Robert Naylor.

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copy of them being carved on the stone. He was the father of William
Buckland, the eminent geologist, who was Dean of Westminster and died in

Our next stage was Honiton, the "town of lace," and we walked quickly
onwards for about six miles until we reached the foot of Honiton Hill,
a considerable elevation which stood between ourselves and that town;
and after an upward gradient of a mile or two we gained a fine view both
of the town and the beautiful country beyond, which included Dumpdown
Hill, crowned with an ancient circular camp.

Several definitions of the word Honiton had been given, but the most
acceptable, and perhaps the correct one and certainly the sweetest, was
that of the "Honey Town," originating, it was said, at a time when the
hills which surrounded the place were covered with thyme, "sweet to the
taste and fragrant to the smell; and so attractive to the bees that
large quantities of honey were produced there." The bee-farmers even in
Saxon times were important personages, for sugar was not imported and
honey was the sweetener for all kinds of food and liquor. Honiton, like
many other towns, largely consisted of one wide street; and Daniel
Defoe, in his journey from London to Land's End, early in the year 1700,
described this "town of lace" as large and beautiful, and "so very
remarkably paved with small pebbles, that on either side the way a
little channel is left shouldered up on the sides of it; so that it
holds a small stream of fine running water, with a little square
dipping-place left at every door, so that every family in the town has a
clear running river just at their own door; and this so much finer, so
much pleasanter than that of Salisbury, that in my opinion there is no
comparison." The running streams had now disappeared both here and at
Salisbury, but we could quite understand why one was so much better than
the other, as the water running through Salisbury was practically on the
level, while that at Honiton ran down the hill and had ample fall.

Lancashire ideas of manufacturing led us to expect to find a number of
factories at Honiton where the lace was made for which the town was so
famous, but we found it was all being worked by hand by women and girls,
and in private houses. We were privileged to see some very beautiful
patterns that were being worked to adorn fashionable ladies in London
and elsewhere. The industry was supposed to have been introduced here
originally by Flemish refugees in the fifteenth century, and had been
patronised by Royalty since the marriage of Queen Charlotte in 1761, who
on that occasion wore a Honiton lace dress, every flower on which was
copied from nature. We were informed by a man who was standing near the
"Dolphin Inn," where we called for tea, that the lace trade was "a
bigger business before the Bank broke," but he could not tell us what
bank it was or when it "broke," so we concluded it must have been a
local financial disaster that happened a long time ago.

The Roman road from Bath to Exeter passed through Honiton, and the
weekly market had been held on each side of that road from time
immemorial; the great summer fair being also held there on the first
Wednesday and Thursday after July 19th. A very old custom was observed
on that occasion, for on the Tuesday preceding the fair the town crier
went round the town carrying a white glove on a pole and crying:

O yes! The Fair is begun,
And no man dare to be arrested
Until the Fair is done,

while on the Friday evening he again went round the town ringing his
bell, to show that the fair was over. The origin of this custom appeared
to be shrouded in mystery, as we could get no satisfactory explanation,
but we thought that those three days' grace must have served as an
invitation to evil-doers to visit the town.

The church contained the tomb of Thomas Marwood, who, according to an
inscription thereon, "practised Physick and Chirurgery above
seventy-five years, and being aged above 105 years, departed in ye
Catholic Faith September ye 18th Anno Domini 1617." Marwood became
famous in consequence of his having - possibly, it was suggested, by pure
accident - cured the Earl of Essex of a complaint that afflicted him, for
which service he was presented with an estate in the neighbourhood of
Honiton by Queen Elizabeth.

The "Dolphin Inn" at Honiton was where we made our first practical
acquaintance with the delectable Devonshire clotted cream, renewed
afterwards on every possible occasion. The inn was formerly the private
mansion of the Courtenay family, and its sign was one of the family
crests, "a Dolphin embowed" or bent like a bow. This inn had been
associated with all the chief events of the town and neighbourhood
during the past three centuries, and occupied a prominent position near
the market cross on the main road. In January 1688 the inn had been
willed to Richard Minify, and after his death to his daughter Ann
Minify, and it was in that year that William, Prince of Orange, set sail
for England, and landed at Torbay in Devonshire. The advanced guard of
his army reached Honiton on October 19th, and the commander, Colonel
Tollemache, and his staff occupied the "Dolphin." William was very
coldly received by the county families in Devonshire, as they remained
strongly attached to the Jacobite cause, and to demonstrate their
adhesion to the House of Stuart they planted Scotch fir trees near their
mansions. On the other hand, many of the clergy sympathised with the
rebellion, and to show their loyalty to the cause they planted avenues
of lime trees from the churchyard gate to the church porch. James II,
whom William came to replace, wrote in his memoirs that the events that
happened at Honiton were the turning-point of his fortunes, and it was
at the "Dolphin" that these events culminated, leading to the desertion
of the King's soldiers in favour of William. It seemed strange that a
popular song set to a popular tune could influence a whole army, and
incidentally depose a monarch from his throne. Yet such was the case

[Illustration: EXAMPLES OF HONITON LACE. From specimens kindly lent by
Mrs. Fowler, of Honiton. The lower example is a corner of a handkerchief
specially made for Queen Mary.]

Lieutenant-General Richard Talbot, who was in Ireland in 1685, had
recommended himself to his bigoted master, James II, by his arbitrary
treatment of the Protestants in that country, and in the following year
he was created Earl of Tyrconnel, and, being a furious Papist, was
nominated by the King to the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland. In 1688 he was
going to Ireland on a second expedition at the time that the advanced
guard of William of Orange reached Honiton, and when the advanced guard
of King James's English army was at Salisbury. It was at this critical
period that Lord Wharton, who has been described as "a political
weathercock, a bad spendthrift, and a poet of some pretensions," joined
the Prince of Orange in the Revolution, and published this famous song.
He seems to have been a dissolute man, and ended badly, although he
was a visitor at the "Dolphin" at that time, with many distinguished
personages. In the third edition of the small pamphlet in which the song
was first published Lord Wharton was described "as a Late Viceroy of
Ireland who has so often boasted himself upon his talent for mischief,
invention, and lying, and for making a certain 'Lilliburlero' song with
which, if you will believe himself, he sung a deluded Prince out of
three kingdoms." It was said that the music of the song was composed by
Henry Purcell, the organist of Westminster Abbey, and contributed not a
little to the success of the Revolution. Be this as it may, Burnet, then
Bishop of Salisbury, wrote:

It made an impression on the King's army that cannot be imagined....
The whole army, and at last the people, both in city and country,
were singing it perpetually ... never had so slight a thing so great
an effect.

Purcell's music generally was much admired, and the music to "Lilli
Burlero," which was the name of the song, must have been "taking" and a
good tune to march to, for the words themselves would scarcely have had
such a momentous result. It was a long time before it died out in the
country districts, where we could remember the chorus being sung in our
childhood's days. A copy of the words but not the music appeared in
Percy's _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry_:

Ho! broder Teague, dost hear de decree?
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
Dat we shall have a new deputie,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.


Lero lero, lilli burlero, lero lero, bullen a-la,
Lero lero, lilli burlero, lero lero, bullen a-la.

Ho! by Shaint Tyburn, it is de Talbote:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
And he will cut all de English troate:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

Dough by my shoul de English do praat,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
De law's on dare side, breish knows what:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

But if dispense do come from de Pope,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
We'll hang Magna Charta and dem in a rope:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

For de good Talbot is made a lord,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
And with brave lads is coming a-board:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

Who in all France have taken a sware,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
Dat dey will have no Protestant heir:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

Ara! but why does he stay behind?
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.
Ho! by my shoul 'tis a Protestant wind:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

But see de Tyrconnel is now come ashore.
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
And we shall have commissions gillore:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

And he dat will not go to de mass,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
Shall be turn out and look like an ass:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

Now, now de hereticks all go down,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.
By Chrish and Shaint Patrick, de nation's our own:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

Dare was an old Prophecy found in a bog,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
"Ireland shall be rul'd by an ass and a dog":
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

And now dis Prophecy is come to pass,
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la -
For Talbot's de dog, and James is de ass:
Lilli burlero, bullen a-la.

_Chorus after each verse_:

Lero lero, lilli burlero, lero lero, bullen a-la,
Lero lero, lilli burlero, lero lero, bullen a-la.

Lilliburlero and Bullen a-la were said to have been words of distinction
used among the Irish Papists in their massacre of the Protestants in
1641 - a massacre which gave renewed strength to the traditions which
made the name of Bloody Mary so hated in England.

In 1789 George III halted opposite the "Dolphin" to receive the loyal
greetings of the townspeople, and on August 3rd, 1833, the Princess
Victoria, afterwards Queen, stayed there to change horses; the inn was
also the leading rendezvous at the parliamentary elections when Honiton
returned two members to Parliament. In the eighteenth century the inn
was often the temporary home of Sir William Yonge and Sir George Yonge,
his equally famous son, and of Alderman Brass Crosby, Lord Mayor of
London, each of whom was M.P. for Honiton. The family of Yonge
predominated, for whom Honiton appeared to have been a pocket borough,
and a very expensive one to maintain, as Sir George Yonge, who was first
returned in 1754, said in his old age that he inherited £80,000 from
his father, that his wife brought him a similar amount, and Government
also paid him £80,000, but Honiton had swallowed it all! A rather
numerous class of voters there were the Potwallers or Potwallopers,
whose only qualification was that they had boiled their pots in the
parish for six months. Several attempts were made to resist their claim
to vote, but they were unsuccessful, and the matter was only terminated
by the Reform Bill of 1832; so possibly Sir George had to provide the
inducement whereby the Potwallopers gave the family their support during
the full term in which he served the free and independent electors of
Honiton in Parliament.

A hospital for lepers, founded as early as the fourteenth century, was
now used for the deserving poor; and near the old chapel, attached to
the hospital cottages, the place was pointed out to us where the local
followers of the Duke of Monmouth who were unfortunate enough to come
under the judgment of the cruel Judge Jeffreys were boiled in pitch and
their limbs exhibited on the shambles and other public places.

We had a comparatively easy walk of sixteen miles to Exeter, as the road
was level and good, with only one small hill. For the first four miles
we had the company of the small river Otter, which, after passing
Honiton, turned here under the highway to Ottery St. Mary, on its course
towards the sea. The county of Devon is the third largest in England,
and having a long line of sea-coast to protect, it was naturally warlike
in olden times, and the home of many of our bravest sailors and
soldiers. When there was no foreign enemy to fight they, like the Scots,
occasionally fought each other, and even the quiet corner known as the
Fenny Bridges, where the Otter passed under our road, had been the scene
of a minor battle, to be followed by a greater at a point where the
river Clyst ran under the same road, about four miles from Exeter. In
the time of Edward VI after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry
VIII changes were made in religious services, which the West-country
people were not prepared to accept. On Whit-Sunday, June 9th, 1549, the
new service was read in the church of Sampford Courtenay for the first
time. The people objected to it, and compelled the priest to say mass as
before, instead of using the Book of Common Prayer, which had now become
law. Many other parishes objected likewise, and a rebellion broke out,
of which Humphrey Arundel, the Governor of St. Michael's Mount in
Cornwall, took the lead. Their army of 10,000 men marched on to Exeter
and besieged it, and they also occupied and fortified Clyst St. Mary and
sent up a series of demands to the King. Lord Russell, who had been
glutted with the spoils of the monasteries, and was therefore keen in
his zeal for the new order, was sent with a small force accompanied by
three preachers licensed to preach in such places as Lord Russell should
appoint; but he was alarmed at the numbers opposed to him, and waited at
Honiton until the arrival of more troops should enable him to march to
the relief of Exeter. Being informed that a party of the enemy were on
the march to attack him, Russell left the town to meet them, and found
some of them occupying Fenny Bridges while the remainder were stationed
in the adjoining meadow. He was successful in winning the fight, and
returned to Honiton to recruit. He then attacked the rebels on Clyst
Heath and defeated them, but it was a hard-fought fight, and "such was
the valour of these men that the Lord Grey reported himself that he
never, in all the wars he had been in, did know the like." The rebels
were mercilessly butchered and the ringleaders executed - the Vicar of
St. Thomas' by Exeter, a village we passed through the following
morning, who was with the rebels, being taken to his church and hanged
from the tower, where his body was left to dangle for four years.

We had been walking in the dark for some hours, but the road was
straight, and as we had practically had a non-stop walk from Honiton we
were ready on our arrival at Exeter for a good supper and bed at one of
the old inns on the Icknield Way, which, with several churches, almost
surrounded the Cathedral.

(_Distance walked thirty-eight miles_.)

_Saturday, November 11th._

Exeter, formerly known as the "City of the West" and afterwards as the
"Ever-Faithful City," was one of the most interesting places we had
visited. It had occupied a strong strategical position in days gone by,
for it was only ten miles from the open sea, sufficient for it to be
protected from sudden attacks, yet the river Exe, on which it is
situated, was navigable for the largest ships afloat up to about the
time of the Spanish Armada. Situated in the midst of a fine agricultural
country, it was one of the stations of the Romans, and the terminus of
the ancient Icknield Way, so that an army landed there could easily
march into the country beyond. Afterwards it became the capital of the
West Saxons, Athelstan building his castle on an ancient earthwork
known - from the colour of the earth or rock of which it was composed - as
the "Red Mound." His fort, and the town as well, were partially
destroyed in the year 1003 by the Danes under Sweyn, King of Denmark.
Soon after the Norman invasion William the Conqueror built his castle on
the same site - the "Red Mound" - the name changing into the Norman tongue
as Rougemont; and when King Edward IV came to Exeter in 1469, in pursuit
of the Lancastrian Earls Clarence and Warwick, who escaped by ship from
Dartmouth, he was, according to Shakespeare's _Richard III_, courteously
shown the old Castle of Rougemont by the Mayor. We could not requisition
the services of his Worship at such an early hour this morning, but we
easily found the ruins of Rougemont without his assistance; though,
beyond an old tower with a dungeon beneath it and a small triangular
window said to be of Saxon workmanship, very little remained. The ruins
had been laid out to the best advantage, and the grounds on the slope of
the ancient keep had been formed into terraces and planted with flowers,
bushes, and trees. As this work had originally been carried out as far
back as the year 1612, the grounds claimed to be the oldest public
gardens in England: the avenues of great trees had been planted about
fifty years later.

Perkin Warbeck was perhaps one of the most romantic characters who
visited Exeter, for he claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, who, he
contended, was not murdered in the Tower of London, as generally
supposed. As the Duke he claimed to be more entitled to the Crown of
England than Henry VII, who was then on the throne, Perkin Warbeck, on
the other hand, was described as the son of a Tournai Jew, but there
seemed to be some doubt about this. In any case the Duchess of Burgundy
acknowledged him as "her dear nephew," and his claim was supported by
Charles VIII of France and James IV of Scotland; from the former he
received a pension, and from the latter the hand of his relative Lady
Catherine Gordon in marriage.

[Illustration: ATHELSTAN'S TOWER.]

He arrived at Exeter on September 27th, 1497, with 7,000 men, and after
burning the North Gate he forced his way through the city towards the
Castle, but was defeated there by Sir Richard Courtenay, the Earl of
Devon, and taken prisoner. For some mysterious reason it was not until
November 3rd, 1499, more than two years after the battle, that he was
hanged for treason, at Tyburn. Another strange incident was that when
King Henry VII came to Exeter after the battle, and the followers of
Perkin Warbeck were brought before him with halters round their necks
and bare-headed, to plead for mercy, he generously pardoned them and set
them at liberty.

The fighting in the district we had passed through last night occurred
in 1549, the second year of the reign of King Edward VI. A pleasing
story was related of this King, to the effect that when he was a boy and
wanted something from a shelf he could not quite reach, his little
playfellow, seeing the difficulty, carried him a big book to stand upon,
that would just have enabled him to get what he wanted; but when Edward
saw what book it was that he had brought he would not stand upon it
because it was the "Holy Bible."

The religious disturbances we have already recorded were not confined to
the neighbourhood of Exeter, but extended all over England, and were the
result of an Act of Parliament for which the people were not prepared,
and which was apparently of too sweeping a character, for by it all
private Masses were abolished, all images removed from churches, and the
Book of Common Prayer introduced. It was the agitation against this Act
that caused the 10,000 Cornish and Devonian men, who were described as
rebels, incited also by their priests, to besiege the city of Exeter,
and to summon the Mayor and Council to capitulate. This the
"Ever-Faithful City" refused to do, and held out for thirty-six days,
until Lord Russell and Lord Grey appeared on the scene with the Royal
army and raised the siege.

In 1643, during the Civil War, Exeter surrendered to Prince Maurice, the
nephew of Charles I, and three years later capitulated to the Army of
the Parliament on condition that the garrison should march out with all
the honours of war.

The unhappy wife of Charles I arrived at Exeter in 1644, having a few
days previously bidden her husband "Good-bye" for the last time, a
sorrowful parting which we had heard about at Abingdon, where it had
taken place, and whither Charles had accompanied her from Oxford. She
stayed at Bedford House in Exeter, where she was delivered of a
daughter, who was named Henrietta, being baptized in the cathedral in a
magnificent new font erected especially for the occasion. The Queen left
the city on July 14th, and sailed from Falmouth to France, where she
stayed at the Court of Louis XIV. Twelve days later the King reached
Exeter, and called to see his infant daughter, and he again stayed at
Bedford House on his return from Cornwall on September 17th, 1645.


In 1671 Charles II, his son, also passed through Exeter, and stayed to
accept a gift of £500 from the city as a testimony of its loyalty and
gratitude for his restoration and return; and the "Merrie Monarch"
afterwards sent the city a portrait of his sister, the unfortunate
Henrietta, to whom he was passionately attached. As Duchess of Orleans
she had an unhappy life, and her somewhat sudden death was attributed to
poison. Her portrait, painted by Lely, was still hanging in the
Guildhall, and was highly prized as one of the greatest treasures of the

We went to see the Cathedral, but were rather disappointed with its
external appearance, which seemed dark and dismal compared with that of
Salisbury. A restoration was in progress, and repairs were being carried
out with some light-coloured and clean-looking stone, not of a very
durable nature, which looked quite beautiful when new, but after being
exposed to the weather for a few years would become as dull and
dark-looking as the other. The interior of the cathedral, however, was
very fine, and we were sorry we had not time to explore it thoroughly.
Some very old books were preserved in it - the most valuable being a
Saxon manuscript called _Codex Exoniensis_, dating from the ninth
century, and also the _Exeter Domesday_, said to be the exact transcript
of the original returns made by the Commissioners appointed by William
the Conqueror at the time of the Survey, from which the great Domesday
was completed.

The minstrel gallery dated from the year 1354, and many musical
instruments used in the fourteenth century were represented by carvings
on the front, as being played by twelve angels. The following were the
names of the instruments: cittern, bagpipe, clarion, rebec, psaltery,
syrinx, sackbut, regals, gittern, shalm, timbral, and cymbals!

Some of these names, my brother remarked, were not known to modern
musicians, and they would be difficult to harmonise if all the
instruments had to be played at the same time; his appreciation of the
bagpipe was doubtless enhanced, seeing that it occupied the second

The cathedral also possessed a marvellous and quaint-looking clock some
hundreds of years old, said to have been the production of that famous
monk of Glastonbury who made the wonderful clock in Wells Cathedral,
which on striking the hour sets in motion two armoured figures of
knights on horseback, armed with spears, who move towards each other in
a circle high above the central arches, as if engaged in a tournament.

The clock at Exeter showed the hour of the day and the age of the moon,
and upon the face or dial were two circles, one marked from 1 to 30 for
the days of the month, and the other figured I to XII twice over for the
hours. In the centre was a semi-globe representing the earth, round
which was a smaller ball, the moon, painted half gold and half black,
which revolved during each month, and in turning upon its axis showed

Online LibraryRobert NaylorFrom John O'Groats to Land's End → online text (page 52 of 66)