Obrázky stránek
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ivy with its ivy cloak it forms a rather picturesque object. The site of the castle is occupied by the Sessions'-House- quite a common-place building; the large open space in front is used for holding election, county, and other meetings. From the ramparts may be obtained some very good views of the city; and the contemplative visitor may, as he paces them, appropriately ponder the changes that time has wrought in the whole way of life and habits of thought, as well in the material objects he sees about him.

Now down long Vore Street did they come,
Zom hollowin, and screechin zom:

Now trudg'd they to the Dean's.

Now goed the Aldermen and May'r,
Zom wey crapp'd wigs, and zom wey hair,
The royal voke to ken;

When Meyster May'r upon my word,
Poked to the King a gert long sword,
Which he poked back agen."

The description of the remainder of the ceremony, with a notice of the royal doings and sayings (some of it in sufficiently uncourtierlike style), may be found in its proper place. Peter Pindar has also two or three other poems in the Devonshire dialect, which may be found in his works by those who are curious in such


Exeter, as has been said, is built on a rather steep though not very lofty hill, a circumstance that adds as much to its pleasantness as its salubrity. Leland, writing from personal examination, in the reign of Henry VIII., says: "The town is a good mile and more in compass, and is right strongly walled and maintained. There be divers fair towers in the town wall, betwixt the south and the west gates. As the walls have been newly made, so have the old towers decayed. There be four gates in the town, by the name of East, West, North, and South, The East and the West Gates be now the fairest, and of one fashion of building. The South Gate hath been the strongest, There be divers fair streets in Exeter; but the High Street, that goeth from the West to the East Gate, is the fairest."

The city hardly retains so much of the character of antiquity as might be expected. You may pass from end to end of the long High Street and Fore Street, and hardly have the attention attracted by any very remarkable feature; and equally so, from one extremity to the other, of North and South Streets. Still there are appearances of antiquity, and if it had not been necessary, from time to time, to alter and improve the houses, it is easy to see that the city would be a pic turesque one. When the gables of the houses, which are set towards the streets, were ornamented, and the upper stories hung forwards, it must have been eminently so. But the narrowness of the streets, of course, made it advisable to remove the projecting stories where the old houses remain; and in the 'smartening' process which all have more or less undergone, nearly all the rich decorations of the old gables have been removed or hidden, and they have been made as smooth, and plain, and mean, as the modern houses on either side of them. Something has been done, too, to lessen the steepness of the streets-a very useful alteration, but certainly not an ornamental one. The deep hollow, for example, between North Street and St. David's Hill, has been spanned by a viaduct, the 'Iron Bridge,' whereby the passengers are brought about on a level with the first floors of the unhappy-looking houses: and when the new bridge was constructed at the end of Fore Street, the opportunity was taken of lessening in a similar way the steepness of the road. Still, if it be not remarkably picturesque, the city is pleasant. and apparently prosperous; and there yet remain enough relics of antiquity within it to amuse the vacant hours and reward the researches of the visitor who is of an antiquarian turn, even apart from its noble cathedral,

Leland's half-complaining observation might be extended to the whole city-"As buildings have been newly made, so have the old places decayed." The But the Cathedral (Cut, No. 1), is of course the Exeter of the present day is very different from that chief object of attraction, and indeed, is the only really which Leland saw. The city has extended its bound-attractive building in the city. Though inferior in size aries till it has come to be about a mile and three quarters long, and above a mile broad, where widest and longest. Not only are the forts decayed and gone, but the gates also: the last of them, the South Gate, was removed in 1819. The walls may be traced; and some portions of them remain. Part of the walls of the castle are also standing, but of the building itself only a fragment is left. This is a gateway of Norman date, and is no doubt the chief entrance of the original Rougemont. It stands on the north side of the city, and should be visited. Little of the original architecture is discernible, it being almost wholly covered with

and grandeur to a few other of our cathedrals, it is one of the finest of the second class, and in some respects it is unique. The oldest part of the present edifice was erected early in the twelfth century; but the main portion is more recent. In 1112, William Warlewast, one of the Normans who followed William I. to England, and whom the monarch had created third bishop of Exeter, laid the first stone of a new cathedral: he died before the works were very far advanced, and their progress was probably interrupted by the dissensions in the reign of Stephen. The part which had been finished suffered considerable injury during the siege

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of Exeter by that king. The Cathedral was not com- grand and lofty central feature the more apparent: and
pleted till near the close of the century. A century the want is equally felt whether the building be viewed
later the building began to appear too small, or not from the Cathedral yard, or the suburbs of the city.
sufficiently splendid for the see: and Bishop Peter The designer, if one may venture to say so, seems to
Quivil determined to erect a new cathedral, on a much have been a man of confined talent. Capable of con-
grander scale. He only lived to construct the Lady triving smaller features of almost faultless excellence,
Chapel, but his successors steadily continued the good he might have designed an exquisite chapel; but want-
work, till the whole was completed, as it now appears, ing the happy imaginative daring of genius, he was
by Bishop Brantyngham in 1380. The only parts of unequal to the task of constructing a sublime cathedral.
Warlewast's cathedral which were retained in the new The aggregation of many beautiful parts is insufficient
one are the two towers, which were made to serve for to produce a grand whole.
the transepts.

The objection may be a mistaken one; but we believe Nothing, scarcely, can exceed the beauty of many it is pretty generally felt that Exeter Cathedral is far parts of Exeter Cathedral; but as a whole, perhaps it less impressive than would be expected from an examiis not so satisfactory. Though erected in the golden nation of its multitudinous beautiful details. The age of E:

ecclesiastical architecture, and, with the stranger especially feels this ; for the parts are so fine, exception of the massive Norman towers, tolerably that those who are in the frequent habit of seeing them uniform in style, the exterior is heavy, and compara- become insensible to any failure in the general effect, tively unimposing in its general effect. The unusual Until within these few years the Cathedral was a good position of the towers only renders the want of some deal hidden by mean buildings : these have been in a

[ocr errors]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

grand and lofty central feature the more apparent: and the want is equally felt whether the building be viewed from the Cathedral yard, or the suburbs of the city. The designer, if one may venture to say so, seems to have been a man of confined talent. Capable of contriving smaller features of almost faultless excellence, he might have designed an exquisite chapel; but wanting the happy imaginative daring of genius, he was unequal to the task of constructing a sublime cathedral. The aggregation of many beautiful parts is insufficient

T to produce a grand whole.

The objection may be a mistaken one; but we believe y it is pretty generally felt that Exeter Cathedral is far it less impressive than would be expected from an exami

nation of its multitudinous beautiful details. The e stranger especially feels this ; for the parts are so fine, y that those who are in the frequent habit of seeing them - become insensible to any failure in the general effect. a! Until within these few years the Cathedral was a good ve deal hidden by mean buildings: these have been in a

EXETER, AND THE SOUTH-EASTERN COAST OF DEVONSHIRE. great measure removed, and the exterior can now be then be unbroken, and the large and b tolerably well seen.

window would appear at the end of it: The Cathedral is built in the form of a cross, but the interior, in short, would be seen as its arms are very short, the transepts being formed out of tended it to be seen. The place which the the towers. The entire length of the building, includ- pies in so many of our cathedrals is alike ing the Lady Chapel, is 408 feet : the towers are 145 with good taste and religious feeling. feet high. The towers are Norman, square, and similar cathedrals were erected, the screen which i in size, and also in general appearance; their surfaces nave from the choir bore upon it a lofty being covered with blank arcades and other Norman placed there with a religious purpose, as a ornaments, but they differ in the details. The remain- system of the ecclesiastics, to address the der of the Cathedral is of what is known as the Deco- and the feelings through the eye as well rated style of English architecture ; and the numerous The worshipper, on passing through the p windows, with their flowing tracery, are among the noble western end of the Cathedral, sa finest examples of that rich style. Between the before him a long array of glorious arch windows are bold flying buttresses, with crocketted walls and the roof resplendent with skilfu pinnacles. The roof, which is of very high pitch, is colour and gilding, and the “dim relig crowned by a fleur-de-lis ridge ornament-the only one streaming through numerous storied wind of our cathedrals that retains that decoration.

raised far aloft, in the midst of all, and oc But the most striking portion of the exterior is un- most prominent position, was the emblem o. questionably the west front. Gothic architecture was so placed as not to interfere with the grand a intended to appeal to the imagination and the feelings. effect, but to unite with it, and assist in de The chief entrance to the Cathedral was by the western solemnity of character. At the Reformati door, and consequently, upon the western front the was removed : but a century elapsed befo architect ordinarily employed all the resources of his came to be commonly occupied by the o art. In most of our cathedrals the western end is more rood screen was selected for the purpose elaborately decorated than any other part : but no merely because it was the situation that r other is so much enriched as the west front of Exeter offered itself for so bulky an instrument. Cathedral, though two or three are more generally no religious feeling in the matter ; and th admired. The form and general appearance of this architectural taste then in existence to be front will be best understood by the engraving (Cut, such an anomalous introduction. Its tolera No. 2). It consists of three stories: the basement is the last century is not to be wondered at a screen, with a central doorway, and one of smaller hardly have wondered had the statues of size on each side. The entire surface of this screen Venus been placed on either side of it; bu is occupied by canopied niches, in each of which is a there is a purer and better feeling abroad as statue. The second story, which recedes somewhat, is of character in church appliances, it is surel formed by the west wall of the nave, and contains the the organ should be relegated to a more ob large and noble west window, the arch of which is tion. Regarding alone the religious chara entirely filled with the richest flowing tracery. On edifice, it cannot be desirable that, upone each side are decorated arcades. The wall is supported the organ should be the first object upon by two very bold flying buttresses. The upper story, attention rests : and, as a matter of taste a which recedes somewhat behind the second story, is effect, its position is even more reprehensitformed by the gable of the nave, and has a window either nave or choir it destroys the grand smaller than the other, but similar in character. The entirely obscures the noble terminal wind arrangement, as has been often remarked, is unusual from every part it forces the eye to re in English cathedrals, but common in those of France: object inconsistent with the venerable Gothic indeed, the whole building has a good deal of a Con- and ungraceful and incongruous in itself. tinental character. The statues and ornamental work of Exeter Cathedral may be, as is asserted, of the west front had become considerably dilapidated, largest and finest instruments in the country but the authorities have carefully restored them; and is no reason why it should not be removed this magnificent façade-one of the very finest in Eng- important and conspicuous position, as ha land~is now in a nearly perfect condition.

been done with excellent results in some oth The interior of the Cathedral is far more imposing cathedrals. than the exterior. As you enter, the long range of

Both nave and choir will command and re clustered columns with the open arches above them ; tive examination. In general character they the noble series of windows in the clerestories ; and with, of course, those differences which their the splendid vaulted stone roof which spans the whole purposes require. The clustered columns, the extent of nave and choir, combine to produce a most and the roof, are remarkably fine examples powerful and impressive effect. But the effect would several kinds: the roof is one of the largest a be amazingly improved were the organ to be removed somest vaulted stone roofs of the Decorated from its present position. The magnificent vista would existence. Very little of the original stain

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

remains in the windows. Like all other “idolatrous painter is represented seated in a thoughtful attitude,
pictures and images," it suffered grievously from puri- with his palette hanging carelessly on his thumb: he
tanic wrath. While Exeter was occupied by the soldiers appears to be sitting in reflective mood before his easel,
of the Commonwealth, the Cathedral called into exer- and has much of that tranquil contemplative character
cise no small share of their zeal. Many of the things Chantrey could sometimes so felicitously unite with
which they spared speak as loudly as those they de- marked individuality.
stroyed of their fervour and diligence. But they spared The stranger should not fail to ascend the north
some things which they could hardly be expected to tower of the cathedral, for the sake of the very fine view
spare; among others, the glass in the great east win- of the city he will obtain from its summit. Perhaps a
dow was left uninjured, and it yet remains in good better notion of its topography can be obtained from
preservation. We cannot stay to point out the many this tower than elsewhere : and the suburbs are also
points of interest in the nave: a peculiarity will be seen to advantage : the view is of exceeding beauty,
noticed on its north side in the curious Minstrel's southwards down the valley of the Exe, where
Gallery,' which projects from the clerestory, and is

“ Amidst luxuriant scenes, with conscious pride,
ornamented with well-executed figures of angels playing

Voluptuous Isca winds her silver tide,"
on musical instruments.

The choir is in itself the most complete and most to her confluence with the ocean.
striking part of the interior. Its most singular feature In this north tower is the great bell, whose voice
is the Bishop's Throne, a richly-carved oak structure, warns the citizens of the flight of time, It is one of
a pyramid of open tracery, rising to an elevation of the largest bells in the kingdom, being some four or
52 feet. Bishop Bothe placed it here, about 1470 : it five hundred pounds heavier than the famous Great
escaped the puritanic axe through having been taken Tom of Lincoln, and only inferior in weight and tongue
to pieces and concealed before the surrender of the to Oxford Tom, The biographer of The Doctor,' says,
city. The pulpit and the stalls are also of superior “There are, I believe, only two bells in England
character. The screen which divides the nave and which are known by their Christian names, and they
choir, itself of graceful design and workmanship, is are both called Tom,,.,. Were I called upon to act as
especially noteworthy for a series of very early and sponsor upon such an occasion, I would name my bell
rude paintings on the panels. They represent a com-

Peter Bell, in honour of Mr. Wordsworth.” Southey
plete cycle of scriptural subjects, from the Creation to was mistaken as to there being only two such bells;
the Descent of the Holy Spirit. As pictures they are our bell has a christian name, and, curious enough, it
of no value; but they are curious as specimens of the is Peter Bell. Of course it was not so named in
state of the art in England at the time they were honour of Mr. Wordsworth: it received its appellation

in honour of a certain bishop who died centuries before
The chapels are numerous, and some of them very the waggoner was dreamed of. In the south tower is
beautiful: the open screens which separate them from the heaviest peal of bells in the kingdom.
the body of the cathedral are in several instances of The Chapter House of a cathedral is generally worth
exquisite beauty and delicacy. These chapels mostly seeing. As the ordinary place of meeting for the
contain monuments, which are in themselves of con- transaction of the business of the society, and also the
siderable interest. Indeed the monuments in Exeter apartment in which the members of the monastery
Cathedral are much above the ordinary rank; and they daily assembled to hear a chapter of the order read
are of all times, from the thirteenth century down to (whence its name), it was usually made an important
the present. We can only mention two or three. One feature in the general design. The Chapter House of
of noticeable character represents Bishop Stapledon, Exeter Cathedral is not so fine as some others, and it
who erected the choir in which his tomb is placed: is oblong instead of being polygonal as is usually the
opposite to it is another, of a knight in armour, believed case ; but it is a very handsome structure, It is of
to be Sir Richard Stapledon, the brother of the bishop; later date than the cathedral, having been erected about
they were both executed in Cheapside, by the populace, the middle of the fifteenth century: the windows are
in 1356. In the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene-the good of their kind; the roof is of oak in richly orna-
very beautiful screen of which deserves especial notice mented panels. It is now fitted up as a library. The
—is a splendid monument of Bishop Stafford, who died Bishop's Palace, close by, is not a very remarkable
in 1419. In the beautiful Gabriel Chapel, which was building, but from the very pleasant gardens parts of
built by Bishop Brownscombe, who died in 1280, may the cathedral are seen in picturesque combinations and
be seen the very elegant tomb of its founder; and also to considerable advantage. During the Commonwealth
two monuments by the greatest of recent English the Bishop's Palace was let to a sugar-refiner; vestiges
sculptors. One, a mural monument with several of whose pans and troughs were remaining when the
figures, in memory of General Simcoe (who died in palace was repaired in 1821. The cathedral cloisters
1806), is by Flaxman, but it is not a favourable speci. were entirely destroyed during the Commonwealth.
men of his ability : there is little of poetic character in There are nineteen churches in Exeter: before the
the design, and no refinement of form or execution. Commonwealth there were, it is said, thirty-two.
The other is Chantrey's statue of Northcote. The old Fuller, writing immediately after the Restoration, says,

[ocr errors]

"As for parish churches in this city, at my return | a portion of their communion plate. This canal, which thither this year, I found them fewer than I left them at my departure thence fifteen years ago. But the demolishers of them can give the clearest account how the plucking down of churches conduceth to the setting up of religion. Besides, I understand that thirteen churches were exposed to sale by the public crier, and bought by well-affected persons, who preserved them from destruction." None of the existing churches will stay the feet of the stranger. The older churches are for the most part small, mean, and uninteresting; the modern ones are of almost invariable mediocrity, St. Sidwells (of unenviable fame), and Allhallows are the most noticeable of the recent churches. Of the old ones, that of St. Mary Major, in the cathedral yard, has some details that will interest the archæologist; and that of St. Mary Arches contains some ancient monu

at first extended only to Countess' Weir, two miles from Exeter, was afterwards deepened and considerably improved; but it only permitted the ascent of small vessels till 1827, when it was entirely reformed and carried some miles lower; an extensive wet-dock was at the same time constructed at its termination near the city. By means of these improvements, which cost about £125,000, vessels of 400 tons burden can reach the city dock. The city does not appear to have suffered permanently from the loss of its woollen trade. New houses have been built on every side, and plenty are now building. In some of the pleasanter spots in the suburbs, villages, of the class of residences that builders now-a-days call villas,' have sprung up, much as such villa' villages have risen round London. Mount Radford has a showy and we hope flourishing crop of this kind: and it is as pleasant a place for such a purpose as any we know in the vicinity of any great town. The streets of the city, too, display a goodly number of handsomely fitted, and well stored shops; and a busy crowd daily throngs the thoroughfares. The facilities afforded by the matchless railway have no doubt contributed greatly to stimulate the activity of the citizens.


We must not quit Exeter without referring to its walks, on which the inhabitants very justly pride themselves. The chief of these is the Northernhay, "the admiration of every stranger, and the pride, the ornament, and the boast of Exeter." It lies along the summit of an elevated spot of ground on the north of the city, close by the castle wall. The grounds are neatly laid out and planted with shrubs, and the walks, which are well disposed, are shaded by noble old elms, and afford some pleasant prospects. From Friar's Walk and the parade in front of Collumpton Terrace, on the south side of the city, some capital views may be had of the city and country beyond. On the outside of the city very charming strolls may be taken in almost any direction. Pennsylvania Hill affords extensive and noble prospects; perhaps the city and surrounding country are seen to most advantage from it. The footpaths along the meadows by the Exe also yield a most pleasant ramble. The Exe is here a broad stream, and the scenery along it, though not very striking, is very pleasing: while the weirs that here and there are met with add occasional vivacity to its quiet beauty. Old Abbey, on the east bank of the Exe, about a mile below the city, is the site of a priory of Cluniac monks. Hardly a vestige of the building remains: but the stranger will not regret the stroll down to it, as it stands on a very pretty part of the river. A good footpath alongside the canal forms a favourite walk of the citizens in the summer season,-especially of such as "go a-junketing" to the neighbouring villages. There are some very agreeable walks, too, by Cowick and Ide, and along the heights in that direction: it was from one of these spots that the sketch for our steel engraving was made.

Had we time, it might be worth while to lead the


Nor is Exeter more fortunate in its other public buildings than in its churches. The Guildhall (whose hoary-looking portico is so prominent a feature in the High Street) is the only one that is not modern. The hall itself is rather a fine room; it is tolerably spacious; the walls are covered with carved oak, and it has a very good open timber roof. On the walls are several portraits, chiefly of corporate dignitaries; but there are. also portraits of the Princess Henrietta, and of General Monk, by Sir Peter Lely; of George II., and Lord Camden. The modern buildings are numerous, as may be supposed, in a cathedral city which, with it suburbs, at the last census contained upwards of 36,000 inhabitants, and is the centre of a populous and flourishing district; but none of these buildings are of any general interest, and none of them can be said to add much to the beauty of the city. A list of them will be found in the guide-books which will serve to direct the visitor who is curious in such matters to those that are in their several ways of most interest: here a mere enumeration of them would be useless and tiresome,

Exeter formerly carried on a very large manufacture of woollens at one time, according to Defoe, it was "so exceeding great, all the women inhabitants may be supposed to be thoroughly employed in spinning yarn for it." The manufacture was very great even when Fuller wrote, for he observes," Clothing is plied in this city with great industry and judgment. It is hardly to be believed what credible persons attest for truth, that the return for serges alone in this city amounteth weekly (even now, when trading, though not dead, is sick) to three thousand pounds, not to ascend to a higher proportion." In 1765 the annual value of the exports of woollens from Exeter was estimated at above a million. Towards the close of the century the manufacture began to decay; and it is now quite insignificant. There is, however, a considerable commerce; the import and export trade being both actively pursued. The ship canal, by means of which this trade is carried on, was one of the earliest constructed in this kingdom. It was first formed in 1544; the several parishes contributing towards its cost

« PředchozíPokračovat »