Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

1698 Tour: Exeter to London

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A quarter of a mile on this side of the town I stood on a high banck from whence the prospect of ye Citty of Exeter was very pleasant, Could see it to great advantage, ye Cathedrall and other Churches Spires wth ye whole town, wch in generall is well built, wth ye good Bridge over ye Ex, wch is a fine river on whose Banckes are severall Rows of trees all below the town. The walks all about it augments the beauty of ye Citty. From whence I went to Topsham 3 miles which is a Little market place and a very good Key; hither they Convey on horses their Serges and soe Load their shipps wch Comes to this place, all for London. Thence I saw Starre Cross where the Great shipps Ride and there they build some shipps. This was up the river, 5 or 6 miles up ye river, but the tide being out Could not goe and it was ten mile by Land and their miles are soe Long here I would not goe it seing almost as well the shipps yt Lay there as if at the place.

Thence I returned to Exeter 3 mile where I had been very Kindly Entertained by Mr Goswill and his wife, wch was one my brothr Sr Edmond Harrison did Employ in Buying Serges. From Exeter I went to Honiton 15 mile, all fine Gravell way, ye best Road I have met with all in the west. Here it is they make the fine bone lace in imitation of the Antwerp and Flanders Lace and jndeed I think its as fine-it only will not wash so fine, wch must be the fault in ye thread. Honiton is a pretty large place, a good market house, near it a good Church wth a round tower and spire wch was very high and a Little peculiar in its forme, somewhat Like a Pigeon house Rooffe. Here is a very Large meeteing of Descenters. Thence I went to Axminster 7 mile more, but not soe good way being much in Lanes stony and Dirty and pretty much up and down hills, Like ye other parts of those Countrys.

Beyond Axminster where I passed over the river Ax on a pretty Large Bridge I Came to Somersetshire againe. This Axminster is a Little market town and the London Road by Chard, but I struck out of that road 2 mile off the town to Liegh wch was 4 mile from Axminster, to a Relations house Mr Hendlys, wch stands on a hill, but its such an Enclosed Country and narrow Lanes you Cannot see a Bow shott before you, and such up and down steep hills. Its an old house, and Large Court wth open gates that enter you into a passage, on the Right hand a good Parlour new wanscoated, next that a Kitchen and pantrys Leads into a Court where all the offices are and stable and Coach houses. On the Left side of ye passage at ye Entrance is a Large old hall wth a Great halfe pace at ye upper End wth 2 Chimneys in the hall. This Leades into a passage on the Left hand and so through to another parlour wth good old fashion Carved wanscoat. The roomes are low, out of ye passage Leads up a paire of staires to 3 or 4 roomes all Low and but one well furnished; then out of same passage below is a doore into the Gardens wch are one Lower than the other with stone stepps, its Capable of being very handsome if made with open Grates to set one out to see ye orchards and woods beyond. They were a turffing ye walks and makeing banks in order to it. Ye house alsoe is Capable of alteration to a good house if the windows were made Lower and ye roomes fitted wth wanscoate and good ffurniture. Just to the front there is design'd a visto to be Cut thro' the wood to the water side wch will be very fine being on a descent. About a mile from hence is one Mr Preadneas house, a fine old house and well furnished but they permit none to see it, soe I saw it not only drove by it to see my Cozens Little Girle at nurse and soe returned home againe a mile, and then from Liegh I went through narrow stony Lanes up hills and down, wch steeps Causes the water on raines to trill down on the Low ground that for a few hours or a day t here will be noe passing in ye bottom, wch happen'd while I was at Liegh; one nights Raine put the Cattle in the meddows swimming and hindred us from going to Church, the water would have Came over the windows of the Coach. These stony Lanes I passed till I Came to the Great road which Comes from Lime, here I Entred into Dorsetshire and soe went through a Little town Called Maiden Newton eight mile more, and soe thence to Dorchester town 6 mile more; all a fine hard Gravel way and much on the downs- this is good Ground and Much for sheep. Thence I went to Blandford 12 Long miles thro' Piddletown Milborn and WhitChurch. There I staid with my relation Cos'n Collier, Husys and Ffussells, thence to Salisbury 18 mile. When I had passed 6 mile I Came through a Gate wch brought me into Wiltshire and soe over ye downs to Salisbury and from thence to Newton-tony 7 miles.

I went from Newton-tony to Sarum and home againe 3 tymes wch made it 42 miles in all, then to Wallop 4 miles and home again 4 miles, and to Grattly twice and back againe 12 mile, and to Cholderton twice 4 miles, to Allington and home 2 mile more, then to London.

From Newtontony to Winchester 15 mile, there I went to see a Relation Mrs Horne thence Alsford 8 mile. The Little raines I had in the morning before I Left Newtontony made the wayes very slippery, and it being mostly on Chaulk way a Little before I Came to Alsford forceing my horse out of the hollow way his feete failed and he Could noe wayes recover himself, and soe I was shott off his neck upon the Bank, but noe harm I bless God and as soone as he Could role himself up stood stock still by me, which I Looked on as a Great mercy-indeed mercy and truth all wayes have attended me. The next day I went to Alton 10 miles thence Ffarnum 9 miles more. This proved a very wet day, after an hours Rideing in the morning it never Ceased more or Less to raine, wch made me put in at Ffarnum and stay all the day after I Came in at noone. But then it began to raine much faster and soe Continued. Thence next day I went over the fforest in sight of Ffairly Castle wch is the Bishop of Winchesters pallace, it Lookes nobly on a hill, thence to Bagshott 9 miles, thence to Winsor over the fforest 7 Long miles, this way most Clay deep way, the worse by reason of ye raines and full of Sloughs. About a mile off Windsor Castle appeares standing on a hill much after the manner of Durham wth ye walls and battlements round, only that is all stone and this is but partly soe and ye rest Brick plaister'd over in imitation of stones wch does not Look so well. It is a pretty great ascent to ye town wch is well built, something suitable to London by reason of its affinity to ye Court, and I saw the Cathedrall or St Georges Church wch is very fine built all stone and Carved on ye outside, severall Cloysters Leads to the Doctors houses- its a Lofty noble building. The quire is properly St Georges Chappel whose Rooff is very high and Carved very Curiously, all free stone, so is the rest of ye Church. There hangs up ye Banners and Ensignes of honour belonging to ye Severall Knights of the honourable order of ye blew garter, their Complement is 26, there was one void at this tyme by the Death of ye Earle of Peterborough. There is a Greate Cerimony in their Inauguration, their seates are of Wanscoate Carved which are all quite round the quire, wth Each Garters and Coate armours and banners on the top, and when they are jnstalled. their Garments are blew velvet, in shape Like the Coapes, Lined wth white Sattin or silk, that and their blew Garter in which hangs a George on horseback besett wth jewels and a Diamond Garter put on their Right Leg, which is performed by 2 of ye former Knights of the order, which is given them by the King that is the Principal of yt order Then they have an oath Given them to maintain the Rights and Cerimonyes of said order and soe are seated in their seates. There are Great fees paid by each new Knight to ye officers to the poore Knights of Windsor, whose seates are just under ye Seates of the Knights of ye Garter, 18 poore Knights of Windsor wch have houses provided for them about the Cloyster and 48? pr annum each besides their perquisits at such tymes. There are alsoe 18 singing men and petty Cannons, those that are preachers has houses and 30lb pr annum each, but the others have but 22lb each a yeare and houses to Live in. These all have their ffees at the jnstalment of Each Knight of the Garter and of this order are severall Princes and Great men both here and in forreign Parts. There is a very Large fine organ at ye Entrance of the Quire, the alter is Crimson velvet striped wth Gold tissue, Large Candlesticks and Basons Gilt. At the jnstallment there is a Great deale of plaite set out wch belongs to the Chappel. Over the alter is a painting of Christ and his twelve apostles at ye passover supper very naturally drawn, and over it a Large window full of fine paintings-the history of the testaments. Ye Quire is paved all with black and white marble under which is a Large vault for ye Royal family. There Lyes King Henry ye 8th and King Charles the first &. There is in the Church a tombe and vault of ye Duke of Norfolks familly wth steele Carvings all about it very Curious, and to add to its variety it may be all taken piece by piece and put up in a box, its a very Large thing and great variety of work-this is on the Right side of the alter.

There is in a Little Chappel by, a very fine monument with two Large Statues in alabastr Painted and gilt all at Length in their garments, and round the tomb stone are the Statues of their Children, 7 daughters, four of them were twinns and soe represented being put together, and 3 sonnes, all alabaster, and there is a role of matt under the head of the Lord and Lady that was so naturall, Looked like real Matt. This was Lord Earle Lincolns tomb. There is another monument of the Earle of Rutlands, the first of the family wch was Earle 100 year since, it was in the yeare ano: Dom: 15 13: there is round that 6 Sonns and six Daughters with Carvings of other Images holding their Coates of armes. There is another monument wch is of ye old Duke off Beaufort who was base son to King Edward the 4th , and therefore there is a barr of reproach aCross the English arms wch he bears. There is another statue of white marble in a Leaneing posture almost Lyeing quite along and they say its very Like his Effigie-this was the Bishop of Chichester. There is another Bishops Effigie in ye wall just to ye waste of alabaster. There is a Chappel in wch are prayers at 8 of ye Clock at night. There is a white marble ffont. The rooff of the quire is very Curious, Carv'd stone and soe thinn to ye Leads one might grasp it between thumb and finger, and yet so well fixt as to be very strong. From thence I proceeded on to ye Castle wch is the finest pallace ye King has Especially now White hall is burnt; but that was old buildings and unless it were the banqueting house and the apartment which our good Queen Mary beautifyed for herself that was never soe well as Winsor. You Enter in through a gate; on the right hand is a tower which is built wth Redouts and walks round it as was Durham Castle. Its 120 stepps up where is the Guard roome hung with armes, thence a Dineing roome, the Duke of Norfolks appartment, a Drawing roome and two bed Chambers, one wth a half bedstead as the new mode, dimity wth fine shades of worstead works well made up- there are good Pictures. The next roome has such a bed but that is fine Indian quilting and Embroidery of silk. The tower on the Leads is as many stepps more, I walked round it and Could see a Great prospect of the whole town and Winsor fforest and the Country round to Kensington, I Could see Lord of Hollands house and Rowes of trees, and to Harrow of the hill, and to Shooters hill beyond London, and the town of Winsor Looked very well. There were severall noblemens houses, Duke St Albans and fine Gardens, Just by it is the Lord Guidolphins house and Gardens; there I Could see the fine walk or rather Road planted with trees of a huge length into ye fforest, wch King Charles made for his going out in Diversion of shooteing' and here I could see ye river Thames wch twists and turns itself round ye meddowes and Grounds. Upon this tower wch is most tymes moist, all in the walls grows ye best maiden haire both white and black, wch is an herb much esteemed for Coughs and to put into Drinks for consumption.

Thence I proceeded on to a Large Court Like the Quaderangle at Christ Church College in Oxford, or Trinity in Cambridge, in the middle of which is a statue of King Charles ye Second on horseback all of brass, and is railed in wth Iron spikes; round this Court are the Buildings wch are ye severall appartments of the Lords of ye bed Chamber, and the Ladies; also one side is the Lodgings belonging to the princess Ann of Denmarke wch are all of stone and well built and beautifyed. In the middle you Enter a Large pair of jron gates finely Carv'd into a paved Large space supported wth several rows of Stone Pillars, and ascending up Large Staires, which Enters you into the Queens Guard Chamber hung full of armoury, wch is so Exactly set, the Pikes set up like Pillars and such distances, ye muskets Laid a long one above the other ye boxes for ye powder, and the Edge of ye Cornish is Pistols set as thick as they can be set, and above it are drums and helmets and back and breast armour. The Chimney piece is of ye same; swords in the middle, there poynts turned outward, with a round of Little Pistolls set Close in quarter Circle; its all exactly uniforme and very handsome. Next into a noble Hall wch has very fine paintings, this is the Standard for Curiosity in all places you see painting, its done by the same hand did the paintings att Winsor. The top is full of all sort of varietys, in the middle is King Charles's Picture, ye sides are all descriptions of Battles, and between Each Picture in the Pillars is ye George and Blew garter and Starre, at ye upper End is the Large Picture of St George Encountering ye dragon and at the Lower End is ye picture of ye King that first Instituted this order of the Blew garter, and in putting it on himself on his son, who was just returned victor from some Considerable Battle. I should have noted in my Remarks of the Cerimonies of that order that when any Dies and a Garter Drops they make a solemn offering up of all their Ensignes of honour to ye Church and then take them down and pay some ffees as well as at their Entrance into it. From this roome I Entred into ye Chappel under the gallery or Closet the King and Queen sets in at prayers, this was supported by four Brass Gyants or Else painted Like Brass. This seate of ye Kings Lookes into ye Chappel, its Crimson velvet, all the jnside and Cannopy wth ye Cloth wch hung over it all alike Richly Embroyder'd with Gold fring. This is the house Chappel and is Exceeding beautifull, ye paintings of the rooffe and the sides which is ye history of Christs miracles his Life and the good he did in healing all distemper, wch are described at Large here and Lookes very Lively. There is alsoe the most Exactest workmanship in ye wood Carving, which is as the painting the pattern and masterpiece of all such work, both in ffigures, fruitages, beasts, birds, fflowers, all sorts, soet. thinn ye wood, and all white natural wood without varnish. This adorns the Pillars and void spaces between the paintings, here is as Great qualiety so much for Quantety. There was a pretty alter at ye upper End and two gallerys for ye musick. .

Thence I went up staires into a Large dineing roome, Damaske Chaires and window Curtaines, wanscoated, and severall fine pictures. The Rooffe of this was well painted also, but they are soe Lofty its enough to Breake ones neck to Looke on them. Thence into a Gallery full of Pictures wth a Large Looking Glass at ye End. Thence into ye Drawing roome where is the Large Branch of silver, and ye sconces round ye roome of silver, silver table, and stands, and Glass frames, and Chaire frames. Next is ye queenes Chamber of state, all Indian Embroidery on white Sattin being presented to her by ye Compy . On it is Great Plumes of white ffeathers, there is very good tapistry hangings full of gold and silver, but they are Large old ffigures. Here's a silver table, and stands, and Glass fframe. There was a raile set a Cross at ye beds ffeete wch reached Each side of ye roome, made of sweate wood frames and open Wires in ye middle, and was to be Doubled together in Leaves as a screen: this was instead of ye raile use to be quite round ye King and queens beds to keep off Companyes Coming near them.

Thence into an anti-roome through a Little Gallery or passage, thence into ye Kings dressing roome almost all Glass; ye Chimney piece is full of Great stone heads in nitches or hollows made for them, of some Emperours. Ye windows of all ye roomes are Large sashes as big as a good Looking-glass and are all diamond Cut round the Edges, the height of ye windows makes them Looke narrow. Thence into the kings Constant bed Chamber, being one of ye halfe bedsteads of Crimson and Green damaske, jnside and outside the same hangings, and Chaires and window Curtaines the same; it was Lofty and full with good ffringe, and there was such another screen or raile at ye ffeete of the bed that tooke ye Length of the roome as in the queens Chamber; here was tables, stands, Glass frames, Gilt gold, fine Carving on the Chimney pieces, both here and in ye queens' appartment. Ye next was ye Chamber of State wch is noble. Indeed, very Lofty and painted on ye roofe as they all are. The bed was green velvet Strip'd down very thick with Gold orrice Lace of my hands breadth, and round the bottom 3 such orrices and Gold ffring all round it and gold tassels; so was the Cornish. The jnside was ye same, at the head piece was Like Curtaines ffringed round wth gold and tyed back wth Gold strings and tassells as it were tyed back and soe hung down in the middle, where was the Crown and sypher Embroyder'd; the hangings ye same and such another screen aCrosse the roome to secure the bed from ye Common. Next this is the drawing roome of state, the Cannopy and throne and ye part behind is all green velvet Richly Embroyder'd with silver and Gold, of high Emboss'd work, and some Curiously wrought Like needlework that you Can scarce see ye Ground or stuff its wrought on, and the Crown of Crimson velvet Embroyder'd just over the Chaire or throne of state; the ffootstoole the same, wch was all set on a half pace or part raised above ye rest as the manner is, with a fine Carpet over it. The Cannopy was so rich and Curled up and in some places soe ffull it Looked very Glorious, and was newly made to give audience to the Ffrench Embassadour to shew ye Grandeur and magnificence of the British Monarch -some of these ffoolerys are requisite sometymes to Create admiration and regard to keep up the state of a kingdom and nation.

Thence I went into the Common audience roome, where was a throne on such a raised space wth a Carpet. This throne and Canopy and ye back with Stooles and Chaires was Crimson and Gold Coullour d ffigured velvet. Out of this I Came into a Large roome for people to wait in, painted with black and white and gold-Description of some ffights and men in armour. Thence into the Kings Guard Chamber wch is deckt as the Queens, the walls being adorned wth ye severall armes put in Exact order, only in ye pillars or spaces here they hang the Bandaleers which holds their powder. In the mantle piece there was noe difference, but in ye middle was the starre and soe set about with ye pistols and swords. Thence I descended Large staires of stone, and soe through a Court back to ye walk of pillars, and soe through the Large jron gate into the Courts one without another all built round.

Winsor town Lookes well, the streetes Large, the Market Cross on stone pillars and a Large hall on the top; from thence the streete runs along to ye Bridge over the Thames and there you Enter Buckinghamshire and a quarter of a mile off, tho' jndeed there is building all along. There is Eaton Colledge a good stone building Carved on ye outside, its round a square. There is at the ffront a Large schoole roome-400 schollars and 8 fellows wch have 400 a piece yearely. Ye master has 1000? , he payes all the ushers, in number seven; there is alsoe an under master for the Little schollars, this was ffounded by King Edward the Confessour and Endowed so richly by him, and on the same ffoundation is the revenues of ye Cathedrall and ye poore knights wch goe in a peculiar black gown like fryers. All their salleryes and ye repaire of the Cathedrall is taken Care of by ye same ffoundation, wth ye Colledge, not but there is a Little Chappel to ye Colledge wth in itself for Every dayes prayers. The Chappel and schoole room takes up two sides of the square, the two others is the Lodging for ye ffellows and for ye schollars; then ye middle there is an arch wch Leads to ye Cloyster and soe into their kitchen and Cellars which are very Convenient and high but pretty old. Just by is the great Hall in wch they eate, the schollars and fellows and masters should eate with them. This is the same ffoundation as Kings Colledge in Cambridge so yt those schollers that are fitt to be removed to ye University at ye Election are sped to Kings Colledge in Cambridge and so are advanced as they Can get friends into ffellowshipps to Either. Ffrom Windsor I went to ye fferry 3 mile and Rode in sight of ye Castle on this side wch is all ye K: and Q: appartments and Lookes very noble, ye walls round wth ye battlements, and Gilt balls and other adornments. Here I fferry over ye Thames and so went a nearer way which is a private road Made for ye kings Coaches and so to Colebrooke 3 mile more. Thence to Houndslow-heath and so to London 12 mile more, then I went to Bednallgreen 4 miles and home againe 4 mile more, and here ends my Long journey this summer in wch I had but 3 dayes of wet except some refreshing showers sometymes, and I thinke yt was not above 4 in all the way and it was in all above 1551 miles and many of them Long miles, in all which way and tyme I desire wth thankfullness to own ye good providence of God protecting me from all hazard or dangerous accident.

Celia Fiennes, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1888)

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