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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against us, we landed short of the fort on the beach, where
we marched half leg deep in mud, ere we could gain the
dyke, which being five or six miles from Lillo, we were
forced to walk on foot very wet and discomposed ; and
then entering a boat we passed the ferry, and came to
the castle. Being taken before the Governor, he demanded

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 31

my pass, to which he set his hand, and asked two rix-
dollars for a fee, which methought appeared very exorbi-
tant in a soldier of his quality. I told him that I had
already purchased my pass of the commissaries at Rotter-
dam ; at which, in a great fury, snatching the paper out of my
hand, he flung it scornfully under the table, and bade me
try whether I could get to Antwerp without his permis-
sion ; but, I had no sooner given him the dollars, than he
returned the passport surlily enough, and made me pay
fourteen Dutch shillings to the cantone, or searcher,
for my contempt, which I was glad to do for fear of fur-
ther trouble, should he have discovered my Spanish pass,
in which the States were therein treated by the name of
rebels. Besides all these exactions, I gave the commissary
six shillings, to the soldiers something, and, ere perfectly
clear of this frontier, thirty-one stivers to the man-of-war,
who lay blocking up the river betwixt Lillo and the
opposite sconce called Lifkinshoeck.

4th. We sailed by several Spanish forts, out of one of
which, St. Mary's port, came a Don onboard us, to whom
I showed my Spanish pass, which he signed, and civilly
dismissed us. Hence, sailing by another man-of-war, to
which we lowered our topsails, we at length arrived at

The lodgings here are very handsome and convenient.
I lost little time ; but, with the aid of one Mr. Lewkner,
our conductor, we visited divers churches, colleges, and
monasteries. The Church of the Jesuits is most sump-
tuous and magnificent; a glorious fabric without and
within, wholly incrusted with marble, inlaid and polished
into divers representations of histories, landscapes, and
flowers. On the high altar is placed the statue of the
Blessed Virgin and our Saviour in white marble, with
a boss in the girdle set with very fair and rich sap-
phires, and divers other stones of price. The choir is a
glorious piece of architecture ; the pulpit supported by
four angels, and adorned with other carvings, and rare
pictures by Rubens, now lately dead, and divers votive
tables and relics. Hence, to the Vrou Kirk, or Notre
Dame of Antwerp: it is a very venerable fabric, built
after the Gothic manner, especially the tower, which I
ascended, the better to take a view of the country adjacent ;


which, happening on a day when the sun shone exceedingly
bright, and darted his rays without any interruption,
afforded so bright a reflection to us who were above, and
had a full prospect of both land and water about it, that I
was much confirmed in my opinion of the moon's being of
some such substance as this earthly globe. Perceiving all
the subjacent country, at so small an horizontal distance,
to repercuss such a light as I could hardly look against,
save where the river and other large water within our view,
appeared of a more dark and uniform colour, resembling
those spots in the moon supposed to be seas there, according
to Hevelius, and as they appear in our late telescopes.
I numbered in this church thirty privileged altars, that of
St. Sebastian adorned with a painting of his martyrdom.

We went to see the Jerusalem Church, affirmed to have
been founded by one who, upon divers great wagers,
passed to and fro between that city and Antwerp on foot,
by which he procured large sums of money, which he be-
stowed on this pious structure. Hence, to St. Mary's
Chapel, where I had some conference with two English
Jesuits, confessors to Colonel Jaye's regiment. These fathers
conducted us to the Cloister of Nuns, where we heard a
Dutch sermon upon the exposure of the Host. The Senate-
house of this city is a very spacious and magnificent

5th. I visited the Jesuits' School, which, for the fame of
their method, I greatly desired to see. They were divided
into four classes, with several inscriptions over each : as,
first, Ad majorem Dei gloriam ; over the second, Princeps
diligentice ; the third, Imperator Byzantiorum ; over the
fourth and uppermost, Imperator Romanorum. Under
these, the scholars and pupils had their places, or forms,
with titles and priority according to their proficiency.
Their dormitory and lodgings above were exceedingly
neat. They have a prison for the offenders and less
diligent ; and, in an ample court, to recreate themselves
in, is an aviary, and a yard where eagles, vultures, foxes,
monkeys, and other animals are kept, to divert the boys
withal at their hours of remission. To this school join the
music and mathematical schools, and lastly a pretty, neat
chapel. The great street is built after the Italian mode,
in the middle whereof is erected a glorious crucifix of

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 33

white and black marble, greater than the life. This is a
very fair and noble street, clean, well paved, and sweet to

The Oesters house, belonging to the East India Com-
pany, is a stately palace, adorned with more than 300
windows. From hence walking into the Gun-garden, I
was allowed to see as much of the citadel as is per-
mitted to strangers. It is a matchless piece of modern
fortification, accommodated with lodgments for the sol-
diers and magazines. The graffs, ramparts, and plat-
forms are stupendous. Returning by the shop of Plantine,
I bought some books, for the namesake only of that famous

But there was nothing about this city which more
ravished me than those delicious shades and walks of
stately trees, which render the fortified works of the town
one of the sweetest places in Europe ; nor did I ever
observe a more quiet, clean, elegantly built, and civil
place, than this magnificent and famous city of Antwerp.
In the evening, I was invited to Signor Duerte's, a Portu-
guese by nation, an exceeding rich merchant, whose palace
I found to be furnished like a prince's. His three daughters
entertained us with rare music, vocal and instrumental,
which was finished with a handsome collation. I took
leave of the ladies and of sweet Antwerp, as late as it was,
embarking for Brussels on the Scheldt in a vessel, which
delivered us to a second boat (in another river) drawn or
towed by horses. In this passage, we frequently changed
our barge, by reason of the bridges thwarting our course.
Here I observed numerous families inhabiting their vessels
and floating dwellings, so built and divided by cabins, as
few houses on land enjoyed better accommodation, stored
with all sorts of utensils, neat chambers, a pretty parlour,
and kept so sweet, that nothing could be more refreshing.
The rivers on which they are drawn are very clear and
still waters, and pass through a most pleasant country on
both the banks. We had in our boat a very good ordinary,
and excellent company. The cut is straight as a line for
twenty English miles. What I much admired was, near
the midway, another artificial river, which intersects this
at right angles, but on an eminence of ground, and is
carried in an aqueduct of stone so far above the other, as

VOL. i. D


that the waters neither mingle, nor hinder one another's

We came to a town called Villefrow, where all the
passengers went on shore to wash at a fountain issuing
out of a pillar, and then came aboard again. On the
margin of this long tract, are abundance of shrines and
images, defended from the injuries of the weather by
niches of .stone wherein they are placed.

7th. We arrived at Brussels at nine in the morning.
The Stadt-house, near the market-place, is, for the carving
in freestone, a most laborious and finished piece, well worthy
observation. The flesh-shambles are also built of stone.
I was pleased with certain small engines, by which a girl,
or boy, was able to draw up, or let down, great bridges,
which in divers parts of this city crossed the channel for
the benefit of passengers. The walls of this town are very
entire, and full of towers at competent distances. The
cathedral is built upon a very high and exceeding steep
ascent, to which we mounted by fair steps of stone. Hence
I walked to a convent of English Nuns, with whom I sat
discoursing most part of the afternoon.

8th. Being the morning I came away, I went to see
the Prince's Court, an ancient, confused building, not
much unlike the Hofft, at the Hague : there is here like-
wise a very large Hall, where they vend all sorts of wares.
Through this we passed by the chapel, which is indeed
rarely arched, and in the middle of it was the hearse, or
catafalco, of the late Archduchess, the wise and pious Clara
Eugenia. Out of this we were conducted to the lodgings,
tapestried with incomparable arras, and adorned with
many excellent pieces of Rubens, old and young Breugel,
Titian, and Stenwick, with stories of most of the late
actions in the Netherlands.

By an accident, we could not see the library. There is
a fair terrace which looks to the vineyard, in which, on
pedestals, are fixed the statues of all the Spanish kings of
the house of Austria. The opposite walls are painted by
Rubens, being an history of the late tumults in Belgia :
in the last piece, the Archduchess shuts a great pair of
gates upon Mars, who is coming out of hell, armed, and in
a menacing posture ; which, with that other of the Infanta

* As at the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, in Lancashire.

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 35

taking leave of Don Philip the Fourth, is a most incompa-
rable table.

From hence, we walked into the park, which for being
entirely within the walls of the city is particularly
remarkable; nor is it less pleasant than if in the most
solitary recesses ; so naturally is it furnished with what-
ever may render it agreeable, melancholy, and country-
like. Here is a stately heronry, divers springs of water,
artificial cascades, rocks, grots, one whereof is composed
of the extravagant roots of trees cunningly built and
hung together with wires. In this park are both fallow
and red deer.

From hence, we were led into the Menage, and out of
that into a most sweet and delicious garden, where was
another grot of more neat and costly materials, full of
noble statues, and entertaining us with artificial music ;
but the hedge of water, in form of lattice-work, which the
fountaineer caused to ascend out of the earth by degrees,
exceedingly pleased and surprised me ; for thus with a
pervious wall, or rather a palisade hedge of water, was the
whole parterre environed.

There is likewise a fair aviary ; and in the court next
it are kept divers sorts of animals, rare and exotic fowl,
as eagles, cranes, storks, bustards, pheasants of several
kinds, and a duck having four wings. In another division
of the same close are rabbits of an almost perfect yellow

There was no Court now in the palace, the Infante Car-
dinal, who was the governor of Flanders, being dead but
newly, and every one in deep mourning.

At near eleven o'clock, I repaired to his Majesty's
agent, Sir Henry De Vic, who very courteously received
me, and accommodated me with a coach and six horses,
which carried me from Brussels to Ghent, where it was to
meet my Lord of Arundel, Earl Marshal of England, who
had requested me when I was at Antwerp to send it for
him, if I went not thither myself.

Thus taking leave of Brussels and a sad Court, yet full
of gallant persons, (for in this small city, the acquaintance
being universal, ladies and gentlemen, I perceived, had
great diversions and frequent meetings,) I hasted towards
Ghent. On the way, I met with divers little waggons,

D 2


prettily contrived and full of peddling merchandises, drawn
by mastiff-dogs, harnessed completely like so many coach-
horses ; in some four, in others six, as in Brussels itself I
had observed. In Antwerp I saw, as I remember, four
dogs draw five lusty children in a chariot : the master
commands them whither he pleases, crying his wares
about the streets. After passing through Ouse, by six in
the evening, I arrived at Ghent. This is a city of so great
a circumference, that it is reported to be seven leagues
round ; but there is not half of it now built, much of it
remaining in fields and desolate pastures even within the
walls, which have strong gates towards the west, and two
fair churches.

Here I beheld the Palace wherein John of Gaunt and
Charles V. were born ; whose statue stands in the market-
place, upon a high pillar, with his sword drawn, to which
(as I was told) the magistrates and burghers were wont to
repair upon a certain day every year with ropes about
their necks, in token of submission and penance for an
old rebellion of theirs ; but now the hemp is changed into
a blue ribbon. Here is planted the basilisco, or great
gun, so much talked of. The Lys and the Scheldt meet-
ing in this vast city, divide it into twenty-six islands,
which are united by many bridges, somewhat resembling
Venice. This night I supped with the Abbot of Andoyne,
a pleasant and courteous priest.

. I passed by boat to Bruges, taking in at a

redoubt a convoy of fourteen musketeers, because the
other side of the river, being Contribution-land, was sub-
ject to the inroads and depredations of the bordering
States. This river was cut by the famous Marquis
Spinola, and is in my judgment a wonderful piece of
labour, and a worthy public work, being in some places
forced through the main rock, to an incredible depth, for
thirty miles. At the end of each mile, is built a small
redoubt, which communicates a line to the next, and so
the whole way, from whence we received many volleys of
shot, in compliment to my Lord Marshal, who was in our
vessel, a passenger with us. At five that evening, we were
met by the magistrates of Bruges, who came out to convey
my Lord to his lodgings, at whose cost he was entertained
that night.

1641.] JOHN EVELYN. 37

The morning after we went to see the Stadt house and
adjoining aqueduct, the church, and market-place, where
we saw cheeses and butter piled up in heaps; also the
fortifications and graffs, which are extremely large.

The 9th we arrived at Ostend by a straight and artificial
river. Here, with leave of the captain of the watch, I was
carried to survey the river and harbour, with fortifications
on one side thereof: the east and south are mud and
earth walls. It is a very strong place, and lately stood a
memorable siege three years, three months, three weeks,
and three days. I went to see the church of St. Peter,
and the cloisters of the Franciscans.

10th. I went by waggon, accompanied with a jovial
commissary, to Dunkirk, the journey being made all on the
sea-sands. On our arrival, we first viewed the court of
guards, the works, the town-house, and the new church ;
the latter is very beautiful within ; and another, wherein
they showed us an excellent piece of Our Saviour's bearing
tJie Cross. The harbour, in two channels, coming up to
the town, was choked with a multitude of prizes.

From hence, the next day, I marched three. English
miles towards the packet-boat, being a pretty frigate of
six guns, which embarked us for England about three in
the afternoon.

At our going off, the fort, against which our pinnace
anchored, saluted my Lord Marshal with twelve great
guns, which we answered with three. Not 'having the
wind favourable, we anchored that night before Calais.
About midnight, we weighed ; and, at four in the morning,
though not far from Dover, we could not make the pier
till four that afternoon, the wind proving contrary and
driving us westward ; but at last we got on shore, October
the 12th.

From Dover, I that night rode post to Canterbury.
Here I visited the cathedral, then in great splendour,
those famous windows being entire, since demolished by
the fanatics. The next morning, by Sittingbourne, I came
to Rochester, and thence to Gravesend, where a light-
horseman (as they call it) taking us in, we spent our tide
as far as Greenwich. From hence, after we had a little
refreshed ourselves at the College, (for by reason of the
contagion then in London we balked the inns,) we came


to London Hnding at Arundel-stairs. Here I took leave
of his Lo d' .p, and retired to my lodgings in the Middle
Temple, being about two in the morning, the 14th of

16th. I went to see my brother, at Wotton. On the
31st of that month (unfortunate for the Irish Rebellion,
which broke out on the 23rd) I was one and twenty years
of age.

7th November. After receiving the Sacrament at Wotton
church, I visited my Lord Marshal at Albury.

23rd. I returned to London; and, on the 25th, saw his
Majesty ride through the City after his coming out of
Scotland, and a Peace proclaimed, with great acclama-
tions and joy of the giddy people.

15th December. I was elected one of the Comptrollers of
the Middle Temple-revellers, as the fashion of the young
students and gentlemen was, the Christmas being kept
this year with great solemnity; but, being desirous to
pass it in the country, I got leave to resign my staff of
office, and went with my brother, Richard, to Wotton.

10th January, 1642. I gave a visit to my cousin Hatton
of Ditton.

19th. I went to London, where I stayed till 5th March,
studying a little, but dancing and fooling more.

3rd October. To Chichester, and hence the next day to
see the siege of Portsmouth; for now was that bloody
difference between the King and Parliament broken out,
which ended in the fatal tragedy so many many years after.
It was on the day of its being rendered to Sir William
Waller ; which gave me an opportunity of taking my leave
of Colonel Goring, the governor, now embarking for
France. This day was fought that signal battle at Edge-
hill. Thence I went to Southampton and Winchester,
where I visited the castle, school, church, and King
Arthur's Round Table, but especially the church and its
Saxon kings' monuments, which I esteemed a worthy

12th November was the battle of Brentford, surprisingly
fought, and to the great consternation of the City, had
his Majesty (as it was believed he would) pursued his
advantage. I came in with my horse and arms just at
the retreat; but was not permitted to stay longer than

1642-3.] JOHN EVELYN. 39

the 15th by reason of the army marching to Gloucester;
which would have left both me and my brothers exposed
to ruin, without any advantage to his Majesty.

7th December. I went from Wotton to London, to see
the so much celebrated line of communication, and on the
] Oth returned to Wotton, nobody knowing of my having
been in his Majesty's army.

1643. 10th March. I went to Hartingford-berry, to
visit my cousin, Keightly.

llth. I went to see my Lord of Salisbury's Palace at
Hatfield, where the most considerable rarity, besides the
house (inferior to few then in England for its architec-
ture,) were the garden and vineyard, rarely well watered
and planted. They also showed us the picture of Secre-
tary Cecil, in mosaic work, very well done by some Italian

I must not forget what amazed us exceedingly in the
night before ; viz. a shining cloud in the air, in shape
resembling a sword, the point reaching to the north; it
was as bright as the moon, the rest of the sky being very
serene. It began about eleven at night, and vanished not
till above one, being seen by all the south of England.
I made many journeys to and from London.

April the 15th. To Hatfield, and near the town of
Hertford I went to see Sir J. Harrison's house new built.*
Returning to London, I called to see his Majesty's house
and gardens at Theobald's, since demolished by the

2nd May. I went from Wotton to London, where I saw
the furious and zealous people demolish that stately Cross
in Cheapside.

On the 4th I returned, with no little regret, for the
confusion that threatened us. Resolving to possess myself
in some quiet, if it might be, in a time of so great jealousy,
I built by my brothers permission a study, made a fish-
pond, an island, and some other solitudes and retirements
at Wotton; which gave the first occasion of improving
them to those waterworks and gardens which afterwards
succeeded them, and became at that time the most famous
of England.

* Now called Ball's Park, belonging to the present Marquis Townsend.


12th July. I sent my black menage horse and furniture
with a friend to his Majesty, then at Oxford.

23rd. The Covenant being pressed, I absented myself;
but, finding it impossible to evade the doing very unhand-
some things, and which had been a great cause of my
perpetual motions hitherto between Wotton and London,
October the 2nd, I obtained a license of his Majesty, dated
at Oxford, and signed by the King, to travel again.

6th November. Lying by the way from Wotton at Sir
Ralph Whitfi eld's, at Blechingley, (whither both my brothers
had conducted me,) I arrived at London on the 7th, and
two days after took boat at the Tower- wharf, which carried
me as far as Sittingbourne, though not without danger, I
being only in a pair of oars, exposed to a hideous storm ;
but it pleased God that we got in before the peril was
considerable. From thence, I went by post to Dover,
accompanied with one Mr. Thicknesse, a very dear friend
of mine.*

llth. Having a reasonable good passage, though the
weather was snowy and untoward enough, we came before
Calais, where, as we went on shore, mistaking the tide,
our shallop struck on the sands, with no little danger;
but at length we got off.

Calais is considered an extraordinary well-fortified place,
in the old castle and new citadel regarding the sea. The
haven consists of a long bank of sand, lying opposite to it.
The market-place and the church are remarkable things,
besides those relics of our former dominion there. I
remember there were engraven in stone upon the front of
an ancient dwelling which was showed us, these words in
English, " God save the King/' together with the name
of the architect and date. The walls of the town are sub-
stantial ; but the situation towards the land is not pleasant,
by reason of the marshes and low grounds about it.

12th. After dinner, we took horse with the Mes-
sagere, hoping to have arrived at Boulogne that night;
but there fell so great a snow, accompanied with hail, rain,
and sudden darkness, that we had much ado to gain the
next village ; and in this passage, being to cross a valley
by a causeway and a bridge built over a small river, the

* The gentleman he has already mentioned as so much assisting him. in
his studies at Oxford.

1643.] JOHN EVELYN. 41

rain that had fallen making it an impetuous stream for
near a quarter of a mile, my horse slipping had almost
been the occasion of my perishing. We none of us went
to bed ; for the soldiers in those parts leaving little in the
villages, we had enough to do to get ourselves dry, by
morning, between the fire and the fresh straw. The next
day early, we arrived at Boulogne.

This is a double town, one part of it situate on a high
rock, or downs ; the other, called the lower town, is yet
with a great declivity towards the sea; both of them
defended by a strong castle, which stands on a notable
eminence. Under the town runs the river, which is yet
but an inconsiderable brook. Henry VIII. in the siege
of this place is said to have used those great leathern
guns, which I have since beheld in the Tower of London,
inscribed Non Marie opus est, cut non deficit Mercurius ;
if at least the history be true, which my Lord Herbert

The next morning, in some danger of parties [Spanish}
surprising us, we came to Montreuil, built on the summit
of a most conspicuous hill, environed with fair and ample
meadows ; but all the suburbs had been from time to time
ruined, and were now lately burnt by the Spanish inroads.
This town is fortified with two very deep dry ditches ; the
walls about the bastions and citadel are a noble piece of
masonry. The church is more glorious without than
within : the market-place large : but the inhabitants are
miserably poor. The next day, we came to Abbeville,
having passed all this way in continual expectation of the
volunteers, as they call them. This town affords a good
aspect towards the hill from whence we descended ; nor
does it deceive us ; for it is handsomely built, and has

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 6 of 46)