Изображения страниц

appointed, 15th June, 1215, at Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines ; a place which has ever since been extremely celebrated on account of this great event. The two parties encamped apart, like open enemies, and, after a debate for a few days (19th June) the King, with a facility somewhat suspicious, signed and sealed the charter which was required of hiin. This famous deed, commonly called che GREAT CHARTER, either granted or secured very important liberties and privileges to every order of men in the kingdom.” Mr. Hume then enters into curious particulars respecting the contents of this chartermas it regarded the clergy, the barons, and the people. It is an interesting detail, in which the happiness and welfare of every British subject are involved.

At the British Museum I lately was thewn what is said to be the very copy of the charter figned on this memorable occasion. It bore all the marks of antiquity, and being much injured by the ravages of time, a facfimile laid close to it by way of interpretation.

Near Staines ftands Egham, famous for its races, at the distance of four miles from Windfor. It abounds with inns, being a thoroughfare into the West, and has an handsome charity school. Here are also alms-houses, one of which was built, and is endowed by fir John Denham, a Baron of the Exchequer in the reign of Charles the Second, for five poor old women, who have each a little orchard to themselves. This Sir John, was the father of Denham the poet, who took particular delight in this spot. He immortalized himself by a poem, entitled Copper's Hill

, in which the River Thames is thus expreflively characterized :

"O! could I fow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme !
Though deep, yet clealmthough gentle, yet nor dull,
Suung without rage--without o'er-flowing full,"




From Egham we came to Bagskot, passing over a long and dreary heath, remarkable only for the roads by which it is everywhere intersected, and which were made for the convenience of his Majesty, when he indulges himself in the pleasures of the chace. At first fight they make a fingular appearance, but are, certainly, well calculated to answer the ends for which they are intended. These parts lying in the vicinity of Windsor, accounts for the purposes to which they are frequently appropiated. Bag hot affords good accommodation to travellers. The sterile tract of country with which it is surrounded, seems scarcely capable of much improvement. Having drank tea

next stage, Murrel's Green, only a single inn, with a pleasant garden, we got to Basingstoke before tēn, where we slept that night. The town was in a bustle with soldiers, who were directing their course to Southampton, with the intent of joining the Secret Expedition. This is a large populous place, with three charity schools, in one of which twelve boys are maintained by the Skinner's Company, in London. It has a great market for corn, especially barley, and a considerable trade in malt. The chief manufacture is in druggets and thalloons. A fine brook runs by the town, which abounds with trout; for which, indeed, the Hampshire streams have been long famous. Into these delightful waters, whose transparency and rapidity please the eve even of the palfing traveller, I longed to throw my angle

« I in these fowery meads would be,
These chrystal streams should folace me,
To whose harmonious bubbling noise,

I with my angle would rejoice.” In the neighbourhood of Basingstoke, there was, for, merly, a feat of John Marquis of Winchester, which in the

great civil wars was turned into a fortress for the King, and held out a long time, to the great annoyance


of the Parliament army; at length Cromwell took is by storm, and provoked by the obstinacy of its defence, put many of the garrison to the sword, and burnt the house to the ground. It was, we are toll, a manfion fitter for a prince than a subject; and, among other furniture destroyed with it, there was one bed worth 1,400l. yet so considerable was the plunder, that a prirate soldier got for his share no less a fum than 3001. The fury of civil wars is well known, and, therefore, its outrages excite little astonilhment.

The next morning we were seated in our chaise before five, and foon got to Andover, a large pleasane town, on the edge of the downs, for which Wiltshire stands distinguished. It is said to have its first charter from king John, and was last incorporated by queen Elizabeth. I could not help remarking, that at the inn in this place, an engraving of Duns Scotus was placed over the bar, where the liquors were mixed for their customers. Whether the effigy of this profound and subtle doctor, was thought necessary for the due mixture of the ingredients, or whether this grave metaphyfician ever indulged in such delicious draughts, I am not able to say. The walls of colleges are, sometimes, decorated with his portrait ; but I should never have expected to have caught liis features in the bar of a ta. vern *.

* This curious character, Duns Scotus, was of the order of St. Francis; by the acuter ess of his parts, and especially by his manner of disputing, he acquired the name of the Subtil Doctor. He was very zealous in opposing the opinions of Thomas Aquinas, which produced two parties in the schools, the Thomists and the Scotiits. He was a writer of prodigious subtility, and, like all subtle writers, refined upon every suhject he handled, till it had no meaning at all left in it. This indefatigable scribbler left behind him ten volumes in folionow mere waste paper. He died 1308, at Cologne, Ger many. Biographical Dictionary.


On the west side of Andover lies Weyhill, remark. able for one of the greatest fairs for hats, cheese, and theep, in England. It is, however, only a village, containing a defolate church, on a riêng bill, and a few ftraggling houses.

From Andover we directed our course to Salisbury, where we arrived to breakfast. This city, and its adjoining plains, will be noticed in a future letter ; fince, upon our return only, they became the subjects of examination. It may be proper, however, just to remark, that the very appearance of this place conveys an idea of respectability, and its lofty spire demands univerfal admiration.

Blandford, in Dorsetshire, was our next place of deftination. It lies upon the Stour, at the distance of 107 miles from London. Twice has it been burnt down by accident; first in the reign of queen Elizabeth, and the second time in the year 1731, when the fire raged to violently, that few of the people faved any of their goods. It most unfortunately happened, at this last conflagration, that the inhabitants were afflicted with that scourge to humanity, the small-pox, fo that many of the sick were carried from amidst the flames into the fields, where they expired. The town, however, was foon re-built in a more beautiful manner. I surveyed this place with particular attention, on account of the handsome epithets with which Mr. Gibbon, the celebrated historian, has honoured it. In his own life, when Captain in the Hampshire militia, he mentions his passing some time at “ the hospitable and picasant Blandford ;” and, afterwards, remarks we again returned to our beloved Blandford."

Our next stage brought us to Dorchester, a place of great antiquity, and particularly famous among the Ro. mans. It consists chiefly of three streets, and the houses, though old and low, yet are regularly built. St. Peter's church is a handsome structure, and there is a traditi. VOL. VIII.



onal barbarous rhime, which imports the founder of this church to have been one Geoffrey Van :

« Geoffrey Van,
With his wife Ann,
And his maid Nan,
Built this church."

The county goal, in this town, is a large building, erected upon the plan of the late Mr. Howard. It is furrcunded by an high wall, and can boast of an healthy situation. At the time I visited it the convicts were few, not more than half a dozen, part of whom I faw white-washing the walls, and the remainder were weeding the yard, all in irons, Here Mr. Wakefield, one of the first classical scholars in the king. I dom, is confined, during the space of two years, for certain passages in his answer to a pamphlet, written by the bishop of Landaff. In the neighbourhood of this town the Romans had an amphitheatre 140 feet wide, and 220 long, now called Maumbury, having a terrace on the top, which is still used as a public walk, and commands a prospect of the town and country around it. The principal business of the place, at present, is breeding of theep, of which it is said no less than 60,000 are fed within fix miles of this town; the ewes gene. rally bring forth two lambs, which is imputed to the wild thyme, and other aromatic herbage, which grows upon the adjacent downs in great plenty.

Leaving Weymouth, about the distance of nine miles on the left hand, we entered the road for Bridport, whither we soon arrived. It is situated at the distance of 138 miles from London, upon a small river, near the coast of the English Channel. The corporation are principally diffenters, who are here both numerous and of great respectability. The entrance to the harbour was, formerly, choaked by sands, which the rides threw up; and though an act of parliament was passed in 1722, for restoring and rebuilding the haven and piers,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »