Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

warm and balmy; while in summer the heat is tem- our older towns of the same class, than it would to the pered by the gentle sea breezes ; and it is said to be baths of Germany, or the Italian cities of refuge. less humid than any other spot on the coast of Devon. Torquay has many buildings for the general conIt suffers only from the south-western gales, and they venience; but it has no public building that will serve to clear and purify the atmosphere. Dr. (now attract attention on account of its importance or its Sir J.) Clarke, in his celebrated work on 'Climate,' architecture. There are subscription, reading, and gives it the first place among English towns as a resi- assembly-rooms, first-rate hotels, a club-house, baths, dence for those whose health requires a warm winter and a museum; there are also three or four dispenabode ; and his decision at once confirmed and widely saries and charitable institutions. But there are none extended the popularity it had already attained. He of them noticeable buildings; the town wears altosays, “The general character of the climate of this gether a domestic Belgravian' air: it is a town of coast is soft and humid. Torquay is certainly drier terraces and villas. The pier is the chief public work: than the other places, and almost entirely free from it is so constructed as to enclose a good though small fogs. This drier state of the atmosphere probably arises, tidal harbour; and it forms also a promenade. The in part, from the limestone rocks, which are confined principal shops lie along the back of the harbour, and to the neighbourhood of this place, and partly from its they, as may be supposed, are well and richly stored. position between the two streams, the Dart and the The streets are mostly narrow and irregular. The Teign, by which the rain is in some degree attracted. houses which the visitors occupy are built on the Torquay is also remarkably protected from the north- higher grounds; they rise in successive tiers along the east winds, the great evil of our spring climate. It is hill sides, and the villas extend far outside the older likewise sheltered from the north-west. This pro- town. A new town of villas is stretching over Beacon tection from winds extends also over a very consider- Hill, and occupying the slopes that encircle Mead Foot able tract of beautiful country, abounding in every Cove. All the new villa residences are more or less variety of landscape ; so that there is scarcely a wind ambitious in their architecture; some of them are very that blows from which the invalid will not be able to elegant buildings. They are, of course, of different find a shelter for exercise, either on foot or horseback. sizes, ranging from cottages to mansions. They are In this respect Torquay is much superior to any other built of stone-till lately, in almost every instance place we have noticed. ... The selection will, I covered with stucco. Some of very ornamental chabelieve, lie among the following places, as winter or racter have been recently erected with the limestone spring residences : Torquay, the Undercliff (Isle of uncovered. There is no good public parade by the Wight), Hastings, and Clifton, -and perhaps in the sea-side : the new road to Paignton is but an apology generality of cases will deserve the preference in the for one, though a magnificent parade might have been order stated."

constructed there: a better situation could not be deAfter such an encomium from one of the most cele- sired. Recently a piece of ground of about four acres, brated physicians of the day, Torquay could not fail to in the most fashionable part of Torquay-but at some obtain a large influx of visitors--and those of the class distance from the sea-has been laid out as a public most desiderated. Torquay is now the most fashionable garden : and it is, of its kind, a right pleasant one. resort of the kind. It has both a summer and a winter The walks are numerous within the limits of the town, season; and the commencement of the one follows which are pleasant in themselves, or afford pleasing close upon the termination of the other. Hither come prospects. Along the summit of Waldon Hill the invalids from every part of the kingdom in search of whole extent of Torbay is seen to great advantage : a health, or in the hope of alleviating sickness : and grander prospect could hardly be desired over the everhither also flock the idle, the wealthy, and the luxu- varying and ever-glorious ocean. rious, in search of pleasure, or of novelty, or in the The views from Beacon Hill are almost equally fine. hope of somehow getting rid of the lingering hours. Noble views of Torquay, and of the eastern end of

A good deal of amusement, and some instruction, Torbay, may be had from the Paignton Road, and from might be found in a sketch of the history of the wells, the meadows by Tor Abbey, and the knolls about and the baths, and the watering-places of England; Livermead (Cut, No. 7). We shall say nothing of the and there are abundant materials for the illustration walks in the vicinity of Torquay; the people of Torquay of such a sketch in our lighter literature. It would be do not walk there: but there are rides and drives all curious to compare the various ways in which, in suc- around, of a kind to charm the least admiring; and the cessive generations, the votaries of fashion and of plea- whole heart of the country is so verdant that they are sure have sought to amuse themselves, under the pre- hardly less admirable in winter than at any other season. tence of seeking after health ; and how variously health The appearance of Torbay is so tempting, that we has been sought after by those who have really been in can hardly suppose the visitor, however little of a sailor, pursuit of it: and equally curious would it be to com- will be content without having a sail on it. He should pare the appliances as well as the habits at such places. do so, if only to see Torquay to most advantage. From Torquay would probably be found to bear little more the crowd of meaner buildings which encircle the harbour resemblance to Tonbridge-Wells to Bath, to Har- and extend along the sides of the cove, rise the streets rowgate, or Buxton, or Cheltenham, or any other of and terraces of white houses, like an amphitheatre, tier

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

above tier. Behind these are receding hills, spotted at very few years arose from its cider and its cabbages ! wider intervals with gay and luxurious villas, each in the country around Paignton is very fertile, and the its own enclosure, and surrounded by dark green foliage. cider-apple is largely cultivated. A great deal of cider The picture is in itself a beautiful and a striking one-- is annually shipped from Paignton to London and other and it is the more impressive from the associations and places. About ten years ago a pier was constructed, feelings that arise on looking upon such a scene of at which vessels of 200 tons burden can load and wealth and refinement.

unload. Of late, Paignton has greatly increased in Torbay is one of the finest and most beautiful lays size and altered in character. Torquay has no good around the whole English coast. It is bounded on the bathing-place ; and since the construction of the new north by a bold headland, which bears the elegant road, the residents there have availed themselves of designation of Hope's Nose, and it sweeps round in a the sands at Paignton, which are well adapted for splendid curve to the lofty promontory of Berry Head, bathing. At first a few, and afterwards a great many, which forms its southern boundary. The distance visitors sought for houses or lodgings here. To acbetween the two extremities is above four miles ; the commodate them, a good number of convenient houses depth, in the centre of the bay, is about three miles and have been erected; and the place is growing fast in a half; the coast line is upwards of twelve miles. size as well as reputation. It is not at all unlikely Within its ample bosom a navy might ride at anchor. that it will some day have its full share of popularity. Considerable fleets have lain within it.

From its sur- Paignton has many advantages as a watering-place ; it face, the aspect of the bay is of surpassing beauty. On lies in a pleasant and picturesque spot, almost in the the northern side lies Torquay, beneath its sheltering centre of the splendid bay, over which the uplands hills: at the southern extremity is the busy town of command the grandest prospects : the sands are good Brixham, with its fleet of fishing-boats lying under and well adapted for bathing. The lanes and walks the shelter of the bold promontory of Berry Head. around the town are the pleasantest and most picBetween these distant points are two or three villages turesque in this neighbourhood. Though not so shelwith their church towers, and all along are scattered tered as Torquay, Paignton is by no means exposed ; cottages or villas, serving as links to connect the towns and if not quite so warm, the air is less relaxing. and hamlets. The coast-line is broken by deep inden- Brixham, which lies at the southern extremity of the tations and projecting rocks. The shore rises now in bay, is one of the first and wealthiest fishing-towns in bluff and rugged cliffs, and presently sinks in verdant England. About two hundred and fifty sail of vessels and wooded slopes: and behind and above all stretches belong to the town, besides some fifty or sixty of the far away, as a lovely back-ground, a richly diversified smaller fishing-boats. The extent of the fishing trade and fertile country; while to complete the glorious is enormous,—the largest, it is said, in England. In panorama, the bosom of the bay is alive with ships, Norman times the town belonged to the Novants; and and yachts, and numerous trawls.

from them it passed in succession through several other Let us go ashore again, and look at the two or three noble hands. The present lords of Brixham are Brixham spots that lie along the bay. Adjoining Torquay are fishermen. The manor was purchased some time back a few vestiges of an old monastery of the Premonstra- by twelve fishermen ; these twelve shares were aftertensian order, and which, according to Dr. Oliver, wards subdivided, and these have been again divided. ( Historical Collections relating to the Monasteries in Each holder of a share, or portion of a share, however Devon'), “was undoubtedly the richest priory belonging small, is styled ' a quay lord.' If you see a thickto that order in England." It was founded in the bearded, many-jacketed personage, who carries himself reign of Richard I., and it continued to flourish till with a little extra consequence in the market-place, the general destruction of monasteries in the reign of you may be sure he is a Brixham lord. Henry VIII. The priory stood in one of the most Brixham is a long, straggling, awkward, ungainly exquisite spots in this land of beauty; and its happily- place. It stands in a picturesque position, and it looks chosen site is a testimony to the community of feeling picturesque at a distance. Not but what there are among the monks with what Humboldt (in his Cos- parts of it which, close at hand, are picturesque enough mos') " traces in the writings of the Christian Fathers after a fashion. Down by the shore, Prout would of the Church, -the fine expression of a love of make capital pictures of the shambling-houses, and the nature, nursed in the seclusion of the hermitage.” The bluff weather-beaten hulls that are hauled on the beach few fragments that remain of the old priory are in the or lie alongside the pier. The Upper Town, or Churchgardens of the modern mansion which bears the name Brixham, is built on the south side of Berry Head ; the of Tor Abbey. They are almost entirely covered with Church is there, and the better houses are there also. ivy, and are so dilapidated that no judgment of the The Lower Town, or Brixham Quay, is the business part ancient architecture can be formed from them.

of the town: the streets are narrow, dirty, and unfraAbout the centre of Torbay lies the village of Paigne grant,-a sort of Devonshire Wapping with a Billingston, once a place of some consequence, as its large old gate smell. There is here a Pier, which forms a tolechurch testifies. The bishops of Exeter had formerly rable tidal harbour. But the great increase in the trade a seat here, some fragments of which are standing near (and Brixham is a port of some consequence apart from the old church. Paignton's chief fame till within these its fishery) has rendered the old harbour insufficient, and a new Breakwater is now in course of construction, seems to have caught the drift of more accurately than which will, it is expected, form a sufficient shelter for of the question. large merchant ships and frigates of war. (Cut, No. 8.) In the centre of the market-place of Brixham stands

It was at Brixham Quay that William, Prince of a monument, in which is fixed a block of stone, with Orange, landed on that expedition which gave to him this inscription engraven on it: “ On this stone, and the British crown, and secured to England its consti- near this spot, William, Prince of Orange, first set foot tution. The Dutch fleet, after some misadventures, on landing in England, 5th of November, 1688." rode safely into Torbay on the morning of the 5th of When William IV. visited Brixham, the inhabitants November, 1688. The townsmen of Brixham wel- presented him with a small fragment of this stone comed their arrival by carrying off provisions, and enclosed in a box of heart of oak. proffered their boats for the landing of the troops. The fleet which brought William to England was not soon as a British regiment was sent ashore, William the last that has lain at Torbay. In the following year himself followed, and superintended the disembarkation the French fleet, after having defeated the combined of the remainder of the army. Burnet says the Prince's English and Dutch squadron, sailed into Torbay, and whole demeanour wore an unusual air of gaiety. While lay there for several days. The fleet of Earl St. VinWilliam was busily engaged in directing the military cent made Torbay a principal station. The Bellearrangements, the self-important Doctor stepped up to rophon, with Bonaparte on board of it, was anchored him and offered his service in any way he could be of off Brixham for some time. The fallen Emperor is use. “And what do you think of predestination now, said to have gazed over the bay with undisguised Doctor ?" was the Prince's reply. Dartmouth says he admiration : “What a beautiful country ! how much it added a hint about studying the canons,—which Burnet resembles Porto Ferrajo in Elba !" was his exclamation.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]
« PředchozíPokračovat »