Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

seemed to grow out of the rough rocky banks: now there are numerous goodly villas with their gardens and plantations, scattered along the hill-sides; hotels have been built, and there reigns over all an air of gentility and refinement;-a poor compensation for the old, uncultivated, native wildness that has vanished before it. St. Mary Church, just above Babbicombe Bay, has also altered with the changing times. From a quiet country village, it has grown into a place of some resort, and houses fitted for the reception of wealthy visitors have been built and are building on every side. There is not much to notice in the village. The church is a plain building of various dates, and not uninteresting to the architectural antiquary. It stands on an elevated site, and the tall tower serves as a land-mark for a long distance. In the church-yard may be seen a pair of stocks and a whipping-post in excellent preservation. While at St. Mary's the stranger will do well to visit Mr. Woodly's marble works: the show-rooms, which are open to him, contain a wonderful variety of the Devonshire marbles, wrought into chimney-pieces and various articles of use or ornament. Some of the specimens are very beautiful.

A short distance further is Bishopstowe, the seat of the Bishop of Exeter: a large and handsome building of recent erection, in the Italian Palazzo style. It stands in a commanding situation in one of the very finest parts of this coast; and the terraces and towers must afford the most splendid prospects. Immediately below the Bishop's palace is Anstis Cove, the most romantic spot from Sidmouth to the Dart. (Cut, No. 6.) It is a deep indentation in the cliffs, where a stream appears at some time or other to have worked out its way in a bold ravine to the ocean. On either hand the little bay is bounded by bold wild rocks. On the left a bare headland juts out into the sea, which has worn it, though of hardest marble, into three or four rugged peaks. On the right, the craggy sides of the lofty hill are covered thick with wild copse and herbage, while from among the loose fragments of rock project stunted oak, and birch, and ash trees, their trunks overgrown with mosses and lichens, and encompassed with tangled heaps of trailing plants. The waves roll heavily into the narrow cove, and dash into snowy foam against the marble rocks and upon the raised beach. A lovely spot it is as a lonely wanderer or a social party could desire for a summer-day's enjoyment. The Devonshire marble, which is now in so much request, is chiefly quarried from Anstis Cove and Babbicombe Bay. While here, Kent's Hole, a cavern famous for the fossil remains which have been discovered in it, and so well known from the descriptions of Dr. Buckland' and other geologists, may be visited, if permission has been previously obtained of the Curator of the museum at Torquay. The cavern is said to be 600 feet in length, and it has several chambers and winding passages. Numerous stalactites depend from the roof, and the floor is covered by a slippery coating of stalagmite: the place is very curious, but has little of the impressiveness of the caverns of Yorkshire and the Peak. At Tor-wood,

close by, are a few picturesque fragments of a building that once belonged to the monks of Tor Abbey; was afterwards a seat of the Earl of Londonderry; and then a farmhouse.

Nearly all the way from Teignmouth the stranger will have observed, not without surprise, the number of large and expensive residences that have been recently erected on almost every available (and many an unpromising) spot. Many appear to have been begun without a proper reckoning of the cost, and are standing in an unfinished state; many that are finished are to let,' but more are occupied. As Torquay is approached, the number rapidly increases, until on the skirts of the town there appears, as it has been appropriately termed, "a forest of villas." What old Fuller calls "the plague of building," seems to have alighted here in its strongest form. But whatever may be the case further off, it is said that a villa of the best kind is hardly ever completed and furnished in the immediate vicinity of the town before a tenant is found ready to secure it.

No other watering-place in England has risen so rapidly into importance as Torquay. Leland indicates its existence without mentioning its name. Speaking of Torbay he says, "There is a pier and succour for fisher-boats in the bottom by Torre priory." What it was in the middle of the sixteenth century it remained, with little alteration, to the end of the eighteenth. "The living generation," says the Route Book of Devon,' "has seen the site where now stand stately buildings, handsome shops, and a noble pier, with a busy population of 8000 souls, occupied by a few miserable-looking fishing-huts, and some loose stones jutting out from the shore, as a sort of anchorage or protection for the wretched craft of its inhabitants." The same work suggests a reason, in addition to the causes that have led to its unrivalled popularity, for the remarkable increase of houses:-" The increase of buildings and houses here has been, perhaps, greater than in any other town-[watering-place is meant: Birkenhead and other commercial and manufacturing towns have, of course, increased to a much greater extent]in the kingdom. This, in a great measure, may be attributed, in addition to its beauty of situation and salubrity of climate, to the natural advantages it possesses for building. The whole district being nearly one large marble quarry, the renter or possessor of a few feet square has only to dig for his basement story, and the material, with the exception of a little timber, which is landed before his door, for the completion of his superstructure, is found."

Torquay lies in a sunny and sheltered cove at the north-eastern extremity of the noble Torbay. Lofty hills surround it on all sides except the south, where it is open to the sea. The houses are built on the sides of the hills, which rise steeply from the bosom of the bay. Thus happily placed, the town enjoys almost all the amenities of a more southern clime: the tempcrature is mild and equable, beyond perhaps that of any other part of the island. In winter the air is

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 froin 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 or 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][merged small][subsumed]

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

unload. Of late, Paignton has greatly in Torbay is one of the finest and most beautiful bays size and altered in character. Torquay ha around the whole English coast. It is bounded on the bathing-place; and since the construction north by a bold headland, which bears the elegant road, the residents there have availed the designation of Hope's Nose, and it sweeps round in a the sands at Paignton, which are well a splendid curve to the lofty promontory of Berry Head, bathing. At first a few, and afterwards a g which forms its southern boundary. The distance visitors sought for houses or lodgings here between the two extremities is above four miles; the commodate them, a good number of conveni depth, in the centre of the bay, is about three miles and have been erected; and the place is growi a half; the coast line is upwards of twelve miles. size as well as reputation. It is not at al Within its ample bosom a navy might ride at anchor. that it will some day have its full share of Considerable fleets have lain within it. From its sur- Paignton has many advantages as a watering face, the aspect of the bay is of surpassing beauty. On lies in a pleasant and picturesque spot, alm the northern side lies Torquay, beneath its sheltering centre of the splendid bay, over which the hills : at the southern extremity is the busy town of command the grandest prospects: the sands Brixham, with its fleet of fishing-boats lying under and well adapted for bathing. The lanes a the shelter of the bold promontory of Berry Head. around the town are the pleasantest and Between these distant points are two or three villages turesque in this neighbourhood. Though not with their church towers, and all along are scattered tered as Torquay, Paignton is by no means cottages or villas, serving as links to connect the towns and if not quite so warm, the air is less relaxi and hamlets. The coast-line is broken by deep inden- Brixham, which lies at the southern extrem tations and projecting rocks. The shore rises now in bay, is one of the first and wealthiest fishing bluff and rugged cliffs, and presently sinks in verdant England. About two hundred and fifty sail and wooded slopes : and behind and above all stretches belong to the town, besides some fifty or six far away, as a lovely back-ground, a richly diversified smaller fishing-boats. The extent of the fish and fertile country; while to complete the glorious is enormous,—the largest, it is said, in Engla panorama, the bosom of the bay is alive with ships, Norman times the town belonged to the Nova and yachts, and numerous trawls.

from them it passed in succession through seve Let

us go ashore again, and look at the two or three noble hands. The present lords of Brixham are spots that lie along the bay. Adjoining Torquay are fishermen. The manor was purchased some ti a few vestiges of an old monastery of the Premonstra- | by twelve fishermen; these twelve shares we tensian order, and which, according to Dr. Oliver, wards subdivided, and these have been again (* Historical Collections relating to the Monasteries in Each holder of a share, or portion of a share, Devon')," was undoubtedly the richest priory belonging small, is styled 'a quay lord.' If you see to that order in England." It was founded in the bearded, many-jacketed personage, who carries reign of Richard I., and it continued to flourish till with a little extra consequence in the markt 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, u exquisite spots in this land of beauty; and its happily place. It stands in a picturesque position, and chosen site is a testimony to the community of feeling picturesque at a distance. Not but what th among the monks with what Humboldt (in his. Cos- parts of it which, close at hand, are picturesque mos')" traces in the writings of the Christian Fathers after a fashion. Down by the shore, Prout of the Church -the fine expression of a love of make capital pictures of the shambling-houses, a nature

, nursed in the seclusion of the hermitage.” The bluff weather-beaten hulls that are hauled on the few fragments that remain of the old priory are in the or lie alongside the pier. The Upper Town, or ( gardens of the modern mansion which bears the name Brixham, is built on the south side of Berry Hea of Tor Abbey. They are almost entirely covered with Church is there, and the better houses are ther ivy, and are so dilapidated that no judgment of the The Lower Town, or Brixham Quay, is the busine ancient architecture can be formed from them.

of the town: the streets are narrow, dirty, and About the centre of Torbay lies the village of Paign- grant,-a sort of Devonshire Wapping with a Bi ton, once a place of some consequence, as its large old gate smell. There is here a Pier, which forms church testifies. The bishops of Exeter had formerly rable tidal harbour. But the great increase in the a seat here, some fragments of which are standing near (and Brixham is a port of some consequence apar the old church. Paignton's chief fame till within these its fishery) has rendered the old harbour insuff

« PředchozíPokračovat »