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tie daunt, Dukend became the then studic2. of Edwin most prom here is no sucer.
Mr. Browne. The span of the arch of the Rialto bridge is for feet, but this extensive appearance is much obscured by the fullness of the water. On the vast obelisk, which is 130 feet high, the grant of the crown, and services of the Duke, are fully displayed by a long inscription written by Dr. Hare, who had been his Grace's chaplain, and was afterwards Bishop of Chichester
Woodstock is among the places which contend for the honor of the birth of Chaucer. Of his residence here, in a square stone house, near the park gate, there is no doubt. This great genius, the father of English poetry, was born (most probably of honorable parents, though this is not certain) in 1328, 2. of Edward III. He was educated both at Cambridge and Oxford, and then studied the law in the middle temple, thence he went to court, and became the King's Page, and was taken under the patronage of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose interest he never after forsook. Indeed a closer tie afterwards took place; he married about 1360 Philippa, fister of Catherine Swinford, first the mistress and afterwards the wife of his patron; and the ancestress from whom Henry VII. derived his title to the crown. During the greater part of his life he enjoyed many rich and honorable employments, and his income is said to have been at one time roool. per annum. a large estate in thofe days. He resided much, particu. larly while the court was here, at this spot. When disengaged from public bufiness his time was entirely spent in studying and walking. The park here was the scene of his most favorite wanderings, and many of the rural descriptions in his poems are taken from hence.* In the poem called the Cuckowe tand Nightingale, the description of the morning walk is exactly what may be traced from his house, through part of the park, and down by the brook into the vale under Blenheim houie, as certainly as we may affert that Maples instead of Phyllereas were the ornaments round the bower, which place he likewise describes in his dream, as a white castle standing upon an-hill, the scene in that poem being laid in Woodstock park. Thus has the country hereabouts become consecrated in his poems, and to all who feel the genuine force of poetry, a claffick ground. About two years before him, died his kind patron the Duke of Lancaster, and this so deeply affected him, that he could no longer bear this place, the scene of his former happiness, but retired to Dunnington castle S by Newbury, in Berkshire ; in the folitude of which sweet retreat he indulged his contemplations, till October 25, 1400; when, at the age of 72, he departed quietly to his grave. Sir Thomas Chau. cer, Knt. his son and heir, was Speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of Henry IV. and in many other honourable offices, and left a daughter, and heir Alice, who carried the castle of Dunnington, Ewelme Palace (by Benson) in this county, and other large estates to William De la Pole, Earl, and afterwards Duke of Suffolk, whose son, by mixing with the blood royal, was the real author of the destruction of the family in the person of the grandson, beheaded by Henry VIII. 1513. The estates were fora feited to the Crown. Ewelme became a palace to our Kings. Most of the rest were granted to Charles Brandon, created Duke of Suffolk.
* See Chaucer's Life in the Biographia, and other books. + Ver. 51. 850
Dunnington Calle lies half a mile to the right of Spinhamland. In the park was an old oak, called Chaucer's oak, under which he is said to have composed many of his poems. Here afterwards the gallant Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, (the favorite of Henry VIII, who married that haughty monarch's youngeft ifter,) much resided. In the rebellion it was a garrison for Charles I. under the valiant sir John Boys. The King lay here one night. At present there is remaining only a battered gateway with two towers, and some small part of the scattered walls, choked with brambles, and overrun with ivy.
In the evening we proceeded to Oxford, that facred seat of the Muse's; the antiqnity and particulars of which I shall not here pretend to describe; the two Universities are places so well known, and so full of matter for contemplation and description, that nothing less than a separate work can give an account adequate to their respective merits. I shall therefore pass this place over in silent veneration, and only insert a few common observations on recent improvements in that noble city, and its neighbouring beauties. Besides the wonderful improvements that have been made, within a few years, by widening the streets, paving, &c. the new county goal does great credit to the spirit of the place, and when finished will be one of the strongest and best in the kingdom. Its situation is adjacent to the old castle, and encompassed by a massy stone wall, which we enter at a large tower and gate-way, over which is to be the platform for executions. In the centre of this spacious area, stands the governor's house, whence he can overlook the whole of the buildings under his care. The principal one for felons is divided into 60 cells, eight feet by seven, as strong as iron and stone can make them. The two lesser bridewells contain 20 each, and are almost, finished. The old castle is to remain as it was, so that the whole group which is of that style of archi. tecture, will have a noble appearance. There is also a city prison now building upon the same plan. . * As Nuneham, the seat of the earl of Harcourt, is a place fo generally famed, we could not omit visiting it. This estate formerly belonged to the Courtnays of Devonshire, and is called to this day Nuneham Courtnay. After passing through several hands, it was sold in Oliver Cromwell's time, to John Robinson, of London, mer. chant, (ancestor to Sir George Robinson, bart.) from whose family it came by an heiress to David Earl of Wemys; of whom it was purchased in 1710, by Simon, first lord Harcourt, lord high chancellor of England. He was son and heir of Sir Philip Harcourt, knt. (member for Oxfordshire, 1681) feated at Stanton Harcourt in this county, (a manfion now fold, but still the burial place of the family) where his ancestors had resided ever since they married the heiress of Richard de Camville, in the reign of Richard I. who brought them this seat. They have been very famous here; one of them a knight of the garter; have married nobly; and have never been beneath the degree of knighthood.* The present house at Nuneham was built by the late earl. It is situated about six miles from Oxford, and half a one from the Henley road, on the side of a rich hill, and encompassed with an extensive park well wooded, the softly flowing Isis meandring at a proper distance in the meadows below. A sweeter situation could scarce be found for such a piece of architecture, nor a spot so much endowed by nature, or as well laid out by Brown; “ here are scenes worthy of the bold pencil of Rubens, or to be subjects for the tranquil sunshines of Claud Lorrain.”+ The common approach gives an idea of nothing more than a small plain gentleman's feat, and the inspection of the first apartments confirms this impression, but we were afterwards pleasingly deceived. The furniture is mostly elegant, and the rooms adorned with many capital paintings. Passing through the hall, which is strongly arched as a secư. rity against fire, in which are some antique statues, we ascended the circular geometrical stair-case, and entered a small room called the saloon, in which are several good paintings, Susanna and the elders, by Hannibal Carracci ; the Nativity, by Pietro da Pietri ; several portraits, by Vandyke; two Beggar Boys, by Murillio. Anti-chamber, small, but ornamented with tolerable pictures. From hence, by a narrow circular
* The mother of lord chancellor Harcourt was Anne, daughter of Sir William Waller (the parliament general) of Otterley park, before described. + Walpole's Anecdotes of Painters, vol. 2d. p. 145
passage to the library, which is adorned in a pleasing style with heads of the poets, &c. Rowe and Pope, by Kneller; Philips, by Ryley; Prior, by old Dahl; Shakespear, Rousseau, Beaumont, Addison, Mason, Sir Walter Raleigh, Horace Walpole, Sir Isaac Newton, Mrs. Pritchard, Mrs. Siddons, &c. Dining-room, very handsome; its dinensions 33 by 24 and 18. Here are some excellent paintings; the principal, Ulysses and Naulica, by Salvator Rosa ; a large landscape with figures and cattle, very beautiful, by Cuyp; four ruins of Rome, by Parolo Panini; dead game and dogs, by Snyders; two fruit pieces, by Michael Angelo Campidoglio ;. landscapes by G. Pouffin and Ruysdaal, Octagon drawing-room, 30 by 24 and 18, and superbly furnished and gilt, &c. with no inconsiderable share of pictures; two Madonas, by Guido and Barrocci, both esteemed beautiful; Christ crowned with thorns, by Veronese ; St. John preaching in the wilderness, by Albano ; Moses sweetning the waters of Meribah, highly coloured, by Nicolo Poussin; landscape by Gaspar Poussin, &c. Great drawing-room, 49 by 24 and 18, St. Margaret, whole length, and highly preserved, by Titian; from the collection of Charles I. Four noble landscapes, the subject hunting the boar, Italian Banditti, Diana and nymphs, and other figures, (some of them. by Teniers,) by Van Artois; two lesser beautiful ones, by Gaspar Poussin, and figures by Nicolo ; a charming Cuyp; a moon-light on the water, very perfect, by Vander Neer; a landscape by Claud Lorrain ; a beautiful landscape, a cart overturning in a
rocky country, by moonlight, by Rubens; this is well known by Bolswaert's prints ;* · An entertainment on the Texel with English and Dutch yatchts, an admired Vandervelde, lefser landscapes, by Wootton, &c. Another circular passage led us to the ftate bed-rooin, hung with velvet, and many valuable old family portraits; also the King and Queen, by Gainsborough. Two dressing rooms full of various paintings. Amongst the rest, a portrait of Giles Bruges, third lord Chandos (who died 1594, the dress remarkable, apparently Spanish, the cloke of black velvet, with silver orna.. ments. · We now walked to view the external beauties of the place, which must excite peculiar admiration in the mind of every beholder; the park is about six miles round, and the pleasure grounds, including ihe garden, contain near 60 acres. Ascending the hill towards the church, you have an exquisite view to Abingdon, and other parts of Berkshire. The grand sweep of woods, and the river Isis are charming features in this scene. Beyond the chapel, the prospect breaks still more enchantingly through a vista to the north, up the Isis to the stately towers of Oxford “bosomed high in tufted trees.” Such was our view from the windows of the house, but here the fore-ground gives great grandeur and boldness. In front of this avenie stands the peculiarly formed church of rine stone, in imitation of a Roman temple; this was erected by a late lord, founder of the house, 1764. In front are fix large pillars supporting a plain pediment, and from the top rises a lofty dome. The inside is extremely neat ; over the parith door are names of those who have gained the annual prize of merit, from an institution made by his lordship seven years ago. This is determined by the votes of the parish. ioners in favour of the most sober and honest candidate. A very laudable institution, and worthy of universal imitation. Over the altar is a painting of the good Samaritan, by Mason, the poet. In the garden is an excellent conservatory, open in summer,
* « The noblest and largelt landscape of Rubens, is in the royal collection. It exhibits an almost bird's eye view of an extenfive country, with such malterly clearness and intelligence, as to contain in itself alone a school for painters of landscape.”+
† Walpoles's Anecdotes, vol. 28. p. 14; and 6.
and covered in the winter season. On the margin of the walks are placed various buildings and busts, inscribed with verses from many of our favourite poets, but too numerous to be inserted in this description. I shall only observe, in the words of Milton,
- " Here universal Pan,
Infinitely delighted with this excursion, we returned by the village of Nuneham, which consists of about twenty neat houses, at equal distances on the road; these are divided into two separate dwellings, so that forty families may here, by this liberal affistance of his lordship, enjoy the comforts of industry under a wholesome roof, who otherwise might have been doomed to linger out their days in the filthy hut of poverty. As we approached the University, its towers and richly shaded groves again won our admiration and astonishment. From this road the effect of the whole is indisputably the most striking, and may challenge the universe to shew its equal.
" See! Oxford lifts her head sublime,
August 31. After a night of much rain; we crossed the river into Berkshire, to visit the adjacent market town of Abingdon. The intermediate hills are very beautiful and afford several pleasing views. Those noble sons of the forest, the widely spreading oaks, form an agreeable Thade of considerable length ; at the further extremity, as we began to descend into the flat again, we saw, at a small distance on our left, Radley, a considerable modern edifice, belonging to Sir James Stonehouse. Leland mentions, there was a park there belonging to Abingdon Abbey, which was destroyed because the scholars of Oxford much resorted there to hunt. The same liberty of sporting is still taken by the University, to the great annoyance of the owner of this place. Beyond, across the vale, lord Harcourt's sweet place called to mind those charming scenes of the preceding day. We now approached the principal object of our exçursion, and received a moft terrible impression at the entrance from this road; a narrow lane, unworthy the name of a street, made too almost impassable by the confines of dirt and water. The market-place, however, improved our idea of the town, though it has little more to boast than a spacious market-house, over which is a good hall for public business. This is certainly a building that may claim pre-eminence over those of most towns of like size and consequence, nay, so superior is it to the general structure of the place, that it seems as though brought there by mistake. If we search into the annals of antiquity, we shall find this town of much greater confequence than at present, deriving its name and chief glory from its abbey, founded by one Hein or Eanus, a noble Saxon, nephew to Cissa, king of the West Saxons, about 675. According to Leland, the abbey was first begun at Bagley wood, those noble shades we described
of the place, that it seems al find this town of me
* Warton's Ode.
about two miles from hence; but the foundations and the works (fays he) there profpered not; whereupon it was translated to Seukesham and there finished chiefly at the costs of King Ciffa, who was himself afterwards buried there. And from this abbey being built it changed its name to Abingdon. In old times (continues Leland) many of the villages about Abingdon had but chapels of ease, and this abbey was their mother church, where they buried. Amongst the rest the famous Geoffery of Monmouth had his monument here. This abbey, which was one of the finest and richest in Eng. land, had not flourished long, ere it was demolished by the violent fury of the Danes. Yet it soon after recovered itself through the liberality of King Edgar, and afterwards by the industry of the Norman abbots it grew to such magnificence, as to stand in competition with any in Britain. " It was in ancient times called Sheoversham, a famous city, goodly to behold, full of riches, encompassed with very fruitful fields, green meadows, spacious pastures, and flocks of cattle abounding with milk. Here the king kept his court ; hither the people resorted, while consultations were depending about the greatest and most weighty affairs of the kingdom.” Two synods are supposed to have been held here, one in 742, and the other in 822. Leland says the rents of this abbey were almost 2,000l, a year. Though this town had its dependance for a long time on the abbey, yet since 1416, when King Henry V, built bridges over the Oule (as appears by a distich in a window of St. Helen's church there) and turned the high road hither, for a shorter cut; it became much frequented, having a mayor and corporation, &c. and much enriched itself by making great quantities of malt; as it still does, sending the chief in barges to London by the river. It gives title of earl to the right honourable Willoughby Bertie, which was first conferred upon his ancestor James lord Norris of Rycote, 1682, 34th of Charles II.
September ist, as before, cloudy and unsettled, but made soft and pleasant by intervening sunshine. Being delayed beyond our expectation, at a time too when the University could afford little or no society, and the whole town looked dull in the midst of a long recess from business and gaiety; thus circumstanced we were glad to find any object worthy attention, that might afford us an hour's useful entertainment. To this intent we directed our course along the Gloucester road to Einsham; the meadows we passed through are exceedingly pleasant and extensive, where we crossed fix or seven excellent stone bridges, thrown over the rivulets, which refresh with their cool streams the growing herbage; and from the summit of the vast hill beyond we had a fine prospect over the four adjoining counties. The back front of Blenheim, and the stately obelisk in the park, are great additions to this scenery ; but they appear less to their own advantage from this point of view. A little on our right we saw Witham, an old monastick-looking edifice, belonging to lord Abingdon ; and as we approach the village of Einsham, this earl has erected a fair stone bridge of fix arches, in the place of a ferry, also a large square house, intended for an inn, but never yet inhabited : the former pays a very profitable toll, but the latter is likely to continue an incumbrance to its owner. Einsham (according to Camden) was formerly a royal vill, which Cuthwulph, the Saxon, first took from the conquered Britains. Ethelmar, a nobleman, adorned it with a monastery, which King Ethelred confirmed in 100;, and “ signed the privilege of liberty, with the sign of the Holy Cross.” After the diffolution this religious house was turned into a private seat, which belonged to the earls of Derby. From Henry, third earl, it came to his third fon, Sir Edward, who was buried here 1609, S. P. and was succeeded in his estate by his nephew, Sir Edward Stanley, k. b. one of whose co-heirs was the famous Venetia, the wife of Sir Kenelm Digby, of whose beauty and other accomplishments, so much has been said.