Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle 1756 1808 is in Diaries.
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle Introduction
The following extracts from the diaries and travelling journals of Mrs. Philip Lybbe Powys, nee Caroline Girle, ranging from a.d. 1756 to 1808, present such an accurate picture of life, manners, and customs of the upper class of that period, that though my work of collating, noting, and linking together the many, some twenty books, lent to me by various members of the family, was chiefly undertaken on their account, I feel that they cannot fail to interest the general reader, containing as they do such interesting anec- dotes of royalty, and other notable people, descriptions of country seats, places, towns, manufactures, amuse- ments, and general habits of the period which now form history, and that, comparatively little studied; for the immediate century beyond our own days, I fancy, is more often ignored, and less understood, than the more distant periods of time, at whatever period we live. My heroine was the daughter of John Girle, Esq., described of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields1, M.D. He owned estates at Beenham, Bucklebury, Padworth, and Ufton, in Berkshire. He married in 1734 Barbara, third daughter, and co-heiress, of John Slaney, Esq., of Yardley and Lulsley, Worcestershire ; their only child, Caroline, was born on December 27, St. John's Day, 1738, old style, but in new style, January 7, 1739. Her father, Mr. Girle, had two sisters : Jane, married to Benjamin Bagley, Esq.; the other, Elizabeth; in 1745, to William Mount, Esq., of Wasing Place, Berks, as his second wife. Mrs. Girle had also two sisters : one, Sarah, married William Goldborough, Esq. ; the other, Mary, married to — Hussey, Esq.
1. Mr. Girle built this house. His daughter states, "We went into the house my father built in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, September 14, 1754.
The arms of Girle quartered with Slaney are: Girle, crest, a gerbe or sheaf of wheat ; arms, gules, on a cross engraved or, a pellet; Slaney, gules, a bend or between three martlets. The present head of the Slaney family is Colonel William St. Kenyon Slaney, of Hatton Grange, Shifnal, Salop. The Slaneys are of a very ancient family; Adolphus de Slainie or Slane, is supposed to have come to England from Bohemia in the Empress Maud's train. The Slaney motto is "Deo duce comite industria." Of Caroline Girle's early youth I can find out little, but that her parents must have been most sedulous in cultivating her bright mind, in fostering her powers of memory, observation, and general intelligence, will be obvious from the following pages.
In Beenham Church, Berks, in the belfry, is a tablet to the memory of John Girle, which tells us all that can now be found out about him :-
"This monument was erected by Mrs. Girle in memory of her deceased husband, John Girle, Esquire, late of Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, London, Surgeon, who having early in life acquired an ample fortune, the just reward of superior eminence, and unremitting diligence in his profession, indulged himself in the pleasing pro- spect of dedicating the remainder of his days to the noblest purpose of humanity, the relief of the distresses, and infirmities, of his indigent fellow-creatures, an office which the goodness of his heart made him ever under- take with readiness, and which the skill of his hand enabled him generally to execute with success. But this pious purpose was broken off by his death, which happened July 5th, 1761, in the 59th year of his age. He married the daughter of John Slaney, of Worcester- shire, by whom he left an only daughter, married to Philip Lybbe Powys, Esquire, of Hardwick, Oxon."
In the burial register it states:-
"John Girle, Esq., of Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, Middlesex, buried July 13, 1761." "Affidavit made according to Act Woollen."
This was an Act of Charles II., to promote the wool industry, which ordered that every corpse should be buried entirely in woollen material, even the coffin lined with same. This Act became gradually less and less enforced, but was not actually repealed till 1815!
"On January 14th, 1801, Barbara, widow of John Girle, aged 86, from Henley, Oxon." His widow, therefore, survived him forty years.
The following journal of Caroline Girle, kept by desire of her father, is the first MSS. of our heroine. The spelling and wording is very old fashioned, but I have adhered to the actual text, which, as time goes on, the reader will perceive gradually forms into a more modern style.
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle 1756
1756. When we went with Mr. Jackson's family into Norfolk, my father, not being of our party, desired me to write him an account of our tour, and to be particular in my description of places or things that might give me entertainment. From those letters I collected the following concise journal; if any one chuses to peruse it, I've only to call their friendship to my aid, which, like affection in a parent, ever draws a veil over errors unintended. Mr. Jackson having been ill the former part of this summer, we did not set out till the 1st of September, but the weather being delightful, and that, a peculiar pleasure in travelling, we regretted not that the autumn was now approaching; a happy chearfulness reigned uninterrupted in our little society, consisting of Mr. and Miss Jackson, my mother, and self, in one coach, young Mr Jackson on horseback, and their other coach follow'd with servants. We breakfasted at Epping, and then I believe had almost got clear of that smoaky fogg which for some miles in tails itself on the Metropolis. Mr. Jackson being still an invalid, we went no further that night than Hockerill, a bad town in the county of Hertfordshire, which itself is woody and pretty. We passed Thorley Hall, formerly a seat of Mr. Raper's1, whose woods, cut into fine walks, are greatly admired. I remember thinking it a charming place, but one is naturally partial to the spots where one has passed our child- hood, and I used to be there every summer. The next day we breakfasted at Chesterford and dined at Newmarket, famous, I believe, for nothing but the races twice a year near it. From leaving this town the face of the country is quite changed; before, our views were excessively limited, now quite unconfined, though far from pleasing, as for twenty miles you go over the heath of Newmarket. Lay at Barton Mills, and when we set out the follow- ing morning, having lost sight of the village, we came on those well-known dismal Brand Sands, in the county of Suffolk, where for thirteen miles you have not literally one tree, no verdure, nothing animate or inanimate, to divert your eye from the barren soil. It is indeed a dismal spot in its present state. I was just reading an account where 'tis said it was once a fine fertile country, but, by an amazing high wind, these horrid sands were blown over from the fens of Lincolnshire. A marvellous event, no doubt, and were I unfortunate enough to reside near there, I should certainly pray for a contrary, just of equal velocity, to convey them back to their original 1756 home. From this account it will easily be believed the sight of the town of Brand was a most pleasing one; not but we had books, a pack of cards, to amuse the old gentleman when he liked it, and I think two or three rubbers of whist was played in these thirteen dull miles. At Brand we breakfasted, and regained the life and spirits we seemed to have lost from our former slow motion, for to make the road still more intolerable, one's animals were obliged to a creeping pace for the whole way, but in a few miles of our evening's journey we had an agreeable contrast, and, to express myself in a style as much elevated as ourselves, we once more beheld the several beauties of the vegetable world, and were again saluted by the winged songsters; in short, every object appeared a wonderful phenomenon. We dined at Swaffham, in Norfolk, nine miles only from Mr. Jackson's. We staid there some hours, and got to Wesenham Hall early in the evening, not too dark but that I could see the situation was pleasing. The house modern and elegant, with every convenience to give it the title of a good one (for, tho' you2 are not unacquainted with it, my journal would be deficient if without this description). It stands in a pretty park, beyond that a heath, which they have planted promiscuously with clumps of firs. Beyond that the country rises to the view. On one side lay the grove and gardens, and behind the village, than which nothing can be in a more rural taste. According to annual custom, the Vicar, and his wife, and near tenants, were at the hall ready to receive us. You know, my dear sir, the hospitable manner Mr. Jackson always lives in, and will not wonder at the joy expressed on his arrival. Never did landlord seem more beloved, or indeed deserve to be so, for he is a most worthy man, and in however high a stile a man lives in in town, which he certainly does, real benevolence is more distin- guishable in a family at their country-seat, and none do more good than that where we now are. Then everything here is regularity itself, but the master's method is, I take it, now become the method of the servants by use as well as choice. Nothing but death ever makes a servant leave them. The old house- keeper has now been there one-and-fifty years; the butler two- or three-and-thirty; poor Mrs. Jackson's maid, now Miss Jackson's, twenty-four, having been married to one of the footmen (their daughter is grown up, and is one of the housemaids). Mrs. Bridges, (nie Jackson), when she married, took her servant with her, but 'tis really a pleasure to see them all so happy. I was surprised to see them all, except on Sundays, in green stuff gowns, and on my inquir- ing of Miss Jackson how they all happened to fix so on one particular colour, she told me a green camblet for a gown used for many years to be an annual present of her mother's to those servants who behaved well, and had been so many years in her family, and that now indeed, as they all behaved well, and had lived there much longer than the limited term, this was constantly their old master's New Year gift. I thought this in Mr. Jackson a pretty compliment to his lady's memory, as well as testimony of the domestics still deserving of his good opinion. They seem to have a vast deal of company, but my mother says not half they used to have in Mrs. Jackson's life- time, when the Orford, Leicester, and Townsend families and theirs, used to meet almost every week 1756 at each other's houses, but then indeed there was young people at each, which generally makes a lively neighbourhood.
1. Who left it to his nephew, Sir John Grant of Rothiemurchus, who sold it to Lord Ellenborough in 1807. Rapers, an old Buckinghamshire family, of Norman descent.
2. Meaning Mr. Girle, her father.
1756. Lord Townsend is not now down at Rainham1, which is very near here, nor are the Leicesters at Holkham. Lord Orford was here the other day, and yesterday we had Mr. and Mrs. Lee Warner of Walsingham,2 and their three sons to dinner, a Mr. Spilman too, whose new odd house we are soon to go and see. On Sundays the tenants dine here in turn, and always the clergyman and his wife, a good kind of ordinary couple. The church is indeed superior to the preaching; but Norfolk is remarkable for fine churches. This at Weasenham has two aisles, and really one is amazed at its appearance,—has been built about seven hundred years. The Vicarage-house I cannot say is answerable, for in my life I never saw one so very despicable; 'tis literally a poor cottage, and even thatched. We have now a Captain Hambleton3, and a Mr. Host here, and Mr. and Mrs. Carr and family dine with us to-morrow. Mr. Jackson's friends are so kind to come to him, though he tells them his health won't permit him to return their visits this summer. You know how he loves company at home, especially when he can have so good a plea as at present for not having the fuss of dining out, as he styles it. If twenty people came in as we were sitting down to table, his dinners are so good they would need no alteration; but the larder is really quite a sight, and different from any I ever saw. 'Tis a large good room they had built on purpose, in an open green court, by the kitchen-garden, with every possible convenience; and I believe always full of everything in season, and the old gentleman often makes us walk there after breakfast that we may all, as he says, have what we like for dinner. The venison and game now in it is astonishing. The Norfolk mutton, too, you know, is famous; but theirs particu- larly so. They kill all their own, and never eat it in the parlour under three weeks, but in their larder it might keep six, they say. We went the other day to see Houghton Hall4, the seat of Lord Orford, about seven miles from hence; the building is stone, and stands in a park of a thousand acres. Its outside has rather too heavy an appearance, on the in, the fitting up and furniture very superb; and the cornishes and mould- ings of all the apartments being gilt, it makes the whole what I call magnificently glaringly, more especially as the rooms are, instead of white, painted dark green olive; but this most likely will be soon altered. The body of the house consists of sixteen rooms on a floor, besides two large wings, the one offices, the other, the famed picture gallery, seventy-five feet in length. 'Tis impossible to conceive how strikingly fine this gallery of paintings5 is, far indeed beyond my describing, for I can't even describe one quarter of the pleasure I had in viewing them; but yet I am sure you can guess, knowing what an en- 1756 thusiastic daughter yours is when pictures are the subject; but this Lord's is, I believe, esteemed the best collection we have in England. I shall bring you home a catalogue, as I've taken the pains to copy a written one the late Lord gave to Mr. Jackson ; every room indeed is adorn'd by them, so that altogether Houghton is exceedingly well worth seeing.
1. Rainham Hall, erected by Inigo Jones, 1630; enlarged by Viscount Townsend, Secretary of State to George I. and II.
2. Walsingham Priory, once famous for its shrine of the Virgin ; an object of pilgrimage.
3. Probably Hamilton, as through the Memoirs Hamilton is constantly so spelled.
4. Houghton Hall, built by Sir Robert Walpole between 1722-38, from designs by Colin Campbell. Belongs now to Marquis of Cholmon- deley by inheritance.
5. This famous gallery, sold by George, third Earl Orford, in 1779, to the Empress Catherine of Russia, to the annoyance of his family and the loss of the nation.
Since my last letter we have had company every day to dinner, as Sir William Turner and gentlemen that were with him ; another day Sir Harry and Lady Lestrange, Captain Wilson, &c. ; a third, the Croft family. One morning we went to pay a droll visit to see an odd house, of a still odder Mr. Spilman I before mentioned, a most strange old bachelor of vast fortune, but indeed I'll not fall in love with him. We were introduced to him in the library, where he seemed deep in study (for they say he is really clever), sitting in a jockey-cap and white stiff dog's gloves. I think I never shall forget his figure at that instant; but I must, in order to give you that of his house, equally out of the common style as himself, but to see the man one no longer wonders at the oddity of the edifice he has just finished. 'Tis in a large park, its form the half H. You ascend a flight of twenty-one steps, which, as they don't spread out as usual towards the bottom, seems as if you were mounting a perpendicular staircase; you enter a hall, striking from its strange dimensions, being five cubes of eighteen feet, so it's ninety feet long by eighteen! and might rather be termed a gallery. Besides this (as 'tis only one floor and no staircase), there is a saloon, library, two parlours, and three bed-chambers, all the offices and servants' rooms are underground. The chimney- pieces, tables, &c, are of green marble from Sweden; all the doors solid walnut-tree, off the estate, and every room paved with Ketton stone. This, as we ventured to tell him, we thought too cool, but his reply was, "I never catch colds"; indeed, we might suppose from his looks that he was not like other mortals; in short 'tis impossible to innumerate each oddity throughout the place, so that I shall not attempt it ... We have had Dr. and Mrs. Hammond here; he is one of the Prebends of Norwich, and a nephew of Lord Orford's, she a niece of Lord Walpole's. I had heard young Jack- son, who, you know, is particularly clever himself, talk much of the understanding, and ready wit of this lady. She is indeed amazingly sensible, and many lively conversations have pass'd between those two, to our very high entertainment. We have had Sir Wm. Harbord here for some days. Sir William, and all the families I've mentioned as visiting here, most obligingly insisted on seeing us at each of their houses, but as we could not at this season go and return at night to the more distant ones, and could not go to some without returning all, we declined at once all these obliging invitations; indeed, as we came down now merely to keep the old gentleman company, it would have been cruel to have left him so many days by himself; he would make us go one morning tho' to see Lord Leicester's; to this we consented, tho' eighteen miles off; as we had heard so much of this place we could not quit Norfolk, which we now talked of, in a few days without going there; so last Friday we set out very early in the morning, ordering dinner later than usual.
The name of the magnificent seat is Holkham1; two miles before you come to the house is a grand triumphal arch2, the rusticated ornaments of which are very fine; from this you have the new planta- tions, which when grown will have a noble effect, on each side for two miles, in front a grand obelisk3, a church4, the numerous buildings in the grounds, and the whole terminated by the sea, tho' that is distant; at the end of this avenue are two lodges. And now entering the park, you have a view of a stone building, esteemed the most elegant of its kind in England. It has already been thirty years begun, and is not yet completed; but when that era arrives it will be magnificent indeed! It ex- tends 380 feet in front, the grand hall is the height of the house, which is fifty feet; round it is a colo- nade of alabaster pillars which give it a noble appear- ance.... Fronting you is three steps along a vast way into the hall, which they call the Tribune. This rise has a pretty effect; from this you come into a fine saloon, hung with crimson velvet, the cornishes richly gilt, many capital pictures standing there to be put up. On one side of the saloon is a dressing- room, bed-chamber, and inner apartment, called the Duke of Cumberland's, all to be hung with and furnished as the saloon; on the other side are the same rooms, called the Duke of Bedford's, hung and furnished with crimson damask. A gallery 120 feet long is of its kind the most superbly elegant I ever saw, but the whole house deserves that dis- tinction. The gallery is painted a dead white, with ornaments of gilding; at each end is an octagon, the one fitted up as a library, the other with busts, bronzes, and curiosities too numerous to mention. This is the centre of the house, besides are four wings; one contains all the offices in general, all answerable to the rest; such an amazing large and good kitchen I never saw, everything in it so nice and clever; but I've heard Mr. Jackson talk of Lady Leicester's great notability; they are there often, you know, for a week together; she never misses going round this wing every morning, and one day he was walking by the windows, and saw her ladyship in her kitchen at six o'clock (a.m.), thinking all her guests safe in bed, I suppose. Her dairy is the neatest place you can imagine, the whole marble; in Norfolk they never skim their cream off, as in other places, but let the milk run from it; these things here are all too of marble, so that it all looks so delicate, and the butter made into such pretty patts hardly larger than a sixpence. The second wing is called the Chapel wing, tho' that is not yet built. The third is now finishing with grand sets of apartments for the company they may have with them; and in the fourth wing is the eating-room, drawing-room, library, bed-chambers, dressing-rooms, constantly used by Lord and Lady Leicester5 them- selves, and in a closet here of her ladyship's we saw the miniature pictures of the family for a series of years past, done by the best hands. In this little cabinet, too, are a thousand curiosities of various kinds, among the pictures was their daughter-in- 1756 law, the beautiful Lady Mary Coke6 and their son7 Lord Coke, who they had lately lost, to their inex- pressible grief, being their only child. He and his lady I think were far from being happy. The situa- tion of Holkham I don't say much of; the grounds indeed are laid out with taste, and everything done that can be to strike the eye, but still it must boast more of art than Nature's charms, and to me the reverse is so much more pleasing; but indeed I do not admire Norfolk's country; 'tis dreary, 'tis unpleasing; in short, I wished a house like Lord Leicester's in a spot more delightful, more answerable to itself. We had a breakfast at Holkham in the genteelest taste, with all kinds of cakes and fruit, placed un- desired in an apartment we were to go through, which, as the family were from home, I thought was very clever in the housekeeper, for one is so often asked by people whether one chuses chocolate, which forbidding word puts (as intended), a negative on the question. The roads being not very good, we had made poor Mr. Jackson wait dinner some hours; but as we expressed ourselves so pleased with our morning's excursion he was happy. We found Captain Hambleton with him. The next day Sir Harry and Lady Lestrange came to dinner, and the following ones we staid many came to take their leave of this family before their return to town, as Dr. and Mrs. Hammond, Mr. Host, Mrs. Langley, the Crofts, Mrs. Rinks, and others. On Tuesday young Jackson is to go to pay a visit to Sir Thomas Hare's8 family, and meet us on Friday on the road at Hockerill. Saturday morning we are all to pay a visit to Mr. Jackson at Theobalds, and shall be in town to dinner about five, where we shall be most happy in seeing you after so long an absence, and I'm desired by the family not to forget that they insist on seeing you at their house at the time of our arrival. And now, my dear sir, I've given, as you desired, a sort of journal of our tour. You must pardon my many mistakes, as I think I may plead you are the author of them all! However, as apologies only would innumerate them, I shall say nothing more than that six weeks cannot be spent more agreeably than at Weasenham Hall, though the description might have been more entertaining from an abler pen than that of your ever obliged and dutiful, Caroline Girle.
1. Holkham, built by first Viscount Coke, afterwards Earl of Leicester; house built about 1744; architect, Kent.
2. Arch designed by Wyattville.
3. Obelisk eighty feet high; first work erected in 1729.
4. Of the fourteenth century with additions in fifteenth and sixteenth; dedicated to St. Withburga; restored 1868, at cost of £10,000.
5. Was Lady Mary Tufton, fourth daughter; co-heir of Thomas, sixth Earl of Thanet.
6. Lady Mary Campbell, daughter and co-heir of John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich.
7. Edward, Viscount Coke, died S.P. 1753.
8. Stowe Hall, near Downham.
The counties went through were Essex, Hertford- shire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk. Towns we stopped at. Distance from London.
Epping .... 17 miles.
Hockerill .... 3 miles
Chesterford .... 45 miles
Newmarket .... 61 miles
Brand .... 79 miles
Swaffham .... 95 miles
Wesenham Hall .... 104 miles
On our return through Chesterford in October, it was most exceedingly pretty to see all the fields covered with saffron, which, being in itself a beautiful purple and white flower like a crocus, it has a very pleasing effect. Mr. Jackson did tell me what the clergymen's tythe of saffron only came to in this parish, but I thought it, I remember, quite incredible.
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle 1757
Between the tour in Norfolk and the next journal of travel, the following extracts are taken from Miss Girle's dairy :—
14 Mar 1757. March 14th, 1757.—Admiral Byng shot on board the Monarque at twelve at noon. From his walking out of the cabin to his being taken back dead, ex- ceeded not two minutes. Happy that a scene so shocking could be so soon closed.
30 Apr 1757. April 30th, 1757. — Went to see the Earl of Chesterfield's new house in South Audley Street. The whole very magnificent.
JOURNAL OF A TOUR INTO YORKSHIRE AND DERBYSHIRE 1757
In one of those delightful morns when Nature is decked in every pleasing ornament we quitted the tumultuous scene, left all the pomp and grandeur of the great Metropolis for prospects more serenely gay, blended with every elegant simplicity of rural charms. The variegated objects that now presented themselves to view were, as Milton finely expresses it— "Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, And liquid copse of murmuring streams; by these Creatures that liv'd, and woo'd, and walk'd, or flew, Birds on the branches warbling, all things smil'd With fragrance, and with joy my heart o'erflowed." I've so great a partiality for the country that I could not help inserting here the above five lines of this celebrated author, in which he gives one so strong an idea of its several beauties, but I digress no longer, and resume the subject of our journey. In the county of Hertford, about twenty-four miles from London, is a town called Hatfield. Our route being before fixed, this was the place we proposed to breakfast at. While there, travellers being gene- rally desirous to view each object that is deemed curious, we went to see a monument in the church in memory of the first Earl of Salisbury, which we were told was worth seeing. It was so, being of statuary marble and kept extremely neat. Formerly a royal palace added lustre to this town, at which Edward VI. was brought up and educated. We that day dined at Baldock1, drank tea at Eton2 in Bed- fordshire, and by eight in the evening got to Bugden3 in Huntingdonshire; in the time necessary for preparing supper we went to take an outside view of an old palace now belonging to the Bishop of Lincoln. It appears to have been a fine building, and place of great security, by the height of its surrounding walls, with a moat and drawbridge, to prevent at pleasure any one's approach. After our walk we again returned to our inn. The next morn we breakfasted at Stilton4, and proposed taking Burleigh Hall in our way to Stamford, tho' we feared obtaining a sight of it, the present Lord having not long been in possession. The whole was then repairing, and we had been told he was not fond of strangers seeing it while it bore so ruinous an appearance. However, we were more fortunate than we expected, for as we were walking in the gardens, standing still on a nearer approach to 1757 the house (which seems almost of itself a little town), Lord Exeter1 happened to be overlooking his work- men, and reading, as I suppose, curiosity in our countenances, politely asked if the ladies chose to see it, our reply being in the affirmative, he himself informed us where was the most easy entrance. The rooms are spacious and lofty, the staircase grand, which with many apartments, the late Earl's closet, the ceilings, hall, chapel, &c, are all painted by Vario6, whom his Lordship kept twelve years in his family, wholly employ'd in them (allowing him a coach, horses, servants, a table, and considerable pension). The front towards the garden is the most ancient and noble structure that can be imagined. Indeed, from wherever you see it, the towers, pinnacles, and large spire over the centre give it an air too grand to be described by pen. The whole is of freestone. 'Twas built by Sir William Cecil in the time of Elizabeth. He was afterwards by her created Baron Burleigh. There are many good pictures, but then not hung up as intended to be. Having spent some time in seeing Burleigh Hall, we proceeded on to Stamford, a town in Northamptonshire, about a mile distant. We went thro' part of Rutlandshire. That afternoon drank tea at Colesworth7, and got to Grantham, in Lincolnshire, that night. The next day, being Sunday, we pro- pos'd staying at the above place till Monday morn. The church8 at Grantham (at which we were twice on Sunday), is a Gothic structure deserving observation, and would have made a very fine appearance, had they not concealed it from view by other buildings till one is within a few steps of the grand entrance. This for the honour of the town is rather unfortunate, as 'tis eclipsing its only beauty. In the evening we went to Belton House, the seat of Lady Cust. 'Tis nothing more than a good family house. Two things relative to it we were desired to remember, viz., that the original of sash windows was at the erecting of this edifice in Charles I.'s time; the second, that from a temple in the garden called Belle Mount you may see seven counties at once, a thing from one spot thought very remarkable. Having stayed pretty late at Belton, we only got back just at supper-time, and early next day quitted Grantham, breakfasted at Newark, Nottinghamshire, an ancient and neat town situated on the Trent; formerly, though now ruinous, there was a castle there, built by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln9. We dined at Carlton, drank tea at Tadcaster10. From this place we had nine miles only to go before we reached a city so famous that our expecta- tions had form'd an idea of a place that would almost equal the grand Metropolis; but, York, I must depre- ciate you so far as to give it as my opinion that by many degrees you merit not the title of the least resemblance. We entered its gates about seven in the evening, not an hour so late (at this season) as to give the city the dull aspect it then seem'd to wear; but we had a reason assigned to us for this, that I believe might be a just one, viz., that in summer all the principal inhabitants retire into the country. How- ever to us it appeared a most indifferent town. 'Tis situated on the confluence of the Ouse and Foss rivers, and reckon'd a wholsom and clear air. The streets 1757 (hardly deserving such an appellation), are extremely narrow, the houses seemingly very indifferent, and indeed the whole city, three things excepted (viz. the Cathedral, Castle, and Assembly Room), a perfect contrast to what we thought it had been. The Minster is indeed a building curiously magnificent. I think it surpasses, at least on the outside, West- minster Abbey. 'Twas rebuilt in the reign of Stephen, having been burnt down with the whole city before the Conquest. The carving in stone is exces- sively fine, and what with the solemnity of the struc- ture, joined to that of the organ, which at our entrance was playing, I think I never experienced a more pleasing awful satisfaction than at the first view of this noble Cathedral. From hence we went to the Castle. 'Tis now a prison, and may be styl'd a grand one, the felons having a large place by day allotted for them in the open air, a liberty at other places they have not room to allow these wretches. We saw above forty then there. The sight of so many unhappy objects greatly depress'd us, tho', strange as it appeared, but one, of so great a number had a countenance even seemingly dejected, nor look'd as if they felt for themselves, what even our pity for their supposed distress made us ex- perience. Having staid at the Castle a very short time, we went next to the Assembly Room, the third and last place worthy our notice. 'Tis in form an Egyptian Hall; its dimensions 112 feet by 40, and 30 in height; the seats crimson damask, and all the furniture quite in taste, and 'tis called the completest ball-room in England. By Wednesday noon we had gone over the renown'd city. It was, it seems, before it was burnt down almost four times as large as at present. We quitted it about six on Wednesday evening, proposing in our way to Malton that night to see the seat of Lord Carlisle. Castle Howard11 is fifteen miles distant from York; the situation pleasing. The house is of vast extent (340 feet), and makes a fine appearance at the distance, but I think the rooms in general too small, though in the wing now build- ing there seems by the plan some fine apartments to be intended. The whole is of stone, the furniture is magnificent, and there are many curiosities that my Lord12 brought over with him fifteen years since from Italy and other countries, such as pictures, busts, figures of oriental alabaster, and above thirty diffe- rent sorts of Egyptian marbles, with other things too numerous to mention, as valuable as ornamental, having a fine effect as one passes through the several apartments. The house stands in a wood; the park is a very fine one; in that is a grand mausoleum, but it was unfortunately too late for our walking to it, as the evening drew on before we had hardly seen the house. We lay at Malton, five miles from thence, break- fasted next at Yettingham, and so on to Scarborough. 'Tis impossible to conceive a sweeter prospect than one has of this town when at about half a mile dis- tant. The ruins of a fine old- castle on a prodigious eminence forms a most pleasing point of view, the town seemingly scatter'd on the brow of the same hill to complete its beauty, and the sea at a small distance terminates the whole. We got there about two; after adapting our dress to that of a public place, call'd on some friends then there, who shew'd us the 1757 rooms, inform'd us of the customs of the place, and made the short time we stay'd pass most agreeably. In the evening we walked up to the Castle, but the fogg was so great from the sea as totally to hinder the extensive view they assured us the immense height afforded. About a mile from the town is their famous medicinal springs13, said to partake of the different qualities of vitriol, alum, iron, nitre, and salt. The company meet here before breakfast to drink the waters. The next morning we were of the group in this agreeable walk on the sands, though fatiguing to invalids, as from the town one descends above a hundred steps. At the Spaw is two rooms, one call'd the gentleman's, the other the ladies', and a terrass commanding a most delightful prospect. At our return to our lodgings we found Mr. and Mrs. Handley, but had their company only for that evening, tho' some hopes of again meeting in York- shire. As we left Scarborough the following day, lay at Whittwell, the morning after breakfasted at York, dined at Ferry Bridge, where Mr. Pem. Milnes and Miss Slater met us to conduct us to the house of the former at Wakefield, the end of our intended tour for the present, as we were there to meet our friend Mrs. Hooper, and had promised to spend a month with her in visiting her nieces, the two Mrs. Milnes. She was got there a day or two before us, and we arrived just as the family were sitting down to supper. We had great pleasure in the meeting after a very long absence, and spent our time most agreeably during our stay, tho' we could have wished not quite so much visiting as we were obliged to give way to. A few days after we came, my father went with the gentlemen to Lord Rockingham's, and returned vastly pleased with his visit, which was two days, and with Wentworth House. Another day they took him to dine at Sir Roland Whin's. We went one day to Westerton, Mr. Birt's, a gentleman of large fortune, who has since bought and rebuilt in a superb manner Wenvo Castle, in Glamorganshire—I hear a most delightful spot. I cannot say as much for Westerton, or village, surrounded by coal-yards; but as sinking these pits raised Wenvo Castle, neither Mr. Birt or his family, I dare say, think them odious. 'We had the curiosity to walk and take a near outside view of one seventy yards deep. The manner they work them is strange, and not a little dangerous, as they are obliged to have candles, and sometimes with a roof so low that the men dig on their knees. This in a place where there is nothing but coal makes it surprising there is not frequent accidents. They have two boxes which are alternately pulled up and down by pullies worked by a horse, which goes round and round in a sort of a well. In short, the whole process is curiously frightful, and yet Mr. Birt told us many ladies even venture down the pits to see the entire manner of it. This I think one should rather be excused.
1 A market-town fifteen miles north-west from Hertford.
3. Buckden, once a favourite residence of the Bishops of Lincoln; granted to them by Abbot of Ely, temp. Henry I.
4. Stilton gave its name to the famous cheese, first made by Mrs. Paulet of Wymondham, Leicestershire, who sold it to Cooper Thornhill of the Bell Inn there : now made in Leicestershire.
5. Brownlow, ninth Earl of Exeter.
6. Antonio Verrio, celebrated painter, time of Charles II.
7. Colsterworth; Sir Isaac Newton born there.
8. Dedicated to St. Wulfram; a church here before the Conquest.
9 Time of King Stephen.
10. Ancient market-town in West Riding.
11 Castle Howard, built about 1702 by Sir John Vanbrugh for Charles, third Earl of Carlisle.
12 Henry, fourth Earl of Carlisle.
13 There are two springs. They consist of carbonate and sulphates of lime and magnesia, not vitriol.
At our return home that evening we were talk- ing of the Moravians and the oddness of their wor- ship, and Mr. Milnes, who most obligingly wished us to see everything worth observation, told us he really thought we should be entertained. To see anything of their manner one must be there on a Sunday, and the morrow being so, we agreed for once, as we none of us usually travell'd on Sunday, to make it a day of amusement—a thing always to be avoided, in my opinion, by people of a station in life to make any day their own, and I ever am surprised 'tis not thought rather vulgar than fashionable by the great to make that day a day of travelling, as it always is done, when 'tis the only one the lowest traders can spare to take their pleasure in. Early the next morning we set out and got to Pudsey1 about ten. The situation is charming. On a pleasing eminence commanding the most de- lightful prospect they have erected three houses. The centre one is their chapel and house of their clergyman, in which he only and all their children constantly reside. The house on the one side is all for unmarried men, that on the other for the single Sisters, as 'tis call'd. Those bound by the matri- monial shackles reside in or near the village of Pudsey, but send all their children to the centre mansion to be properly educated in their religion. What that is, I never heard determined; some people imagine it borders on the Roman Catholic As we ascended the hill their band of music struck up, and in my life I think I never was so charmed. It con- sists of organ, French horns, clarinets, and flutes, hautboys, and every kind of instrument, joyn'd by the most harmonious voices one ever heard. The congregation were just enter'd the chapel as we did, their men ranging themselves on forms at one side, the women on the other. They were extremely civil to us as strangers, seating us according to the above method. The clergyman at first got into the pulpit and read some sentences from a book which the people made responses to, and often sang in chorus, accompanied by the full band of music, which had an effect most amazingly fine indeed. After, the same man preach'd a sermon replete with incoherent nonsense, all extemporary; the text was "My Lord, and my God." After the sermon the children are admitted, and not till then; they walk in two and two, and the clergyman being come down from the pulpit, they are placed before him on forms. They first sang very prettily; he afterwards talked to them near a quarter of an hour, but on subjects far above the comprehension of their tender years. After this they sang again, and then retired in the order they came, looking most beautifully, being most sweet children, and the dress of the female infants adding to their beauty. The men and boys have nothing unusual in their dress, but that of the women has something in it extremely odd yet pretty, plain to a degree yet pleasing, because accompanied by the utmost neat- ness, an ornament ever adorning to the meanest habit; their gowns white linen, close to the shape, their cap comes over the face like our largest French nightcaps, rounding over the cheek and coming down in a peak over the forehead, and sets close to the face, no hair being seen. To distinguish the ladies, all married Sisters tie the cap under the chin with a large bunch of blue ribbons, the widows white, and the single Sisters with pink, but the knots round the caps of all is muslin, broad-hemmed. We were now told the service of the morning was over. We wanted to see the sleeping-room of the women, but were told it could not be seen till after dinner, and 1757 we had much too far to go home for us to stay longer. We had been told it was well worth seeing. The odd description we had of it is as follows :—Eighty beds, each just large enough for one person, all of white dimity, and a most perfect neatness all throughout the apartment. Every night one woman walks up and down this gallery with a lighted taper in her hand till daybreak, and this ceremony they perform by turn. We spent an hour in walking round and making all inquiries about this odd sect of people, and came away charmed with the situation and music, if but little edified with their religion. So far indeed we agreed that the Moravians and monks, bore a resemblance to each other, as both chose the finest spots for their monastic residences, that the most pleasing objects without, might compensate for the gloomy ones within: We dined at Leeds on our way.
1. The Moravian settlement here was founded in 1748. The Bohemian or Moravian Brethren date back to the tenth century, but were not established in England till the middle of the eighteenth century. Their belief is very like the Church of England. They have an episcopate, and claim to be an original Church, uncontaminated with Roman doctrine.
The next morning my father left us, being obliged to return to London, but he went round by Mr. Slater's in Derbyshire for a few days. That day we dined at a family's near Leeds, a town very popular, and carrying on a vast trade in the woollen manu- factures, but nothing extraordinary in its appearance. Having spent a fortnight now at Mr. Pem. Milnes, Mrs. Hooper, Mr. and Mrs. Handley (who were guests come from Scarborough), Mr. and Miss Slater, my mother and myself, adjourn'd, according to pro- mise, to the other Mr. Milnes, where we spent a second most pleasing fourteen days, the two families being always together in a continual state of visiting; but the destin'd time of our party leaving Yorks for Derbyshire being arrived, we set off to see other obliging friends, tho' not without concern at quitting these who had so hospitably entertain'd us. We got to Mr. Slater's the day following. We found Derby- shire not indeed so extensive a county, but as more romantic it's more pleasing than Yorkshire, and though at the same time remarkable for producing many commodities in great plenty. The finest lead in England, iron, &c, 'tis full of quarries of free stone, greatstone, brimstone, black and grey marble, crystal, alabaster, and sometimes there is found antimony. The vales produce great quantities of corn, and the mountainous parts coal-pits; but what adds beauty to this county is the parks and forests, and inequality of hills and dales that so diversify the landscape. About a week after our large party arrived at Mr. Slater's there came two other ladies and four gentlemen to the races, which were to begin on the next day. One of the later was Mr. Pem. Milnes, whose pleasure at seeing his only child, a sweet girl of three years old, gave us all the highest satisfaction. She had been here ten months with her grandmama, on account of the small- pox being at Wakefield. On the Wednesday, having dined early, we set off in different carriages, and seven gentlemen on horseback for the course, about three, came back to tea about eight. Sir Harry Hemloak, his two sisters, and more company returned with us, and about ten we went to the Assembly Room, where the Duke of Devonshire1 always presided as master of the ceremonies, and after the ball gave an elegant cold supper, where, by his known politeness and affa- bility, it would be unnecessary for me to say how amiable he made himself to the company. We got home about five. The next evening were at the concert, as the same company usually met at that on the second night, and on the third day again went to 1757 the course. There came back with us to tea the Duke of Devonshire, Mr and Miss Simpson2, and two Miss Bourns, the first young lady a most beautiful girl indeed. That evening's ball was equally brilliant as the first night, and both gave us as strangers a high idea of these annual assemblies at Chesterfield, which town in itself has but a poor appearance. I must not forget to mention, what indeed I had before read of, the oddity of the spire of the church there, which, indeed, 'tis hardly possible not to observe, as from whatever side of the town you view it, it always appears leaning towards you, and very crooked. Whether at first purposely contrived so as to raise wonder at the builder, or, as it is lead, whether the sun may not have warp't it, seems uncertain, as the country people differ greatly in their sentiments on the subject. One afternoon we were most agreeably entertained at Mrs. Bourn's, where we went to tea. Their gardens are charming, and as we drank tea in one of the buildings, the family being very musical and charming voices, the young ladies sang, while the gentlemen accompanied on their German flutes. This little concert took up the heat of the day, after which we walk'd over the grounds. When in a little temple, on entering we laughed exceedingly at the rural politeness of our beaux; but as gentlemen of the army are always gallant, we were the less surprised at our elegant collation of fruit, cakes, cream, placed in the most neat and rustic manner imaginable. This made us rather late home; but we had passed the afternoon and evening too agreeably to repine at that.
1. William, fourth Duke of Devonshire.
2. Afterwards Lady Bridgman.
Some of our race party had now left us, among them a most agreeable young lady, Miss Gisbourne. I remember that day the neighbourhood were a little alarmed at hearing above a hundred and fifty men, with oaken clubs, had entered Chesterfield, and were making a vast riot. The gentlemen were assembled on a turnpike meeting, and these fellows were certain it was about the Militia Act1 which it seems they had a most unconquerable aversion to, and were deter- min'd to oppose. It was some hours before they would hear at all; but when convinced they had been misinformed, retired very peaceably. Poor Mrs. Slater was soon after the races taken very ill, and confined to her bed and room some days. We feared, as no doubt it was, her over-attention to her friends, having the house so very full of company ; but we had soon the pleasure to see her perfectly recovered, when she was, as she was ever, attentive to our entertain- ment. She took us to see a house of the Duke of Devonshire's, called Hardwick, nine miles from Chesterfield. The situation is fine. It was built in 1578 by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury. Of course it is antique, and render'd extremely curious to the present age, as all the furniture is coeval with the edifice. Our ancestors' taste for substantialness in every piece makes us now smile; they too would, could they see our delicateness in the same articles, smile at us, and I'm certain, if any one was to compare three or four hundred years hence a chair from the drawing-room of Queen Elizabeth's days and of the light French ones of George II., it would never be possible to suppose them to belong to the same race of people, as the one is altogether gigantic, and the other quite liliputian. This house was rendered famous, 1757 too, as Mary, Queen of Scots, was most of the seven- teen years she was a prisoner to the Earl of Shrews- bury confin'd here; her rooms of state and chamber are shewn, her bed only remov'd, as that was seized for plunder in the Civil Wars. Everything else remains as it then was, and the apartment hung with the unfortunate Queen's work, representing in symbo- lical figures and allusive mottoes all virtues; but after all far more celebrated for beauty than goodness; but how much so ever her conduct deserves censure, she certainly deserved not the fate she met from the hand she received it, which greatly sullies the memory of the otherwise ever to be admired Elizabeth, who one hardly can think had a right to deprive her so long of liberty, much more of life. But not to revive a subject which so long has lain dormant, I'll bid adieu to that and a place which afforded us vast pleasure from the unusual antiquity of the whole, and from being kept so exceed- ingly neat as it was throughout....
1. This Act, passed by the Commons, was eventually thrown out by the Lords.
The next day we went to visit a family at Walton Hall1, another sweet situation, and a few mornings after went to see Mr. Rhodes of Barle- borough Hall. The approach to the latter is as fine an avenue of ancient elms as I ever saw, from the bottom of which the old mansion is very striking, it being built by Judge Rhodes in the reign of Elizabeth; there is a church here, a curiosity from its being so diminutive; 'tis hardly possible to con- ceive its smallness. Mr. Rhodes, by fitting it up with mahogany pulpit, his own seat, &c, has made it so elegantly neat, that 'tis as well worth seeing as a magnificent cathedral!
1. Since the seat of Charles Waterton, the naturalist.
After having spent our time most agreeably with our Derbyshire, as we had before done with our York- shire friends, our London party set out on our return to the Metropolis, but in our way back was to stay a few days at Matlock and see Chatsworth; the latter we did the morning we left Mr. Slater's, it being about ten miles distant. This celebrated seat in the Peak of Derbyshire of his Grace of Devon- shire I must own does not quite answer what report had taught me to expect, tho' undoubtedly striking; but I was told it would appear less so to us than to strangers in general by the Slaters having a key to go through his Grace's grounds, a better and much shorter road than the public one, but that did not give one near so picturesque a view of Chatsworth's situation as if we had gone down to it all at once from the barren moors. The house is of stone, and the architecture thought very fine, twenty-two rooms on a floor; the windows of the principal storey, seventeen feet in height, are all looking-glass, of panes two feet wide, the frames double gilt; the door, and window-frames, and staircases of marble; ceilings and some apartments painted by Verrio and other celebrated artists; there is some fine tapestry, and in one chamber a most elegant bed, and furniture of fine old print set upon Nankeen, which has a very pretty effect, as the colour of the ground sets off the work. There are many fine pictures; one range of rooms they still style Mary, Queen of Scots, as she was some time here, as well as at his Grace's other seat of Hardwick; there is a very elegant chapel, the altar and font fine marble, seats and gallery cedar, the walls and ceiling painted. The front towards the garden is esteemed a most regular piece of architecture. The frieze under the cornice has the family motto upon it, in gilt letters so large as to take up the whole length, tho' only two words, "Cavendo Tutos," which are as appli- cable to the situation of the house as the name of the family. The waterworks, which are reckoned the finest in England, were all played off, may be said to be more grand than pleasing, as there is a formality in them, particularly the grand cascade, which takes off every idea of the rural scene they are supposed to afford one, and a kind of triflingness (if I may make a word), in the copper1 willow-tree, and other contrivances beneath the dignity of the place. The gardens are fine. The very disadvan- tages of the situation contriving to their beauty. On the east side, not far distant, rises a prodigious mountain, so thick planted with beautiful trees that you only see a wood gradually ascending, as if the trees crowded one above the other to admire the stately pile before them. 'Tis said that Marshal Tallard when he returned to his own country, when he reckoned up the days of his captivity, said he should always leave out those he spent at Chatsworth; and I must own this magnificent (tho' at the same time gloomy), place may justly be stiled one of the won- ders of the Peake.... In speaking of the waterworks, I forgot to mention the length of the great cascade, 220 yards long with twenty-three falls. In prose- cuting our journey of about eleven miles, 'tis hardly possible to describe the variety of beauties; some- times we were like Don Quixote, almost imagining ourselves enchanted, at another terrified by the huge rocks, which by their stupendous height seemed to threaten every minute to crush us by their fall. In the greatest of our terrors (when in a very narrow road, the above-mention'd rocks on one side, and an immense precipice down to the river on the other), we could not help laughing at the calm answer of one of the postillions, who by often going, I suppose, had not an idea of the danger we apprehended, for only calling out to beg he'd let us walk, and saying, "Where, friend, are you going?" "Only to Matlock Baths, ladies." So indeed we knew, but at that moment doubted the wisdom of our driver, who, however conveyed us very safe to the destined spot. Ceremony seems banished from this agreeable place,. as on entering the long room strangers as well as acquaintances most politely made inquiries about the terrors of the way, &c, which themselves had before experienced. The very early hour of rising at Matlock, gave us the next morning a still finer idea of the uncommon beauties of the place, as a most glorious day gave it additional lustre. The time of bathing is between six and seven, the water warm, and the pleasantest to drink that can be; at eight the company meet in the long room to breakfast in parties. This room and baths were built in 1734 by Stephen Egglinton. 'Tis a very good one, fifty feet long, windows all the way on each side, commanded the most romantic views, one way a fine terrace, beyond that a lawn extended to the river Derwent, which latter is a continual pleasing murmur by the current forcing itself over large pieces of rock; over this rises a most picturesque and natural shrubbery, to an immense and perpendicular height on the crag of rocks. On the left is seen Matlock High Torr, a rocky mountain which, from the surface of the water 1757 to the top, is 445 feet. As there is always a cool spot among the woods, walking seems the particular amuse- ment of the place. At two the bell rings for dinner, and, as before said, ease without unnecessary cere- mony reigns here. Every one sits down without any form, those who come first by the rule taking the uppermost seats at the long table. There is a gallery for a band of music, who play the whole time of meals, The fatigue of dress, too, is at this public place quite avoided, as hats are general, as the company walk again till evening, when there is a ball in the long room till supper, and sometimes after. Every one retires very early, as few card-tables are seen, gaming not having yet reached this rural spot. The Boat- house, as 'tis call'd, we went one afternoon to drink tea at, where we bought curiosities of spars, &c, of the miners, men employed to the number of above ten thousand about Matlock only. We went, too, one morning to see them melt lead at a village near, call'd Cumford, but the heat was so intense we did not stay long among them; and the poor souls told us was often very prejudicial to them. That evening we went in a barge on the river, but it being not navi- gable, 'tis but in few places the stones and craginess of the rocks will allow of boats. Every evening almost we found new company on our return to supper. Tho' the numbers perhaps were lessn'd, as most likely as many were gone off the same morning, about a hundred generally assembled at dinner. I heard Miss Slater, who sometimes makes a stay there, say that two or three days has made a total change of inhabitants. We tried one evening to ascend the prodigious rock I before spoke of, call'd Matlock High Torr. Many do, it seems, perform it, but I own I was frighted before I had got a quarter of the way up, and each object below began to appear so diminutive that I, even with some others, consented to be ridi- culed for my fears, and with vast joy got down again as soon as possible, and even thought I felt giddy for hours after, and thought myself most happy when I got into the grove, one of the sweetest walks in Matlock.
1. On pulling a string this sham tree deluges the stranger with a shower-bath.
And now I think 'tis time for me to quit this sweet place, on which fame indeed has always been so lavish of encomiums that one almost fears com- mending what one must injure by one's praise. We spent five most agreeable days there. Mr. Slater and his sister, accompanied us as far as Derby, where we lay that night; a town of great anti- quity, very large, neat, and populous, and now of great note from its silk-mills, which are indeed most exceedingly curious, but it seems they don't let strangers view them with great attention, nor show the whole works, as the first person that set up these mills at Derby, they say, brought the whole from Italy by memory, having got a sight of these three times, once in the habit of a gentleman, the second in that of a Jesuit, and the third as a common soldier. Supposing this true, he must have been a man of most extraordinary genius, the machine consisting of 99,947 wheels, and all these turned by one. The next morning our London party left Mr. and Miss Slater to return home, desiring our joint thanks to all the branches of the family for all the civilities we had received among them, in both the agreeable visits we had paid in Yorks and Derbyshire. We slept at Loughborough, and lay at Leicester, a very ancient- looking town indeed, so much so 'tis said by some to have been a city. The next day we breakfasted at 1757 Market Harborough and dined at Northampton, one of the prettiest towns I ever saw. It happen'd to be the race-time, and a vast concourse of company might add to the liveliness of the place. The next place of note was Newport Pagnel, the most noted place, it seems, in this kingdom for making lace. Next came to Woburn, then Dunstable, the place Rapin mentions, where the sentence of divorce was pass'd against Queen Catherine, wife of Henry VIII., by Archbishop Cranmer. We that night (the last of our tour), lay at St . Albans. The next day we break- fasted at Barnet, and got to London about two, where, being once more arrived, I've brought to a conclusion my too tedious narrative of our ten weeks' excursion. An able pen would have given a more pleasing description of the many fine places we were at, but as 'tis the sentiments of an admired author, "That 'tis false modesty to make apologies for doing indifferently, that, in which one is not supposed to excel," I shall only add, that innumerable civilities, delightful countries, weather the most pleasing, all combin'd to render our journey agreeable.
N.B.—We set out on the 8th July and return'd the 9th September. Travel'd 665 miles.
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle 1758
The next event Miss Girle chronicles in her diary 1758 is in 1758. "Great rejoicings and illuminations on the taking of Louisbourg, and the 16th of September everybody went to see the Cherbourg cannon carried thro' the city of London." She also chronicles the admiration of the public 1759 for Roubiliac's two monuments in Westminster Abbey to General Hargraves and Sir Peter Warren. She visits in 1759, from her relation Mr. Mount's place at Epsom, Lord Baltimore's seat, a Mr. Belchier's also, which she describes as very curious.
"Literally contained within the circumference of a chalk-pit. Its owner had a very fine seat called Durdens, in Surrey, burnt to the ground, but, instead of rebuilding that, has collected not only the neces- saries, but even the luxuries of life into the above small compass, a good house, one room 30 feet by 20, and 15 feet high. In his gardens (all within the pit), is hothouse, greenhouse, orangery, vineyard, pinery, a grove, terrace, fish-ponds, fountain, with rock-work and the largest gold and silver fish I ever saw, a hot and cold bath, a pretty shrubbery; in short, one cannot name anything that is not in this wonder- ful chalk-pit." This same year, 1759, Miss Girle, on the 13th of August, set out with her family, "a lady of our intimate acquaintance," and a cousin, on a fresh tour to Oxford, &c
After setting out early from London, they stayed some three hours at Salt Hill, then proceeded to Reading, reaching the town about six o'clock. She says: This town, in my opinion, may be styl'd a pretty town, but residing three years near may perhaps have made me partial. 'Tis finely situated on the rivers Thames and Kennet. There are several good streets, and the market-place is neat and spacious. They have three extremely good churches. The adjoining Fourbourg1, which commands one of the most delightful views I ever saw, contains the vene- rable ruins of an ancient abbey, found'd by Henry I., who was there buried, but his bones (as Rapin says), were thrown out to make a stable, and the monastery saw. is now a dwelling-house. We staid at Reading all 1759 Tuesday, having the pleasure of seeing there many of our friends. We quit'd it early on Wednesday, travelling that morn thro' part of Oxfordshire. Our road for some hours was chiefly through the most pleasing woods. For beautiful variety, a place called Berring's Hill2 exceeded all we that day saw. After having breakfast'd and spent some time at a town named Benson3, we went on to Oxford, that Uni- versity so famous thro’out the world. We enter'd it not till near the approach of evening, but found its appearance striking and noble to the stranger's eye. On account of its grand and numerous buildings, the High Street, which for length and breadth, it seems, is hardly to be paralleld, is render'd particularly magni- ficent by the fronts of four colleges and the churches of St. Mary, and All Saints. The city itself is of great antiquity, it having been consecrated to the Sciences by the ancient Britons; and tho' it has suffer'd cala- mities, 'tis now arriv'd at a very high state of grandeur, adorn'd with twenty colleges, five halls, fourteen parish churches. Coming into it pretty late, as I before observ'd, we had time that night only to see one of its colleges, and having fixed on that of Christchurch, proceeded to the view, on which Dr. Hunt (Professor there of Arabic), was so obliging to attend us. This fine Gothic structure extends 382 feet. Originally 'twas founded by Cardinal Wolsey, but on his disgrace Henry VIII. seiz'd on the foundation, and that he might not be thought to derive his fame from others, called it Christchurch. Over the entrance is a very
1. Now called the Forbury.
2. Berin's Hill, supposed to be derived from Berinus, first Bishop of Dorchester, Oxon, hard by.
3. Bensington, pronounced Benson, site of an ancient British city.
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle 1760
Diary of Mrs Philip Lybbe-Powys aka Caroline Girle May 1760
06 May 1760. Earl Ferrers (39) was carried from the Tower to Tyburn executed by a party of Horse and Foot Guards, a Clergyman and the two Sherifs were in the Coach with him he poor unhappy man was drest in his wedding suit, dating as he himself said his whole unhappy conduct from a forced marriage He observed that the apparatus, and being made a spectacle of to so vast a multitude was greatly worse than death itself the procession was two hours & 3/4 from setting out, the Landau & six in which he was ye Sheriffs each in their Chariots one mourning Coach and a Hearse attended, and return'd thro' Lincoln's Inn Fields about one, I think I never shall forget a procession so moving, to know a man an hour before in perfect health then a Lifeless course, yet a just victim to his Country, for the abuse of of that power his rank in Life had given him a Title too, his rank indeed caused his punishment, as the good Old King, in answer to numerous petitions of his greatly to be pitied Family made this memorable speech, " That for the last years of his Life, he had been beyond his most Sanguine hopes successful, for which he should ever return thanks to God, and on his part he had and always would endeavor to Administer justice as he ought, as Events had shown by the punishment of his most exalted Subjects". This was a noble answer. yet none could help pitying this unhappy Lord, his intellects most probably was rather more in fault than his heart in the murder for which he Suffer'd, and had he been low born his majesty would have shewn more Mercy without such strict Justice.