William Thomson.

A tour in England and Scotland, in 1785 online

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IN 1785.




IN 1785.


vvu /UwC.




I T I N E R A R Y,




Miles Page

12 Burton - 24

Miles Page

12 Derby - 25

s 8 OXFORD -


1 6 Matlock 25




1 7 Blenheim and back


8 Environs - 25 29

19 Chapel-Houfe


Aflibourn - 29



4 Dove-Dale - 30

10 Shipftone -


12 Bakewell 30

12 Marftone

3 Chatfworth - 30

5 Edge Hill

5 Stoney Middleton 32

15 Stratford


12 Buxton - 33

10 Birmingham


9 Caftle-ton Peake, i

7 Sutton


&c. - - J 34

9 Litchfield A


5 Chapel-in-Frith 38

a 20 Man-

Miles Page

20 Manchefter 38 42
jq Worfley and



25 Warrington
12 Prefect

8 Liverpool 45 47
20 Canal, Leeds

3 Ormfldrk
19 Prefton
ii Garflang
1 1 Lancafter

9 Hornby

30 Kirby Lonfdale
J2 Kendai
9 Bownefs


5 Hawkes-head - 54

6 Coniftone - 54
5 Low- Wood - 55

20 Bownefs and round

the Windermere

Lake - 53 56

1 6 Ditto, ditto 56 58

1 8 Kefwick - 58

10 Skeddaw 60

12 Barrowdale - 61

15 Ulls- Water - 64

5 Penrith 67

1 8 Carlifle - 68

606 in ENGLAND.




18 Dumfries
21 Moffat
14 Elvanfoot





The Clyde, tie Tweed, and the Annan

14 Douglafs-Mill

14 Lanerk and th Falls of the Clyde 8085

15 Hamilton,

Miles Pa Z e

S Hamilton 8 5 8 7

Bothwell Caftle 88

11 Glafgow 9099

7 Paidey 9598
Cruickftone Caftle < i

15 Dumbarton I01

13 Lufs

Loch Lomond, iclth the Soi-thern AfyeSl of
the Highlands 104111

8 Tarbat IO 9

Glencroe II2

14 Cairndow IJ 3

10 Invcrary and Loch Fine, with a Plan for

promoting the Fijherics - - 114 I2 3

16 Dalmally, with Locb-Ave - 124127

12 Oban, Bunaiue, Loch-Etive^ Furnefs-Com-

fan\; Cntachan, Dunjla/nage, Dunol/y y

and 4',pin 127 132

j8 Glencoe, King's Houfe, and Tyndrum 133 135

24 Fort-Vx'illiam, with the neighbouring Lakes 135 144
14 Let'.er-Findlay, with the adjacent Country 144145
14 Fort Auguftus, with the neighbouring Alcun-

tainsj Rivers y and L. I 45"- I 49

14 General's Hut and Fall sf Foyers 148

j j Invernefs, luilb its Environs^ and the SW,

Climate^ and Contour of the Country 149 1 5 3

a 2 Cul:

Miles Pagt

Cnlloden-Moc'-, Cauder Cajlle, Fort George,

15 Nairne - 153
12 Elgin, with Forres, and a remarkable Inun-
dation . . 154 T s8

9 Fochabers, Gordon Caftle, and Strictures
on the general Mode cf planting Trees in
Scotland 158- 161

12 Cullen - 161

11 Bamff - j2

1 6 New-Deer - 164
16 Peterhead, with the Co/tie of Slants, end

Boilers of Buchan 164 167

36 Elian, with a Seat of the Earl of Aberdeen' $ 167

1.6 Aberdeen 16717?

15 Stonehaven, with Dunotter Cajlle - 172173
10 Innerbervie - 174

33 Montrofe - i7^ r ___i76

8 Brechin - - - - 176

12 for&r^vith Marie- Lakes and Glamis Co/lie 176177
18 Cupar - - - 178
15 Perth, with a Geographical Defcription of

the central and mojl celebrated Parts of
Scotland , _ 178193

"The Improvements around in Agriculture
arid Manufactures, and the public Spirit of
the Pertjhire Gentlemen and others, - ib.


Scone defcribed) with the Circumjiance that
rendered it a fit Place of Refidence for the
ScottiJ}} Kings jo, I jgj

Strathern, the dijlinguijhed Beauty and Fer-
tility of that Galley 10,3 200
20 Auchtei arder, the Seat of a Prejbytery famous
for a Mixture of Popijh Claims and Anti-
nomian Doflrines The Druidical Gloom
that furraunds it 2OI
The Vale, with the Falls of the Devon and
the anticnt Cajllcs of the Marquij/es of
Montrofe and Argyll 202 207

14 Dunblane the Sheriff- muir, Approach of

the Ochills to the Grampians Grazing,

and Hinfi concerning it 202 2OQ

Stirling 210

Hiftorical Account of the K.oyal Palaces in

Scotland 210 213

Highlanders, Characler of y w\th various

Anecdotes 214 22a

Feudal Syftem and Ariftocracy ;'/; Scotland^
the Revolution, Darien, Union, aim
litijn of Heritable Jurifdiftisns 231246

Bannockbburn, Battle of 246 252

12 Carron, </WFalkjrk 252 -256

10 Linlithgow - 256

18 Edin-

( viii )

Wiles P a g e

jS Edinburgh, its Situation, CafJe, Origin of
Edinburgh^ and of Burghs in general,
New Town, public Buildings, Hojpifahj
Character of the Lowland Scots in general,
and the Edinburghers in particular, Pro-
grefs of Commerce and Arts, the Univerf.ty
of Edinburgh, Places of Amufement, and
the State of Religion 256 342

Salifbury Craggs and Arthur Seat, with the

View from thence - 290 294

Leith, toe Sea Port of Edinburgh - 294298
Advantages of lowering in Scotland the Duties
on Ale and Beer^ and a Commutation Tax
propofed for this purpofe 304

Murder of Capt, Porteous, with the Fate of

his AJJ'aJJins - 336341

12 Burnt-Ifhnd

12 Edinburgh, back to

14 Black Shiels '- ^

12 Lawder

1 6 Sydenham - j^ ..... 342343

8 Kelfo - J

8 Coldftream

769 in SCOTLAND.



Miles Page

MILL- FIELD Plain, with the Buttle of

Fhitden 34.4. 351

1 6 Wollerhaugh

18 Alnwick - 352354

This Town, with the whole Coaft from New-
cajlle to Berwick^ admiralty fitted for Wool-
len Manufatturcs - - 354.
Sundry Objcrvations and Anecdotes concerning
the antient Kingdom of Northumbeiland y
during the Roman, Saxon, and Norman

354 360

A Lijl of Words, the fame in the Norwegian
and the Icelandic Languages, and In that of
the Lowlands of Scotland^ and the Northern
Counties of England - 360 362

Hints for rendering the Union between Eng-
land and Scotland mere and more complete,
and for fee ur Ing the Liberty and Profperity
cf both 363 367

16 Wollerhaugh
18 Alnwick
1 8 Morpeth
15 Newcaftle

10 Shields

15 Durham


15 Durham

1 8 Darlington

18 North Allerton

19 Eafingwould

13 York

9 Tadcafler

14 Leeds

9 Wakefield
12 Bank Top
12 Sheffield
12 Cheflei field
12 Mansfield

15 Nottingham
14 Loughbro'
ii Leicefter


15 Harbro'
9 Lamport

8 Northampton
15 Newport Pagnel

9 Wooburne

10 Dunftable

8 St. Alban's

11 Barnet

12 London


983 /* ENGLAND

1,752 Miles


The Prints to be placed thus :

1. Ulh Water, a Lake in Cumberland, - fronting page 65

2. Stone Byers Lynn on the Clyde, - - . 8 1

3. Balioell Caflle* - 89

4. av>n and Caftle ot Invtrerji - - - 120

5. The Caldron Lynn, _ _ 205

6. Edinburgh Caftle^ _ _ . 257




THERE is not one hour in the life of
any man that is exactly the fame with
another, during the whole courfe of his ex-
iftence, from the cradle to the grave. New
objects, circumftances, and fituations; new
ideas, emotions, and pafiions, blended toge-
ther, according to their different fhades and
order of fucceffion, and producing fancies,
hopes, and fears, in endlefs variety, render
human life the mofl variegated as well as the
moft fleeting fcene with which we are at all
acquainted in the whole circle of nature. As

A the

(2 J

tlie power of language is unable to arreft and
defcribe the mixed emotions of the mind at the
moment they pafs, fo it is far lefs fitted to re-
call them at pleafure. But if we cannot clothe
in language, and mark down, the various fen-
timents and feelings that occupy our minds in
different times and fituations, it is in our
power, in fome meafure, to make up for
this deficiency, by recording the objects that
occafioned them : and the diaries in which
thefe are comprehended, afford, at leafl to
him who takes the trouble of making them,
a very curious and mtereitingfubject of both
entertainment and improvement. If the un-
varied and uninterefting voids of life fliould
feem but little adapted to the compofition of
fuch journals, travels and voyages not only
furniih materials for collections of this kind,
but naturally induce rrien to make them. Jt
was merely with a view to that fpecies of
amufement which arifes from the recollec-
tion of interefting fcenes, and the emotions
which they excited at the time when they


( 3 )

paflcd under obfervation, that the Writer of
the following memorandums ever thought of
committing them to paper. And it is in the
importunity of friends, an apology that ought
not by any means to be accounted the lefs
weighty, that it is trite and common, (fince
nothing is more common than what is agree-
able to truth and nature) that he takes fhelter
from any charge that may be made of vanity
and felf- importance.

Accompanied by friends, whofe focial
fympathy enlivened the impreffions pro~
duced by the varying fcenes through which,
we paiFed, I left Oxford, on the 17!! of May,
1785. Oxford and Cambridge may be jultly
confidered not only as venerable monuments
of antient times, but as a kind of garrifoas
eflablilhed by public authority, for the pre-
fcrvation of loyalty, literature, and religion.
If our univerfities may be thought, in fome
refpecls, to check and retard the progrefs of
knowledge, by means of fixed forms, laws,
and cuftoms, it is at lead equally certain, that
A 2 they

( 4 )

they are falutary bulwarks againft the pre-
cipitate and defolating fpirit of innvovation.
The reverence paid by our anceftors to piety
and to learning, ftrikes us in Oxford as by
a fenfation, and mews how fit objects thefe
are of efteem and veneration to the common
fenfe of mankind. For different nations,
and races of princes and kings, have con-
curred, in the courfe of many centuries, to
pay homage to the fhrines of faints and the
feats of the mufes. It is not an eafy matter
to prevent or 'to make off a refpe6l for any
noble or royal family, whofe antient repre-
fentatives, the founders and benefactors of
the different colleges and halls, are brought
to remembrance by pictures, flatues, charters,
and ftately edifices. Thefe take fall hold of
the ductile mind of the ftudents, and are af-
fociated in their memory with many of the
moft pleafing ideas that have ever occupied
their minds. From impreffions of this kind,
a love of their early haunts and companions,


( 5 )

naturally aflbciated together in the imagi-
nation, is nourifhed in the breads of the no-
ble and generous youth, and alfo an attachment
to their king and country. Take away thefe
memorials of antiquity, thpfe noble and royal
teftimonies of refpecl to fanclity of life,
and proficiency in learning, remove every
fenfible object by which fentiments of early
friendfhip, loyalty, and patriotifm are kin-
dled and inflamed in young minds, and dif-
perfe our young noblemen and gentlemen in
other countries for their education, or even
in fepcirate little academies and fchools in
our own, and you weaken one of the great
pillars, by which the conftitution and fpirit
of England is fupported and perpetuated.

The univerfities, therefore, and the prac-
tice which ftill happily prevails, of educating
in thofe great and antient feminaries, the
Britifh youth of diftinclion, are of very great
political importance : nor would all the con-
fequences that might accompany or flow
from their fubverfion, a matter which has of
A 3 late

( 6 )

late been talked of by certain political re-
formers and other agitators, be for the bet-

As to letters, although every man may
have a mafter in literature and in philofophy,
who is able to retain him, in the fame man-
ner that he can provide himfelf with a draw-
ing or fencing mailer, yet we are not by any
means to overlook the advantages arifing
from public libraries, a concourfe of learned
men for guides and companions, and alfo
the ufe to be made in great univerfities of
the principle of emulation.

The venerable genius of Oxford, infpiring
fuch reflections as thefe, feemed to hover
around us, until we arrived at Chapel-houfe,
a very good inn, where we dined. Vifit
Haythorp, the refidence of the Earl of
Shrewlbury, a very good houfe, elegantly
furnimed, and pleafantly fituated. The
ground around it is well laid out, but not
very extenfive. The avenue to the houfe,
which is upward of a mile long, is formed


( 7 )

of clumps of trees, inclofed by ftone walls
about five feet in heighth, which in England
are called ftone hedges, and in Scotland
dykes. Thde fences, if they do not beautify
and warm any country fo much as living
hedge-rows, poflefs this advantage, that they
may be quickly raifed, and, by the power of
money, almoft in an inftant. They do not
harbour flocks of birds j they may be built
where quickfcts will not grow, and they
take up but little of the ground, whereas a
ditch and hedge take up a great deal. In-
deed, in foils where ftone walls are more
eafily raifed than quickfet hedges, it may be
readily fuppofed that land is of no great va-
lue. But this will, in many inftances, be
found a rafh conclufion. Every foil may
be turned to great profit by fkilful agricul-
ture, provided only, that it be dry, as ftony
ground for the moft part is, or may ealily be
made. Where the land is covered, as it is
in many places, with loofe and detached
Clones, the induilrious improver gains at

A 4 once

( 8 )

once a two-fold object : he clears the ground,
and collects materials for building fences.
It is obferved that land, gained from over-
fpreading ftones, is uncommonly fertile. This
fact, which is well authenticated, is highly
deferving of the invefligation of chymifts.
I have alfo heard it affirmed, on this fubje6r,
that in fome foils the land is the mod fruit-
ful in oats, barley, and other grain, where
the expofure is backward, that is, where it
declines from the fun.

The foil in the neighbourhood of Hay*
thorp does not appear to be well calculated
for producing large timber. It may, how-
ever, be excellently adapted to the production
of other kinds of wood, both foreft and fruit
trees. It is common for men of large for-
tune to endeavour by all means, and at very
great expence, to raife by a kind of forced
culture, both exotic and domeftic plants.
And many adventurous farmers fight againft
nature, in attempting to raife wheat, or other
valuable crops, in foils fitted only for oats or


( 9 )

rye, or at beft, for peafe, or a light kind of
barley. To know the nature of the foil is
the firft thing requifite in an improver of the
ground : and it is by ftudying this above all
other things, that the man of fortune will
beft difplay his good tafle, and the farmer
incrcail; his flock, and fill his barns.

May 1 8th. Leave Chapel-houfe, pafs
through Long Compton, a very poor village,
and dine at Shipfton. The country between
and about thofe places is open, cold, and ill
cultivated ; the foil is a clay, and there are
no rivers. Here, it would feem, there is at
once great need, and great encouragement for
planting, which would give genial warmth
to the atmofphere, and, in the courfe of time,
convert the various influences of the hea-
vens into a nutritive, vegetable mould, which
being mixed with the clay foil, could not
fail to open and improve it. The trees pro-
duced would be of great value, as they would
not only be of ufe for building, firing, and
the fabrication of various utenfils necefFary


( to J

both for the purppfes of agriculture and
domeftic ceconomy, but might alfo be launch-
ed by the Avon into the Severn, and fo conr
veyed to fundry harbours and docks for ihip-

In this bleak tract, ill cultivated and thinly
inhabited, it is not uncommon for the low-
eft or labouring clafs of the people, who find
little other employment in the depth of win-
ter than that of threfhing out corn, to lie
a-bed the greater part of the day as well as
the whole night, in order to fave fuel, and
to fpare their fcanty provifions.

Sleep at Stratford upon Avon. Some
good houfes in this town, which is of con-
fiderable extent, but in general ill built, and
very badly paved. The bridge here, laid
acrofs the Avon, confifts of fourteen arches,
but is very old. The town -ha] 1 is a hand-
fome room, in which is a picture of Shake-
fpeare, and another. of Garrick, by Gainfbo-
rough. Shakefpeare's monument in the
c hurch does but little credit to the artirt.


May 1 9th. Leave Stratford, pafs
Henley, a long town j the houfes very indif-
ferent. Dine at Oakeley Moor-houfe, a
fmall but neat inn. The foil here is much
better than in the fouthern parts of War-
wickfhire > the country better cultivated, and
tolerably v/ell wooded. In the evening ar-
rive at Birmingham j but this being unfor-
tunately the time of their fair, we could not
fee any of the manufacturers at work. Vifit
Clay's manufactory for making tea-boards,
buttons, and other articles palled together
and dried. Vifit alfp Boulton's manufac-
tory for plated articles of all forts of fleel
and iron-work. This town is very extenfive,
and a great part of it elegantly built. It
contains upwards of one hundred thoufand
inhabitants ; but the people are all diminu-
tive in fize, and fickly in their appearance,
from their fedentary employment. In Bir-
mingham there is one very elegant and fpa-
cious church, three chapels, and eight meet-
ing-houfes for Diflenters. This town is far


from being diflinguifhed by zeal in religion.
Dr. Prieftly's latitudinarian principles are
adopted by thofe who confider themfelves as
philofophers ; but the great mafs of the peo-
ple give themfelves very little concern about
religious matters, feldom, if ever, going to
church, and fpending the Sundays in their
ordinary working apparel, in low debauchery.
What religion there is in Birmingham
is to be found among the Diflenters. It
is well known that there are many coin-
ers of falfe money in Birmingham, a cir-
cumftance that is eafily accounted for, from
the nature of the bufmefs in which they
have been accuftomed to be employed.
It may be added, that there is a great deal
of trick and low cunning among the Bir-
mingham manufacturers in general, though
there are, no doubt, fome exceptions, as well
as profligacy of manners. This may be ow-
ing in part, to their want of early educa-
tion; for the moment that the children are
fit for any kind of labour, inflead of being


( '3 )

fent to fchool, they are fet to Tome fort of
work or other : but it is probably more ow-
ing to their being conflantly aflbciated toge-
ther both in their labouring and in their
idle hours. It is remarkable, that fociety
corrupts the manners of the vulgar as much
as it fharpens their underftanding.

About fifty years ago, there were only
three principal or leading ftreets in Birming-
ham, which at this day is fo crouded, and
at the fame time fo extenfive a town : a cir-
cumftance which illuftrates, in a very finking
manner, the rapid increafe of our manufac-
tures and trade in fteel and iron. It is not
above three years fince pavements or foot-
paths, formed of ftag-ftones upon the Lon-
don plan, were firft introduced in this place.
The ladies of Birmingham at firft confidered
thefe fmooth pavements as very great griev-
ances. They were not fo convenient, they
faid, as their old foot-paths, oreafy to walk on.
And this was the more remaikable, that the
{Ireets, fide-paths, and all, were not laid with

good paving, but with round hard ilones
about the fize of large apples, and of courfe
fuch as appeared to ftrangers to be very trou-
blefome to the walker, and even painful.

The manufa6turers of Birmingham who
are generally accounted rich, are fuch as pof-
fefs fortunes from five to fifteen thoufand
pounds. A few are in poiTeffion of much
larger capitals : but in general, they may be
faid to be in eafy and flourifliing circurn-
Stances, rather than very rich or affluent.
The number of carriages kept by private
perfons has been doubled within thefe ten
years : fo alfo has that of the women of the
town. Thefe different fpecies of luxury feem
to have advanced in proportions pretty nearly
equal. The people of Birmingham have of-,
ten tried to eflablifli a cofFee-houfe ; but
'found this impofiible, even with the advantage
of a fubfcription. They generally refort to.
ale-houfes and taverns. According to the fize.
of the place, there fnould be feveral coffee-
lioufcs, taking our ftandard in this matter,


( '5 )

from London. But the genius of Birming-
ham is not that of coffee-houfes ; at leaft,
the coffee-houfes of this day : though it
might be fuitable enough to that of thofc
defcribed in the Spectators and Tatlers.
The labouring and poor people of Birming-
ham fare but hardly ; their chief fuftenance
being bread and cheefe, and ale for which
they pay five-pence the quart, though this
meal ure is not fo large as a quart porter-pot.
There is a porter brewery at Birmingham,
the liquor produced by which is equal in
fcrength to that brewed in London, but fai?
inferior in flavour.

It is not above feventy years fince there
was any great variety of metal goods fabri-
cated here. Coarfe locks and hinges, with
common metal buttons and buckles, formed
before that period, the whole amount of the
Birmingham manufactures. But now, thefe
coarfe articles are manufactured in Wolver-
hampton, Walfal, Dudley, and other irnall
towns near Birmingham. The fine and fa-


(. 16 )

fhionable goods are manufactured in the
town of Birmingham itfelf. In the country
round about are nailers and woodfcrew-
makers, who work in their own cottages,
and whofe prices are fo low, that they get
but very little money by all their labour.
The women and children, as well as the
men, are employed in the manufacture of
thefe articles. Sometimes the whole family
will be occupied in one branch of bufmefs,
which fuits well enough, as the father of the
family makes large nails, and the wife an4
children fmaller ones, according to their
Strength. This diviiion of labour in the
fame family, if iludied and practifed in dif-
ferent kinds of Britifh manufactures, might
in this country, as in India, expedite bufi-
nefs, and alfo improve the articles produced

ty 5t -

The induftry of the people in thofe parts

}s wonderful. They live here like the people
of Spain and other hot countries, rifing at
three or four o'clock in the morning, going


( '7' )

to reft for a few hours at noon, and after-
wards working till nine or ten o'clock at

It is exceedingly remarkable, and highly wor-
thy of obfervation, that induftry in manufac-
tures in the diftricts adjacent to Birmingham,
is wholly confined to the barren parts of the
country. This great town ftands on the fouth-
eaft extremity of a veiy barren region. On
the north and weft, but chiefly on the north-
weft, where the land is very poor, that is, on
the road to Wolverhampton and Shrewfbuiy,
the country is full of the moft induftrious
manufacturers in the coarfe branches of bu-
finefs, both in detached houfes, and in vil-
lages and fmall towns, for many miles : but
on the other fide, which is Warwick-fhire, as
you go from Birmingham towards Coventry,
Stratford on Avon, and Worcefter, a circle
including the points of eaft and fouth, and
nearly that of weft, where the ground is fer-
tile and well cultivated, there is fcarcely a
manufacturer to be found of any kind, and

B in

in iron and fleel none at all; though yotl
come by degrees into the countries where
Spinning and weaving is carried on, manu-
factures of a lefs laborious nature than thofe
of fteel and iron. It might be thought at
firft fight, that the difference in queftion
might be accounted for, from the fmgle cir-
cumftance, that it is in the very centre of the
barren region that the pits are found, which
fupply the manufacturers- with the effential
and encouraging article of coal. But the
marked and fudden contraft between the
barren and the fertile difhicts, in refpect of
application and induitry in manufactures, is
not fully explained by this circumftance alone,
for within two miles of Birmingham, they
are on the one hand all farmers, and for twelve
miles on the other, they are all manufacturers.
The people of Birmingham, I fpeak of the
middling and ordinary clafs of manufactur-
ers, retain in many things, as has been alrea-
dy obferved in the inflance of their attach-
ment to taverns and other public houfes, the

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Online LibraryWilliam ThomsonA tour in England and Scotland, in 1785 → online text (page 1 of 16)