are few aggregations of ecclesiastical buildings in England that surpass those of Wells, with the attractive gateways and antique houses of the close, the grand facade of the cathedral, and the episcopal palace with its ruined banquet-hall and surrounding moat. From the ancient market-square of the city, stone gateways surmounted by gray towers give access, one to the close and the other to the enclosure of the palace. Entering the close, the western front of the cathedral is seen, the most beautiful facade of its kind in Britain—an exquisite piece of Early English architecture, with Perpendicular towers and unrivalled sculptures rising tier upon tier, with architectural accompaniments such as are only to be found at Chartres or Rheims. The old Saxon cathedral lasted until Bishop Jocelyn's time in the thirteenth century, when he began a systematic rebuilding, which was not finished until the days of Bishop Beckington in the fifteenth century, who completed the gateways and cloisters. Entering the cathedral, the strange spectacle is at once seen of singular inverted arches under the central tower, forming a cross of St. Andrew, to whom the building is dedicated. These arches were inserted subsequently to the erection of the tower to strengthen its supports—an ingenious contrivance not without a certain beauty. The choir is peculiar and beautiful, and produces a wonderful effect, due to its groups of arches, the Lady Chapel and retro-choir, and the rich splendors of the stained glass. The chapter-house, north-east of the northern transept, is built over a crypt, and is octagonal in plan, the roof supported by a central column, while the crypt beneath has an additional ring of columns. The cloisters are south of the cathedral, having three walks, with galleries above the eastern and western walks, the former being the library. Through the eastern wall of the cloisters a door leads to a private garden, in which and in the Bishop's Garden adjoining are the wells that name the city. The most important of these is St. Andrew's Well, whence a spring issues into a large pool. The water from the wells falls by two cascades into the surrounding moat, and a conduit also takes away some of it to supply the town. From the edge of the pool is the most striking view of the cathedral.
The close is surrounded by various ancient houses, and the embattled wall with its bastioned towers and moat encloses about fifteen acres. Here is the gateway known as the "Bishop's Eye," and another called the "Dean's Eye," the deanery where Henry VII. was entertained in 1497, the archdeanery, coming down from the thirteenth century, and the beautiful Chain Gate in the north-east corner that connects the cathedral with the Vicar's Close. The latter, one of the most peculiar features of Wells, is a long and narrow court entered through an archway, and having ancient houses with modernized fittings on either hand. Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury erected this close in the fourteenth century, and his monumental inscription in the cathedral tells us he was a great sportsman, who "destroyed by hunting all the wild beasts of the great forest of Cheddar." The moat and wall completely surround the bishop's palace, and its northern front overhangs the moat, where an oriel window is pointed out as the room where Bishop Kidder and his wife were killed by the falling of a stack of chimneys upon their bed, blown down by the terrible gale of 1703 that swept away the Eddystone Lighthouse. It was Bishop Ralph who made the walls and moat as a defence against the monks of Bath, who had threatened to kill him; Bishop Jocelyn built the palace. Adjoining it is the great banquet-hall, of which only the northern and western walls remain, in ruins. It was a magnificent hall, destroyed from mere greed. After the alienation of the monasteries it fell into the hands of Sir John Gates, who tore it partly down to sell the materials; but happily, as the antiquarian relates, Gates was beheaded in 1553 for complicity in Lady Jane Grey's attempt to reach the throne, and the desecration was stopped. Afterwards, Parliament sold Wells for a nominal price to Dr. Burgess, and he renewed the spoliation, but, fortunately again, the Restoration came; he had to give up his spoils, and died in jail. Thus was the remnant of the ruin saved. It was in this hall that Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury, was condemned, and hanged on Tor Hill above his own abbey. The great bishops of Wells were the episcopal Nimrod Ralph, and Beckington, who left his mark so strongly on the cathedral and town. He was a weaver's son, born at the village of Beckington, near the town of Frome, and from it got his name. Hadrian de Castello, who had a romantic history, became Bishop of Wells in 1504. Pope Alexander VI. made him a cardinal, and afterwards tried to poison him with some others at a banquet; by mistake the pope himself drank of the poisoned wine, and died. The bishop afterwards entered into a conspiracy against Leo X., but, being detected, escaped from Rome in disguise and disappeared. Wolsey was Bishop of Wells at one time, but the most illustrious prelate who held the see after the Reformation was Thomas Ken. He was educated at Winchester, and afterwards became a prebend of the cathedral there. Charles II. paid a visit to Winchester, and, bringing Nell Gwynne with him, Ken was asked to allow her to occupy his house. He flatly refused, which had just the opposite effect upon the king to that which would be supposed, for he actually respected Ken for it, and when the see of Wells became vacant he offered it to "the little fellow who would not give poor Nelly a lodging." Ken attended the king's deathbed shortly afterwards. He was very popular in the diocese, and after the Sedgemoor battle he succored the fugitives, and with the Bishop of Ely gave spiritual consolation to the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth on the scaffold. Ken was one of the six bishops committed by James II. to the Tower, but, strangely enough, he declined to take the oaths of allegiance to William III., and, being deprived of preferment, retired to the home of his nephew, Izaak Walton. All reverence his sanctity and courage, and admire his morning and evening hymns, written in a summer-house in the Bishop's Garden.
The Mendip Hills, with their picturesque gorges and winding valleys, were formerly a royal forest. It was here that King Edmund was hunting the red deer when his horse took fright and galloped towards the brow of the highest part of the Cheddar Cliffs. Shortly before, the king had quarrelled with Dunstan, and expelled the holy man from his court. As the horse galloped with him to destruction, he vowed if preserved to make amends. The horse halted on the brink as if checked by an unseen hand, and the king immediately sought Dunstan and made him abbot of Glastonbury. These hills were the haunt of the fiercest wild beasts in England, and their caves still furnish relics of lions to a larger extent than any other part of the kingdom. The most remarkable deposit of these bones is in the Wookey Hole, on the southern edge of the Mendips, about two miles from Wells. At the head of a short and picturesque glen, beneath an ivy-festooned cliff, is a cavern whence the river Axe issues and flows down the glen. The cave that disclosed the animal bones is on the left bank of the glen, and was but recently discovered in making a mill-race. It also contained about three hundred old Roman coins, rude flint implements, and skeletons of a mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. The larger cave, which is hung with fine stalactites, can be explored for some distance. Near the entrance is a mass of rock known as the Witch of Wookey, who was turned into stone there by a timely prayer from a monk who opportunely arrived from Glastonbury. The underground course of the Axe in and beyond this cave is traced for at least two miles. The Mendips contain other pretty glens and gorges, and from the summit of their cliffs can be seen the valley of the Axe winding away southward, while to the westward the scene broadens into the level plains that border the Bristol Channel, guarded on either side by the hills of Exmoor and of Wales. Little villages cluster around the bases of the hills, the most noted being Cheddar, famous for its cheese, straggling about the entrance to a gorge in which caves are numerous, each closed by a door, where an admission-fee is charged. Some of them are lighted with gas and entered upon paved paths. Lead-and zinc-mines are worked in the glens, and above Cheddar rises the Black Down to a height of eleven hundred feet, the most elevated summit of the Mendips.
About six miles south-west of Wells is the ancient Isle of Avelon, where St. Patrick is said to have spent the closing years of his life, and where are the ruins of one of the earliest and most extensive religious houses in England—Glastonbury Abbey. A sixpence is charged to visit the ruins, which adjoin the chief street, but the remnants of the vast church, that was nearly six hundred feet long, are scanty. Of the attendant buildings there only remain the abbot's kitchen and an adjoining gateway, now converted into an inn. This kitchen is about thirty-four feet square within the walls and seventy-two feet high. The church ruins include some of the walls and tower-foundations, with a well-preserved and exceedingly rich chapel dedicated to St. Joseph. On the High Street is the old George Inn, which was the hostelrie for the pilgrims, built in the reign of Edward IV. and still used. It is fronted by a splendid mass of panelling, and the central gateway has a bay-window alongside rising the entire height of the house. The church of St. John the Baptist in Glastonbury has a fine tower, elevated one hundred and forty feet and richly adorned with canopied niches, being crowned by an open-work parapet and slender pinnacles. Almost the entire town of Glastonbury is either constructed from spoils of the abbey or else is made up of parts of its buildings. One of the most characteristic of the preserved buildings is the Tribunal, now a suite of lawyers' offices. Its deeply-recessed lower windows and the oriel above have a venerable appearance, while beyond rises the tower of St. John the Baptist. Behind the town is the "Weary-all Hill," from which arose the foundation of the monastery. Tradition tells that Joseph of Arimathea, toiling up the steep ascent, drove his thorn staff into the ground and said to his followers that they would rest there. The thorn budded, and still flowers, it is said, in winter. This was regarded as an omen, and they constructed the abbey there around the chapel of St. Joseph. The ponderous abbot's kitchen, we are told, was built by the last abbot, who boasted, when Henry VIII. threatened to burn the monastery, that he would have a kitchen that all the wood in Mendip Forest could not burn down. King Arthur was buried at Glastonbury, and a veracious historian in the twelfth century wrote that he was present at the disinterment of the remains of the king and his wife. "The shin-bone of the king," he says, "when placed side by side with that of a tall man, reached three fingers above his knee, and his skull was fearfully wounded." The remains of King Arthur's wife, which were quite perfect, fell into dust upon exposure to the air.
Proceeding westward towards the Bristol Channel, the low and marshy plain of Sedgemoor is reached. Much of it is reclaimed from the sea, and here and there the surface is broken by isolated knolls, there being some two hundred square miles of this region, with the range of Polden Hills extending through it and rising in some places three hundred feet high. In earlier times this was an exact reproduction of the Cambridgeshire fenland, and then, we are told,
"The flood of the Severn Sea flowed over half the plain, And a hundred capes, with huts and trees, above the flood remain; 'Tis water here and water there, and the lordly Parrett's way Hath never a trace on its pathless face, as in the former day."
It is changed now, being thoroughly drained, but in the days of the Saxons the river Parrett was the frontier of Wessex, and one of its districts sheltered Alfred from the first onset of the Danish invasion when he retreated to the fastnesses of the Isle of Athelney. In the epoch of the Normans and in the Civil War there was fighting all along the Parrett. After the defeat at Naseby the Royalists, under Lord Goring, on July 10, 1645, met their foes on the bank of the Parrett, near Langport, were defeated and put to flight, losing fourteen thousand prisoners, and the king's troops never made a stand afterwards. Bridgwater is a quiet town of about twelve thousand people on the Parrett, a half dozen miles from the sea, and in its churchyard reposes Oldmixon, who was made collector of customs here as a reward for his abusive writings, in the course of which he virulently attacked Pope. The poet retorted by giving Oldmixon a prominent place in the Dunciad, where at a diving-match in the putrid waters of Fleet Ditch, which "rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames," the heroes are bidden to "prove who best can dash through thick and thin, and who the most in love of dirt excel." And thus the Bridgwater collector:
"In naked majesty Oldmixon stands, And Milo-like surveys his arms and hands, Then sighing thus, 'And am I now threescore? And why ye gods should two and two make four?' He said, and climbed a stranded lighter's height. Shot to the black abyss, and plunged downright."
In the Market Inn at Bridgwater Admiral Blake was born, who never held a naval command until past the age of fifty, and then triumphed over the Dutch and the Spaniards, disputing Van Tromp's right to hoist a broom at his masthead, and burned the Spanish fleet in the harbor of Santa Cruz. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, but Charles II. ejected his bones. Bridgwater is now chiefly noted for its bath bricks, made of a mixture of clay and sand deposited near there by the tidal currents.
It was from the Bridgwater church tower that the unfortunate son of Charles II. and Lucy Walters, who had been proclaimed "King Monmouth," looked out upon the grassy plains towards the eastward before venturing the last contest for the kingdom. This view is over Sedgemoor, the scene of the last fight deserving the name of a battle that has been fought on British ground. It is a long tract of morass lying between the foot of the Polden Hills and the Parrett River, but with a fringe of somewhat higher ground along the latter, where are Weston Zoyland, Chedzoy, and Middlezoy, each a hamlet clustering around its old church, that at Weston Zoyland being surmounted by an attractive square tower over one hundred feet high. Monmouth had been proclaimed king by the mayor and corporation of Bridgwater June 21, 1685, but had been checked at Bath, and fell back again to Bridgwater, where his army was encamped on the Castle Field. He had been three weeks in the kingdom without marked success, and the royal army was closing in upon him. Four thousand troops under Lord Feversham marched westward, and on the Sunday evening of July 5th, when Monmouth looked out from the tower, had encamped upon Sedgemoor about three miles from Bridgwater. Monmouth had seven thousand men to oppose them, but his forces were mostly undisciplined and badly armed, some having only scythes fastened on poles. The moor was then partly reclaimed and intersected by trenches, and Feversham's headquarters was at Weston Zoyland, where the royal cavalry were encamped, with the other troops at Middlezoy and Chedzoy beyond. Monmouth saw that their divisions were somewhat separated, and that his only hope was a night-attack. At midnight he started, marching his army by a circuitous route to the royal camp, strict silence being observed and not a drum beaten or a shot fired. Three ditches had to be crossed to reach the camp, two of which Monmouth knew of, but he was unfortunately ignorant of the third, called the Bussex Rhine, behind which the camp had been made. A fog came down over the moor; the first ditch was crossed successfully, but the guide missing his way caused some confusion before the second was reached, during which a pistol was discharged that aroused a sentinel, who rode off and gave the alarm. As the royal drums beat to arms Monmouth rapidly advanced, when he suddenly found himself checked by the Bussex Rhine, behind which the royal army was forming in line of battle in the fog. "For whom are you?" demanded a royal officer. "For the king," replied a voice from the rebel cavalry. "For what king?" was demanded. The answer was a shout for "King Monmouth," mingled with Cromwell's old war-cry of "God with us!" Immediately the royal troops replied with a terrific volley of musketry that sent the rebel cavalry flying in all directions. Monmouth, then coming up with the infantry, was startled to find the broad ditch in front of him. His troops halted on the edge, and for three quarters of an hour the opposing forces fired volleys at each other across the ditch. But the end was not far off. John Churchill was a subordinate in the royal army and formed its line of battle, thus indicating the future triumphs of the Duke of Marlborough. Then the royal cavalry came up, and in a few minutes the rebels were routed, and Monmouth, seeing all was lost, rode from the field. His foot-soldiers, with their scythes and butt-ends of muskets, made a gallant stand, fighting like old soldiers, though their ammunition was all gone. To conquer them the artillery were brought up, for which service the Bishop of Winchester loaned his coach-horses. The cannon were ill served, but routed the rebels, and then the infantry poured over the ditch and put them to flight. The king lost three hundred killed and wounded; the rebel loss was at least a thousand slain, while there was little mercy for the survivors. The sun rose over a field of carnage, with the king's cavalry hacking and hewing among their fleeing foes. Monmouth, with one or two followers, was by this time far away among the hills, but was afterwards captured in the New Forest, and ended his life on the scaffold. The Sedgemoor carnage went on all the morning; the fugitives poured into Bridgwater with the pursuers at their heels; five hundred prisoners were crowded into Weston Zoyland Church, and the next day a long row of gibbets appeared on the road between the town and the church. Bridgwater suffered under a reign of terror from Colonel Kirke and his "Lambs," who put a hundred prisoners to death during the week following the battle, and treated the others with great cruelty. Then Judge Jeffreys came there to execute judicial tortures, and by his harsh and terrible administration of the law, and his horrible cruelties and injustice, gained the reputation that has ever since been execrated.
Six miles south-east of Bridgwater is the Isle of Athelney, a peninsula in the marsh between the Parrett and the Tone. Here King Alfred sought refuge from the Danes until he could get time to mature the plans that ultimately drove them from his kingdom. It was while here that the incident of the burned cakes occurred. The king was disguised as a peasant, and, living in a swineherd's cottage, performed various menial offices. The good wife left him in charge of some cakes that were baking, with instructions to turn them at the proper time. His mind wandered in thought and he forgot his trust. The good wife returned, found the cakes burning, and the guest dreaming by the fireside; she lost her temper, and expressed a decided opinion about the lazy lout who was ready enough to eat, but less ready to work. In the seventeenth century there was found in the marshes here a jewel that Alfred had lost: it is of gold and enamel, bearing words signifying, "Alfred had me wrought." The following spring (878) he sallied forth, defeated the Danes in Wiltshire, and captured their king Guthram, who was afterwards baptized near Athelney by the name of AEthelstan; they still show his baptismal font in Aller Church, near by.
Crossing over from Somersetshire into Dorsetshire, we arrive in the northern part of that county at Sherborne, which was one of the earliest religious establishments in this part of England, having been founded by King Ina in the eighth century. Here was the see that was removed to Old Sarum in the eleventh century, and subsequently to Salisbury. After the removal, Sherborne became an abbey, and its remains are to be seen in the parish church, which still exists, of Norman architecture, and having a low central tower supported by massive piers. The porch is almost all that survives of the original structure, the remainder having been burned in 1436, but afterwards restored. Within this church are buried the Saxon kings, AEthelbald and AEthelbert, the brothers of King Alfred. Such of the domestic buildings of the abbey as have been preserved are now the well-known Sherborne Grammar-School. The great bell of the abbey was given it by Cardinal Wolsey, and weighed sixty thousand pounds. It bears this motto:
"By Wolsey's gift I measure time for all; To mirth, to grief, to church, I serve to call."
It was unfortunately cracked in 1858, but has been recast. The chief fame of Sherborne, however, is as the home of Sir Walter Raleigh, of whom Napier says that his "fortunes were alike remarkable for enviable success and pitiable reverses. Raised to eminent station through the favor of the greatest female sovereign of England, he perished on the scaffold through the dislike and cowardly policy of the meanest of her kings." The original castle of Sherborne was built in the reign of Henry I., and its owner bestowed it upon the bishopric of Old Sarum with certain lands, accompanying the gift with a perpetual curse "that whosoever should take these lands from the bishopric, or diminish them in great or small, should be accursed, not only in this world, but in the world to come, unless in his lifetime he made restitution thereof." Herein tradition says was the seed of Raleigh's misfortunes. King Stephen dispossessed the lands, and gave them to the Montagues, who met with grievous disasters, the estate ultimately reverting to the Church. In Edward VI.'s reign Sherborne was conveyed to the Duke of Somerset, but he was beheaded. Again they reverted to the Church, until one day Raleigh, journeying from Plymouth to London, the ancient historian says, "the castle being right in the way, he cast such an eye upon it as Ahab did upon Naboth's vineyard, and once, above the rest, being talking of it, of the commodiousness of the place, and of the great strength of the seat, and how easily it might be got from the bishopric, suddenly over and over came his horse, that his very face (which was then thought a very good one) ploughed up the earth where he fell. This fall was ominous, and no question he was apt to consider it so." But Raleigh did not falter, notwithstanding the omen. He begged and obtained the grant of the castle from Queen Elizabeth, and then married Elizabeth Throgmorton and returned there, building himself a new house surrounded by ornamental gardens and orchards. He settled the estate ultimately upon his son, but his enemies got King James to take it away and give it to a young Scotch favorite, Robert Carr, afterwards Earl of Somerset. Lady Raleigh upon her knees, with her children, appealed to James not to do this, but it was of no avail. The king only answered, "I mun have the land; I mun have it for Carr." She was a woman of high spirit, and while still on her knees she prayed God to punish those who had wrongfully exposed her and her children to ruin. Carr met with constant misfortunes, being ultimately implicated in a murder and imprisoned. James's son Charles, afterwards king, aided to bring Raleigh to the block, while the widow had the satisfaction of living long enough to be assured that Charles would meet the same fate. The remains of the castle are at the east end of Sherborne, covering about four acres on a rocky eminence surrounded by a ditch. The gate-tower and portions of the walls and buildings still exist. The house that Raleigh built is now called the "Castle," and has since had extensive wings added to it, with a fine lake between it and the old castle-ruins, surrounded by attractive pleasure-grounds and a park. This famous estate fell into possession of the Earl of Digby, and is now a home of G. D. Wingfield Digby, Esq., being a popular resort in the hunting-season.
THE COAST OF DORSET.
The river Avon upon which Salisbury stands—for there are several of these Avon Rivers in England—flows southward between Dorsetshire and Hampshire, and falls into the Channel. Westward from its mouth extends a line of sandy cliffs, broken by occasional ravines or chines, past Bournemouth to Poole Harbor, a broad estuary surrounded by low hills which is protected by a high ridge of chalk rocks on its south-western side running out into the sea. The sleepy town of Poole stands on the shore, having dim recollections of its ships and commerce of centuries ago. It was a nursery for privateersmen, and many are the exploits recorded of them. It was also, from the intricacy of its creeks and the roving character of its people, a notorious place for smuggling. Poole is an old-fashioned, brick-built town, with a picturesque gateway yet remaining as a specimen of its ancient defences. In the vale of the Stour, which here debouches, is the ancient minster of Wimborne, founded in the reign of King Ina by his sister, and containing the grave of the Saxon king AEthelred. It is not remarkable excepting for its age, and for having had for its dean Reginald Pole before he became a cardinal. The ancient and shrunken town of Wareham is also near by, having had quite a military history, but being almost destroyed by fire in 1762, from which it never recovered. It has now but three churches out of the eight it originally possessed, and of these only one is in regular use. But the great memory of this part of the coast is connected with Corfe Castle.
The so-called Isle of Purbeck is near Poole Harbor, and the ruined castle of Corfe stands in a narrow gap in the hills, guarding the entrance to the southern part of this island, its name being derived from ceorfan, meaning "to cut," so that it refers to the cut or gap in the hills. Queen AElfrida in the tenth century had a hunting-lodge here. According to the legend, her stepson, King Edward, was hunting in the neighborhood and stopped at the door to ask for a drink. It was brought, and as he raised the cup to his lips he was stabbed in the back—it is said by the queen's own hand. He put spurs to his horse, galloped off, fell, and was dragged along the road, the battered corpse being buried at Wareham. The queen had committed this murder for the benefit of her youngest son, and hearing him bewail his brother's death, she flew into a passion, and, no cudgel being at hand, belabored him so stoutly with a large wax candle that he could never afterwards bear the sight of one. The king's remains were then translated to Shaftesbury, miracles were wrought, and the queen, finding affairs becoming serious, founded two nunneries in expiation of the murder, to one of which she retired. This began the fame of the Isle of Purbeck, although the present Corfe Castle was not built till the twelfth century. It was attacked by, but baffled, Stephen, and King John used it as a royal residence, prison, and treasure-house. Here he starved to death twenty-two French knights who had been partisans of his nephew Arthur; and he also hanged a hermit named Peter who had made rash prophecies of his downfall, this being intended as a wholesome warning to other unwelcome prophets. Its subsequent history was uneventful until the Civil War, when it was greatly enlarged and strengthened, occupying the upper part of the hill overlooking the village. Now it is ruined in every part: the entrance-gateway leans over and is insecure, the walls are rent, and the towers shattered, while the keep is but a broken shell, with one side entirely gone. This destruction was done in the Civil War, when Corfe was held for King Charles. In 1643, when the owner, Sir John Bankes, was absent, the castle was attacked, and his lady hastily collected the tenantry and some provisions and made the best defence she could. The besiegers melted down the roof of the village church for bullets, and approached the castle-walls under cover of two pent-houses called, respectively, "the Boar" and "the Sow." So galling a fire, however, was kept up by the defenders that they were driven off, and their commander with difficulty rallied them for another attack, being well fortified with "Dutch courage." This time the brave little garrison, even the women and children taking part, hurled down upon them hot embers, paving-stones, and whatever else came handiest, and again drove them off when the effect of the liquor was spent; then, the king's forces coming to the rescue, they decamped. But the fortunes of Charles waned: he was defeated at Naseby, Sir John Bankes died, and Corfe was the only stronghold left him between London and Exeter. Again it was attacked, and, through treachery, captured. It was afterwards dismantled and blown up by gunpowder, while its heroic defender, Lady Bankes, was deprived of her dowry as penalty for her "malignity." She received it again, however, and had the satisfaction of living until after the Restoration.
Beyond the range of chalk-cliffs that here cross Dorsetshire the coast runs several miles southward from Poole Harbor, the promontory of the Foreland protruding into the sea and dividing the shore into two bays. The northern one is Studland Bay, alongside which is the singular rock of the Agglestone. The devil, we are told, was sitting one day upon one of the Needles off the neighboring coast of the Isle of Wight, looking about him to see what the world was doing, when he espied the towers of Corfe Castle just rising towards completion; he seized a huge rock and hurled it at the castle, but it fell short, and remains to this day upon the moor. Nestling under the slopes of this moor, in a ravine leading down to the shore, is Studland village, with its little Norman church embosomed in foliage and surrounded by ancient gravestones and memorial crosses. South of the Foreland, and protected by the chalk range from the northern blasts, is Swanage Bay, bordered by its little town, which in past times has been variously called Swanwich, Sandwich, and Swanage. It is a quiet watering-place at the east end of Purbeck Isle, landlocked from every rough wind, a pleasant spot for summer sea-bathing, with huge elms growing on its beach and garden-flowers basking in the sunshine. The Purbeck marble, which was so extensively used for church-building a few centuries ago, and which may be seen in Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Salisbury, Ely, and other cathedrals, was quarried here, though other quarries of it exist in Britain. It is an aggregate of freshwater shells, which polishes handsomely, but is liable to crumble, and has in later years been generally superseded by other building-stone. The coast southward is lined with quarries, and the lofty promontory of St. Aldhelm's Head projects into the sea, a conspicuous headland seen from afar. It was named for the first Bishop of Sherborne, and its summit rises nearly five hundred feet, being crowned by an ancient chapel, where in former days a priest trimmed the beacon-light and prayed for the mariners' safety. This cliff exhibits sections of Portland stone, and the view is unusually fine, the entire coast displaying vast walls of cream-colored limestone. These rocks extend westward past Encombe, where Chancellor Eldon closed his life, and the Vale of Kimmeridge, where they dig a dark blue clay, and Worbarrow Bay, with its amphitheatre of crags composed of Portland stone and breached here and there to form the gateways into interior coves. Here are the Barndoor Cove, entered through a natural archway; the Man-of-War Cove, its guardian rock representing a vessel; and Lulworth Cove, with its castle-ruins, most of which have been worked into the modern structure near by where the exiled French king, Charles X., once lived.
WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND.
The coast next sweeps around to the southward, forming the broad expanse of Weymouth Bay, with the precipitous headland of the White Nore on the one hand, and the crags of Portland Isle spreading on the other far out to sea, with the breakwater extending to the northward enclosing the bay and making a harbor under the lee of which vast fleets can anchor in safety. Weymouth is a popular watering-place and the point of departure for steamers for the Channel Islands, and it was George III.'s favorite resort. He had a house there, and on the cliffs behind the town an ingenious soldier, by cutting away the turf and exposing the white chalk beneath, has made a gigantic figure of the king on horseback, of clever execution and said to be a good likeness. Weymouth has a steamboat-pier and an attractive esplanade, and on the cliffs west of the town and overlooking the sea are the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle, erected for coast-defence by Henry VIII. They are of little interest, however, and south of them is the estuary of the Fleet, which divides Portland Isle from the mainland, but these are linked together by the Chesil Bank, a huge mound of pebbles forming a natural breakwater. At the lower end it is an embankment forty feet high, composed of large pebbles, some reaching a foot in diameter. As it stretches northward it decreases gradually in height and in the size of its pebbles, till it becomes a low shingly beach. To this great natural embankment the value of Portland Harbor is chiefly due, and many are the theories to account for its formation. Near the estuary of the Fleet is Abbotsbury, where are the ruins of an ancient church and the Earl of Ilchester's famous swannery, where he has twelve hundred swans.
The Isle of Portland, thus strangely linked to the mainland, is an elevated limestone plateau guarded on all sides by steep cliffs and about nine miles in circumference. Not far from the end of the Chesil Bank is Portland Castle, another coast-defence erected by Henry VIII. Near by, on the western slope, is the village of Chesilton. The highest part of the isle is Verne Hill, four hundred and ninety-five feet high, where there is a strong fort with casemated barracks that can accommodate three thousand men. Other works also defend the island, which is regarded of great strategic importance, and in the neighborhood are the famous quarries whence the Portland stone has been excavated for two centuries. The most esteemed is the hard, pale, cream-colored oolite, which was introduced to the notice of London by Inigo Jones, and has been popular ever since. With it have been built St. Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, the towers of Westminster Abbey, and Whitehall, with other London buildings. Here also was quarried the stone for the great breakwater, of which the late Prince Consort deposited the first stone in 1849, and the Prince of Wales the last one in 1872, making the largest artificial harbor in the world. The first portion of this breakwater runs east from the shore eighteen hundred feet. There is an opening four hundred feet wide, and the outer breakwater thence extends north-east six thousand feet, terminated by a strong circular fort guarding the harbor entrance. It cost over $5,000,000, and about one thousand convicts were employed in its construction, which took nearly six million tons of stone. The materials, quarried and laden on cars by the convicts, were sent down an inclined plane and out to the appointed place, where they were emptied into the sea. The prison of the convicts is on the east side of the island adjoining the quarries, and is almost a town of itself, having twenty-five hundred inmates. The prison-garb is blue and white stripes in summer, and a brownish-gray jacket and oilskin cap in winter. The convicts have built their own chapels and schools, and on the Cove of Church Hope near by are the ruins of Bow and Arrow Castle, constructed by William Rufus on a cliff overhanging the sea, and also a modern building known as Pennsylvania Castle, built by William Penn's grandson in a sheltered nook. The views here are of great beauty, while at the southern end of the promontory is the castellated mass of rocks projecting far into the sea, and supporting two lighthouses, known as the Portland Bill. Below is the dangerous surf called the Race of Portland, where the tide flows with unusual swiftness, and in the bordering cliffs are many romantic caves where the restless waves make a constant plashing.
THE CHANNEL ISLANDS.
From the harbor of Portland we will make a steamer-excursion almost across the English Channel, going about one hundred and fifteen miles to the Channel Islands, off the north-western coast of France and within a few miles of the shores of Normandy and Brittany. They are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, standing in a picturesque situation, with a mild climate and fertile soil, and devoted mainly to dairying and to fishing. These islands were known to the Romans, and their strategic position is so valuable that England, while getting but $100,000 revenue from them, has expended two or three millions annually in maintaining their fortifications. It was upon the dangerous cluster of rocks west of Alderney, and known as the Caskets, that Henry I.'s only son, Prince William, perished in the twelfth century, and here the man-of-war Victory was lost with eleven hundred men in 1744. Jersey is the most remarkable of these islands for its castles and forts, and has seen many fierce attacks. Both Henry VII. and Charles II. when in exile found refuge in Jersey. In approaching this island the fantastic outline of the Corbiere Promontory on the western side is striking. When first seen through the morning haze it resembles a huge elephant supporting an embattled tower, but the apparition vanishes on closer approach. A lighthouse crowns the rock, and the bay of St. Aubin spreads a grand crescent of smiling shores, in the centre of which is Elizabeth Castle, standing on a lofty insulated rock whose jagged pinnacles are reared in grotesque array around the battlements. Within the bay is a safe harbor, with the villages of St. Helier and St. Aubin on the shores. Here is the hermitage once occupied by Jersey's patron saint Elericus, and an abbey dedicated to him anciently occupied the site of the castle. The impregnable works of the great Regent Fort are upon a precipitous hill commanding the harbor and castle. Upon the eastern side of the island is another huge fortress, called the castle of Mont Orgueil, upon a lofty conical rock forming the northern headland of Grouville Bay. The apex of the mountain shoots up in the centre of the fortifications as high as the flagstaff which is planted upon them. Here lived Charles II. when in exile, and this is the most interesting part of Jersey, historically. A part of the fortifications is said to date from Caesar's incursion into Gaul, and the Romans in honor of their leader called the island Caesarea, describing it at that time as a stronghold of the Druids, of whose worship many monuments remain. It was first attached to the British Crown at the Norman Conquest, and, though the French in the many wars since then have sent frequent expeditions against the island, they have never been able to hold it. The Channel Islands altogether cover about seventy-five square miles. Alderney, which is within seven miles of the French coast, now has an extensive harbor of refuge. Guernsey contains the remains of two Norman castles—one almost entirely gone, and the other called Ivy Castle, from its ruins being mantled with shrubbery. Its great defensive work, Fort George, built in the last century, stands in a commanding position and is of enormous strength. Upon a rocky islet off St. Peter's Port is the chief defensive fort of that harbor, located about a mile to seaward—Castle Cornet, a work of venerable antiquity, parts of which were built by the Romans. In 1672, Viscount Christopher Hatton was governor of Guernsey, and was blown up with his family in Castle Cornet, the powder-magazine being struck by lightning at midnight. He was in bed, was blown out of the window, and lay for some time on the ramparts unhurt. Most of the family and attendants perished, but his infant daughter Anne was found next day alive, and sleeping in her cradle under a beam in the ruins, uninjured by the explosion. She lived to marry the Earl of Winchelsea and have thirty children, of whom thirteen survived her.
THE SOUTHERN COAST OF DEVON.
Westward of Portland Isle, on the southern coast near Abbotsbury, are the ruins of a monastery built by Canute, and St. Catharine's Chapel, perched on a steep hill overlooking the sea, while in the neighborhood is the Earl of Ilchester's castle, surrounded by attractive gardens. Beyond this the little river Lym flows into the sea from among grand yet broken crags mantled with woods, and in a deep valley at the foot of the hills is the romantic town of Lyme Regis, with a pleasant beach and good bathing, the force of the waves being broken by a pier called the Cobb, frequently washed away and as often restored, sometimes at great cost. This is a semicircular breakwater eleven hundred and seventy-nine feet long, protecting the harbor. There are grand cliffs around this little harbor, the Golden Cap and the Rhodehorn rearing their heads on high, the summit of the latter being cut by a passage called the Devil's Bellows. It was near Lyme Regis that on Christmas, 1839, the Dowlands landslip took place, an area of forty acres sliding down the cliff to a lower level, roughly removing two cottages and an orchard in the descent. Five miles farther west the pretty river Axe, which flows down from the Mendips, enters the sea, and on an eminence overlooking the stream is the town of Axminster, formerly a Saxon stronghold, and afterwards famous for the carpet manufacture, which some time ago was removed to Wilton. Its minster was founded in the days of AEthelstan, but the remains are Norman work. Still farther west the little river Sid flows down past Sidbury and Sidford, and enters the sea through a valley in which nestles the charming watering-place of Sidmouth, celebrated for its pebbles found among the green sand. Salcombe Hill and High Peak, towering five hundred feet, guard the valley-entrance on either hand, and in the church of St. Nicholas is a memorial window erected by Queen Victoria in memory of her father, the Duke of Kent, who died here in 1820. The esplanade in front of the town is protected by a sea-wall seventeen hundred feet long. Near here, at Hayes Barton, now an Elizabethan farm-house, Sir Walter Raleigh was born, the room in which he first saw the light being still shown. Beyond this, to the westward, the river Exe falls into the sea through a broad estuary at Exmouth, also a favorite watering-place, over which the lofty Haldon Hills keep guard at a height of eight hundred feet, the Beacon Walks being cut on their sloping face and tastefully planted with trees, while a broad esplanade protected by a sea-wall fronts the town. The shores all along are dotted with villas, and this coast is a popular resort, the villages gradually expanding into towns as their populations increase.
About eleven miles up the river Exe, before it has broadened out into the estuary, but where it flows through a well-marked valley and washes the bases of the cliffs, stands Exeter, a city set upon a hill. Here was an ancient "dun," or British hill-fort, succeeded by a Roman, and then by a Norman, castle, with the town descending upon the slope towards the river and spreading into the suburb of St. Thomas on the other side. The growing city now covers several neighboring hills and tributary valleys, one of the flourishing new suburbs being named Pennsylvania. Upon the ridge, where was located the old hill-fort, there still remain in a grove of trees some scanty ruins of the Norman castle, while well up the slope of the hill rise the bold and massive towers of Exeter Cathedral. Unique among English municipalities, this is essentially a hill-city, the ancient British name of Caerwise having been Latinized by the Romans into Isca, and then changed to Exanceaster, which was afterwards shortened into the modern Exeter. Nobody knows when it was founded: the Romans almost at the beginning of the Christian era found a flourishing British city alongside the Exe, and it is claimed to have been "a walled city before the incarnation of Christ." Isca makes its appearance in the Roman records without giving the date of its capture, while it is also uncertain when the Saxons superseded the Romans and developed its name into Exanceaster. They enclosed its hill of Rougemont, however, with a wall of masonry, and encircled the city with ramparts built of square stones and strengthened by towers. Here the Saxon king AEthelstan held a meeting of the Witan of the whole realm and proclaimed his laws, and in the first year of the eleventh century the Danes sailed up to the town and attacked it, being, however, beaten off after a desperate struggle. Two years later they made another attack, captured and despoiled it; but it rose from its ruins, and the townsmen afterwards defied the Norman as they had the Dane. William attacked and breached the walls, the city surrendered, and then he built Rougemont Castle, whose venerable ruins remain, to curb the stout-hearted city. It was repeatedly besieged—in the days of Stephen, Henry VII., and Henry VIII., the last siege during the quarrels preceding the Reformation lasting thirty four days, the defenders being reduced to eating horse-flesh. In the Civil War the Royalists captured it from the Parliamentarians, who held it, and it remained in the king's possession until after the defeat at Naseby, when Cromwell recaptured it. Charles II. was proclaimed at Exeter with special rejoicings. When William, Prince of Orange, first landed in England, he came to the valley of the Teign, near Newton Abbot, where the block of granite is still preserved from which his proclamation was read to the people. Three days later he entered Exeter, escorted by a great crowd of the townspeople. He went in military state to the cathedral and mounted the bishop's throne, with its lofty spire-like canopy, rich with the carving of the fifteenth century, while the choir sang the Te Deum, after which Bishop Burnet read his proclamation. He remained several days in Exeter, while events ripened elsewhere for his reception. Here many Englishmen of rank and influence joined him, and his quarters began to display the appearance of a court. The daily show of rich liveries and of coaches drawn by six horses among the old houses in the cathedral close, with their protruding bow-windows and balconies, gave the usually quiet place a palatial appearance, the king's audience-chamber being in the deanery. He remained here two weeks, and then left for London, the entire kingdom having risen in his favor and James having deserted the capital for Salisbury. This ended Exeter's stirring history. It afterwards grew in fame as a manufactory of woollens, but this has declined, and the chief industries now consist in the making of gloves and agricultural implements.
Exeter Cathedral is the most conspicuous feature in the view upon approaching the city, rising well above the surrounding houses, its two massive gray towers giving it something of the appearance of a fortress. This feature makes it unique among English cathedrals, especially as the towers form its transepts. The close is contracted, and around it are business edifices instead of ecclesiastical buildings. The exterior is plain and simple in outline, excepting the western front, which is a very rich example of fourteenth-century Gothic. A church is said to have been standing on its site and dedicated to the Benedictines as early as the seventh century, and it lasted until after the Norman Conquest. The Normans built a new church in the twelfth century, which contained the present towers, but the remainder of the structure was afterwards transformed as we now see it. The rich western facade consists of three stages, receding one behind the other; the lower is the porch, subdivided into three enriched arcades containing figures and pierced by three doorways. The second stage is formed above this by the ends of the nave and side-aisles, being terminated with a battlement flanked by small pinnacles about halfway up the nave gable. A fine window pierces this stage, and above it the remainder of the gable forms the third stage, also pierced by a window which opens over the battlement. The figures in the lower stage represent the kings of England, apostles, and saints. The interior of the nave discloses stone vaulting and Decorated architecture, with large clerestory windows, but a small triforium. The bosses of the roof, which presents an unbroken line, are seventy feet above the floor. One of the bays on the north side of the triforium is a beautiful minstrels' gallery, communicating with a chamber above the porch. The inner walls of the towers have been cut away, completely adapting them for transepts, the towers being supported on great pointed arches. In the large east window the stained glass commemorates St. Sidwell, a lady murdered in the eighth century at a well near Exeter by a blow from a scythe at the instigation of her stepmother, who coveted her property. The cathedral is rich in monumental relics, and it has recently been thoroughly restored. Little remains of the ancient convent-buildings beyond the chapter-house, which adjoins the south transept.
The older parts of Exeter present a quaint and picturesque appearance, especially along the High Street, where is located the old Guild Hall, a ponderous stone building, with a curious front projecting over the footway and supported by columns; it was built in the sixteenth century. Sir Thomas Bodley, who founded the Bodleian Library of Oxford, was born in Exeter, and also Richard Hooker the theologian. Among its famous bishops was Trelawney (then the Bishop of Bristol), who was one of the seven bishops committed by King James to the Tower, and whose memory still lives in the West-Country refrain, the singing of which had so much to do with raising the English revolt in favor of the Prince of Orange:
"And shall Trelawney die? And shall Trelawney die? There's twenty thousand Cornish lads Will know the reason why."
TEIGNMOUTH AND TORBAY.
From the estuary of the Exe the Devonshire coast trends almost southward towards the mouth of the Dart, being everywhere bordered by picturesque cliffs. Nestling in a gap among the crags, under the protecting shelter of the headlands, is the little watering-place of Dawlish, fronted by villas and flower-gardens, and having to the southward strange pinnacles of red rock rising from the edge of the sea, two of them forming a fanciful resemblance to the human figure, being named the Parson and the Clerk. A storm recently knocked off a considerable part of the Parson's head. Upon their sides, piercing through tunnel after tunnel, runs the railway almost over the water's edge. Soon the cliffs are breached with a wider opening, and here flows out the river Teign, where is the larger watering-place of Teignmouth, which has frequently suffered from Danish and French invasions, but is now best known by having the longest wooden bridge in England spanning the river-estuary and extending seventeen hundred feet, with a swing-draw to permit vessels to pass. The valley is broad, with picturesque villas on either bank. Below Teignmouth the shores project into the sea at the bold promontory of Hope's Nose, which has Torbay on one side and Babbicombe Bay on the other. Here, around the shores of the bay on the southern side of the projecting cape, is the renowned watering-place of Torquay, which has grown enormously since it has become such a fashionable resort in recent years. Its beautiful scenery and sheltered position have made it a favorite home for invalids. Its name is derived from the neighboring hill of Mohun's Tor, where there are ruins of an abbey. To the north of the headland is the fine sweep of Babbicombe Bay, with a border of smooth sand beach backed by steep cliffs, above which is the plateau where most of its villas are built. To the south of the headland Torquay spreads around a fine park, with highlands protecting it on almost all sides, while farther to the southward the limestone cliffs are bold and lofty, one of them presenting the singular feature of a natural arch called London Bridge, where the sea has pierced the extremity of a headland. Upon the eastern face of the promontory of Hope's Nose, and just below Babbicombe Bay, another pretty cove has been hollowed out by the action of the waves, its sides being densely clothed with foliage, while a pebbly beach fringes the shore. This is Anstis Cove, its northern border guarded by limestone cliffs that have been broken at their outer verge into pointed reefs. Compton Castle, about two miles from Torbay, is a specimen, though in ruins, of the ancient fortified mansion of the reign of Edward III. It is of massive construction, built of the native limestone, and part of it is now used as a farm-house. Following around the deeply-recessed curve of Torbay, its southern boundary is found to be the bold promontory of Berry Head, and here on the northern side is the old fishing-port of Brixham, having Church Brixham built up on the cliffs and Brixham Quay down on the beach. It was here that the Prince of Orange landed in 1688, and a monument in the market-place commemorates the event, the identical block of stone on which he first stepped being preserved.
Southward of this promontory is the estuary of the Dart, a river which, like nearly all the streams of Devonshire, rises in that great "mother of rivers," Dartmoor, whence come the Tawe and the Teign, of which we have already spoken, and also the Torridge, the Yealm, the Erme, the Plym, and the Avon (still another of them). This celebrated moor covers an area of about one hundred and thirty thousand acres, stretching thirty-three miles in length and twenty-two miles in breadth, and its elevation averages seventeen hundred feet, though some of its tors, the enormous rocks of granite crowning its hills, rise considerably higher, the loftiest of these, the Yes Tor, near Okehampton, being two thousand and fifty feet high. The moor is composed of vast stretches of bog and stunted heather, with plenty of places where peat is cut, and having its streams filled with trout. Legend tells us that all manner of hill-and water-spirits frequent this desolate yet attractive region, and that in Cranmore Pool and its surrounding bogs, whence the Dart takes its rise, there dwelt the "pixies" and the "kelpies." The head-fountains of both the Dart and the Plym are surrounded with romance, as the cities at their mouths are famous in English history, and Spenser, in the Faerie Queene, announces that both Dart and Plym were present at the great feast of the rivers which celebrated the wedding of the Thames and Medway. The courses of the Dartmoor rivers are short, but with rapid changes. In the moorland they run through moss and over granite; then among woods and cultivated fields, till, with constantly broadening stream, the river joins the estuary or tidal inlet, and thus finds its vent in the ocean. Strangely enough, with these short streams there are high points on the Dartmoor tors from which both source and mouth of a river are visible at the same time. The Dart, with steadily-increasing flow, thus runs out of the moorland, and not far from its edge passes the antique town of Totnes, where the remains of an ivy-mantled wall upon the hill is all that is left of Judhael's famous castle, which dates from the Norman Conquest. The surrounding country is remarkably picturesque, and is noted for its agricultural wealth. About two miles to the eastward is the romantic ruin of Berry Pomeroy Castle, founded upon a rock which rises almost perpendicularly from a narrow valley, through which a winding brook bubbles. It is overhung with foliage and shrubbery and mantled with moss and ivy, so that it is most attractive. The great gate, the southern walls, part of a quadrangle, and a few turrets are all that remain of the castle, which suffered severely in the Civil War. Tradition states that the adjacent village was destroyed by lightning. This castle also dates from the Norman Conquest, and passed from its original possessors, the Pomeroys, to Protector Somerset, the Duke of Somerset being the present owner.
The Dart, which is a rocky stream above Totnes and a favorite resort of the fisherman and sketcher, becomes navigable below the town, and has a soft, peculiar beauty of its own that has made it often compared to the Rhine; but there is little comparison between them: the Dart has no precipitous cliffs or vine-clad hills, and no castle excepting at its mouth. From Totnes to Dartmouth is about twelve miles, through exquisitely beautiful scenery, especially where the river passes the woods of Sharpham, the current narrowing to about one hundred and fifty feet, and flowing through an amphitheatre of overarching trees rising in masses of foliage to the height of several hundred feet. The stream makes various sharp bends—a paradise for the artist—and finally it broadens out into an estuary like an inland lake, with a view over the intervening neck of land to Torbay, and beyond the coast-line at Exmouth and towards Portland. Thus we come to Dartmouth, the old houses built tier above tier on a steep hill running up from the harbor, while at the extreme point of the promontory, guarding the entrance to the estuary, is the little church of St. Petrox, with its armorial gallery and ruins of an ancient manor house, and the castle, consisting of a square and a round tower, coming down from Henry VII.'s reign, when it was built for coast-defence. On the opposite point of the harbor-entrance are the foundations of another castle, evidently built about the same time. Dartmouth in early times was a port of great importance, and Edward III. first gave it a charter under the name of Clifton-Dartmouth-Hardness. Its merchants were then numerous and wealthy, and Coeur de Leon's crusaders assembled their fleet in the harbor in 1190. The French destroyed both it and Plymouth in 1377, and in 1403 the two towns, combining, ravaged the French coasts and burned forty ships. The French retaliated the next year, but Dartmouth was too much for them, killing Du Chastel, the commander, and defeating his expedition. It suffered severely in the Civil War, and there are still traces of the land-fastenings of the iron chain stretched across the harbor to keep out the French.
Westward of the valley of the Dart is the valley of the Plym, also flowing out of Dartmoor. Two streams known as the Cad and the Mew join to form this river, and though they are of about equal importance, the source of the Cad is generally regarded as the true Plym head, while a crossing upon it is known as the Plym Steps. Both are rocky, dashing mountain-streams, and such are also the characteristics of the Plym after the junction until it enters its estuary. The Plym Head is within the royal forest of Dartmoor, about twelve hundred feet above the sea, and in the wild and lonely moorland. The stream flows by the flat summit of Sheeps Tor, one of the chief peaks on the southern border of the moor. Here in a hollow formed by overhanging rocks one of the Royalist Elfords, whose house was under the tor, sought refuge, and amused his solitude by painting the walls of the cavern, which is known as the "Pixies' House," and is regarded by the neighbors as a dangerous place for children, to whom these little fairies sometimes take a fancy. It is not safe, they say, to go near it without dropping a pin as an offering between the chinks of the rock—not a very costly way of buying immunity. In Sheeps Tor churchyard in the valley below lies Sir James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, who died near there in 1868. As the streams course down the hillside they disclose frequent traces of the rude stone relics left there by an ancient people, the chief being the settlement at Trowlesworthy, where there is a circular hut enclosure about four hundred feet in diameter, with stone avenues leading to it and the entrances defended by portions of walls. The stones are nowhere large, however, rarely exceeding five feet high. Then we come to Shaugh, where the rivers struggle through rocky ravines and finally join their waters. The little Shaugh church crowns the granite rocks on one side, while on the other is the towering crag of the Dewerstone. This ivy-clad rock, which lifts its furrowed and wrinkled battlements far above the Plym, was the "Rock of Tiw," that powerful god of the Saxons from whom comes the name of Tuesday. Once, we are told, in the deep snow traces of a human foot and a cloven hoof were found ascending to the highest point of the rock, which His Satanic Majesty seems to have claimed for his own domain. From this lofty outpost of the moor, if he stayed there, our all-time enemy certainly had a wide lookout. On the one hand is a grand solitude, and on the other a hilly country stretches to the seaboard, with the river-valley winding through woods and fields, and Plymouth Sound and its breakwater in the distance. Here, below the junction of the two streams, are the scant remains of the old house of Grenofen, whose inmates lived in great state, and were the Slannings who so ardently supported King Charles. A mossy barn with massive gables is the prominent feature of the ruins. The river runs down through the very beautiful vale of Bickleigh, and then under Plym Bridge, where it becomes broader and more tranquil as it approaches the head of the estuary. This region belonged to the priory of Plympton, and its Augustinian owners raised at the end of the bridge a small chapel where the traveller might pause for prayer before venturing into the solitudes beyond. The remains of this structure, however, are now slight. At Plympton St. Mary was the priory, and at Plympton Earl the castle of the Earls of Devon, a brook flowing between them to the river. Both stand near the head of the estuary, and are in ruins. The priory was the wealthiest monastic house in Devon, but the castle was only important as the head-quarters of Plymouth's Royalist besiegers in the Civil War. The priory was the nurse of the noted port of Plymouth, and its earlier beginnings can be traced to the fostering care of the Augustinians, who developed the fishing-town that subsequently became the powerful seaport. Plympton, the old rhyme tells us, was "a borough-town" when Plymouth was little else than a "a furzy down." The priory was founded in the twelfth century, and was long patronized by the neighboring Earls of Devon. The Augustinians, legend says, were the first to cultivate the apple in Devonshire, and the ruins still disclose the moss-grown "apple-garth." Little remains of the monastery beyond the old refectory doorway and walls. The town of Plympton Maurice is in the valley near by, famous as the birthplace of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1723, but the house has been swept away, though the grammar-school in which his father taught remains. Reynolds is said to have made good use of the recollections of the grand scenery around his birthplace in furnishing landscape backgrounds for his pictures. The town afterwards elected him mayor, though he rarely visited his birthplace, but in lieu sent the corporation his portrait painted by himself. Here begins the broad estuary known as the Laira, at the mouth of which stands Plymouth, the town covering the land between the Laira and the Hamoaze, the estuary of the Tamar, with its adjoining suburbs of Stonehouse and Devonport. Here are now a population of two hundred thousand, while the station is of vast importance as a government dockyard and barracks, with a chain of strong protecting fortifications for defence from attacks both by sea and land. Along the southern bank of the estuary extend the woods of Saltram, the seat of the Earl of Morley. Then we come to Catwater Haven, crowded with merchant-ships, and the older harbor of Sutton Pool. Mount Batten on one side and Citadel Point on the other guard the entrance to the haven. It was here that the English fleet awaited the Armada in 1588; that Essex gathered his expedition to conquer Cadiz in 1596; and from here sailed the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. Plymouth harbor's maritime and naval history is, however, interwoven with that of England.
The port of Plymouth comprises what are called the "Three Towns"—Plymouth proper, covering about a square mile, Stonehouse, and Devonport, where the great naval dockyard is located. Plymouth Sound is an estuary of the English Channel, and receives the Plym at its north-eastern border and the Tamar at its north-western, the sound being about three miles square and protected by the great breakwater a mile long, with a lighthouse, and defended by forts. The Plym broadens into the Catwater, used as a haven for merchant-vessels and transports and capable of furnishing anchorage to a thousand ships at one time. The Tamar broadens into the Hamoaze, which is the naval harbor, and is four miles long, with sufficient anchorage-ground for the entire British navy. Sutton Pool is a tidal harbor now used by merchant-vessels. The coasts of Plymouth Sound are rocky and abrupt, and strong fortresses frown at every entrance. It is the naval dockyard that gives Plymouth its chief importance: this is at Devonport, which is strongly fortified by breastworks, ditches, embankments, and heavy batteries. The great dockyard encloses an area of ninety-six acres and has thirty-five hundred feet of water-frontage. There are here five docks and also building-slips, where the great British war-ships are constructed. Another enclosure of seventy-two acres at Point Keyham is used for repairing ships, and a canal seventy feet wide runs through the yards to facilitate the movement of materials. Immense roofs cover the docks. East of Devonport, divided from it by a creek, and adjoining Plymouth, is Stonehouse. Here are the great victualling yard, marine barracks, and naval hospital. The Royal William Victualling Yard occupies fourteen acres on a tongue of land at the mouth of the Tamar, and cost $7,500,000 to build. Here the stores are kept and naval supplies furnished, its great features being the vast government bakehouse, the cooperage, and the storehouses. Its front is protected by a redoubt, and to the eastward are the tasteful grounds of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe's winter villa. The marine barracks, which have the finest mess-room in England, will accommodate fifteen hundred men; the naval hospital, northward of Stonehouse, will furnish beds for twelve hundred. There are three thousand men employed about these great docks and stores, and they form the most extensive naval establishment in the world. Near Mount Wise are the Raglan Barracks, where there is a display of cannon taken from the Turks.
In Plymouth Sound is a bold pyramidal rock, the Isle of St. Nicholas, which is a formidable fortress. Mount Edgcumbe is on the western shore, and on the eastern side is Plymouth's pretty park, known as the Hoe, where the old Eddystone Lighthouse will be set up. Having come down the Plym, we will now ascend the Tamar, past the huge docks and stores, and about five miles above see the great Albert Bridge, which carries a railway, at a height of one hundred feet, from the hills of Devon over to those of Cornwall on the western shore. It is built on nineteen arches, two broad ones of four hundred and fifty-five feet span each bridging the river, the entire structure being two thousand two hundred and forty feet long. Out in the English Channel, fourteen miles from Plymouth, is its famous beacon—the Eddystone Lighthouse. Here Winstanley perished in the earlier lighthouse that was swept away by the terrible storm of 1703, and here Smeaton built his great lighthouse in 1759, one hundred feet high, which has recently been superseded by the new lighthouse. The Eddystone Rocks consist of twenty-two gneiss reefs extending about six hundred and fifty feet, in front of the entrance to Plymouth Sound. Smeaton's lighthouse, modelled after the trunk of a sturdy oak in Windsor Park, became the model for all subsequent lighthouses. It is as firm to-day as when originally built, but the reef on which it rests has been undermined and shattered by the joint action of the waves and the leverage of the tall stone column, against which the seas strike with prodigious force, causing it to vibrate like the trunk of a tree in a storm. The foundation-stone of the new lighthouse was laid on a reef one hundred and twenty-seven feet south of the old one in 1878. It is built of granite and rises one hundred and thirty-eight feet above the rock, its light being visible seventeen miles: it was first lighted May 18, 1882.
A short distance up the Tamar it receives its little tributary the Tavy, running through a deep ravine, and on its banks are the ruins of Tavistock Abbey, founded in the tenth century and dedicated to St. Mary. Orgarius, the Earl of Devonshire, was admonished in a dream to build it, but his son Ordulph finished it. He was of great strength and gigantic stature, could break down gates and stride across a stream ten feet wide. They still preserve, we are told, some of Ordulph's huge bones in Tavistock Church. The Danes plundered and burned the abbey, but it was rebuilt in greater splendor, and its abbot sat in the House of Peers. When it was disestablished, like Woburn it fell to Lord Russell, and it is now owned by the Duke of Bedford. The remains of the grand establishment, however, are but scanty, and its best memory is that of the printing-press set up by the monks, which was the second press established in England. The Duke of Bedford's attractive villa of Endsleigh is near Tavistock, and a short distance south of the town is Buckland Abbey, built on the river-bank by the Countess of Devon in the thirteenth century. This was the home of Sir Francis Drake, and is still held by his descendants. Drake was born in a modest cottage on the banks of the Tavy about the year 1539. North of Tavistock, on the little river Lyd, are the ruins of Lydford Castle, surrounded by a village of rude cottages. Here originated the "law of Lydford," a proverb expressive of hasty judgment:
"First hang and draw, Then hear the cause by Lydford law."
One chronicler accounts for this proverb by the wretched state of the castle jail, in which imprisonment was worse than death. At Lydford is a remarkable chasm where a rude arch is thrown across an abyss, at the bottom of which, eighty feet below, the Lyd rattles along in its contracted bed. This is a favorite place for suicides, and the tale is still told of a benighted horseman, caught in a heavy storm, who spurred his horse along the road at headlong speed to seek shelter in the village. Next day it was found that the storm had swept the bridge away, and the rider shuddered to think how his horse on that headlong ride through the tempest had leaped over the abyss without his knowing it.
THE NORTHERN COAST OF DEVON.
Exmoor is a broad strip of almost mountainous moorland extending through the northern borders of Somerset and Devon and down to the coast of Bristol Channel. Its hills descend precipitously to the sea, so that only small brooks flow northward from them, excepting the Lyn, which manages to attain the dignity of a river by flowing for some distance among the hills parallel to the coast. It was but recently that good roads were constructed across this lonely moor, and on its northern edge, where the craggy headland of Greenaleigh is thrust out into the sea, is the harbor of Minehead, with a little fishing-village skirting its shores. A short distance inland, and seated at the bases of the steep Brendon Hills, which rise in sharp wooded slopes above its houses, is the little market-town of Dunster. On an outlying hill, projecting from the mass, the original lord of Dunster built his castle, perching it upon a rocky crag that Nature herself designed for a fortress. The Saxons called it their "Hill-tower." Its picturesque mass of buildings is of various dates, but much more modern than their early day, most of the present structure having been built in Queen Elizabeth's reign. The castle was held for King Charles in the Civil War, and besieged by the Parliamentary troops, whose commander sent this bloodthirsty message to its governor: "If you will deliver up the castle, you shall have fair quarter: if not, expect no mercy: your mother shall be in front to receive the first fury of your cannon." The governor promptly and bravely replied, "If you do what you threaten, you do the most barbarous and villainous act that was ever done. My mother I honor, but the cause I fight for and the masters I serve are God and the king.—Mother, do you forgive me, and give me your blessing, and let the rebels answer for spilling that blood of yours, which I would save with the loss of mine own if I had enough for both my master and yourself." The mother also without hesitation answered him: "Son, I forgive thee, and pray God to bless thee, for this brave resolution. If I live I shall love thee the better for it: God's will be done!" Whether the atrocious threat would have been put into execution was never decided, for a strong Royalist force soon appeared, routing the besiegers, capturing a thousand of them, and releasing the lady. But the castle was soon afterwards taken for the Parliament by Colonel Blake, subsequently the admiral. It was then demolished, and now the summit of the flat-topped hill, where formerly was the keep, is devoted to the peaceful amusement of a bowling-green, from which there are exquisite views of the Brendon Hills and far away over the Bristol Channel to the distant coast of Wales. It was at Dunster Castle that William Prynne was shut up a prisoner by Cromwell. Prynne had been pilloried, shorn of his ears, and imprisoned by King Charles I. for his denunciations of the court, and then indulging in the same criticism of the Protector, he was confined at Dunster. It is now the head-quarters for those who love the exciting pleasures of stag-hunting on Exmoor.
Journeying westward over the hills from Minehead, which is just now endeavoring, though with only partial success, to convert itself into a fashionable watering-place, Dunkery Beacon is seen raising its head inland—a brown, heathy moorland elevated seventeen hundred feet above the sea. There is a grand panorama disclosed from its summit, though it is a toilsome ascent to get up there and overlook the fifteen counties it can display. Far below is the level shore of Porlock Bay, with the little village set in at the base of the cliffs. Here Southey was sheltered at its inn, and wrote a sonnet while he was "by the unwelcome summer rain detained;" and here the village has slept ever since the Danes harried and Harold burned it. Then the road climbs laboriously up the hill again to Porlock Moor, and as the top is reached, far away is seen a little grassy basin running like a streak off towards the north-west, and enclosed by steep hills, in which it is ultimately lost. This is the valley of the Lyn, and joining it is another little glen, with a hamlet of white cottages at the junction: this is the Oare valley, the centre of some of the most stirring traditions of Exmoor, embodied in Blackmore's novel of Lorna Doone. Two centuries ago a lawless clan established themselves in this lonely glen, from which issues the Bagworthy Water not far away from the little village of Oare. Here was Jan Ridd's farm, and near it the cataract of the Bagworthy Water-slide, while above this cataract, in the recesses of Doone Glen, was the robbers' home, whence they issued to plunder the neighboring country. The novel tells how Jan Ridd, who was of herculean strength, was standing with his bride Lorna at the altar of the little church in Oare when a bullet wounded her. Out rushed Jan from the presence of his wife, dead as he thought, to pursue the murderer. He was unarmed, and rode after him over the moorland, tearing from an oak a mighty bough as he passed under it. To this day the rent in "Jan Ridd's tree" is shown. Then came the struggle, and an Exmoor bog swallowed up the murderer, who was the last of the robber chieftains; and afterwards the bride recovered and the happy pair were united. Exmoor is the only place remaining in the kingdom where the wild stag is still hunted with hounds, the season being in the early autumn, when all the inns are crowded, and on the day of a "meet" all the country seems alive.
LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH.
From Oare the valley of the Lyn can be followed down to the sea, flowing through its wooded gorge and disclosing many pretty views. It runs rapidly over the rocks, and, when at last seeking the sea, the little stream manages to escape out of the hills that have so long encompassed it, we again find coupled together an upper and a lower town—Lynton, perched hundreds of feet above on the crags, and Lynmouth, down by the water's edge, both in grandly picturesque locations. Crowded between the bases of the crags and the pebbly beach is the irregular line of old cottages beside the bubbling stream, with creeping vines climbing over their walls and thatched roofs, while beyond is thrust out the ancient pier that made the port of Lynmouth. Up on the crags, with houses nestling here in nooks and perched there upon cliffs, Lynton mounts by zigzag paths, until, on a rocky terrace above, it gets room to spread into a straggling street. The two streams called the East and West Lyn unite here before seeking the sea, and join their currents at the edge of the town. Here they leap over the boulders:
"Cool and clear, cool and clear, By shining shingle and foaming weir, Under the crag where the ouzel sings, And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings."
Southey rapturously described the East Lyn Vale as the "finest spot, except Cintra and Arrabida, that I ever saw." It is like a miniature glen in the Alps or the Pyrenees, and every turn in the road up to the Waters-meet, where the Brendon joins the Lyn, discloses new beauties. It is an exquisite combination of wood, rock, and stream that baffles all description. Gentle flowers grow here to luxuriant perfection, protected from all chilling blasts and with ample moisture to assist the sunshine in their cultivation. But barely a mile east of Lynton on the coast there is told a different story: there is a valley of rocks, where between two ridges of hills the vale is covered with stones and almost completely laid bare, a terrific mass of boulders, the very skeleton of the earth. Overhanging the sea is the gigantic "Castle Rock," while facing it from the inland side, at an elbow of the valley, is a queer pile of crags known as the "Devil's Cheese-Ring." From the castle is a view over the sea and of the romantic towns, with the little river flowing alongside and the tower on Lynmouth beach, while far westward the moorland spreads away towards those other romantic spots, Ilfracombe and Clovelly.
COMBE MARTIN AND ILFRACOMBE.
Let us skirt along the precipitous Devonshire coast westward from the Lyn, where the cliffs rise high and abruptly from the water, with foliage on the hills above them and sheep browsing like little white specks beyond. Thus Exmoor is prolonged westward in a broad and lofty ridge of undulating hills, through which a stream occasionally carves its devious course in a deep and sheltered valley that comes out to the sea between bold, rocky headlands. Far out over the sea loom up the coasts of Wales in purple clouds. Soon in a breach in the wall of crags we find Combe Martin, its houses dotted among the gardens and orchards clustering thickly around the red stone church. Here were silver-mines long ago, and here lived Martin of Tours, to whom William the Conqueror granted the manor which to this day bears his name. The neighboring hills grow the best hemp in Devon, and the crags guarding the harbor are known as the Great and Little Hangman, the former, which is the higher, standing behind the other. The local tradition says that once a fellow who had stolen a sheep was carrying the carcase home on his back, having tied the hind legs together around his neck. He paused for breath at the top of the hill, and, resting against a projecting slab, poised the carcase on the top, when it suddenly slipped over and garroted him. He was afterwards found dead, and thus named the hills. Near here was born, in 1522, Bishop Jewel of Salisbury, of whom it is recorded by that faithful biographer Fuller that he "wrote learnedly, preached painfully, lived piously, died peacefully." To the westward are Watersmouth, with its natural arch in the slaty rocks bordering the sea, and Hillsborough rising boldly to guard a tiny cove. Upon this precipitous headland is an ancient camp, and it overlooks Ilfracombe, the chief watering-place of the northern Devonshire coast. Here a smart new town has rapidly developed, with paths cut upon the cliffs and encroachments made along the shore. High upon a pyramidal headland stands the ancient chapel where in the olden time the forefathers of the village prayed to St. Nicholas for deliverance from shipwreck. Now a lighthouse is relied on for this service. The promontory is connected with a still bolder and loftier headland, the Capstone Rock. The town is built on the slope of the hills overlooking these huge round-topped crags, but its streets do not run down to sand-beaches. There is little but rocks on the shore and reefs in the water, worn into ridges of picturesque outline, over which the surf breaks grandly in time of storm. We are told that in a cave near by, Sir William Tracy, one of the murderers of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury, concealed himself while waiting to escape from England. He and his accomplices were ordered to purge themselves by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but Tracy was not able to accomplish it. The winds of heaven always drove him back whenever he tried to embark, for he had struck the first blow at Becket. He was buried in Morthoe Church beyond Ilfracombe.