Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

Berkshire and Oxfordshire

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Another Journey I went with my mother into Oxfordshire, by Barkshire to Hungerford 16 mile, which is famous for Crawfish there being a good river and great quantityes of yt fish and large.

This is in Barkshire, thence to Lamborn wch is a woody Country 7 miles, thence to ffarington 7 mile a pretty large place but lyes very watry, and so by Radcote 5 miles, wch is much ye same deep Countryes much on Clay; by ffarington is a fine house of Sr George Pratt's Called Coalsell. All ye avenues to ye house are fine walkes of rows of trees, ye garden lyes in a great descent below ye house of many steps and terresses and walkes one below another, a green walke with all sorts of Dwarfe trees, fruit trees with standing apricot and flower trees, abundance of garden roome and filled with all sorts of things improved for pleasure and use. The house is new built with stone, most of ye offices are partly under ground-Kitchin, Pantry, buttlery and good Cellers and round a Court is all ye other offices and out houses; this is all even with ye back yards. The Entrance of ye house is an ascent of severall steps into a hall so lofty the rooff is three storyes, reaches to ye floore of ye gallery- all the walls are Cutt in hollows where statues and Heads Carved ffinely are sett, Directly fore-right Enters a large Dineing roome or great parlour, which has a door thourough into the garden yt gives a visto through ye house: within yt is a drawing room, on ye other side another roome of the same size, and backward is a little parlour all with good ffurniture, tapistry, Damaske, &. There runs up a pr of back Staires at each end of the house quite to ye top to the gallery which does make convenient all ye Chambers. The great Staires goes out of the hall on each side, spacious and handsom staires runs up and meetes on the landing place, wch is a passage that runs on both sides to each end of the house, but is made private by two doores on each side: on the top of the staires you enter in ye midle into a dineing roome, within that a Chamber on each side with two Closets to each bigg Enough for a little bed, with Chimney's convenient for a servant and for dressing roomes, one of which has a doore also out into that passage and soe to the back staires; this is ye same on ye other end, and also two roomes on ye other side, each end of ye hall which continues to run up even with the second story, which are all good Chambers, and one more here because the great staires goe but to ye first story: they are all well and Genteel'ly furnisht, damaskes Chamlet and wrought beds ffashionably made up. Over this runs a gallery all through the house, and on each side severall garret roomes for servants ffurnished very neate and Genteele, in ye middle are staires yt Lead up to the Cupilow or large Lanthorn in the middle of the leads. Ye house being Leaded all over and the stone Chimney's in severall rows Comes up in them on each side ye Cupilow, it shewes exact and very uniform, as is ye whole Building. This gives you a great prospect of gardens, grounds and woods that appertaine to ye Seate, as well as a sight of the Country at a distance. There was few pictures in the house only over doores and Chimney's; the hall was paved with black and whyte marble and had seates round the roome cut in arches on the walls. From thence Oxfordshire we enter over the Vale of the White horse wch takes its name from a Ridge of high hills on which is Cutt out the shape off a horse in perfect proportions in broad wayes, and is seen a great distance very plaine, the hills being on Chalke look's white and the great valley in the bottom is term'd the Manger; it extends a vast way, a rich jnclosed Country, and we pass through some part of Glocestershire at Norton where is another seat of my Brother Say's- thence to Broughton by Banbery which is 2 5 mile.

Broughton is an ancient Seate of ye Lord viscount Say and Seale; its an old house moted round, and a parke and Gardens, but are much left to decay and ruine when my brother Came to it. He has two other houses in two or three Miles, Shettford a little neate house and gardens, and Newton, but that is mostly pulled down. From Broughton I went to see Edgehill where was the ffamous Battle ffought in Cromwell's tyme-its 10 mile off, the Ridge of hills runns a great length and so high that the land beneath it appeares vastly distant, its a rich ground full of inclosures and lookes finely, tho' fformidable to look down on it and turnes one's head round-the wind allwayes blows wth great violence there because of the Steepeness of ye hills. The top is a flatt full of Barrows and hills that are markes of a Camp and battles.

About 2 mile from Broughton is a great old house much like Broughton; its Sr Robert Dashwoods-most of the great houses there about are old built. About three mile off at Adderbery wch is a pretty neate vilage, there are two or three good houses one of Sr Thomas Cobbs and Lady Rochesters looks neate and well with good gardens. There is about 2 mile off the Lord Guilffords house Roxton which is a good house within a parke. You enter a large hall, on the left hand leads to a little parlour down to ye Kitchins, the halfe pace att the upper end of the hall leads into dineing roome, drawing roome, and a large staire-case with good pictures; there you enter another large dineing roome with great Compass windows and fine Pictures of the family. Within is a drawing roome and Chambers and Closets well proportioned, little or no ffurniture was up, only in ye worst roomes; in one Closet att each doore was Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth's pictures to the ffoote in bibb and apron very pretty: in one roome was the Lord North and Ladyes picture, which was Lord Chiefe Justice and their sonnes picture in the middle, all at length,-many good Pictures in most roomes. There was a part new built all the new ffashion way which was designed for the present Lord Gilford and Lady. The Gardens are very good, the outhouses and Stables handsome.

Banbury is a pretty little town, the streets broad and well pitched, the whole Country is very pleasant and the land rich-a red earth. They make some of their fences with stones-dry walls without Morter. It seemes much on a flatt and you have a large prospect, from thence to London we go by Alesbury 20 mile, thence to London 30 mile.

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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