John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 46)
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that of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy.

1654.] JOHN EVELYN. 297

of Assize and Sheriff just entering as we did. Viewing the
town the next day, we found the cathedral much ruined
by the late wars, otherwise a noble structure. The town
is neatly paved and very 'dean, the goodly river Severn
running by it, and standing in a most fertile country.

3rd. We passed next through Warwick, and saw the cas-
tle, the dwelling-house of the Lord Brook, and the furniture
noble. It is built on an eminent rock which gives prospect
into a most goodly green, a woody and plentifully watered
country ; the river running so delightfully under it, that
it may pass for one of the most surprising seats one should
meet with. The gardens are prettily disposed ; but might
be much improved. Here they show us Sir Guy's great
two-handed sword, staff, horse-arms, pot, and other relics
of that famous knight-errant. Warwick is a fair old town,
and hath one church full of ancient monuments.

Having viewed these, I went to visit my worthy friend,
Sir H. Puckering, at the Abbey, and, though a melancholy
old seat, yet in a rich soil.

Hence, to Sir Guy's grot, where they say he did his
penances, and died. It is a squalid den made in the rock,
crowned yet with venerable oaks and looking on a goodly
stream, so as, were it improved as it might be, it were
capable of being made a most romantic and pleasant place.
Near this, we were showed his chapel and gigantic statue
hewn out of the solid rock, out of which there are likewise
divers other caves cut, and some very capacious.

The next place to Coventry. The Cross is remarkable
for Gothic work and rich gilding, comparable to any I
had ever seen, except that of Cheapside in London, now
demolished. This city has many handsome churches, a
beautiful wall, a fair free-school and library to it; the
streets full of great shops, clean and well-paved. At going
forth the gate, they show us the bone, or rib, of a wild
boar, said to have been killed by Sir Guy, but which I take
to be the chine of a whale.

4th. Hence, riding through a considerable part of Lei-
cestershire, an open, rich, but unpleasant country, we came
late in the evening to Horninghold, a seat of my wife's
uncle [not named] .*

* Probably Hungerford (seep. 289). Sir Edward Hungerford, K.B., pre-
sented to the vicarage of Horninghold, in 1676.


7th. Went to Uppingham, the shire-town of Rutland,
pretty and well-built of stone, which is a rarity in that
part of England, where most of the rural parishes are but
of mud, and the people living as wretchedly as in the
most impoverished parts of France, which they much
resemble, being idle and sluttish. The country (especially
Leicestershire) much in common ; the gentry free drinkers.

9th. To the old and ragged city of Leicester, large and
pleasantly seated, but despicably built, the chimney-flues
like so many smiths' forges ; however, famous for the tomb
of the tyrant, Richard the Third, which is now converted
to a cistern, at which (I think) cattle drink. Also, here
in one of the churches lies buried the magnificent Cardinal
Wolsey. John of Gaunt has here also built a large but
poor Hospital, near which a wretch has made him a house
out of the ruins of a stately church. Saw the rains of an
old Roman Temple, thought to be of Janus. Entertained
at a very fine collection of fruits, such as I did not expect
to meet with so far North, especially very good melons.
We returned to my uncle's.

14th. I took a journey into the Northern parts, riding
through Oakham, a pretty town in Rutlandshire, famous
for the tenure of the Barons (Ferrers), who hold it by
taking off a shoe from every nobleman's horse that passes
with his lord through the street, unless redeemed with a
certain piece of money. In token of this, are several gilded
shoes nailed up on the castle-gate,* which seems to have
been large and fair. Hence, we went by Brook, a very
sweet seat and park of the old Lady Camden's. Next, by
Burleigh House, belonging to the Duke of Buckingham,t
and worthily reckoned among the noblest seats in Eng-
land, situate on the brow of a hill, built a la moderne near
a park walled in, and a fine wood at the descent.

Now we were come to Cottsmore, a pretty seat belong-
ing to Mr. Heath, son to the late Lord Chief Justice of
that name. Here, after dinner, parting with the company
that conducted us thus far, I passed that evening by
Belvoir Castle, built on a round mount at the point of a

A shoe was paid for by the Duke of York, in 1788.

f Called Burleigh-on-the-Hill, for distinction from the Earl of Exeter's,
near Stamford. The Duke of Buckingham sold it to the family of Finch, now
Earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, to whom it belongs.

1654.] JOHN EVELYN. 99

long ridge of hills, which affords a stately prospect, and
is famous for its strenuous resistance in the late civil

Went by Newark-on-Trent, a brave town and garrison.
Next, by Wharton House, belonging to the Lord Chaworth,
a handsome seat : then, by Home, a noble place belonging
to the Marquis of Dorchester, and passed the famous river
Trent, which divides the South from the North of Eng-
land ; and so lay that night at Nottingham.

This whole town and county seems to be but one
entire rock, as it were, an exceeding pleasant shire, full of
gentry. Here, I observed divers to live in the rocks and
caves, much after the manner as about Tours, in France.*
The church is well built on an eminence ; there is a fair
house of the Lord Clare's, another of Pierrepont's ; an
ample market-place ; large streets, full of crosses ; the
relics of an ancient castle hollowed, beneath which are
many caverns, especially that of the Scots' King, and his
work whilst there.

This place is remarkable for being the place where his
Majesty first erected his standard at the beginning of
our late unhappy differences. The prospects from this
city towards the river and meadows are most delightful.

15th. We passed next through Sherwood Forest, ac-
counted the most extensive in England. Then, Paple-
wick, an incomparable vista with the pretty castle near it.
Thence, we saw Newstead Abbey, belonging to the Lord
Byron, situated much like Fontainebleau, in France, t capa-
ble of being made a noble seat, accommodated as it is with
brave woods and streams ; it has yet remaining the front
of a glorious abbey church. Next, by Mansfield town ;
then Welbeck, the house of the Marquis of Newcastle,
seated in a bottom in a park, and environed with woods, a
noble yet melancholy seat. The palace is a handsome and
stately building. Next to Worksop Abbey, almost demo-
lished; the church has a double flat tower entire, and
a pretty gate. The manor belongs to the Earl of Arundel,
and has to it a fair house at the foot of a hill in a park
that affords a delicate prospect. Tickel, a town and
castle, has a very noble prospect. All these in Notting-

See p. 71. t See p. 57.


16th. We arrived at Doncaster, where we lay this night;
it is a large fair town, famous for great wax-lights, and
good stockings.

17th. Passed through Pontefract ; the castle, famous for
many sieges both of late and ancient times, and the death
of that unhappy King murdered in it (Richard II.), was
now demolishing by the Rebels ; it stands on a mount, and
makes a goodly show at a distance. The Queen has a,
house here, and there are many fair seats near it, especially
Mr. Pierrepont's, built at the foot of a hill out of the castle
ruins. We all alighted in the highway to drink at a crystal
spring, which they call Robin Hood's Well ; near it, is a
stone chair, and an iron ladle to drink out of, chained to
the seat. We rode to Tadcaster, at the side of which we
have prospect of the Archbishop's Palace (which is a noble
seat), and in sight of divers other gentlemen's fair houses.
This tract is a goodly, fertile, well-watered and wooded
country, abounding with pasture and plenty of provisions.

To York, the second city of England, fairly walled, of a
circular form, watered by the brave river Ouse, bearing
vessels of considerable burthen on it ; over it is a stone
bridge emulating that of London, and built on ; the middle
arch is larger than any I have seen in England, with a
wharf of hewn stone, which makes the river appear very
neat. But most remarkable and worthy seeing is St. Peter's
Cathedral, which of all the great churches in England
had been best preserved from the fury of the sacrilegious,*
by composition with the Rebels when they took the city,
during the many incursions of Scotch and others. It is a
most entire magnificent piece of Gothic architecture. The
screen before the choir is of stone carved with flowers >
running work, and statues of the old kings. Many of the
monuments are very ancient. Here, as a great rarity in
these days and at this time, they showed me a Bible and
Common Prayer-Book covered with crimson velvet, and
richly embossed with silver gilt; also a service for the
altar of gilt wrought plate, flagons, basin, ewer, chalices,
patins, &c., with a gorgeous covering for the altar and
pulpit, carefully preserved in the vestry, in the hollow wall
whereof rises a plentiful spring of excellent water. I got
up to the tower, whence we had a prospect towards Dur-

* By Sir Thomas Fairfax.

1654.] JOHN EVELYN. 301

ham, and could see Ripon, part of Lancashire, the famous
and fatal Marston Moor, the Spas of Knaresborough, and

all the environs of that admirable country. Sir

Ingoldsby has here a large house, gardens, and tennis
court ; also the King's house and church near the castle,
which was modernly fortified with a palisade and bas-
tions. The streets are narrow and ill-paved, the shops like

18th. We went to Beverley, a large town with two
stately churches, St. John's and St. Mary's, not much
inferior to the best of our cathedrals. Here a very old
woman showed us the monuments, and, being above 100
years of age, spake the language of Queen Mary's days, in
whose time she was born ; she was widow of a sexton who
had belonged to the church a hundred years.

Hence, we passed through a fenny but rich country to
Hull, situate like Calais, modernly and strongly fortified
with three block-houses of brick and earth. It has a good
market-place and harbour for ships. Famous also (or
rather infamous) is this town for Hotham's refusing en-
trance to his Majesty. The water-house is worth seeing.
And here ends the South of Yorkshire.

19th. We pass the Humber, an arm of the sea of about
two leagues breadth. The weather was bad, but we crossed
it in a good barge to Barton, the first town in that part of
Lincolnshire. All marsh ground till we came to Brigg,
famous for the plantations of licorice, and then had brave
pleasant riding to Lincoln, much resembling Salisbury
Plain. Lincoln is an old confused town, very long, uneven,
steep, and ragged ; formerly full of good houses, especially
churches and abbeys. The Minster almost comparable to
that of York itself, abounding with marble pillars, and
having a fair front. Herein was interred Queen Eleanora,
the loyal and loving wife who sucked the poison out of her
husband's wound ; the abbot, founder, with rare carving
in the stone ; the great bell, or Tom, as they call it ; I
went up the steeple, from whence is a goodly prospect all
over the country. The soldiers had lately knocked oft*
most of the brasses from the grave-stones, so as few inscrip-
tions were left ; they told us that these men went in with
axes and hammers, and shut themselves in, till they had
rent and torn off some barge-loads of metal, not sparing


even the monuments of the dead ; so hellish an avarice
possessed them : besides which, they exceedingly ruined
the city.

Here, I saw a tall woman six feet two inches high, comely,
middle-aged, and well-proportioned, who kept a very neat
and clean ale-house, and got most by people's coming to
see her on account of her height.

20th. From hence we had a most pleasant ride over a
large heath open like Salisbury Plain, to Grantham, a
pretty town, so well situated on the side of a bottom, which
is large and at a distance environed with ascending grounds,
that for pleasure I consider it comparable to most inland
places of England ; famous is the steeple for the exceeding
height of the shaft, which is of stone.

About eighteen miles South, we pass by a noble seat,
and see Boston, at a distance. Here, we came to a parish
of which the parson hath tithe ale.

Thence through Rutland, we brought night to Horning-
hold, from whence I set out on this excursion.

22nd. I went a setting and hawking, where we had
tolerable sport.

25th. To see Kirby, a very noble house of my Lord
Hatton's, in Northamptonshire, built a la moderne ; the
garden and stables agreeable, but the avenue ungraceful,
and the seat naked : returned that evening.

27th. Mr. Allington preached an excellent discourse
from Romans vi. 19. This was he who published those
bold sermons of the members warring against the mind,
or the Jews crucifying Christ, applied to the wicked
regicides ; for which he was ruined. We had no sermon
in the afternoon.

80th. Taking leave of my friends, who had now feasted
me more than a month, I, with my wife, &c., set our faces
towards home, and got this evening to Peterborough,
passing by a stately palace (Thorpe) of St. John's (one
deep in the blood of our good King), built out of the
ruins of the Bishop's palace and cloister. The church is
exceeding fair, full of monuments of great antiquity. Here
lies Queen Catharine, the unhappy wife of Henry VIII.,
and the no less unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. On
the steeple, we viewed the fens of Lincolnshire, now much
inclosed and drained with infinite expense, and by many

1654.] JOHN EVELYN. 303

sluices, cuts, mounds, and ingenious mills, and the like
inventions ; at which the city and country about it, con-
sisting of a poor and very lazy sort of people, were much

Peterborough is a handsome town, and hath another
well-built church.

31st. Through part of Huntingdonshire, we passed that
town, fair and ancient, a river running by it. The country
about it so abounds in wheat that, when any King of
England passes through it, they have a custom to meet
him with a hundred ploughs.

This evening, to Cambridge ; and went first to St. John's
College, well built of brick, and library, which I think is
the fairest of that University. One Mr. Benlowes * has
given it all the ornaments of pietra commessa,f whereof
a table and one piece of perspective is very fine ; other
trifles there also be of no great value, besides a vast old
song-book, or Service, and some fair manuscripts. There
hangs in the library the picture of John Williams, Arch-
bishop of York, sometime Lord Keeper, my kinsman, and
their great benefactor.

Trinity College is said by some to be the fairest quad-
rangle of any University in Europe j but in truth is far
inferior to that of Christ Church, in Oxford; the hall is
ample and of stone, the fountain in the quadrangle is
graceful, the chapel and library fair. There, they showed
us the prophetic manuscript of the famous Grebner, but
the passage and emblem which they would apply to our
late King, is manifestly relating to the Swedish ; in truth,
it seems to be a mere fantastic rhapsody, however the title
may bespeak strange revelations. There is an office in
manuscript with fine miniatures, and some other antiquities
given by the Countess of Richmond, mother of Henry VII.,
and the before-mentioned Archbishop Williams, when
Bishop of Lincoln. The library is pretty well stored.
The Greek Professor had me into another large quadrangle
cloistered and well-built, and gave us a handsome collation
in his own chamber.

Thence to Caius, and afterwards to King's College,

* Edward Benlowes, Esq., a writer of Divine Poesy, of a good family in
Essex, and of a good estate, but which he wasted by improvident liberality,
and buying curiosities, as Wood says. Wood's Fasti, 876.

t Marble, inlaid of various colours, representing flowers, birds, &c.


where I found the chapel altogether answered expectation,
especially the roof all of stone, which for the flatness of
its laying and carving may, I conceive, vie with any in
Christendom. The contignation of the roof (which I
went upon), weight, and artificial joining of the stones, is
admirable. The lights are also very fair. In one aisle,
lies the famous Dr. Collins, so celebrated for his fluency in
the Latin tongue. From this roof, we could descry Ely,
and the encampment of Sturbridge fair now beginning to
set up their tents and booths ; also Royston, Newmarket,
&c., houses belonging to the King. The library is too

Clare-Hall is of a new and noble design, but not finished.

Peter-House, formerly under the government of my
worthy friend, Dr. Joseph Cosin, Dean of Peterborough;*
a pretty neat college, having a delicate chapel. Next to
Sidney, a fine college.

Catharine-Hall, though a mean structure, is yet famous
for the learned Bishop Andrews, once Master. Emanuel
College, that zealous house, where to the hall they have a
parlour for the Fellows. The chapel is reformed, ab origine,
built north and south, and meanly erected, as is the

Jesus-College, one of the best built, but in a melancholy
situation. Next to Christ-College, a very noble erection,
especially the modern part, built without the quadrangle
towards the gardens, of exact architecture.

The Schools are very despicable, and Public Library
but mean, though somewhat improved by the wainscoting
and books lately added by the Bishop Bancroft's library,
-and MSS. They showed us little of antiquity, only
King James's Works, being his own gift, and kept very

The market-place is very ample, and remarkable for old
Hobson the pleasant carrier's beneficence of a fountain.t
But the whole town is situate in a low dirty unpleasant
place, the streets ill-paved, the air thick and infected by
the fens, nor are its churches (of which St. Mary's is the
best) anything considerable, in compare to Oxford.J

Ejected from all his preferments, in 1640, or 1641. Afterwards, Bishop
of Durham.

+ It is rather a conduit.
J The reader must remember that an Oxford man is speaking.

1654.] JOHN EVELYN. 305

From Cambridge, we went to Audley-End, and spent
some time in seeing that goodly palace built by Howard,
Earl of Suffolk, once Lord Treasurer. It is a mixed fabric,
betwixt antique and modern, but observable for its being
completely finished, and without comparison is one of the
stateliest palaces in the kingdom. It consists of two
courts, the first very large, winged with cloisters. The
front had a double entrance ; the hall is fair, but some-
what too small for so august a pile. The kitchen is very
large, as are the cellars arched with stone, very neat and
well disposed ; these offices are joined by a wing out of the
way very handsomely. The gallery is the most cheerful,
and I think one of the best in England; a fair dining-
room, and the rest of the lodgings answerable, with a
pretty chapel. The gardens are not in order, though well
inclosed. It has also a bowling-alley, a nobly well-walled,
wooded, and watered park, full of fine collines and ponds :
the river glides before the palace, to which is an avenue of
lime-trees, but all this is much diminished by its being
placed in an obscure bottom. For the rest, it is a perfectly
uniform structure, and shows without like a diadem, by
the decorations of the cupolas and other ornaments on the
pavilions ; instead of rails and balusters, there is a border
of capital letters, as was lately also on Suffolk-House, near
Charing-Cross, built by the same Lord Treasurer.*

This house stands in the parish of Saffron Walden,
famous for the abundance of saffron there cultivated, and
esteemed the best of any foreign country.

3rd October. Having dined here, we passed through
Bishop Stortford, a pretty watered town, and so by
London, late home to Sayes Court, after a journey of 700
miles, but for the variety an agreeable refreshment after
my turmoil and building.

10th. To my brother at "Wotton, who had been sick.

14th. I went to visit my noble friend, Mr. Hyldiard,
where I met that learned gentleman, my Lord Aungier,
and Dr. Stokes, one of his Majesty's Chaplains.

15th. To Betchworth Castle, to Sir Ambrose Browne,
and other gentlemen of my sweet and native country.

24th. The good old parson, Higham, preached at

* Where Suffolk Street stood.


Wotton Church : a plain preacher, but innocent and
honest man.

23rd November. I went to London, to visit my cousin
Fanshawe, and this day I saw one of the rarest collections
of agates, onyxes, and intaglios, that I had ever seen
either at home or abroad, collected by a conceited old hat-
maker in Blackfriars, especially one agate vase, hereto-
fore the great Earl of Leicester's.

28th. Came Lady Langham, a kinswoman of mine, to
visit us ; also one Captain Cooke, esteemed the best singer,
after the Italian manner, of any in England; he entertained
us with his voice and theorbo.

31st. My birth-day, being the 34th year of my age :
blessing God for His providence, I went to London to visit
my brother.

3rd December. Advent Sunday. There being no Office
at the church but extemporary prayers after the Presbyte-
rian way, for now all forms were prohibited, and most of
the preachers were usurpers, I seldom went to church
upon solemn feasts ; but, either went to London, where
some of the orthodox sequestered Divines did privately use
the Common Prayer, administer sacraments, &c., or else I
procured one to officiate in my house ; wherefore, on the
10th, Dr. Richard Owen, the sequestered minister of
Eltham, preached to my family in my library, and gave
us the holy Communion.

25th. Christmas-day. No public offices in churches, but
penalties on observers, so as I was constrained to celebrate
it at home.

1654-5. 1st January. Having with my family performed
the public offices of the day, and begged a blessing on the
year I was now entering, I went to keep the rest of
Christmas at my brother's, R. Evelyn, at Woodcot.

19th. My wife was brought to bed of another son, being
my third, but second living. Christened on the 26th by the
name of John.

28th. A stranger preached from Colossians, iii. 2,
inciting our affections to the obtaining heavenly things.
I understood afterwards that this man had been both
Chaplain and Lieutenant to Admiral Penn, using both
swords, whether ordained or not I cannot say ; into such
times were we fallen !

1655.] JOHN EVELYN. 307

24th February. I was showed a table-clock whose balance
was only a crystal ball, sliding on parallel wires, without
being at all fixed, but rolling from stage to stage till fall-
ing on a spring concealed from sight, it was thrown up to
the upmost channel again, made with an imperceptible
declivity, in this continual vicissitude of motion prettily
entertaining the eye every half minute, and the next half
giving progress to the hand that showed the hour, and
giving notice by a small bell, so as in 120 half minutes, or
periods, of the bullet's falling on the ejaculatory spring, the
clock-part struck. This very extraordinary piece (richly
adorned) had been presented by some German Prince to
our late King, and was now in possession of the Usurper;
valued at 200/.

2nd March. Mr. Simpson, the King's jeweller, showed
me a most rich agate cup, of an escalop-shape, and having
a figure of Cleopatra at the scroll, her body, hair, mantle,
and veil, of the several natural colours. It was supported
by a half Mark Antony, the colours rarely natural, and the
work truly antique, but I conceived they were of several
pieces ; had they been all of one stone, it were invaluable.

18th. Went to London, on purpose to hear that excellent
preacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, on Matt. xiv. 17, showing
what were the conditions of obtaining eternal life : also,
concerning abatements for unavoidable infirmities, how
cast on the accounts of the cross. On the 31st, I made a
visit to Dr. Jeremy Taylor, to confer with him about some
spiritual matters, using him thenceforward as my ghostly
father. I beseech God Almighty to make me ever mindful
of, and thankful for, His heavenly assistances !

2nd April, This was the first week that my uncle,
Pretyman, being parted with his family from me, I began
housekeeping, till now sojourning with him in my own

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 46)