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Wiltshire and Dorset

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An Introduction
What Celia Sees
An Introduction by the Hon. Mrs. Griffiths
Preface: To The Reader
Wiltshire and Dorset
Bath via Warminster
Berkshire and Oxfordshire
Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey
Moving to London
Buckinghamshire, Oxford and Chichester
To Herefordshire
Hampshire and......
Hampton Court
1697 Tour: London to Yorkshire
1697 Tour: York and Scarborough
1697 Tour: Hull to Chatsworth
1697 Tour: The Peak District
1697 Tour: Coventry to London
1697: Through Kent to Canterbury and Dover
1697: Tunbridge Wells and Rye
1698 Tour: London to Bury St Edmunds
1698 Tour: Cambridge to Lichfield

The Diary
of
Celia Fiennes
 

The Account Off

severall Journeys into severall parts of England with many Remarkes; some wth my mother from Newtontony Wiltshire which is all on the downs a fine Champion Country pleasant for all sports, Rideing, Hunting, Courseing, Setting and shooteing. From Newtontony I went to Sarum 8 miles which is a Citty and Bishop's Seat, pretty Large town Streetes broad but through ye midst of them runs a little rivulet of water which makes ye Streetes not so clean or so easye to pass in, they have stepps to Cross it and many open places for horses and Carriages to Cross itt – itt takes off Much from the beauty of ye streetes – the Cause of it was from the burning of the old town called Salsebury which was on a hill about a mile off this and it was so drye and farre from springs that it was destroyed by fire and only the ruines of the Castle is to be seen like a high wall with fortifications: this town now Stands low by the water by a great River, the houses are old Mostly timber Buildings, there is a large Market House with the town hall over it and a prison Just by – there is also a large Cross in another place and house over it for a Constant Market for fruite, fowle, Butter and Cheese and a fish Market; the town is well served with all provissions; there is good buildings in that part they call the Close, both New built and ye old good houses belonging to the doctors of the Church. Ye Dean has a very good house and Gardens, so is the Bishop's Palace at ye end of a Row of trees – the roomes are lofty and Stately: all these houses are round ye Cathedrall which is esteemed the finest in England in all respects, it only lyes low in a watry meadow so yt the foundations is in the water, made of ffaggots and timber, yet notwithstanding its want of a Riseing ground to stand on ye steeple is seen many miles off, the spire being so high it appeares to us below as sharpe as a dagger, Yet is in the Compass on the top as bigg as a Cart wheele; its all stone and Carved finely with spires and Arches, there are severall doores into ye Church, in the body of it stands the pulpet and seates on each side; there are two large Isle's runnes up on either side; the font stands below opposite to the quire yt enters wth 2 or 3 steps assent from a large Cross Isle that leades to the Cloysters, in which is ye Chapter house which is very large and supported only by one small stone Pillar in ye middle, painted round the walls with figures Carved ye whole acco: of the book of Genesis, the Windows are painted very finely – Much of the History of the Bible. There is as many little Chappels in the Church as months in a yeare, as many doores as weekes, as many Marble pillars as dayes, as many windows as houres, as many partitions in the windows as minutes in the year. The roofe of the Church is very lofty and exactly neate in all things though not so large as some other Cathedralls – the top of the Qoire is exactly painted and it lookes as fresh as if but new done though of 300 yeares standing – there is a very good organ and a deske for the reader raised so high even with the organ for ye advantage of the voice to be heard, yet ye Church is so lofty yt ye Eccos drowns ye Intelligableness of the voice. The Comunion table, hangings and ye booses are all of crimson velvet with gold fringe, 2 large Candlestickes gilt wth great white tapers in them, a large gilt bason to receive ye offerings in – there is many good monuments there, also there are ye Statues of the 3 bishops that built the Church cut in stone – there are two large fine monuments above ye Rest – one all free stone for the lord George, his Effiges and ladyes att length on a bed in their Robes and ruffs on pillows, and ye four pillars are twisted, and over it Angels, figures of birds, beasts, flowers and leaves very fine, there sits Justice wth ye ballance in her hand, one scale laying over ye other twisted lookes very natural and well, with ye wreathed work all in. Free stone with their Armes cut about in Escutheons all about it; the other is a monument for the duke of Summerset all in marble, a large bed his Effigee in garment and ruff all in Coullours, his lady the same only she is laid one step above him because she was Daughter to the Dowager of ffrance and sister to Henry ye 7th of England by her second husband Charles brandon Duke of Suffolk.

There is ye Effiges of their 2 sonnes, Lord Beachom at their head and Lord Seymour at ye feete in Armour on their knees, and severall Daughters on their knees at ye bottom and 12 pillars of Irish gray marble. The Armes is cutt finely in Escutcheons &. And in figures with ye supporters and severall sorts of beasts carved in a piramide fashion, and on ye top the duke's Corronet – these 2 monumts are railed in with Iron grates, there is the Effigee in stone of a doctor that starved himself to death attempting to imitate our Saviour to fast 40 dayes – but at 31 dayes end he became sensible of his evil and would have retrieved his life by eateing againe, but then by ye Just judgment of god could not swallow any thing down his throate; – there is a chaple or burying place of Judge poppums that had two very wild sonnes and by 2 pictures of his sonnes, pictured one with death ye other with a skeleton and set in ye room they were to come into by their father's order, it pleased God to bless as a meanes to reclaim them. Ye pictures are still there; the windows of the Church but especially ye Quire are very finely painted and large of ye history of ye bible – the tower ffor ye bells are in ye yard at some distance from the Church – there are 6 Churches in the town and subburbs and ye County Goal at ye end of the town called ffisherton, just by the great river that runnes to Christ-Church in Salsebury. They keep the quarter session once in ye yeare the othr tymes are kept at Malbrough about 24 mile off and at ye Devises about ye same distance wch is a very neate little town with a very good market house and town hall sett on stone pillars; it is a bourrough and a very rich tradeing place ffor the Clothing trade, the fourth place ye session is kept is Warminster about ye same distance – its a pretty little town a good Market for corn and there is the Mindiffe Coale which is allmost as good as the sea Coale from newcastle that is dugg out of the hills all about; – But ye Assizes is allwayes kept at Salsebury and is a Major town though Wilton about 2 mile off is ye County town and ye Knights of ye shire are chosen there, though its now but as a little village as it were, and only supported by the Earle of Pembrooke which lives there and has a very ffine house with large Courts one within another. At ye Entrance there is a lofty Hall with good Pictures, 3 or 4 dineing roomes and drawing roomes of State with very good bed Chambers and well furnished velvet damaske and tissue, one Gallery and ye dineing roome was all wanscoated with pictures of ye family – there is a drawing roome and Anti roome, ye wanscoate is painted with ye whole History of the Acadia romance made by Sr Philip Sidney, brother to the then Countess of Pembrooke and Composed by him in ye ffine woods above ye house.

Another room is painted wth all sorts of sports, Hunting, Hawking &. – they are all finely painted on the Ceiling and very lofty. there is one dineing roome yt the Chimney is just under a window and the Tunnells runnes upon each side. There is one Chamber, the chimney stands Just by the window opposite to Salsebury, and on the black Marble Chimney piece soe finely polished you may see all the Cathedrall as in a Glass; I have seen it plaine. There are very fine Marble Chimney pieces in most of ye roomes, and marble windows. The Gardens are very fine with many gravel walkes with grass squaires set with fine brass and stone statues – fish ponds and basons with ffigures in ye middle spouting out water – dwarfe trees of all sorts and a fine flower garden – much wall fruite. Ye river runns through ye garden that easeily conveys by pipes water to all Parts.

A Grottoe is att ye end of the garden just ye middle off ye house – its garnished with many fine ffigures of ye Goddesses, and about 2 yards off the doore is severall pipes in a line that with a sluce spoutts water up to wett the strangers – in the middle roome is a round table and a large Pipe in the midst, on which they put a Crown or Gun or a branch, and so yt spouts the water through ye Carvings and poynts all round ye roome at ye Artists pleasure to wet ye Company – there are figures at Each corner of ye roome that Can weep water on the beholders and by a straight pipe on ye table they force up ye water into ye hollow carving of ye rooff like a Crown or Coronet to appearance but is hollow within to retaine ye water fforced into it in great quantetyes yt disperses in ye hollow Cavity over ye roome and descends in a Shower of raine all about ye roome – on each side is two little roomes which by the turning their wires ye water runnes in ye rockes – you see and hear it and also it is so contrived in one room yt it makes ye melody of Nightingerlls and all sorts of birds wch engages ye Curiosity of ye Strangers to go in to see, but at ye Entrance off each room is a line of pipes that appear not till by a Sluce moved – it washes ye spectators designed for diversion.

Ye Grottoe is leaded on ye top where are fish ponds, and just without ye grottoe is a wooden bridge over ye river. Ye barristers are set out wth Lyons set thick on Either Side wth their mouths open, and by a sluce spout out water each to other in a perfect arch ye length of ye bridge. There are fine woods beyond ye house and a large parke walled in. From thence I went to Blandford in Dorsetshire 18 miles through a haire waring and a forest of ye Kings.

Blandford is a pretty neate Country town. Thence to Merly by Wimborn over a great river Called the Stoure and a large Arched bridge to a Relations house, Sr William Constantines house – thence to Poole a little sea-port town 4 miles off where was a very good Minister in ye publick Church – Mr Hardy.

From thence we went by boate to a little Isle Called brownsea 3 or 4 leagues off where there is much Copperice made, the stones being found about ye Isle in ye shore in great quantetyes. there is only one house there wch is the Governours, besides little fishermen's houses; they being all taken up about ye Copperice workes; they gather ye Stones and place them on ground raised like ye beds in gardens, rows one above the other and are all Shelving, so yt ye raine disolves ye Stones and it draines down into trenches and pipes made to receive and Convey it to ye house, yeh is fitted with Iron panns four square and of a pretty depth at least 12 yards over. They place Iron spikes in ye panns full of branches and so as ye Liquor boyles to a candy it hangs on those branches; I saw some taken up – it look'd like a vast bunch of grapes. Ye Coullour of ye Copperace not being much differing it lookes cleare like Suger-Candy – so when ye water is boyled to a Candy they take it out and replenish the panns with more liquor. I do not remember they added anything to it only ye Stones of Copperice disolved by ye raine into liquor as I mention'd at first – there are great furnaces under, yt Keepes all the panns boyling – it was a large room or building with Severall of these large panns: they do add old Iron and nailes to ye Copperass Stones. This is a noted place for lobsters and Crabs and shrimps. I there eate some very good. From Merly we went to ye Isle of Purbeck. At Warrum we passed over a bridge where ye sea flowed in, and Came by ye ruines of Corffe Castle which stands on a hill, yet surrounded by much higher hills yt might easily command it, and so in ye Civil warrs was batter'd down with Granadeers – thence you rise a great ascent of hills, called the Linch or rather ye ridge, being so for 3 or 4 miles, rideing to Quare, which was 16 miles ffrom Merly to a relations house – Cos'n Colliers.

From this ridge you see all ye Island over, which lookes very fruitfull, good lands, Meadows, woods and jnclosures – there are many quarys in these hills of yt wch is called the free stone from hence they digg it – the shores are very Rocky all about ye Island. We went 3 miles off to Sonidge a sea faire place not very big – there is a flatt sand by ye sea a little way: they take up stones by ye shores yt are so oyly, as ye poor burn it for ffire, and its so light a ffire it Serves for Candle too, but it has a strong offensive smell. At a place 4 mile off called Sea Cume the Rockes are so Craggy and ye Creekes of land so many yt ye sea is very turbulent – I pick'd shells and it being a spring tide I saw ye sea beat upon ye Rockes at least 20 yards with Such a ffoame or ffroth – and at another place the rockes had so large a Cavity and Hollow yt when ye Sea Vowed in, it runne almost round and Sounded like some hall or high arch. In this Island are severall pretty good houses though not very large. Att Kingston, Sr William Muese has a pretty house, and att Income Mr Coliffords – Doonshay, Mr Dollings and 7 mile off Quare. Att Finnum, lady Larences, there is a pretty large house but very old timber built: there I eate ye best Lobsters and Crabs, being boyled in ye Sea water and scarce Cold – very large and Sweet. Most of the houses in ye Island are built of stone – this is Just by the great Cliffts wch are a vast height from ye sea – here is plenty of provision of all sorts especially of fish. ffrom Finnum we ascend a high hill of a great length till you are out of ye Island which does hardly appeare to be now an Isle, the tide having left it on this side that you passe only a little Brooke. There is another Castle called Brindon, but yt lyes low and appears not much – thence we came to Piddle 6 or 7 miles off where was a relation – Mr Oxenbridg; an old house wch formerly was an abby – thence to Dorchester town 5 miles – it stands on ye side of a Hill the river runnes below it – the town lookes Compact and the streetes are very neately pitch'd and of a good breadth – The Market-place is spaceious – The Church very handsome and full of galleries.

Thence we went to Burport about 8 miles – The wayes are stony and very narrow – the town has a steep hill to descend through the whole place – thence to Woolfe 4 miles to a relation – Mr Newbery a man of many whymseys – would keep no women servants – had all washing, Ironing dairy and all performed by men – his house look's like a little village when you Come into ye Yard – so many little buildings apart from each other – one for a stillitory – another for out houses and offices, another long building for Silk wormes, and ye dwelling house is but mean and spoyl'd by his ffancy of makeing a hall up 3 storyes high and so lofty nothing suiteable to it. He had good gardens and orchards much good ffruite, but all in a most rude Confused manner. Thence we went to Colway neare Lime in Somersetshire about 8 miles to a relations house Mr Hendly's – from thence it is 2 miles to Lime a seaport place open to the main ocean, and so high and bleake Sea, that to secure the Harbour for shipps they have been at a great Charge to build a Mold from the town with stone like a halfe Moon, wch they call the Cobb; its raised with a high wall and this runns into ye Sea a good Compass that ye Shipps rides safely within it, when the tide is out we may see the foundations of some part of it – that is the tyme they looke over it to see any breach and repaire it immediately, else ye tide come with so much violence would soone beate it down – there is some part of it low and only is to joyne ye rest to the land, and at high water is all Cover'd of such a depth of water that shipps may pass over it to enter the Cobb or halfe moone, which is difficult for fforeigners to attempt, being ignorant, though its better than goeing round the other way for those that know and do observe the tide – the spring tides and any Storme does some tymes beate up and wash over the walls of the forte or castle into the Court and so runns into the town, though at other tymes when its' the ordinary tide and calme sea it is at least 300 yards from the banke on which the high wall is built – In most parts of somersetshire it is very fruitfull for Orchards, plenty of apples and peares, but they are not Curious in the Planting the best sort of fruite which is a great pitty, being so soone produced and such quantetyes, they are likewise as Careless when they make Cider – they press all sorts of Apples together, else they might have as good Cider as in any other parts, even as good as the Herriford-shire – they make great quantetyes of Cider, their presses are very large, so as I have seen a Cheese as they call them which yeilded 2 hoddsheads – they pound their apples, then lay fresh straw on the press, and on that a good lay off Pulp of the apples, then turne in the ends of the straw over it all round and lay fresh straw, then more apples up to the top. Just by Lime you Cross a little brooke into Devon-shire which is much like Somersetshire – fruitfull Country's for Corn, graseing, much for inclosures that makes the wayes very narrow, so as in some places a Coach and Waggons Cannot pass – they are forced to Carry their Corn and Carriages on horses' backes with frames of wood like pannyers on either side ye horse, so load it high and tye it wth Cords – this they do altogether the farther Westward they goe for ye wayes grow narrower and narrower on to ye lands end. They shewed me the Lizard point from Lime, it was a good distance – Ye land grows narrower in a compass round, as it were round the sea. From lime the wayes are also difficult by reason of the very steep hill up and down, and that so successively as little or no plaine even ground, and full of large smooth pebbles that make the strange horses slip and uneasye to go – the horses of the Country are accustomed to it and travell well in the rodes – in ye opener wayes they use a sort of waine or carriage made narrower than our Southern Waggon, but longer and so load them high – from Lime to Burport is 12 miles and so to Dorchester; thence to Blandford we pass over Woodbery hill eminent for a great Faire that is kept there of all things: the road passed by Cherbery – the foot of the hill on the Slope stands a pretty Seate of Mr Earles my relation – the house is new built on ye brow of ye hill whence you have large prospects of 20 mile round – you may see Shaftesbury thence 16 mile off – there is a good wood behind the house, good gardens wall'd with plenty of fruit, good fish and decoy pounds. There is a very good Hall at the entrance leads you to a large parlour and drawing room on ye right hand that opens to the gardens – a very good little parlour on the left with servants room, and another parlour for smoakeing, all well wanscoated and painted and the offices convenient – the Chambers are good and lofty and sizeable – good ffurniture in the best 2 Chambers, in an angle the staires leads up halfe way into ye middle of the house and so divides in four parts and runnes to each angle.

Thence 6 miles to Blandford, thence 18 to Salsebury and 8 mile to Newtontony which stands in ye midst of ye downs 8 mile from Andover a market town in Hampshire and ye roade to London. It lyes 15 mile from Winchester – it is three mile from Amesbury and 2 mile more to Stoneage that stands on Salsebury plaine – eminent for many battles being faught there – this Stoneage is reckon'd one of the wonders of England how such prodigeous stone should be brought there, as no such Stone is seen in ye Country nearer than 20 mile. They are placed on the side of a hill in a rude jregullar form – two stones stands up and one laid on their tops with morteses into each other and thus are severall in a round like a wall with spaces between, but some are fallen down, so spoyle the order or breach in the temple, as some think it was in the heathen tymes; others thinke it the Trophy of some victory wone by one Ambrosious, and thence the town by it has its name of. Amsebury. There is severall rows of lesser stones within the others set up in the same forme of 2 upright and one lies on the top like a gateway. How they were brought thither or whether they are a made stone is not resolved – they are very hard yet I have seen some of them scraped – the weather seemes not to penetrate them. To increase the wonder of the story is that none Can Count them twice alike – they stand confused and some single stones at a distance but I have told them often, and bring their number to 91. This Country is most Champion and open, pleasant for recreations – its husbandry is mostly Corn and sheep, the Downs though short grass ye feed is sweet, producing the finest wooll and sweet meat though but small.

The little towns or villages lies in the valleys and runs along in the bottom and are called Bourns having water running in most of them. From Stonidge I went to Evell in Somersetshire, thence to Meer a little town about 15 mile; by the town is a vast high hill called the Castle of Meer – its now all grass over and so steepe up that the ascent is by footsteps cut in the side of the hill. I was on the top where some had been digging and was come to a space that was Arched and the walls plaistred and washed white and smooth – it was but a little roome, I tooke a piece of its walls and plaister. That shews there may be Cells or vaults in the hill – from thence to Wincauton 7 miles which is on a steep hill and very stoney-you go through the town all the way down as it were a steep precipice, all Rocks-thence to Castle Cary 3 or 4 miles- its generally a good fruitfull Country, much on jnclosures as is most of Summersetshire.

Thence to Alford 2 miles where was a minerall water which Company resorts to for drinking-formerly it has been more frequented than of late-many now send for them severall miles and have Beer brewed of them-there being no good accomodation for people of fashion, the Country people being a Clownish rude people. Ye waters are mostly from Alom-its a Cleare little well and a quick spring-the bottom of the well has a sort of Blewish Clay or Marle, its a quick purger, good for all sharpe Humers or Obstruction. In three mile of this place is Queen Camell famous for a fine ring of bells and for the fine sort of brown thread called Nuns thread-as we returned from thence we came by Bruton a very neate stone built town-from it we ascend a very high steep hill all in a narrow Lane cut out of the rocks on which grow trees thick, their Roots runns amongst the rocks, and in many places fine Clean springs buble out, and run a long out of the rocks, it smells Just like the sea. We were full an hour passing that hill though with four horses and a Chariot. My sister self and Maid: thence to Willding which is a place of much water, so to Newtontony in all 30 miles.

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

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