Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

1698 Tour: Shrewsbury to Bristol

Next Selection Previous Selection

Ye town stands Low, ye spires of 2 of ye Churches stand high and appear Eminent above ye town, there is ye remaines of a Castle, ye walls and battlements and some towers wch I walked round, from whence had ye whole view of ye town wch is walled round wth battlements and walks round, some of which I went on. Its here the fine river Severn Encompasses ye greatest part of ye town and twines and twists its self about, its not very broad here but its very deep and is Esteemed ye finest river in England to Carry such a depth of water for 80 or more miles together Ere it runns into ye sea wch is at Bristol. This Comes out of Wales, Ross and Monmouthshire, there it turns about and Comes to ye town. On Each side there are 3 bridges over it, in ye town one of them yt I walked over had some few houses built on it, as London bridge, at one End of it. Its pleasant to walk by ye river; there is just by it the Councill house an old building. Here are three free schooles together, built of free stone, 3 Large roomes to teach the Children, wth severall masters. Ye first has 150? a year ye second 100 ye third 50? a year and teach Children from reading English till fit for ye University, and its free for Children not only of ye town but for all over England if they Exceed not ye numbers. Here is a very fine Market Cross of stone Carv'd, in another place there is an Exchequer or hall for ye towns affaires, there is alsoe a hall for ye Welsh manufacture. There is a water house wch supplys ye town through pipes wth water, but its drawn up wth horses and it seemes not to be a good and Easye way, so they jntend to make it with a water Engine in the town. There are many good houses but mostly old buildings, timber; there is some remaines of a great abbey and just by it ye great Church, but nothing fine or worth notice save ye abbey Gardens wth gravell walks set full of all sorts of greens-orange and Lemmon trees: I had a paper of their flowers-were very fine,-there was alsoe ffirrs, myrtles and hollys of all sorts and a green house full of all sorts of Curiosityes of flowers and greens-there was ye aloes plant. Out of this went another Garden much Larger wth severall fine grass walks kept Exactly Cut and roled for Company to walke in. Every Wednesday most of ye town ye Ladyes and Gentlemen walk there as in St James' parke, and there are abundance of people of Quality Lives in Shrewsbury, more than in any town Except Nottingham; its true there are noe fine houses but there are many Large old houses that are Convenient and stately, and its a pleasant town to Live in and great plenty wch makes it Cheap Living. This is very near bordering on Wales and was reckon'd formerly one of ye Welsh County's as was Herifordshire. Here is a very good schoole for young Gentlewomen for Learning work and behaviour and musick.

From Shrewsbury I went through the great ffaire wch was just kept that day there, full of all sorts of things and all the roade for 10 mile at Least I met ye people and Commoditys going to the ffaire. 2 mile thence I passed over the River Cern on a Large stone bridge, this is deep and joyns the Severn and soe I Rode by the great hill Called the Reeke noted for the highest piece of ground in England, but it must be by those that only Live in the heart of ye Kingdom and about London, for there are much higher hills in the north and West and alsoe not 40 mile distant from it; Manborn hills seems vastly higher. This hill stands just by itself a round hill and does raise its head much above ye hills neare it, and on the one side does Looke a great steepe down, but still my thoughts of the ffells in Cumberland and Westmoreland are soe farr beyond it in height that this would not be mentioned there; it is seen 20 mile off and soe may many other hills, but when I Rode just under it I was full Convinc'd its height was not in Competition wth those in other parts that I have seen.

There are great hills all about wch I pass'd over full of Coale pitts. Here I Came into ye Whatling Streete wch is one of ye great roads of England wch divided ye Land into so many Kingdoms under ye Saxons. The roads are pretty good but ye miles are Long, from Shrewsbury to ye Reeke is 9 mile, from thence to Sr Thomas Patsells house 10 mile more; here I went to see his Gardens wch are talk'd off as ye finest and best kept, ye house is old and Low, if ye Gentleman had Lived he Did design a new house, its now his sons who is an Infant. Before you Come to ye house for a quarter of a mile you Ride between fine Cut hedges, and ye nearer ye approach the finer still, they are very high and Cut Smoothe and Even just Like ye hedges at Astrop waters, and of Each side beyond are woods, some regular Rows, some in its native Rudeness, wth ponds beyond in grounds beneath it. Ye End of this walke you Enter a Large gate of open Iron grates, wth as many more jron grates on Each side as the Breadth of ye gate, opposite to this is just another that opens into those grounds I first mention'd. There is a Large pitched Court wth some open jron gates and grates at Each End, yt gives the visto quite a Cross through to other Rows of trees wch runs up all about ye severall avenues.

In this Court stands two Dyals between wch is an open gate and pallasadoes, the whole breadth of ye front of this jron work wch Leads to the jnner Court, and on ye other side just in front, is another Large gate Carv'd Iron wth pillars brick and stone and flower potts; and on Each side to take the whole Breadth of ye house to wch it faces and soe give the sight of the garden is open pallisadoes, and a Little beyond are two more such open Pallisadoes that are Corner wayes, and discovers the Groves whose walks Looks Every way, so yt to stand in this outward Court you M ay see the house, and Court full of statues in Grass plotts, wth a broad pav'd walke to the house. In ye middle on ye one side are flower gardens and ye parke, ye other side other grounds wth rows of trees and by it very handsome stables and Coach houses, and then in the ffront this Large opening to this garden where is a ffountaine all wayes playing very high, the water, the Gravel walks, and fine flowers and greens of all sorts in potts and on the borders. This gate I mention'd had brick pillars wth stone heads on wch stood a turky Cock on each Cut in stone and painted proper. Ye grove I mention'd is the finest I Ever saw, there are six walks thro' it and just in the Middle you Look twelve wayes wch Discovers as Many severall prospects, Either to ye house or Entrance or fountaines or Gardens or ffields. The Grove itself is peculiar being Composed of all sorts of greens that hold their verdure and beauty all the yeare, and flourishes most in ye winter season when all other Garden beautys fades, of ffirrs, both silver, Scots, Noroway, Cyprus, Yew, Bays & the severall squares being set full of these Like a Maze; they are Compassed round Each square wth a hedge of Lawrell about a yd high Cut Exactly smooth and Even, there are also box trees in the middle. There are two other Large Gardens wth Gravell walkes, and grass plotts full of stone statues, the stone is taken out of ye quarry's about this Country, wch is not a very firme stone and so the Weather Cracks them.

In one of these Gardens just the side of ye house into wch it opens wth glass doors and just over against it is a Large Avery of birds wth branches of trees stuck into the Ground; by it is a Little Summer house neately painted, beyond this is another Garden wth a broad Gravel walke quite round. In the middle is a Long as well as Large ffountaine or pond wch is Called a sheete of water, at ye four Corners are seates shelter'd behind and on ye top and sides wth boards painted, on wch you sit secured from the weather, and Looks on the water wch has 348 Lead pipes at ye brims of it wch takes in the sides and End and wth the turning a sluce they streame at once into the fountaine wch Looks well and makes a pleaseing sound. If those pipes were but turned in a bow it would Cast the water in an arch and so would augment the Beauty of ye prospect. There are 2 Large Images stands in the Midst yt Cast out water and 4 sea horses all Casting out water. In the other Gardens there were Little figures wch bedewed the borders wth their showers.

This Large pond I spoke of before is very deep and good ffish Encreasing in it. There is another great pond in a ground beyond, wch Lyes to view thro' those green pallasadoes and is stored wth much good ffish. Thence I went to Aubery 2 miles, a Little Market town, thence to Pauckeridge and passed through some parcks wch belongs to some Gentlemens seate. I went by one Mr Peirpoynts, and Sr Walter Rochlys house, wch stands on a hill in a thicket of trees, and soe Came againe to the Whatling-street way and soe over Kankewood to Woolsly-in all 14 mile ffarther. From Woolsly to Haywood parke 2 mile, and home againe 2 mile, from Woolsley to Kanktown 6 mile, thence to Woolverhampton 6 mile. I went more in sight of Sr Walter Rochly wch stands very finely on a hill and woods by it-Lookes very stately. These miles are very Long thro' Lanes. I passed by a fine house Prestwitch Mr Philip Ffolies, a pretty seate in a parke, a mile beyond there is another house of ye same Gentlemans. Here we had ye Inconveniency of meeteing the Sherriffs of Staffordshire Just going to provide for ye Reception of ye Judges and officers of ye Assizes, whose Coaches and Retinue Meeteing our Company wch was encreased wth Cosen Ffiennes' Coach and horsemen, wch made us difficult to pass Each other in the hollow wayes and Lanes.

Thence to the Seven Starres where we baited, thence 2 miles ffarther we Entred out of Staffordshire into Worcestershire to Broad water, a place where are severall ffullers and Dyers mills.

Thence on ye Right hand are fforging mills for jron works wch belong to Mr Tho: Ffolie, there is a Rocky hill in wch is a Roome Cut out in the Rocks.

On ye Left hand you goe 7 mile to Ambusly, a very sad heavy way all sand, you goe just at Kederminster town End wch is a Large town much Employ'd about ye worstead trade, spinning and weaving. We also Rode by Sr John Packingtons house on the Left hand on the hill just by Droitwitch where are the 3 salt springs, divided by a ffresh spring that runs by it; of this salt water they boyle much salt that turns to good amount. All ye way from the Seven Starrs where we baited to Ambusly ye Road was full of ye Electers of ye Parliament men Coming from the Choice of ye Knights of the Shire, wch spake as they were affected, some for one some for another, and some were Larger in their judgments than others, telling their reason much according to the good Liquors operation, and of these people all the publick houses were filled that it was a hard Matter to get Lodging or Entertainmt .

We entered Worcester town next day just as ye Cerimony of the Election was performing, and soe they Declared it in favour of Mr Welsh and Sr John Packington. 4 mile more to this town-from broad water in all is 11 mile. Worcester town wch is washed by the river Severn is a Large Citty-12 Churches, the streetes most of them broad, the buildings some of them are very good and Lofty, its Encompass'd wth a wall wch has 4 gates that are very strong. The Market place is Large, there is a Guildhall besides the Market house wch stands on pillars of stone. The Cathedrall stands in a Large yard, pitch'd, its a Lofty Magnificent building, the Quire has good Wood Carv'd and a pretty organ, there is one tombstone stands in the Middle of ye quire by the railes on which Lyes the Effigies of King John, the Left side of alter is prince Arthurs tomb of plaine Marble in a ffine Chappell wch is made all of stone ffinely Carv'd, both the Inside and the outside is very Curiously Carv'd in all sorts of works and Arms, beasts and flowers, under it Lyes the statues of severall Bishops, beyond this are two tombstones wth ye ffigure of ye body in their proper dress, of 2 Saxon Bishops on ye pavement.

The painting of ye Windows are good and they are pretty Large and Lofty tho' Nothing Comparable to the Cathedrall at york. The tower is high and about the Middle of it you may walke round ye Inside and Look down into the body of ye Church just as it is in york. Just against ye pulpit in ye body of the Church is a Little organ to set the Psalme. Ye ffont is all of white marble and a Carv'd Cover of wood.

From Worcester we pass'd a Large stone bridge over the Severn on wch were many Barges that were tow'd up by strength of men 6 or 8 at a tyme.

The water just by the town Encompasses a Little piece of Ground full of Willows and so makes it an jsland, part of wch turns Mills. Thence I went 4 mile where I Cross ye River Thames on a stone Bridge, this runs to Whitborne and is a very Rapid Streame Especially after raines, wch Just before we begun our Journey had fallen and made the roads, wch are all Lanes full of stones and up hills and down, so steep that wth ye raines ye waters stood or Else ran down ye hills, wch made it Exceeding bad for travelling. When we had gone 7 mile, at a Little Parish, you Enter out of Worcester into Herriffordshire and soe 7 mile ffarther to Stretton Grandsorm and new house, my Cos'n Fiennes's. This is the worst way I ever went in Worcester or Herriffordshire, its allwayes a deep sand and soe in the winter and wth muck is bad way, but this being in August it was strange and being so stony made it more Difficult to travell. From thence I went to Stoake 4 miles, where I saw Mr Folies new house wch was building and will be very ffine when Compleated. There is to be 3 flat ffronts to ye Gardens sides; the Right Wing of ye house is the severall appartments for the ffamily, 2 drawing roomes and bed Chambers and Closets opening both on a terrass of free stone pavements, Each End and the middle there is stone stepps goes down on Each side, wth half paces to the garden wch is by more stepps descending one below another. The other wing is to ye other Garden and are to be Roomes of State wch Lookes towards Herrifford town. this is to be Coupled together wth a Large Hall wch Composes the ffront and is of stone work, the rest is brick only Coyn'd wth stone and ye windows stone, and is in forme of a halfe moone Each side wth arches to the several offices and stables. To this ffront wch is to be the Entrance Large opening Iron spike gates wch Lookes into their Grounds and Meddowes below it, of a Great Length wth Rows of trees to yc river. The Roofe is Cover d wth slatt wch shines and very much represents Lead, its adorn'd round ye Edges wth stone ffigures and flower potts. There is a noble parck and woods behind-it will be very ffine when ffinished, now I saw it only in the outside shell and platt form. thence I returned to Newhouse 4 mile. Thence I went to Canaan Ffroom a mile and one mile back wch was 2 mile more, then to Stretton four tymes and back wch was 8 mile, then from Newhouse to Aldbery 5 miles, thence to Marlow 3 mile and there Entred Gloucestershire. They are pretty long miles and in the winter deep way, though now it was pretty good travelling its 8 mile beyond to Glocestertown tho' in most places near London this would be reckon'd 20 miles; you may see the town 4 miles off. Glocester town Lyes all along on the bancks of ye Severn and soe Look'd Like a very huge place, being stretch'd out in Length, its a Low Moist place therefore one must travel on Causeys which are here in good repaire. I pass'd over a Bridge where two armes of the river meetes where yc tyde is very high and rowles in the sand in many places and Causes those Whirles or Hurricanes that will Come on storms wth great jmpetuosity.

Thence I proceeded over another Bridge into ye town whose streetes are very well pitch'd, Large and Cleane. There is a faire Market place and Hall for ye assizes wch happened just as we Came there, soe had ye worst Entertainemt and noe accomodation but in a private house. Things ought not to be Deare here, but Strangers are allwayes imposed on and at such a publick tyme alsoe they make their advantages. Here is a very Large good Key on the river, they are supply'd wth Coales by ye shipps and Barges wch makes it plentifull; they Carry it on sledges thro' ye town-its the great Warwickshire Coale I saw unloading. Here they follow knitting stockings, gloves wauscoates and peticoates and sleeves all of Cotten, and others spinn the Cottens. The Cathedrall or minster is Large, Lofty and very neate, the Quire pretty. At ye Entrance there is a seate over head for ye Bishop to sit in to hear the sermon preached in ye body of y e Church, and therefore the organ is in the Quire on one side wch used to be at ye Entrance. There was a tomb stone in ye middle wth a statue of Duke Roberts, second son to William the Conquerours son, wth his Legs across as is the manner of all those that went to the holy warre; this is painted and resembles marble tho' it is but wood and soe Light as by one ffinger you may move it up, there is an jron Grate over it. At ye alter the painting is soe ffine that ye tapistry and pillars and ffigure of Moses and Aaron soe much to the Life you would at Least think it Carv'd. There are 12 Chappells all stone finely Carv'd on ye walls and rooffs, the windows are pretty Large and high wth very good painting, there is a Large window just over ye Alter but between it and ye alter is a hollow walled in on each side wch is a Whispering place; speake never so Low just in the Wall at one End the person at ye other End shall heare it plaine tho' those wch stand by you shall not heare you speake-its ye Wall Carrys ye voyce. This seems not quite soe wonderfull as I have heard, for ye Large roome in Mountague house soe remarkable for fine painting I have been in it, and when ye Doores are shutt its so well suited in ye Walls you Cannot tell where to find the Doore if a stranger, and its a Large roome Every way. I saw a Lady stand at one Corner and turn herself to the wall and whisper'd, ye voice Came very Cleer and plaine to ye Company that stood at ye Crosse Corner ye roome soe yt it Could not be Carry'd by ye side wall, it must be the arch overhead wch was a great height. -But to return to ye Church, the tower was 203 stepps, the Large bell I stood upright in but it was not so bigg as ye great Tom of Lincoln, this bell at Glocester is raised by ten and rung by 6 men On the tower Leads you have a prospect of ye whole town, gardens and buildings and grounds beyond and ye river Severn in its twistings and windings. Here are ye fine Lamprys taken in great quantetys in their season, of wch they make pyes and potts and Convey them to London or Else where, such a present being fitt for a king; this and ye Charr fish are Equally rare and valuable. Here are very good Cloysters finely adorn'd with ffretwork, here is the Colledge and Library but not stored wth many books. I think this was all the remarkable in Glocester. From thence I went in Company all this while wth my Cos'n Ffilmer and family. We Came to Nymphsffield after having ascended a very steep narrow and stony hill, 10 mile to Nympsfield all bad way, but the 20 mile afterwards made up for its badness, for these were Exceeding good wayes. 2 mile to Cold harbour thence 15 Landsdon-Long, but bowling green way. Here I passed by Babington, the Duke of Beaufforts house stands in a Parke on an advanc'd Ground wth rows of trees on all sides wch runns a good Length, and you may stand on ye Leads and Look 12 wayes down to ye parishes and Grounds beyond all thro Glides or visto of trees. The Gardens are very fine and water works. On Landsdon hill Summersetshire begins wch is a very pleasant hill for to Ride on for aire and prospect; I went 3 mile over it wch Leads to ye Bath down a vast steep descent of a stony narrow way as is all ye wayes down into ye town. The Bath is a pretty place full of good houses all for ye accommodation of the Company that resort thither to Drink or Bathe in the summer. The streetes are faire and well pitch'd, they Carry most things on sledges, and ye Company all ye morning ye Chaires of Bayes to Carry them to the Bath- soe they have the Chaire or Sedan to Carry them in visits. There is a very fine hall wch is set on stone pilllars wch they use for ye balls and dancing. This is the only new thing since I was at ye Bath before, Except the fine adornements on ye Cross in the Cross bath, fine Carving of stone wth the English arms and Saints and Cupids, according to the phaneze and Religion of King James the Seconds Queen Mary of Modina, as part of her thanks and acknowledgments to ye saints or Virgin Mary for the Welsh Prince she Imposed on us. From the Bath I went westward to Bristol over Landsdown 10 mile, and passed thro' Kingswood and was met wth a great many horses passing and returning Loaden wth Coales Dug just thereabout; they give 12 pence a horse Load wch Carrys two Bushells, it makes very good ffires, this is ye Cakeing Coale. Bristol Lyes Low in a bottom the Greatest part of the town, tho' one End of it you have a pretty rise of ground.

There are 19 Parish Churches beside the Cathedrall, wch has nothing fine or Curious in it. The Buildings of ye town are pretty high, most of timber work, the streetes are narrow and something Darkish because the roomes on ye upper storys are more jutting out, soe Contracts ye streete and the Light. The Suburbs are better buildings and more spacious streetes. There are at one place as you Enter the town 2 almshouses, 6 men and 6 women a piece at Each. There is alsoe at another part of ye town a Noble almshouse more Like a Gentlemans house, yt is all of stone work, a handsome Court wth gates and Pallisadoes before four grass plotts divided by paved walks and a walk round ye same. The one side is for ye women the other for ye men, the middle building is 2 Kitchins for Either and a middle roome in Common for washing and brewing, over all is a Chappell. They have Gardens behind it wth all things Convenient. They have their Coales and 3 shillings pr weeke allowed to Each to. maintain them, this is for decayed tradesmen and wives that have Lived well; its set up and allowed to by Mr Coleson a mercht in London. This town is a very great tradeing Citty as most In England, and is Esteemed the Largest next London. The river Aven yt is flowed up by the sea into ye Severn and soe up the Aven to the town, Beares shipps and Barges up to the Key, where I saw ye harbour was full of shipps carrying Coales and all sorts of Commodityes to other parts. The bridge is built over wth houses just as London bridge is, but its not so bigg or Long-there are 4 arches here. They have Little boates wch are Call'd Wherryes such as we use on the Thames, soe they use them here to Convey persons from place to place, and in many places there are signes to many houses that are not Publick houses just as it is in London, the streetes are well pitch'd, and preserved by their useing sleds to Carry all things about. There is a very faire market place and an Exchange set on stone Pillars. In another place there is a very high and magnificent Cross built all of ye stone or sort of Marble of ye Country, its in the manner of Coventry Cross a Piramedy fform running up of a great height, wth severall divisions in nitches where is King Johns Effigy and severall other, adorned wth armes and figures of Beasts and birds and flowers. Great part of it Gilt and painted and soe terminates in a spire on ye top, the Lower part is white Like Marble. Just by the water side is a Long rope yard wch is Encompass'd wth trees on Either side wch are Lofty and shady, therefore its made Choice of for ye Company of ye town to take ye Diversion of walking in the Evening. This Compasses round a Large space of ground wch is Called ye marsh-a green ground. There was noe remaines of the Castle. There are 12 gates to ye Citty, there is a very Large Conduit by ye Key finely Carv'd, all stone, this Conveys the water about ye town but all ye water has a Brackish taste. There is one Church wch is an Entire worke all of stone, noe timbers but ye Rafters and beames belonging to ye Roofe and ye seates they sit in. Ye Leads are very high and Large and very neate kept, the tower 15 stepps upon wch the whole Citty is discover'd, wch by reason of the good gardens and grounds within its walls is a very Large tract of ground in ye whole. There you see the Colledge green in wch stands the Cathedrall and ye Doctors houses, wch are not very fine, built of stone. There are some few monuments in this Church wth good Carvings of stone round ye tombs and some Effigies, there are 8 bells in this Church, there is 2 men goes to ye ringing ye biggest bell. From thence I went 2 miles to ye hott spring of water wch Lookes Exceeding Cleer and is as warm as new milk and much of that sweetness. This is just by St Vincents Rocks yt are Great Clifts wch seeme as bounds to ye river Aven, this Channell was hewn out of those Rocks. They Digg ye Bristol Diamonds wch Look very Bright and sparkling and in their native Rudeness have a great Lustre and are pointed and Like ye Diamond Cutting; I had a piece just as it Came out of ye Rock wth ye Rock on ye back side and it appeared to me as a Cluster of Diamonds polish'd and jrregularly Cut. Some of these are hard and will Endure the Cutting and pollishing by art and soe they make rings and Earings of them, the harder the stone is more valuable, wch differences ye true Diamond that will bear the fire or ye greatest force, and Cannot be divided nor Cut but by some of itself, diamond dust being ye only way they Can Cut diamonds that itself is Capable of Impressing Carracters on Glass.

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

Next Selection Previous Selection