« PředchozíPokračovat »
and a collection of animals ; and it contains in its | beyond the narrow limits of Sidmouth beach; and in ample rooms a vast variety of all those numerous costly almost every direction he will find - rambles of a nature articles which fall under the general designation of to tempt and to repay his curiosity. Along the sumarticles of vertû. The proper name of the house is mits of the cliffs he will obtain glorious views over the * Knowle Cottage ;' but it is popularly known, at least wide ocean, and not a few pleasant inland prospects. in Sidmouth, as The Little Fonthill.' Permission to The hills farther away from the sea command views of see it is readily granted ; and “the rooms are thrown vast extent and surpassing beauty; and along the valopen to the public every Monday during the months leys and gentle slopes there are simple pastoral scenes, of August and September."
and green shady lanes, and quiet field-paths, with here Sidmouth, we have said, has beautiful walks. The and there a solitary cottage, or a little social gathering beach will, probably, for a while content the visitor: of cottages, such as it does the heart good to look the cliffs curve round in an easy sweep, and form a upon. picturesque little bay, closed at each extremity by lofty Nor must it be supposed that these pleasant strolls headlands. On a bright calm day, when the sea lies are not to be enjoyed in the winter season; as the tranquilly at rest, gladdening and glittering in the sun- winter visitant will find, if he venture abroad—and shine, the little bay is a very picture of gentleness and happily most do so venture, though they limit their beauty ; but when there is rough weather abroad, and ramblings far more than they ought. The trees, which dark clouds hang heavily upon the hill tops, the waves impart so much beauty and life to the landscape, are roll in with a broad majestic sweep that seems to give leafless and silent; the streamlets are swollen and quite a new and grander character to the scene ; and turbid ; the voices of the innumerable birds that in the bold and broken cliffs themselves appear to assume summer send their glad music from every spray, are a wilder and more rugged aspect. The cliffs along this mute: but the fields and hill-sides are still verdant; part of the coast are of red marl and sandstone; and the banks and hedges have yet a pleasant show of as the sea beats strongly against them, they are worn flowers and herbage; mosses and lichens of gem-like into deep hollows, and in many instances portions richness cover the trunks and branches of the trees, the become quite separated from the parent cliff. One of thatches, and the palings ; evergreen shrubs and trees these detached masses, of considerable size, stands out are frequent; and no Devonshire lane, or cove, or dell, at some distance in the sea, at the western extremity is without a pretty numerous colony of birds of one of this bay. Chit Rock (Cut, No. 3), as it is called, kind or another: while withal the air is often deliciously is one of the notabilities of Sidmouth.
balmy, genial, and serene. Indeed a stroll along the But the visitor will soon wish to extend his walks lanes around Sidmouth—and the remark is more or less
applicable to all the towns and villages along this confessed, however, that Devonshire farmers and roadcoast to which our winter visitants repair, has, on a makers do their best to conceal as much of all this as fine winter's day, a charm entirely its own ; and often possible. They are people of most anti-picturesque the more grateful from its unexpected vernal cheerful- propensities: the road-makers seem to rejoice in deep
And this vernal character happily here lasts cuttings,'-the farmers take especial delight in high throughout the winter. Frosts are seldom severe, and banks : so that, between the two, the poor pedestrian almost always transient; snow hardly ever falls in the fares often but sadly. Wherever they can contrive to valleys, and never lies long on the ground.
shut out a wide prospect, or a sunny peep, or a pic* Lovely Devonia ! where shall man,
turesque nook, these good people are sure to do it: Pursuing Spring around the globe, refresh
they won't let you see more of their country than they His ere with scenes more beauteous than adorn
can help. There appears to be an unaccountable perThy fields of matchless verdure ?"
versity in this matter. You ascend some piece of “This is all very pretty; Mr. Writer ; but the upland lane, that promises to bring you to an opening drizzle—what about the drizzle ?”—Yes, good reader, between the hills, whence you may have a rich proto be sure there is the drizzle ; one can't escape from spect, when, on reaching the spot, you find the road that; but, let us accost yonder countryman, who is sunk,-or à mud-bank, some six or eight feet high, resting on his long-handled spade there, and whose with a tall hedge on the top of such impenetrable closeform and features show that he has been exposed to ness as to bid defiance even to a hedger. Yet there is Devonshire weather for many a year,—and see what some compensation in these banks: for the most part he will say about it.
they are covered, although it be winter, with a luxuriant “More rain !"-" E’es, zur~a little dirzzell!" crop of graceful ferns, of ivy, and of periwinkles, and
“And does it always drizzle in this part of the an innumerable variety of light green herbage; while country ?"_" Whoy no : i'dreeans zumtimes." primroses are not scarce eren at Christmas, and there
“Well, does it always rain when it doesn't drizzle ?" is sure to be an early and plenteous supply of violets. -" They do zay, I believe, that i'dreeans here if the soil in this part of Devonshire is of a deep and i'dreeans anywhere ; and, for zartin, we've a girt deal rather bright red, and the delicate ferns, and the grass of it; but it be vine enough between whiles."
and leaves, and flowers, form with it a singularly vivid There, good reader, you have the truth of the matter : contrast. Hardly a bit of old broken bank is there in there is rain here, and there is drizzle ; but there are one of these lanes that does not form a little picture. delicious intervals, and fortunate is he who is able and However, it is the numerous and varied close picwilling to avail himself of them :
turesque nooks, where human interest mingles with
the natural and rustic features, that are the chief charm “How soft the breeze
of these lanes. The rural occupations and those who That from the warm south comes ! how sweet to feel The gale Favonian, too, that o'er the cheek
are employed in them; the road-side houses, and the Breathes health and life!”
country carts and country folk who are seen about Carrington—' Banks of the Tamar.' them; the humble cottages that lie just out of the
lane, and the goodwife and children who are in conBut we must wander, this fine winter morning, down stant motion about the open doors, are a never-failing one of the lanes—or rather, slightly notice two or three source of interest and pleasure. Nothing is there more things that are noteworthy in them. The lanes of picturesque, in its way, than an old Devonshire cob Devonshire are usually exceedingly good examples cottage, with its huge overhanging thatch, and all its of English country lanes ; and those in this neighbour- various accompaniments, animate and inanimate! We hood are among the choicest in the county. The con- should attempt to sketch one, had it not already been tinual undulation of surface brings into view a never- done infinitely better than we could do it; and as it failing variety of distant scenery, which blends in the only could be done by an observant resident, who, most pleasing manner with the peculiarly picturesque with frequent and leisurely opportunity joined the features of the lanes themselves ; now showing between requisite skill to copy its most characteristic features. the distant elms merely a few upland meadows, where "A Devonshire cottage," says Mrs. Bray, in her Devon's "matchless verdure” gleams under the glancing 'Tamar and Tavy,' “if not too modern, is the sweetest sunbeam with a brilliant emerald hue, such as is only object that the poet, the artist, or the lover of the seen elsewhere on a few of the brightest days of spring; romantic could desire to see. The walls, generally of and close beside lies another field of bare red earth, stone, are gray, and if not whitewashed (which they with a labourer or two busily at work upon it: pre- too often are), abound with lichen, stone-crop, or moss. sently there opens a wide and cheerful valley, winding Many of these dwellings are ancient, principally of the far away among receding hills: here, a few groups Tudor age, with the square-headed mullioned and label. of cottages are seen along the margin of the streamlet, led windows. The roof is always of thatch ; and no and on the slopes houses of more ambitious character cottage but has its ivy, its jessamine, or its rose, mantare pretty plentifully besprinkled ; and again some new ling its sides and creeping on its top. A bird-cage at turn brings in the sparkling sea to add a new charm the door is often the delight of the children ; and the and more powerful interest to the picture. It must be little garden, besides its complement of hollyhocks, &c., has a bed or two of flowers before the house, of the straggling village of poor-looking, whitewashed, thatched most brilliant colours. A bee-hive, and the elder-cob cottages, with a farm-house or two, a couple of that most useful of all domestic trees--are seen near inns, and a few shops. Through the middle of the the entrance; and more than once have I stopped to street runs a little feeder of the Otter, a rattling brook, observe the eagerness and the delight with which the which adds a good deal to the picturesqueness of the children amuse themselves in chasing a butterfly from place. On one side is a green; with trees around it. flower to flower.”
The church stands on a hill at the end of the village. The cottage here described belongs to the other end All the houses are rude, unadorned, and old-fashioned ; of the county, but it is equally true of those in this and if it were not for two or three shops that look part,—with this difference, that instead of being con- rather modern, the stranger might fancy he had fallen structed of stone they are here mostly built of cob; upon a little secluded country town that had not and consequently, a cottage of the Tudor age is here changed for a century. a rarity. Of course the reader knows what cob- Otterton was at one time a village of some small local 'Devonshire cob'—is? If not, we must tell him that importance. John Lackland founded a priory here, it is merely the common clay, or marl, mixed with su' ject to the monastery of St. Michael, in Normandy. straw, &c., which is trodden for a long time by horses, There were to be four monks who were to celebrate till it forms a very tenacious material, and is the ordi- the regular religious services; and also to distribute nary material used for buildings of inexpensive charac- bread weekly among the poor, to the amount of sixteen ter where stone is not abundant. Like the stone shillings--a tolerable sum in those days. In succeeding cottages, these are generally whitewashed, and inva- ages the monastery received additional benefactions, riably thatched - perhaps we ought to say were, for and the superior had enlarged rights. Lysons, quoting some few of recent date are slated. The common from the Ledger Book of the priory in Chapple's boundary walls are constructed of cob, as well as the Collections,' says that, The prior of Otterton had walls of houses, and the stranger is often a little sur- the right of pre-emption of fish in all his ports, and the prised to see a deep and neatly made pent-house thatch choice of the best fish,”-a very useful privilege against surmounting such a wall. When well thatched, a well fast days; the next right is of more questionable value made cob boundary-wall will hardly need repairing —"The prior claimed also every porpoise caught in once in a generation : and a good cob wall, whether of the fisheries, giving twelve pence and a loaf of white house or yard, will last a century:
bread to every sailor, and twice as much to the master; We intended to lead the reader to three or four of also the half of all dolphins,"--choosing no doubt the the pleasant spots in the neighbourhood of Sidmouth; head and shoulders when only one was caught. At along the lanes to the pretty village of Sidford, to Sid- the suppression of alien monasteries, the priory was bury castle, and on to Penhill; to the top of Salcombe transferred to Sion Abbey; at the general spoliation it Hill, where is a magnificent prospect, extending, it is was re-transferred, part to the royal pocket, and part to said, over from thirty to forty miles of a rich and fer-some worthy layman. The priory stood on the hill by tile and very beautiful country, and seaward far as the the church, on the site now occupied by the Mansion eye can reach; to one or two of the quiet out-of-the- House-a building worth examining. The church way corners, where the little Sid, the river (or, as old itself, too, is a noteworthy one. It is a large irregular Risdon calls it, riveret), to which Sidmouth owes its and very ancient pile, with the tower at the east end. name, with the hollow along which it hurries, "singing In the churchyard is a grove of yew-trees. The church its quiet tune,” makes pleasant miniature pictures : stands on a steep cliff, and with the old house by its by the way, there is an exceedingly pretty peep up
the side and the trees about it, and the broad river washing Sid vale from the beach : we intended to visit these the base of the hill, looks from the opposite bank and one or two other places, but we must leave them unusually striking. The Otter is here a good-sized and pursue our journey. Some Miss Mitford of this stream, and the scenery along it is very picturesque. coast should explore the less-known localities, and give The banks are bluff and bold, rising from the river in us a volume of country sketches after the fashion of bare red cliffs, making with the neighbouring roundthat lady's Village.'
topped hills numerous pretty pictures.
On the other side of the river is the village of Bud
leigh, only noticeable on account of its containing EXMOUTH.
Hayes, the birth-place of Sir Walter Raleigh. Hayes The onward road lies along the summit of the cliffs, was at the time held on lease by Raleigh's father; the past Chit Rock. l'rom High Peak there are good sea proprietor of it being “one Duke.” Raleigh cherished views; and from Peak Hill others of surprising extent to middle age a strong attachment to his birth-place, , and wondrous beauty, over the Haldon Hills as well and made an effort to purchase it about the time he as seaward. The road must be followed a little inland was rapidly rising in the favour of his sovereign. A to Otterton, which lies two or three miles from the sea; letter (dated July 26th, 1581), is printed in his works, and where is the last bridge over the Otter.
which he addressed to Duke, expressing his desire to is extremely pleasant, but we need not stay to describe possess the house" because, for the natural disposiit. Otterton itself is a noticeable place : it is a long tion he had to it, having been born in that house, he
would rather seat himself there than anywhere else." one of the chief ports on this coast; and to have conBut his application was refused, Duke, it is affirmed, tributed ten ships and one hundred and ninety-three saying, “ he did not choose to have so great a man for seamen as its proportion of the fleet which Edward III.
near a neighbour." The Dukes for generations despatched, in 1347, against Calais. On the other kept the letter pasted on a board, as a “ kind of hand, it does not now maintain the high position it once curiosity.” The house (of course not in its original | held among the watering-places of Devonshire : it is condition) is now a farm-house.
no longer the first. It may not have decreased in By the mouth of the Otter is the hamlet of Bud- popularity or attraction, but it has not increased. It leigh Salterton; which within these few years has has almost stood still while Torquay has rapidly grown into some repute as a quiet retired watering- advanced : and to Torquay it must now yield the place—a sort of country appendix to Exmouth : and precedence. where were only two or three mud hovels belonging to The Old Town was built along the foot of the hill the fishermen, is now a thriving and smart little town, and by the river side. “ The sea at this time covered having its three or four streets of shops and lodging- nearly the whole of the ground on which the northhouses; its baths and libraries; its hotel, and even western part of the town is now built, and washed the * commercial inn;' and often a goodly number of base of the cliffs on the left-hand side of the present genteel visitants. The streamlet that runs through the turnpike-road from Exeter.” The New Town -that main street, with the plain wooden bridges that cross which is chiefly inhabited by visitants-is on the hillit, cause the place yet to retain sonething of its old side and summit. Exmouth is not in itself a parish : rusticity. The cliffs along the sea here, and still more but lies chiefly within the parish of Littleham. “ The by Otter Point, on the other side of the Otter, are very manor of Littleham and Exmouth,” says the 'Route lofty and very precipitous. The scenery about the Book of Devon,' “has been since the Dissolution in shore we need hardly say is such as often exercises the the family of the Rolles; and the late Lord Rolle and pencils of the visitants. Ladram Bay is particularly his present surviving relict have been great and celebrated, and in the summer season is one of the generous patrons to this town.
The fine and capacious most attractive spots in this vicinity.
The rocks are
church, built in 1824, and the market-house in 1830 ; there worn into the wildest shapes, and there are the plantations and walks under the Beacon; the seacaverns that are an object to ramble after: a sail to wall just completed ; in short nearly all the public Ladram Bay is a favourite summer diversion.
improvements carried out within these few years, with From Budleigh Salterton there is a foot-path along the exception of those executed by the late Mr. R. the top of the cliffs and by by-ways to Exmouth, Webber, have been at their suggestion and expense." passing over Knoll Hill and through the quiet out-of- Exmouth is well furnished with the various means the-way village of Littleham ; this is a pleasant way, and appliances that contribute to the requirements and but there is one which, though a good deal further, is pleasures of sea-side visitants. It has a good bathingmore exhilarating to the stout pedestrian, round by the place on the beach, and baths in addition ; libraries, headland of Orcomb; or there is the ordinary road by assembly and subscription-rooms; hotels and lodgingWithecomb—from which some pleasant detours may be houses of all sizes and with every aspect; public made, among others to the little ruined sanctuary of walks; good shops, and a good market; a church and St. John's in the Wilderness.
several chapels. None of the buildings are such as to Exmouth is so called from its position by the mouth command much attention as works of art, but they are of the Exe. Leland styles it" a fisher townlet a little convenient and serviceable. The sea-wall is an imwithin the haven mouth.” And a “ fisher townlet” portant and a substantial work. It is some 1,800 it remained for a very longwhile afterwards. “In feet long; and in addition to its primary purpose, it truth,” says Polwhele, writing towards the close of forms an excellent promenade and drive. The walks last century, "it was no other than an inconsiderable in and immediately around the town are of a superior fishing-town, till one of the judges of the circuit, in a character. Several within the town 'afford noble provery infirm state of health, went thither to bathe, and spects. That in front of Louisa Terrace commands a received great benefit from the place. This happened view that is in very few towns equalled either for about a century ago, which brought Exmouth into extent or beauty. Nearly the same may be said of repute, first with the people of Exeter, and gradually Trefusis Terrace, and some other terraces of equally with the whole county-I might add, indeed, the whole pleasant site, and unpleasant name. The Beacon Hill island; since Exmouth is not only the oldest, but, in is very judiciously laid out as a public ground, with general, the best frequented watering-place in Devon-beds of flowers, evergreens, and ornamental shrubs. shire."
About the walks are placed rustic seats, and occasionThat judge was evidently a good judge; and it was ally arbours. The views from different parts of Beacon a fortunate thing for Exmouth to be tried by him. The Hill are remarkably good, and altogether it is a very townsmen ought in gratitude to erect his statue in the agreeable spot and admirably suited for the purpose to choicest part of the town.
which it has been applied. Exmouth was not, however, always a mere fisher From the town there stretches a long sand-bank far townlet. In the reign of John it is said to have been into the river. A little lower down the stream another sand-bank, called the Warren, extends from the with a visit or two, serve to pass away the morningopposite side for two miles across the estuary. Just and tea-drinking the evening.” How Exmouth would by the first sand-bank there is also an island, about be horrified by such a description of its resources now! mid-stream, called Shelley Sand; and outside the Warren, where the Exe disembogues itself into the sea,
DAWLISI. a similar but larger accumulation has formed, which is known as the Pole Sand. By these means the river is From Exmouth there is a ferry to Star Cross, where contracted within a very narrow winding channel where there is a station of the South Devon Railway. It has it enters the sea, although just above the Shelley Sand been proposed to have steam-boats ply at regular hours, it had been a mile and a half across. The natural instead of the present sailing and row-boats, which are harbour thus formed withinside the sand-banks is rather trying to the tender nerves of holiday-folks when called the Bight; and is an anchorage for vessels wait. the south-westerly wind causes a bit of a swell in the ing for wind or tide to enable them to ascend the river. The alteration would, no doubt, be of some river, or work out from it and pursue their voyage. advantage to the town, though of little to the boatmen.
The appearance of the river by Exmouth is very Star Cross is one of the many small villages that much that of a good-sized lake; and the town has a have profited by the growth of migratory habits, and rather pleasing appearance in consequence. From the the tendency of the different migratory tribes to wend sands, Exmouth looks somewhat formal, but from the towards the Devonshire coast in their periodic flights. river it improves very much. The long terraces of Star Cross was a small fishing village, whither a few white houses, rising behind each other on the hill-side Exeter epicures used occasionally to come to eat, at from among groves of dark foliage, with the mass of their native home, the oysters and shell-fish, which are meaner buildings at the base, the sand with its fishing- said to have a peculiarly good flavour when taken boats and larger craft, and the broad sheet of water in fresh from their beds near the mouth of the Exe: now, front with the shipping riding at anchor upon it, com- though still a small place, it has its season, and its pose together a pleasing and remarkable picture. But seasonable visitors, and professes to hold out some the finest view of the town—the view which exhibits especial advantages. Be these as they may, it is said best and most gracefully its peculiarities—is obtained to be a thriving little place.
to be a thriving little place. Lying along the Exe, it is on a bright clear day, at full tide, from the slopes on a cheerful and pleasant, though quiet village : there is the opposite side of the river by Star Cross. The town an excellent landing-pier, formed by the Railway Comrises on the hill-side in successive tiers of white houses, pany; and it would not be surprising if, in some of the whose every-day character is lost by distance. On the turns of fashion, this till recently obscure and out-ofheights, on either hand, are sprinkled numerous gay the-way village were to become a bustling second-rate villas, each half embowered in its little plantation. summer resort. Behind are the summits of loftier hills, clad in aërial When here, the visitor should go on to Powderham tints. The broad blue lake, as it appears to be, repeats Castle, the seat of the Earl of Devon. In Norman the various forms and hues in softened and tremulons times Powderham belonged to the Bohuns, by a female lines ; while a light skiff, or a deep-laden ship, sailing descendant of whom it was carried by marriage, about slowly along, imparts life and vigour to the whole scene. the middle of the fourteenth century, to Hugh CourteExmouth has many attractive short walks in its nay, Earl of Devon. The Courtenays possessed vast vicinity; and many long ones also—but we must leave estates in this county: many of them have passed away them all to the visitor's own exploration, and once long since, but Powderham has remained to the present more set forward on our journey.
day in their possession ; and as was said, it is now the From a note published by Polwhele, in his . History seat of the chief of the Courtenays. Gibbon, in his of Devonshire,' we get a curious peep at the chief great work, the reader will remember, breaks off from watering-place of Devon, towards the close of the the history of the Greek empire into a very long "dieighteenth century. It is part of a letter written, he gression on the origin and singular fortune of the house says, “ to the author, about fifteen years ago, (i.e. about of Courtenay;" which, he thinks," the purple of three 1780) by a friend at Exmouth.” “The village is a
"The village is a emperors, who have reigned at Constantinople, will very pretty one, and composed for the most part of cot authorise or excuse." He follows the fortunes of the houses, neat and clean, consisting of four or five rooms, three principal branches, and shows how only the which are generally let at a guinea a week.
Courtenays of England "have survived the revolutions Exmouth boasts no public rooms or assemblies, save of eight hundred years ; " the race of the ancient Greek one card assembly, in an inconvenient apartment at emperors remaining in a "lineal descendant of Hugh, one of the inns, on Monday evenings. The company the first Earl of Devon, a younger branch of the Courmeet at half-after five, and break up at ten—they play tenays, who have been seated at Powderham Castle at shilling whist, or twopenny quadrille. We have above four hundred years, from the reign of Edward very few young people here, and no diversions—no the Third to the present hour.” And he winds up the belles dames amusing to the unmarried, but some bel story with these philosophical reflections: “The Cour. dames unamusing to the married. Walking on a hill, tenays still retain the plaintive motto, [Ubi lapsus ! which commands a view of the ocean, and bathing, Quod feci?] which asserts the innocence and deplores