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Title: Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts
Author: Northcote, Rosalind
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts" ***

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      file which includes the lovely original illustrations.
Transcriber's note:

In this text superscript is represented with '^'
and a macron with [=o]





With Illustrations in Colour after Frederick J. Widgery

   London                Exeter
Chatto & Windus      James G. Commin

    Deep-wooded combes, clear-mounded hills of morn,
      Red sunset tides against a red sea-wall,
      High lonely barrows where the curlews call,
    Far moors that echo to the ringing horn,--
    Devon! thou spirit of all these beauties born,
      All these are thine, but thou art more than all:
      Speech can but tell thy name, praise can but fall
    Beneath the cold white sea-mist of thy scorn.

    Yet, yet, O noble land, forbid us not
      Even now to join our faint memorial chime
    To the fierce chant wherewith their hearts were hot
      Who took the tide in thy Imperial prime;
    Whose glory's thine till Glory sleeps forgot
      With her ancestral phantoms, Pride and Time.



The first and one of the greatest difficulties to confront a writer who
attempts any sort of description of a place or people is almost sure to
be the answer to the question, How much must be left out? In the present
case the problem has reappeared in every chapter, for Devon is 'a fair
province,' as Prince says in his 'Worthies of Devon,' and 'the happy
parent of ... a noble offspring.'

My position is that of a person who has been bidden to take from a great
heap of precious stones as many as are needed to make one chain; for
however grasping that person may be, and however long the chain may be
made, when all the stones have been chosen, the heap will look almost as
great and delightful as before: only a few of the largest and brightest
jewels will be gone.

The fact that I have been able to take only a small handful from the
vast hoard that constitutes the history of Devon will explain, I hope,
the many omissions that must strike every reader who has any knowledge
of the county--omissions of which no one can be more conscious than
myself. A separate volume might very well be written about the bit of
country touched on in each chapter.

This book does not pretend to include every district. I have merely
passed through a great part of the county, stopping here at an old
church with interesting monuments, there at a small town whose share in
local history--in some instances, in the country's history--is apt to be
forgotten, or at a manor-house which should be remembered for its
association with one of the many 'worthies' who, as Prince says--with
the true impartiality of a West-countryman in regard to his own
county--form 'an illustrious troop of heroes, as no other county in the
kingdom, no other kingdom (in so small a tract) in Europe, in all
respects, is able to match, much less excel.'

From the 'Tale of Two Swannes,' a view of the banks of the River Lea,
published in 1590, I have ventured to borrow the verses that close an
address 'To the Reader':

    'To tell a Tale, and tell the Trueth withall,
    To write of waters, and with them of land,
    To tell of Rivers, where they rise and fall,
    To tell where Cities, Townes, and Castles stand,
        To tell their names, both old and newe,
        With other things that be most true,

    'Argues a Tale that tendeth to some good,
    Argues a Tale that hath in it some reason,
    Argues a Tale, if it be understood,
    As looke the like, and you shall find it geason.
        If, when you reade, you find it so,
        Commend the worke and let it goe.'


  Sonnet by Henry Newbolt                                       _page_ v

  Preface                                                            vii

  _Chap._ I. Exeter                                                    1

  II. The Exe                                                         13

  III. The Otter and the Axe                                          47

  IV. Dartmoor                                                        71

  V. The Teign                                                        89

  VI. Torbay                                                         106

  VII. The Dart                                                      119

  VIII. Kingsbridge, Salcombe, and the South Hams                    141

  IX. The Three Towns                                                155

  X. The Tamar and the Tavy                                          179

  XI. The Taw and the Torridge                                       201

  XII. Lundy, Lynmouth, and the Borders of Exmoor                    244

  XIII. Castles and Country-Houses                                   272

  List of authorities consulted                                      315

  Index                                                              317


  The Guildhall, Exeter                                   _Frontispiece_

  Exeter from Exwick                                    _To face page_ 2

  Exeter Cathedral                                                     5

  The Exe: Tiverton                                                   13

  Topsham                                                             41

  Exmouth from Cockwood                                               45

  Ottery St. Mary                                                     47

  Sidmouth                                                            51

  Branscombe                                                          61

  Beer Beach                                                          65

  Seaton Headland                                                     67

  The Windypost, or Beckamoor Cross                                   71

  Yes Tor: Dartmoor                                                   73

  Lustleigh Cleave                                                    75

  Wistman's Wood                                                      77

  Widdecombe-in-the-Moor                                              81

  Sheepstor                                                           83

  Lydford Bridge                                                      84

  Hey Tor                                                             89

  Fingle Bridge                                                       91

  Chudleigh Glen                                                     101

  Teignmouth and Shaldon                                             103

  Torquay from the Bay                                               106

  Berry Head                                                         113

  Brixham Trawlers                                                   115

  Postbridge                                                         119

  Dartmeet Bridge                                                    121

  Holne Bridge                                                       123

  Fore Street, Totnes                                                129

  Sharpham Woods: River Dart                                         133

  Dartmouth Castle                                                   139

  Salcombe                                                           141

  Bolt Head                                                          146

  Slapton Lea                                                        151

  The Tamar, near Saltash                                            155

  Drake's Island, Plymouth Sound                                     171

  Brent Tor. From Lvdford Moors                                      179

  Tavy Cleave                                                        185

  Brent Tor                                                          198

  Bideford                                                           201

  Appledore                                                          211

  Clovelly                                                           215

  Morthoe                                                            221

  Bull Point: Morthoe                                                223

  Barnstaple Bridge                                                  227

  Torrington                                                         230

  Lantern Rock: Ilfracombe                                           244

  Countisbury Foreland                                               255

  Lynmouth                                                           259

  Malmsmead                                                          263

  Lorna's Bower                                                      265

  Waterslide: Doone Valley                                           267

  Doone Valley                                                       269

  Powderham Castle                                                   272

  Berry Pomeroy Castle                                               285

  Compton Castle                                                     295

  Okehampton Castle                                                  297

  Sydenham House                                                     299

  Bradfield                                                          306

  Pynes, near Exeter                                                 308




    'Richmond! When last I was at Exeter,
    The mayor in courtesy show'd me the castle,
    And call'd it Rougemont: at which name I started,
    Because a bard of Ireland told me once,
    I should not live long after I saw Richmond.'

    _King Richard III._, Act IV, Sc. ii.

There are not many towns which stir the imagination as much as Exeter.
To all West-Countrymen she is a Mother City ... and there is not one
among them, however long absent from the West, who does not feel, when
he sets foot in Exeter, that he is at home again, in touch with people
of his own blood and kindred.... In Exeter all the history of the West
is bound up--its love of liberty, its independence, its passionate
resistance to foreign conquerors, its devotion to lost causes, its
loyalty to the throne, its pride, its trade, its maritime adventure--all
these many strands are twined together in that bond which links
West-Countrymen to Exeter.' Mr Norway is a West-Countryman, and he sums
up very justly the sentiment, more or less consciously realized, of the
people for whom he speaks, and especially the feeling of the citizens.

Not only the Cathedral, the Castle, and Guildhall, bear legends for
those who know how to read them, but here and again through all the
streets an ancient house, a name, or a tower, will bring back the memory
of one of the stirring events that have happened. One royal pageant
after another has clattered and glittered through the streets, and the
old carved gabled houses in the side-lanes must many a time have shaken
to the heavy tramp of armed men, gathered to defend the city or to march
out against the enemy.

'Exeter,' says Professor Freeman, 'stands distinguished as the one great
English city which has, in a more marked way than any other, kept its
unbroken being and its unbroken position throughout all ages. It is the
one city in which we can feel sure that human habitation and city life
have never ceased from the days of the early Cæsars to our own.... The
city on the Exe, Caerwisc, or Isca Damnoniorum, has had a history which
comes nearer than that of any other city of Britain to the history of
the ancient local capitals of the kindred land of Gaul.... To this day,
both in feeling and in truth, Exeter is something more than an ordinary
county town.'

The city is very picturesquely placed, and before ruthless
'improvements' swept away the old gates and many ancient buildings, the
general effect must have been particularly delightful. 'This City is
pleasantly seated upon a Hill among Hills, saving towards the sea, where
'tis pendant in such sort as that the streets (be they never so foul)
yet with one shower of rain are again cleansed ...,' wrote Izacke, in
his _Antiquities of Exeter_. 'Very beautiful is the same in building;'
and he ends with some vagueness, 'for considerable Matters matchable to
most Cities in _England_.' The earliest history can only be guessed at
from what is known of the history of other places, and from the
inferences to be drawn from a few scanty relics; but there is evidence
that Exeter existed as a British settlement before the Romans found
their way so far West. It is not known when they took the city, nor when
they abandoned it, nor is there any date to mark the West Saxon
occupation. Professor Freeman, however, points out a very interesting
characteristic proving that the conquest cannot have taken place until
after the Saxons had ceased to be heathens. 'It is the one great city of
the Roman and the Briton which did not pass into English hands till the
strife of races had ceased to be a strife of creeds, till English
conquest had come to mean simply conquest, and no longer meant havoc and
extermination. It is the one city of the present England in which we can
see within recorded times the Briton and Englishman living side by
side.' In the days of Athelstan, 'Exeter was not purely English; it was
a city of two nations and two tongues.... This shows that ... its
British inhabitants obtained very favourable terms from the conquerors,
and that, again, is much the same as saying that it was not taken till
after the West Saxons had become Christians.'

The earliest reliable records of the city begin about 876, when the
Danes overwhelmed the city and were put to flight by King Alfred. A few
years later they again besieged Exeter, but this time it held out
against them until the King, for the second time, came to the rescue,
and the enemy retreated. Alfred, careful of the city and its means of
defence, built a stronghold--very possibly in the interval between these
two invasions--upon the high ground that the Briton had chosen for his
fastness, and on which the Castle rose in after-days. Rather more than a
hundred years later Athelstan strengthened the city by repairing the
Roman walls. But it is with an event of greater importance that
Athelstan's name is usually associated, for it was he who made the city
a purely English one by driving out all the Britons into the country
beyond the Tamar. It is probable that there was already a monastery in
Exeter in the seventh century, and that it was broken up during the
storms that raged later. In any case, Athelstan founded or refounded a
monastery, and in 968 Edgar, who had married the beautiful daughter of
Ordgar, Earl of Devon, settled a colony of monks in Exeter. About thirty
years afterwards the Danes, under Pallig, sailed up the Exe and laid
siege to the town, but were repulsed with great courage by the citizens.
Beaten off the city, they fell upon the country round, and a frightful
battle was fought at Pinhoe. A curious memorial of it survives to this
day. During the furious struggle the Saxons' ammunition began to run
low, and the priest of Pinhoe rode back to Exeter for a fresh supply of
arrows. In recognition of his service, the perpetual pension of a mark
(13s. 4d.) was granted him, and this sum the Vicar of the parish still
receives. Two years later the Danes made a successful assault upon the
city, and seized much plunder, but made no stay.

Edward the Confessor visited Exeter, and assisted at the installation of
Leofric as first Bishop of Exeter, when the see was transferred from
Crediton. The Queen also played a prominent part in the ceremony, for
Exeter and the royal revenues within it made part of her 'morning gift.'
Leofric instituted several reforms, added to the wealth of his
cathedral, and left it a legacy of lands and books. The most interesting
of the manuscripts is the celebrated _Exeter Book_, a large collection
of Anglo-Saxon poems on very different subjects. To give some idea of
their variety, it may be mentioned that, amongst other poems of an
entirely distinct character, there are religious pieces, many riddles,
the legends of two saints, the Scald's or Ancient Minstrel's tale of his
travels, and a poem on the 'Various Fortunes of Men.'

Seventeen years after King Edward's visit, William the Conqueror's
messengers came before the chief men of Exeter demanding their
submission. But the citizens sent back the lofty answer that 'they would
acknowledge William as Emperor of Britain; they would not receive him as
their immediate King. They would pay him the tribute which they had been
used to pay to Kings of the English, but that should be all. They would
swear no oaths to him; they would not receive him within their walls.'
William naturally would not listen to conditions, and arrived to direct
the siege in person. For eighteen days the repeated attacks of the
Normans were sturdily resisted; then the enemy dug a mine, which caused
the walls to crumble, and surrender was inevitable. 'The Red Mount of
Exeter had been the stronghold of Briton, Roman, and Englishman;' under
the hands of the Norman here rose the Castle of Rougemont, of which a
tower, a gateway, and part of the walls, stand to this day. In
proportion to the size and strength of that castle, however, the remains
are inconsiderable, but it fell into decay very long ago, and as early
as 1681 Izacke writes of 'the Fragments of the ancient Buildings
ruinated, whereon time ... hath too much Tyrannized.'

In the year after King Stephen began to reign, Baldwin de Redvers, Earl
of Devon and keeper of the Castle, declared for the Empress Maud, and
held the Castle for three months against the citizens, headed by two
hundred knights who had been sent by the King. At the end of this time
the wells ran dry, so that the besieged were driven to use wine for
their cookery, and even to throw over their 'engines,' set on fire by
the enemy.

Henry II granted to the citizens of Exeter the first of their many
charters of privileges, and in the reigns of King John and Henry III the
municipal system was very much developed, and the city first had a
Mayor. Under Edward I a beginning was made towards the almost entire
reconstruction of the Cathedral. Bishop Warelwast, the nephew of William
I, had raised the transeptal towers--a feature that no other English
cathedral possesses--and since his time the Lady Chapel had been added,
but the design of the Cathedral as a whole was evolved by Bishop Quivil.
He planned what was practically a new church, and his intentions were
faithfully carried out. Before his day the towers were merely 'external
castles,' but Bishop Quivil broke down their inner walls, and filled the
space with lofty arches, and the towers became transepts. Bishop
Stapledon spent huge sums in collecting materials, but before much
progress with the work had been made he was murdered by a London mob, in
the troubled reign of Edward II; and the actual existence of much of the
building is due to Bishop Grandisson, who, sparing himself in no matter,
lavished treasure and devotion on his Cathedral. Writing to Pope John
XXII, the Bishop said 'that if the church should be worthily completed,
it would be admired for its beauty above every other of its kind within
the realms of England or France.'

One of the most beautiful features of the Cathedral is the unbroken
length of roof at the same height through nave and choir, the effect
intensified by the exquisite richness and grace of the vaulting. And the
spreading fans gain an added grace, springing as they do from that
'distinctive group of shafts' which, says Canon Edmonds, 'makes the
Exeter pillar the very type of the union of beauty and strength.' In the
central bay of the nave, on the north side, is the Minstrels' Gallery,
one of the few to be found in England. It is delicately and elaborately
sculptured, and each of the twelve angels in the niches holds a musical
instrument--a flageolet, a trumpet and two wind instruments, a tambour,
a violin, an organ, a harp, bagpipes, the cymbals, and guitars.

The choir is unusually long, and from the north and south aisles open
chapels and chantries, in some of which the carving is very rich and
fine. The Bishop's throne is elaborately carved, and more than sixty
feet high, and yet there is not one nail in it. During the Commonwealth
a brick wall was built across the west end of the choir, completely
dividing the Cathedral. This was done to satisfy the Presbyterians and
Independents, each of whom wished to hold their services here, and the
two churches formed by this division were called Peter the East and
Peter the West. The screen in the west front was added after the
Cathedral was finished; it is covered with statues in niches, figures of
'kings, warriors, saints, and apostles, guardians as it were of the
entrance to the sanctuary.' High above them, in the gable niche, is the
statue of St Peter, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated.

King Edward and Queen Eleanor kept Christmas at Exeter in 1285, and here
the King held the Parliament which passed the Statute of Coroners that
is still law. During this visit the King gave leave to the Bishop and
Chapter to surround the close with a wall and gates, for at this time it
was used to heap rubbish upon, and 'the rendezvous of all the bad
characters of the place.' Edward III granted his eldest son the Duchy of
Cornwall--a grant that carried with it the Castle of Exeter, and to the
King's eldest son it has always since belonged.

Henry VI in 1482 visited the city in peace and splendour. Margaret, his
Queen, came about eighteen years later, while Warwick's plans were
ripening, and the event is marked in the Receiver's accounts by the
entry: 'Two bottles of wine given to John Fortescue, before the coming
of Margaret, formerly Queen.' Not long afterwards Warwick and the Duke
of Clarence fled to Exeter, which had to stand a siege on their behalf;
but the effort to take the city was half-hearted, and in twelve days the
attempt was abandoned. Edward IV arrived in pursuit, but too late, for
'the byrdes were flown and gone away,' and a quaint farce was solemnly
played out. The city had just shown openly that its real sympathies were
Lancastrian, but neither King nor citizens could afford to quarrel.
'Both sides put the best face on matters; the city was loyal; the King
was gracious ... the citizens gave him a full purse, and he gave them a
sword, and all parted friends.'

Richard III's visit was more eventful. The allegiance yielded him by the
West was of the flimsiest character, and in the autumn of 1483 a
conspiracy was formed, and Henry, Earl of Richmond, was proclaimed King
in Exeter. Here Richard hastened at the head of a strong force, to find
that nearly all the leaders had fled, and there remained only his
brother-in-law, Sir John St Leger, and Sir John's Esquire, Thomas Rame.
So the King 'provided for himself a characteristic entertainment,' and
both knight and squire were beheaded opposite the Guildhall. Before he
left, Richard went to look at the Castle, and asked its name. The Mayor
answered, 'Rougemont'--a word misunderstood by the King, who became
'suddenly fallen into a great dump, and as it were a man amazed.'
Shakespeare's lines give the explanation of his discomfiture. 'It
seems,' comments Fuller, 'Sathan either spoke this oracle low or

The next siege of Exeter was when the followers of Perkin Warbeck surged
in thousands round the city. Their assault was vigorous and determined;
they tried to undermine the walls, burned the north gate, and, repulsed
at this point, broke through the defences at the east gate. After a
sharp struggle in the streets, the rebels were thrust back, and were
forced to march northwards, leaving Exeter triumphant. Three weeks later
Henry VII entered Exeter with Warbeck, as his prisoner. The King was
very gracious to the city that had just given such eminent proofs of its
loyalty, and bestowed on the citizens a second sword of honour and a cap
of maintenance, and ordered that a sword-bearer should be appointed to
carry the sword before the Mayor in civic procession.

Henry VIII gave Exeter 'the highest privilege,' says Professor Freeman,
'that can be given to an English city or borough.' He made it a county,
'with all the rights of a county under its own Sheriff.' An Act of
Parliament was also passed to undo the harm done by Isabel de Fortibus,
representative of the Earls of Devon, when she made a weir about the
year 1280--still called Countess Weir--that blocked the free waterway to
the sea. As the tide naturally comes up the river a little way beyond
Exeter, before the weir was made ships had been able to sail up to the
watergate of the city. The first attempts to improve matters after this
Act was passed failed, but a canal was constructed with tolerable
success in the reign of Elizabeth.

In 1549 came the siege of Exeter that followed the burning of Crediton
barns. The Devonshire rebels had been reinforced by a large number of
Cornishmen, who resented the new Prayer-Book, and the law obliging them
to hear the services in English instead of Latin, more bitterly and with
greater reason than the people of Sampford Courtenay. For to them it was
more than unwelcome change in the Liturgy; it meant also that their
services were read in an alien tongue. 'We,' the Cornish, 'whereof
certain of us _understand no English_, utterly refuse the new English,'
was their protest. It is curious to think that more than half a century
later English was a foreign language in Cornwall. In James I's reign,
'John Norden ... constructing his _Speculum_, his topographical
description of this kingdom,' writes: 'Of late the Cornishmen have muche
conformed themselves to the use of the English tongue;' and adds that
all but 'some obscure people' are able to 'convers with a straunger' in
English. The bitterness aroused by the religious question was
intensified by a report which was 'blazed abroad,' as Hooker says, 'a
Gnat making an Elephant, that the gentlemen were altogether bent to
over-run, spoil, or destroy the people.' No one could have acted with
greater loyalty and courage than the Mayor, John Blackaller, and his
powers were put to a hard trial before the end of the siege. Not only
was there an active and vigorous enemy without, but within the walls the
majority secretly, and some persons openly, sided with the enemy. The
most unceasing vigilance and unfaltering resolution were needed to
frustrate all plots and plans. One great danger was averted by a certain
John Newcomb, an ex-miner, who, suspicious of a possible peril, watched
diligently for its slightest sign. One day an anxious crowd looked at
him 'crawling about on the ground with a pan of water in his hand. Every
now and again he would listen attentively, with his ear in the dust,
and, rising, place the pan on the spot. At last he has it. Like the
beating of a pulse, the still water in the pan vibrates in harmony with
the stroke of the pickaxe far underneath, and the old miner rises
exultant.' A counter-mine was hurriedly made, and through a tiny opening
it was seen that barrels of gunpowder and pitch and piles of faggots
were heaped beneath the west gate. Fortunately, this gate stood below
the steep slope on which the city lies, and on discovering the enemy's
alarming preparations, every householder was ordered, at a given signal,
to empty a great tub of water into the kennel, and every tap in the city
was turned on. 'At which time also, by the Goodness of God, there fell a
great Shower, as the like, for the Time, had not been seen many years
before.' A tremendous torrent rushed down the streets, and, being
concentrated upon the mine, completely flooded it.

There is no place here to speak of the straits to which the citizens
were put before a sufficient number of troops reached Lord Russell to
enable him to march to the relief of the besieged. Nor is there room for
an account of the splendid resistance made by the rebels to the great
force pitted against them, which included a regiment of seasoned German
_Lanzknechts_ and three hundred Italian musketeers, besides English
cavalry. 'Valiantly and stoutly they stood to their Tackle, and would
not give over as long as Life and Limb lasted ... and few or none were
left alive.... Such was the Valour and stoutness of these men that the
Lord Greie reported himself, that he never, in all the Wars that he had
been in, did know the like.'

In recognition of the loyalty shown by the citizens under this great
trial, Queen Elizabeth 'complimented the city with an augmentation of
arms,' and 'of her own free will added the well-known motto, _Semper
Fidelis_.' Encouraged by the Queen's protection, commerce increased and
prospered. Guilds had long flourished in Exeter, and it is recorded that
as early as 1477 there was a quarrel between the Mayor and citizens and
the Company of Taylors. A Guildhall existed even before there was a
Mayor of Exeter, but the present building dates from 1464. It has a fine
common hall, with a lofty, vaulted roof and much panelling, and the
panels are set with little shields, the arms of the Mayors, of various
companies, and certain benefactors to the city. Later was added the
cinque-cento front that projects over the footway, and has become so
essential a characteristic in the eyes of those who care for Exeter.
This front was built in 1593, and 'in its confusion of styles--English
windows between Italian columns--it has all the impress of that
transitional age.'

Many of the trades that throve in Exeter formed guilds, and in looking
casually at the names of a few of them, one finds that the bakers had
already a Master and Company in 1428-29, and that some years later the
charter of the Glovers and Skinners was renewed. In 1452 there was a
dispute as to whether the Cordwainers or Tuckers should take precedence
in the Mayor's procession, and later again the Guild of Weavers,
Sheremen, and Tuckers came still more prominently before the public.

'Trafiquing' in wool and woollen goods was the most important trade, and
though its zenith was passed in the seventeenth century, it continued to
do well till the later half of the eighteenth. Defoe speaks of the
'serge manufacture of Devonshire' as 'a trade too great to be described
in miniature,' and says he is told that at the weekly market 'sixty to
seventy to eighty, and sometimes a hundred, thousand pounds' value in
serges is sometimes sold.' Probably the account given him was a little
exaggerated, but Lysons quotes the statement that in the most prosperous
days £50,000 or £60,000 worth of woollen goods had been sold in a week.
Many were the petitions sent up to Parliament in the reign of William
and Mary, begging protection for the local wool-trade, and that
competition from unhappy Ireland might be discouraged. The great hall of
the New Inn was used as an exchange, and here were held yearly three
great cloth-fairs, where merchants from London and from all parts
gathered, and stalls and shops in the inn were let to 'foreigners.' The
Tuckers' Hall, built of ruddy stone, still stands in Fore Street, and
the hall has a fine cradle roof with plaster panels.

The most powerful of all the companies was incorporated later than many
of the guilds, for the Merchant Adventurers received their charter from
Queen Elizabeth. Their power and wealth was very considerable; they
cast their lines in all directions, and they secured a monopoly of
trading with France. This company supplied with money, and had a stake
in, some of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's and Captain Davis's enterprises, and
Sir Francis Drake himself invited the 'gentilmen merchauntes' and others
of the city to 'adventure with him in a voiage supportinge some speciall
service ... for the defence of 'religion, Quene and countrye.'' About
Charles I's reign the importance of the company gradually declined, and
the society was eventually dissolved.

During the Civil War, Exeter was twice besieged, but on neither occasion
so rigorously as in 1549. When the war broke out, the Earl of Bedford
appointed the Mayor, the Sheriff, and five Aldermen, Commissioners for
the Parliament. The defences were put in order and arms collected, and
amongst other expenses is recorded '£300 for 17 packs of wool taken from
Mr Robin's Cellars for the Barricadoes.' Nevertheless, zeal for the
Parliament must have been but lukewarm, for when Prince Maurice's troops
surrounded the city, it was surrendered at the end of fourteen days, and
after the besieged had suffered no further inconvenience than 'the being
kept from taking the air without their own walls.' The next year Queen
Henrietta Maria came to a city which was considered a safer refuge than
Oxford, and here Princess Henrietta was born, and was baptized in the
Cathedral with great pomp, 'a new font having been erected for the
purpose, surmounted by a rich canopy of state.' Charles II always showed
the warmest affection for his sister, famed, as Duchess of Orleans, for
her beauty and charm, and a portrait of the Princess given by the King
to the city hangs in the Guildhall. It is a full-length portrait, and
she is represented standing, one hand lightly gathering together the
folds of her white satin dress.

During the autumn and winter of 1645-46 Exeter was gradually hemmed in
by bodies of Parliamentary troops stationed at posts in the
neighbourhood, and with the new year the siege became a closer one. It
would seem, however, that there was no very acute distress from lack of
food; but Fuller, who was in the city at the time, mentions with
satisfaction the appearance of 'an incredible number of Larks ... for
multitude like Quails in the Wildernesse, and as fat as plentifull ...
which provided a feast for many poor people, who otherwise had been
pinched for provision.' As the spring advanced, the King's cause lapsed
into a condition too hopeless to be bettered by further resistance, and
on April 9 Sir John Berkeley, for over two years the faithful guardian
of the city, signed the articles of its surrender, on honourable terms,
to Sir Thomas Fairfax.

There is no space to speak of later dramatic incidents in Exeter--the
trial and execution of Mr Penruddocke and Mr Grove, leaders of a
Royalist rising of Wiltshire gentlemen, whose speeches on the scaffold
are given at length by Izacke; nor of the joy that greeted the
Restoration, when 'Tar-barrels and Bonefires capered aloft'; nor of
Charles II's visit, nor the entrance of the Duke of Monmouth in 1680
with five thousand horsemen, and nine hundred young men in white
uniforms marching before him. One may not even pause before the gorgeous
spectacle of William III's arrival, heralded by a procession in which
appeared two hundred negroes in white-plumed, embroidered turbans, and a
squadron of Swedish horsemen 'in bearskins taken from the beasts they
had slain, with black armour and broad flaming swords.'

It has been only possible to name the most outstanding points in the
history of a city--once more to quote Professor Freeman--'by the side of
which most of the capitals of Europe are things of yesterday.... The
city alike of Briton, Roman, and Englishman, the one great prize of the
Christian Saxon, the city where Jupiter gave way to Christ, but where
Christ never gave way to Woden--British Caerwisc, Roman Isca, West Saxon
Exeter, may well stand first on our roll-call of English cities. Others
can boast of a fuller share of modern greatness; none other can trace up
a life so unbroken to so remote a past.'


The Exe

            'Goodly Ex, who from her full-fed spring
    Her little Barlee hath, and Dunsbrook her to bring
    From Exmore; when she hath scarcely found her course,
    Then Creddy cometh in ...
                            ... her sovereign to assist;
    As Columb wins for Ex clear Wever and the Clist,
    Contributing their streams their mistress' fame to raise.
    As all assist the Ex, so Ex consumeth these;
    Like some unthrifty youth, depending on the court,
    To win an idle name, that keeps a needless port;
    And raising his old rent, exacts his farmers' store
    The landlord to enrich, the tenants wondrous poor:
    Who having lent him theirs, he then consumes his own,
    That with most vain expense upon the Prince is thrown:
    So these, the lesser brooks unto the greater pay;
    The greater, they again spend all upon the sea.'

    DRAYTON: _Poly-olbion_.

The river Exe rises in a bog on Exmoor, beyond the borders of
Somersetshire. 'Be now therefore pleased as you stand upon Great
Vinnicombe top ... to cast your eye westward, and you may see the first
spring of the river Exe, which welleth forth in a valley between
Pinckerry and Woodborough,' says Westcote.

But our author has no feeling for the rolling hills, and noble lines,
and hazy blue distances of Exmoor, and without one word of praise
continues: 'Let us for your more ease, and the sooner to be quit of this
barren soil, cold air, uneven ways, and untrodden paths, swim with the
stream the better to hasten our speed.'

The first little town that the Exe comes to in Devonshire is Bampton,
nowadays best known, perhaps, for its pony-fairs, when (so runs one
account) 'Exmoor ponies throng the streets, flood the pavements,
overflow the houses, pervade the place. Wild as hawks, active and lissom
as goats, cajoled from the moors, and tactfully manoeuvred when
penned, these indigenous quadrupeds will leap or escalade lofty barriers
in a standing jump or a cat-like scramble.' Cattle and sheep are less
conspicuously for sale at this popular and crowded fair, held on the
last Thursday in October.

The first fact recorded of Bampton's history is of such ancient date
that it may be hoped the vastness of the achievement has been rounded
and filled out during the flight of time; for the historian, with
unconscious irony, blandly remarks that here 'Cynegils, first Christian
King of the West Saxons,' put twenty thousand (or maybe more) Britons to
the sword. He does not mention how Cynegils continued his propagation of
the Gospel.

The nave of the church at Bampton is built in the manner most common to
this country--that is, early Perpendicular, but the chancel is
Decorated. In many of the churches there is some portion of Decorated
work. The screen and roof of the church are worth seeing, and in the
churchyard are several unusually large and fine old yew-trees, one or
two girdled by stone benches. Leaving Bampton, one passes along a green
and fertile valley, the fields interrupted at intervals by copses, where
thickets of undergrowth and multitudes of young saplings are struggling
for the mastery--a picture of prodigal wealth in plants, bushes, and

Seven miles to the south is Tiverton. Tiverton is a small town, but its
story is interesting, and incidents cluster round the castle, church,
the well-known school, and the former kersies and wool-market, and,
besides, it is filled with memories of the melancholy experiences it has
passed through--fires, floods, the plague, and at least one siege.

The borough was originally granted by Henry I to his cousin, Richard de
Riparis (or de Redvers or Rivers), Earl of Devon, whose descendants
possessed it for nearly two centuries, when, the direct line failing,
the borough and title passed to a cousin, a Courtenay, in whose family
the title still remains.

Richard de Redvers, 'the faithful and beloved counsellor' of Henry I, is
supposed to have begun the Castle of Tiverton, and he attached to it
'two parks for pleasure and large and rich demesne for hospitality.' His
grandson, William Rivers, was one of the four Earls who carried the
silken canopy at the second coronation of King Richard I, after his
return from Palestine. William's daughter, Mary, married Robert
Courtenay, Baron of Okehampton; and so it was that, when the House of
Rivers became extinct in the male line, their possessions passed to the
Courtenays, and Mary's great-grandson became first Earl of Devon of the
line of the Courtenays.

It is not thought probable that the Castle as it stands contains work
older than the fourteenth century. Part of the building of that date
remains unaltered, and part has been transformed into a modern house.
The old walls are in places covered with ivy, and on the southern side
are pierced by one or two pointed windows whose stonework is more or
less broken. A round tower at the southeastern angle still looks very
solid and undisturbed. At a few yards' distance, on the south of the
Castle, stand the ruins of the chapel; the walls of three sides are
still standing, although imperfect and partly fallen down, and almost
smothered in ivy. Originally this square tower at the south-west angle
was joined to the Castle, and two more round towers stood at the
northern angles. Near the chapel is a low wall, and looking over it one
sees a very steep slope to the river, sixty feet beneath. A wide and
deep moat surrounded the Castle on the other sides.

It is said that Tiverton suffered both in the Civil War of 1150 and also
in the Wars of the Roses, and though there is little evidence to support
this assertion, there can be no doubt that indirectly the town must have
been disagreeably affected. For Baldwin de Redvers fortified his castle
at Exeter, and it is very likely that retainers from Tiverton were sent
to strengthen the garrison; and when the Earl was driven from the
country by King Stephen, his servants and their families were probably
distressed by want, if not by the sword.

During the Wars of the Roses, three successive Earls of Devon lost their
lives, and many of their followers must have fallen too, leaving
defenceless widows and children.

The Earls of Devon had many manors, but lived much in their Castle at
Tiverton, and some were buried in the adjoining church of St Peter. To
the third Earl, known as 'the Good' or 'the Blind' Earl, and his wife a
tomb was erected, 'having their effigies of alabaster, sometimes
sumptuously gilded.' So writes Risdon, about the year 1630, and adds
regretfully, 'Time hath not so much defaced, as men have mangled that
magnificent monument.' It has now entirely disappeared. The epitaph it
bore was this:

    'Hoe! Hoe! who lyes here?
    'Tis I, the goode erle of Devonshire,
    With Mabill, my wyfe, to mee full dere,
    Wee lyved togeather fyfty fyve yere.
    That wee spent wee had;
    That wee lefte wee loste;
    That wee gave, wee have.'

The church is a fine Perpendicular building, and has a high embattled
tower, with slender crocketed pinnacles springing sixteen feet above the
summit. The roof is battlemented, and the tracery in the windows is
graceful. On either side of the chancel stands an altar-tomb--that on
the north side being in memory of John Waldron, on the south of George
Slee, both benefactors to the town in having founded almshouses. The
sides of the tombs are boldly and curiously sculptured, being covered
with raised devices, and a deeply lettered inscription is engraved in
the top of each. A picture of St Peter being delivered by the angel from
prison, painted by Richard Cosway, hangs over a north doorway. Cosway
was born in Tiverton, and the letter that accompanied his gift expressed
good feeling and his warm affection for his native town.

The most distinctive feature of the church is the very decorative
'Greenway' chapel. John Greenway was a rich wool-merchant of Tiverton,
and on the walls of the chapel was inscribed this couplet:

    'To the honour of St. Christopher, St. Blaze, and St. Anne,
    This chapel of John Greenwaye was began.'

It is interesting to note, of the three saints to whom the chapel was
dedicated, that St Christopher was the patron of mariners and one of the
'sea-saints,' St Blaze the special patron of wool-combers; while St
Anne particularly presides over riches. An old distich runs:

    'Saint Anne gives wealth and living great to such as love her most,
    And is a perfite finder-out of things that have beene lost.'

So that the help of all three was peculiarly necessary to make John
Greenway a prosperous man!

The chapel is late Perpendicular, and it is most elaborately carved and
decorated. The roof is covered with different kinds of ornamentation,
and the cornice bears the arms of Greenway, of the Drapers' Company, and
other devices. Along the corbel line are carved scenes from the Bible,
beneath is a sea of gentle ripples, with several large ships in full
sail upon it, and above and beside the windows is a multitude of
different designs--merchants' marks, animals, roses, anchors, horses and
men; and a very delightful ape sits on a projecting pedestal, close to
the porch. The porch is extremely elaborate, both within and without. On
the frieze are six panels, each carved with a different Scriptural
subject, separated from one another by single figures. Over the porch
are the arms of the Courtenays, and above them an emblem and more
carving, besides two large niches, now empty, at each side of the door.
Inside the porch, over the door leading into the church, is a carving of
the Assumption, and the roof is richly carved with merchants' marks and
other ciphers and designs on little shields. The roof inside the chapel
is also carved; and in the floor is a brass engraved with the figures of
the merchant and his wife--he in a long fur-edged robe, and she wearing
embroidered draperies and jewels, and a pomander ball hanging on one of
the long ends of her girdle.

It is interesting to hear that in this church Mendelssohn's Wedding
March was first played at a wedding. The 'Midsummer Night's Dream' music
had just been published as a pianoforte duet, when Mr Samuel Reay, of
Tiverton, made an arrangement of it for the organ, and the first
marriage at which the march was played was that of Mr Tom Daniel and
Miss Dorothea Carew, in June, 1847.

Tiverton was famed in early days for its trade in wool. It is supposed
that woollen goods were first manufactured here towards the end of the
fourteenth century, and at the beginning of the sixteenth several
merchants of the town were making ventures far and wide. Baizes, plain
cloths, and kerseys were the most important of the manufactures, and
there was some commerce in these with Spain. Traffic in woollen goods
was now very brisk in different parts of the country, and during the
reign of Henry VIII special statutes were enacted 'affecting cloths
called white straits of Devon, and Devonshire kerseys called dozens.' In
Elizabeth's reign trade prospered here as elsewhere; but later friction
arose on the question of imports. The manufacturers on more than one
occasion tried to introduce Irish worsted to weave into cloth, and this
was met by the most violent opposition from the wool-combers, who
believed that it would take away their work, although it was explained
that their work depended on making serge for Dutch markets, for which
the Irish worsted could not be used. The wool-combers had at different
times various causes for complaint, and these they vented in riots so
serious that (about 1749) the authorities asked for the protection of
some troops, who were accordingly sent to Tiverton, and, on a fresh
uproar not long after their arrival, were called out to quell the mob.
Towards the latter half of the eighteenth century the woollen trade
languished; but in the first quarter of the nineteenth century a new
business sprang up--that of producing machine-made lace and tulle.

Tiverton's merchants marked their prosperity in an admirable manner, for
over ninety gifts in land, money, and almshouses have been made. The
gifts and bequests were usually intended to benefit the poor, but in a
few cases they were for the general good. In addition there remains the
memory of about twenty 'benefactions,' many of which were 'absorbed in
the tumult of the Civil War or generally dissipated by neglect or
mismanagement.' Greenway founded almshouses, as well as the aisle in the
church, and although these dwellings have been altered to some extent,
the tiny chapel still attached to them is very picturesque. A cornice
contains twelve circles, within each a pierced quatrefoil, and in the
centre of every quatrefoil a shield, bearing a coat of arms, a
merchant's mark, or other design. The cornice is supported by several
rather grotesque animals, and below, in stone letters, this legend:

    'Have Grace, ye men, and ever pray
    For the Sowl of John and Jone Greenway.'

A wide moulded arch forms the doorway, and above are coats of arms and
an eagle rising from a bundle of sticks, an emblem attached to the
Courtenay arms that appears in several parts of St Peter's Church.

On Waldron's almshouses is this curious inscription:

    'John Waldron, merchant, and Richord his wife,
    Builded this house in tyme of their life;
    At such tyme as the walls wer fourtyne foote hye,
    He departed this world even the eyghtynth of July (1579).

          'Since youth and life doth pass awaye,
           And deathe at hand to end our dayes,
           Let us do so, that men may saye,
           We spent our goods God for to prays.'

On one wall is a pack of wool bearing Waldron's staplemark and a ship,
and below them the words, 'Remember the poor.'

The greatest gift by far was that of Peter Blundell, who built and
endowed the well-known school that is called after him, and founded six
scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge as a further benefit to the
scholars of Blundell's. His will dictates most particular instructions
regarding the salaries of the master and usher, and as to the actual
building, even directing that there should be 'in the kitchen one fair
great chimney with an oven.'

In 1882 the school was transferred to Howden, but the building that
Peter Blundell planned, beneath the steep hill close to the Lowman, is
long and rather low, the colour a warm, soft yellow, still more softened
by stray indefinite tints of cream and buff. The slate roof is
high-pitched, the windows are square and mullioned, and there are two
porches, each with a window directly above the hooded doorway, and
crowned by a gable. The school-house stands back in a yard of plots of
grass and pebbled paths, and shaded by great old lime-trees surrounded
by a high wall.

Samuel Wesley was at one time head-master here, and was not universally
popular, for his scathing wit blighted the esteem earned by his high
gifts and principles.

Many of Blundell's scholars have done good work in the world, but
perhaps the most famous of them are the late Archbishop of Canterbury
(Dr. Temple) and R. D. Blackmore, the novelist, who were here in the
'thirties, contemporaries and friends, both 'day-boys' and lodging in
the same house in Cop's Court. Twenty years before the Archbishop came
to Blundell's, that celebrated sportsman 'Jack' Russell was here,
embarked on a stormy career, perpetually in scrapes due to his passion
for sport, which even led him to the point of trying to keep hounds
while he was actually at school. Contemporaries of Blackmore's were two
distinguished soldiers and writers on military subjects, Sir Charles
Chesney and his brother Sir George, the author of that account of an
imaginary German invasion which created so much excitement when, under
the name of 'The Battle of Dorking,' it appeared in 1871 in _Blackwood's

Fire has caused terrible loss and disaster here, for as many as seven
big conflagrations have taken place in Tiverton, and in one alone six
hundred houses were destroyed, besides £200,000 worth of goods and
merchandise. In addition, at least eight smaller, but still
considerable, fires took place at comparatively short intervals, so that
between the years 1598 and 1788 the townsfolk suffered from this cause
no fewer than fifteen times.

A curious account exists of the fire in 1598--'when,' says the
chronicler, 'he which at one a clocke was worth Five Thousand Pound, and
as the Prophet saith [a footnote suggests the prophet Amos, vi. 5, 6]
dranke his Wine in bowles of fine silver plate, had not by two a Clocke
so much as a wooden dish left to eate his Meate in, nor a house to couer
his sorrowfull head, neyther did thys happen to one man alone, but to
many.... In a twinkling of an eye came that great griefe uppon them,
which turn'd their wealth to miserable want, and their riches to
unlooktfor pouertie: and how was that? Mary, Sir, by Fyer.

'But no fier from heaven, no unquenchable fier such as worthily fell on
the sinfull Citie of Sodom and Gomorra; but a sillie flash of fier,
blazing forth of a frying pan ... and here was dwelling in a little lowe
thatcht house, a poore beggarly woman: who, with a companion, began to
bake pancakes with strawe'--here he becomes sarcastic--'for their
abilitie and prouission was so good that there was no wood in the house
to doe it.... Sodenly, the fier got into the Pan.' Straw lying close by
was ablaze in a moment, then the roof, then, alas! by means of an
'extreame high wind,' a hay-house standing near, and 'in less than halfe
an hower the whole Toune was set on fier.'

A terrible picture is drawn of the rapidity and voracity of the
flames--people crying for help in every direction, 'insomuch that the
people were so amazed that they knew not which way to turne, nor where
the most neede was'--and of the number of people who were burned and the
desolation of the town.

As to those saved, 'the residue of the woefull people remaining yet
aliue, being overburdened with extream sorrow, runs up and down the
fieldes like distraught or franticke men.... Moreouer, they are so
greatly distrest for lacke of food, that they seeme to each mannes
sighte more liker spirits and Ghostes, than living creatures.'

The account concludes with a moral pointed in many figures of speech, to
the effect that this great trouble was a judgment on the rich, who did
not sufficiently consider their poor neighbours, and various cities are
exhorted to take warning thereby. 'O famous London ... Thou which art
the chief Lady Cittie of this Land, whose fame soundeth through al
Christian Kingdoms, cast thy deere eyes on this ruinous Towne....
Consider this thou faire citie of Exeter, thou which art next neighbour
to this distressed Town ... pitie her heauie happe, that knowes not what
miserie hanges ouer thy owne head.'

An appeal to the public was made on behalf of these sufferers, and Queen
Elizabeth responded with a grant of £5,000.

In the fire of 1612 the destruction was even greater. 'No noyse
thundered about the streets, but fire, fire, in every place were heard
the voyces of fire.... All the night long the towne seemed like unto a
burning mountaine, shooting forth fiery comets, with streaming blazes,
or like unto the Canopie of the World, beset with thousands of night
candles or bright burning Torches.'

When the Civil War broke out, Tiverton, though not unanimous, mainly
sided with the Parliament. After the Battle of Stratton, however, the
triumphant Royalists suddenly descended on the town, turned out Colonel
Weare, who was in command of the Parliamentary forces, and took
possession. Many skirmishes must have taken place either in or about the
town, for large bodies of the troops belonging to King or Parliament
moved backwards and forwards in the immediate neighbourhood during the
course of the war.

Culpeper, the herbalist, to illustrate the powers of the plant moonwort,
tells of a wonderful incident that occurred to Lord Essex's horse,
presumably when his army was here in 1644. Moonwort has (or perhaps
_had_) a miraculous effect on iron, with power to open locks or unshoe
horses. 'Country people that I know, call it Unshoe the Horse. Besides I
have heard commanders say, that in White Down in Devonshire, near
Tiverton, there were found thirty horseshoes, pulled off from the feet
of the Earl of Essex's horses, being there drawn up in a body, many of
them being but newly shod, and no reason known, which caused much
admiration, and the herb described usually grows upon heaths.' Probably
almost all the neighbourhood thought witchcraft a better explanation.

It is very difficult entirely to disentangle accounts that seem to
contradict each other, but apparently Essex moved away from Tiverton
after a short stay, and certainly the King sent his army to Tiverton the
same autumn to halt there for a while on its way from Plymouth to Chard.
And as this army was returning, reduced and exhausted, from fighting and
long, hard marches in Cornwall, it could not have been sent to a town in
possession of the enemy. The next year Fairfax sent General Massie to
take Tiverton. The Governor, Sir Gilbert Talbot, was in a far from happy
position, for afterwards he wrote: 'My horse were mutinous, and I had
but two hundred foot in garrison, and some of my chief officers
unfaithful.' In spite of his disadvantages, he was able to repulse the
enemy in their first attack on church and castle, though unable to
prevent their gaining possession of the town. Two days later Fairfax
himself arrived, and batteries, furnished with 'several great Peeces,'
were erected against the church and castle. The actual fighting lasted
only a short time, for a shot broke the chain of the drawbridge, and it
fell; the Parliamentary soldiers rushed across it without even waiting
for the command, and the Royalists lost their heads and their courage
and fled.

A copy of a letter that General Massie wrote from Tiverton to a Cheshire
gentleman still exists, and in it he refers to a pamphlet, sent with the
letter, even the title-page of which throws light on Puritan methods of
influencing popular opinion against the Cavaliers. This startling page
runs as follows:

     A True and Strange


     of a


     Who was entertained by the Devill to be servant to him with the
     consent of his Father, about Crediton in the West, and how the
     Devill carried him up in the aire, and shewed him the torments of
     Hell, and some of the Cavaliers there, and what preparation there
     was made for Goring and Greenvile against they came.

     Also how the Cavaliers went to rob a Carrier, and how the Carrier
     and his Horses turned themselves into


Leaving Tiverton and following the Exe downstream, the wayfarer may
ponder two proverbs referring to Tiverton, neither of them especially
flattering. It used to be, and no doubt is still, considered lucky to
start off running directly the cuckoo is heard for the first time in the
year, and thirty or forty years ago, if a girl obeyed this tradition,
anyone near her would laugh and say: 'Run, run! and don't let no
Tiverton man catch you!' The other saying is cryptic: 'He must go to
Tiverton and ask Mr Able.' An interpretation suggested is that this was
originally said to a questioner who asked for unattainable information,
and that 'Mr Able' meant anyone able to furnish it. It is not exactly a
satisfactory solution, and as to the reference to Tiverton, though it
may be complimentary, one doubts whether it does not carry more than a
suspicion of sarcasm.

Four miles to the south of Tiverton is a pleasant well-wooded valley, in
which stands Bickleigh. This village was the birthplace of a rascal, who
was such a brilliant and talented rascal that his adventures are very
interesting. Witty, courageous, and full of resource, he had, besides,
two strong points in his favour. In spite of a very rough and wandering
life, his warm affection for his wife never failed, and--all dogs adored
him! Bampfylde Moore Carew belonged to a very old family in the West,
and his father was rector of Bickleigh. A happy-go-lucky career was
foreshadowed at the very outset, for his two 'illustrious godfathers,'
Mr Hugh Bampfylde and Major Moore, disputed as to whose name should
stand first, and, as they could not agree, the matter was decided by
spinning a coin. A few of the most interesting events in his career may
be quoted from a little biography first published anonymously in 1745,
thirteen years before his death. Carew was sent to Blundell's, where for
a while he did well, although his tastes led him to be out with 'a cry'
of hounds that the scholars of Blundell's kept among them, whenever it
was possible. On one occasion some farmers complained to the head-master
of the damage that had been done in hunting a deer over standing corn,
and the boy, to escape punishment, ran away from school and joined some
gipsies. Carew took very kindly to the life, but repeated accounts of
his parents' unhappiness brought him home after a year and a half's
wanderings. Though overwhelmed with 'marks of festive joy,' the call 'of
the wind on the heath,' was too strong to be resisted, and in a short
time he slipped away again and went back to his chosen people. He must
have been a very finished actor, with a genius for 'make-up,' to have
imposed on half the people that he befooled. Amongst his first rôles
were those of a shipwrecked mariner; a poor Mad Tom, trying to eat live
coals; and a Kentish farmer, whose drowned farm in the Isle of Sheppey
could no longer support his wife and 'seven helpless infants.' Carew's
restless disposition took him to Newfoundland, and on his return he
successfully played the parts of a nonjuring clergyman, dispossessed of
his living for conscience' sake; a Quaker--here is a good example of his
wonderful gift--in an assembly of Quakers; a ruined miller; a
rat-catcher; and, having borrowed three children from a tinker, a
_grandmother_. Carew once wheedled a gentleman, who boasted that he
could not be taken in by beggars, into giving him liberal alms twice in
one day--in the morning as an unfortunate blacksmith, whose all had been
destroyed by fire; whilst in the afternoon, on crutches, his face 'pale
and sickly, his gestures very expressive of pain,' he pleaded as a
disabled tinner, who, from 'the damps and hardships he had suffered in
the mines,' could not work to keep his family.

At the death of Clause Patch, the King of the Gipsies, Carew was elected
King in his stead. Before he died, the aged King, feeling his end
approaching, bestowed a few last words of advice on his followers, well
worth quoting.

Of begging in the street and interrupting people who are talking, he
said: 'If they are tradesmen, their conversation will soon end, and may
be well paid for by a halfpenny; if an inferior clings to the skirt of a
superior, he will give twopence rather than be pulled off; and when you
are happy enough to meet a lover and his mistress, never part with them
under sixpence, for you may be sure they will never part from one

This is followed by shrewd advice as to the choice of an appeal:
'Whatever people seem to want, give it them largely in your address to
them. Call the beau sweet Gentleman; bless even his coat or periwig; and
tell him they are happy ladies where he's going. If you meet with a
schoolboy captain, such as our streets are full of, call him noble
general; and if the miser can be in any way got to strip himself of a
farthing, it will be by the name of charitable Sir.... If you meet a
sorrowful countenance with a red coat, be sure the wearer is a disbanded
officer. Let a female always attack him, and tell him she is the widow
of a poor marine, who had served twelve years, and then broke his heart
because he was turned out without a penny. If you meet a homely but
dressed-up lady, pray for her lovely face, and beg a penny.'

After his election as King of the Gipsies, or King of the Beggars, as he
is more often called, Carew was soon involved in fresh adventures. But
one day grey ill-luck looked his way; he was arrested and sent for trial
to Exeter. Courage and audacity never failed him, for when the Chairman
of Quarter Sessions announced that the prisoner was to be transported to
a country which he pronounced _Merry_land, Carew calmly criticised his
pronunciation, and said he thought that _Mary_land would be more
correct. To Maryland he was sent in charge of a brutal sea-captain, and
on his arrival, burdened with a heavy iron collar riveted round his
neck, was set to all sorts of drudgery. Before very long he contrived to
escape into the forests, and after some danger from wild beasts he
reached a tribe of friendly Indians, who received him with great
kindness. Later he stole a canoe, and, returning to civilized regions,
posed as a kidnapped Quaker, in which character he succeeded in gaining
the compassion of Whitefield, the great preacher, who gave him 'three or
four pounds of that county paper money.' By the help of several
ingenious ruses he was able to get home again, and soon afterwards,
aided by a turban, a long, loose robe, and flowing beard, appeared as a
destitute Greek, whose 'mute silence, his dejected countenance, a sudden
tear that now and then flowed down his cheek,' touched the hearts of the
benevolent. In an unlucky moment he was impressed for the navy; next
travelled in Russia, Poland, Sweden, and other countries, but, returning
to England, was again seized, put in irons, and transported. With his
usual indomitable spirit and resource, he escaped once more into the
forests, and after dangers and hardships reached England. Finally, he
ended his days in peace where he began them, and was buried at Bickleigh
in 1758.

Five miles east of Tiverton is a village called Sampford Peverell, which
in the early part of the nineteenth century suddenly sprang into notice
through the strange proceedings of a mysterious spirit, known as the
Sampford Ghost. This 'goblin sprite,' as one account calls it, declared
itself in a manner well known to psychical researchers, by violent
knockings, and by causing a sword, a heavy book, and an iron candlestick
to fly about the room. Two maid-servants received heavy blows while
they were in bed, and there were other strange and distressing
phenomena. These manifestations were continued for more than three
years. Numberless visitors, drawn by curiosity from all parts of the
country, came to investigate the matter, but no explanation could be
found, and though there were suspicions that the whole affair was a very
elaborate hoax, and a reward of £250 was offered for information that
might throw light upon it, no single attempt was made to claim the

Sampford Peverell is a small place, and rather out of the way, but so
long ago as in the reign of Edward I it is recorded that John de
Hillersdon held the manor on a tenure that reflects the unquiet state of
the country. He held it 'in fee, in serjeanty, by finding for our lord
the King, in his army in Wales, and elsewhere in England, whensoever war
should happen, one man with a horse caparisoned or armed for war at his
proper costs for forty days to abide in the war aforesaid.' Hugh
Peverell held the Manor of Sandford, near Crediton, on much the same
terms, but had to provide 'one armed horseman and two footmen.'

Following down Sampford stream for about three miles, one arrives at the
point where the stream reaches an opening into the Culm Valley, and
empties itself in the Culm. A very short distance beyond is the little
town of Cullompton, of which the most interesting feature is a fine
Perpendicular church. An old writer insists that here was formerly 'the
figure of Columbus, to which many pilgrims resorted, and which brought
considerable sums to the priests'; but of this statement I can find
neither confirmation nor denial. The tower of the church is high and
decorated. Within, the roof, richly carved and gilded, rests on a carved
wall-plate, supported by angel corbels, and most exquisite is the
carving of the rood-screen, which has also been gilded and coloured. A
very rare possession of this church is 'a portion of a Calvary, and
above is an ornamental rood-beam, supported by angels; the Golgotha,
carved out of the butts of two trees, is now in the tower, and is hewn
and carved to represent rocks bestrewn with skulls and bones; the
mortice holes for the crucifix and attendant figures remain.' Early
fifteenth-century figures painted on the wall were discovered when the
church was 'restored' in 1849, but they were covered with whitewash!

The making of woollen goods throve in earlier times in Cullompton, and a
rich clothier, John Lane by name, and his wife Thomasine, added a very
beautiful aisle to the church about 1526. The roof of the 'Lane' aisle
is covered with exquisite fan-tracery, rich carvings, and figures of
angels, and pendants droop from the centre. The pillars, the buttresses,
and parts of the outside walls are decorated by carvings of Lane's
monogram, his merchant's mark, and different symbols of his trade.

Three miles south-east of Cullompton is another church famed for its
beautiful screen. The Plymtree screen is probably unique in bearing on
its panels the likenesses of Henry VII, his son Prince Arthur, and
Cardinal Morton. The upper part of the screen is a magnificent bit of
carving. Graceful pillars rise like stems, and their lines curve
outwards into the lines of palm-leaves, overspreading one another, while
the arches they form are filled with most delicate tracery, supported on
the slenderest shafts. Above are four rows of carving, each of different
design--one a vine, with clusters of grapes, and this is repeated more
heavily on the capital of a pillar in the nave. The screen must have
been glorious in gold and vermilion, and gold lines cross each other,
making a sort of lattice-work, with ornaments at the points of
intersection--a large double rose, a little shield with the Bouchier
knot, or the Stafford knot, or a very naturally carved spray of
oak-leaves. Below, the panels are painted with saints and angels and
bishops. The King, Prince, and Cardinal appear in a representation of
the Adoration of the Three Kings, each one bringing his offering in a
differently-shaped vessel. Mr Mozley, a former Rector of Plymtree, has
written a most interesting pamphlet on the subject, tracing out the
likeness of these portraits to other pictures or busts of the three. He
points out that, whereas in most paintings of the Three Kings each has a
crown, that of the foremost usually laid on the ground, in this group
King Henry alone is crowned; the Cardinal has none; and the Prince, who
is represented as very young, is wearing a boy's cap. Mr Mozley has
searched carefully for a reason that would account for the group in this
little church, and has found what seems to be a perfectly sufficient
connecting link. Lord Hastings, who married the heiress of Lord
Hungerford, and incidentally acquired the Manor of Plymtree, was the
warm friend and political ally of Cardinal Morton. The son and successor
of Lord Hastings was a close personal friend of Henry VI, and in
consequence a colleague of the Cardinal, the King's chief counsellor.
There is no date on the screen, but from various deductions it is
believed to have been painted about the end of the fifteenth century, or
a little later, and either during the lifetime or just after the death
of the three subjects of the group, and of Lord Hastings.

Bradninch lies a short distance to the west of Plymtree, and this church
contains a very fine screen and an old and remarkable painting of the
Crucifixion. It was originally placed in an aisle that was built in the
reign of Henry VII by the Fraternity of St John, or the Guild of

The Culm runs past Bradninch, at a little distance to the east, and a
few miles farther on the river passes under the dark hills of Killerton
Park, a heavily wooded and irregular ridge, rising at either extremity
and ending in a decided slope down to the flat space just around. The
house is not an old one, although the Aclands have been here since the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, when Sir John Acland moved from the estate at
Landkey, near Barnstaple, where they were already settled in the reign
of Henry II. He built a house at Culm John (quite close to Killerton)
that was garrisoned for the King during the Civil War, and held out when
almost every other place in Devonshire had surrendered. But it has since
been pulled down.

There are many stories of different members of this family, but perhaps
the most romance lies in that of Lady Harriot Acland, who, with serene
courage, followed her husband through the horrors and hardships of a

In 1776 Major Acland was with the army that had been sent to crush the
American struggle for Independence, and his wife had accompanied him.
The following extract is taken from a statement by General Burgoyne, the
General commanding the troops in Canada: 'In the course of that
campaign, she had traversed a vast space of country in different
extremities of seasons. She was restrained from offering herself to a
share of the hazard expected before Ticonderoga, by the positive
injunction of her husband. The day after the conquest of that place he
was badly wounded, and she crossed the Lake Champlain to join him.'

When he was recovered, Lady Harriot continued to follow his fortunes
through the campaign, and acquired a 'two-wheel tumbril, which had been
constructed by the artillery.' Colonel Acland was with the most advanced
corps of the army, and they were often in so much danger of being
surprised that they had to sleep in their clothes. Once the Aclands'
tent and all that was in it was burned, but this accident 'neither
altered the resolution nor the cheerfulness of Lady Harriot, and she
continued her progress a partaker of the fatigues of the advanced corps.
The next call upon her fortitude was more distressful. On the march of
the 19th, the Grenadiers being liable to action at every step, she had
been directed by Major Acland to follow the route of the artillery and
luggage which was not exposed. At the time the action began she found
herself near a small uninhabited hut, where she alighted. When it was
found the action was becoming general and bloody, the surgeons of the
hospital took possession of the same place as the most convenient for
the first care of the wounded. Thus was this lady in hearing of one
continued fire of cannon and musketry for some hours together, with the
presumption, from the post of her husband at the head of the Grenadiers,
that he was in the most exposed part of the action. She had three female
companions--the Baroness of Reidesel, and the wives of two British
officers, Major Harnage and Lieutenant Reynell; but in the event their
presence served but little for comfort. Major Harnage was soon brought
to the surgeons, very badly wounded; and a little while after came
intelligence that Lieutenant Reynell was shot dead. Imagination will
want no help to figure the state of the whole group.' Not long
afterwards Lady Harriot passed through an even severer ordeal. During
another engagement 'she was exposed to the hearing of the whole action,
and at last received the shock of her individual misfortune mixed with
the intelligence of the general calamity; the troops were defeated, and
Major Ackland, desperately wounded, was a prisoner.

'The day of the 8th was passed by Lady Harriot and her companions in
common anxiety; not a tent, not a shed being standing except what
belonged to the hospital, their refuge was among the wounded and dying.

'I soon received a message from Lady Harriot, submitting to my decision
a proposal (and expressing an earnest solicitude to execute it if not
interfering with my designs) of passing to the camp of the enemy and
requesting General Gates's permission to attend her husband.... I was
astonished at this proposal. After so long an agitation of the spirits,
exhausted not only for want of rest, but absolutely want of food,
drenched in rains for twelve hours together, that a woman should be
capable of such an undertaking as delivering herself to the enemy,
probably in the night, and uncertain of what hands she might fall into,
appeared an effort above human nature. The assistance I was enabled to
give her was small indeed; I had not even a cup of wine to offer her;
but I was told she had found from some kind and fortunate hand a little
rum and dirty water. All I could furnish to her was an open boat and a
few lines written upon dirty and wet paper, to General Gates,
recommending her to his protection.

'Mr Brudenell, the chaplain to the Artillery, ...readily undertook to
accompany her, and with one female servant, and the Major's
valet-de-chambre (who had a ball, which he had received in the late
action, then in his shoulder), she rowed down the river to meet the
enemy. But her distresses were not yet to end. The night advanced before
the boat reached the enemy's outposts, and the sentinel would not let it
pass, nor even come on shore. In vain Mr Brudenell offered the flag of
truce.... The guard threatened to fire into the boat if they stirred
before daylight.' And for seven or eight dark and cold hours they were
obliged to wait. Happily, when at length she did reach the shore, Lady
Harriot was received with all courtesy by General Gates, and had the
joy of nursing her husband back to health.

A little to the south-west of Killerton Park lie the well-ordered park
and beautiful grounds of Lord Poltimore. John Bampfylde, his ancestor,
was lord of this manor in the reign of Edward I, but the line of
succession has been threatened by an episode, told by Prince (in his
'Worthies of Devon'), that reads like a folk-story. At one time the head
of the family was a child, who, left an orphan very young, was given as
a ward 'to some great person in the East Country.' This gentleman
carried the child away to his own home, and, although not going quite so
far as the wicked uncle in The Babes in the Wood, behaved very
treacherously to his ward; 'concealing from him his quality and
condition, and preventing what he could any discovery thereof, his
guardian bred him up as his servant, and at last made him his huntsman.'

To any who concerned themselves about the boy, the false guardian 'some
years after gave it out, he was gone to travel (or the like pretence),
in-so-much his relations and friends, believing it to be true, looked no
further after him.' But Bampfylde's tenants were more faithful, and one
of them, on his own responsibility, rose to the tremendous effort and
enterprise of starting off in search of him. His loyalty was rewarded
with full success, for he was able to find and identify the young man,
and, biding his time, the tenant grasped an opportunity of talking
quietly to him, and 'acquainted him with his birth and fortunes, and
finally arranged his escape.' And in this way the true heir came to his
own again.

In the spring of 1646 Poltimore House was chosen by Fairfax as the
meeting-place of his commissioners and those sent by Sir John Berkeley,
and here they discussed the articles of the surrender of besieged
Exeter, and drew up the treaty that could be accepted by both sides.

Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, having 'a vigorous soul,' worked for the
Restoration with so much zeal that messengers were sent from the
Parliament to arrest him, and he was forced to hide.

But 'his generous mind could not be affrighted from following his duty
and honour,' and as the citizens of Exeter, by this time very
dissatisfied with the Government, were beginning to arm, declaring for a
free Parliament, Sir Coplestone and other gentlemen composed an address,
demanding the recall of the members secluded in 1648, and 'all to be
admitted without any oath or engagement previous to their entrance.' He
next took his way to London, to present 'an humble petition of right' on
behalf of the county to General Monk, but was seized by the Parliament
and flung into the Tower. His imprisonment was brief, and Charles II
rewarded Bampfylde's energy by choosing him to be the first High Sheriff
of the county of his reign, and later appointing him to other posts of
'trust and honour.'

John Bampfylde, a descendant of Sir Coplestone's, was a poet, and among
his verses occurs this charming sonnet, on that not unknown event in
Devon--a Wet Summer:

    'All ye who far from town in rural hall,
    Like me, were wont to dwell near pleasant field,
    Enjoying all the sunny day did yield--
    With me the change lament, in irksome thrall,
    By rains incessant held; for now no call
    From early swain invites my hand to wield
    The scythe. In parlour dim I sit concealed,
    And mark the lessening sand from hour-glass fall;
    Or 'neath my window view the wistful train
    Of dripping poultry, whom the vine's broad leaves
    Shelter no more. Mute is the mournful plain.
    Silent the swallow sits beneath the thatch,
    And vacant hind hangs pensive o'er his hatch,
    Counting the frequent drip from reeded eaves.'

Poltimore is nearly two miles east of the Exe, and if a straight line
across country were followed to the river, the traveller would arrive
almost at the point where the Culm flows into the larger stream. The
valley here is rather broad, and the river winds between pleasant, rich,
green meadows and wooded hills, most of which rise in gentle, easy
slopes. Not quite two miles north of Exeter, the Exe turns due south,
and is joined by the Creedy, running south-west. Westcote, in flowery
language, describes the scene, painting a picture which would stand good
to-day, but that nearly all the mills are gone. Cowley Bridge, 'built
of fair square stone,' stands just above the junction, 'where Exe
musters gloriously, being bordered on each side with profitable mills,
fat green marshes and meadows (enamelled with a variety of golden
spangles of fragrant flowers, and bordered with silver swans), makes a
deep show, as if she would carry boats and barges home to the city; but
we are opposed by Exwick wear, and indeed wears have much impaired his
lustre and portable ability, which else might have brought his
denominated city rich merchandise home to the very gates.'

Here one may leave the Exe to follow the Creedy upstream for five miles
or so, till Crediton is reached. 'Creedy' comes from the Celtic word
_Crwydr_, a hook or crook, a name that its tortuous way must have
earned. The river runs between crumbling banks of soft earth, and shifts
its course a little after any great flood. It is curious to notice the
difference after heavy rains between the Exe and the Creedy, for while
the former will be still a comparatively clear brown, even when it comes
down a great swirling flood, thundering over the weirs and hurrying
along honeycombs of foam, the Creedy will have turned to a surging,
turbid volume of water, of a deep red, terra-cotta colour, that leaves
traces of red mud in the overhanging trees when the river has subsided.

The valley is a narrow one, and on the hill-sides are copses and
orchards, lovely as a sea of pink and white blossoms, and very admirable
on a bright day in September, when the bright crimson cider apples, and
golden ones with rosy cheeks, are showing among the leaves, and the hot
sunshine, following a touch of frost, brings out the clean, crisp, sweet
scent of ripe apples till it floats across roads and hedges. Leland
remarks that 'the ground betwixt _Excestre_ and _Crideton_ exceeding
fair Corn Greese and Wood. There is a praty market in Kirton.' Kirton
was the popular name for the town. Its origin is far to seek, for the
saying runs:

    'Crediton was a market town,
    When Exeter was a vuzzy[1] down.'

[Footnote 1: Vuzz, _i.e._ furze.]

However this may have been, it is, at any rate, certain that the Bishops
of Devon were seated at Crediton for over one hundred and forty years
before, in 1050, Leofric removed to Exeter. And nearly two and a half
centuries before the first Bishop settled at Crediton, religious feeling
was awake, as is shown by the story of St Boniface, or, as he was
originally called, Wynfrith. This saint, the great missionary to the
Germans, is believed to have been born here in the year 680, and at a
very early age he wished to become a monk. His desire was not at once
granted, for his father could not bear to part with him, and much
opposition had to be overcome before he was allowed to go to school in
Exeter. After he was ordained, Boniface won the respect and confidence
of Ina, King of the West Saxons, but feeling that his work lay in
another country, he went to Thuringia, to throw his strength into the
conversion of the heathen. Combining 'learning, excellency of memory,
integrity of life, and vivacity of spirit, he was fit for great
employment,' says an old writer, and he was chosen Archbishop of Mentz,
becoming the chief authority on all spiritual matters in Germany. In
spite of the heavy cares and toils entailed by his high office, St
Boniface still laboured personally among the recalcitrant heathen, and
in his seventy-sixth year

    'Had his death by faithless Frisians slain.'

Eight Bishops lived and died at Crediton, and the ninth demanded that
the see should be transferred from Crediton to Exeter. The chief reason
put forward was that Exeter was a strong city, and less likely to be
ravaged by Irish Danes and other 'barbarian pirates,' but Professor
Freeman suggests that Leofric also desired the change because he had
been educated on the Continent, where it was never the custom for a
Bishop's chief seat to be in a village when a larger town was in his
diocese. Anyhow, Leofric obtained his wish, and was led to his throne in
St Peter's Church in Exeter by the King on one hand and the Queen on the
other, in the presence of two Archbishops and other nobles.

The palace and park at Crediton remained in the possession of the
Bishops till the Dissolution.

The beautiful Church of St Cross stands either upon or close to the site
of the original cathedral of the Bishops, which, on the removal of the
See to Exeter, was made a collegiate church, with precentor, treasurer,
dean, eighteen canons and as many vicars, besides singing-men or

The present church is mainly Perpendicular, though the Lady Chapel is
early Decorated, and there are portions of still earlier work. The tower
is central, square, and rather low. It is surmounted by four embattled
turrets, and battlements run round the roof of the church. The whole
building is of a soft rose-red colour, but the walls within were once
whitewashed, and are now of a slightly cooler tint. The clustered
pillars look as if, over a warm, soft grey, a faint, transparent tinge
of rose-colour had passed, leaving a very lovely effect; they are tall
and graceful, and delicate carving adorns the capitals. The nave is
lofty and unusually long. On the south side of the chancel are sedilia,
once elaborately decorated and glorious in vermilion and gold; a design
resembling a very large but intricate network in gold spreads over the
backs of the sedilia, and a little figure, with faint traces of colour
and gilding, stands at one end. On the north side of the chancel is the
effigy, lying at full length, of William Peryam; and close by is a
monument to John Tuckfield, engraved with an epitaph full of praise, in
which occur these lines, in peculiar lettering and spelling:

    'Why do I live, in Life and Thrall,
    Of Joy and all Bereaft,
    Yor Winges were grown, To Heaven are flown,
    'Cause I had none am Leaft.'

The Lady Chapel is beautifully decorated. At the south end of the choir
is a large tomb, on which lie, side by side, the effigies of a knight in
armour and a lady with a wonderful head-dress, large and square. The
figures are somewhat mutilated, but the little angels that supported her
head can just be distinguished. The tomb is supposed to be that of Sir
John Sully and his wife; he, having fought at Crecy and Poictiers, lived
to give evidence, at the age of 105, in the great Scrope and Grosvenor

In the south porch is a bit of early English work, a piscina and
holy-water stoup side by side, under one arch, with a very slender
detached shaft between. The upper portion of the font is late Norman,
and is dark, shallow, and square. Behind the font a small door and tiny
staircase lead up to the parvise, where is stored a library that was
given for the priest's use. The books include a 'Vinegar' Bible, an
_Eikon Basilike_, and other treasures.

There is a curious account of a miracle that took place in this church
on August 1, 1315, while Bishop Stapeldon was celebrating Mass. Thomas
Orey, a fuller by trade, of Keynsham, became suddenly blind one day in
Easter week for no apparent reason. A vivid dream that, if he should
visit the Church of Holy Cross at Crediton, his sight would return,
induced him to journey there with his wife, and several witnesses,
afterwards called by the Bishop to give evidence, solemnly asserted that
when he arrived in the town he was totally blind. Two days he spent in
the church, and on the third, he being 'instant at prayer before the
altar of St Nicholas, suddenly recovered his sight.'

Crediton had for a long time a very important trade in woollen goods,
which were made here as early as in the thirteenth century. In the reign
of Queen Elizabeth it was one of the principal centres of the
manufacture in the county, and, indeed, caused Exeter so much jealousy
that weavers, tuckers, and others, petitioned the authorities until it
was ordained that the serge-market should be removed from here, and a
weekly one set up in Exeter, to the great and natural indignation of
Crediton. 'Their market for kersies hath been very great, especially of
the finer sort,' says Westcote, 'for the aptness and diligent industry
of the inhabitants ... did purchase it a supereminent name above all
other towns, whereby grew this common proverb--as fine as Kirton
spinning ... which spinning was very fine indeed, which to express, the
better to gain your belief, it is very true that 140 threads of woollen
yarn spun in that town were drawn together through the eye of a tailor's
needle; which needle and threads were, for many years together, to be
seen in Watling-street, in London, in the shop of one Mr Dunscombe.'

Crediton was once, for a brief but fateful moment, the focus of a very
serious movement. During 1549 discontent showed itself in many parts of
England, and very gravely in the West, where a rising of Devonshire and
Cornish men brought about the 'Affair of the Crediton Barns,' and
culminated in the siege of Exeter. The first definite outbreak was at
Sampford Courtenay, on Whit Monday, June 10. On Sunday the Book of
Common Prayer was used for the first time, but the people were
dissatisfied. They did not care to hear the service in their own tongue
instead of in Latin, and they resented all the other changes. And when
on Monday the priest was 'preparing himself to say the service as he had
done the day before ... they said he should not do so.... In the end,
whether it were with his will or against his will, he ravisheth himself
in his old Popish attire, and sayeth Mass, and all such services as in
Times past accustomed.'

The news of this incident spread; other villages followed suit, and the
local magistrates unwillingly recognized that the ferment of rebellion
was working, and met together to try and reason the people into a more
submissive frame of mind. But the movement was too full of force to be
arrested by such gentle methods, and the justices, 'being afraid of
their own shadows, ... departed without having done anything at all.'
Unfortunately, their reasoning had merely an irritating effect, so that,
when a certain gentleman named Helions tried mildly to enforce some of
the remonstrances, a man struck him on the neck with a billhook and
killed him. This blow seems to have stirred the mob into taking a
definite course of action, and they marched on Crediton. News of the
disturbance had, meanwhile, reached the King, and Sir Peter and Sir
Gawen Carew were sent down in haste to deal with the matter. From
Exeter, they and several other gentlemen rode to confer with the people;
but the people, having had notice of the arrival of the knights, 'they
intrench the highways, and make a mighty rampire at the Town's End, and
fortify the same' and 'also the Barns of both sides of the way.' The
walls were pierced with 'loops and holes for their shot,' and 'so
complenished with men, well appointed with bows and arrows and other
weapons, that there was no passage nor entry for them into the town.'
Nor would they listen to 'the Gentlemen,' but refused all conference.

The 'Warlike Knights' then tried force, but were driven back with loss,
by a heavy volley. 'Whereupon some one strong man of that company,' says
Hooker (who must have admired decision), 'unawares of the gentlemen, did
set one of the barns on fire, and then the Commoners, seeing that, ran
and fled away out of the town.' This ended all the trouble in Crediton,
though the smoking barns served as fuel to the growing spirit of revolt,
and the 'Barns of Crediton' became a party-cry.

Clarendon mentions briefly that Charles I came here on his way into
Cornwall, and reviewed the troops under Prince Maurice.

About one hundred and fifty years later the distant echoes of war
sounded faintly in Crediton, for French prisoners of war on parole,
Napoleon's soldiers, were allowed to live in this town. Vague rumours of
them may still be heard. The sexton remembers that his mother often told
about them, and one of the first people he buried was a man named Henry,
'though,' he explained, 'they spell it rather differently.' The
melancholy fate of this stranger throws a light on one of the
disregarded tragedies in the train of war, for Henri was not a soldier,
but the son of a French prisoner. For some reason he never went home,
and died in the workhouse.

Amongst the conditions that the prisoners on parole had to sign was:
'Not to withdraw one mile from the boundaries prescribed there without
leave for that purpose from the said Commissioners;' and on some roads a
stone was put up marking the limits. One of these stones, of grey
limestone, and very like a milestone with no inscription, is still to be
seen jutting out from the bank of Shobrooke Park, on the Stockleigh
Pomeroy road. Another witness to the presence of the French prisoners
lies in the name that clings to a bit of road running behind the
Vicarage, for it is still sometimes called the Belle Parade, and
tradition says that here they used to assemble on Sundays.

Returning along the river, one passes through the property of the late
Sir Redvers Buller. Downes is a white house standing amongst green open
lawns sloping to the river, and it has a background of great trees and
ample shrubberies. The Bullers at one time lived chiefly in Cornwall,
and Downes was originally a shooting-box. A hay-loft stood at one end,
and when the house was enlarged the archway under which the hay-waggons
were driven was left standing, and now forms part of the drawing-room--a
room with an unusually high ceiling. A member of the family has been
kind enough to send me notes of one or two incidents in the history of
the Bullers.

'The whole Buller family was at one time reduced to a single individual,
John Francis Buller. He died of the smallpox. His mother insisted on
seeing him after death. It was in the days when air was considered
highly prejudicial to smallpox patients, who were covered with red
cloth, and every window and cranny through which air might enter was
carefully closed. To minimize the risk to his mother, who would listen
to no dissuasion, all the windows and doors were opened, and a draught
of air admitted, with the result that when his mother entered the room
the dead man rose from his bed and received her.' Mr Buller lived to
marry Rebecca, daughter of the Bishop Trelawney who was one of the seven
Bishops sent to the Tower by James II. His arrest created intense
indignation in his own county; and he is the Trelawney referred to in
the well-known fragment, all that remains of a ballad written at the
time to express Cornish feeling:

    'And shall they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen?
      And shall Trelawney die?
    There's twenty thousand Cornishmen[2]
      Will know the reason why.'

[Footnote 2: In another version 'underground'--_i.e._, miners.]

A later Mr Buller of Downes had a brief but unpleasant experience of the
feeling of the mob in regard to the Reform Bill.

'I recollect hearing that at the time of the first Reform Bill (1830)
the members of the House of Commons were threatened with dire
consequences if they could not give what the mob considered satisfactory
answers to their questions.

'Mr Buller of Downes was on his way to the House in his own carriage,
when a crowd stopped him, demanding to know how he meant to vote. He
took no notice of their request, but remained quietly seated, when some
of the men opened the carriage door with cries of, "Pull him out! Pull
him out!" and were proceeding to carry out their threat, when his
servant, who was standing behind the carriage, sprang up to the roof,
and, waving his hat, shouted: "What! don't you know my master, Squire
Buller? Why, he's always for the people!" Whereupon the door was closed
again with a bang, the coachman told to drive on, and "Squire Buller"
reached the House without further molestation.'

Two miles farther on the river passes the village of Newton St Cyres, or
Syriak Newton, as some of the older writers called it. The church has
several interesting features, and escaped the ruthless 'restoration'
that so many village churches suffered from at the beginning of the
nineteenth century. Alders and willows overhang the stream, which winds
its way to the south-west, and about two miles farther on one arrives
again at Cowley Bridge. The Valley of the Exe gets ever wider and
flatter, and after Exeter has been passed the flatness on either side of
the banks increases as the river draws near the estuary.

Topsham stands at the head of the estuary, and is a pleasant little
town, whose great days are gone by. It is difficult to believe that in
the reign of William III Topsham had more trade with Newfoundland than
any other port in the country excepting London. Presumably it was at
this time that certain Dutch merchants came to live here, and built
themselves quaint narrow houses of small Dutch bricks, painted the
colour of bath-bricks. Rounded gable-ends are a feature of these houses,
which may still be seen along the Strand. In many cases the clerk's
house, a smaller, humbler dwelling of exactly the same design, stands
close to the merchant's, separated by their respective gardens.

Till wooden ships were superseded, frigates for the navy were built
here, but now, although some of the largest ships stop and unload their
cargoes for Exeter, there is little of the stir and bustle that the town
must once have rejoiced in.

Miss Celia Fiennes, who rode through England about 1695, mentions
Topsham in her diary as 'a little market place and a very good Key;
hither they convey on horses their serges and soe load their shipps w^h
comes to this place, all for London.' She also speaks of Starcross, on
the farther side of the river, 'where the Great shipps ride, and there
they build some shipps.'

In the end of the seventeenth century there sprang from Topsham a man of
great resoluteness, pluck, and the spirit to fight against tremendous
odds in cold blood. Robert Lyde, mate of the _Friend's Adventure_,
himself wrote an account of his fortunes on board that vessel. Lyde's
great bitterness against the French is explained by the fact that he had
already suffered intensely at their hands. Two years before he had been
captured at sea by a French privateer, and imprisoned at St Malo, 'where
we were used with such inhumanity and cruelty that if we had been taken
by the Turks we could not have been used worse.' The prisoners were
almost starved, and their condition was wretched in every respect.
'These and their other barbarities made so great an impression on me
that I did resolve never to go a prisoner there again, and this
resolution I did ever since continue in.' But when he was for the second
time made prisoner--this time on board the _Friend's Adventure_--there
seemed no escape from this evil fate. The crew were all removed from the
ship, excepting Lyde and one boy, who, under a prize-master and six men,
were to help in sailing her to St Malo. The idea of returning to the
identical prison where he had endured such misery made Lyde desperate,
and, finding no easier expedient, he determined to pit himself against
the seven as soon as he could persuade the boy to join him. The boy, not
unnaturally, hung back from such a venture, and before he could screw
his courage to the sticking-place they had arrived off a small harbour
near Brest, and the French had fired a 'patteroe' for a pilot.
'Whereupon, considering the inhuman usage I formerly had in France, and
how near I was to it again, struck me with such terror that I went down
between decks and prayed God for a southerly wind, to prevent her from
going into that harbour, which God was most graciously pleased to grant
me, for which I returned my unfeigned thanks.'

Lyde's anxiety to attack the French was now redoubled, and when they
invited him to their breakfast, he was so 'ready to faint with eagerness
to encounter them' that he could not stay in the same cabin. He went up
'betwixt decks' to the boy, 'and did earnestly entreat him to go up
presently to the cabin and stand behind me, and knock down but one man,
in case two laid on me, and I would kill and command all the rest
presently.' The boy, however, was timid, and when Lyde, to spur him into
resistance, told all the horrible details of his former captivity, he
calmly replied: 'If I do find it as hard as you say when I am in France,
I will go along with them in a privateer.' 'These words,' writes Lyde,
'struck me to the heart, which made me say: "You dog! What! will you go
with them against your King and Country, and Father and Mother? Sirrah!
I was a prisoner in France four months, and my tongue cannot express
what I endured there, yet I would not turn Papist and go with them. If I
should take my brother in a French privateer, after he had sailed
willingly with them, I would hang him immediately."' Perhaps at this
point the boy began to fear opposing Lyde as much as attacking all the
Frenchmen, for he now consented to help, and was told that if he would
knock down the man at the helm, all the others should be Lyde's affair.
The _sang-froid_ of the ensuing conversation is remarkable. 'Saith the
boy, "If you be sure to overcome them, how many do you count to kill?" I
answered that I intended to kill three of them. Then the boy replied,
"Why three, and no more?" I answered that I would kill three for three
of our men that died in Prison when I was there.' Lyde went on to
express a hope that some day a 'Man-of-War or Fireship' will try to
avenge 'the Death of those four hundred men that died in the same Prison
of Dinan.' But the boy's fears found the present scheme too merciful,
and he protested, 'Four alive would be too many for us.'

The attack was made when two Frenchmen were asleep in the cabin. 'I went
softly aft into the cabin, and put my back against the bulkhead, and
took the iron crow and held it with both my hands in the middle of it,
and put my legs to shorten myself, because the cabin was very low. But
he that being nighest to me, hearing me, opened his eyes, and
perceiving my intent and upon what account I was coming, he endeavoured
to rise to make resistance against me, but I prevented him by a blow
upon his forehead which mortally wounded him.' The other man received a
heavy blow as he was rising, 'very fiercely endeavouring to come against
me.... The master, lying in his cabin on my right hand, rose and sat in
his cabin, and seeing what I had done, he called me by most insulting
names.' But 'having his eyes every way,' Lyde turned on him with a blow
which made him 'lie as still as if he had been dead.'

He then went to 'attack the two men who were at the pump, where they
continued pumping without hearing or knowing what I had done;' but one
of the wounded men crawled out of the cabin, and when the men at the
pump 'saw his blood running out of the hole in his forehead, they came
running aft to me, grinding their teeth as if they would have eaten me;
but I met them as they came within the steeridge door, and struck at
them; but the steeridge not being above four foot high, I could not have
a full blow at them, whereupon they fended off the blows, took hold of
the crow with both their hands close to mine, striving to haul it from
me; then the boy might have knocked them down with much ease, but that
his heart failed him.' The master was by this time so far recovered that
he was able to join the other two, so that Lyde fought for his life
against the three. The boy at one moment, thinking him overborne, 'cried
out for fear. Then I said, "Do you cry, you villain, now I am in such a
condition? Come quickly and knock this man on the head that hath hold of
my left arm." The boy took some courage, but struck so faintly that he
missed his blow, which greatly enraged me; and I, feeling the Frenchman
about my middle hang very heavy, said to the boy, "Go round the binikle
and knock down that man that hangeth on my back"; so the boy did strike
him one blow on the head, and he went out on deck staggering to and
fro.' After a further tremendous effort, Lyde killed one of the three
struggling with him, and the two others then begged for quarter; and at
last he set sail for Topsham, with five living prisoners under hatches.
But his troubles were not yet all passed. Exhausted as he was, he dared
not rest, and suffered from want of sleep, bad weather, and, when he
reached home, a cold welcome. Arrived at Topsham Bar, he had no English
colours to run up, and the pilot he signalled feared to come out. Lyde
did not dare to bring in the ship by himself at night, and was blown off
the coast, so that he had the further labour of getting close to the bar
a second time. In the end he did succeed in getting safely home.

Just beyond Topsham the little river Clyst joins the Exe. It has given
names to a surprising number of villages and manors, considering the
shortness of its course--Clyst St Mary, Clyst St Laurence, Honiton
Clyst, and so on. At Clyst St George a small estate used to be held on
the curious tenure of 'the annual tender of an ivory bow.' About two
miles east of the river the land begins to slope upwards to the moorland
of Woodbury Common, and on one part of the heath are the remains of an
ancient entrenchment called Woodbury Castle. 'No castle at all, built
with little cost,' says Westcote, 'without either lime or hewn stone:
only a hasty fortification made of mother-earth for the present to serve
a turn for need, with plain ditches, the Saxons' usual structure, who
commonly lay _sub dio_, with no other shelter or coverture than the
starry canopy.'

Woodbury and Lympstone--a village on the edge of the estuary--were once
owned by the family of De Albemarle, which name was gradually
transformed into Damarel, and in this guise is not uncommon in the West

Two and a half miles farther on is Exmouth--a town fortunate in the
delightful views on every side. The sea stretches away to the south; on
the north-east the hills rise towards Woodbury Common; on the west lie
the broad, shining reaches of the river, and beyond them the beautiful
heights of Haldon. Here 'Ex taketh his last tribute with a wider channel
and curled waves, shedding itself into the sea.'

Exmouth has a rather curious history. In the early part of the
eighteenth century it was little more than a hamlet, chiefly consisting
of fishermen's cottages; but soon afterwards it became a fashionable
watering-place--according to report, because one of the judges on
circuit was charmed with the sea-bathing here. The town continues to
flourish and is greatly patronized by visitors. The strangeness of the
history lies in the fact that Exmouth should ever have been reduced to
such a humble condition, for it inherited great traditions. When the
Danes descended on it in 1001, they found there a town and a castle, and
being 'valiantly repelled by the guardians' of the latter, they revenged
themselves by burning the town.

In the reign of King John, Exmouth was a port of some consequence, and
when Edward III was at war with France it was able to contribute no
fewer than ten ships for an attack on Calais. Risdon says there was
'sometime a castle, but now the place hath no defence than a barred
haven and the inhabitants' valour.' It is a little puzzling that both he
and Westcote, writing about the beginning of the seventeenth century,
should imply that the old fortress had no successor, for a very few
years later Exmouth was garrisoned for the King. Either a fort must have
been erected in the short interval, or some building turned into a
tolerable substitute, for in the spring of 1646 'Fort Exmouth' was
blockaded by Colonel Shapcote, and defended with great courage by
Colonel Arundell. It capitulated less than a month before the surrender
of Exeter.


The Otter and the Axe

    'Dear native brook! Wild streamlet of the West!
    How many various fated years have past,
    What happy and what mournful hours, since last
    I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
    Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest
    Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
    I never shut amid the sunny ray,
    But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
    Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
    And bedded sand, that, veined with various dyes,
    Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
    Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
    Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
    Ah! that once more I were a careless child!'

    COLERIDGE: _Sonnet to the River Otter_.

The River Otter rises in Somerset, and runs nearly due south, bearing
slightly westwards till it reaches Honiton. Here it makes a curve still
farther to the west, and from Ottery St Mary runs southwards to the sea.
In Westcote's day, when the derivations of names were taken in a
light-hearted spirit, it was said: 'The river Otter, or river of otters
(water-dogs), taking name from the abundance of these animals (which we
term otters) sometime haunting and using it.' But the more serious
authorities of to-day do not allow that the otters in this river have
anything to do with the matter, and say that the name comes from the
Welsh _y dwr_, the water. It is a rapid and very clear stream, flowing
through green and fertile valleys.

Honiton filled Defoe with admiration when he came to it on his journey
to the West. He describes it as 'a pleasant, good town, that stands in
the best and pleasantest part of the whole country ... and to the
entrance into Honiton the view of the country is the most beautiful
landscape in the world, a mere picture, and I do not remember the like
in any one place in England.' Beyond this pleasantness there is nothing
very remarkable in the town; perhaps its most uncommon feature being a
stream of clear water that runs down the street, with square
dipping-places at intervals.

To the west the town looks over a space of comparatively flat country,
but on the north-west it is overshadowed by St. Cyres Hill, and farther
north is the bold height of Dumpdon. On the top of this hill are the
remains of an oval camp, and a few miles away to the north-west is the
better-known camp called Hembury Fort. The fort stands very high, and
looks south to the sea beyond the Vale of the Otter, and west to Haldon
and the fringes of Dartmoor over Exeter. Three ramparts surround the
fort, which covers a large space of ground, and it is 'divided into two
parts by a double agger.... Several Roman coins, and an iron "lar"
representing a female figure three inches high, have been found here.'

A great Roman road passes by Honiton. The Fosseway ran from Caithness to
Totnes (according to some authorities, on into Cornwall), and crossed
the country between Exeter or Seaton and Lincolnshire. It is thought
that the Romans, in making their famous roads, usually followed the line
of still older British ways.

In coaching days Honiton was well known as a stage for changing horses.
Gay, who was a Devonshire man, a native of Barnstaple, says in his
_Journey to Exeter, 1716, from London_:

    'Now from the steep, 'midst scatter'd farms and groves,
    Our eye through Honiton's fair valley roves;
    Behind us soon the busy town we leave,
    Where finest lace industrious lasses weave.'

Here the poet mentions the one characteristic of the town known to
strangers--the lace-making. When or how it was first started is not
exactly known, but there is a theory that certain Flemings, escaping to
England from the persecutions of the Duke of Alva, settled near Honiton
and introduced the art towards the end of the sixteenth century. The
evidence is too slender to prove that this was so, but there is no doubt
that by the beginning of the next century the industry was well
established, for in the Church of St Michael is a memorial brass plate
recording that

                     JAMES RODGE of Honiton
         in ye County of Devonshire (Bonelace Siller)
         Hath given unto the Poore of Honinton P'ishe
                 The Benefytt of £100 for ever.
    Who deceased ye 27 of July A'o. Di. 1617. Ætate suæ 50.
                       Remember ye poore.

So it is obvious that before 1617 there must have been enough lace to
dispose of to make the sale of it profitable.

About forty years later Fuller wrote a spirited defence of lace-making
on economic grounds. It was then 'made in and about Honyton, and weekly
returned to London.' He says: 'Though private persons pay for it, it
stands the state in nothing.... Many lame in their limbs and impotent in
their arms, if able in their fingers, gain a livelyhood thereby, not to
say that it saveth some thousand of pounds yearly, formerly sent over
seas to fetch Lace from Flanders.' At this time the lace trade
flourished greatly, although there was always a difficulty in competing
with Belgium, because of the superiority of its silky flax, finer than
any spun in England. Later the workers fell on evil days, for during the
American War there was little money to spend on luxuries; and, besides,
about this time the fashion of wearing much lace came to an end. In 1816
the introduction of 'machine net' supplanted the _vrai réseau_, the
groundwork of the lace made by hand, and this took away work from very
many people, besides lowering prices, so that the workers became
discouraged, and the quality as well as the quantity of the lace
suffered much in consequence. Queen Adelaide tried to stimulate the
dwindling trade by ordering a lace dress, every flower in which was to
be copied from Nature. The initials of the flowers chosen spelt her


Queen Victoria's wedding-dress was made at Beer, and of later years
there has been a revival of lace-making, especially in the neighbourhood
of Honiton and of Beer; and considerable quantities are made by village
women living at home.

But lace is not the only thing that comes from Honiton. Cider is made
there, and in the reign of George II making it must have been a very
profitable occupation. Defoe notes: 'They tell us they send twenty
thousand hogsheads of cider hence every year to London, and (which is
still worse) that it is most of it bought there by the merchants to mix
with their wines--which, if true, is not much to the reputation of the
London vintners. But that by-the-bye.' As cider-making was then in such
a prosperous condition, it is easy to understand the tremendous outcry
that arose a few years later, when Lord Bute imposed the enormous tax of
ten shillings per hogshead, to be paid by the first buyer. The storm
provoked was so violent, the opposition of country gentlemen of all
shades of politics so unanimous, that the Prime Minister modified the
tax to one of four shillings on each hogshead, to be paid by the grower,
who was thereby rendered liable to the domiciliary visits of excisemen.
This alteration was vehemently protested against, and Pitt championed
the opposition on the grounds that it was an Englishman's pride that
every man's house was his castle, and denounced as intolerable a Bill
that allowed excisemen to invade the house of any gentleman who 'owned a
few fruit-trees and made a little cider.' The City of London sent
petitions to the Commons, the Lords, and the Throne; and the counties of
Devon and Hereford, the cities of Exeter and Worcester, urged their
respective Members to make all possible resistance to the tax. Lord
Bute's personal unpopularity increased enormously, and a shoal of
squibs, caricatures, and pamphlets appeared, in which he was held up to
ridicule and contempt. One caricature represented him as 'hung on the
gallows over a fire, on which a jack-boot fed the flames, and a farmer
was throwing an excised cyder barrel into the conflagration. In rural
districts he was burnt under the effigy of a _jack-boot_, a rural
allusion to his name.'

An amusing story is told of Lord North in connection with this tax. Not
long after it had been imposed, he and Sir Robert Hamilton came to Ashe,
near Axminster, on a visit--Lord North, then a Lord of the Treasury,
distinctly uneasy as to the risk of coming into Devonshire, for the
county was still seething with dissatisfaction against the Government.
'He was one day thrown into great alarm by a large party of reapers,
who, having finished cutting the wheat of the estate, approached the
house with their hooks in their hands, shouting the usual cry, "We
have'n! we have'n!" The portentous words Lord North applied to himself,
and, pale with terror, considered himself a dead man. Sir Robert
Hamilton seized a sword, and was sallying forth to repulse the visitors,
when, meeting a member of the household, an explanation took place, by
which the fears so unconsciously excited were removed.'

It was a most ancient custom in the West--indeed, it is said to be a
remnant of the pagan rite of dedicating the first-fruits to Ceres--to
set aside either the first armful of corn that was cut or else some of
the best ears, and bind them into a little sheaf, called a 'neck'. A
fragment of the vivid description given by Miss O'Neill in 'Devonshire
Idyls' must be quoted: 'The men carried their reaping-hooks; the sheaf
was borne by the old man. Bareheaded he stood in the light of the moon.
Strange shadows flecked the mossy sward on sundown as he held the
first-fruits aloft and waved his arms.

'"We ha'un!" cried he, and the cry was long and wailing. The strange
intimation fell on the ear like an echo from pagan days. One could fancy
the fauns and weird beings of old had taught the cadence to the first
reapers of earth. "We ha'un!" cried he, and all the men in the circle
bowed to the very ground.... "We ha'un!" cried Jonas again, and again
the reapers bowed and waved. Then the old men took up another strain, at
once more jubilant and more resonant, and with an indescribable drawling
utterance sang out "Thee Neck!"--sang it out three times, and twice the
waving circle of bright steel flashed.'

On leaving Honiton, if the river is followed upstream for a short
distance, the traveller will find himself close to ruined Ottery Mohun,
the home of two celebrated families in succession. Unfortunately, it has
been entirely destroyed by fire. A farm now stands among the ruins, and
two fine Perpendicular archways, and a deeply moulded and hooded arch
over the frontdoor, alone bear witness to its former state. In the
spandril above the outer archway is carved, 'amid elegant scroll-work
and foliage, an arm, vested in an ermine maunch, the hand grasping a
golden fleur-de-lys'--the old coat-armour of the Mohuns; and on the
other spandril 'three lions passant in pale,' the bearing of the Carews.

The Mohuns were a Norman family of distinction, but in later days were
notorious rather than famous. The old peerage having died out in the
Middle Ages, a member of a cadet branch, by shameless and persevering
begging, induced Charles I to grant him a barony. This title only
survived a few generations, and the fifth and last bearer of it was
known as 'the wicked' Lord Mohun. His life was short--he was barely over
forty when he died--but eventful, for he was twice tried before his
peers, each time on the charge of being accessory to a murder, and the
story has often been told of the desperate duel in which Lord Mohun was
killed by the Duke of Hamilton, whom he had mortally wounded. Spectators
burst upon the scene to discover the two principals dying on the ground,
and the two seconds fiercely fighting each other.

The history of the Carews is more interesting. Ottery Mohun came to them
towards the end of the thirteenth century, through the heiress of the
elder branch of Mohuns, whom John Carew married. Their names were
eminent in camp, court, and council, in one reign after another; but it
is only possible to speak here of two, Sir Gawen, and his nephew Sir
Peter, on whose death the branch that had been settled at Ottery Mohun
for three centuries became extinct in the direct line. There is not even
space for the career of another of Sir Gawen's nephews, to whom Queen
Elizabeth wrote, with her own hand, in regard to his efforts in subduing
the Irish:


     'If ever more services of worth were performed in shorter space
     than you have done, we are deceived among many witnesses.'

Sir Peter's youth was spent very strangely even for that age of hazards
and chances. As a child he was sent to school in Exeter, where he was so
exceedingly naughty that complaints were made to his father, and Sir
William, who had remarkable ideas of discipline, came to Exeter, 'tied
him on a line and delivered him to one of his servants to be carried
about the town as one of his hounds, and they led him home to Mohun's
Ottery like a dog.' Not long afterwards he was with his father in
London, when, 'walking in Paul's,' they met a French gentleman, an old
acquaintance of Sir William's, who took a sudden fancy to the boy, and
offered to bring him up in France as if he were his own son. The offer
seems to have been accepted offhand, but, unfortunately for the boy, the
sudden fancy drooped almost as quickly as it sprang up, and, after
enjoying life for a brief moment as an indulged page, he was turned out
into the stables, 'there as a mulett to attend his master's mule.' Here
he remained till a Mr Carew, a kinsman, happened to come to the French
Court, and near the Court gate passed 'sundry lackeys and horseboys
playing together, one of whom called to another, "Carew Anglois! Carew
Anglois!"' This attracted Mr Carew's attention. He called the boy and
questioned him, and finding 'Carew Anglois' to be his cousin, Mr Carew
took him under his protection, rebuked the fickle guardian, and trained
up Peter 'for a space ... in the court of France, like a gentleman.'
Peter, still very young, but extremely independent, was present at the
siege of Pavia, and as his patron had just died, and he perceived
'fortune to frown upon the French side,' he went over to the Emperor's
camp, and entered into the service of the Prince of Orange. Five or six
years later he came home, bringing with him letters of highest
commendation to the King, Henry VIII, who received him with great

Sir Gawen and Sir Peter together took a prominent part in 1549, in
dealing with the insurrection of Devonshire and Cornishmen against the
Reformed religion. Sir Peter, indeed, was afterwards blamed for being
over-zealous, and thereby aggravating the trouble; but he was able to
clear himself, and was 'well allowed and commended for what he had

In Queen Mary's reign fresh trouble arose, from which he escaped less
easily. Many fervent Protestants were made uneasy by the symptoms of
Romish rule that began to appear, and were still more disturbed by the
news of the Queen's projected marriage with Philip of Spain, which they
felt boded ill for their liberties, spiritual and temporal. The Carews
were in the counsel of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Duke of Suffolk, and
others, who planned risings to depose the Queen. In a simultaneous
movement, the Carews were to raise the West under the nominal leadership
of Lord Courtenay, Sir Thomas Wyatt was to raise Kent, and the Duke the
Midland counties. But before the preparations were complete, suspicion
fell on the Carews, and a letter was despatched from the Council,
directing the Sheriff of Devon to send Sir Peter and Sir Gawen to

Sir Gawen, who was in Exeter about this time, thought it best to return
quietly to his own home, and because his movements now attracted an
undesirable amount of attention, he one night 'went out over the walles
of the said cytie yn his bowtes.' The account condescends to a touching
detail that should appeal to all. Even the agitation of flying from
arrest on a charge of treason could not keep Sir Gawen from feeling
footsore, and 'for that his bowtes grieved hym he cutt them upon the
waye.' Sir Gawen was arrested a few days later, and suffered a long

Meanwhile Sir Peter, in answer to the summons to surrender himself, sent
the reply that he had already started for London. But meeting on the way
the bearer of a message which assured him that two of his 'dearest
friends' here failed him, he turned aside and escaped in a little boat
from Weymouth.

Those who interest themselves in dreams and visions may care to hear of
Lady Carew's experience at this moment. The night that Sir Peter sailed,
Lady Carew dreamed very vividly 'that as he was going aboard his bark,
he should fall into the seas and be drowned'; and so great was her
trouble on awaking, that she sent a messenger to the seaside to make
inquiries for Sir Peter. And when the messenger arrived at Weymouth, he
heard the startling news that getting 'out of the boat to enter into
the bark, his [Sir Peter's] foot slided or slipped, and he therewith
fell into the seas, and had been drowned if one standing by had not
taken hold of him.'

Notwithstanding several misfortunes on the way, Sir Peter arrived safely
in France, where he lived an exciting and adventurous life for several
years, and was then treacherously seized and carried to England and the
Tower. Here the much-abused Philip proved himself a real friend, for in
an admirable letter to the Queen he intercedes for 'Pedro Caro' and his
wife, and Sir Peter was eventually forgiven by Queen Mary, and honoured
by Queen Elizabeth.

Between Honiton and Sidmouth is an inn called The Hunter's Lodge (more
recently The Hare and Hounds), and opposite the house is a block of
stone, over which hovers a gruesome mystery. It is said that in the dead
of night the stone used to stir in its place, and roll heavily down into
the valley, to drink at the source of the Sid, and, some say, to try to
wash away its stain. Human blood has given it this power--the blood that
gushed upon it when the witches slew their victims, for it was once a
witches' stone of sacrifice.

Five miles to the south-west of Honiton is Ottery St Mary, a pretty
little town built on very steep slopes, and full of interesting
associations. It lies among 'fair meadows bathed in sunshine; with the
Otter river winding through them ... yonder are the red Devon steers
grazing up to their dewlaps in buttercups: beyond them dusky moors melt
into purple haze.' By making a slight détour one passes the pleasant
lawns and copses of Escot. Once the property of the Alfords, Escot was
bought in 1680 by Sir Walter Yonge (father of George II's unpopular
'Secretary-at-War'), who built a new and large house and lavishly
improved the grounds. But prodigality was the bane of the Yonges, and
not much more than one hundred years later it passed away from Sir
Walter's ruined grandson, and was bought by Sir John Kennaway.

The streets of Ottery are steep and sinuous, and both roadway and
footwalk are paved with pebbles and cobble-stones. The Manor of Ottery
was given by Edward the Confessor to the Dean and Chapter of Rouen, and
it continued in their possession during the reigns of nine Kings. Then
the Dean, finding that the task of collecting his rents and dues was
'chargeable, troublesome, and sometimes dangerous ... desired to sell
it, and met with a very fit chapman, John Grandisson, Lord Bishop of

Ottery's greatest treasure is the beautiful church, a miniature of
Exeter Cathedral, and it is to Bishop Grandisson that its great beauty
is due. He did not build the church; indeed, the shadow of a terrible
scandal had fallen upon it forty-five years before his rule began. For
in the year 1282 'that discreet man, Mr Walter de Lechelade,' the
Precentor of Ottery, was waylaid coming from Exeter Cathedral in his
canonical robes, and murdered by 'certain sons of perdition full of
fiendish ferocity.' 'Mr Walter de Lechelade' was probably extremely
unpopular locally, because he had obtained the lease for life of the
Manor and Church of Ottery from the authorities at Rouen, and was
allowed to make all the profit he could out of the revenues. It is
interesting to note the ecclesiastical manner of dealing with such a
difficulty at that date. Out of the twenty-one persons convicted of
being concerned in the murder, no fewer than eleven were clerics! The
Vicar of Ottery St Mary was among the number, and it is sad to say that
suspicion fell even on the Dean of Exeter.

Bishop Grandisson found an early English church. He lengthened the nave,
altered the chancel, added a beautiful Lady Chapel, and raised towers on
the already existing transepts. These transeptal towers are peculiar to
this church and the other on which he spent his enthusiasm, Exeter
Cathedral. On one tower is a steeple--there was one on the
Cathedral--the lead scored by cross-slanted lines. The church is of grey
stone. The nave and towers are battlemented, and at intervals in the
outer walls are niches, now bereft of the figures they held. Very
graceful stone tracery is in many windows, pinnacles and crosses rise
from the roof, and the whole effect is of an impressive building of rich
and elaborate detail. The number of consecration crosses is remarkable,
for there are thirteen without and eight within the walls, and each
marks a spot touched by the Bishop with holy oil. Every one is a square
stone panel, carved with an angel bearing a small cross. Some are much
defaced, but a few are still perfect, and beneath several of them are
the remains of iron supports, showing where a light was burned before
the 'cross' on great festivals.

The arches of the nave are supported by clustered columns with most
delicately carved capitals; and in the nave are two very elaborately
decorated tombs--of the Bishop's brother, Sir Otho de Grandisson, and of
Beatrice, Sir Otho's wife--each under a monumental arch, with hanging
tracery and a crocketed ogee canopy.

The finely carved and pierced minstrels' gallery in the Lady Chapel is
an exquisite piece of work; but amongst all that is to be most admired
is the exceedingly beautiful fan-tracery in the roof of the 'Dorset'
aisle--an aisle built by Cicely, heiress of Lord Bonville, and widow of
the Marquis of Dorset, who died in 1501.

Two short pleached alleys of limes stand within the churchyard wall,
looking down over a little square into which several streets open, and
the old stocks still lie in the shadow of the trees.

Bishop Grandisson obtained a licence to establish here 'a monastery or
collegiate church for a fixed number of secular canons ... governed
mainly by a Warden, a Minister, and Sacrist, and a Chanter or
Precentor,' and he drew up a most comprehensive set of statutes for
their guidance. Occasionally he issued additional 'monitions,' as, for
example, when the Warden had allowed stage-plays to be performed in
church during the Christmas holidays. It is reasonable to suppose,
however, that they were 'mystery plays' or 'moralities.'

Lord Coleridge says: 'The town was dominated by the College. The bridge
by which you entered the town from the West was the bridge of the Holy
Saviour. In one of its recesses the sacred light was ever kept burning,
inviting those who passed to pray.' Henry VI and Henry VII both visited
the College. The Dissolution swept it away, but a part of its endowment
was devoted to founding the King's Grammar School.

Many incidents befell Fairfax and his troops at Ottery. It was chosen
for their winter-quarters in 1645, and they arrived worn-out and
exhausted and in great need of refreshment. Ill-fortune, however,
awaited them, as the Rev. Joshua Sprigg, General Fairfax's chaplain,
tells us in _Anglia Rediviva_, his account of this army's movements. A
mysterious disease broke out, very fatal, so that there were 'dying of
soldiers and inhabitants in the town of Autree, seven, eight, and nine a
day, for several weeks together.' A Colonel Pickering died of it, on
whom the chaplain wrote an elegy. One has heard of blank-verse that is
merely 'prose cut into lengths,' but his lines suggest that they must
have been on the rack to bring them to the right measure. The author
feared that it was the lack of action that had proved fatal.

    'Must thou be scaling heaven alone,
    For want of other action?
    Wouldst thou hadst took that leisure time
    To visit some responsal clime!'

But Sprigg's deep affection and respect cannot be disguised even by his

At Ottery, Sir Thomas Fairfax received and entertained two envoys from
besieged Exeter, who came with a view to discussing the possible terms
of a general peace; but their mission was, of course, unsuccessful. A
pleasant event was the presentation to the General of a fair jewel, set
with rich diamonds of great value, 'from both Houses of Parliament, as a
testimonial to his great services at Naseby.' The jewel was tied with 'a
blue ribbon and put about his neck.' Fairfax was staying in the old
Chanter's House, now the property of Lord Coleridge, and the ceremony
took place in a long panelled room, with deep-set window, then called
the Great Parlour. Here also Fairfax held a deeply important conference
with the 'Lord Generall Cromwell,' when he came to decide the plan of
campaign in the West.

Ottery St Mary is able to pride itself on being the birthplace of the
poet Coleridge, whose family had long been connected with the county.
The poet's father was Vicar, and Master of the Grammar School. Great as
was his genius, Coleridge was not in every respect worthy of his
birthplace, for in one of his letters he actually announces that he
prefers Somerset to Devon!--evidence which clearly proves the
correctness of the popular belief that poets have no judgment. But his
real affection for the Otter is shown in his sonnet to the river on
whose banks he lived in early years. Another poem, the 'Songs of the
Pixies,' was inspired by the Pixies' Parlour, a tiny cave with roots of
old trees for a ceiling, that stands halfway up a low cliff overhanging
the river, just beyond the town. In this poem are the lines:

    'When fades the morn to shadowy-pale,
    And scuds the cloud before the gale,
    Ere the Morn, all gem-bedight,
    Hath streak'd the East with rosy light,
    We sip the furze-flower's fragrant dews,
    Clad in robes of rainbow hues....
    Then with quaint music hymn the parting gleam
    By lonely Otter's sleep-persuading stream;
    Or where his wave with loud, unquiet song
    Dashed o'er the rocky channel froths along;
    Or where, his silver waters smoothed to rest,
    The tall tree's shadow sleeps upon his breast.'

Ottery has other associations with literature, and it is interesting to
remember that Thackeray lived near here in his youth, and that Ottery is
the 'Clavering' of _Pendennis_, which was written while he was staying
at Escot Vicarage close by.

A winter traveller in passing through the lanes near here recalls some
beliefs of a past generation: 'The faint chimes of St Mary's in distant
Ottery are playing their Christmas greeting over many a mile of
moorland. We are passing the old "cob" walls and grey-headed barns of a
substantial farmstead. The cocks will crow here all the night before
Christmas Day, according to the beautiful legend of the county, to bid

    '"Each fettered ghost slip to his several grave."

The very oxen at midnight will fall down on their knees before the
manger. The next turn brings us to the Otter rushing along some forty
feet below with angry stream.' Almost at the mouth of the river is the
village of Otterton, and here was a Benedictine Priory, founded in the
reign of King John. The Prior of this little monastery had certain
privileges. Amongst others, ten marks had to be subscribed among the
tenants for 'a palfrey to be presented to a new Prior on his coming to
reside in the midst of his flock, and every plough had to plough one
acre of land for him annually.' He had the 'right of pre-emption of fish
in all his ports, and the choice of the best fish.' Conger-eels were
specially mentioned in a marginal note. Besides this, he claimed every
porpoise caught in the sea or other neighbouring waters, but paid for it
with twelve pence and a loaf of white bread to each sailor, and two to
the master of the boat from which it was caught. Lastly, the Prior
claimed the half of every dolphin. But no Prior is likely to have had
many chances of asserting this right.

The river runs into the sea by the charming little town of Budleigh
Salterton; but it is more interesting to cross the water at Otterton,
and passing through the village of East Budleigh, nearly opposite, to go
towards Hayes Barton, the house where Sir Walter Raleigh was born.

Fardell, near Ivybridge, was the ancestral home of the Raleighs, but Sir
Walter's father settled at Budleigh. In front of the garden a swirling
stream crosses a strip of green; and in the garden, at the right time,
one may see the bees busy among golden-powdered clusters of candytuft,
and dark-red gillyflowers, and a few flame-rose-coloured tulips, proud
and erect. The house is very picturesque; it has cob walls and a
thatched roof, and is built in the shape of the letter E; a wing
projects at either end, and in the middle the porch juts out slightly.
The two wings are gabled; there is a small gable over the porch and two
dormer ones over the windows at each side of it, the windows having
lattice lights and narrow mullions. Dark carved beams above them show up
well against the cream-coloured walls. The heavy door is closely studded
with nails, and over it fall the delicate sprays and lilac 'butterfly'
blossoms of a wistaria. The house has been little altered, and its
outward appearance was probably almost the same in Sir Walter's boyhood
as it is to-day.

In front of Hayes Barton is a hill covered with oak-woods, and to the
west the ground begins to slope upwards to the high moorland of Woodbury
Common. Sir Walter had a great affection for his boyhood's home, and
later, in trying to buy it back, he wrote to the then owner: 'I will
most willingly give you whatsoever in your conscience you shall deem it
worth; ... for ye naturall disposition I have to that place, being borne
in that house, I had rather seat myself there, than anywhere else.'

To realize Sir Walter at all adequately, he must be contemplated as
soldier, sailor, statesman, courtier, explorer, poet, historian,
Governor of colonies abroad and of very important offices at home--most
of all as a seer, for his eyes discerned a light that did not dawn on
his contemporaries. He and his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert,
foresaw 'that colonization, trade, and the enlargement of empire, were
all more important for the welfare of England than the discovery of
gold.' Major Hume, who is by no means over-prejudiced in Raleigh's
favour, has said in his 'Life of Sir Walter Raleigh': 'To him is due the
undying glory of having made the great northern continent of America an
English-speaking country. With him it was no accident. The plan sprang
fully formed from his great brain. He was greedy of gain, but he spent
his money like water in this great project. He knew full well that there
was no gold to reward him; that the profit, if any, must be slow, and
must accrue mainly to the nation, and not to an individual; and yet he
laboured on for thirty years in the face of defeat, disaster, contumely,
and disgrace, in full faith and confidence that the great continent was
by God's providence reserved for England.'

Raleigh's biographers have wondered at his immense knowledge of naval
matters, and particularly of naval warfare, for the _Ark Raleigh_, which
he had built after his own plans, was admitted to be the best ship in
the fleet at the time of the Armada. Perhaps his genius for absorbing
information developed very early, and Sir John Millais's picture of the
two little boys, fascinated by the words of the sailor speaking to them
of the breathless adventures he had fought through, the gorgeous sights
that he had seen in the lands overseas, helps to explain it. Most
West-Countrymen can tell a tale dramatically, as the sailor is telling
it--the picture was painted at Budleigh Salterton--and it may be that,
with Raleigh's amazing faculty for gathering knowledge, he learned
enough of seamanship as he grew up to enable him to grasp and hoard in
his memory every detail of the subject as it came before him in later

It is impossible to judge any character of a past century without trying
to realize in many questions of conduct the gulf that lies between the
former point of view and our own, and whatever Sir Walter's faults were,
his genius was incomparably greater. His failings were those of his age,
and were more than surpassed by the shortcomings of several of Queen
Elizabeth's very eminent statesmen. Raleigh left Oxford when he was only
seventeen, and joined Mr Henry Champernowne's band of gentlemen
volunteers who were fighting for the Protestant Princes in France. After
six years' fighting he left the army and betook himself to the Middle
Temple, where possibly he spent more time over lyrics than over the law,
for a biographer, describing this period of his life, passes over his
legal acquirements, but says that 'his vein for ditty and amorous ode
was esteemed most lofty, insolent, and passionate.' He and Spenser were
very congenial companions, and later Spenser, speaking of their great
friendship, said: 'He pip'd, I sang, and when he sang, I pip'd.'

Sir Walter left the Temple for the sea, then went to fight in Ireland,
and at the time of the Armada he was Lord Warden of the Stannaries, and
responsible for the companies of tinners, who had turned to soldiering.
He planned one expedition after another to the New World, and sent them
out mainly at his own expense, giving careful instructions to those in
charge to observe carefully any plants or produce of any kind that might
profit this country, whereas usually explorers searched eagerly for
precious metals alone. It was due to these instructions that the potato
was brought to England. Rumour for long maintained that Sir Walter
actually brought back the plant himself, but, as a matter of fact, the
credit of this is due to Heriot, a man of science employed by Raleigh.
He showed it with the other 'commodities' he had collected to Sir
Walter, who took the potatoes with him to Ireland, and planted them in
his new estate of Youghal.

And though it was most probably Sir John Hawkins who introduced tobacco
into England, it certainly was Sir Walter who brought smoking into
fashion. In parenthesis, a warning may be given that anyone who wanders
from east to west along the south coast of Devon will be wearied beyond
measure by the numbers of rooms, banks, porches, and gardens, shown as
the identical spot 'where Sir Walter smoked his first pipe.' Dr
Brushfield, in an exhaustive article on 'Raleghana,' counts only six
places, but _they_ reach from Penzance to Islington, and one is in

After the last dreary voyage, rendered fruitless by the contemptible
double-dealing of James I, and during his trial, Sir Walter's
self-possession and courage showed at their best. 'From eight in the
morning till nearly midnight he fronted his enemies with unshaken
courage. The bluster of Attorney-General Coke roared around him without
effect. "I want words," stormed the great prosecutor, "to express thy
viperous treason."

'"True," said Raleigh, "for you have spoken the same thing half a dozen
times over already."'

It was characteristic of his grand views of life that within the four
walls of a prison he should undertake no less a work than the History of
the World. The unfinished history shows a depth of learning and dignity
of style, very wonderful in the writings of a man who spent his life in
incessant and absorbing action. It must have been the vast number of the
chances and changes of life he had seen around him, and himself
experienced, that inspired him to write that splendid apostrophe: 'O
eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast
persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world
have flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised; thou
hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride,
cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two
narrow words, _Hic jacet_.'

Not only in his visions of colonies was Raleigh far in advance of his
time. Major Hume quotes his ideas on trade and commerce, the
statesmanship displayed in his _Prerogative of Parliaments_, and his
writings on the construction of ships and naval tactics, to show that in
each subject he had arrived at conclusions now generally accepted, but
only discovered by the public long after his death. This biographer ends
by describing him as 'perhaps the most universally capable Englishman
that ever lived.'

Sir Walter's last lines were written a few hours before his death, in
his Bible:

    'Even such is Time, that takes on trust
      Our youth, our joys, our all we have.
    And pays us but with age and dust;
      Who in the dark and silent grave,
    When we have wandered all our ways,
    Shuts up the story of our days.
    But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
    The Lord shall raise me up, I trust!'

Following the coast, 'running eastward with many winding and waving
creeks,' Sidmouth is soon reached. Westcote is philosophical over both
Sidmouth and Seaton: 'In former times, very famous ports (and every
place and man hath but his time).' Sidmouth was an important fishing
town several hundred years ago; it is now a popular watering-place, set
among high red cliffs, amidst very pretty scenery, and favoured with a
great deal of sunshine. Leading inland are very high and steep hills,
different in shape from most of the hills in the neighbourhood, for they
are neither rounded, pointed, nor sloping, but have a curious square,
rather flat-topped look, and scarped sides.

Farther eastward, one comes to Branscombe, a straggling village in a
broad hollow where three valleys meet. A stream flows down each combe,
and eventually all three join and run together into the sea at
Branscombe Mouth. There is a great deal to admire in the steep sides and
irregular curves, softened by the spreading woods in these valleys, and
close to the shore a hill rises almost precipitously for six hundred

A very short distance further on, the white cliffs of the tiny cove of
Beer come into view. Beer is an exceptionally delightful village,
because of its strong individuality. At the top of the inlet the houses
are clustered irregularly in little offshoots, but the main street runs
down a deep cleft narrowing towards the sea between white gleaming chalk
cliffs such as are rare in this county. A rapid stream races down the
side of the street, and, dashing over a rock at the edge of the beach,
buries itself in the shingle. Beer Head and the cliff that separates the
village from Seaton run out into the sea, so that it is completely shut
in, and from the water's edge it is impossible to see past those massive
walls standing against the sea and sky on either side. The cove is so
small that one wonders it counts as a harbour at all, but the beach is
covered with many small boats and several heavily-built trawlers. As I
saw it, the water was a clear blue-grey, and some sea-gulls were
placidly floating a few yards from land, rising and falling as the waves
rolled in, and looking as if they must be buried by each one. From Beer
Head there is a splendid view of the coast; to the east, beyond Seaton,
the landslip, and Lyme Regis, the line stretches grey and dim in the
distance towards Portland; westwards, beyond Sidmouth's red cliffs, one
sees how the land bends southward to Budleigh Salterton, and still
further south towards Exmouth.

The little inobtrusive haven of Beer was in every way convenient for
smugglers, and was naturally much beloved by them. Not more than seventy
or eighty years ago, all the people in the village were supposed to take
a share in the perils and joys of the ventures whenever they got the
chance. The greatest of their number was a certain Jack Rattenbury, who
began his life at sea when he was nine years old. Five years later he
had already decided, 'I wished to make a figure on the stage of life,'
and joined a privateering expedition. The ship was captured by the
French, and Rattenbury taken prisoner. He escaped from prison, but not
from Bordeaux, where for more than a year he was forced to stay, and he
then sailed on his own account to America, and back to Havre,
Copenhagen, and Guernsey. By the time he reached home again he was only
sixteen! His life was an unceasing turmoil: smuggling, privateering,
being impressed for the navy, and devising wiles for slipping away
again, with the variation of being taken prisoner by French or

A steep road runs through lovely scenery from Ottery to Seaton. At
intervals it passes through woods, or looks down into the misty, green,
undulating country northwards; then, climbing a ridge, the sea, framed
in woods, is seen over little hollows in the distant cliffs to the
south. The road crosses a common with a few knots of wind-swept
fir-trees, and runs steeply down to Seaton. On the west side of the bay
the cliffs are a creamy white; eastwards, the shades are chiefly buff
and pale brown. The variety of their strata make the cliffs interesting
to geologists, for here are found layers of different kinds of chalk,
limestone, greensand, marls, chert, and interspersed lines of flints.

Seaton is a pleasant little town without any remarkable feature. In the
church is this curious epitaph with the date 1633 A.D.:

         JOHN STARRE
         . . . . . .
        Starr on hie!
    Where should a starr be
         But on Hie?

On the east side of Seaton is the flat wide Valley of the Axe. The river
is broad and rather important-looking, but it makes a most inglorious
exit into the sea, for a huge pebble ridge rises as an impassable
barrier, and the river has to twist away farther east and run out
obliquely through a narrow channel. Axmouth, on the farther side, is a
pretty old-fashioned little village, the thatched whitewashed cottages
forming a street that curves round almost into a loop, while a
chattering stream runs between the houses. In the church is the figure
of a tonsured priest, with chasuble, stole, and alb, supposed to be one
of the early Vicars of Axmouth. At his feet lies a dog, and the legend
goes that this was not merely the customary image of a dog seen on
tombs, but the effigy of his own favourite, whom he desired to be buried
at his feet; and as an indemnity for this order he left a piece of
ground to be devoted to charitable purposes, called Dog Acre Orchard. Mr
Rogers, in his 'Memorials of the West,' tells us that the name remains
till to-day.

A very short distance beyond is the great landslip which fell in 1839,
when about fifty acres of the cliff slid more than a hundred feet to the
shore beneath, but in such a way that part of an orchard descended with
its growing trees, and they continued to flourish at their new level.
More wonderful still, two cottages settled down on to the shore, without
falling in pieces. The ground began to slide on the night of Christmas
Eve, and by the evening of December 26 the great mass had fallen. To the
west is a great chasm, and the cliff rises high on the seaward side.
Farther east, no cliff rises beyond the chasm, but little hillocks and
sand-dunes slope unevenly to the beach. The undercliff has not in the
least the barren look of an ordinary bit of waste ground touching the
shore, but is covered with grass and thick undergrowth, oaks and
hawthorns, and masses of ivy, and beneath them the long spear-like
leaves and scarlet-berried pods of the wild-iris.

If one returns to the Axe and begins to follow up its innumerable bends,
one arrives opposite the little town of Colyton, which is not quite on
the river. Mr Rogers says that the name comes from the British _Collh y
tun_, and has the pretty meaning of 'the town where the hazels grow.'

Here is a fine church, chiefly Perpendicular, well known, among other
reasons, for a richly carved tomb, on which is the effigy of a very
small lady, a coronet on her head and a dog at her feet, with coats of
arms hanging above. The figure was always known by the curious name of
'Little Choak-a-bone.' The old story said that the lady was the daughter
of Lord Devon and his wife, Princess Katherine, daughter of Edward IV,
and that she died because a fish-bone choked her. Now this has been
corrected, and it is believed that the monument is of the wife of the
fifth Earl of Devon, who lived nearly one hundred years earlier. But no
disproof has been brought against the fish-bone!

Close to Colyton are the ruins of an old house of the Courtenays,
Colcombe, which has been partly converted into a farmhouse. Here
Princess Katherine occasionally lived during her widowhood. Colcombe
suffered much in the Civil War, for it was garrisoned by Prince Maurice,
who led his troops into several skirmishes with the enemy, and during
one of these affairs (it is supposed) the Castle was burned down.

The poor people living near Colcombe must have had a very bad time, with
energetic Royalist and Parliamentary troops on either hand. Some sad
little entries at this time are quoted from the diary of a serge-maker
of Colyton, in which he counts up what he lost in cloth through the
inroads of the 'Lyme Men' (Parliamentarians), and the 'wostard woole'
and 'sarge' torn from him by 'Percy's men' (Royalists).

Unluckily, it is not possible to pause among the throng of interesting
memories that are called up by almost every step of the way. One may not
sketch the career of Dr Marwood, who journeyed to London from these
parts and cured 'a certain noble Lord,' a favourite of Queen Elizabeth,
but returned home because, 'finding himselfe much envyed by the Court
physitians, he thought he was not safe there!'--a naïve reflection on
the doctors that reminds one of their contemporary Catherine de'
Medici's creature, René of Milan, who was popularly known as
_l'empoisonneur de la reine_.

It is only possible to make a brief reference to a manor, nowadays a
farm--Ashe, where the great Duke of Marlborough was born. Marlborough
can hardly be called a son, but perhaps a grandson, of the county, for
though Sir Winston Churchill was of Dorsetshire, the Churchills were an
old Devonshire family, of whom one branch had migrated to the next
county. Ashe was the home of the Duke's mother, Elizabeth, daughter of
Sir John Drake, and here she returned when the Civil War was just ended,
and the triumphant Parliamentarians were making themselves very
objectionable, especially to such a fervent Royalist as her husband. Sir
Winston was eventually forced to compound for so large a sum that it was
convenient for them to live for some years with Lady Churchill's

There is, unfortunately, no space to look at the very interesting
history of the Bonvilles, the ruins of whose old house, Shute, in its
beautiful park, among deer and woods and magnificent cedars, is close to
Ashe. The title became extinct in the Wars of the Roses, for the family
suffered beyond recovery, and the last Lord Bonville had the
overwhelming grief of losing his only son and grandson in the Battle of
Wakefield. The great estates passed to his little great-granddaughter,
Cicely Bonville, who, more than forty years later, built the Dorset
aisle in the church at Ottery St Mary.

The fine building, Newenham Abbey, stood close to the outskirts of the
park, and Sir Nicholas Bonville was a great benefactor to the Abbey, but
it was founded by two brothers, Sir William and Sir Reginald Mohun. The
Abbey Church alone was three hundred feet in length and one hundred and
fifty feet in breadth, and now of all the buildings, there remain but a
few fragments of walls and the stonework of a chapel window.

Axminster, not a mile away, was in Leland's day 'a pratie quik Market
Town.' It was the scene of one very interesting event, for here the Duke
of Monmouth's followers first met the royal troops under the renowned
General Monk, then Duke of Albemarle, and caused them to fly before
their inferior undisciplined numbers. Albemarle dared not risk a battle,
as he became alarmed by the temper of his troops, and feared lest they
might go over to Monmouth if they did but catch sight of their beloved
hero; for the General's troops belonged to the Devonshire militia, and
Monmouth was adored by all the country-people in the West. The General
ordered a hurried retreat, without attempting any engagement, and
Monmouth marched triumphantly to Taunton. The callous brutality of
Sedgmoor, and the atrocious barbarities of the Bloody Assizes following
it, are too intolerable to think of. A ballad has been written called
'The Sorrowful Lamentation of the Widdows of the West', and one wonders
whether its obsequious tone is due to the author being a partisan of
James II, who expressed what he thought they ought to feel, or whether
the verse-maker was one in their midst, who saw that there was indeed
no spirit left in them. I quote a few of the verses:

    'Alas! we Widdowes of the West, whose Husbands did rebell,
    Of Comfort we are dispossest, our sorrows did excell.
    Here for their Crimes they lost their lives, Rebellion was the cause,
    And we confess, that was their wives, they did oppose the Laws.

    When _Monmouth_ came ashore at _Lime_, it was a Fatal Day;
    To carry on that base design, which did their lives betray;
    And many daily did presume to come unto his aid,
    _Bridge-water_, _Taunton_, _Dean_, and _Frome_, the Nation to invade.

    We said it was a horrid thing, and pray'd them to forbear
    To take up arms against their king, who was the Lawful Heir,
    Yet like distracted men they run to cast their lives away,
    And we their Widdowes are undone; this is a dismal day.

    Alas! we had no cause at all, our Laws was still the same,
    That we should to confusion fall, and hundreds thus be slain.
    They knew not what they went about; confusion did attend,
    The Heavens would not bear them out, since they did thus offend.'



    'Dartmoor! thou wert to me, in childhood's hour,
    A wild and wond'rous region. Day by day
    Arose upon my youthful eye thy belt
    Of hills mysterious, shadowy....

                                   I feel
    The influence of that impressive calm
    Which rests upon them. Nothing that has life
    Is visible:--no solitary flock
    At will wide ranging through the silent Moor
    Breaks the deep-felt monotony; and all
    Is motionless save where the giant shades,
    Flung by the passing cloud, glide slowly o'er
    The grey and gloomy wild.'

    CARRINGTON: _Dartmoor_.

The region of the Forest of Dartmoor and Commons of Devon is one which
excites a vast difference of opinion. For some it has an extraordinary
fascination, whilst to others it is only, like a beautiful view in the
Highlands which I once heard depreciated by a native--'just hills.' And
the hills on Dartmoor are not even very high. Yes Tor, till lately
thought to be the highest point, is only a little over two thousand
feet; and High Willhayes, its superior, cannot claim to be more than a
few feet higher. So there are no towering heights or tremendous
precipices to explain its peculiar spell. Sir Frederick Pollock, in
paying true homage to the moor, gives the reason that accounts for
Dartmoor's dominion--its individuality. 'The reader may think fit to
observe, and with undisputable truth, that there are many other moors in
the world. Yes, but they are not Dartmoor.' And there is no more to be

A very truthful and vivid description of the moor has been given by the
late Mr R. J. King: 'The dusky sweep of hills stretches away with an
endless variety of form and outline; in some parts sharply peaked, and
crested with masses of broken rock; at others, rounded and massive, and
lifting a long line of sombre heath against the sky. The deep hollows
which separate the hills are thickly covered with fern and heather, over
which blocks of granite are scattered in all directions; and, as in all
similar districts, each valley has its own clear mountain stream, which
receives the innumerable waterfalls descending from the hill-sides. The
whole country has a solitude, and an impressive grandeur, which
insensibly carries back the mind to an earlier and ruder age.'

    '... Granite-browed, thou sitt'st in grandeur lone,
      Thy temples wreathed with heaven's unsalted mist;
    Feet in the brine, and face veiled by the cloud,
      And vestiture by changing nature wrought--
    Titan of earth and sky--silent and proud,
      Even beauty kneeling hath her homage brought.
    Time as a shadow speeds across thy plains,
      Leaving no record of his printless feet;

        *     *      *      *     *

    And all our generations come and go,
    As snowflakes on thy shoulders melting slow.'[3]

[Footnote 3: W. H. Hamilton Rogers, 'Dartmoor.']

Let the time or season be what it may, the moor has some fresh charm to
offer. In the early summer there is a special soft greenness, and the
hot air quivers above and about the rocks; later the hill-sides are
coloured by the lilac-pink of the ling and the richer tones of
bell-heather; and when the autumn leaves are fading and falling
'inland,' there may come such a day of sunshine and glorious blue sky,
with the larks singing on every side among the golden furze-blossoms,
that one is able to forget the calendar. And then, amongst the great
boulders covered with white lichen that lie along the sides of streams,
the leaves of the whortleberries turn scarlet over the little round
fruit, with its plum-like bloom. Sometimes in winter the snow lies in
patches on the hills, among stretches of pale grass and rich, dark,
red-brown masses of heather. On the edge of the moor, the springs by the
roadsides flow through a sparkling white border into a shining ice
hollow, and, looking away, one sees snow-covered heights against a pale
blue sky, in the unbroken stillness of distance. Perhaps the moor is
specially irresistible when the full moon throws its magic over hill and
valley, suggesting infinite possibilities. In the clear air the hills
look very solemn and impressive, and the long, broken reflections of the
moonbeams lie in every stream as it ripples over rocks or breaks against
boulders; while the foam gleams and trembles as flakes are torn away by
the current and swallowed up by the black shadows. In such a time and
place one may learn the meaning of 'a silence that can be heard.'

Dartmoor rises high above the surrounding country, and keeps his white
winter livery lying upon it long time, if not washed away by rain. The
air is delicious, but it must be admitted that the moor has a very ample
share of wind, rain, and mists. Faultfinders have also complained of the
bogs, and occasional accidents to travellers' horses have given the
mires the significant name of 'Dartmoor Stables,' although the moor
ponies are supposed always to be able to pick a safe path through
dangerous places.

From a certain point of view, Dartmoor reminds one of the mirror of the
Lady of Shalott, for here

    'Shadows of the world appear.'

Or, rather, the shadows of a past world are reflected in its wastes,
witnessing to prehistoric man; to the tinners, who appear out of the
mists of antiquity, and who peopled the moor through the Middle Ages; to
the dawn of Christian teaching in the country; and to the Normans, with
their forest rights and laws. Antiquities abound, although there are
instances where it is most difficult to decide whether the remains are
prehistoric, or merely traces of mediæval mining. 'It is possible that
"old men's workings," as the traces of abandoned mines are called in
this country, may account for more of them than is generally admitted.'
But modern observations have severely excluded any fanciful theories.
'Certain stone inclosures which have passed for British fortifications
are now more plausibly considered to have been made (at a sufficiently
remote time, we may freely allow) for the protection of cattle.'
However, after deducting any objects of doubtful antiquity, there
remain an enormous number as to which, there can be no question--stone
rows, kistvaens, menhirs, large circles of upright stones, forts and
barrows, and pounds enclosing hut-circles. It is interesting to read the
views of antiquaries at different stages of the nineteenth century, and
their flat contradictions of the opinions of their predecessors. A good
instance is given in the new edition of that mine of information, Rowe's
'Perambulation of Dartmoor,' where certain verdicts as to the origin of
Grimspound are quoted. 'Polwhele states that it was a seat of judicature
for the Cantred of Darius; Samuel Rowe, that it was a Belgic or Saxon
camp; Ormerod considered it a cattle-pound pure and simple; Spence Bate
was convinced that it was nothing more than a habitation of tinners, and
of no great age; while now the work of the Rev S. Baring-Gould and Mr
Robert Burnard goes far to show that its construction reaches back into
a remote past, and that its antiquity is greater than any former
investigator dared to assign to it.'

The great numbers of prehistoric people who lived on the moor are very
remarkable. 'Tens of thousands of their habitations have been
destroyed,' says Mr Baring-Gould, 'yet tens of thousands remain. At Post
Bridge, within a radius of half a mile, are fifteen pounds. If we give
an average of twenty huts to a pound, and allow for habitations
scattered about, not enclosed in a pound, and give six persons to a hut,
we have at once a population, within a mile, of 2,000 persons.' Perhaps
they climbed so high because on the lower slopes the forest was thick,
and wild beasts were more to be feared, though, according to tradition,
they were certainly not free from danger on the moor; for 'wolves and
winged serpents were no strangers to the hills or valleys.' All their
possessions that we are aware of belong to the early Bronze Age, when
flint was used in great quantities, and bronze was known, but was rare
and very valuable. The amber pommel of a dagger, inlaid with gold pins,
and part of a bronze dagger blade, were found in a barrow on Hameldon,
and a few other bronze weapons have been discovered; flint implements in
abundance. Great numbers of flint scrapers for cleaning the skins of
animals, and small knives for cutting up meat, have been picked up;
arrow-heads are scarce, and it would seem that they left very few celts
or axes, and spear-heads.

Of the exceedingly interesting remains, perhaps the most interesting--at
any rate, to the uninitiated--is Grimspound. The boundary wall, which is
double, encloses four acres; it is from ten to twelve feet thick, but
not above five and a half feet in height. Within the circle are
twenty-four hut-circles, and in some of them charcoal and fragments of
pottery have been found. A brook, dipping under the walls, and passing
through the enclosure, supplied the camp with water.

Drizzlecombe, near Sheep's Tor, is rich in a variety of antiquities, for
it has three stone rows, a large tumulus, a kistvaen, and a later
relic--a miner's blowing-house. One of the avenues is two hundred and
sixty feet long, and one is double for a part of the way, and each of
the three starts from a menhir, or long stone. Near Merivale Bridge are
two double stone rows, but the stones are small. Close by are a sacred
circle, a kistvaen, a pound and hut-circles, and one cairn, besides the
ruins of others that have been destroyed. It would be absurd to pretend
to enter on such a wide subject here. Some idea of its extent may be
gathered by considering one single branch of it: Mr Baring-Gould has
stated that no fewer than fifty stone avenues have been observed in
different parts of the moor. And hut-circles and ancient track-lines are
unnumbered, although very many antiquities of all kinds have been
destroyed when granite was wanted for rebuilding churches, or for making
doorways or gate-posts, or even for mending roads.

The early antiquaries discovered the hand of the Druids in certain
unusual rock-shapes, now known to be the work of Nature--such as
rock-basins, which are developed in the granite by the action of wind
and rain; tolmens, or holed stones; and logans, or rocking-stones.
Granite on the moor generally weathers irregularly, and if the lower
part of a piled-up mass partly crumbles away, a huge layer of harder
granite remains balanced on one or two points, and becomes what is
called a logan-stone. In some cases, though the slab is almost
impossible to remove, it will rock at a finger-touch. Perhaps the most
striking example on Dartmoor is the Rugglestone, near Widdecombe, which
it has been calculated weighs about one hundred and ten tons; but there
are several in the neighbourhood, and a logan called the Nut-Crackers is
perched among the thickly scattered boulders on Lustleigh Cleave. This
lovely little valley lies on the eastern edge of the moor, and the River
Bovey flows through it. Masses of granite crown the ridge; lower on the
hill-side is a jungle of tall bracken, and the stream is overshadowed by
a wood, crowded with matted undergrowth and with innumerable rocks
tumbled together.

Granite more consistent than that found on most of the tors--that is,
'not broken into the usual layers of soft beds alternating with hard
layers'--forms the great masses of rock on Hey Tor, and these have not
weathered into strange, jagged outlines. William Howitt wrote a charming
description of Hey Tor in his 'Rural Life of England,' from which I
quote a few lines: 'Below, the deep dark river went sounding on its way
with a melancholy music, and as I wound up the steep road all beneath
the gnarled oaks, I ever and anon caught glimpses of the winding valley
to the left, all beautiful with wild thickets and half-shrouded faces of
rock, and still on high these glowing ruddy tors standing in the blue
air in their sublime silence. My road wound up and up, the heather and
bilberry on either hand.'

A 'wonder' which has been associated with the Druids is the grove of
oaks called Wistman's Wood. It lies close to Two Bridges, on the slope
above the West Dart, and at a little distance looks more like a
furze-brake than a wood. All the oaks are dwarfs, stunted by the lack of
soil and force of the winds. Mr Rowe quotes from a 'botanical writer,'
who examined some of them: 'The bole of this tree was about three feet
high, and its total height to the topmost branches fifteen feet. The
circumference of the trunk was six feet, and its prime must have been
about the date of the Norman Conquest.' Some of the boughs, like the
trunks, are immensely thick for the height of the trees, and they are
covered with very deep cushions of bright green moss and hangings of
polypody, and whortleberries grow upon them. Every step between the
trees is perilous, among the uneven crowded masses of rocks and
half-concealed clefts. Many of the boulders are moss-covered, a kind of
sedge and long, flag-like grass spring among the crevices and add to the
pitfalls, and the whole wood really has the air of having been
bewitched. Mrs Bray's impressions of it are interesting. She found the
slope 'strewn' all over with immense masses of granite.... In the midst
of these gigantic blocks, growing among them, or starting, as it were,
from their interstices, arises wildly, and here and there widely
scattered, _a grove of dwarf oak-trees_.... They spread far and wide at
their tops, and their branches twist and bend in the most tortuous
manner; sometimes reminding one of those strange things called
mandrakes, of which there is a superstition noticed by Shakespeare--

    '"Like shrieking mandrakes torn from out the earth."'

Though some of the stone circles on the moor are due to miners rather
than to prehistoric man, their antiquity may very well win respect; for,
according to the views of the early nineteenth century, it was quite
probable that the Phoenicians were trading with this island for tin in
the year 1000 B.C.! It is unnecessary to say that the reasoning which
supports this theory is very ingenious, and later opinions do not allow
that the Phoenicians ever traded directly with Britain at all. The
metal, it is held, was brought to the Mediterranean coast through the
medium of 'the Veneti of what is now Vannes, and the tin trade was
carried through Gaul to Marseilles.' To take a great leap from the date
originally suggested, there is certain evidence that British tin was
conveyed over this trade route in the year 40 B.C. The Romans taught the
Britons better methods of mining, and how tin might be used for
household needs. Another long interval without any mention of the
subject brings us to the reign of the Normans, when it seems that the
mines were almost entirely in the hands of the Jews. On their expulsion
by Edward I, the mines were neglected for a few years, and next a
charter was granted to several Devonshire gentlemen, at their request,
conferring the important privilege of holding plea of all actions
relating to the mines, 'those of lyfe, lymme, and lande' excepted.
Henceforward the Devonshire miners were separated from the Cornish, and
held stannary parliaments on the top of Crockern Tor. The summit is
piled with granite, and out of the rock was hewn 'a warden's or
president's chair, seats for the jurors, and a high corner stone for the
crier of the court, and a table,' says Polwhele; and here the 'hardy
mountain council'--twenty-four burgesses from each of the stannary
towns--assembled. 'This memorable place is only a great rock of
moorstone, out of which a table and seats are hewn, open to all the
weather, storms and tempests, having neither house nor refuge near it by
divers miles,' wrote Prince. It is much to be regretted that nearly all
traces of the court have now disappeared, and a report says that the
table and seats were carried away to be used for some buildings not far
off. It is said that the last parliament was held on this tor in 1749,
but for some time before that date the court merely met on the tor, and,
after the jurors had been sworn in, adjourned to one of the stannary

From the charter of Edward I onwards, mining seems to have prospered,
with one or two intervals of great depression, and as late as 1861
seventy-four mines were being worked in Devonshire. 'Streaming' for tin
was very much practised in the Middle Ages, and the sides of valleys all
over Dartmoor are scored with the works of the tin-streamers, who turned
about the streams and examined the beds for 'grain-tin.' Many of the
ruined 'blowing-houses' are still to be seen on the moor. Mrs. Bray
mentions a curious testimony to the wildness and remoteness of the parts
in which some of the miners must have worked: 'A very old woodcut ...
exhibited a whole pack of hounds harnessed and laden with little bags of
tin, travelling over the mountains of Dartmoor; these animals being able
to cross the deep bogs of the forest in situations where there were no
roads, and where no other beasts of burden could pass.'

It was owing to the mines that Dartmoor became a part of the Duchy, for
the 'metalliferous' moors of Dartmoor and Cornwall had, on that account,
long been Crown lands; and therefore, when Edward III created his eldest
son Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, the Chase of Dartmoor, and the
Castle and Manor of Lydford were granted to him with the estates in
Cornwall. Dartmoor has existed as a forest practically from time
immemorial, and the date when forest laws were first imposed on it is,
in the opinion of the learned, 'lost in antiquity.' The first charter
affecting the state of the moor was bestowed in 1204, when King John was
compelled reluctantly to grant a Charter of Forests, disafforesting the
lands that had been gradually appropriated by the Kings since Henry I.
Surrounding the forest proper are lands known as the Commons of Devon,
and, usually speaking, they are included in any general reference to
Dartmoor. Every parish in Devonshire, excepting Barnstaple and Totnes,
has a right to pasture cattle on them for the payment of a small sum.
Two classes of men have special rights in the moor: owners and occupiers
of tenements within the forest, and venville tenants, or owners of land
in particular vills, or towns, adjoining the forest. Claims and
counter-claims as to their exact rights and liabilities have been
pressed in successive centuries, but various ancient documents set forth
these tenants' rights, 'time out of mind, to take all things that might
do them good, saving green oak and venison.' These privileges include
pasturing all 'commonable beasts' on the moor, digging turf for fuel,
stone and sand for mending houses and lands, and taking heath for
thatching, 'paying their dues and doing their suits and services.' The
'suits and services' involved attendance at the Prince's Courts, and the
tenants' help at the time of the bullock and pony drifts--that is, when
the herds are driven off the moor by the moormen to a point chosen by
the Duchy steward, and are there identified by their owners.

In the Duchy records appear various well-known names that one does not
naturally associate with the Forest. The Conqueror granted it to his
half-brother, Robert, Earl of Montaigne; King John gave the Earldom of
Cornwall to his second son, Richard Plantagenet, afterwards King of the
Romans. This Prince 'much augmented the powers of the stannaries of
Devon and Cornwall, and under his auspices they thrived exceedingly.'
For a short time the earldom was bestowed on Piers Gaveston; Thomas
Cromwell and some others had a lease of the lead-mines on the moor for
twenty-one years; the first Earl of Bedford was 'Custos of the Forest or
Chase of Dartmoor'; and Sir Walter Raleigh was appointed Ranger and
Master Forester, besides being Lord Warden of the Stannaries. The first
perambulation of the forest boundaries probably took place in 1224, and
others have been made at intervals ever since; yet a long tale of
grievances from that date almost up to the present time might be heard
from commoners whose rights have been encroached upon.

The bounds of property owned by religious houses at certain points were
marked by granite crosses, of which a great number are still to be found
on the moor. Some of them, however, were standing long before the
monasteries were built. To take one instance, the cross on Sourton Down
has an inscription which, it has been declared, belongs to the sixth
century, and which can still be deciphered when the sun is setting and
the rays slant across it. The Abbot's Way, leading over the moor, is
marked by crosses. It ran westwards from Buckfast Abbey, and divided at
Broad Rock, near Plym Head, in the middle of the moor--one branch going
to Tavistock, and the other to Buckland Abbey. The path cannot now be
traced the whole way, but the crosses show the line. Beckamoor Cross (or
the Windy Post, as it is sometimes called), between two and three miles
south-east of Tavistock, is a typical Dartmoor cross, and a fine
example, but it cannot be numbered among the very old ones, for it seems
to date from the sixteenth century.

Perhaps the Dartmoor village best known by name is
Widdecombe-in-the-Moor, and its fame is spread by the song 'Widdecombe
Fair;' this is the most popular of Devonshire folk-songs, and the air
served the Devon Regiment as a march in the Boer War. But Widdecombe has
more solid claims to consideration, and one of them is the large and
beautiful church, with its very fine tower and high crocketed pinnacles,
each pointed by a cross. The roof is adorned by 'bosses, carved and
painted with heads, flowers and leaves, and also figures or marks which
obscurely shadow forth the learning of the alchemist.' The presence of
these symbols is explained by a tradition that the church was built by
miners. 'On one of the bosses is the combination of three rabbits, each
with a single ear, which join in the centre, forming a triangle--a
favourite alchemical symbol, called the hunt of Venus.' Parts of the
rood-screen remain, and on the panels are painted saints and doctors of
the Church, and a king and queen. On October 21, 1638, a terrible storm
raged here during service-time. First fell 'a strange darkenesse'; then
a terrific thunder-clap; 'the ratling thereof' was much like 'the report
of many great cannons.' 'Extraordinarie lightning' flashed, 'so flaming
that the whole church was presently filled with fire and smoke,' and a
smell of brimstone, and a great ball of fire came in at the window and
passed through the church. The church itself was much torne and defaced,
'stones throwne from the Tower as thick as if an hundred men had been
there throwing.' Several people were killed and many 'grievously scalded
and wounded.' The history of the storm has been told in verse, and the
lines were painted on tablets and placed in the church. Mrs Bray found
'the wildest tales' of the storm floating among the people in the
neighbourhood, and, amongst them, 'One story is that the devil, dressed
in black and mounted on a black horse, inquired his way to the church,
of a woman who kept a little public-house on the moor. He offered her
money to become his guide; but she distrusted him, in remarking that the
liquor went hissing down his throat, and finally had her suspicions
confirmed by discovering he had a cloven foot, which he could not
conceal even by his boot.'

Widdecombe is called cold and bleak, and it is not only with the
terrific tempest that its name is associated, for when the snow fell
thickly the South Devon folk used to look--as perhaps they still
do--towards the moor, and say to the children: 'Widdecombe hills are
picking their geese, faster, faster, faster.'

About twelve miles south-west of Widdecombe is Sheeps Tor, a sharply
defined height that has given its name to the parish and tiny village
that it overshadows. Originally it was called Shettes Tor--that is,
Steep Tor, the word being derived from the Celtic _syth_.

Hidden among the great piles of moorstone heaped upon the tor is a cave
known as the Pixies' House. Mrs Bray describes an expedition that she
made to Sheeps Tor, and how, on asking her way to the cave, she was told
to 'be careful to leave a pin, or something of equal value, as an
offering to these invisible beings; otherwise they would not fail to
torment us in our sleep.' Grass grows on the lower slopes, but near the
summit there spreads a 'bold and shelving sweep of about two hundred
feet, the granite ... totally bare, save where it was here and there
covered by a coating of mosses and lichens. It lies tossed about in
enormous masses in every direction.' The cave itself is in the midst of
'most confused masses of rock, that looked as if they had been tossed
about by the fiends in battle,' and the entrance itself is a 'cleft
between two rocks.' A story of human interest is also connected with the
cave, for here Walter Elford, Lord of the Manor, was forced to hide when
the country was being searched for him. Squire Elford was a
Parliamentarian, and one of the 'secluded' members of the Long
Parliament; but he was so far thrown into opposition by the development
of the Protector's policy that he reached the point of plotting against
him, and in consequence a party of Desborough's troops were sent in
pursuit of the squire to his own house. Fortunately, among the huge
boulders the entrance to the cave was very difficult to find, and the
Pixies' House proved a safe refuge until the search-parties were

About fifteen miles from Widdecombe, on the north-west side of the moor,
lies Lydford, whose size is in no way proportionate to its antiquity.
'Doubtless,' says Risdon, 'in the Saxons' heptarchy, it was a town of
some note, that felt the furious rage of the merciless Danes.' And it is
true that in 997 Lydford was burned down by them. At this time Lydford
had its own mint, and money was coined here; and in the Domesday Book it
was described as being taxed equally with London. But the village is
very conspicuously a victim of 'the whirligig of time,' and William
Browne gives a most unflattering picture of its appearance in the
middle of the seventeenth century:

    'I oft have heard of Lydford law,
    How in the morn they hang and draw,
      And sit in judgment after:
    At first I wondered at it much;
    But soon I found the matter such
      As it deserves no laughter.

    'They have a castle on a hill;
    I took it for some old windmill,
      The vanes blown off by weather.
    Than lie therein one night 'tis guessed
    'Twere better to be stoned, or pressed,
      Or hanged, ere you come hither.

           *       *       *       *       *

    'Near these poor men that lie in lurch,
    See a dire bridge, a little church,
      Seven ashes and one oak;
    Three houses standing, and ten down;
    They say the rector hath a gown,
      But I saw ne'er a cloak:

           *       *       *       *       *

    'This town's enclosed with desert moors,
    But where no bear nor lion roars,
      And nought can live but hogs:
    For, all o'erturned by Noah's flood,
    Of fourscore miles scarce one foot's good,
      And hills are wholly bogs.'

The Castle is not very large, and is now utterly in ruins, though the
walls of the square keep are still standing. In Browne's day it was used
as the stannary prison, and was denounced in an Act of Parliament as
'one of the most heinous, contagious, and detestable places in the
realm.' For many years after this Lydford was a lonely village,
generally ignored, in spite of its fine air and beautiful scenery.
Towards the moor it looks up to an irregular barrier (about a mile or so
distant) of very picturesque tors, and in the opposite direction a
fertile and pleasant country spreads beneath it. The River Lyd winds
through scenes that are always delightful and sometimes very striking,
but the cascade has been so much praised that, if seen in summer, it is
apt to be disappointing. Lydford Gorge, however, is properly placed
among the 'wonders' of Devonshire--to use Fuller's expression. The gorge
is deep and exceedingly narrow, and the sides are precipitous. The
river, rushing between blocks of stone, flows so far below the road that
from the bridge, where the chasm is only a few yards wide, it is almost
invisible. Risdon says: 'It maketh such a hideous noise, that being only
heard, and not seen, it causeth a kind of fear to the passengers,
seeming to them that look down to it, a deep abyss.' A story (that may
quite easily be true) is told of a man arriving late one night in
Lydford from Tavistock, to the amazement of Lydford people, who knew
that their bridge had been broken down. In the darkness the traveller
had noticed 'nothing more than that his horse had made a sudden spring;
but on being afterwards led to the chasm he was struck with a mingled
sensation of horror, surprise, and thankfulness.'

From an historical point of view, it is ludicrous to think of Lydford
and Princetown, its neighbour (as one counts neighbours on a
moor)--Lydford, in all its glory nearly a hundred years before the
Conquest, and Princetown, created by the Prince Regent. It is, I
believe, the highest village in England, and in walking up to it there
comes a feeling that this is rather like walking up a gigantic
snail-shell, and that, when one reaches the top, it _is_ the very top
and end of all things. A tranquillity reigns over the tiny town which
even the occasional sight of warders with their loaded rifles does not
break; and the workaday world seems to have been left far below.

But the desolate moor as seen from this point, the bleak winds, and very
frequent rain, brought cold comfort to the French prisoners of war, on
whose account the prison was built. Their views are probably reflected
in a gloomy description of Princetown, traducing the climate, which was
given by a French writer, quoted by Mr R. J. King. 'For seven months in
the year,' says a M. Catel, 'it is a vraie Sibérie, covered with
unmelting snow. When the snows go away, the mists appear.'

The lot of the French prisoners, however, was tempered by certain
alleviations, and very many of them were allowed to live on parole in
specified towns, most of which are near the moor. In 1813 a large number
of American prisoners of war were added to the eight thousand French at
Princetown, but for some reason were not at first allowed the same
privileges. This may help to account for the aggrieved tone in which one
of them refers to his French fellow-prisoners, as well as to the
British. Andrews wrote a journal which was afterwards published. 'The
Seigneurs,' he says, 'received remittances from their friends or had
money of their own, and were able to support themselves in a genteel
manner.' They were allowed to have plays with a stage and scenery once a
month, and also 'had their schools for teaching the arts and sciences,
dancing, fencing, and fiddling.' He criticises them severely: 'They
drink, sing and dance,' and, with a fine allusion to emphasise his
point, declares: 'But the Americans have not that careless volatility,
like the cockle in the fable, to sing and dance when the house is on
fire over them.' The French were released after the abdication of
Napoleon; a year later, peace was signed between England and America,
and then, till 1850, the buildings were unoccupied. In that year the
decision was made that they should be used as a convict prison, and as a
result, one must agree with Sir Frederick Pollock, it 'is the ugliest
thing physically and morally on the moor.'

It is pleasanter to turn back to the moor itself--to topics less out of
character with it. Foremost appear stories of magic, black and white,
ancient beliefs and legends without end. Mr King, whose knowledge of the
country was at once vast and minute, is quoted as having said 'that he
believed almost every form of superstition or superstitious observances
condemned in the Penitential of Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter,
1161-1184, might be found sheltering itself under the Dartmoor Tors.'
(This remark must have been made about the middle of the nineteenth
century.) 'The same wild creed has been handed down from generation to
generation; the same spots on the lonely moor, and the same gloomy pools
in the river, that were shunned by his forefathers, are avoided as
"critical" (to use his own word) by the Devonshire peasant now ... and
whoever may find himself in the heart of its lonely wastes when daylight
is closing, and the air seems to fill with

                           '"Undescribed sounds
    That come a-swooning over hollow ground,
    And wither drearily on barren moors,"

will scarcely wonder that the spirits of the elder world should not yet
have been effectually dislodged from their ancient solitudes.... The
Pixies, thoroughly mischievous elves, who delight to lead all wanderers
astray, dwell in the clefts of broken granite, and dance on the green
sward by the side of the hill streams; ... sometimes, but very rarely,
they are seen dancing by the streams dressed in green, the true livery
of the small people. They ride horses at night, and tangle their manes
into inextricable knots. They may be heard pounding their cider and
threshing their wheat far within the recesses of their "house" on
Sheepstor--a cavern formed by overhanging blocks of granite. Deep river
pools and deceitful morasses, over which the cotton grass flutters its
white tassels, are thought to be the "gates" of their country, where
they possess diminutive flocks and herds of their own. Malicious, yet
hardly demoniacal, they are precisely Dryden's "spirits of a middle

    "Too black for heaven, and yet too white for hell,
    Who just dropped half-way down, nor lower fell"

--a character which cannot, however, be assigned to their unearthly
companions, the wish-hounds. These have no redeeming tinge of white, and
belong to the gloomiest portion of the underworld.'

A true lover of the moor, and very sensitive to its element of mystery,
Mr King has put what he has seen and imagined into verse that must be
most appreciated by those who know the Forest best:


    The purple heather flowers are dark
      In the hollow of the hill,
    Though far along each rocky peak
      The sunlight lingers still;
    Dark hang the rushes o'er the stream--
      There is no sound below,
    Save when the fern, by the night's wind stirred.
      Waves gently to and fro.

    Thou old wild forest! many a dream
      Of far-off glamoury,
    Of gentle knight and solemn sage,
      Is resting still on thee.
    Still float the mists across the fells,
      As when those barons bold,
    Sir Tristram and Sir Percival,
      Sped o'er the weary wold.

    *     *     *     *     *

    Then through the glens of the folding hills.
      And over the heath so brown,
    King Arthur leads his belted knights
      Homewards to Carlyoun;
    A goodly band, with long white spears,
      Upon their shoulders set,
    And first of all that Flower of Kings
      With his golden coronet.

    And sometimes, by the clear hill streams,
      A knight rides on alone;
    He rideth ever beside the river,
      Although the day be done;
    For he looketh toward the western land
      Where watcheth his ladye,
    On the shore of the rocky Cornewayle,
      In the castle by the sea.

    *     *     *     *     *

    And now thy rocks are silent all,
      The kingly chase is o'er,
    Yet none may take from thee, old land,
      Thy memories of yore.
    In many a green and solemn place,
      Girt with the wild hills round,
    The shadow of the holy cross
      Yet sleepeth on the ground.

    In many a glen where the ash keys hang
      All golden 'midst their leaves,
    The knights' dark strength is rising yet,
      Clad in its wild-flower wreaths.
    And yet along the mountain-paths
      Rides forth that stately band,
    A vision of the dim old days--
      A dream of fairyland.

'It is the wide extent of these solitary wastes which makes them so
impressive, and gives them their influence over the imagination. Whether
seen at mid-day, when the gleams of sunlight are chasing one another
along the hill-side; or at sunset, when the long line of dusky moorland
lifts itself against the fading light of the western sky, the same
character of extent and freedom is impressed on the landscape, which
carries the fancy from hill to hill, and from valley to valley, and
leads it to imagine other scenes, of equal wildness, which the distant
hills conceal

    '"Beyond their utmost purple rim."'

Perhaps the scenery of Dartmoor is never more impressive than under
those evening effects which have last been suggested. The singular
shapes assumed by the granite cappings of the tors are strongly
projected against the red light of the sunset, which gleams between the
many openings in the huge piles of rock, making them look like passages
into some unknown country beyond them, and suggesting that idea of
infinity which is afforded by no other object of sight in equal degree.
Meanwhile, the heather of the foreground is growing darker and darker;
and the only sound which falls upon the ear is that of the river far
below, or perhaps the flapping of some heron's wings, as he rises from
his rock in the stream and disappears westward--

    'Where, darkly painted on the blood-red sky,
    His figure floats along.'


The Teign

                        'Ting (whose banks were blest
    By her beloved nymph dear Leman) which addrest,
    And fully with herself determined before
    To sing the Danish spoils committed on her shore,
    When hither from the east they came in mighty swarms,
    Nor could their native earth contain their numerous arms,
    Their surcrease grew so great, as forced them at last
    To seek another soil, as bees do when they cast;
    And by their impious pride how hard she was bested,
    When all the country swam with blood of Saxons shed.'

    DRAYTON: _Poly-olbion_.

The Teign rises, as do most of the rivers in Devon, on Dartmoor, and
starts across the moorlands towards the north. After a few miles it is
joined by the Wallabrook, and at that point turns eastwards.

The moorland country about it is very beautiful, but especially when the
heather and furze are in flower together, and far and wide stretches a
most royal display of rose-purple and gold. Ferns hang over the
transparent brown water, with its glancing lights, and tiny ferns and
polypodys peer out from the crannies and hollows of big grey boulders.
Here and there bushy willows grow along the edge, or a mountain-ash
shows its feathery, deep green foliage and clusters of scarlet berries.
A clapper bridge--that is, a bridge formed out of a single slab of
granite--over twelve feet long lies across the Wallabrook near the
meeting of the streams. Beside it grows a mountain-ash, and the
quivering and wavering leaves, and their shadows that quiver and waver
in the ripples beneath, make a profound contrast to that massive,
immovable stone, that from its look may certainly be included among
those Dartmoor antiquities which Sir Frederick Pollock says 'may very
well have been as great a mystery to the contemporaries of Julius Cæsar
as they are to ourselves.' Modern opinion, however, denies that these
bridges on the moor are of a very great age. Close by on the north
stands Scorhill Circle, one of those stone circles over the history of
which antiquaries still differ.

A little farther down, on the north bank, is a tolmen, and there is a
tradition that to creep through the hole brings luck. The rock has, of
course, been associated with the Druids and their rites, but the hole is
really a natural one.

About three miles farther down the river one arrives at Chagford, and
perhaps the two things that a stranger will first notice about this
little town are, that the air is very exhilarating and the people
particularly courteous. For the rest, though not echoing Lord
Clarendon's remark, that, but for the calamity of Sidney Godolphin's
death, it is 'a place which could never otherwise have had a mention in
this world,' one must admit that it is not very remarkable. The moment
when Chagford came most violently into contact with public affairs was
that mentioned by Lord Clarendon, and most heartily must the inhabitants
have wished themselves back in their usual peaceful solitude. Sir John
Berkeley, at that time, 'with a good party, volant, of horse and
dragoons,' was descending in 'all places in the surrounding country
where Parliamentarians were known to be assembled, "dissolving" them,
and taking many prisoners.' Of one of these 'necessary and brisk
expeditions' Chagford was the goal, and arriving very early in the
morning, still in the dark, they fell upon it before day. The chilly
January dawn broke over a much-discomforted town, ringing with shots,
the trampling of horses, and the clash of steel, but the Royalist troops
were sturdily resisted, and Godolphin was slain, it is said, in the
porch of the Three Crowns Inn. Clarendon writes of him: 'There was never
so great a mind and spirit contained in so little room;' and in his
account of the skirmish he says: 'As his advice was of great authority
with all the commanders ... so he exposed his person to all action,
travel, and hazard; and by too forward engaging himself in this last
received a mortal shot by a musket, a little above the knee, of which he
died in the instant.' Sidney Godolphin, it will be remembered, was one
of the celebrated 'four wheels of Charles's Wain, all Devonshire and
Cornish men, and all slain at or near the same place, the same time, and
in the same cause....

    '"Th' four wheels of Charles's wain,
    Grenvill, Godolphin, Trevanion, Slanning slain."'

In early days Chagford was one of the four Stannary towns, the others
being Ashburton, Tavistock, and Plympton. Risdon mentions that 'This
place is priviledged with many immunities which tinners enjoy; and here
is holden one of the courts for Stannary causes.'

The river flows from Chagford in a north-easterly direction till
Drewsteignton stands due north, when it turns to the east. Drewsteignton
is a large village, and has a granite church, the tower of which is
Decorated, and the nave Perpendicular. In this parish was the barton of
Drascombe, and in the reign of Edward I, Walter de Bromehall held it 'by
the sergeanty of finding our Lord the King, whensoever he should hunt in
the forest of Dartmoor, one bow and three barbed arrows. And it was let
at five shillings a year rent.' One would imagine that King Edward I can
seldom have found time to amuse himself so far west, and the tenant
would not find the conditions a heavy tax.

The scenery by the river is very fine all about here, and Fingle Gorge
is generally considered to be the most beautiful of the many beautiful
glens through which the Teign passes. It is a deep ravine with high and
steep sides, that are thickly wooded and broken by great boulders. At
Fingle Bridge four winding valleys meet; that is, the combe down which
the river sweeps from above curves one way, and the narrow opening into
which it disappears twists sharply round in another. A cleft, half
hidden in trees, divides the line of hills that shut in the tiny
valley-meadow on the west, and a road and a small stream scramble down a
less severe descent between the high sides, from the north-east. But
from no point near the bridge would it be more possible to see far up
any cleeve, than it would be for a ladybird, perched at one end, to
trace all the lines of a stag's horn. If in one direction there was a
gentle slope and smiling prospect beyond, the peculiar effect would be
gone. There is a stillness, and almost a solemnity, in this little
opening closed in narrowly on every side by the steep hills rising
straight above it on every side, and looking as unchanging as if what
they are to-day, that they have been since the beginning of time.
Besides, there is a feeling of wildness and remoteness which cannot be
exactly accounted for by the scenery. A living writer has said that
there is that, in a beautiful landscape in a country inhabited from
prehistoric time, that there is not in an equally lovely scene in a new
country. Though no tangible marks of the presence of men may be left,
there is an intangible something that makes itself felt though it cannot
be defined, and the view is on that account the more interesting, and
makes a deeper appeal to the spectator.

In Fingle Gorge, actual though not conspicuous traces of the Britons are
easily found. Immediately above a precipitous ascent to the north are
the remains of an old camp, which antiquaries have decided was British.
On the opposite height is another camp, called Cranbrook Castle. 'This
camp is of irregular form, circular towards the north-east and
south-east, but almost square on other quarters. On its south side it
has a high rampart and a deep ditch. On its northern side, the steepness
of the hill formed the only defence.' It has been supposed that at this
narrow pass the last struggle the Damnonians made against the Romans
took place; but whether this were the case or not, the holders of the
camp possessed a supreme coign of vantage, and could have chosen no
better place for checking an enemy's advance.

As the crow flies, Moreton Hampstead is about three miles south of
Fingle Gorge, but the roads are rambling. The name was originally
Moor-Town, standing as it once did on the edge of the moor; and the
manor, like the barton of Drascombe, was held on a curious tenure.
'Which manor was the Earls of Ulster in King Edward the first's age, who
held it of the king for one sparrow-hawke yearly to be yielded.' Moreton
is a small place, and in these days perhaps its most marked
characteristic is the Dancing Tree, or Cross Tree, as it is sometimes
called, for it has grown out of the steps that encircled the now broken
village cross. This tree, an elm, was pollarded, and the branches so
trained that it was possible to lay a dancing floor between them when it
was wanted; the floor was then railed round, and a ladder placed to lead
up to it. Mr Baring-Gould, in his 'Book of the West,' quotes some most
interesting references to the tree from a journal kept by an old
gentleman living at Moreton Hampstead, in the beginning of the
nineteenth century:

'_June 4th, 1800._--His Majesty's birthday. Every mark of loyalty was
shown. In the afternoon a concert of instrumental music was held on the
Cross Tree....

'_August 19th, 1807._--This night the French officers assembled in the
Cross Tree with their band of music. They performed several airs with
great taste.'

The 'French officers' were prisoners of war, staying on parole at
Moreton Hampstead.

'Unfortunately, and to the great regret of the inhabitants of Moreton,
the tree was wrecked by a gale on October 1, 1891.'

About a mile to the north of Fingle stands Great Fulford, an estate
mentioned in the Domesday Book, which belongs to the Fulford family.
They have owned it continuously since the reign of Richard I. Many
members of the family have distinguished themselves, but the most
picturesque figure is that of Sir Baldwin, who was 'of so undaunted
resolution,' says Prince, 'that, for the honor and liberty of a royal
lady in a castle besieged by infidels, he fought a combat with a
Sarazen; for bulk and bigness an unequal match (as the representation of
him cut in the wainscot at Fulford-hall doth plainly show); whom yet he
vanquished and rescued the lady.' Sir Baldwin's name must have been
woven in many a romance and ballad in later days.

During the Civil War, Great Fulford was garrisoned for the King, but was
eventually forced to surrender to Fairfax.

Leaving the river and walking north-east, the wayfarer will come in time
to the parish of Whitstone, rather more than three miles from Exeter.
The church has several interesting features. From the south transept a
hagioscope slants through the wall to the chancel; and in one of the
windows of the north aisle is a bit of very old, though not very
beautiful, stained glass. A gallery at the west end bears a series of
panels emblazoned with coats of arms. In the chancel is some Jacobean
carving, and behind the altar there stand a double row of carved eagles,
most of them drooping their heads to one side. Close to the church is a
huge tithe barn, the date of which appears to be between 1450 and 1500.
In a little entry-way joining the Rectory lie the old stocks, opposite
carved panels, and the wood of which is so old that it has almost lost
its grain.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, the rector of the parish,
the Rev. Charles Brown, collected a large amount of varied information
concerning the parish into a manuscript volume, and from this record the
present rector has most kindly allowed me to make some extracts. Mr
Brown begins by explaining the meaning of the name, derived from the
Celtic _Wad_, a hill or ridge, which became in time _Whit_, and _don_,
land--Whitstone, the hill land. Whitstone certainly deserves the name,
as it is high, looking towards Dartmoor, but the Celtic form is more
correctly kept by a hill in the parish, which is still called Wadaldon,
or more commonly Waddlesdown.

Against the entries of burials in the parish register Mr Brown made
biographical notes, pithy, and quite free from that too flattering note
often sounded in epitaphs. Here are some examples:

'William Speare, D.D., buried 1812.... He formed a Paddock of 120 acres
[of land left him in this parish]. His penuriousness was as remarkable
as his taste. Often I have seen him in Exeter, whither he rode every
day, with one spur only, and that tied to his boot with string.

'1814.--James Hammett, 39, was before he came to reside in Whitstone, a
follower of Joanna Southcott, from whom he purchased for half a crown a
piece of parchment, which was to entitle him to free admission into

'1820.--James Sutton, 82, was for many years Sexton of the Parish, was
buried according to his request near the Rectory Granary. He said that
the Rector had been very kind to him; he would lie as near as possible
to his house.

'1829.--Ann Hexter, School-mistress at home and Mistress of the Sunday
School many years. Was for twenty years occasionally insane, and at last
never free from lunacy.

'1832.--William Earls--poor--humble--honest--was made happy by my
present of what he called "Multiplying Glasses."

'Thomas Lake, 85, said he had never taken medicine and would not begin
at 85.

'1833.--John Coven, my carpenter, 26 years, never defrauded his
employers of a minute's work; but his obstinacy was equal to his
honesty. He spent all his gains, openly declaring that the Parish should
maintain him when he could no longer work. At his death he had received
£60, but he gave up to the Overseers a legacy of £30.

'1834.--John How, 73. Having a pension of 4.0 a week, as Serj. of
Marines, once refused a shill. from me, saying he did not want it.'

The notes include a compressed but lurid tale:

'1835.--Thomas Snowden, 54. He died the day his son was christened, of
apoplexy.' The curate, W. Ley, had been present at a festive christening
dinner, and had left Mr Snowden still entertaining a fellow guest. The
seizure took place while they were alone. 'Mrs S. sent for Ley, and,
taking him into the room, said: "That's the man who has just killed my
husband." That man she afterwards married.'

Some interesting memoranda from the overseers and churchwardens give a
glimpse of hard days in the past. In 1811 an entry shows the
churchwardens making an effort to relieve the acute distress caused by
the high price of food. Wages were particularly low, and a succession of
bad harvests raised the price of wheat to famine price, whilst the war
with Napoleon prevented any grain coming into the country, from France
or America. So we find rice and barley sold to poor parishioners cheaper
than they could have bought it for themselves.

'_Account of Barley bought for the use of the Poor._

April and May, 105 Bushels at 13d. per Bush.; June,
  135 at 11d.; August, 20 at 9s. 6d.

Sold at 8d. per Bush.                 loss £57 11 2 1/2
Four Hogs. 12 Rice cost                      8 15 9
           Sold for                          6  0 5 1/2
           Loss                              2 15 3 1/2'

In 1796 there is a cryptic entry:

'Paid for a man for the Navy               £11 13 0.'

Nothing more, though a few words in reference to the matter would be
very welcome. Possibly the best explanation is, that at a time when men
were being impressed for the navy on every hand, and the Government was
making immense efforts to get men and money, the parish provided the
bounty-money for a man, perhaps a parishioner, who had just joined with
or without his good-will. But this is insecure ground, and the meaning
can but be guessed at. In 1807 there is a very different, but also
unusual, item:

'Mr Sowden's huntsman for killing a fox,    3s. 4d.'

To return to Mr Brown's 'Record,' the memoranda are followed by a long
and very interesting list of 'Parochial Superstitions,' some of which,
but not all, are generally known. He also tells one or two stories with
a caustic touch where he might have suggested a supernatural atmosphere.

'"The Parsonage is haunted." This has been asserted for 100 years, at
least. It is still asserted, and proved too by the following story,
invented by Jacob Wright, a lively servant of mine in 1814. "'Jacob,'
said my master, 'come into my room. I am going to lay the ghost--don't
be frightened.' Well, we went in, and frightened enough I was when I saw
the ghost fly out of the window with _Master's hat and wig_."'

If only Mr Brown had had enough imagination to omit the word 'invented'!
His eyes must have twinkled again while he was enjoying the following
speech: 'It is reported that a calf with two heads has been seen in Hare
Lane. Hannah Splatt says: "Though I have walked about as a nurse at all
hours, I never saw anything _more frightful_ than myself."' The italics
in both cases are his. Superstitions are followed by a long list of
words that strike him (who must have come from 'up the country') as
peculiar, though many of them are commonly used to-day. And he makes one
delightful quotation. In mentioning the fact that Devonshire people say
'to' where others say 'at'--far instance, 'working to blacksmith's,' or
'living to Exeter'--he writes: 'Dr Atterbury used to say that if he had
been Bishop of Exeter, the Devonshire folks would have called him Dr To

Rejoining the Teign, one descends a valley very beautiful, but less
striking than Fingle Gorge, the sides wider apart and less high, but
thickly wooded. It is especially lovely in late March or early April,
when the woodbine wreaths give an earnest of what the spring's full
touch will bring, and buds are bursting and tiny quilled leaves showing
on the hazels scattered among the oaks that form the chief substance of
the coppices. Near Dunsford lies a sea of blue-green daffodil spears,
with the pale gold flowers showing among them. These flowers push up
among the rustling brown leaves, under interlacing branches overhead,
but at a turn of the river a large flat meadow spreads out before one,
and here the daffodils indeed 'dance' in their myriads. Just beyond is
the bridge below Dunsford, and here are several tiny islands, each about
large enough to hold a sapling and a tangle of overflowing green that
trails into the water; and rushing by on each side, after falling over a
little weir, the river dashes itself into a line of foam and races on
under the archway.

Some miles down the valley and east of the river is Doddiscombsleigh,
whose chief feature is its church. The chancel is early Decorated, the
nave and north aisle Perpendicular, and in the windows of this aisle,
and more especially in the east window, is some good stained glass--a
rarity in the churches in this neighbourhood. The subject, a rather
uncommon one in England, is the Seven Sacraments, and, as the old glass
was no longer intact, the window has been lately restored.

Farther south, and on the other side of the river, is Christow, with
its granite Perpendicular church. In the porch is a tribute to long
service--a stone to

NICHOLAS BUSSELL, 46 years clark
    Heere dyed xix Feb. 1631.

Tradition says that the stone marks the actual spot where he died, and
the wording of the epitaph favours the idea. It may be that he went to
church in a very feeble state, perhaps thinking that neither parson nor
congregation could get on without him, and with a supreme effort crowned
his many years of service.

The valley has a solitary look, as if it were very remote from hurry or
turmoil, with the green, silent hills rising high towards Haldon's
moorlands on one side, and to Dartmoor on the other. But when the tides
of the Civil War surged backward and forward, the valley of the Teign
had its full share of trouble. Those who lived there were too near
Exeter for their peace and comfort, and must have been repeatedly
harassed by the troops of one side or the other while they were
clattering to or from the city, or quartered in the villages near, and
the commotion must have been especially trying when Fairfax was
beginning the siege of Exeter by hemming in the city with his outposts.

Canonteign House was garrisoned for the King, and was considered 'a
strong fort'; but at the end of the year 1645, when the Royalist cause
was lost, it was taken by a body of troops from the regiment of Colonel
Okey, who after the Restoration was executed as one of the Regicides. A
short account of the affair is given in 'Anglia Rediviva': 'Information
being given that the house of one Mr Davis at Canonteen (being within
four miles of Exeter) stood convenient for a garrison, and might bear a
useful proportion towards the blocking up of Exeter, hindering of
provision from the Southams, some more of Colonel Okey's dragoons were
ordered thither to possess the same, who accordingly went and fulfilled
their orders, December 21, and were no longer in the house; but Monday,
December 22, in the morning, the enemy sent a force against it, who
stormed the house, burnt the out-houses; yet Captain Woggan, who
commanded the dragoons, behaved himself so gallantly that he beat the
enemy off, killed four, desperately wounded a lieutenant-colonel, and
took divers prisoners.'

The manor of Canonteign was bought by the first Lord Exmouth, who built
a new Canonteign House near the old one. In Christow Church is a
memorial of the great Admiral--the flag flown by his ship during the
battle of Algiers. A broadside ballad commemorating that splendid fight
has a fine disregard for the more pedantic rules of making verse, and
the metre is a good example of what is called 'rugged'; but those who
are superior to such details will appreciate the directness and air of
enjoyment that are very appropriate to the song of a gallant sailor:


    'Come, all you Britons, stout and bold, that love your native land.
    Rejoicing in your victory, Lord Exmouth gave command.
    Lord Exmouth will your rights maintain, as you shall plainly see,
    How we all fought like lions bold, to set the Christians free.


    'You British tars, be steady, and maintain your glorious name;
    You will ever find Lord Exmouth to lead you into fame.

    'On the 17th July in Plymouth Sound we lay,
    Lord Exmouth made a signal our anchor for to weigh;
    We exercis'd our great guns, believe me what I say,
    That we might do the best we could on that glorious day.

    'When we came to Gibraltar, for three days there we lay,
    Our cabins there we all knock'd down, our decks we cleared away.
    That nothing in our way might be, for we their batteries saw,
    Prepar'd to send their burning shot upon our decks below.'

Here follows a detailed account of the order of the ships going into
battle and of the fight itself, finishing with:

    'And there's one thing more I relate, which is to be admir'd,
    At five o'clock that afternoon we set their ships on fire.
    Our rocket-ships and fire-ships so well their parts did play,
    The Algerines from their batteries were forc'd to run away.

    'Now this glorious action's over, and Christians are set free,
    The Algerines are bound down--there's here no slavery;
    But if they break their terms of peace, Lord Exmouth doth declare
    If he should visit them again, not one of them he spare.'

Chudleigh stands a little above, and to the east of the river. From very
early times it has been specially connected with the bishops of Exeter,
for Bishop Osbert built a palace here about 1080. In the third year of
Richard II's reign the palace was fortified under a licence to Bishop
Brantyngham, but now only a very few fragments of it are still to be
seen. The manor of Chudleigh was bound to provide twelve woodcock for
the bishop's table on the day of his election, but should they be
unobtainable, twelve pence was considered a just equivalent! In 1547
Bishop Vesey alienated 'the manor, town, palace, and limekiln,' and
rather more than a hundred years later it came into the possession of
Lord Clifford. The present Lord Clifford is lord of the manor.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century there was a lively trade in
woollen goods, which were made here in considerable quantities, and this
industry was carried on with varying prosperity through several
centuries. In the reign of James I the trade was particularly
flourishing, and, though gradually lessening, it was in existence till
the end of the reign of George II.

The people of Chudleigh are said to have been careful to favour neither
side in the Civil War--a small and defenceless town, swept through by
each party in turn, could hardly take any other course. In January,
1646, while Exeter was still holding out against the Parliament, Fairfax
and his army were quartered here. The surrounding country is very
pretty, and Chudleigh Rock and Chudleigh Glen are particularly
delightful. The Rock is of blue limestone, and a deep cavern runs far
into it, once supposed to be haunted by the pixies. It is still called
the 'Pixies' Parlour.' A stream runs through the Glen, and joins the
Teign just below the town.

Near Chudleigh is Ugbrooke Park, which, with its hills and valleys,
streams, lakes, trees, and deer, has all that is wanted to make a park
beautiful. 'Fair Rosamond' is so well known by that title alone that it
is sometimes forgotten that she was a De Clifford. In her lifetime,
their principal estate was in Herefordshire, but later the heiress of
Ugbrooke brought this property by marriage to Antony Clifford.

Perhaps the member of the family who played the most important part in
history is Sir Thomas Clifford, afterwards the Lord Clifford whose
initial is the first of the five that together spell 'Cabal.' In its
early days, he was the leading spirit of that famous council. One branch
of the Cliffords had settled in Holland, and it was probably in staying
there with his relations that Sir Thomas had been brought to the notice
of Charles II and first gained his influence over him. Lord Macaulay is
not complimentary in his references to any member of the Cabal, but such
commendations as he has to give are bestowed on Clifford. Sir Thomas, he
says, 'had greatly distinguished himself in the House of Commons. Of the
members of the Cabal, he was the most respectable. For, with a fiery,
imperious temper, he had a strong though a lamentably perverted sense of
duty and honour.' Farther on he adds that Clifford 'alone of the five
had any claim to be regarded as an honest man.' Sir Thomas started a
scheme which was practically the origin of the National Debt. Several
statesmen who enjoyed the King's favour greatly desired the Lord
Treasurer's office, and here Charles displayed his usual astuteness;
for, being, as always, in want of money, he said to them that the man
who should be Lord Treasurer was the man who could show him a way of
putting money into the Treasury. The plan that Sir Thomas proposed to
the King, and which was put into execution, Lord Clifford has most
kindly sketched out as follows: 'The first Lord Clifford of Chudleigh
was made Lord Treasurer by Charles II, and recommended the King to seize
the money deposited in the Exchequer and secured by the allocation of
various revenues. These loans had always up to this been faithfully met.
By seizing this money, nominally only for a year, he acquired the sum of
£1,300,000 at 6 per cent. At the succession of William and Mary the
Public Debt was £664,263, and this was probably part of the money so
seized; but it was not till 5 William and Mary, c. 20, that the
authority of Parliament was given for a loan to be raised by the then
created Bank of England, from which period usually dates the National
Debt. Evelyn ascribes the inception of this idea to Ashley Shaftesbury,
who, foreseeing its illegality, and possibly its disastrous results
(for many persons were ruined), left it to Clifford to propose it to the
King. He gave 6 per cent. interest. When the Bank of England loan was
raised (5 W. and M.) the interest was 8 per cent.'

There is a fine picture of the Lord High Treasurer, by Sir Peter Lely,
at Ugbrooke, of which two replicas hang, one in the Treasury, and the
other at Ham House, which belonged to the Duke of Lauderdale, who was
the L of the Cabal. Lord Clifford is wearing a crimson robe, under a
magnificent flowing mantle of ermine, and in his right hand is the white
wand of office. His face shows shrewdness and determination, and a
certain geniality, which suggests that, though on occasion he might not
have scrupled to act as an oppressor, yet he would always have liked to
do so as pleasantly as possible.

A remnant of former friendship was shown seven years after the Cabal was
dissolved. In December, 1680, when the country was still seething
against Popery, a Bill was brought before the House of Lords which
provided, amongst other things, that all Papists of influence should be
removed from their own estates to a far distant county. Lists of the
gentlemen 'selected' in each county were made out (and have been
reprinted among the manuscripts of the House of Lords), and after the
last list is written: 'In addition to the above Lists, there was one for
Devonshire, which appears to have been given to Earl Shaftesbury ... but
which is not forthcoming.' A subsequent collection of the names of those
'selected' in this county follows this statement, but Lord Clifford's
name does not appear among them; therefore Lord Shaftesbury's reason for
'mislaying' this one list is supposed to be that he had suppressed in it
the name of his former friend's son; and no second formal list for
Devonshire seems to have been made. The Bill never became law.

At Newton Abbot the river reaches its most southerly point and again
turns east. Lysons says that its 'market and fair were spoken of in the
reign of Edward I;' but there are not many old buildings, and those that
there are seem completely swamped by numerous modern ones. The parish
church, to the south of the town, contains much that is most
interesting; and Forde House, a fine Jacobean building, welcomed under
its roof Charles I on two occasions, and, having changed owners
meanwhile, greeted William of Orange, when, thirty-three years later, he
was on his way from Torbay.

Along the northern bank of the estuary lie the two villages of
Kingsteignton and Bishopsteignton, the manor of the first being part of
the ancient demesnes of the Crown, as that of the second was of the See
of Exeter. At the Kingsteignton 'revel' a curious custom used to be
observed, for a part of the proceedings was that 'a ram was hunted,
killed, roasted, and eaten.' Mr Baring-Gould gives these details, and
adds a village anecdote. 'The parson there once asked a lad in
Sunday-school, "How many commandments are there?" "Three, sir," was the
prompt reply--"Easter, Whitsuntide, and the Revel."'

Bishopsteignton has a church in which there are portions of Norman work,
and in the parish lie the remains of a Bishop's palace, 'From ancient
times,' says Lysons, 'one of the country seats of the bishops.' It was
practically rebuilt by Bishop Grandisson.

I was once given an interesting piece of information relating to
Bishopsteignton by an old man living near Newton St Cyres. He said that
in a general way the women there used to be very small, and folks said
that was because they had been changed by the pixies when they were

It is unnecessary to dwell on the fact that Teignmouth, besides being a
port, is a most flourishing watering-place. The colouring is very rich,
and especially lovely when set off by a brilliant sky and glittering
blue water. Blood-red cliffs lead north and south, and the green of
grass and plants, broken by masses of wild-flowers of all tints, here
scattered thinly, there in clumps, overlaps and creeps down the face of
the rock wherever there is foothold. Between Teignmouth and Dawlish an
'island-rock' of the warmest red runs out into the sea, and through an
arch in it the rippling water may be seen beyond. Looking down at
Teignmouth from the hill on the opposite side, the town seems to run
very flatly into the angle between sea and river. In the estuary, at
low tide, the ships and boats lie in pools among the sand-banks, with
the gulls circling and screaming about them.

It has been said that 'the cliffs of Teignmouth owe their deep-red hue
to the slaughter of the inhabitants by the Danes in 970, when "the very
rocks streamed with blood"'; and the old people confidently assert that
the dwarf-elder (called hereabouts 'Danes-elder') grows only upon the
site of old battle-fields 'where the Danes' blood was spilt!' These
legends are not altogether baseless, for there is no doubt as to the
pitiless brutality which the Danes showed in their various incursions
into Devon between the years 894 and 1013. Drayton's image is bold and

    'When all the country swam with blood of Saxons shed.'

Teignmouth was last troubled by an enemy in 1690, when Admiral de
Tourville, having defeated the united English and Dutch fleets off
Beachy Head, sailed down the Channel and anchored one night in Tor Bay.
The Devonshire militia flew to arms. 'In twenty-four hours all
Devonshire was up. Every road in the county from sea to sea was covered
by multitudes of fighting men, all with their faces set towards Torbay.'
De Tourville, upon this discouraging reception, gave up any ideas he may
have had of disembarking, and merely sent some galleys to Teignmouth,
who first turned their cannon on the town and afterwards landed and
burned it.

The general excitement that this attack created found voice in a ballad
called 'The Devonshire Boys' Courage, 1690.' It is utter doggerel, but
expresses the contemporary views of the people, and was sung to a tune
called 'Liggan Water,' a title that, according to Mr William Chappell,
refers to an Irish stream. I give only a few verses:

     [Illustration: music]

    'Brave _Devonshire_ Boys made haste away
    When news did come from _Tinmouth-bay_,
    The French were landed in that town
    And Treacherously had burnt it down.

    'When to the Town they did draw near,
    The _French_ did straightways disappear;
    Because that they had then beat down
    And basely burnt poor _Tinmouth-town_.

    'On _Haldon-Hill_ they did design
    To draw their men up in a line;
    But _Devonshire_ Boys did make them run;
    When once they did discharge a Gun.

    'Brave Blew coat Boys did watch them so,
    They to no other place dare go;
    For if they had returned again,
    I'm sure the _Frenchmen_ had been slain.

           *       *       *       *       *

    'Let _Monsieur_ then do what he can,
    We'll still Reign Masters o'er the Main;
    Old England's Right upon the Sea
    In spight of _France_ maintain'd shall be.

    'No Seaman fears to lose his Blood,
    To justifie a Cause so good;
    To fight the _French_, who have begun
    With burning down poor _Tinmouth-town_.

    'The _Cornish_ Lads will lend a hand,
    And _Devonshire_ Boys will with them Band,
    To pull the pride of Monsieur down,
    Who basely burn'd poor Tinmouth-town.'



    'Torbay, unknown to the Aonian Quire,
    Nothing oblig'd to any Poet's lyre ...
    The Muses had no Matter from thy Bay,
    To make thee famous till great William's Day....
    To _Orange_ only and _Batavia's_ Seed
    Remain'd this glory, as of old decreed,
    To make thy Name immortal, and thy Shore
    More famous and renown'd than heretofore....
    O happy, happy Bay! All future times
    Shall speak of thee renown'd in foreign Climes!...
    Muses have matter now, enough to make
    Poets of Peasants for Torbaia's sake....
    King _David's_ Deeds were sung, and Triumphs too,
    And why should not Great _Orange_ have his due?
    Supream in Earth, Dread Sovereign thou art;
    Long may'st thou reign, we pray with all our heart.'

    AVANT: _Torbaia digna Camoensis_.

It is impossible for those who have had no better fortune than to see
Torbay only in prints or photographs to gather more than a very
imperfect idea of what its best can be. The cliffs near Paignton are
red, nearer Torquay they are a warm russet, alternating with a rosy grey
where limestone comes to the surface; and some of the rocks beneath,
shining with salt water, are pink, interlined with white veins. In fair
weather the warm tints of these cliffs, chequered by a green
lattice-work of plants and bushes, and the rich, full colours of the
sea, make a picture that is more easily remembered than described.

The great promontories of Hope's Nose and Berry Head stand between three
and four miles apart at the northern and southern points of this
rounded, shallow bay. Torquay itself is a new town, and only developed
into being one in the early part of the last century. At the time that
there was real fear of Napoleon making a descent on this coast,
fortifications were built on Berry Head, and houses were wanted for the
officers in charge. One authority suggests that Torquay was brought into
general notice by serving as a lodging for the families of officers in
the Channel Fleet under Lord St Vincent, who used Torbay as an
anchorage. But in any case its existence is really due to Napoleon.
Certainly the growth was rapid, for Lysons, writing about 1820, speaks
of Torquay as having been till lately a hamlet,--and even its name is

The one important building was the Abbey, founded in 1196 by William,
Lord Briwere, and endowed by him with the whole of the Manor of
Wolborough and part of the Manor of Torre. The probable origin of this
great gift is interesting. The Abbey was founded soon after the return
from Austria of the hostages who had been kept there till the ransom of
King Richard I was paid, and it has been generally supposed that, as the
eldest sons of the greatest noblemen were sent, Lord Briwere's only son
was among the number, and that the Abbey was a thank-offering, the fruit
of a vow made by the father in regard to his son's happy return. Lord
Briwere installed in the Abbey seven monks of the Premonstratensian
Order. Alicia, daughter of Lord Briwere, married Reginald de Mohun, and
as, on the death of her brother, she inherited the Torre property, it is
easily seen how Tor-Mohun came to be the name of the parish. Successive
bequests to the monastery made it the richest house of the Order in
England, though at the time of its dissolution there were only fifteen
monks besides the Abbot. The peace and prosperity of the Abbey were once
broken, Dr Oliver tells us in his 'Monasticon Dioecesis Exoniensis,'
by a painful incident: 'In 1390, notwithstanding the Abbot's
irreproachable life and manners, some malicious person spread a rumour
that he had beheaded one of the Canons of Tor called Simon Hastings.'
The Abbot was 'greatly distressed,' and the Bishop pronounced the
accusation to be a falsehood of the 'blackest dye,' and, besides,
declared that he, the said Canon, was _alive and well_. But that it
should be possible to bring such a charge against an 'irreproachable'
Abbot in this casual way, and that the accusation should for a moment
be listened to, is a view of those days not often opened to one.

After changing hands several times, the Abbey became the property of the
Carys (in 1662), and their descendants still live in it. Many
alterations have been inevitable, but much of the character of the
building still remains. Parts of the walls of the original church are
still standing, and enough of the masonry is left to show the exact
plan. It was longer than any other church that has since been built in
Torquay, and wanted only seven feet to equal the length of Exeter
Cathedral between the west end and the organ-screen. The refectory
stretches towards the west; it has been converted into a chapel, and a
stone cross rises from the roof. The embattled gateway and the whole of
the building near it are of a soft rose colour; beyond stands a tower,
duller in tint, and at right angles the old grange, known since
Elizabethan days as the Spanish Barn. For the _Capitana_, the first ship
of the Armada to be taken, fell to Sir Francis Drake off Torbay, and the
four hundred men captured on her were brought to Tor Abbey and
imprisoned in the grange.

Leaving Torquay, and going some miles to the north, and slightly inland,
one arrives at Haccombe, the smallest parish in England. This year
(1908) the population numbers nine. It is also conspicuous for having as
its Rector the sole 'Arch-priest' in the kingdom, and for its
independence, for though Haccombe Church is subject to the jurisdiction
of the Bishop, it claims to be free from any ruling of the Archdeacon. A
college or arch-presbytery was founded there in 1341, 'which college,'
says Lysons, 'consisted of an arch-priest and five other priests, who
lived together in community.' The Arch-priest, or Rector, as he is
usually called, is the only remaining member of the college.

Haccombe passed by a succession of heiresses from the Haccombes, who
held it in the time of William I, to the Carews, during the fourteenth
century, to which family it still belongs. On the church door hang two
horseshoes, commemorating a victory that George Carew, Earl of Totnes,
wrested from his cousin, Sir Arthur Champernowne. A wager was laid as
to whose horse could swim farthest into the sea, and the horse of 'the
bold Carew' won. The story is told in the following ballad:

    'The feast was over in Haccombe Hall,
    And the wassail-cup had been served to all,
    When the Earl of Totnes rose in his place,
    And the chanters came in to say the grace.

    'But scarce was ended the holy rite,
    When there stepped from the crowd a valiant knight;
    His armour bright and his visage brown,
    And his name Sir Arthur Champernowne.

    '"Good Earl of Totnes, I've brought with me
    My fleetest courser of Barbary;
    And whether good or ill betide,
    A wager with thee I mean to ride."

    '"No Barbary courser do I own;
    But I have," quoth the Earl, "a Devonshire roan;
    And I'll ride for a wager by land or sea,
    The roan 'gainst the courser of Barbary."

    '"'Tis done," said Sir Arthur, "already I've won;
    And I'll stake my manor of Dartington
    'Gainst Haccombe Hall and its rich domain."
    So the Earl of Totnes the wager hath ta'en.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The land is for men of low degree;
    But the knight and the Earl they ride by sea.

    '"To horse! to horse!" resounds through the hall
    Each warrior steed is led from its stall;
    And with gallant train over Milburn Down
    Ride the bold Carew and the Champernowne.

    'But when they came to the Abbey of Tor,
    The Abbot came forth from the western door,
    And much he prayed them to stay and dine,
    But the Earl took naught save a goblet of wine.

    'Sir Arthur he raised the bowl on high,
    And prayed to the Giver of victory;
    Then drank success to himself in the course,
    And the sops of the wine he gave to his horse.

    'Away they rode from the Abbey of Tor,
    Till they reached the inlet's curving shore;
    The Earl plunged first in the foaming wave,
    And was followed straight by Sir Arthur the brave.

    'The wind blew hard and the waves beat high,
    And the horses strove for the mastery;
    Till Sir Arthur cried, "Help, thou bold Carew!
    Help, if thou art a Christian true!

    '"Oh, save for the sake of that lady of mine!
    Good Earl of Totnes, the manor is thine;
    The Barbary courser must yield to the roan,
    And thou art the Lord of Dartington."

    'The Earl his steed began to restrain,
    And he seized Sir Arthur's horse by the rein;
    He cheered him with words, and gave him his hand,
    And he brought Sir Arthur safe to land.

    'Then Sir Arthur, with sickness and grief oppressed,
    Lay down in the Abbey chambers to rest;
    But the Earl he rode from the Abbey of Tor
    Straight forward to Haccombe Chapel door.

    'And there he fell on his knees and prayed,
    And many an Ave Maria he said;
    Bread and money he gave to the poor,
    And he nailed the roan's shoes to the chapel door.'

How far this account is accurate it is difficult to say, but the
Champernownes are still at Dartington.

Some miles south, and a little to the west, about midway between
Haccombe and Torquay, lies Kingskerswell, a village not very much heard
of nowadays, but once the property of a very distinguished soldier and
statesman. 'The Lord Nicolas de Mules (or Meoles, or Molis), a
counsellor of estate, had this manor in the time of Henry III, to whom
the King granted other lands to hold by knightly service.... He was
Sheriff of Hampshire and Governor of Winchester Castle, and held the
islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Serke, and Aureney committed to his trust.
In 23 Henry III he was Sheriff of Yorkshire, and afterwards sent
Ambassador to denounce war against France, and, being an expert
soldier, was upon the King's return to England appointed Seneschal of
Gascoigne, being held in such esteem by Henry III that he admitted
James, his son and heir, to have education with Prince Edward at the
King's charge. Continuing still in Gascoigne, he obtained a signal
victory over the King of Navarre.' Risdon adds the information that Sir
Nicolas took the King 'prisoner in the field.' On his return he took
part in the 'War against the Welsh,' and must have acquitted himself
brilliantly, since hereafter honours were showered upon him. He was made
Governor of the Castles of Carmarthen and Cardigan, then 'Constable of
Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque-ports, and the same year Sheriff
of Kent, also Governor of the Castles of Canterbury and Rochester; and
of Sherborne and Corfe Castle,' in the county of Dorset. It is almost
bewildering to follow his rapid plunges from one sphere of action to
another, and it certainly emphasizes the fact that the strenuous life is
no novelty. It contradicts, too, a view rather generally held, that the
spirit of restless daring and love of adventure that have distinguished
innumerable men of Devon belonged solely to Elizabethan days--a view
that has, no doubt, sprung up because the great lights that shone in
that glorious reign have eclipsed all lesser ones.

But the poppy of oblivion has fallen on the name of Sir Nicolas, and he
is no conspicuous figure in the most local histories; even Prince does
not count him among his 'Worthies.'

From Kingskerswell one passes through a fertile and pleasant country,
which suggests to the passer-by that the time and labour needed in
weeding and chopping down must be almost greater than that spent in
sowing and growing plants. The number of orchards here has perhaps given
rise to a proverb, said to be peculiar to South Devon, but calling to
mind Tusser's treatise on Husbandry:

    'If good apples you would have,
    The leaves must go into the grave.'

This explanation of the rhyme has been suggested: 'Rather, perhaps, be
in the grave--_i.e._, You must plant your leaves in the fall of the

A road leading south, then to the east, reaches Paignton, which stands
almost midway between north and south in the bay. The old town was at a
little distance from the sea, but latterly new houses have been built in
all directions, and have brought it close to the water's edge. Paignton
has a fine church, chiefly Perpendicular, but parts are of earlier work,
and there is a most beautiful carved screen.

The adventures of a native of Paignton--a certain Will Adams, born about
1612, 'of mean and obscure parentage'--are not to be forgotten. He was,
says Mr Norway, 'one of those "Turkish captives" of whom so many were
languishing in Algiers two centuries ago, and who, there is little
doubt, were specially in the minds of the authors of the petition in our
Litany, "For all poor prisoners and captives" ... and it may very well
be that Adams' name was coupled with this prayer on many a Sunday in
Paignton Church, for the agony of his captivity lasted full five years.'
At the end of that time he and his companions, despairing of rescue, set
to work on what would indeed have seemed to most people a hopeless
venture. They began to make a boat with a keel twelve feet long, but
'because it was impossible to convey a piece that length out of the
city, but it must be seen and suspected, they cut it in two and fitted
it for joyning, just in the middle.' Then 'because boards would require
much hammering and that noise would be like to betray them, they bought
as much canvas as would cover their boat twice over.' With as much
'pitch, tar, and tallow, as would serve to make a kind of tarpauling
cloth, two pipe staves saw'd across ... for oars, a little bread and two
leather bottles full of fresh water, and as much canvas as would serve
for a sail,' their preparations before 'launching out into the deep'
were complete. But even their courage was not the most splendid in the
affair. When the prisoners had actually started, they found that the
boat was overloaded, so 'two were content to stay on shore.' They were
'content' to return to toil and slavery indefinitely, and to face the
bitter wrath and vengeance of their captors, enraged by the loss of so
many prisoners.

Those who escaped had much to endure. Their boat leaked, and the salt
water spoiled their bread. 'Pale famine stared them in the face' writes
Prince, and they suffered even greater tortures from thirst and heat.
'On the fifth day, as they lay hulling up and down, God sent them some
relief, viz., a tortois,' which they came upon asleep in the sea and
caught. With strength almost gone, they reached Majorca, where, luckily,
the Viceroy was kindly disposed towards them, and they started home in
one of 'the King of Spain's gallies.'

Adams died at a good old age in his native place.

The fine cliff called Berry Head runs far out into the sea at the
southern edge of Tor Bay, and standing back, within the bay, is the
small and pretty town of Brixham--celebrated for its trawlers, and for
being the landing-place of William III. The red and brown sails of
'Brixham trawlers' scattered over the blue-grey waters of the bay seem
very familiar, and it is a question for consideration how many
exhibitions at the Royal Academy have _not_ included a picture bearing
that title. The fishery is an old one, and in the reign of Henry VIII
the Vicar could claim personal tithes in fish equal in value to £340 of
our money.

Fishermen and others gave a very cordial welcome to the Prince of Orange
when he arrived on November 5, 1688. But by no one can he have been more
vehemently applauded than by the author of the lines I have quoted at
the head of the present chapter--the Rev Philip Avant, Vicar of
Salcombe. The poem, originally written in Latin, and translated by the
author, takes up almost the whole of his small and rather rare volume,
_Torbaia digna Camoensis_. It is in parts unintentionally amusing, and
is interesting as showing how far the frenzied fervour of bigotry may
carry a naturally amiable person, for in the narrow intervals between
his torrents of denunciation it is clear that Mr Avant was, in ordinary
matters, a kindly-disposed man.

A pamphlet graphically describing the 'Expedition from Torbay to
Whitehall' was written by another clergyman, John Whittle by name, a
'Minister Chaplain in the Army,' and from this pamphlet long extracts
are given in a paper on this subject by the late Mr Windeatt. Some of
these quotations I am now venturing to repeat: 'The morning was very
obscure with the Fog and Mist, and withal it was so calm that the
Vessels now as 'twere touch'd each other, every ship coming as near unto
the ship wherein the Prince of Orange was, as the Schipper thereof would
permit them.... His Highness the Prince of Orange gave orders that his
Standard should be put up, and accordingly it was done, the White Flag
being put uppermost, signifying his most gracious offer of Peace unto
all such as would live peaceably. And under that, the Red or Bloody Flag
was set up, signifying War unto all such as did oppose his designs. The
Sun, recovering strength, soon dissipated the Fog, and dispers'd the
Mist, insomuch that it prov'd a very pleasant Day. By this time the
people of Devonshire thereabout had discovered the Fleet, the one
telling the other thereof; they came flocking in droves to the side or
brow of the Hills to view us. Some guess'd we were French because they
saw divers White Flags; but the standard of the Prince, the Motto of
which was, For the Protestant Religion and Liberty, soon undeceived
them.... Bells were ringing as we were sailing towards the Bay, and as
we landed, which many judged to be a good omen.' A little later, when
they had landed, people 'came running out at their doors to see this
happy sight. So the Prince with Marschal Schomberg, and divers Lords,
Knights and Gentlemen, marched up the Hill, which all the Fleet could
see over the Houses, the Colours flying and flourishing before his
Highness, the Trumpets sounding, the Haut-boys played, the Drums beat,
and the Lords, Knights and Gentlemen shouted; and sundry Huzzas did now
echo in the Fleet, from off the Hill, insomuch that our very hearts
below in the water were even ravish'd for going thereof.'

There is an absurd story, here quoted with mild ridicule, that on the
Prince's landing he was received by the inhabitants of Brixham with this

    'And please your Majesty King William,
    You're welcome to Brixham Quay,
    To eat buck-horn and drink bohea,
           Along with me,
    And please your Majesty King William.'

The 'And please' must be a corruption of 'An it please,' which does make
sense, but the rhyme cannot have been invented until later, for it
certainly was not within the power of a fisherman to offer 'bohea,' or
any other kind of tea, in those days. 'Buck-horn' is rather puzzling,
for it gives no clue as to what it might be. Anybody who has heard of
edible buck-horn (or buck's-horn) at all, would probably think of an
obscure and humble salad herb, now practically forgotten, and at no time
a dainty to be pressed on 'King William's' notice in this manner. The
English Dialect Dictionary comes to the rescue by explaining that in
Cornwall, Devon, and Cumberland, 'buck-horn' is a name for 'salted and
dried whiting.' 'Bok horñ' also appears in the Receiver's accounts at
Exeter (about 1488), when the citizens, having a quarrel with the
Bishop, tactfully sent successive presents of fish to the Lord
Chancellor while the case lay before him. Buck-horn is still sold in

The soldiers' first experiences in England were not agreeable, as 'they
were marching into Camp all hours in the Night'; and some having been
unlucky enough to get astray from their companies, 'it was no easy
matter to find them in the dark amongst so many thousands. It was a
cold, frosty night, and the stars twinkl'd exceedingly; besides the
Ground was very wet after so much Rain and ill Weather; the Souldiers
were to stand to their arms the whole Night, at least to be in readiness
if anything should happen, or the enemy make an Assault, and therefore
sundry Souldiers were to fetch some old Hedges and cut down green Wood
to burn these with, to make some Fire.'

Mr Windeatt, writing in 1880, gives an astonishing instance of how few
links a chain may sometimes need in order to stretch from century to
century. He says a gentleman gave him the following account: 'There are
few now left who can say, as I can, that they have heard their father
and their wife's father talking together of the men who saw the landing
of William III at Torbay. I have heard Captain Clements say he as a boy
heard as many as seven or eight old men each giving the particulars of
what he saw then. One saw a shipload of horses hauled up to the quay,
and the horses walked out all harnessed, and the quickness with which
each man knew his horse and mounted it surprised them. Another old man
said: "I helped to get on shore the horses that were thrown overboard,
and swam on shore guided by only a single rope running from the ship to
the shore"; and another would describe the rigging and build of the
ships, but all appeared to welcome them as friends.

'My father remembered only one--"Gaffer Will Webber," of Staverton, who
served his apprenticeship with one of his ancestors, and who lived to a
great age--say that he went from Staverton as a boy with his father, who
took a cartload of apples from Staverton to the highroad from Brixham to
Exeter, that the soldiers might help themselves to them, and to wish
them "Godspeed."'

The gentlemen of the county were more tardy in their welcome, and
perhaps this is not very surprising, when one considers that they can
scarcely have recovered from the terrible vengeance that seared all who
had followed Monmouth only three years before.

Sir Edward Seymour, formerly Speaker of the House of Commons, was one of
the first and, says Macaulay, the most important of the great landowners
who joined the Prince at Exeter. He was 'in birth, in political
influence, and in parliamentary abilities ... beyond comparison the
foremost among the Tory gentlemen of England.'

Sir Edward evidently rode in great state, for the Duke of Somerset, his
descendant, still has a very imposing red velvet saddle, elaborately
embroidered with heraldic and other designs in silver, that 'Mr Speaker
Seymour' used on this occasion.

The march was continued in the most miserable discomfort. Six hundred
horses had died either at sea or from the effects of the storm, and the
men, still suffering from a 'dissiness in the Heads after they had been
so long toss'd at Sea,' had extra burdens to carry. The weather was wet
and stormy, the roads were 'extreme rough and stony,' and when they
encamped and lay down for the night, 'their Heads, Backs and Arms sank
deep into the Clay.' Further, their rations were so spare that when
they came on an inclosure with turnips they felt they had found a feast.
'Some roasted them and others eat them raw, and made a brave Banquet.'
However, matters improved the next day as they drew nearer to Newton
Abbot. People came in crowds to see them. 'Now they began to give us
applause and pray for our Success.' Hitherto they had but wavered as
they said, 'the Irish would come and cut them in pieces if it should be
known.' On approaching Newton, 'a certain Divine went before the Army,
and finding 'twas their Market day, he went unto the Cross, or Town
hall,' and read the Declaration of the Prince of Orange. 'To which the
people with one Heart and Voice answered Amen: Amen, and forthwith
shouted for Joy, and made the Town ring with their echoing Huzzas.'

Such was the auspicious reception of the 'Deliverer of the Nation from
Popery, Slavery, Brass Money and Wooden Shoes.'

A very different note, jarring against this triumphal strain, is struck
by a Jacobite ballad on the same event, too long to quote entirely here.
It bears the conciliatory title of


    God prosper long our noble King,
      Our hopes and wishes all:
    A fatal landing late there did
      In Devonshire befall.

    To drive our Monarch from his throne
      Prince Naso took his way.
    The babe may rue that's newly-born
      The landing at Torbay.

    The stubborn Tarquin, void of grace,
      A vow to Hell does make,
    To force his father abdicate
      And then his crown to take.

               *       *       *       *       *

    Then declarations flew about,
      As thick as any hail,
    Who, tho' no word was e'er made good,
      Did mightily prevail.

    We must be Papists or be slaves,
      Was then the gen'ral cry,
    But we'll do anything to save
      Our darling liberty.

    We'll all join with a foreign prince,
      Against our lawful king;
    For he from all our fancy'd fears
      Deliverance doth bring.

               *       *       *       *       *

    Then our allegiance let's cast off,
      James shall no longer guide us;
    And tho' the French would bridle us,
      None but the Dutch shall ride us.


The Dart

    'I cannot tell what you say, green leaves,
      I cannot tell what you say;
    But I know that there is a spirit in you,
      And a word in you this day.

    'I cannot tell what you say, rosy rocks,
      I cannot tell what you say;
    But I know that there is a spirit in you,
      And a word in you this day.

    'I cannot tell what you say, brown streams,
      I cannot tell what you say;
    But I know that in you too a spirit doth live,
      And a word doth speak this day.

    'Oh! green is the colour of faith and truth,
      And rose the colour of love and youth,
      And brown of the fruitful clay.
    Sweet Earth is faithful, and fruitful and young,
      And her bridal day shall come ere long,
    And you shall know what the rocks and the streams
      And the whispering woodlands say.'

    KINGSLEY: _Dartside_.

Of all the rivers of Devonshire, the Dart claims the first place, both
for beauty and for interesting associations; and between the lonely
wastes about its source on Dartmoor, and the calm, broad reaches above
Dartmouth, the scenery is not only always beautiful, but adds the great
charm of being beautiful in quite different ways.

Drayton recognises the claim, for in the _Poly-olbion_, speaking of the
'mother of rivers,' Dartmoor, he says:

    'From all the other floods that only takes her name
    And as her eld'st in right the heir of all her fame.'

And a few lines later he makes Dart declaim:

                ' ... There's not the proudest flood
    That falls betwixt the Mount and Exmore shall make good
    Her royalty with mine, with me nor can compare;
    I challenge anyone to answer me that dare.'

The East Dart rises about a mile south of Cranmere Pool, and at first
makes its way through bare bogs, with great black holes gaping open here
and there in the peat, tussocks of coarse grass and dry, rustling bents,
isolated tufts of heather, and now and again wide spaces of waving
cotton-grass. All around is 'an everlasting wash of air' and a sense of
spaciousness, which it is to be hoped no cynically named 'improvements'
may ever diminish. Westcote comments on the name. 'Of some it is
supposed that the river takes name of the swiftness of the current; the
like is thought of the river Arrow in Warwickshire, and of the Tygris in
Mesopotamia, which among the Persians doth import a shaft.'

There is a saying that 'the river "cries" when there is to be a change
of wind. "Us shall have bad weather, maister; I hear the Broadstones
a-crying." The Broadstones are boulders of granite lying in the bed of
the river. The cry, however, hardly comes from them, but from a piping
of the wind, in the twists of the glen through which the turbulent river

Many tales on the Moor speak of the amazing swiftness with which a
freshet will suddenly swell and sweep down, an overwhelming flood. Only
a few years ago a farmer was crossing a very safe ford when he saw the
freshet coming, and tried to hurry his horse, but before he could reach
the bank the torrent caught his cart and overturned it, and he and his
horse were drowned.

    'River of Dart, O river of Dart,
    Every year thou claimest a heart.'

The ominous couplet springs from no misty legend, but from melancholy

The East Dart runs throughout its course in a south-easterly direction,
and at Post Bridge just below the road from Moreton Hampstead to
Tavistock it is crossed by an old bridge, one of the many rugged
witnesses to unwritten history scattered all over Dartmoor. It is a
massive structure, built of rough granite blocks; the 'table-stones'
that rest on the piers are each about fifteen feet long.

The West Dart rises farther south than the East Dart, and runs almost
due south as far as Two Bridges, and then, in many curves to the
east--sometimes almost hidden in the depths of the hollow that has been
worn between the high bare sides of the valley--till about five miles
from Two Bridges it reaches Dartmeet. From the top of a tor close to the
point where the two streams meet the effect is rather curious, for sunk
deep between the wide barren stretches of moor and desolate tors, broad
green ribbons of trees and undergrowth, broken by tufts and uneven
edges, mark the course of the rivers till they wind away out of sight.
Their darker green makes them stand out against the sides of the
valleys, and they are the only trees in sight. In summer the river is
often very low, and then masses of great boulders in the river-bed are
seen, and some of the biggest are crowned with ferns, high tufts of
grass, or little bushes, with the clearest water streams between them.
The bridge is over the East Dart, above the meeting of the waters, and
from just below it is possible to get a charming view of the arches
thrown up against a sunlit mass of shimmering leaves.

From here the Dart runs south almost to Holne, the birthplace of that
true lover of Devon, Charles Kingsley. At this point it makes a great
loop to the north, flowing among lovely scenery along a steep and narrow
valley, where great rocks break through the woods; then curving round in
Holne Chase, it turns south again to Holne Bridge, which is crossed by
the Ashburton road. The town is about three miles to the east.

Ashburton is one of the old stannary towns, and besides mining, it was
known for its trade in woollen goods, especially serges. In fact, 'the
seal of the Port-reeve bears a church between a teasel and a saltire,
with the sun and moon above.' The teasel was used to raise the nap in
making cloth, and was a symbol of that industry, as the sun and moon
were symbols of mining. In 1697 the manufacturers felt foreign
competition so keenly that the Port-reeve, traders, and inhabitants of
Ashburton signed a petition to Parliament, begging that an Act might be
passed to discourage the importation of Irish and other foreign woollen

This borough sent members to Parliament from the reign of Edward I, but
in time its representation ceased. The privilege was given back to the
borough after the Restoration, through the intervention of Sir John
Northcote, and was held until Ashburton was disfranchised in 1868.

A few miles farther down the river is Buckfastleigh, a small but very
flourishing town, and one of the very few that still produce the serges
and woollen goods for which the county was once famous, in the sixteenth
century especially, for then, as Green tells us, 'the broadcloths of the
West claimed the palm among the woollen stuffs of England.' The church
stands apart on a height overlooking the town, and the tapering spire
adds to the effect given by its commanding position. By far the most
interesting building here is Buckfast Abbey, founded in the reign of
Henry II, on the site of a Benedictine abbey of Saxon days. The place
must have been very remote and inaccessible when the Benedictines first
settled there, and the Saxon name given in Bishop Ælfwold's charter in
1016 was 'Buckfæsten, _i.e._, Deer-fastness,' which would seem to argue
that the Abbey was surrounded by thick woods, and was particularly
lonely, even for those times. Sable, a crozier in pale, argent, the
crook or, surmounted by a buck's head, caboshed of the second, horned
gules, were the ancient arms of the Abbey, as they are still, though now
impaled with the Clifford arms, by permission of Lord Clifford.

The second colony of monks here were Cistercians, and the monastery
became very prosperous and the richest house of that order in the
county. King John deposited some of his jewels, gold and silver in their
keeping, and in 1297 Edward I visited the Abbey. The Cistercians were
great wool-traders, and did much for both trade and agriculture in the
districts near them. It has been supposed that the sunken track called
the Abbot's Way was used in carrying the wool from the moorland farms
belonging to the monastery towards Plymouth and Tavistock. In the
thirteenth century the monks showed their interest in trading by
joining the 'Gild Merchant' of Totnes. A memorandum on the back of one
of the 'membership rolls' in 1236 records an agreement between the
burgesses of Totnes and the abbot and convent of Buckfast; that the
monks might be able 'to make all their purchases in like manner with the
burgesses, the abbot and monks agree to pay twenty-two pence on the
Saturday before Christmas day.'[4]

[Footnote 4: Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1873.]

The buildings at the time of the Dissolution were very large, and there
was a fine church, but of these only a Perpendicular tower adjoining the
cloisters, and a large tithe-barn, are in a state of good preservation
at the present day. A modern house was built on the western side of the
vanished cloisters, but in 1882 the Abbey was bought for a colony of
Benedictine monks from Pierrequivire in Burgundy, who have partly
rebuilt the monastery on its ancient lines, and are restoring the Abbey

A few miles away to the south-west is Dean Prior, and the living that
Herrick held when he poured out his grumbles and complaints about 'dull
Devonshire.' Herrick was a true Cockney, and the earliest part of his
life was spent in a house in Cheapside. When he grew up, he had the good
luck to come into the brilliant and witty company that gathered round
Ben Jonson, so it must be allowed that he had an excuse for sometimes
thinking that life in an obscure hamlet, two hundred miles from London,
was a dreary exile. But, as Mr R. J. King remarks, in spite of all his
grievances, he had in him a sense that responded very readily to the
pretty customs and observances of the village, that marked, here with a
handful of flowers, there with a sheaf of wheat or a branch of holly,
the different festivals of the year.

Herrick's poem 'Christmas Eve' refers to a local custom that appealed to

    'Come, guard this night the Christmas-pie,
      That the thief, though ne'er so sly,
    With his flesh-hooks, don't come nigh,
                              To catch it

    From him, who all alone sits there,
    Having his eyes still in his ear,
    And a deal of mighty fear,
                          To watch it.'

Mr King makes this interesting note on it: 'This custom, so far as I
know, is unnoticed by anyone but Herrick.

'A solitary watcher,

    '"Having his eyes still in his ear,
    And a deal of mighty fear,"

guarded the pie through the night before Christmas.

'The pie represented the manger of Bethlehem, and its contents the wise
men's offerings. The Devonshire "Christmas play" has had a curious fate.
Except, perhaps, in some of the moorland parishes, it has disappeared at
home. But the Newfoundland fisheries were long carried on for the most
part by sailors from the neighbourhood of Dartmouth and Tor Bay, and Mr
Jukes tells us that the streets of St John's at Christmas-time continue
to exhibit St George, the Turkish Knight, and all their companions, in
full vigour.'

The charm of Herrick's verses on country joys is deepened--to the
folk-lorist in particular--by remembering that the rustic ceremonies he
commemorates were probably the usual customs observed at Dean Prior in
his time. On a hot August evening he may have watched the happy and
excited children who are described in the poem 'The Hock-Cart, or

    'About the cart, hear how the rout
    Of rurall youngling raise the shout.
    Pressing before, some coming after,
    These with a shout, and those with laughter.
    Some blesse the carte, some kisse the sheaves,
    Some prank them up with oaken leaves;
    Some cross the fill-horse, some with great
    Devotion stroake the home-borne wheat.'

And many lines point to his acquaintance with all kinds of village
festivals, as, for instance, those which he addresses to 'Master
Endymion Porter.'

    'Thy wakes, thy quintels, here them hast,
    Thy May-poles too, with garlands grac't,
    Thy morris-dance, thy Whitsun-ale,
    Thy sheering feast, which never faile,
    Thy harvest home, thy wassaile bowle,
    That's tost up after Foxi'th'hole,
    Thy mummeries, thy twelfth-tide kings,
    And quenes, thy Christmas revellings,
    Thy nut-browne mirth, thy russet wit,
    And no man pays too deare for it.'

('Foxi'th'hole' is a hopping game, in which boys beat each other with

Herrick was fortunate in having a kind and hospitable neighbour. Sir
Edward Giles was famed for his uprightness and generous disposition, and
was looked up to by all the neighbourhood. He succeeded to 'a large park
and very handsome house,' whose existence was partly due to the problem
of the unemployed that was perplexing the benevolent more than three
hundred years ago; for John Giles, 'to the honour of his memory ...
began building of the house, and setting up the walls about his park, in
the time of a very great dearth; whereby hundreds of poor men ... were
daily fed at his table, who else together with their families in
probability would have perished for want.' Sir Edward succeeded
immediately to his father, who was 'a good old gentleman,' with a taste
for small jokes that must have been sometimes a little tedious. The son
had too 'active and vigorous a spirit' to rest 'within the compass of an
island, wherefore ... he travelled beyond the seas,' and in the Low
Countries 'trayl'd a pike in her Majesty's service, Queen Elizabeth of
glorious memory.' Having carved for himself a high reputation, he came
to the court of King James, to find that his fame had preceded him, and
he received the honour of knighthood at the time of the King's
coronation. This gave the old knight a chance for a little jest, which
his son must have found rather exasperating. When he came home, his
father received him with all ceremony, though 'more jocularly than
seriously ... saluted him with his title of Sir Edward Giles at every
word, and by all means would place him above him, as one dignified with
the more honourable degree; until at length inquiring of him: "Sir
Edward, pray tell me," said the old gentleman, "who must discharge the
fees and charges of your knighthood and honour?" Being answered, "That
he hoped he would be pleased to do that," "Nay, then," says the old
gentleman, "come down, Sir Edward Giles, and sit beneath me again, if I
am he that must pay for thy honour."' One can imagine his beaming
satisfaction over it all!

Among Sir Edward's friends was the 'eminent and pious and learned
Divine,' Dr Barnabas Potter, whom he presented with the living of Dean
Prior. Herrick and his predecessor were indeed a contrast to one
another, for Dr Potter was 'melancholy, lean, and a hard student.' He
was afterwards transplanted from his peaceful solitude to Court, where
he was appointed Chaplain in Ordinary to Prince Charles, and was known
as the Penitential Preacher. Afterwards, when preferred to the bishopric
of Carlisle, 'he was commonly called the Puritanical Bishop, and they
said of him in the time of king James, that Organs would blow him out of
the church, which I do not believe, the rather because he lov'd Vocal
Music, and could bear his own part therein.' Altogether, he and the
future Merry Monarch must have been very congenial companions.

Going farther south, and still keeping to the west of the river, the
traveller comes to Rattery, close to which is Venton House, once owned
by the Gibbses. In the reign of Edward III John Gibbs was chosen to
undertake important work, for he was called to serve on several
Commissions appointed to carry out the King's business in the county.
The most interesting of these Commissions seems to have been the one
appointed in 1462, for the purpose of collecting ships for the King's
fleet from those ports--the Commissioners to be responsible for
furnishing them completely, from 'Masters and Mariners' to 'bows and
bowstrings, wheat, beans, and ale.'

The members of the family whose doings were the most amusing, though not
the most to be admired, were William Gibbs and his son Thomas, who were
proceeded against in the Star Chamber by the Chaplain and Curate of
Rattre (Rattery) Church. Some manuscript notes very kindly sent to me
by Mr Herbert Gibbs give a good instance of the light-hearted manner in
which it was possible to break and make the peace in a country district
about the year 1517. The Church of Rattery claimed that William Gibbs
owed £21 2s. 8d., and he claimed that the church owed him sixty-three
shillings, and, putting into practice the adage that Possession is nine
points of the law, he boldly took out of the church 'a yron boxe locked
with two lockes,' and helped himself to the money. The complainants
brought their case to be tried before the Bishop of Exeter and several
justices, but Andrew Hillersdon, son-in-law to William Gibbs, was among
them, with the result that the only penalty imposed was to find surety
for his good 'aberying' (bearing) of 100 marks. Although this was a very
mild verdict, it infuriated the culprit, whose next step was to shear
the Church lambs, and carry off '11 youes with their lambs'; and on the
Thursday night before the Feast of St. Matthew he, with his son Thomas
and many others, did 'then and there ryottusly assemble theym togeders
to kyll your said orators, leyin awayte,' and the said 'Thomas Gybbys
with a swarde and a bokeler made a sawte' upon John Hals, ' ... so as
the said John Hals was in danger of his lyf and toke the church and
church yerde for his savegard and kept the same by the space of two
hours.' His enforced vigil had the added bitterness that, according to
the complainants, he had had no previous quarrel of any kind with his
assailant. But this demonstration was not enough to satisfy the Gibbses,
and the next Sunday they came again to Rattery 'in manner of a new
insurrection with twenty-three persons and above,' and with such a
fierce aspect that they caused 'great feer and dreed' to their
neighbours, who in alarm of worse to come warned 'your said orators ...
to kepe them absent from their said church and from their divine
service, and so they dyd.' The complainants now evidently felt that the
time for definite action on their part had come, and the case was
eventually carried before the 'Lord Cardinall, Chancellor of England,'
but the account of the proceedings does not give his verdict.

Returning to the river, Dartington Hall, the beautiful home of the
Champernownes, is soon reached. Dartington was originally the gift of
the Conqueror to William de Falaise, and passed through the hands of the
Lords Audley and of John Holland, Duke of Exeter, half-brother of
Richard II, before Sir Arthur Champernowne exchanged for it the lordship
of Polslo, and settled here in the reign of Elizabeth. And now, says
Westcote, 'it glories in the knightly tribe of Champernowne.' Originally
Dartington consisted of two large quadrangles, but one has long been in
ruins. The most striking feature is the hall, which is seventy feet long
and forty feet wide, and has pointed windows, a huge old fireplace, and
a porch with a groined ceiling. This dates from the fourteenth century,
and part of the quadrangle, together with the gateway at the south end,
is early fourteenth-century work.

The Champernownes are a very ancient and distinguished family, though
Prince complains that their 'actions and exploits for the greatest part
is devoured by time.' Sir Arthur Champernowne was 'a good soldier and an
eminent commander in the Irish wars' of the sixteenth century, and was
conspicuous for his zeal and valour. Prince gives an odd little bit of
gossip about an heiress of this family. He says she was 'a frolic lady,'
and no unusual epithet could be more descriptive; for the lady 'married
William Polglas, within three days after her father's death; and within
two days after her husband Polglas's death, she was married again unto
John Cergeaux!'

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth Mr Henry Champernowne headed one hundred
gentleman volunteers, who, with the Queen's permission, went to help the
cause of the 'Protestant Princes' in France; and it is interesting to
learn that Sir Walter Raleigh, then seventeen years old, was one of this

The Champernownes of Dartington were, however, only a younger branch of
the family. The elder branch lived 'in great splendour' at Modbury. A
story is told about them of which, perhaps, the most accurate version
may be found in Britton and Brayley's 'Beauties of England and Wales':
'Tradition speaks very highly ... of the magnificent manner in which the
Champernownes lived, and particularly of their keeping a very fine band
of singers and musicians, which band, if report may be credited, was
the occasion of the family's ruin, "for that Mr Champernowne taking it
on the Thames in the time of Queen Elizabeth, her Majesty was so
delighted with the music, that she requested the loan of it for a month;
to which Mr Champernowne, aware of the improbability of its ever
returning, would not consent, saying that he 'hoped her Majesty would
allow him to keep his fancy.' The Queen was so highly exasperated at
this refusal, that she found some pretence to sue him at law, and ruin
him, by obliging him, in the course of the proceedings, to sell no fewer
than nineteen manors." This anecdote, at least the circumstance of the
sale of the nineteen manors about the above period, is in a great degree
confirmed by the title-deeds of some lands in and about Modbury.'

A very short distance to the south lies the ancient and very picturesque
town of Totnes, in which, from the round Norman keep at its crown, to
the river winding round the foot of the hill, witnesses to the past are
jostling against tokens of the present time.

When Leland journeyed through it, the town already gave the idea of
having passed its meridian, and his words are clear and concise: 'The
Castelle of _Totnes_ standith on the hille North West of the Towne. The
Castell waulis and the stronge Dungeon be maintained. The Loggingis of
the Castelle be clene in Ruine.'

The early chroniclers go back gloriously into the dim mists of antiquity
for the origin of Totnes, and when no carping critics insisted on
analyzing popular history and distilling all the romance out of it, the
story of the town was very fine indeed. The founder of Totnes, then, was
Brutus of Troy, who after long wanderings arrived in this charming bit
of country, and on this hill made the great announcement:

    'Here I stand, and here I rest,
    And this place shall be called Totnes.'

Moreover, the stone that he stepped ashore upon is still here, and the
Mayor stands on it whenever it is his duty to proclaim a new Sovereign.

The claims of Totnes have been set forth with no undue modesty. 'It hath
flourished, and felt also the storms of affliction, under Britons,
Romans, Saxons, and Normans. To speak somewhat of the antiquity thereof,
I hope I shall take no great pains to prove it (and that without
opposition) the prime town of Great Britain.' Its history is taken in
grand strides. Having explained that the coming of Brutus was held by
some to be contemporary with the rule of Eli as high-priest in Israel,
the writer continues: 'The first conqueror Brutus gave this town and the
two provinces, Devon and Cornwall, then but one, to his cousin and great
assistant, Corinoeus, as is well known; whereof the western part is
(as they say) called Cornwall; who peopled it with his own regiment; and
being an excellent wrestler, as you have heard, trained his following in
the same exercises; whereof it comes that the western men in that sport
win the mastery and game wheresoever they come.... The second conqueror,
William of Normandy, bestowed this town, together with Dartmouth and
Barnstaple, on a worthy man named Judæel.'

The space of time between the first and second 'conquerors' does not
seem to strike the historian as a rather wide gap, and the doings of the
one and the other are related with almost equal confidence and with the
same air of authority.

Judhael de Totnes is supposed to have built the castle, and although
only the walls of the round keep now remain, the trouble of the long
climb up to it is well repaid by the lovely view that is gained from the
ruin. Fertility and abundance seem to be the characteristics of the
land, and the ridiculous suggestion that the town's name has been
corrupted from _Toute-à-l'aise_ is one shade less absurd, because that
title would be so very appropriate. Here and there a silver gleam shows
where the river runs between heavily wooded banks. To the east a green
and smiling country of gentle hills and valleys leads to that shade of
past splendour, the Castle of Berry Pomeroy; and far away to the
north-west, it is possible to see the high, sharp tors on Dartmoor.
Looking straight down, the uneven roofs seem tumbled over one another in
a way that suggests that different ages have casually showered them into
the little town.

Totnes received its first charter from King John, and there are few
older boroughs in the country. Originally a walled town, Fore Street is
still crossed by the East Gate, which has been rebuilt in comparatively
modern times. Within is a room decorated by an early Renaissance frieze
and 'linen-pattern' panelling. The upper stories of some of the old
houses project over the lower ones, and in the High Street they jut
quite across the pavements, and rest upon columns, making piazzas or
covered ways along the street. Such piazzas are very uncommon in
England, but there is a short one, called the Butter Walk, at Dartmouth.

The church is a very fine Perpendicular building, of a warm rose colour,
and it has a high battlemented tower from which three figures look out
of their niches. Some very grotesque gargoyles peer down from the roof
at intervals. The great treasure of the church is its screen, carved so
finely that the pattern seems like lacework, and it is difficult to
realize that it can be of stone. The main lines of the carving curve and
spread upwards almost like the lines of palm-leaves, and the screen is
coloured and gilded. There is another beautiful and delicate, though
less elaborate, bit of carving which divides a little chapel from the
south side of the chancel. Under the tower arch is a curious monument to
Christopher Blackhall, who died in 1635, and his four wives, who are
kneeling one behind the other. The dates of their deaths are very
clearly marked by the different fashions of their dresses--a compact and
upstanding ruff adds to the stiff precision of the first wife's
appearance; while the sloping lines of a 'Vandyke' collar embellish the
dress of the fourth.

On the north side of the church stands the old Guildhall, and in front
of it another tiny piazza, bordered by granite pillars. Inside
'linen-pattern' panelling lines the walls; there are carved seats all
round the upper end, and in the council-chamber beyond are some
fragments of fine moulding.

Before leaving the town, a curious custom practised in the eighteenth
century must be mentioned--that of taking dogs to help in catching
salmon. Defoe came here in his travels in the West, and saw the fish
being caught. The fish, he says, in the flowing tide swim into a 'cut,
or channel,' which has a 'grating of wood, the cross-bars of which ...
stand pointing inward towards one another.... We were carried thither at
low water, where we saw about fifty or sixty small salmon, about
seventeen to twenty inches long, which the country people call
salmon-peel,' caught by putting in a net at the end of a pole. 'The net
being fixed at one end of the place, they put in a dog (who was taught
his trade beforehand) at the other end of the place, and he drives all
the fish into the net, so that, only holding the net still in its place,
the man took up two or three and thirty salmon-peel at the first time.'
He finishes the story by saying that they bought some for dinner at
twopence apiece. 'And for such fish, not at all bigger, and not so
fresh, I have seen six and sixpence each given at a London fish-market.'

The river leaves Totnes in broad, sweeping curves between the hills, and
rolls on past the lovely woods of Sharpham, and on its course to
Dartmouth passes the early homes of two men who each played a part in
English history. At Sandridge, close to the river, lived Captain John
Davies, or Davis, whose name is familiar as the discoverer of Davis's
Straits. Prince, who himself lived not far away, takes the fascination
of Dartmouth, and the longing for the sea that Dartmouth seemed to
inspire, as quite natural, and says casually that, living so near this
town, 'Mr Davis had ... a kind of invitation, to put himself early to

These were in the days when the Merchant Adventurers were at the height
of their importance and prosperity, and it was in the hope of opening up
a trade for the woollen goods of the West-country with India and China
that Captain Davis set out to look for the North-West Passage.

To face all the hazards of this journey, so very far away from
civilization, and the perils and shocks that might await him in the
frozen North, he fitted out a little fleet which consisted of the 'Barke
_Sunneshine_, of London, fifty tunnes, and the _Moonshine_, of
Dartmouth, thirty-five tunnes, the ship _Mermayd_, of a hundred and
twenty tunnes, and a pinesse of tenne tunnes named the _North
Starre_.'[5] But in spite of this name of good augury the little
pinnace never came home again, and one can only admire with awe the
daring that ventured to sail a boat of ten tons across the boisterous
Atlantic into the unknown Arctic Seas. Traces of Davis's wanderings
along the coasts of North America may still be found in the names he
bestowed on different points. 'On sighting first the land, he named the
bay which he entered after his friend, Gilbert Sound; we find also
Exeter Sound, Totnes Roads, Mount Raleigh, and other familiar titles. A
few years later John Davis found the right course to India and China,
and introduced the trade from this country which exists to the present

[Footnote 5: 'An Elizabethan Guild of the City of Exeter,' by William

A greater man than Davis lived farther down the river at Greenaway,
opposite the pretty village of Dittisham, which, with its strip of beach
and ferry, looks as if it had been 'made for a picture.' Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, stepbrother to Sir Walter Raleigh, was a great man to whom
Fortune was not overkind, but his 'virtues and pious intentions may be
read ... shining too gloriously to be dusked by misfortune.' His aims
were higher than the hopes that stirred most of his contemporaries, and
of his 'noble enterprizes the great design ... was to discover the
remote countries of America, and to bring off those savages from their
diabolical superstitions, to the embracing the gospel.' He made two
efforts to graft a colony with little success, but his third effort was
rather happier; and having left Devonshire in June, 1583, he 'sailed to
Newfoundland and the great river of St Laurence in Canada; which he took
possession of, and seized the same to the crown of England, and invested
the Queen in an estate for two hundred leagues in length by cutting a
turf and rod after the antient custom of England.' From the developments
of that great country that are now taking place, it cannot but be
interesting to look back along the vista of years to this very simple

Later this group of emigrants lost heart, and nearly all returned to
England, and possibly Sir Humphrey may have wondered whether this
venture also would have but a flickering existence, and would leave no
lasting result of the work on which he had spent his years and his
strength and his riches. Or it may be that no doubts troubled him, for
he had a 'noble and gallant spirit,' and his dauntless motto was 'Quid
non?' The story of his death makes an appropriate ending to his life. He
was with his colony in Newfoundland when 'necessaries began to fail,'
and he was urged to return home. He started in the _Squirrel_, a ship of
ten tons. When they were far out at sea a violent tempest blew up, and
those in the _Golden Hind_ (a larger ship accompanying them) saw with
horror the imminent danger that their friends were in. But Sir Humphrey
was quite composed, and those in the _Golden Hind_ were near enough to
hear him cry 'aloud to his company, in these words: "We are so near to
heaven here at sea as at land."' In the height of the storm the little
boat was swallowed up by the waves, and all on board perished.

A portrait of Sir Humphrey hung in his grand-nephew's house at Compton,
where Prince saw it. 'The one hand holdeth a general's truncheon, and
the other is laid on the globe of the world, Virginia is written over;
on his breast hangs the golden anchor, with the pearl at the peak; and
underneath are these verses, which, tho' none of the best, may here
supply the place of an epitaph:

    '"Here you may see the portrait of his face,
    Who for his country's honor oft did trace
    Along the deep; and made a noble way
    Unto the growing fame, Virginia.
    The picture of his mind, if ye do crave it,
    Look upon Virtue's picture, and ye have it."'

The 'golden anchor' was a jewel which the Queen had given him as a
special mark of favour, for she looked on him very graciously, in spite
of the fact that his efforts did not then seem as if they would be
crowned with success. A song was made about the year 1581, in which he
and Sir Francis Drake divide the honours.

    '_Sir Francis, Sir Francis, Sir Francis_ is come,
    _Sir William_, and eke _Sir Robert_, his son,
    And eke the good Earl of _Southampton_
    Marcht on his way most gallantly on;

    Then came my Lord Chamberlain, with his white staff,
    And all the people begun for to laugh.
    And then the Queen begun to speak,
    "You're welcome home, Sir Francis Drake!"


    '"Gallants all of British blood,
    Why do ye not sail in th' ocean flood?
    I protest ye are not all worth a Philberd
    Compared with Sir Humphrey _Gilberd_."


[_Probably added in 1584-85._]

    'For he walkt forth a rainy day,
    To the _Now-Found-land_ he took his way,
    With many a gallant fresh and green.
    He never came home again,
             God bless the Queen!'

Notes to this song explain: 'We understand as the three-fold holders of
the name, "Sir Francis," three persons; Sir Francis Drake, Knighted by
the Queen after his return from circumnavigating the world in 1580: Sir
Francis Walsingham, and Sir Francis Vere. Sir William Cecil, Lord
Burleigh, and his son, Sir Robert.... The Lord Chamberlain probably
meant the despicable Sir James Crofts, who hated and calumniated Drake.'

The song probably reflects the temper of the time.

    'They never came back agen.
               God bless the Queen.'

The lines are very characteristic of the spirit of the age that was
bound to conquer. There was sorrow for those who were gone, but no
complaint, no grudging those who had perished where the fame or power of
the Queen could be furthered. Gloriana's subjects found no price too
great, no sacrifice worth counting; a leader might fall, but the great
scheme must go on, her rule spread farther and wider, and the hazards
and failures overstepped.

Although upon all parts of the South Hams there hovers a spell that is
inexplicable, perhaps it is felt more in Dartmouth than in any other
place one can think of. Possibly it is the loveliness of sea and land,
flowers in the crevices of the cliffs hanging low towards the water's
edge, the round tower rising out of the sea, the picturesqueness of the
town, with its thronging associations, or just the intangible influences
of bygone days. But there is something of enchantment about the tower,
especially when it is contemplated from the water. And to fully
appreciate the whole, one should slip out of the harbour past the Mew
Stone, where the sea-gulls rise like a drift of snowflakes on a sudden
gust, into the midst of sliding walls of transparent green water beyond,
where--if there is wind enough--glassy hillocks all round, at moments,
hide everything else from sight. Besides the fascination of watching
waves towering above the boat, and following it as if they would fall
over and bury it in their depths, and climbing them, with the sudden
plunge into the hollow beyond, it may be, especially if shoals of
mackerel are near, that one may have the pleasure of coming upon a flock
of gulls, swimming, swooping, flapping about, and all busy fishing. Or
perhaps there will be a group of brown divers, floating placidly on the
waves, and then suddenly disappearing, one or two at a time or several
in a moment. And possibly a great black creature may appear a little way
off, tossing and seeming to turn somersaults in the water, and another
and another, and one may find oneself among a school of porpoises, and
hear the curious puffing sounds they make that are not quite like
anything else. From a little distance out, looking back across the
changing lights that glance over the water, one gets a quite fresh view
of the harbour's mouth, shut in by its high cliffs, half veiled by soft
masses of green.

Dartmouth had a great stake in the country's welfare in early days, and
was a port of much stir and traffic. From here sailed many of the ships
that Richard I gathered together to take the English who were going with
him on the Third Crusade. William Rufus started once from this harbour
when there was trouble in Normandy, and King John paid the town two
visits. In Edward III's time Dartmouth had already become renowned for
her shipping and sent six ships for the King's service in a fight in
which engaged the combined French, Flemish, and Genoese fleets; and she
sent two more a few years later to help in his war against Scotland.
Fifty years later this loan was entirely eclipsed by the magnificence of
contributing no fewer than thirty-one ships to the siege of Calais.

Chaucer's words have often been quoted:

    'A schipman was ther; wonyng far by weste,
    For ought I woot, he was of Dertemouth.'

As if it were more likely that a typical seaman would come from
Dartmouth than anywhere else! In no harbour could that great
training-ship the _Britannia_ have been more appropriately moored, nor
could a more fitting place be chosen for the long range of buildings on
the hill above, the Naval College that has superseded it. Risdon tells
us that the town has been 'sundry times subject to the attacks of
foreigners,' and particularly mentions one occasion in the reign of
Henry III, when the French made such a furious onslaught, that the women
turned out by the side of their menkind and hurled flints at the enemy.
These found themselves 'courageously resisted by the towns-men
and-women, Amazonian-like.'

In 1470 Dartmouth was a step in the retreat of Warwick, 'the
King-maker,' when Edward IV pursued him as far as Exeter. Warwick
embarked here for France, and his arrival in those unsettled times must
have created much bustle and excitement amongst all the gossips of the
place. The Earl was 'in danger of being surprized, whereupon leisurely
(for his great spirit disdained anything that should look like a Flight)
he retired to _Exeter_, where having dismissed the Remainder of the
troops that attended him, he went to _Dartmouth_, and there, with many
ladies in his company and a large Retinue, he took ship and sailed
directly to Calais.'

Amongst the celebrities of Dartmouth is a certain John Hawley, a great
merchant of immense wealth. A couplet ran of him:

    'Blow the wind high, or blow the wind low,
    It bloweth still to Hawley's hawe'

--that is, to his house. Prince interprets this by saying that Hawley
had so many ships all over the world that any wind that blew was of
advantage to some of them.

When Leland came here, he remarked on the great ruins of 'Hawley's Haul
... a rich merchant and a noble warrior against the _French_ Men.'
Hawley is buried in the beautiful church of St Saviour's, and a large
brass represents him as lying between his two wives.

In this church is a most delicately carved screen, and leaves, sprays,
and grapes are conspicuous amongst the details of its graceful design.
The groined cornice is decorated by exquisite fan-tracery, and various
saints and 'doctors of the church' are painted on the panels of the
lower part. In the high carved stone pulpit are tabernacled recesses,
once enclosing figures, but now containing 'royal badges and devices';
and both screen and pulpit were coloured and gilded, and are rather
dimmed by time. The church has many very interesting features, and in
the south porch is a most curious wrought-iron door, showing a tree with
long, drooping branches and large diamond-shaped leaves, and two
wonderful heraldic lions impaled on it.

The Castle was built in the time of Henry VII, on the site of an older
one; for when Edward IV reigned, the men of Dartmouth built themselves a
castle at the desire of the King, who promised that if they would by
this means protect the town--and, further, would guard the harbour by
putting a chain across the mouth--they should have £30 yearly from the
customs of Dartmouth and Exeter. The chain stretched across to
Kingswear, and a hollow in the rock by the ruins of an old guard-house
shows where it once passed. The little square castle of Kingswear stands
close by, and from certain points of view both Kingswear and the
beautiful round tower of Dartmouth Castle seem to be rising straight out
of the waves.

In 1685 an agreement very much like the earlier one was made. James II
had some cause for uneasiness and for looking closely to his defences,
and, as it happened, three years later there landed, only a few miles
away, the man who, superseding him, was hailed by the majority as
England's Deliverer. But when James came to the throne he had already
seen Dartmouth conquered by an enemy's troops; for, although Prince
Maurice had secured it in the earlier stages of the war, Fairfax had
taken it later. Among the Duke of Somerset's papers are some orders
given by a Council of War, at which 'Colonel Edward Seymour, Governor of
Dartmouth town and garrison,' was present, providing very minutely for
the defence of the town and for the supplies of the garrison. Stories of
the Parliamentary troops quartering themselves in churches are sometimes
told, with the unfair implication that they alone were guilty of such
desecration; for where need was urgent the Royalists took the same
course. Here we find orders: 'Captain Haughton ... with forty men shall
lie in Townstall church, for the fortifying thereof against the enemy,
and that the said captain, his officers and company, shall have their
victuals from Mount Boone.' Also that a 'month's provision of victuals
be laid into St Petrox church for five hundred men, and the said Major
Torner and his select officers shall be keepers thereof.' The Church of
St Clement at Townstall was fortified with ten cannon.

Fairfax attacked in the first days of January, 1646, in exceptionally
cold weather. Honourable conditions of surrender had been first offered
to the Governor, but were refused, and he prepared to fight to the end.
'In extreme bitter cold weather and snow' the Parliamentary forces moved
forward, and, after examining the town as closely as they could, decided
to take it by storm. Additional troops were ordered up to strengthen the
besiegers, and Sir Thomas Fairfax sent for a squadron to prevent any
help reaching the Royalists by sea. On Sunday evening 'the soldiers were
all drawn out; about seven at night forlorn hopes were set, the evening
very mild, as at midsummer, the frost being newly gone; the word was
given: _God with us_.... About 11 o'clock at night the storm began.'

Three separate attacks were made simultaneously on different parts of
the town, and though the besieged fought bravely, they fought in vain,
and by the next morning all but the Castle and the little fort above
were in the hands of the enemy. Sir Hugh Pollard, the Governor (Sir
Edward Seymour was at this time taking part in the defence of Exeter),
had been wounded the night before, and, realizing that his position was
hopeless, 'after some dispute, 'he surrendered on Fairfax's terms, and
yielded himself and his officers prisoners, the common soldiers being
set at liberty to repair to their dwellings.'

The fort above Kingswear, commanded by Sir Henry Cary, was protected by
strong bulwarks, and the defence being very well carried out, the
garrison obtained better terms. 'To save time,' writes Fairfax to the
House of Peers, 'I willingly condescended to let Sir Henry Cary march
away with the rest, leaving the arms, ordnance, ammunition, with all

This was all accomplished on the Monday, and on the evening following
the attack the Parliament was in full possession of the town.


Kingsbridge, Salcombe, and the South Hams

    'On the ninth day of November, at the dawning in the sky,
    Ere we sailed away to New York, we at anchor here did lie;
    O'er the meadows fair of Kingsbridge, then the mist was lying grey;
    We were bound against the rebels, in the _North America_.
    O, so mournful was the parting of the soldiers and their wives,
    For that none could say for certain they'd return home with their
    Then the women they were weeping, and they curs'd the cruel day
    That we sailed against the rebels, in the _North America_.'

    _Farewell to Kingsbridge._

Kingsbridge lies in a fold of the hills that rise beyond the head of the
creek running inland from Salcombe Harbour, and seen from the water it
is very picturesque--the houses clustered together and clinging to the
slope, and the spire of St Edmund's Church standing out against the
still, green background. Mr Mason has written of 'the mists on the
hills, and the gulls crying along the valley,' by Kingsbridge, and this
exactly sums up its individuality. It has the peculiar atmosphere of a
sea-town, but why, precisely, it is difficult to say.

The Fore Street is steep and winding, and on one side stands a church
which, without any very striking feature, is quietly impressive. It is a
cruciform building, and a steeple rises from the centre. A chapel,
dedicated to St Edmund, King and Martyr, stood on this spot before the
year 1250; but it was rebuilt and aisles were added by the Abbot and
monks of Buckfast in the beginning of the fifteenth century. In the
south transept of the present church are remains of early English work,
and the font is Early English. Hagioscopes slant through the chancel
walls from the aisle on either side. The very unusual name of a
benefactress must be noticed--Tryphena Tobys.

Dodbrooke is joined so closely to Kingsbridge that their streets run
into each other, and they are separated only by small streams now partly
covered in. It would be almost impossible for a stranger wandering about
to say offhand which town he was in. Dodbrooke is really the older of
the two. A grant to hold a market was made to Alan Fitz-Roald, in or
possibly just before the year 1256. About this time a serious quarrel
occurred, when 'Henry Fitz-Alan impleaded Matthew Fitz-John, with forty
others, for throwing down a pillory in Dodbrooke. Forty seems a good
many against the pillory! But the affair was not one of those cases in
which a spark causes a fire, but was rather an outburst of flame in a
long-smouldering feud between the Fitz-Alans and the Lords of Stokenham
over the manor of Dodbrooke. In the end, the Fitz-Alans triumphed.

Three hundred years later we find the people of Dodbrooke complaining of
the heavy contributions that they were called on to make towards
furnishing 'ships of war'; for after the Armada had been defeated the
means of defence on these coasts were for some years kept up to a very
high standard. Mr Richard Champernowne,--who, it must be admitted, from
the general tenor of his ways, seems to have been one of those
well-meaning but egotistical and meddlesome people who are always being
surprised and hurt because their good offices are not better
received,--wrote to the local authorities as follows:

'Cousin Cary, and the rest of the Commissioners for the ship causes, I
have received some grievous complaints of some poor men who are taxed in
Dodbrook to this, more than all their goods are worth.... Surely, as the
country must bitterly speak against those [who] are procurors and
assistants in this country, so would it be as highly disliked both of
her Majesty as of the Lords, if they knew rightly of whom, and on what
sort, this tax is levied.'

But, alas! a severe snub was the result of this appeal, and the unhappy
Mr Cary must have deeply regretted that he had obligingly forwarded the
grievance to the Lords of the Council.

Their answer ran: 'The Court.... The Council to George Carey, J.P....'
They learn by his late letter that the county is unwilling to contribute
the charges imposed upon it for 'setting out ships etc.' It is paid
cheerfully by other counties, and he is desired to return the names of
those persons who are obstinate in refusing payment.

There is no building of special interest excepting the church, which is
dedicated to St Thomas à Becket. The arches dividing the aisles from the
nave are high and rather pointed, giving an impression of loftiness.
There is a beautiful carved screen, with painted figures on the panels;
and the font is a very early one. Of the infants baptized in it, one at
least obtained a rather unenviable celebrity--Dr John Wolcot, better
known as 'Peter Pindar.' His bitter satires earned for him a harvest of
hatred and abuse, but nobody denied his wit. 'There is a pretty story of
the older Pindar that a swarm of bees lighted on his cradle in his
infancy and left honey on his lips; but we fear in the case of our hero
they were wasps that came, and that they left some of the caustic venom
of their stings.' A surgeon's son, he studied medicine himself, but was
unpopular with his patients for the reason that his ideas were too far
ahead of his time. His opinion that 'a physician can do little more than
watch Dame Nature, and give her a shove in the back when he sees her
inclined to do right,' was considered a shocking heresy, and, no doubt,
a confession of his own ignorance.

Before leaving Dodbrooke, mention must be made of the 'white ale'
peculiar to the place--a compound of malt, hops, and flour, fermented
with an ingredient called 'grout.' Some of the statements about this ale
show the curious tendency of traditions to transfer themselves from
points in the nebulous past to points that are just beyond the range of
living memory. It is difficult to discover when 'white ale' was first
made, but the general idea is that it was invented a very long time ago,
though personally I have not been able to find any indisputable
reference to it earlier than in the edition of Camden's 'Britannia'
published in 1720, where there is a brief notice that the people of
Dodbrooke pay tithes in white ale to the Rector. A will dated 1528,
however, gives directions in regard to a gift that was to include
'cakes, wine, and ale,' and it has been supposed that the particular
kind made in this town would be the ale here referred to. Yet I was told
by an inhabitant of the neighbourhood who was a good deal interested in
local traditions, that it was introduced by the French doctor of the
prisoners of war at Kingsbridge Barracks, for the benefit of those who
found themselves ill at ease in this climate--an event that could not
possibly have taken place till the very end of the eighteenth century.

There is a charm over all this country, not solely due to its beauty. It
is true that it is rather drowsy, that the 'spell of the briar-rose' in
part lies over it, but it may be that this adds to the charm. There is
an absence of competition, an air of plenty and of kindness, a golden
glamour that gives the impression that Nature has told the people theirs
is a generous portion, and they may sit still and be content. And they
are content.

There is such an overbrimming wealth of bushes and plants and flowers on
every side, that the fact of the water in the estuary being salt
scarcely seems to prevent their growing in it! Along the bank washed by
the flowing tide, and almost touching the masses of tough golden-brown
seaweed on the rocks, are multitudes of the daisy-flowers of
sea-mayweed, flowering samphire, the stars of sow-thistle, and bright
yellow bunches of charlock and straggling spires of wild-mignonette,
against a darker background of blackthorn, hawthorn, ivy, and furze,
lightly powdered with trails of bramble-blossom. Creeks, edged with low
hills, wind away from the estuary. When the tide is low, great stretches
of mud and sand lie on either side, and here may be seen black
cormorants and crowds and crowds of gulls, here and there a heron, and
quantities of smaller birds. The scene changes entirely at the mouth of
the creek, for here the banks rise into high rugged cliffs, and the
water frets restlessly over sunken rocks.

Salcombe is a tiny little town, with steep, narrow streets and
high-walled gardens on each side of the close lane that ends the
principal street; and between the gardens the air is fragrant with sweet
clematis, that, as well as red valerian, tumbles in clusters over the
walls. Salcombe has a very good claim to remembrance, for on a
peninsular rock at the mouth of the harbour stand the ruins of a
fortress that held out for King Charles later than any other place in
Devonshire. It was defended by Sir Edward Fortescue, and surrendered
only on May 7, 1646.

On the opposite side of the estuary, high on the cliffs, lies the small
village of Portlemouth. The cross-shaped church is dedicated to a Celtic
saint, St Winwaloe, locally called St Onolaus. A proverb without much
point (probably only the fragment of a more coherent saying) mentions St
Winwaloe amongst several saints whose days fall on windy dates.

    'First comes David, next comes Chad,
    And then comes Winneral, as though he were mad,
    White or black,
    On old house thack [thatch].'

[St David's Day, March 1; St Chad's Day, March 2; St Winwaloe's Day,
March 3.]

In his church here is a very finely carved screen, and of one of the
figures on it Mr Baring-Gould tells an amusing story: 'The sixth is Sir
John Schorne, a Buckinghamshire rector, who died in 1308, and was
supposed to have conjured the devil into a boot. He was venerated
greatly as a patron against ague and the gout. There is a jingle
relative to him:

    '"To Maister John Schorne, that blessed man born,
      For the ague to him we apply,
    Which judgeth with a bote; I beshrew his heart's rote
      That will trust him, and it be I."'

South of Portlemouth the land ends in the grand headland of Prawle
Point, the most southerly point in Devon. Prawle Point is very striking,
and is 'principally composed of gneiss rock, which on the western side
is weathered like a surface of snow which has been exposed to the sun's
rays. It is everywhere broken into crags.' Prawle Point--'Prol in
Anglia'--was known to foreigners for many centuries; and Mr R. J. King,
in an admirable article on Devonshire, says that it 'is mentioned by an
ancient commentator on Adam of Bremen's "Historia Ecclesiastica," as
one of the stations at which vessels touched on their voyage from Ripa
in Denmark. The passage was made from the "Sincfala," near Bruges, and
"the station beyond 'Prol'" is St Matthieu--one day's sail. Adam of
Bremen dates about 1070, and his commentator a little later.'[6] St
Matthieu is in Brittany.

[Footnote 6: 'Sketches and Studies.']

To the south of Salcombe rise the great cliffs of Bolt Head, and a few
miles farther to the west is Bolt Tail. Mr Norway points out that 'no
other town in South Devon possesses, nor, indeed, more than one or two
on any coast, a headland so high and dark and jagged as the entrance to
the harbour. It is wild and rugged like a Cornish headland, and the walk
across it to Bolt Tail is the finest between Portland and the Lizard.' A
few miles to the west is Thurlestone, and all about here the coast is
most dangerous. A ship flung in a storm towards the shore has no chance
on the jagged rocks that spur-like, jut out from the cliffs, and the
tide races inshore with terrific power, even when it is not driven by a
wild south-westerly wind. This part of the coast was naturally a happy
hunting-ground for smugglers, and was not altogether innocent of
wreckers. A fearful wreck that happened in 1772 is still remembered. A
large vessel--the _Chantiloupe_, from the West Indies--went ashore in
Bigbury Bay. All the passengers but one were drowned, and over the death
of a lady there hangs a terrible doubt. On realizing the desperate
plight of the ship, she had hurriedly dressed herself in her most
beautiful clothes and jewels, no doubt hoping that, as they were so
close to land, there was a good chance of escape. She was, indeed,
thrown up on the beach, but, it is to be hoped, already dead, for, with
shocking callousness, the people watching there snatched away all her
valuables and left her lying there. An account of the wreck, written in
1874, tells that at that date a lady living near the bay still had a
corner of the victim's apron, a very beautifully embroidered bit of fine
muslin. The unfortunate passenger's name was never really known, but
rumour has always connected her with Edmund Burke; for it is certain
that he feared some relatives or friends of his were on that ship, and
on hearing of the wreck he came down and investigated the matter of the
lady's death himself. But he could get no information. The account of
the wreck goes on to quote the views of a man who lived near the spot:
'The old man who seemed to know most about it said: "The lady _was_
a-murdered, he believed; Jan Whiddon's father's dog found this here lady
buried in the sand, he scratched up her hand."' The story is quoted at
some length, and is characteristic of a Devonshire countryman's combined
caution and sense of fate, for it finished: '"'Twas never found out who
murdered her ... but all who were concerned in it, or supposed to be
[the villagers obviously believed three men to be guilty] came to a bad

In repeating these stories, I feel rather in fault, for I have listened
to, and been impressed by, the views of a native of these parts, who was
extremely severe on anyone that wrote about wreckers and reflected
discredit on this coast, giving the idea that 'we robbed and murdered
people.' A little to my surprise, he said he liked reading books about
Devonshire, and admired some well-known novels dealing with the county,
though he thought them quite inaccurate. 'But,' he added tolerantly,
'they say that, to get at the truth from a guide-book, you must divide
what you read in three, and then take away half.' He admitted, all the
same, that there had been a certain amount of wrecking in the days of
the pirates (smugglers?), and putting lights in the wrong places. When
he was a boy, what they liked best was a wreck with a 'general' cargo,
so that the men could sell the mineral and the wives could wear the
silk; but there were fewer wrecks of any kind nowadays. It is very quiet
in the winter (east of Kingsbridge), unless anyone is going to be
buried, and the only other chances of any stir are if there is a wedding
or a christening, or a wreck in Start Bay.

Thurlestone takes its name from a 'thirled' or pierced rock, on the
shore through which the waves have drilled an arch. The rector of
Thurlestone has very kindly allowed me to make some extracts from a
manuscript history of the parish in his possession, the earlier notes of
which have been taken from entries made at the time of the events, in
the Bishop of Exeter's registers, and have, therefore, the value of
contemporary evidence. They are very interesting, as giving glimpses at
the course of events in a remote parish through several centuries.

During part of the fourteenth century the parishioners seem to have been
rather turbulent and the history tells of storms. Some while before the
first entry, in June, 1328, someone had not only been murdered, but
actually done to death within the church. There is no record of the
punishment of the culprit or culprits, or of any sign of penitence shown
by the parish; but probably some steps had been taken, for at that date
Bishop Grandisson commissioned the Archdeacon of Totnes to reconcile the
parish church of Thurlestone, 'which had been polluted by the shedding
of blood therein. For some reason not given the Archdeacon was excused
from performing this duty, and Stephen Abbot of Buckfast was
commissioned to officiate.... On the 8th of the Kalends of August, 1328,
the Bishop issued his mandate to the Archdeacon of Totnes, informing him
that the Abbot, having proceeded to Thurlestone, had reconciled the
church, and that he was to require the Parishioners to pay the customary
dues within eight days of the serving of this Monition to that effect.'
The dues, however, were not forthcoming, and on October 6 the Bishop,
who allowed no insubordination, threatened the defaulters with
excommunication unless they paid the desired amount within six days.
'This had the desired effect, and on the 20th of October the Bishop sent
to the Rector and the parishioners the formal acquittance. On the same
day, he commissioned Sir Robert de Pynho, the Rector, to absolve the
parishioners and relax the interdict imposed on their Parish Church.'

An unpleasant experience of Sir Henry Benet, priest and Canon of the
Church of Crediton, and Rector of Thurlestone, witnesses to the
lawlessness of the time in East Devon. He was 'peaceably entering the
town of St Mary [Ottery St Mary] on Tuesday (_tertia feria_) of the then
instant Pentecost Sunday,' when 'certain unknown persons, sons of
perdition ... under colour of a precept which they falsely asserted they
had received from the Sheriff of Devon, rushed on Sir Henry and ...
rashly, violently and sacrilegiously laid hands on him and inhumanly
forced him into the public prison for thieves and criminals.' A
'Denuntiation of Excommunication' against these 'sons of perdition' in
Bishop Grandisson's register is undated, but it follows an entry made in
March, 1349-50.

A later rector must have been a pleasant acquaintance and a good friend.
The Rev. John Snell 'was a person of firm and unshaken loyalty,' and
when 'Fort-Charles' was about to be besieged, he joined the garrison in
order to give all the help he could to Sir Edward Fortescue. On the
surrender of the fort, amongst the very honourable conditions that Sir
Edward obtained was the agreement that Mr Snell 'should be allowed the
quiet possession of his Parsonage; but Articles, like oaths, in those
days, were only matter of Form, and accordingly (about the year 1646) he
was soon after plundered of his cattle and other goods without-doors,
and several times forced to fly for his life.' Later, his lot was made
still harder by the confiscation of his living, which he did not regain
until after the Restoration. In the old parish register is a note,
probably interpolated by John Snell when he had returned to his living,
and with outraged feelings had been looking at the volume, and reading
the entry referring to the appointment of a lay registrar in his parish.
The registrars elected in 1653 were not only given charge of the parish
registers, but took another office out of the hands of the clergy. No
marriage might take place without the registrar's certificate that he
had called the banns. The couple then took the certificate to the
nearest magistrate, who, after hearing each of them repeat a brief
formula, was authorized to declare them legally married.

Mr Snell's exclamation of distress appears under a notice which
'certyfyed John Calder (?) of the parish of Thurelston to bee Register
of the sayde Parish,' and was signed by 'Will Bastard,' and dated
'September 20th, 1653.' Above and below the date is written:

    'Monstrum horrendum informe.
      [This is y^e Houre and Y^e]
          Anno Dom. 1653.
        [Power of darkness.]'

On Mr Snell's tombstone is a long Latin epitaph, from an English version
of which the following lines are taken:

    'He was the silent storehouse of the poor,
    The dear delight of those who needed nought,
    To all the pattern of a holy life.'

The Thurlestone chronicle records a certain number of beliefs and
charms, and on one of them the present rector makes a note of peculiar
interest: 'The Bishop of Malborough [Dr Earle, then Vicar of West
Alvington and Malborough] tells me that his curate, the Rev. Robert
Hole, South Huish, saw this charm used successfully to stop blood on a
man called James Pierie.


    'Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
    The water was wild in the wood,
    He spake the word and it stood,
    And so will (--'s --'s) blood,'

     'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
     Amen. 'Used by Betty Edgecombe, white witch of Malborough and West

Not far from Thurlestone was another parson who worked hard to embarrass
the besiegers of the Royalists in Salcombe Castle, and who had his share
of thrilling adventures. Mr Lane was the rector of Aveton Giffard, a
parish at the head of the estuary of the Avon, which opens into Bigbury
Bay. When the war broke out he took an active part, in conjunction with
several gentlemen in the neighbourhood, in 'raising Succours for his
Majesty.' And at the same time he began to make a 'Fort on a Hill' (part
of the Glebe), which commanded the bridge over the Avon, crossed by
Parliamentary troops marching to the siege of the Castle. Meanwhile,
soldiers from Plymouth came up in boats, plundered the house, and took,
says Mr Lane's youngest son, 'Two of my brethren, _Richard_ and _John_,
not giving them time to put on their stockings, and forced them to carry
what of the Goods they could to _Awmar_ (a creek), where they carried
off Stolen Sheep and Plundered Goods with my two eldest brothers. When
the war was ended the triumphant Parliamentarians attempted to revenge
themselves on their sturdy enemy, and searched the country for 'Bishop
_Lane_, the _Traytor_,' who was driven to hide in his church tower. For
three or four months his people secretly brought him food, and he was
then able to make his escape, and in the end reached France in safety.

If the traveller returns to Prawle Point, and then follows the coast
towards Dartmouth, he will soon come to the ridge of Start Point, which
'stretches boldly to sea, sloped on each side like the roof of a house,
and crowned along its entire length by fanciful crags, strangely
weathered and shaggy with moss.' Round the Point at a certain state of
every tide there is a formidable tide-race, and always a swell so strong
as to make small boats very careful of the weather before they try to
sail round the Start. Dartmouth lies almost due north, and the
coast-line between is very lovely, though it has not the impressiveness
of the cliffs farther west. Slapton Sands are over two miles long, and
the hills stand back far enough from the shore to leave room for Slapton
Lea, a fresh-water lake, almost smothered with tall, feathery reeds and
rushes in the summer, separated from the sea by a barrier of pebbles.
The line of these wooded hills is broken by three little valleys, and
down each one flows a brook that feeds the Lea. At the southern edge is
Tor Cross, a handful of cottages under the shadow of a cliff that shuts
away the shore-line to the south. The long stretch of sands is
delightful. They are dotted all over with the glaucous leaves and
brilliant flowers of the yellow-horned poppy, and bristling blue viper's
bugloss, and on the inland edge there is a scattered border of the
rest-harrow's pink butterfly blossoms. The short turf beyond is
sprinkled with the little white bladder campion and thrift and many
other flowers.

At the northern end of the sands the road turns inland, and presently
comes to Blackpool, very small, but one of the most perfect of miniature
bays. The cliffs are 'of various colours and very lustrous,' and almost
on the brink the road winds its way amongst woods of firs and pines that
seem to breathe out a peculiarly spice-like sweetness. When I saw it
the sea was like molten silver, for the sunlight poured on it from
beyond clouds, and the sun itself was not to be seen. But though this
bay looks as if it had fallen from a poet's dream, it has been the scene
of many stern events and disasters; for ships have mistaken the inlet
for Dartmouth Harbour, with lamentable results. Many a time, too, it has
been used by those who knew the coast well, but had their own reasons
for wishing to land without attracting notice, for it is quite cut off
by the shoulder of the hill from Dartmouth, and is near no other town.

In Queen Mary's reign the secret landing of doubtful characters was a
danger that had to be diligently guarded against, and the Lords of the
Council received an agitated letter from Sir John St Leger on this
subject just after the flight of Sir Peter Carew. Sir Peter had a castle
and many friends at Dartmouth, and Sir John quotes him as often having
said that if he were the King's enemy he could take 'Dartmouth Castle'
and 'burne the Towne with fewer than a hundred persons and lett ynto the
haven suche as pleased hym. I, also, am creadeably informed the way howe
he should be able to do so. That within a myle, or les, of the said
Towne, there is a very good open place called Black poole, for the
queene's enemyes to lande, and invade, and from thense may come to the
saide towne from the back side.'

But when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, and Sir Peter was
reinstated and held in great honour, the coast was still far from safe,
and there is a letter written by the Queen in 1564 to her 'Right Trustie
and wel-beloved' Sir Peter, commissioning him to get ready and arm two
ships, that, as the 'cost of Devonshyre and Cornwall is by reput much
harted with pyrattes and Rovers,' so he should repress and, as far as
possible, capture them. Twenty-four years later a far more serious
danger threatened, and the preparations against the Spanish Armada were
very elaborate. Masses of the most stringent orders are still preserved
amongst the House of Lords manuscripts, and to quote a few will give an
idea of their nature and scope.

On July 11, 1588, it was ordered: 'That all persons of what degree
soever ... whose armour and furniture shall not be found serviceable,
for the first offence shall be put into the stocks one whole day,
publicly; and for the second offence to the gaol for ten days' etc.
Careful instructions are sent as to the choice of watchmen for the
beacons and their duties; and a brief note refers to a letter written by
the Council to Sir Walter Raleigh, then Warden of the Stannaries,
demanding the muster-rolls of the tinners, both horse and foot, 'who
poured to war' as well from Dartmoor's as from 'Mendip's sunless caves.'

After the Armada had been defeated, there were fears of another Spanish
invasion, and in January, 1595-96, news came to the Deputy-Lieutenants
and Justices of the Peace of Devon that 'The Queen has found it
convenient to have her navy and certain companies of Soldiers for
land-service in readiness to be victualled' with all possible speed 'for
her service ... 400 quarters of wheat, 200 oxen, and 200 flitches of
bacon are required from Devonshire.'

There are notices, too, respecting such gentlemen as 'have been charged
with light horses and petronels,' and of the particular divisions of
coast apportioned to each. For instance, in a certificate dated June 25,
1596, it is stated that 'Mr Seymour's colonelship reacheth from
Plymouth to Dartmouth. Mr Cary's from Dartmouth to Exmouth. Sir Thomas
Dennis from Exmouth to Axmouth.' And, going into particulars: 'For
Salcomb, Mr William Courtenay with the assistance of the constable and
other officers there.... Long Sands [Slapton] and Black pool to be
defended by Mr Ameredith and Mr Roope.' The notice continues to give an
exact list of the places next one another along the coast, the names of
the officers and numbers of men appointed to defend each.

In spite of all that was done, in the summer of 1598 the Lords of the
Council were dissatisfied, and wrote to the Lord-Lieutenant to complain
of 'the number of horse, which we think to be very few in that country
in regard to the largeness and wealth of the same.' But the people in
the county looked at the matter in a different light, and in the
following April, at a meeting in Exeter, it was resolved that a letter
should be written to the Lords of the Council to convey 'the desire of
the country' to be freed from a certain 'contribution' wherewith they
find themselves much burdened and grieved in respect of the manifold
impositions daily coming upon them.'

Demands and complaints seem to have been bandied backwards and forwards
for some time afterwards, for in 1600 there came this brief but alarming
note from the Lords of the Council:

'_June 23, Greenwich._--The composition money for Devonshire, though the
whole amounts but to £113 6s. 8d., remains partly unpaid; we have
therefore sent down a messenger to bring before us all those who remain
in arrear.'

Fortunately, the period of acute alarm had now passed away, and the
train-bands were dismissed, so that the burden of levying contributions
must for a while have been lightened.


The Three Towns

    'Upon the British coast what ship yet ever came,
    That not of Plymouth hears, where those brave navies lie,
    From cannons thund'ring throats that all the world defy?
    Which to invasive spoil, when th' English list to draw,
    Have check'd Iberia's pride, and held her oft in awe:
    Oft furnishing our dames with India's rar'st devices,
    And lent us gold and pearl, rich silks and dainty spices.'

    DRAYTON: _Poly-olbion_.

'Be patient, I beseech you, I am in a labyrinth, where I find many ways
to proceed, but not one to come forth.' Such is Westcote's plea while
attempting to describe Plymouth, and it may be echoed from the heart by
anyone who is in the same perplexing position. The words so exactly sum
up the difficulty. One is bewildered by the multitude of associations
thronging on every side in a town in which, unlike other West Country
ports, the pulse of life throbs as strongly as it did in the centuries
long gone by. 'The sea-front of Plymouth,' says Mr Norway, 'is the most
interesting spot within the British Empire, if not also the most
beautiful. It is a large claim, but who can deny it?'

No one who has not studied the history of the Three Towns can realize
how keenly Plymouth has been affected by every declaration of war or
peace that this country has known--at latest, since the reign of Edward
I--nor how vividly its victories and disasters have been brought home to
the people. The number of fleets that have returned to this port in
triumph, or sometimes in humiliation, and the succession of ever-famous
expeditions that have sailed from the Sound, must continually have
carried their thoughts across the seas, and prevented petty local
affairs from bounding their horizon. The old chronicles seem to show
that stirring events perpetually followed each other at short
intervals, and when no great expedition was occupying men's minds,
there were usually plenty of adventurous spirits to provide
excitement--privateers, such as those who took service with the Prince
of Condé, and searched the Channel for Roman Catholic ships, and others,
ready for 'semi-piratical ventures.' There were also moments when
Plymouth was the victim, and in dread watched for the Turkish and
Algerine pirates who were known to be hovering near, and were making
raids in the neighbourhood.

Plymouth seems to keep a peculiarly strong hold on the affections of her
sons, no matter how far or wide they wander, and it is said that the
city 'has given its name to more towns than any other town or city in
the world. There are seventeen Aberdeens outside Scotland. There are
twenty-nine Londons, but forty Plymouths.'

From the Hoe, one point after another that catches the eye suggests a
fresh train of ideas. To the east is Sutton Pool, with its coasting
vessels and fishing-boats; south, across the Cattewater, lies Mount
Batten, whose round tower recalls the long and resolute defence of the
town in the Civil War. Still farther south are the high grounds of
Plymstock and Bovisand, with their modern fortifications; to the north
stretches the town and far in the distance the heights of Dartmoor; and
to the south-west, over the Cornish border, lies beautiful Mount
Edgcumbe, which 'so affected the Duke of Medina-Sidonia' Fuller tells
us,'(though but beholding it at a distance from the Sea), that he
resolved it for his own possession in the partage of this kingdom (blame
him not if choosing best for himself), which they had preconquered in
their hopes and expectation.' Mr Norway sketches the view in rapid
touches: 'The Sound lies veiled in a thin blue mist, behind which a hot
sun beats, scattering it gradually with the aid of a stiff breeze off
the land. But it hangs around Mount Edgcumbe on the right, where the
grey towers of the mansion stand in shadow among dark woods, while on
the summit of the hill above the green fields catch the sunlight. A
little lower, Drake's Island lies impalpable and dim amid the mist which
sweeps so softly round the forts and the green grassy slopes as to touch
it all with mystery one moment, while the next it is bright again with
sunlight, sparkling amid the dazzling sea. Within the breakwater the sea
is alive with craft.'

The little island in the Sound has been transferred from patron to
patron. Originally called after St Michael, to whom its chapel was
dedicated, the name was changed to that of St Nicholas, the patron saint
of mariners, and eventually the island was renamed in honour of
Plymouth's greatest hero. The chapel had been destroyed before Drake's
day at the bidding of the Privy Council, and fortifications were
reluctantly built upon it by the Mayor and Corporation, the Council
'mervelinge of their unwillingnesse to proceede in the fortefynge of St
Michaell's Chapele to be made a Bulwarke.'

Plymouth is not rich in old buildings. The Citadel was rebuilt in the
reign of Charles II, and the new Guildhall is little over thirty years
old. St Andrew's, a large Perpendicular building with a fine tower, is
the only old church, but it stands on the site of a much older one--the
church of the Augustinians of Plympton Priory.

Really, neither Stonehouse nor Devonport has any history. In the reign
of Henry III, Stonehouse consisted of the dwelling of Joel de
Stonehouse, who at that time owned the manor, and it is only
comparatively lately, since it has been transformed into a huge naval
storehouse, and the great Marine Barracks have been built, that it has
become of importance.

Devonport, looking over the broad glittering waters of Hamoaze, was till
the year 1824 known only as Dock, or Plymouth Dock. Charles II planned a
dockyard here, but the work of making it was not begun until the reign
of William and Mary.

The very early history of Plymouth is not specially interesting to
anyone who cares over-much for sober fact; but looking at it in the
generous spirit of the ancient chroniclers, and not stickling over
probabilities, the story of the first great event in Plymouth is almost
as fine as the traditions of Totnes itself. Giants, we all know,
flourished in Cornwall, and soon after the arrival of the Trojans--about
1200 B.C.--they made a furious onslaught upon the invaders, but were
defeated after a desperate battle. The crowning struggle between
Goemagot (the name afterwards turned into Gogmagog), chief of the
giants, and Corinæus the Trojan, took place in Plymouth Hoe, as
Drayton's vigorous lines declare:

    'Upon that loftie place at Plimmouth called the Hoe,
    Those mightie Wrastlers met, with many an irefull looke
    Who threatned, as the one hold of the other tooke:
    But, grappled, glowing fire shines in their sparkling eyes.
    And whilst at length of arme one from the other lyes,
    Their lusty sinewes swell like cables, as they strive:
    Their feet such trampling make, as though they forc't to drive
    A thunder out of earth; which staggered with the weight:
    Thus, either sat most force urg'd to the greatest height.'

A memorial of this terrific conflict, 'the portraiture of two men of the
largest volume,' was cut in the turf on the Hoe at an early date, and
was only destroyed when the Citadel was built about 1671.

In the Domesday Book Plymouth appears as the Manor of Sutton, and this
was later on divided into three separate portions--Sutton Valletort or
Vautier, Sutton Prior, and Sutton Raf. The village of Sutton Valletort
was 'the germ of ancient Plymouth.' Sutton was given by Henry I to
Reginald de Valletort, who bestowed lavish gifts on the monastery at
Plympton; and as his example was followed by his successors, the title
of the second portion of the manor is easily accounted for. The whole
place was dominated by the Valletorts and the Priors, but the power of
the monks increased steadily, till, at an inquisition held in 1281, 'it
was presented that the Ville of Sutton belonged to the Prior of
Plympton, with assize of bread and beer, and this right was allowed.'
Sutton was now becoming a flourishing town, and some years later the
King made inquiries about his property in it, for the burgesses had
petitioned that some waste land might be granted them at a yearly rent.
To this 'the Prior and the Valletorts declared that the town was wholly
theirs, and none of the King's,' and the dispute was followed by a
series of efforts, on the part of the townspeople, to free themselves
from the rule of the Priors--efforts which succeeded each other, at no
long intervals, through the next hundred and twenty years.

As time went on, the Crown gradually granted rights to the burgesses,
and increased their responsibilities, till in 1439 an Act of Parliament
was passed incorporating the three Suttons as a free borough, with one
Mayor, and the manorial rights of the Priory were ceded to the Mayor and
Corporation, who paid to the Priory a fixed yearly sum in compensation.
The name Plymouth, which had been used in speaking of the port, was now
formally adopted for the whole town.

From the 'mene thing, as an inhabitation for Fischars,' that Leland says
it was in the reign of Henry II, the town grew rapidly, and before the
end of the thirteenth century it was represented in Parliament. In 1287,
for the first time on record, the splendid harbour was officially
recognized as a grand rendezvous, and three hundred and twenty-five
vessels gathered here before sailing for Guienne under the command of
the King's brother. Half a century later, orders were sent that men and
ships should be collected at Plymouth to escort Princess Johanna, the
King's daughter, to Gascony, and escorts for various Princes had to be
provided on several occasions. The Black Prince was kept by contrary
winds in the port for forty days, when he was on his way to France to
fight the 'glorious battell at Poictiers.' In the early part of the
fifteenth century Plymouth suffered severely from the attacks of the
French and Bretons, and in 1403 the Bretons, under the Sieur du Chastel,
burned six hundred houses in the part since called Briton Side. The name
became gradually transformed into 'Burton,' but the memory of the raid
survived so far, Mr Worth tells us, as to enable the boys who lived in
the Old Town to taunt the 'Burton boys' during the wars with France, by
reminding them of the harm that the French had done to their quarter.

On Freedom Day, a 'local Saturnalia kept as such from the earliest
times,' one of the features was the fighting between the Old Town and
Burton boys for a barrel of beer, provided by the Mayor. Long after this
custom had been dropped, the recollection of it was revived by the sign
of a public-house, the Burton Boys, though eventually the owner changed
the sign to that of the Black Lion, as he 'wished for some more
peaceful name'!

Plymouth does not seem to have been much affected by the Wars of the
Roses, but Henry VII, as Earl of Richmond, 'while he houered upon the
coast,' came ashore at Cawsand, and here 'by stealth refreshed himselfe;
but being advertised of streight watch, kept for his surprising at
Plymouth, he richly rewarded his hoste, hyed speedily a ship boord, and
escaped happily to a better fortune.'

The fisheries of the port are old and important. The earliest grant now
to be traced, made by Reginald de Valletort to Plympton Priory, was that
of all his fishing rights in Tamar and Lynher--a privilege which Mr
Worth thinks was probably bestowed 'not long after the manor passed into
the hands of the Valletort family.' In 1384 Parliament decreed that all
fish caught in the waters of Sutton, Plymouth, and Tamar should be
displayed for sale in Plymouth and Aish [Saltash] only, which sounds as
if Plymouth were already jealous of other fish-markets, as was certainly
the case later on. During parts of the sixteenth century the industry
flagged, and in Henry VIII's reign a royal proclamation ordered
abstinence from flesh on Saturdays as well as Fridays, with the frank
explanation that this was 'not only for health and discipline, but for
the benefit of the Commonwealth, and profit of the fishing trade.' In
Queen Elizabeth's reign matters were still worse, for the eating of fish
had now come to be a badge of religious opinions, and '"to detest fish"
in all shapes and forms had become a note of Protestantism.'

And not only had the demand for fish lessened, but the fisheries had
fallen into the hands of foreigners. The Yarmouth waters were 'occupied
by Flemings and Frenchmen,' 'the narrow seas by the French,' 'the
western fishing for hake and pilchard by a great navy of French within
kenning of the English shores,' and Scots and Spaniards fished other
parts of the coasts. Cecil, who was anxious for greater reasons, to find
'means to encourage mariners,' set to work to revive the English
fishing-trade, and with great difficulty succeeded in carrying a Bill
through the House of Commons, making 'the eating of flesh on Fridays
and Saturdays a misdemeanour, punishable by a fine of three pounds or
three months' imprisonment, and as if this was not enough, adding
Wednesday as a subsidiary half-fish day.'

About this time Plymouth tried to rid itself of at least one branch of
foreign competition by appealing to the Privy Council to forbid 'the
exportation of pilchards, save in ships of Devon and Cornwall, because
"divers ships and mariners lye idle without employment within our
harbour," while foreign ships were continually employed.' Pilchards were
a very important item, and many regulations were made in reference to
them. One order, dated 1565-66, gives a good example of Plymouth's views
of free trade. It ran: 'That no alien should lade or buy fresh pilchards
above the number of 1,000 in a day; no man ... being free to buy or sell
above 5,000, unless the fish "were in danger of perishing."' The
business of curing fish was a large one and very jealously guarded. At
the British Museum, among the Lansdowne manuscripts, is a letter to Lord
Burghley from Mr Richard Browne, showing that this subject was sometimes
the source of friction between the citizens themselves. It begins:

'My honorable good Lord, as I have ben always most bound vnto yor ho.,
so I humbly besech you to stand my good Lord.' The letter goes on to
explain that the writer had been granted a 'pattent for salting, drying,
and packing of fishe in the counties of Devon and Cornwall,' but letters
from the Privy Council had caused the 'staie thereof.' These letters
were apparently inspired by the complaint to the Council of 'marchants,'
who were injured because the terms of the 'pattent' laid down 'that the
inhabitants should be servid before the marchents, paying nothing unto
me for it,' as he adds in a slightly aggrieved manner. The writer begs
that these terms may be altered, and the only conditions should be those
affecting such fish 'as shuld be transported in consyderacon of the
Quene's Majesty's right.' For, he pathetically remarks, he has paid 'a
great some of money' for his privileges, and still 'am bound to pay the
rent into the exchequer,' although not allowed to reap the benefit
therefrom. Besides, great inconvenience is caused by the suspension of
his business, and letters of complaint have been addressed to him from
Devonshire and Cornwall desiring 'y^t he pforme his offer y^t they may
have fishe for their owne provesion frely.'

It was the outburst of ventures of every description, with all their
different aims--ventures of soldiers, explorers, privateers, and
merchants--in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that brought Plymouth to its
greatest glory. In the interval between William Hawkins' first voyage to
the South Seas--about 1528--and 1601, when Captain William Parker sailed
to Panama and took Porto Bello, Plymouth was the starting-point of forty
voyages, every one of which is historical. Mr Worth gives the exact date
of each, and the names of the commanders. 'Here,' says Carew, 'mostly
have the troops of adventurers made their _Rendezvous_ for attempting
new discoueries or inhabitances.' And Westcote, in the reign of James I,
writes: 'Whatever show it makes in description, it is far larger in
fame, and known to the farthest and most remote parts of the world.' In
Camden's opinion, this great reputation was won 'less by the convenience
of the harbour, as for the valour and worth of the Inhabitants,' and the
worthies of Plymouth are indeed beyond number. Among the comparatively
few whose names have not been lost, there stands out conspicuously Sir
William Wilford, who after a French invasion returned the charge by
swooping down on Brittany, where he 'made them to pay, besides _costs_
and _charges_, more than sixfold _damages_.' And Captain Cocke, a 'Cock
of the Game indeed,' according to Fuller; 'A Volanteer in his own ship,'
he went out against the Armada, and 'lost his life to save his Queen and
Countrey.' Then there is Cockrem, who sailed with William Hawkins, and
was left alone among the Brazilians as a hostage for one of the 'Savage
Kings' Hawkins brought back with him--but, as Mr Norway says, 'Plymouth
has too many heroes; in the crowd the faces of all but one or two are

For three generations the Hawkinses were 'the master spirits' of
Plymouth, and of them all Sir John Hawkins was the most famous. His
character was a curious medley of incongruous features, bluff
straightforwardness and crooked diplomacy, faithful affection--such as
his bold schemes to help his captured comrades proved--balanced by a
hard indifference that ignored the misery of the wretched negroes he
sold to West Indian planters. Pluck and daring were the only qualities
he showed consistently from first to last. His zeal in slave-hunting,
repulsive to us, is excused by Froude on the ground that 'negro slavery
in theory was an invention of philanthropy.' Labourers were a necessity
for the Spanish colonist, 'the proud and melancholy Indian pined like an
eagle in captivity, refused to accept his servitude, and died; the more
tractable negro would domesticate like the horse or the ass.' Though
Hawkins met with much good as well as bad luck, he was one of those who
have need to remember that fate does not shower favours on all men, but
'if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though
she be blind, yet she is not invisible,' and his success was to a very
great extent due to his stout heart and quick discernment. These
qualities stood him in good stead at San Juan de Ulloa, when his few
ships were overwhelmed by a much larger fleet. 'The name of Hawkins was
so terrible that the Spaniards dared not give him warning that he was to
be attacked;' but mounted their batteries in the dark, and from land and
sea 'every gun which could be brought to bear' opened upon the
unprepared English. After sinking two Spanish ships and setting a third
on fire, Hawkins saw that flight was their only chance, and, gathering
his men together in two small tenders, he 'crawled out under the fire of
the mole and gained the open sea.' The position of affairs was
dispiriting in the extreme. Many men and three good ships were lost,
besides treasure worth more than a million pounds, that had been won, by
running innumerable dangers, during the past year. His ships were
overcrowded, the store of food and water was scanty, and no harbour west
of the Atlantic was open to them. Under the weight of adversity, Hawkins
offered 'a lesson for all time on the use of bravado, the crowning grace
of every leader who does not seek it at the cost of better things.'

'When the _Minion_ stood off,' says Hortop, who wrote the tale on his
return to England, 'our generall courageously cheered up his soldiers
and gunners, and called to Samuel his page for a cup of beer, who
brought it to him in a silver cup. And he, drinking to all the men,
willed the gunners to stand to their ordnance lustily like men. He had
no sooner set the cup out of his hand, but a demi-culverin shot struck
away the cup and a cooper's plane that stood by the mainmast and ran out
on the other side of the ship, which nothing dismayed our generall, for
he ceased not to encourage us, saying, "Fear nothing: for God who hath
preserved me from this shot will also deliver us from these traitors and

Hawkins is chiefly known by his voyages and enterprises, and all that he
did for his country by monotonous hard work is not so often remembered.
For twenty-one years he 'toiled terribly' as Treasurer of the Queen's
Marine Causes and Comptroller of the Navy, and when the ships were sent
out to meet the Armada they were 'in such condition, hull, rigging,
spars, and running rope, that they had no match in the world either for
speed, safety, or endurance.'

There is no space here to speak of Sir John's father, 'the pioneer of
English adventure in the South Seas,' who made three famous voyages to
Brazil, and laid a good foundation for future traffic in that he
'behaved wisely' to the natives; nor to do more than glance at the
ventures of Sir John's son, Sir Richard Hawkins, the 'Complete Seaman,'
whose 'high-spirited actions, had they been all duly recorded (as pity
it is, they were not),' says Prince, 'would have made a large volume in
themselves.' Sir Richard rediscovered the Falkland Isles, and passed the
Straits of Magellan. His fleet was reduced to a single vessel, and he
had taken five richly laden ships, when 'the King of Spain's vice-roy in
those parts' sent 'eight ships to intercept him. Sir Richard Hawkins
held the fight for three days, with but three score and fifteen men and
boys, against thirteen hundred of the enemy, and those the choice of
Peru.' In the end, being 'dangerously wounded in six several places,'
and with many of his crew killed or wounded, he was forced to surrender
upon 'honourable articles of life and liberty,' which, however, were not
observed, and he was sent to Spain, where for long years he remained a
prisoner. Sir Richard left an account of his 'Voyage to the South
Sea'--a 'record of misfortune, but of misfortune which did no dishonour
to him who sank under it; and there is a melancholy dignity in the style
in which Hawkins tells his story, which seems to say that ... he
respects himself still for the heart with which he endured a shame which
would have broken a smaller man.' A second William Hawkins, Sir John's
brother, commanded a Huguenot vessel under the commission of the Prince
of Condé; and yet another William of a younger generation went as
ambassador of the East India Company to the Great Mogul, and succeeded
in setting up a trading station at Surat.

Every Plymouth hero, however, is eclipsed by Sir Francis Drake, who is
always counted their chief, though he was born near Tavistock. 'Could my
pen as ably describe his worth as my heart prompteth to it, I would make
this day-star appear at noon-day as doth the full moon at midnight,' is
Risdon's ecstatic exclamation.

When all his grand qualities and successes have been contemplated, it is
still rather surprising to find the extraordinary impression he created
in that epoch of heroic enterprise. The stories of magic that have
clustered round his name witness to his wonderful personality, for
naturally they are much more significant than those that have been woven
around the older heroes of a more superstitious, less civilized age.
These legends must have been handed down to generation after generation,
for, writing about 1835, Mrs Bray mentions that the peasantry near
Tavistock still talked of the 'old warrior,' as they called him. To
choose one or two at random, there is the story that once, after he had
been away for a very long time, his wife supposed him to be dead, and
thought that she was free to marry again. A spirit whispered the news to
Sir Francis, who was at the Antipodes. At once he fired a great
cannon-ball, 'so truly aimed that it shot up right through the globe,
forced its way into the church, and fell with a loud explosion between
the lady and her intended bridegroom. "It is the signal of Drake!" she
exclaimed. "He is alive, and I am still a wife. There must be neither
troth nor ring between thee and me."' Another story tells that after he
had finished the ever-famous game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, which was
interrupted by tidings of the Armada, Sir Francis cut up a block of
wood, and flung the chips into the sea, when every ship became a
fire-ship, and the enemy's fleet was really destroyed because of the
'irresistable strength of those vessels that he had called up to "flame
amazement" on the foes of Elizabeth and of England.'

When the citizens of Plymouth wanted a more abundant supply of water,
they appealed to Drake, and he was ready to help them. 'So he called for
his horse, mounted, rode to Dartmoor, and hunted about till he found a
very fine spring. Having fixed on one that would suit his purpose, he
gave a smart lash to his horse's side, pronouncing as he did so some
magical words, when off went the animal as fast as he could gallop, and
the stream followed his heels all the way into the town.' It is not
possible here to pick more legends from the group, excepting one which
was certainly told among the people a few years ago. Drake promised,
they said, that if ever the country were hard pressed by any foe, and
his countrymen should call him by striking his drum, he would hear them,
and come back and scatter the enemy.

Of Drake it has been said that 'his Puritanism went hand-in-hand with
his love of adventure. 'To sell negroes to the planters, to kill
Spaniards, to sack gold-ships, was in the young seaman's mind the work
of "the elect of God"'--a belief that no doubt partly explains how the
most desperate circumstances seemed unable to teach him the meaning of
fear. It is easy to understand how a leader who combined such glorious
courage with great unselfishness could take his men anywhere. On
arriving off the coast, on his first independent voyage to America, he
found this encouraging greeting--'a plate of lead, fastened to a very
great tree,' engraved with a message which began:


     'If you fortune to come into this port, make haste away, for the
     Spaniards which you had with you here last year have betrayed this

The message was signed by Captain Garret of Plymouth. Quite undismayed
by the warning, Drake led his company to Nombre de Dios, which they
successfully attacked. Here he received a dangerous wound; though he
valiantly concealed it a long time, knowing if the general's heart
stoops, the men's will fall, and that if so bright an opportunity once
setteth, it seldom riseth again.' And he went forward till 'at the
public treasury they had discovered ... bars of silver, piled up against
the wall, seventy foot in length, ten in breadth, and twelve in height
... withal telling them, "That he had brought them to the mouth of the
treasury of the world."' But before much could be done his strength
failed and he fainted, when his followers became aware of the wound that
he had not mentioned, but from which he was losing 'so much blood as
filled his very footsteps in the sands.' They were at once anxious to
take him back to his ship; Drake, on recovering consciousness, being the
only man who wished them to persevere in their search for gold and
jewels. But his men 'added force to their entreaties, and so carried him
to his pinnace.'

As soon as he was able, Drake started on fresh enterprises with varying
success, and after several months had passed on returning laden with
treasure to the point on the coast at which he expected to meet his
pinnaces, to his great dismay he found none, but saw seven Spanish ships
lying in the distance. The company instantly fell into despair,
convinced that their pinnaces had been taken and the crews tortured, and
that they themselves were left alone in the midst of the enemy's
country, from which they could not escape. Drake's self-possession alone
was unshaken, and, after casting about for some way of reaching safety,
he noticed trees floating slowly down the river. With 'the most
confident and cheerful expression, he asked: "Who would accompany him to
sea on the raft he was about to form with those timbers?"' A sail was
'made of a bisket-sack,' and with 'an oar shaped out of a young tree for
a rudder,' they set out to sea, in danger of being swamped by every
wave, and often waist-deep in water. After about six hours of extreme
peril they sighted the pinnaces, and in the end Drake succeeded in
reaching them, and was able to carry away the rest of his company and
the treasure.

An incident that happened when Drake was taking leave of some friendly
negroes showed his generous disposition. 'Pedro, ... an eminent person
among the Symerons, and one who had been greatly serviceable to Captain
Drake, had a great mind to a rich cymeter the captain had, but was
unwilling to ask it, lest he should prize it also: which known, the
captain freely presented it to him. Who being willing to make a grateful
return, desired him to accept of four wedges of gold, as a pledge of his
thanks: whose importunity not being able to avoid, Captain Drake
received them courteously, but threw them into the common stock, saying,
"That it was just that those who bore part of the charge with him, in
setting him to sea, should likewise enjoy their full proportion of the
advantage at his return."'

All Drake's voyages and adventures, however, did not prevent him from
keeping in touch with Plymouth and local interests. In 1581 he was
Mayor; for four years he represented the borough in Parliament, and he
certainly did bring the citizens water from Dartmoor, though at greater
pains than in the fashion described in the legend. In memory of this
great service there is still an annual ceremony called the Fishing
Feast. The Mayor and Corporation inspect the leat by which the water is
brought to Plymouth, attended by a huge crowd of spectators, and
afterwards two toasts are drunk--one in water, to 'The pious memory of
Sir Francis Drake,' and the other in wine--'May the descendants of him
who brought us water never want wine.'

Plymouth townsfolk had every reason to be glad when the _Pelican_ sailed
into the harbour after her voyage round the world, for it was not only a
national hero, but their own particular countryman and good friend, that
they hurried out to welcome.

Amongst 'Commendations by Principal Persons friendly to the Author or
the Work' which preface a book written by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, are some
lines by Sir Francis which are very expressive of the views that seem to
have guided his life. The book, whose aim must have been to encourage
the idea of settling in the new colony, is called 'A true Report of the
late Discoveries and Possession taken in the Right of the Crowne of
Englande, of the _New found_ Landes.' I do not quote the whole poem:

    'Who seekes by gaine and wealth to advance his house and blood,
    Whose care is great, whose toile no less, whose hope is all for good,
    If anie one there bee that covettes such a trade,
    Lo heere the plot for commonwealth, and private gaine is made.

    'He that for vertue's sake will venture farre and neere,
    Whose zeale is strong, whose practize trueth, whose faith is void of
    If any such there bee, inflamed with holie care,

    'Heere may hee finde a readie meane his purpose to declare,
    So that for each degree this Treatise dooth unfolde
    The path to fame, the proofe of zeale, and way to purchase golde.'

Drake's audacity was never more amazing than in the expedition of 1587,
when he sailed along the Spanish and Portuguese coast, plundering and
burning the ships in their own harbours. His fearlessness filled the
Spaniards with a very generous admiration. 'So praised was Drake for his
valour of them, that were it not that he was a Lutheran, they said,
there was not the like man in the world.' Once, when the King invited a
lady of the Court to go in his barge on a lake near Madrid, 'the lady
said she dared not trust herself in the water even with his Majesty,
lest Sir Francis Drake should have her.' His name passed even into
nursery songs, and one of them has been translated as follows:

    'My brother Don John
    To England is gone,
        To kill the Drake,
    And the Queen to take,
    And the heretics all to destroy;
        And he will give me,
        When he comes back,
            A Lutheran boy,
            With a chain on his neck,
    And our Lady Grandmama shall have
    To wait upon her a Lutheran slave.'

It was about sixteen months later that Drake, amongst the band of famous
captains gathered at Plymouth, watched the long-awaited Armada sailing
in a great crescent up the Channel. The English popular view of the
invasion is, perhaps, reflected in a ballad which was written soon after
the event. It is called 'Sir Francis Drake; or, Eighty-eight.'

    'In eyghtye-eyght, ere I was borne,
        As I can well remember,
    In August was a fleet prepared,
        The moneth before September.

    'Spayne, with Biscayne, Portugall,
        Toledo, and Granado,
    All these did meet, and made a fleet,
        And called it the Armado.

    'When they had gott provision,
        As mustard, pease, and bacon;
    Some say two shipps were full of whipps,
        But I thinke they were mistaken.

    'There was a little man of Spaine
        That shott well in a gunn-a--
    Don Pedro bright, as good a knight
        As the knight of the sunn-a.

    'King Phillip made him Admiral,
        And charged him not to stay-a--
    But to destroy both man and boy,
        And then to runn away-a.

    'The King of Spayne did freet amayne,
        And to doe yet more harme-a,
    He sent along to make him strong
        The famous Prince of Parma.

    When they had sayl'd along the seas,
        And anchored uppon Dover,
    Our Englishmen did board them then,
        And cast the Spaniards over.

    'Oure Queene was then att Tilbury;
        What could you more desire-a?
    For whose sweete sake Sir Francis Drake
        Did sett them all on fyre-a.

    'But let them look about themselfes;
        For if they come again-a.
    They shall be served with that same sauce
        As they were, I know when-a.'

In 1595 Sir Francis and Sir John Hawkins started on that ill-starred
expedition to the West Indies, from which neither returned. Sir Francis
died, and was buried at sea.

    'The waves became his winding-sheet, the waters were his tomb;
    But, for his fame, the ocean sea was not sufficient room.'

The translation of what Prince calls an 'ingenuous epigram' written in
Latin is beneath his portrait in the Guildhall:

    'Sir Drake, whom well the world's end knew,
      Which thou didst compasse round,
    And whom both poles of Heaven one saw,
      Which North and South doe bound:
    The starrs above will make thee known,
      If men here silent were;
    The Sunn himself cannot forget
      His fellow Traveller.'

In 1606 the Plymouth Trading Company was granted its charter. The
Company was formed with the aim of planting colonies in America but it
was not a great success, and the extortionate claims of the members to a
monopoly of very important privileges brought them into violent
collision with the more flourishing Massachusetts Company, as well as
with owners of certain fishing-vessels, whom they called 'interlopers.'
The company was eventually dissolved in 1635.

In 1620 there came into Plymouth Harbour that little band of Puritans
known to posterity as the Pilgrim Fathers. For the sake of liberty of
conscience they had been living for some years at Leyden, and they had
now resolved to take up a new life in America. The start was not
auspicious, for after leaving Southampton they were forced to put into
Dartmouth for repairs, and were afterwards obliged to stop at Plymouth,
where the _Speedwell_ was declared to be unseaworthy. Serious
alterations of their plans had to be made, but at last, 'all troubles
being blown over,' the travellers were 'compacted together in the one
ship,' and on September 6, 1620, 'thirteen years after the first
colonization of Virginia, two months before the concession of the grand
charter of Plymouth, without any warrant from the sovereign of England,
without any useful charter from a corporate body, the passengers in the
_Mayflower_ set sail for a New World.'

King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria paid a visit to the town, to
speed a fleet sent, with disastrous results, against Spain. The
expedition was in a miserable plight to begin with. For some while
before it was able to leave the country, a hungry penniless army had
been thrown upon the citizens of Plymouth. An enormous debt had been
created in equipping it, and the soldiers' allowances were hopelessly
inadequate to provide them with a proper supply of food or clothes. 'A
more ragged, ribald, and rebellious herde never gathered on the eve of
an important expedition. Mutiny was common in the town, and the
ringleaders were tried at Drum-head, and shot in the nearest open
space.... Incensed at the disregard of their appeals, the publicans
thrust the soldiers to doors; and the outcasts, turning highwaymen,
stole cattle and sheep with impunity, slew the animals, and cooked the
joints "in the open eye of the world," and sullenly vowed that they
would have "meat rather than famish." The fleet returned some weeks
later in shame and disgrace, and the state of the men was even more
miserable than when they started, for now the plague was raging amongst
them. 'There was neither "meat nor drink available"; such provisions as
had been doled out were often unfit for food, and "men die after eating
them."' Pennington, the Vice-Admiral at Plymouth, sent petition after
petition to the authorities for necessary supplies. 'Send the money, or
it will break my heart, for I am so followed about and called upon that
I know not what to do.' The misery was long drawn out, for when the
plague was at an end, and townspeople were able to return to their
homes, there was but a short respite before they were again overwhelmed
by a great number of undisciplined soldiers, and 'no means of housing,
feeding, or clothing them.' Naturally, they helped themselves at the
expense of the citizens. 'Haunted by the cries of my soldiers,' Sir
Ferdinando Gorges, the Governor, was reduced to distributing among them
a cargo of oil that had been captured, with the assertion that it was
'as healthy as butter.'

'Most despair here,' wrote Lord Holland briefly, and 'the distress was
so acute that the Mayor raised the standard of revolt. The losses of the
town had been calamitous--first at the hands of pirates, next by
collapse of trade, and finally by the billeting.'

No doubt Plymouth's consistent hostility to the King's party throughout
the war is in part explained by the results of this wretched state of
affairs, and by the persecution of their Vice-Admiral, the heroic member
for St Germans, Sir John Eliot.

As soon as the war broke out, Plymouth's sympathies were plainly shown,
and before long Sir Ralph Hopton made an attack on the town. On December
1, 1642, Royalists and Parliamentarians 'stood upon the Lary for the
space of three hours' facing one another, but each too cautious to make
the first move and leave a point of vantage. The siege was seriously
undertaken three months later, when Hopton concentrated all his forces
upon the town. As Plymouth could always be supplied by sea, there was no
chance of its being starved into submission, and already it was gravely
doubted whether the town would ever be taken. By the beginning of July
nearly all the Royalist forces had been drawn off, and Plymouth set to
work with great energy to strengthen the defences by building a new
wall. Tradition says that even women and children took a share in the
work. In August an attack was made by Colonel Digby, but the town was at
this time threatened by a greater danger--the treachery of Sir Alexander
Carew, commander of the Fort and of Drake's Island. 'He was proved an
Apostate,' says a contemporary account, 'and went about to betray that
island and the town of Plymouth into the hands of Cornish cavaliers, but
was prevented by the fidelity of his honest soldiers.' Sir Alexander was
arrested by order of the Mayor, and sent to London, where eventually he
was beheaded.

Prince Maurice marched on the town after he had taken Dartmouth, and
there followed three weeks of assaults and skirmishes, much hard
fighting, and many desperate struggles. In the end the besiegers
succeeded in capturing Mount Stamford, a fort on the south of the
Cattewater, 'the first and only advantage gained by the Royalists during
the protracted and often revived siege.' An invitation to surrender on
lenient conditions made the townspeople waver, but the Governor,
Colonel Wardlaw, stood firm. All were ordered to take a solemn vow and
covenant, which pledged each one to take part in the defence 'to the
utmost of my power.' And the town, hitherto 'divided and heartless in
its defence, now grew to be united.'

On Sunday, December 3, there fell the Sabbath-day Fight, and the most
critical moments of the siege. Prince Maurice and 'all the gallantry of
his army' threw their whole force against the garrison, who advanced to
meet them. 'The Roundheads were outnumbered ten to one, and driven back
in absolute rout for the space of three fields.' Joined by a small
number of reinforcements, they rallied after an interval, and charged
the enemy, who yielded. The garrison pressed their advantage. 'The
retreat, followed up, became a rout,' and the acutest danger was past.

Not long afterwards the siege was raised for a time. The poor people had
suffered much from the scarcity of food, though once they had been
cheered by a wonderful supply. 'There came an infinite number of
pilchards into the harbour within the Barbican, which the people took up
with great ease in baskets, which did not only refresh them for the
present, but a great deal more were taken, preserved and salted, whereby
the poor got much money.' It was not only by endurance that the women
had shown their courage, for in the midst of some of the engagements
they had brought out provisions 'for the refreshing of our soldiers,
though many women were shot through the clothes.'

Assaults, occasional sorties, and intervals of comparative peace
followed one another till, in September 1644, the King appeared in
person before the town, and tried first by force of arms and then by
offering very indulgent terms to bring about its surrender. The answer
to the King was not sent till the day after his summons had been
received, but 'if not speedy, it was decided--"Never."' A second futile
assault was made by the Royalists, and then the King and Prince Maurice
with their troops, turned their backs on Plymouth. For four months
longer the blockade was continued, and at the end of that time Sir
Richard Grenville made a very determined effort, attacking at four
points simultaneously. A desperate struggle ensued in which he gained
nothing and lost three hundred men killed, and many hundreds wounded.
Another twelve months passed without any serious attempt to storm the
town, and in January, 1646, on Fairfax's advance upon Dartmouth the
siege was finally raised, the Royalists marching away in such haste that
guns, arms, and ammunition were left behind.

Charles II paid several visits to the town, and on one occasion he
attended the service at St Andrew's Church where a state canopy and
throne had been prepared for him and where sufferers were brought to him
to be 'touched for the king's evil.' A ridiculous incident marked
another visit. The Mayor, rather agitated by the honour of entertaining
the King, and anxious to find the best means of giving him pleasure, had
the happy inspiration of inviting His Majesty to look at the outworks
that had protected Plymouth 'in the time of the late war.' The King's
reply was 'on a sudden' to walk to the landing-steps, get into his
pinnace, and start for Mount Edgcumbe. The Mayor in great dismay,
followed by the Aldermen, who had come in their robes in state to attend
on the King, hurried down to the water's edge and taking possession of a
wherry, they started off as fast as they could in pursuit. It is
satisfactory to know that by the time they succeeded in catching up the
King he had quite recovered his usual good-humour.

Plymouth was to some degree affected by the Revocation of the Edict of
Nantes, for it had always been a refuge for the Huguenots--the
Rochellers, as they are often called in sixteenth-century
chronicles--and now many of them fled to this shelter. The first party
of about fifty people crossed the Channel in an open boat, and their
flight was followed by a great number of refugees. These settled in the
town, and many of their descendants married English people, and the
little colony became absorbed into the general population. A curious
glimpse of the original refugees is given in a letter written in 1762 by
Mr Pentecost Barker, of Plymouth, to the Rev. Samuel Merivale. He says:
'Those, of whom I remember many scores, who came from France in 1685-6,
etc., are mostly dead, and their offspring are more English than French,
and will go to the English Church, though some few may come to us. What
an alteration Time makes! There was ... a French Calvinist Church and a
Church of England French Church here, besides a Church at Stonehouse.
Many women in wooden shoes--very poor, but very industrious--living on
limpets, snails, garlick, and mushrooms.'

In the latter half of the eighteenth century Plymouth vibrated with the
excitement of fights and victories at sea, several engagements being
fought at a short distance off the coast. Many prizes and some of our
own disabled ships were brought into the harbour, 'dismasted and riddled
French battleships,' sometimes even with 'their decks blackened with
powder and coursed by the blood of the victims.' Unless the local annals
are closely studied, it is almost impossible to realize the rapid
succession of these events, and the effect they must have produced on
the townspeople. A sarcastic picture has been drawn of a student
attempting to work in the midst of the bursts of enthusiasm that
perpetually thrilled the town. He is first interrupted by 'a shout in
the street, and the servant rushed in to announce that the enemy had
landed,' and the Volunteers were going out to meet them. The student,
having disposed of this report, settles to work again, when 'the strains
of a soul-stirring march, with abundant drum, were borne on the air, and
the servant again bounded into the room to proclaim the return of
the--th Regiment, "with only 200 returned out of 600, sir, colours shot
through and through, poor fellows, all looking terribly tanned--here
they are, sir, just passing the door." The pageant is witnessed by the
student, and as the tumult subsides he resumes his scholarly pursuits.
Soon a great gun shakes every window in the house. "What can this mean?"
Enter Sam once more. "I beg your pardon, sir, but they say a
man-of-war's in the Sound, bringing in two ships of the line, French
prizes. All the people are running to the Hoe, sir; I hope you'll let me
go." Down goes the book once more, and the student is as mad as his
neighbours as the victorious ship and her prizes, with the Jack flying
triumphantly over the tricoloured flag, sails majestically into the
harbour amid deafening cheers.... Such was the average Plymouth day.'

Several times the town was threatened by a French invasion and badly
scared, but the greatest fear was felt in 1779, when for four days the
united French and Spanish fleets lay off the Sound. Plymouth had every
reason to be afraid; for, had the enemy but known it, there were at that
moment but two small armed vessels to defend the harbour. Crowds of
women and children left the town in haste and confusion, thousands of
country-people tramped to the coast to have a look at the enemy. A few
private persons made single-handed efforts to strengthen the defences,
and a little later 'the bustle was again revived by the hourly arrival
of troops, baggage, waggons, and powder.'

It is said that in Totnes the saying, 'Going to Paignton to meet the
French,' is still a synonym for meeting trouble halfway. Amongst endless
stories of fears and flights, there is one of delightful

'One old sailor ... had his wits about him, when his daughter shook him
out of a deep sleep with the news that the French had landed. Rubbing
his eyes, he told her to go and look at the weathercock. She came back,
saying the wind was from the north. "I thought so," said he, "and so it
was yesterday. The French can't land with this wind." And so the ancient
mariner turned round and went to sleep again.'

Alarms, suspense, and occasional ecstasies of triumph followed one
another till the final defeat of Napoleon. For several days the
_Bellerophon_ actually lay in Plymouth Harbour, to the intense
excitement of the townspeople, who circled round the ship as closely as
might be in the hope of catching a glimpse of the captive Emperor.

To the north-east of Plymouth lies Saltram, the great house and wide,
beautiful grounds that belong to Lord Morley. Saltram is in the parish
of Plympton St Mary, once celebrated for the large and important Priory
which for some time governed the affairs of Plymouth. Plympton St Mary
is neighbour to the parish of Plympton St Maurice and the little town
of Plympton Erle. On the north of the town are the ruins of the Norman
castle built chiefly by Richard de Redvers, and razed to the ground in
the reign of Stephen. It was rebuilt not long afterwards. A fragment of
a small keep is all that remains of the stonework, but the Normans'
castle was raised upon a fort that was standing when they arrived, and
'the earthworks of the conquered are more enduring than the stone
defences of the conqueror.' The mound on which the keep stands, and the
banks that enclose a base-court about seven hundred and ten feet long
and three hundred and eighty feet wide, have been little harmed or
altered and are still in a very perfect condition; but the moat that
once surrounded them has been partly filled in.

The father of Sir Joshua Reynolds was master of the Grammar School of
Plympton Erle, and here the great painter was born. In the crowded days
of his middle life he gave a proof of his interest in his native town by
being its Mayor, and on his election presented the town with his own
portrait painted by himself. The picture was hung in the Guildhall, and
Sir Joshua asked the Recorder of the borough to see that it was hung in
a good position. In his reply the Recorder paid a compliment whose full
meaning he did not grasp. He explained that 'he had seen to this, and
the portrait hung between old pictures of Ourry and Edgecumbe which
serve as foils, and set it off to great advantage. This letter greatly
amused Sir Joshua, who knew that these old pictures were early works of
his own.'


The Tamar and the Tavy

                        'Tavy creeps upon
    The western vales of fertile Albion;
    Here dashes roughly on an aged rock,
    That his intended passage doth up-lock;...
    Here digs a cave at some high mountain's foot,
    There undermines an oak, tears up his root:...
    As (woo'd by May's delights) I have been borne
    To take the kind air of a wistful morn
    Near Tavy's voiceful stream (to whom I owe
    More strains than from my pipe can ever flow).
    Here have I heard a sweet bird never lin[7]
    To chide the river for his clam'rous din;...
    So numberless the songsters are that sing
    In the sweet groves of that too-careless spring...
    Among the rest a shepherd (though but young,
    Yet hearten'd to his pipe), with all the skill
    His few years could, began to fit his quill.
    By Tavy's speedy stream he fed his flock,
    Where when he sat to sport him on a rock,
    The water-nymphs would often come unto him,
    And for a dance with many gay gifts woo him.
    Now posies of this flower, and then of that;
    Now with fine shells, then with a rushy hat,
    With coral or red stones brought from the deep
    To make him bracelets, or to mark his sheep.'

    W. BROWNE: _Britannia's Pastorals_.

[Footnote 7: Cease.]

Tavistock is a quiet little 'ancient borough,' which at the first glance
from the hill to the north-west suggests the early-Victorian word
'embowered,' for it looks as if the rudiments of the town had arisen in
the midst of a large wood. The town lies chiefly in a hollow, and the
trees that cover the sides surround and encroach upon the streets in the
pleasantest way, and their foliage, the hills on every side, and the
rushing Tavy through the midst, give an un-townlike air that is
charming. But to imagine, from this rustic and very still look, that the
place lacked history, would be to make a great mistake. On the contrary,
its history starts in such very early days that only a few scattered
relics remain to show the wave of human life that passed over the

Between A.D. 240 and the latter half of the sixth century, the Irish
made many invasions, overran the South and West of England, and settled
colonies in parts of Devon and Cornwall, more especially along their
northern coasts. Mr Baring-Gould, in a most interesting paper, sketches
out the various descents and settlements, and traces them by their stone
monuments and by the names of the Irish saints that they left in
churches and villages and holy wells. Some of the invaders established
themselves near Tavistock, and tokens of them have been found in the
neighbourhood in the shape of three stones bearing inscriptions--one in
Ogham characters. The stones are now in the Vicarage garden. 'On one,
which is over seven feet high, occurs a name, probably of a Sept or
tribe in Kerry, where several stones inscribed with the same name are
found. On the third are the words: "Dobunii Fabri fili Enabarri...."
Dobun was a _faber_, or smith. In Celtic organizations every _tuatha_,
or tribe, had its chief smith.... Dobunii ... is the Latin for the
genitive Douvinias, also a Kerry name.... Here, then, we have written
and engraven in stone for our learning the record of an Irish settlement
from Kerry in the neighbourhood of Tavistock.'

Mr Baring-Gould further mentions briefly the different tribes and
peoples that have invaded and possessed themselves of the land, to be in
turn conquered by new-comers, and the eventual, amalgamation of races,
and quotes Professor Sullivan to the discomfiture of those who
rhapsodize over the 'pure Celt' in Great Britain or Ireland--for, after
all, it was Irish colonists and conquerors who 'gave their name to
Scotland, and at one time occupied the coast of Wales and 'West

Professor Sullivan writes: 'The Irish tenants of to-day are composed of
the descendants of Firbolgs and other British and Belgic races;
Milesians ... Gauls, Norwegians, Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Normans, and
English.... This is a fact which should be remembered by those who
theorize over the qualities of the "pure Celt," whoever they may be.'
There are many amateurs whose views would be less tedious if they could
be convinced by Professor Sullivan.

The memory of one Irish saint clung for centuries to Tavistock, for the
abbey was dedicated jointly to St Mary the Holy Virgin, and to St Rumon,
an Irish missionary who came over to Cornwall. The abbey has
unfortunately been totally destroyed, and various buildings now stand on
its site. The old chapter-house was pulled down by a certain Saunders,
'of barbarous memory,' 'to make way for a modern house now called the
Bedford Hotel.' The refectory is used as a Unitarian chapel, and still
keeps its fine pinnacled porch. A ruined tower covered with ivy, called
Betsy Grimbal's Tower (a young woman was supposed to have been murdered
in it), stands in grounds close by, and the other chief fragments still
to be seen are the monks' still-house, a little bit of the abbey church
wall, and the remains of a battlemented wall following the line of the
river. The north gateway is the most perfect remnant and that has been
restored. Of the religious houses in the Diocese of Exeter this
monastery was the most important, and it eclipsed them all by 'the
extent, convenience, and magnificence of its buildings.' Orgar, Earl of
Devon, founded it in 961, and Ordulph, his son, completed it on such a
grand scale, that there was room for one thousand inhabitants.

The abbey had only stood for about thirty years, when a frightful blow
fell: the Danes burst upon the country, harrying it with fire and sword.
They landed in Cornwall, and here Egbert hastened with his army and
defeated them at Hingston Down; but a great horde broke away, and
crossing the border descended on Tavistock, where the inhabitants in a
body rose to meet them and a terrible battle was fought. Its deadly
nature is summed up with great directness in an old jingle:

    'The blood which flowed down West Street
    Would heave a stone a pound weight.'

The abbey was robbed and then burned to the ground. No time, however,
can have been lost in rebuilding it, for about thirty years later
Livingus, the Abbot, was made Bishop of Devonshire, and was specially
chosen by King Canute to accompany him on his pilgrimage to Rome.

Tavistock was a Benedictine monastery, over which forty abbots ruled in
succession. Some of the later ones were noted for their lack of
discipline--even to the point of allowing the monks 'to affect the
fashionable costume of the times, adopting the secular buttoned hoods
and beaked boots'; but the earlier abbots were both pious and learned,
and one of the earliest printing-presses set up in England was owned by
the abbey. The first statutes of the stannaries that ever were printed
were printed here: a 'Confirmation of the Charter perteynynge to all the
tynners wythyn the co[=u]ty of Devonshyre wyth their Statutes also made
at Crockeryntorre by the whole ass[=e]t and c[=o]set of al the sayd
tynners'--of the date 1510. In very early days the abbots were 'lessees
of the Devonshire stannaries ... and controllers of the issues of royal
mines in Devon and part of Cornwall,' says Dr. Oliver.

At the Dissolution the King presented the abbey and most of its estates
to the Earl of Bedford. The first trace of this great family in
Devonshire that I have been able to find is a lawsuit in regard to
certain lands, between John Russell and Rohesia his wife and Henry de
Pomeroy, which took place in the reign of King John. But there was a
much closer connection with the county in later days. Unfortunately,
space makes it impossible to touch on more than a few of the most
striking events in the career of John Russell, first Earl of Bedford, to
whom the Abbey was granted.

On January 11, 1506, the Archduke Philip of Austria was driven by a
violent storm to take shelter at Weymouth, where Sir Thomas Trenchard,
Governor of the Coast, hurried to receive him, and to offer such
entertainment as he could provide. It so happened that there was staying
with Sir Thomas a young cousin lately returned from his travels, who
combined great 'skill in foreign languages ... with his sprightly
conversation and polite address.' The Archduke was enchanted to find
someone better acquainted with his speech and customs than the
stay-at-home squires who surrounded him, and when he set out for Windsor
he would not leave Mr Russell behind. To the King the Archduke praised
his protégé in glowing words, and he was given a small post at Court.
Nature had favoured him at the start, for he is said to have been of 'a
moving beauty that ... exacted a liking if not a love from all that saw
him' and to this valuable gift was added that of a 'learned discourse
and generous deportment.'

On the accession of Henry VIII, he won the good-will of the young King
by the zeal with which he threw himself into 'the dance, the Masque, the
pagent, the tourney,' in which Henry himself delighted; and he soon had
a chance for distinguishing himself in serious matters. In 1513 he
accompanied the King in his campaign in France, and on the march an
unusually large cannon was 'overturned in a lagoon.... Impatient to
signalise himself by some intrepid exploit, Mr Russell had the boldness
to attempt its recovery, in the face of ten thousand French,' and 'with
but two hundred and fifty adventurers under him as resolute as himself,
he succeeded in the effort.'

In 1517 Mr Russell was appointed Deputy-Governor of Tournay; in 1532 he
was knighted after taking part in a descent on the coast of Brittany,
and in later years he rose to positions of great and greater importance.
When Henry was supporting the Constable de Bourbon against his
Sovereign, Francis I, Sir John was entrusted with the dangerous mission
of conveying a huge sum of money through a country where many were well
affected to the French King.

One of his first steps was to leave his company at a town on the
frontier with orders to spread the news that he was ill, whilst he
hastened without escort and with the money--Henry had promised the Duke
de Bourbon 100,000 crowns a month--to Geneva. Here he heard the
comforting news that the Swiss and Frenchmen were so certain of robbing
him that they had already 'lotted every of the captains his portion of
the said money.' With great speed and secrecy he caused it to be 'packed
in bales, trussed with baggage, as oats or old clothes, to make it
bulky, and nicked with a merchant's mark.' As a further precaution he
begged the help of the Duke of Savoy, who eventually allowed muleteers
in his service to hire mules as if for his own use to take it across the
mountains, and 'so bruit it to be carried as his stuff unto the Duchess
his wife.' Arrived at Chambéry, the secret of the bales was allowed to
leak a very little, and Sir John, knowing that there were 'divers
ambushes and enterprises set for to attrap me,' set out again with his
bales towards Geneva. Out of sight of the town he altered his course for
Mont Cenis. And this expedient was in itself a blind, for two or three
days before Sir John's departure the treasure had been sent very
secretly on other mules to Turin, where it arrived safely. He finishes
his account with conscious simplicity: 'Which ways was occasion, as I
think the said enterprises to fail of their purpose.'

Sir John met with many very exciting adventures, of which perhaps the
most interesting is one that happened to him at Bologna, for here he was
very skilfully rescued from an unpleasant position by the great Thomas
Cromwell, then a practically unknown soldier. Sir John was passing
through the town, when he was very treacherously stopped and surrounded
in his hotel by the municipal authorities. Cromwell managed to persuade
them that he was a Neapolitan acquaintance of Sir John, and that if he
might speak to him he would be able to induce the knight to surrender
himself into their hands. But what he actually did was to suggest to Sir
John that he should change clothes with a servant that Cromwell had
brought with him, and in this disguise he helped him to escape from the

When Cromwell came to England, it was Sir John who first commended him
to Wolsey's notice.

In the reign of Charles I, William, Lord Russell (afterwards Earl of
Bedford), and Pym, the great commoner, were returned together as
co-members for Tavistock; and when war was declared the Earl of Bedford
sided with the Parliament and was appointed to raise the Devonshire
Militia for them. He was not personally hostile to the King but thought,
like others, that if Charles saw the Parliament in arms against him, he
would realize that the nation was resolute in defence of its liberty.
The Earl of Bedford, at the head of his recruits, engaged the enemy near
Sherborne Castle, and was victorious; and at the battle of Edge Hill he
'was reported by Lord Wharton to have done extraordinary service.' Later
he was among those most anxious for a treaty of peace, but he suffered
from holding too moderate views. In taking up arms against the King he
had offended the Queen too bitterly to be well received when he, in
company with some other peers, went to the Court at Oxford, and his
sympathy with the King alienated him from the Parliament. Sincerely
anxious for peace, he soon saw the hopelessness of all efforts in that
direction, and long before the struggle was over he practically withdrew
from public affairs.

Tavistock's greatest glory, Sir Francis Drake, has already been spoken
of; but among the lesser lights is a Captain fully worthy to have sailed
in the company of Queen Elizabeth's illustrious Captains, though he
lived in the less triumphant days of Charles I. Captain Richard Peeke,
or Peke, or Pike (he signs himself Peeke in his pamphlet, but in a
private letter Dr. Meddus, a contemporary, refers to him as Pike), has
left no account of his career, only that of his great adventure in

A local schoolmaster hails him with these flamboyant lines:

    'Search whither can be found again the like
    For noble prowess to our Tav'stock Pike,--
    In whose renowned, never-dying name
    Live England's honour and the Spaniard's shame.'

In 1625 Peeke joined the force that King Charles and Queen Henrietta
helped to start from Plymouth. Sir Edward Cecil was in command, and, as
a result of this expedition, earned for himself the nickname of
Sit-Still. Peeke's account is excellent, although he begins by saying
that he knows not 'the fine Phrases of Silken Courtiers'; but 'a good
Shippe I know and a poore Cabbin and the language of a Cannon ... as my
Breeding has bin Rough (scorning Delicacy) so must my Writings be.'

The first attack was made on 'Cales' (Cadiz), and Peeke gives a vivid
description of the hot and stubborn fight that took place before the
fort of Puntal surrendered. The whole army was then landed, but Peeke
did not go with them; 'for I was no Land Soldier, and therefore all that
while kept aboard.' As the fate of the expedition has nothing to do with
his story, it is enough to say that the men got very much out of hand,
the Commander, in great alarm, hurriedly retreated, and, without
attempting to follow up his victory on land, set sail in pursuit of a
Spanish fleet that he never came up with, and three weeks later returned
in disgrace to England.

To return to Richard Peeke. After the army had all landed he thought
that 'the late storms had beaten all the Spaniards in' for a time, and
that he would go on shore for a little diversion. Meeting some
Englishmen coming back to the ships, laden with 'Oranges and Lymons'
which they had taken from some gardens not far off, he set off to find
some fruit for himself, the men assuring him that there was no danger.
Less than a mile away, however, he came, '(for all their talking of no
danger), on Three Englishmen starke dead, being slayne, lying in the
way,' and another 'not fully dead.... I then resolved (and was about it)
for Christian Charities sake, and for Countries sake, to have carried
him on my back to our Shippes, farre off though they lay.... But my good
intents were prevented; for, on a sodaine, came rushing in vpon me a
Spanish Horseman, whose name as afterwards I was informed was Don Juan
of Cales, a Knight.... Five or sixe Skirmishes wee had, and for a pretty
while fought off and on.' As the fight went on Peeke got the better of
Don Juan, who 'fell on his knees and crying out in French to me,
_Pardone moy, je vous pree. Je suie un buon Chrestien_.... Having a
Soldier's minde to Rifle him, I searched for jewels, but found only five
Pieces of Eight about him.' Here Fortune turned, for 'fourteen Spanish
Muskateers, spying me so busy about one of their Countreymen,' came to
his rescue, and Peeke was forced to yield himself prisoner. 'True Valour
(I see) goes not aluaies in good Cloathes, for Don Juan (when my hands
were in a manner bound behind me) ... wounded me through the Face, from
Eare to Eare, and had there killed me, had not the fourteen Muskateers
rescued me from his Rage.'

Peeke was again severely wounded while being led through the streets of
Cadiz, but met with better treatment in prison, though his forebodings
were gloomy. And when he was soon afterwards sent for by the Governor to
Xeres, he went 'wondrous unwilling ... because I feared I should ther be
put to Tortures.' On the day of trial he was brought before a great
assembly of nobles, 'my sword lying before them on the table. It was
reached to me; I tooke it and embraced it in mine arms, and with teares
in my eyes kist the Pommel of it. He [the Duke of Medina] then demanded
how many men I had kild with that Weapon? I told him, if I had kild one,
I had not bene there now before that Princely Assembly, for when I had
him at my foote, begging for mercy, I gave him Life, yet he then very
poorely did me a mischiefe. Then they asked Don John (my Prisoner) what
Woundes I gave him; He sayd, None: Upon this he was rebuked and told,
that if upon our first Encounter, he had run me through, it had been a
faire and Noble Triumph; but so to wound me, being in the hands of
others, they held it Base.' Peake was now questioned as to the name of
his ship, the Captain, and the number of cannon on board. 'I sayd, forty
Peices. But the Lords, looking all this while on a Paper which they held
in their hands, Duke Medyna sayd, In their note there was but
thirty-eight.' He afterwards found that in that paper they had every
detail about 'our Shippes, their Burden, Men ... as perfect as wee
ourselves had them in England. Of what strength (quoth another Duke) is
the Fort of Plymouth? I answered, very Strong. What Ordnance in it?
Fifty, sayd I. That is not so, sayd he, there is but seuenteene. How
many Soldiers are in the Fort? I answered, Two hundred: That is not so
(quoth a Conde), there is but twenty.

'Marquesse Alquenezes asked me, of what strength the little Island was
before Plymouth. I told him, I know not; Then (quoth he), wee doe.

'Is Plymouth a Walled Towne? Yes, my Lords. And a good Wall? Yes, say I,
a very good Wall: True, sayd a Duke, to leape ouer with a Staffe. And
hath the Towne, sayd the Duke of Medyna, strong Gates? Yes. But, quoth
he, there were neither Wood nor Iron to those Gates, but two dayes
before your Fleete came away.' Among many other questions, they asked
why 'in all this Brauery of the Fleete the English had not taken Cales
as well as Puntal?' To which Peeke, who must have often asked this
question of himself, replied boldly that 'the Lord Generall ... was
loath to rob an Almeshouse, hauing a better Market to goe to. Cales, I
told them, was held Poore, unmanned, unmunitioned. What better market?
sayd Medyna. I told him Genoa or Lisbon.'

All around stood the 'Common People,' who made the ordeal still harder
by 'many jeerings, mockings, scornes, and bitter jests' against the
English, 'which I must not so much as bite my lippe against, but with an
inforced patient care stood still.... Amongst many other raproches and
spightfull Names, one of the _Spaniards_ called _English_ Men _Gallinas_
(Hennes).' This amused the 'Great Lords,' and one of them asked the
prisoner if the Spaniards, when they came to England (in war), would
prove such hens as the English. To which Peeke answered, 'somewhat
emboldned by his merry countenance,' that they would prove chickens.
'Darst thou then (quoth Duke of Medyna, with a browe half angry) fight
with one of these Spanish Pullets? O my Lord! sayd I, I am a Prisoner,
and my life at stake, and therefore dare not be so bold as to adventure
upon any such Action, ... Yet ... with all told him, he was unworthy of
the Name of an English Man, that should refuse to fight with one Man of
any Nation whatsoever. Hereupon my Shackells were knockt off and my Iron
Ring and Chayne taken from my Neck.'

The first challenger was quickly disposed of. 'I was then demanded, If I
durst Fight against an other? I told them my heart was good to
adventure; but I humbly requested them to giue me pardon if I refused.
For to my selfe I too well knew that the Spaniard is Haughty, Impatient
of the least affront: And when he received but a touch of any Dishonour,
Disgrace or Blemish (especially in his owne Countrey, and from an
English man) his Revenge is implacable, mortall and bloudy.

'Yet being by the Noblemen pressed agen and agen to try my Fortune with
an other, I (seeing my Life was in the Lyon's paw, to struggle with
whome for safety there was no way but one, and being afrayd to displease
them) sayd: That if their Graces and Greatnesses would giue me leave to
play at mine owne Countrey Weapon called the Quarter Staffe, I was then
ready there an Oposite, against any Commer.' When a 'hansome and well
Spirited Spaniard steps foorth, with his Rapier and Poniard,' Peeke
explained that he 'made little account of that One to play with, and
should shew them no Sport.

'Then a second (Arm'd as before) presents himselfe; I demanded if there
would come no more? The Dukes asked, how many I desired? I told them,
any number under sixe. Which resolution of mine, they smiling at, in a
kind of scorne, held it not Manly ... to worry one Man with a Multitude.

'Now Gentlemen, if here you condemne me for plucking (with mine owne
hands) such an assured danger upon mine head: Accept of these Reasons
for excuse.

'To dye, I thought it most certaine, but to dye basely, I would not: For
Three to kill One had bin to mee no Dishonour; To them (Weapons
considered) no Glory: An Honourable Subjection I esteemed better, than
an Ignoble conquest.... Only Heaven I had in mine eye, the Honor of my
Country in my heart, my Fame at the Stake, my Life on a narrow Bridge,
and death before and behind me.'

With a supreme effort Peeke succeeded in killing one of his opponents
and disabling the other two. Then for a moment he feared the threatening
anger of the crowd, but the nobles showed great generosity in their
admiration of his pluck, whether they felt mortified or not, and he was
treated with extreme kindness, both then and afterwards. He 'was kept
in the Marquesse Alquenezes House, who one day ... desired I would sing.
I willing to obey him (whose goodnesse I had tasted), did so, and sung
this Psalme: _When as we sate in Babylon, etc._ The meaning of which
being told he saide to me, _English_ Man, comfort thyself, for thou art
in no Captivity.'

Peeke was then sent to the King of Spain, who tried to keep him in his
service, but with a becoming gratitude for the favours shown to him,
Peeke begged to be allowed to return home, 'being a Subject onely to the
King of England.' Whereupon the King very magnanimously gave 'one
hundred Pistoletts to beare my charges.'

A play has been written called 'Dick of Devonshire,' in which the
adventures of 'Dick Pike' are set in the midst of a Spanish

Nothing is known of Peeke's life after he came back to his own country,
but there are strong reasons for believing that he returned to
Tavistock. And if it was himself, and not a namesake, who flourished
there, in 1638, our hero might be seen in an entirely new rôle, for that
year Richard Peeke filled the peaceful office of people's churchwarden!

Tavistock's fine church is dedicated to St Eustachius, and it has a high
battlemented tower crowned with slender pinnacles. The tower is 'pierced
with arches in all four sides, so that it stands on piers. It is thus a
true campanile, and was never joined to the church.' There are monuments
to several families in the nave and chancel, and stories and memories
crowd especially round two of them. One is the tomb of John Fitz of
Fitz-ford and his wife, at the back of which their son Sir John kneels
at a desk with a book before him.

Fitzford House is close to Tavistock, and with the property came to Sir
John's daughter, Lady Howard, round whose name many tales have gathered.
In Mrs Bray's time Lady Howard was regarded as 'a female Bluebeard,' but
a later verdict is more charitable, and it is now thought that the
unhappy lady has been much maligned. Being a great heiress, her hand was
disposed of when she was only twelve years old, and she was married to
Sir Alan Percy, who died three years afterwards. There is a proverb--

    'Winter-time for shoeing,
    Peascod-time for wooing;'

but Lady Howard must have been wooed at all seasons. One month after her
husband's death she escaped from her chaperon, and secretly married Lord
Darcy's son, who only survived a few months. When she was hardly
sixteen, she found a third husband in Sir Charles Howard, by whose name
she is always known, although after his death she married Sir Richard
Grenville. Her last 'venture,' as Prince calls it, was a very wretched
one; Sir Richard treated her abominably, and she retaliated to the worst
of her power. After her death, Mrs Bray says (in that delightful
storehouse of local traditions, 'The Borders of the Tamar and the
Tavy'), there arose a belief that she was 'doomed to run in the shape of
a hound from the gateway of Fitzford to Okehampton Park, between the
hours of midnight and cock-crowing, and to return with a single blade of
grass in her mouth whence she started; and this she was to do till every
blade was picked, when the world would be at an end.'

'Dr Jago, the clergyman of Milton Abbot, however, told me that
occasionally she was said to ride in a coach of bones up the West Street
towards the Moor.... My husband can remember that, when a boy, it was a
common saying with the gentry at a party, "It is growing late; let us be
gone, or we shall meet Lady Howard as she starts from Fitzford."'

A still more conspicuous monument in the church is connected with the
other tragedy. The family of Glanvills had long been settled near
Tavistock, and the figure is of Judge Glanvill in his robes. At his feet
kneels a life-size figure of his wife. 'Her buckram waist, like armour,
sleeves, ruff, and farthingale are all monstrous; and her double-linked
gold chains are grand enough for the Lord Mayor. On the whole she looks
so very formidable, that thus seen stationed before the Judge, she might
be considered as representing Justice herself, but it would be in her
severest mood.'

The mournful story is that of another member of the family, Eulalia
Glanvill, who was forced against her will to marry an old man named
Page, when she was in love with a young man, George Strangwich. After
much misery, she and Strangwich agreed to murder Page, and the story is
told in several ballads, in one of which there is a ring of sincerity
which makes the 'verses sound better to the brain than to the ear.' It
is now thought that the ballad was written by Delaney, but in the early
editions the ballad was attributed to Mrs Page herself, and a copy in
the Roxburghe Ballads is headed: 'Written with her owne hand, a little
before her death.' 'The Lamentation of Master Page's Wife' was sung to
the tune of 'Fortune my Foe':

    'Unhappy she whom Fortune hath forlorne:
    Despis'd of grace, that proffered grace did scorne!
    My lawlesse love hath lucklesse wrought my woe;
    My discontent content did ov'rthrow.

    'In blooming yeares my father's greedy mind,
    Against my will, a match for me did find;
    Great wealth there was, yea, gold and silver store;
    And yet my heart had chosen long before.

    'On knees I prayde they would not me constraine,
    With teares I cride, their purpose to refraine;
    With sighs and sobs I did them often move.
    I might not wed, whereas I could not love.

    'But all in vaine my speeches still I spent.
    My Father's will my wishes did prevent;
    Though wealthy Page possest my outward part,
    George Strangwidge still was lodgèd in my heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

    'Lo! here began my downfall and decay!
    In mind I mus'd to make him straight away,
    I, that became his discontented wife,
    Contented was he should be rid of life.

       *       *       *       *       *

    'Well could I wish that Page enjoy'd his life
    So that he had some other to his wife;
    But never could I wish, of low or hie,
    A longer life, and see sweet Strangwidge die.

    'You Parents fond that greedy-minded be,
    And seek to graffe upon the golden tree,
    Consider well, and rightfull Judges be,
    And give your doome 'twixt Parents' love and me.

    'I was their child, and bound for to obey,
    Yet not to wed where I no love could lay;
    I married was to much and endless strife,
    But faith before had made me Strangwidge wife.

    'You Denshire Dames and courteous Cornwall Knights
    That here are come to visit woefull wights,
    Regard my griefe, and marke my wofull end,
    And to your children be a better friend.

    'And then, my deare, which for my fault must dye,
    Be not afraid the sting of death to try;
    Like as we liv'd and lov'd together true,
    So both at once, we'll bid the world adue.'

'The Lamentation of George Strangwidge' many times lapses into bathos,
but as in a way it answers the other ballad, I will quote a few verses:

    'O Glanfield! cause of my committed crime,
    Snarèd in wealth, as Birds in bush of lime,
    What cause had thou to beare such wicked spight
    Against my Love, and eke my hart's delight?

    'I would to God thy wisdome had been more,
    Or that I had not ent'red at the door;
    Or that thou hadst a kinder Father beene
    Unto thy Childe, whose yeares are yet but greene.

    'Ulalia faire, more bright than summer's sunne,
    Whose beauty had my heart for ever won,
    My soule more sobs to thinke of thy disgrace,
    Than to behold my owne untimely race.

    'The deed late done in heart I doe lament,
    But that I lov'd, I cannot it repent;
    Thy seemely sight was ever sweet to me.
    Would God my death could thy excuser be.'

Kilworthy House, which in those days belonged to the Glanvills, is now
the property of the Duke of Bedford.

Tavistock seems to have maintained an open mind, or perhaps was forced
into keeping open house, during the Civil War; but Fitzford House, then
belonging to Sir Richard Grenville, held out resolutely for the King,
until overpowered by Lord Essex. The people seem to have been rather
indifferent to the cause of the war, and very sensible of its hardships,
for it was here suggested that a treaty might be made, 'whereby the
peace of those two counties of Cornwall and Devon might be settled and
the war removed into other parts.' It was a really excellent method of
shifting an unpleasant burden on to other shoulders, but in actual
warfare, unfortunately, impracticable, although the treaty was drawn up
and for a short time a truce was observed.

At the end of this year (1645) Prince Charles paid a visit to the town,
and was so much 'annoyed by wet weather, that ever after, if anybody
remarked it was a fine day, he was wont to declare that, however fine it
might be elsewhere, he felt quite sure it must be raining at Tavistock.'
One cannot help wondering if his courtiers kept to English tradition of
perpetually speaking of the weather.

To walk away from Tavistock along the Tavy's bank is to follow the
footsteps of that river's special poet, William Browne. His poems are
not so well known as they might be, and his most celebrated lines are
nearly always attributed to Ben Jonson--I mean the fine epitaph on
'Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother'--though any doubt as to the author
of the lines is cleared up by a manuscript in the library of Trinity
College, Dublin. Not very many details of his life are known, but he had
the happiness of being better appreciated by his contemporaries than by
posterity, and Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton wrote complimentary
verses, as a sort of introduction to volumes of his poems when they were
published. Browne's work is very uneven, many of his poems are charming,
some diffuse and rather poor; but he had a sincere feeling for Nature,
and his nymphs and swains revelled in posies and garlands in the shade
of groves full of singing birds.

In the third book of his long poem, 'Britannia's Pastorals,' there is a
quaint and pretty song, of which one verse runs:

    'So shuts the marigold her leaves
    At the departure of the sun;
    So from the honeysuckle sheaves
    The bee goes when the day is done;
    So sits the turtle when she is but one,
    And so all woe, as I, since she is gone.'

A deliciously whimsical touch marks his description of a feast of

    'The glasses, pure and thinner than we can
    See from the sea-betroth'd Venetian,
    Were all of ice, not made to overlast
    One supper, and betwixt two cowslips cast.
    A prettier hath not yet been told,
    So neat the glass was, and so feat the mould.
    A little spruce elf then (just of the set
    Of the French dancer or such marionette),
    Clad in a suit of rush, woven like a mat,
    A monkshood flow'r then serving for a hat;
    Under a cloak made of the Spider's loom:
    This fairy (with them, held a lusty groom)
    Brought in his bottles; neater were there none;
    And every bottle was a cherry-stone,
    To each a seed pearl served for a screw,
    And most of them were fill'd with early dew.'

Now and again in his verses there peeps out a joyful pride in his
county, and his love of the Tavy is deep to his heart's core.

Some way below Tavistock is Buckland Abbey, founded by Amicia, Countess
of Devon, in 1278, and for long years the home of Cistercians. At the
Dissolution the Abbey was granted for a small sum to Sir Richard
Grenville (grandfather of the hero of the _Revenge_), who altered it
into a dwelling-house. Sir Richard, his grandson, sold it to John Hele
and Christopher Harrys, who were probably acting for Sir Francis Drake,
and he formally bought it of them ten months later. The house was built
in the body of the church, and it is still easy to trace its
ecclesiastical origin from some of the windows and architecture. In the
hall is a fine frieze, with raised figures in high relief and an
elaborate background, the subject a knight turned hermit. The knight,
wearing a hermit's robe, is sitting beneath spreading boughs, and a
skull is lodged in a hollow of the tree-trunk. His charger and his
discarded armour lie near him. In the same hall rests the famous drum
that went round the world with Drake, the drum referred to in the
traditional promise that Mr Newbolt has put into verse:

    'Take my drum to England, hang it by the shore;
    Strike it when the powder's running low;
    If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port of Heaven,
    An' drum them up the Channel, as we drummed them long ago.'

A short distance below the Abbey, the Tavy, now broadened into a wide
but still shallow stream, ripples and hurries over the pebbles in a deep
valley between wooded hills. Returning to Tavistock and going up the
river, one arrives at the pretty and very remote village of Peter Tavy.
The houses are scattered about in an irregular group, a stream runs
through them to join the Tavy, and just above the wide bridge the brook
divides, flowing each side of a diamond-shaped patch, green with long
grass and cabbages. A steep slope leads up to the little church, which
stands back, and a tiny avenue of limes leads up to it from the
lichgate. The tower is battlemented, and the church must have been
partly rebuilt, for parts of it are early English and the rest late
Perpendicular. Within are slender clustered columns, supporting wide
arches, and different designs are sculptured on the sides of the granite

Close by is a glen, which Mrs Bray says, 'I have ventured to name the
Valley of Waterfalls, on account of the vast number of small but
exquisitely beautiful falls seen there.' A narrow lane with high hedges
leads round the shoulder of the hill to the steep little valley, where
the Tavy jostles against obstructive boulders, and a high, narrow,
unstable-looking bridge of tarred timber (sometimes called a 'clam'
bridge) crosses the stream. Climbing up on the farther side, the road
soon reaches the village of Mary Tavy. In reference to these villages a
very old joke is told of a Judge unacquainted with these parts who, in
trying a case, not unnaturally confused the names with those of
witnesses, and ordered that Peter and Mary Tavy be brought into court.
Mary Tavy has not the unusual attractiveness of Peter Tavy. It looks
barer, and is overshadowed by that peculiarly comfortless air always
given by chimneys or machinery of mines. The church stands above the
road, and beside it a large old tree, whose lower branches are so
abundantly covered with polypody that the fronds hang like long fringes
from either side of each branch. The porch has a white groined ceiling,
crossed with fragments of the old timber roof, on which are bosses
carved in different designs.

From Mary Tavy a road runs nearly parallel to the river. Beyond Horndon
the houses are fewer and more scattered, and somehow there is a
suggestion that one is coming nearer and nearer to the verge of
civilization. The few houses look nice in themselves, with the exception
of a farm, so cheerless and neglected-looking, that it was a surprise to
find it inhabited; and not far beyond this house the road reaches
another and very different farm, looking full of comfort--and goes no
farther. This farm has the significant name of Lane End, and one
realizes from its solitary, exposed position that the high and
substantial wall surrounding it was built for sound reasons. It stands
on the moor, and the cultivation is of the roughest kind; the fields,
such as they are, being plentifully sprinkled with huge boulders. In
winter, when there is much fear of snow, these fields serve as an
enclosure for the ponies that are driven-in off the moor--looking like
wild animals in their long, hanging, furry coats. The river is heard
dashing over the rocks below, and about a mile farther on is Tavy

The last time I saw it a vague threat hung over everything, adding a
cold fascination to the moor. The hills showed tints of faint green and
palest brown, and patches of bracken gave a consoling shade of russet.
Hare Tor rose beyond, silent and impressive, covered with snow. The Tavy
had a new beauty, for it was almost frozen over, and the dark water, and
along whirling scraps of foam, showed between the blocks of ice and
snow, and the boulders were each bordered with shining white. The sky
was heavy with snow-clouds, and beneath them and in the rifts were
stormy red sunset tints, while a cold blue-grey mist was creeping up the

There are some places--the Castle of Elsinore, for instance--that seem
to have an amazing and incomprehensible gift of resisting civilization.
They may be brought up to date, and trimmed, and filled with
inappropriate people, and everything else done that should spoil them,
but in spite of it all they do not for a moment look as if any modern
extraneous objects had a meaning for them. They belong to their own day
and its manner, and to no other.

The same sort of feeling hovers about Tavy Cleave, and a great sense of
the mystery that here more, there less, broods over the moor. But there
is no suggestion as to who it is that the moor has most truly and
absolutely belonged to, nor even the region of time: only the feeling
that the valley is, in a finer than the usual sense, haunted.

As a valley Tavy Cleave is very beautiful, with its steep sides and
clear rushing stream and red granite rocks, half in and half out of the
river, that have a charm they entirely lose when once away from the
water. Mr Widgery shows how admirable they are in their proper place,
with their reflections quivering beneath them. Sometimes a kind of black
moss grows upon them, and tiny bits of white lichen, giving together a
curious tortoiseshell look. Above, the hill-sides are covered with
heather and broom and whortleberries among masses of loose rocks, and
now and again there is the vivid green of a patch of bog. The great
masses of rocks crowning the separate points on the hill-side, like
ruined rock-castles, add to the air of mystery.

Looking to the west from above the Cleave, one sees--as from any
distance round one sees--the most characteristic height of Brent Tor,
with the tiny church on the top. It is not that the tor is so very high,
but in some astonishing way it always seems to appear as a landmark,
north, south, east, or west, when one imagines it to be absolutely out
of range. The sides are steep and rocky, and the church stands 'full
bleak and weather-beaten, all-alone as it were, forsaken, whose
churchyard doth hardly afford depth of earth to bury the dead; yet
doubtless they rest there as securely as in sumptuous St Peter's until
the day of Doom.'

The story told of the church is that a man once almost gave himself up
for lost--some say in a storm, others in an impenetrable, unending
fog--in the Channel, and vowed that, if he ever came safe to shore, he
would build a church on the first bit of land he saw. As Brent Tor is
far inland, the fog story sounds the more probable, for there is no
saying how mist wreaths may drift. The church is dedicated to St Michael
de la Rupe, and here another tradition comes in, for it is popularly
supposed that, when the building of the church was begun, the devil
pulled away all the day's work in the night. At last St Michael came to
the rescue, and hurled such an enormous mass of rock upon the devil that
he fled away and hindered no more. The building is very tiny, and a
countryman told me that as a child he used to be puzzled by the cryptic
warning: 'If you get into the second aisle of Brent Tor Church, you will
never get out again.' Of course--there is no second aisle.

The beauty of many of the places on the banks of the Tamar is
celebrated. Among the exquisite woods and lawns of Endsleigh--through
which one Duke of Bedford cut no less than forty miles in rides--the
river twists and winds for a long distance at one point, and curves
round almost into a ring. A little farther south are Morwell Rocks,
which Mr Norway had the good fortune to see in the spring. 'The trees
stretch far away along the river, dense and close to the water's edge, a
mountain of gold and sunny green, broken in the midst by a high grey
crag, which stands up sheer and grey amid the mass of gorgeous colour.
This is the first peak of a great range of limestone cliffs, which for
the most part, as the hill sweeps round above the village of Morwellham,
are hidden in the woods. But when that tiny cluster of cottages and
wharves is left behind, the stream creeps closer to the hill, and it is
as if the buried rock stirred and flung the coppice off its shoulders,
for the limestone precipices rise vertically out of the water to a vast
height. The summits are weathered into most fantastic shapes, pinnacles
and towers break the skyline, and wherever a crevice in the rock has
allowed the lodging of a little earth, some oak-tree roots itself, or a
wild tangle of greenery drops down the scarred surface of the cliff.'

A little farther down, the Tamar and the Tavy join, and with the Cornish
Lynher form the Hamoaze--a view of land and water that is very
admirable. It is not a scene whose dimly realized charm grows gradually
stronger, but one whose triumphant beauty is beyond dispute. The
innumerable creeks and inlets, the rich abundance of foliage and
pasture, and the sweeping sense of spaciousness from the open sea that
comes off Plymouth Sound, help to make the grand effect; and the
feelings of few can be quite unstirred by the battleships, or perhaps
black sinister destroyers, and the multitude of other shipping lying at
anchor in that famous haven, and by the thought of all that they mean to


The Taw and the Torridge

    'Hither from my moorland home,
    Nymph of Torridge, proud I come;
    Leaving fen and furzy brake,
    Haunt of eft and spotted snake ...
    Nursling of the mountain sky,
    Leaving Dian's choir on high,
    Down her cataracts laughing loud,
    Ockment leapt from crag and cloud,
    Leading many a nymph, who dwells
    Where wild deer drink in ferny dells....
    Græcia, prize thy parsley crown;
    Boast thy laurel, Cæsar's town;
    Moorland myrtle still shall be
    Badge of Devon's Chivalry!'

    KINGSLEY: _Westward Ho!_

'All who have travelled through the delicious scenery of North Devon
must needs know the little white town of Bideford, which slopes upwards
from its broad tide-river paved with yellow sands, and many-arched old
bridge, where salmon wait for autumn floods, toward the pleasant upland
in the west. Above the town the hills close in, cushioned with deep
oak-woods, through which juts here and there a crag of fern-fringed
slate; below they lower and open more and more on softly rounded knolls
and fertile squares of red and green, till they sink into the wide
expanse of hazy flats, rich salt-marshes, and rolling sand-hills, where
Torridge joins her sister Taw, and both together flow quietly toward the
broad surges of the bar and the everlasting thunder of the long Atlantic

It is difficult to imagine that there could be a more fitting
description of Bideford than that drawn in the opening words of
'Westward Ho!' Bideford, it has been said, is spoilt by ugly modern
houses, but the remark implies a matter-of-fact view, for the ugliness
and modernness are only skin-deep, and can easily be ignored. A matter
of far greater importance is that there is an old-world essence, a
dignity in the whole tone and spirit of the town, that keep it in touch
with the glorious past.

Faithful followers of the heroes on the borderland of myth--King Arthur,
Charlemagne, Holger Danske--believed that in their country's need these
would arise from the shades to lead their people to victory; and at
Bideford one feels that, should any 'knight of the sea' return, he would
find a town not strange to him, and, if the stress were sharp enough to
pierce the thin husk that later civilization has added, a people who
would understand and not fail him.

The name comes from By-the-ford, but a ford between East-the-water and
the town must have been rather perilous, and only possible at low-tide.
In the early part of the fourteenth century some of the chief
inhabitants resolved to build a bridge, but several efforts were made in
vain, for they were always thwarted by failure to find a firm enough
foundation. Then Sir Richard Gurney, priest of the place, was
'admonished by a vision ... to begin that excellent work ... where he
should find a stone fixed in the ground.' This dream he thought nothing
of, 'until, walking by the river, he espied such a stone or rock there
rolled and fixed firmly, which he never remembered to have seen
formerly,' and was hereby convinced 'that his dream was no other than an
heavenly inspiration.' The whole neighbourhood combined to help, the
rich sending money and lending the services of their workmen, and the
poor giving such time and labour as they could afford. The bridge, which
has since been widened, is a very fine one, of twenty-four arches.
Westcote says: 'A bark of 60 tons (without masts) may pass and repass
with the tide, which flows near five miles above it.'

Gifts and bequests were made to the bridge, and the funds belonging to
it became so large, and the business connected with them so important,
that in 1758 a hall was built for the use of the feoffees, and decorated
with the royal arms and the arms of the bridge.

St Mary's Church was built about the same date as the bridge, but about
forty years ago all but the tower was pulled down and rebuilt. It had
suffered considerably from the ravages of the Reformers, whose horror of
ritualism reached the point of throwing the font out of doors, whereupon
'one schismatic,' more crazy than the rest, took it, says Watkins, in
wrath, 'for the purpose of a trough for his swine to feed out of; and if
he had had his deserts, he would have made one of their company.' The
font was probably rescued by some pious person, for the one now in the
church is a fine Norman one, with cable moulding.

In this church was baptized 'Raleigh,' the Indian brought back by Sir
Richard Grenville from Carolina, and called after the great Sir Walter,
who was doing much for that country. Sir Richard kept 'Raleigh' in his
own house, and the dark stranger must have caused great chattering and
excitement among the children and some of their elders in the town, but
he did not survive transplantation, and a year later was buried in
Bideford Churchyard. In the register he is described as a native of

On the south side of the church is the tomb of Thomas Grenville, who
lies in armour, with a dog--not, as on most monuments, at his feet, but
by his side. On the tomb are various coats of arms, and over it rises an
arch ornamented with high stone tracery. A curious screen between the
tower and the church has been made from the old carved bench-ends. Most
of the subjects are grotesque, and on some of the panels are gnome-like
heads, with long beards, big hats, and impudent, leering expressions.

In the churchyard is a tombstone with this epitaph:

    'Here lies the body of Mary Sexton,
    Who pleased many a man, but never vex'd one,
    Not like the woman who lies under the next stone.'

Nowadays there is not much foreign trade, although a few vessels with
outlandish names may be seen lying stranded at low-water alongside the
quay. But Bideford had a full share of the prosperity that Devonshire
ports enjoyed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The merchants were
encouraged by Sir Richard Grenville, who, fired by the 'gallant and
ingenious' Sir Walter Raleigh, ventured first fortune and then himself
in commanding an expedition planned by his friend and kinsman. The
expedition did not meet with great success in its main object, which was
to establish a colony for the settlers, who, finding insurmountable
hardships and difficulties, were all brought home later by Sir Francis
Drake; but a Spanish treasure-ship of immense wealth was captured on the
way back. It was said that in different ventures 'Bideford, in
consequence of its lord, had some share, but chiefly with respect to its
mariners.' So, after Sir Richard had fought his splendid last fight, and
when his immediate influence was gone, independent merchants and
mariners went on to fresh enterprises, and commerce continued to
increase. Trading with Spain for wool soon became an important branch,
but of still greater consequence was the trade with Newfoundland. When
William and Mary reigned, Bideford was sending more ships there than any
other port in the kingdom but London and--strange to say--Topsham. In
the next reign the merchants suffered immense losses from French
privateers, who, making the island of Lundy their headquarters, spied
almost every ship that passed up and down the Bristol Channel. To them,
Bideford or Barnstaple Bay was 'emphatically the Golden Bay, from the
great number of valuable prizes which they captured on it.' Traffic with
America had, however, greatly declined, before it was killed by the War
of Independence.

In the history of Bideford the name of Grenville shines on many
occasions. Both Devon and Cornwall claim this eminent family, their
'chiefest habitation' of Stow being in Cornwall, while, according to
some authorities, their first dwelling-place in this part of the world
was at Bideford.

Richard de Grenville, near the end of the fourteenth century, for his
valour and courage in the Welsh wars was awarded the town and county of
Neath, in Glamorgan. Being pious as well as brave, he devoted all this
wealth to the Church, building and endowing a monastery for Cistercian
monks. A quaint 'prophecy' regarding this family was said to have been
found many years later in the Abbey of Neeth, where it was kept 'in a
most curious box of jett, written in the year 1400.'

It begins:

    'Amongst the trayne of valiant knights
    That with King William came,
    Grenvile is great, a Norman borne,
    Renowned by his fame;
    His helmet ras'd and first unlac'd
    Upon the Cambrian shore,
    Where he in honour of his God
    The Abbey did decore
    With costly buildings, ornaments,
    And gave us spatious lands,
    As the first-fruits which victory
    Did give into his hands.'

Watkins refrains from any comment as to the genuineness of the
'prophecy' (of which I have only quoted a small portion), but perhaps
the critical would gather from the whole tone, and especially from the
closing lines, which have a flattering reference to the reign of a King
Charles, that it was written about the date of its discovery.

The dignity and authority, the commanding presence of Sir Richard as a
country gentleman, a neighbour, a Justice of the Peace, are admirably
suggested in 'Westward Ho!' Apart from warfare on land or sea, he
interested himself in a host of affairs at home, and was both member of
parliament and High Sheriff for Cornwall. He was also called to serve on
Commissions for making inquiries about pirates and strengthening the
defences of the coast; and notes show that within six months he was
occupied with places as far east and west as Dover and Tintagel.

In 1587 he was appointed by the Queen to review the 'trained bands' in
Devon and Cornwall, that nothing of their equipment might be lacking
when the expected enemy arrived; and when the shattered remnants of the
Armada were straggling down the Irish Channel, Sir Richard had special
orders to 'stay all shipping upon the north coast of Devon and
Cornwall.' The catalogue alone of the tasks allotted to him shows how
greatly the Queen confided in his powers and judgment; yet all the tale
of his life is completely overshadowed by the magnificence of his

    'And he sailed away from Flores till the Spaniard came in sight,
    With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather-bow.
        "Shall we fight or shall we fly?
         Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
         For to fight is but to die!
    There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set."
    And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good Englishmen;
    Let us bang those dogs of Seville, the children of the devil,
    For I never turned my back upon Don or devil yet."
    Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and we roared a hurrah, and so
    The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe,
    With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below;
    For half of their fleet to the right and half on the left were seen,
    And the little _Revenge_ ran on through the long sea-lane between.

               *       *       *       *       *

    And the sun went down and the stars came out far over the summer sea,
    But never a moment ceased the fight of the one and the fifty-three.
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, their high-built galleons came,
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her battle-thunder and
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew back with her dead and her

When the day dawned, 'all the powder of the _Revenge_ to the last
barrell was now spent, all her pikes broken, fortie of her best men
slaine, and the most part of the rest hurt.' Then Sir Richard 'commanded
the maister Gunner, whom he knew to be a most resolute man, to split and
sinke the ship; that thereby nothing might remaine of glorious victorie
to the Spaniards; seeing in so manie houres fighte with so great a Navie
they were not able to take her, having had fifteene houres time,
fifteene thousand men, and fifty and three suite of menne of warre to
perform it withall.'

The Captain and most of the crew felt that this supreme sacrifice was
not required of them, and offered to treat with the Spaniards, who,
filled with generous admiration for the amazing courage that had been
shown by their adversaries, offered honourable terms of surrender. Sir
Richard, who had received several wounds, and who was at the point of
death, was carried on board the Spanish Admiral's ship, where his life
ebbed away within a few days. 'Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a
joyful and quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a true soldier
ought to do that hath fought for his country, Queen, religion, and
honour: My soul willingly departing from this body, being behind the
lasting fame of having behaved as every valiant soldier is in his duty
bound to do.'

Sir Richard's famous grandson, Sir Bevil Grenville, was a brave soldier,
but less awe-inspiring; 'the most generally beloved man in Cornwall,'
according to Clarendon; and he adds that 'a brighter courage and a
gentler disposition were never married together.' When war was declared,
volunteers flocked to his standard, and in his first engagement, near
Liskeard, he inflicted defeat on the Parliamentary troops, and took
twelve hundred soldiers and all the guns.

At Stratton his achievements were even more brilliant, for his troops
began at a serious disadvantage. The enemy, with ample supplies and
ammunition, were encamped on the top of a hill; 'the Royalist troops,
less than half their number, short of ammunition, and so destitute of
provisions that the best officers had but a biscuit a day, lay at
Launceston.' Undaunted by these discouraging conditions, they determined
to attack, and having marched twenty miles, the soldiers arrived at the
foot of the hill, weary, footsore, and exhausted from want of food. From
dawn till late afternoon the storming-parties were again and again
repulsed, till their powder was almost gone; then they scaled the hill
in the face of cannon and muskets, to take the position by the force of
swords and pikes. Grenville's party was the first to struggle up to the
top, and it was almost immediately joined by the other columns, when the
enemy broke in confusion and fled.

Sir Bevil met his death at Lansdowne, when, with grim doggedness, the
Royalists were again climbing the heights in the face of the enemy's
fire. Very many fell, and he among them. 'Young John Grenville, a lad of
sixteen, sprang, it is said, into his father's saddle, and led the
charge, and the Cornishmen followed with their swords drawn and with
tears in their eyes, swearing they would kill a rebel for every hair of
Sir Bevil's head.'

It is not possible to follow the careers of others of his family, but a
saying in the West Country ran: 'That a Godolphin was never known to
want wit, a Trelawney courage, or a Grenville loyalty.' Their love of
adventure perhaps descended from an earlier Sir Richard Grenville, who
puts forward his views in a poem called


[Also entitled 'In Praise of Seafaring Men in Hope of Good Fortune, and
describing Evil Fortune.']

    Who seeks the way to win renown,
      Or flies with wings of high desert,
    Who seeks to wear the laurel crown,
      Or hath the mind that would aspire--
    Let him his native soil eschew,
    Let him go range and seek a new.

    Each haughty heart is well content
      With every chance that shall betide--
    No hap can hinder his intent;
      He steadfast stands, though fortune slide.
    The sun, quoth he, doth shine as well
    Abroad as erst where I did dwell.

               *       *       *       *       *

    To pass the seas some think a toil;
      Some think it strange abroad to roam;
    Some think it grief to leave their soil,
      Their parents, kinsfolk, and their home.
    Think so who list, I take it not;
    I must abroad to try my lot.

               *       *       *       *       *

    If Jason of that mind had been,
      The Grecians, when they came to Troy,
    Had never so the Trojans fooled,
      Nor ne'er put them to such annoy;
    Wherefore, who list to live at home,
    To purchase fame I will go roam.

Directly, Bideford suffered very little from the Civil War. In the early
days the town was for the Parliament, and two forts were built, one on
each side of the river; but after a defeat near Torrington, in the
autumn of 1643, the citizens surrendered to the royal army. 'Their
spirit for rebellion was considerably reduced,' says their special
historian; 'they remained perfectly neutral to the dreadful end of that
unhappy war.'

Unfortunately, it is not possible here to dwell upon the delightful
minor annals of Bideford, such as the history of that stalwart
pamphleteer, Dr Shebbeare, who, for his repeated attacks on the
Ministry, was condemned to stand in the pillory at Charing Cross. The
sentence was carried out, but not exactly in the usual manner, for 'Mr
Beardmore, the under-sheriff, being a friend of the Doctor's, permitted
him to stand unconfined on the platform of the pillory, attended by a
servant in livery holding an umbrella over him.' It is lamentable that
the authorities were sufficiently vindictive and small-minded to visit
this act of friendly tolerance on Mr Beardmore with a fine of £50 and
two months' imprisonment. Dr. Shebbeare was also imprisoned; but later
in life the tide turned, and the King was persuaded to pension him with
£200. As Dr Johnson was pensioned about the same time, with the same
sum, the joke ran that the King had shown benevolence to a He Bear and a
She Bear.

It is also impossible to do more than touch on the tragic episode of
1682--the trial of three unhappy women, Susanna Edwards, Temperance
Lloyd, and Mary Trembles, who were accused of having practised
witchcraft. Here are a few fragments of the evidence given at the trial.
A witness said that, while nursing a sick woman, a magpie fluttered once
against the window, and that Temperance admitted that this 'was the
black man in the shape of a bird.' Another time 'a grey or braget cat'
of rather mysterious movements was an object of suspicion, and
Temperance was reported to have confessed that 'she believed it to be
the Devil.' The evidence of a dead woman was brought forward, she having
'deposed that the said Temperance had appeared to her in the shape of a
red pig.' Susanna Edwards, under strict examination, 'confesseth that
the Devil hath appeared to her in the shape of a Lyon, as she supposed.'

Some of the questions put to the wretched 'witches' were simply
grotesque, and reflect, as Watkins caustically observes, on the
intelligence of the examiner. Temperance was asked:

'Temperance, how did you come in to hurt Mrs Grace Thomas? Did you pass
through the key-hole of the door, or was the door open?...

'H. [the examiner]. Did you know any Marriners, that you or your
Associates destroyed, by overturning of ships or boats?

'TEMPERANCE. No! I never hurt any ship, bark, or boat in my life.

'H. You say you never hurt ships nor boats; did you never ride over an
arm of the sea on a Cow?'

To the north of Bideford is a little peninsula formed by the mouth of
the Torridge on the east, the far wider estuary of the Taw on the north,
and the open sea on the west. The whole course of the Torridge is very
capricious. The source is within four miles of the sea, not far south of
Hartland, and, at once turning inland, the stream takes a south-easterly
direction till it reaches the first slopes that, rising out of the
fertile country, mount gradually as they stretch towards the borders of
Dartmoor. At this check the Torridge runs due east till, within a few
miles of Okehampton, it turns in a great rounded loop, and flows north
and slightly west to the north coast again.

The Taw's course is far more direct. It rises in Dartmoor, and,
occasionally bending slightly to east or west, it makes a fairly
straight way towards the north till Barnstaple is reached, and then,
turning almost at a right angle, runs westward to the sea.

Following the strip of land along the west bank of the Torridge from
Bideford, the road passes Northam, and on the north-eastern point, at
the meeting of the rivers, stands Appledore. Before reaching Northam, by
diverging a little to the west, one arrives at the remains of an ancient
castle, Kenwith Castle, known for a long time as Hennaborough or Henny
Hill, where about A.D. 877 the Danes were valiantly driven back, after
a furious battle, by King Alfred and his son. Hubba, the leader of the
Danes, fell, and their magical banner, Reafan--the Raven--was taken.
According to one tradition, it was 'wrought in needlework by the
daughters of Lothbroc, the Dane, and, as they conceived, it made them
invincible.' Another account rather contradicts this, as it declares
that the wonderful standard bore a stuffed raven, who 'hung quiet when
defeat was at hand, but clapped his wings before victory.' All the
legends, however, point to the faith of the Danes in the magical powers
of the banner, and their chagrin on losing it must have been very great.

The Danes buried Hubba 'on the shore near his ships, and, according to
the manner of northern nations, piled on him a heap of copped stones as
a trophy to his memorial, whereof the place took name Hubba-stone.'
Risdon speaks of the 'sea's encroaching,' and of the stones having been
swept away by it before his day, but the name still clings to the spot
where it stood.

A little fort at Appledore was built, it is said--but the authority is
not infallible--at the same time that the forts were thrown up at
Bideford, and towards the end of July, 1644, it was called on to make a
defence. Barnstaple had suddenly rebelled against the Royalists, and the
citizens resolved to take possession of the guns that commanded the
river's mouth. Sir John Berkeley, writing what must have been an
unsatisfactory letter to Colonel Seymour, in answer to a request for
more men, speaks of the troops sent to help the defenders: 'Your desire
and expectance of supply is most just and reasonable. Having been
exhausted of men by the Prince, and having sent to the relief of
Appledore, by His Majesty's command, 500 under Colonel Apsley ... I am
not able to give you the least assistance at present.' And Sir Hugh
Pollard, writing at the same time, mentions that Colonel Apsley's force
will meet 'a many of Doddington's horse at Chimleigh, to the relief of
the fort at Appledore, which is straitly besieged by those of

The garrison consisted of forty Cornishmen, and before the siege was
raised they were 'much straitened both for dread and fresh water.' They
were particularly badly off because 'a certain colonel, who is
stigmatized covertly as "no Cornishman," had been entrusted with the
victualling of the fort, but had neglected his duty.'

Close to the sea, on the west, lies Westward Ho!--a tiny (and modern)
watering-place, named after Kingsley's famous book. Along the western
shore as far as the Taw stretch Northam Burrows, covered for some
distance by a fine elastic turf that is far-famed, and by patches of
rushes. Beyond the golf-links the ground breaks into sand-hills, all
hillocks and hollows of pure sand, soft and yielding, dented by every
footstep, set with rushes and spangled with crane's-bill, yellow
bedstraw, tiny purple scented thyme-flowers, and a kind of spurge.

Both sand-hills and common are protected from the sea by the well-known
Pebble Ridge, which stretches for two miles in a straight line. It is a
mass--fifty feet wide and twenty feet high--of large, smooth, rolled
slate-stones, some being two feet across, though most of them are

Turning westwards along the coast, Lundy is often to be seen like a
faint blue cloud on the horizon, especially when a softening haze hovers
over the land--but on a clear day it is very distinct. And on a fine
evening, when the dim blue twilight is creeping up on every side, it has
the very air of an enchanted island against the radiant crimson that for
a few moments spreads and glows in the west after sundown.

A little distance farther on is Portledge, 'the most antient seat of the
name and family of Coffin,' says Prince; and he mentions a boundary deed
between Richard Coffin and the Abbot of Tavistock, written 'in the Saxon
tongue, which giveth good confirmation thereof.' Sir William Coffin was
one of several Devonshire gentlemen who were 'assistants' to Henry VIII
in the tournaments of the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold,' being of great
courage, and 'expert at feats of arms.' A story which is often told of
him gives a good illustration of his strong will. While living on a
property that belonged to his wife in Derbyshire, Sir William chanced
one day to pass a churchyard, and seeing a group of people standing
about, he asked what was happening. Being told that 'they had brought a
corps to be buried, but the priest refused to do his office unless they
first delivered him the poor man's cow, the only quick goods left,' for
a burial fee, he commanded the priest to read the service. But the
priest declined to do so until he had received his fee. On this answer,
Sir William 'caused the priest to be put into the poor man's grave, and
earth to be thrown upon him; and he still persisting in his refusal,
there was still more earth thrown in, until the obstinate priest was
either altogether or well nigh suffocated.'

Prince is entirely delightful over this story. He goes on: 'Now, thus to
handle a priest in those days was a very bold adventure;' as if to bury
a priest alive was usually considered a pleasant amusement. Sir William,
however, not only lived through the storm that the high-handed action
raised, but actually succeeded in moving Parliament to pass an Act
regulating the burial fees that might be asked of the poor. So our
biographer finishes with the triumphant axiom: 'Evil manners are often
the parent of good laws!'

Eleven miles west of Bideford is Clovelly. Here one feels, rather
despairingly, that anyone who has seen this wonderful village can listen
to no description of it; while to those who have never seen it, no
description is of any value.

A road leads towards it through the Hobby, a wood overhanging the sea,
which Kingsley describes as 'a forest wall five hundred feet high, of
almost semi-tropic luxuriance.' The road was 'banked on one side with
crumbling rocks, festooned with heath, and golden hawkweed, and London
pride, like velvet cushions covered with pink lace, and beds of white
bramble-blossom alive with butterflies; while above my head, and on my
right, the delicate cool canopy of oak and birch leaves shrouded me so
close that I could have fancied myself miles inland, buried in some glen
unknown to any wind of heaven, but that everywhere between green sprays
and grey stems gleamed that same boundless ocean blue.'

The village itself lies in a ravine of the rock, and the 'street' is so
precipitous that the eaves of one house are on a level with the
foundations of its next neighbour above. Kingsley and Dickens have
written descriptions that, scarcely overlapping, seem to complete each

'I was crawling up the paved stairs, inaccessible to cart or carriage,
which are flatteringly denominated Clovelly street; ... behind me a
sheer descent, roof below roof, at an angle of 75°, to the pier and bay,
two hundred feet below and in front of me; another hundred feet above, a
green amphitheatre of oak and ash and larch, shutting out all but a
narrow slip of sky, across which the low, soft, formless mist was
crawling, opening every instant to show some gap of intense dark rainy
blue, and send down a hot vaporous gleam of sunshine upon the white
cottages, with their grey steaming roofs and bright green railings
packed one above another upon the ledges of the cliff; and on the tall
tree fuchsias and gaudy dahlias in the little scraps of courtyard;
calling the rich faint odour out of the verbenas and jessamines, and,
alas! out of the herring heads and tails also, as they lay in the
rivulet, and lighting up the wings of the gorgeous butterflies, almost
unknown in our colder eastern climate, which fluttered from woodland
down to garden, and from garden up to woodland.'

The human element tinges the other sketch more strongly:

'The village was built sheer up the face of a steep and lofty cliff.
There was no road in it, there was no wheeled vehicle in it, there was
not a level yard in it. From the sea-beach to the cliff-top two
irregular rows of white houses, placed opposite to one another and
twisting here and there, and there and here, rose like the sides of a
long succession of stages of crooked ladders, and you climbed up village
or climbed down the village by the staves between, some six feet wide or
so, and made up of sharp, irregular stones. The old pack-saddle, long
laid aside in most parts of England, as one of the appendages of its
infancy, flourished here intact. Strings of pack-horses and pack-donkeys
toiled slowly up the staves of the ladders, bearing fish and coal, and
such other cargo as was unshipping at the pier from the dancing fleet of
village boats and from two or three little coasting traders. As the
beasts of burden ascended laden, or descended light, they got so lost at
intervals in the floating clouds of village smoke, that they seemed to
dive down some of the village chimneys and come to the surface again far
off, high above others. No two houses in the village were alike in
chimney, size, shape, door, window, gable, roof-tree, anything. The
sides of the ladder were musical with water, running clear and bright.
The staves were musical with the clattering feet of the pack-horses and
pack-donkeys, and the voices of the fishermen urging them up mingled
with the voices of the fishermen's wives and their many children.... The
red-brown cliffs, richly wooded to their extremest verge, had their
softened and beautiful forms reflected in the bluest water, under the
clear North Devonshire sky of a November day without a cloud. The
village itself was so steeped in autumnal foliage, from the houses
joining on the pier to the topmost round of the topmost ladder, that one
might have fancied it was out a-bird's-nesting, and was (as indeed it
was) a wonderful climber.'

The harbour is very small, but on a cliff-bound, dangerous coast it is
one of the very few between Bideford and Padstow. Clovelly's great
herring fishery used to be famous, but it is not now so large as it used
to be.

Above the village, the beautiful park of Clovelly Court lies along the
cliffs, looking over the wide distances of Bideford Bay; and on a fine
day the Welsh coast may be seen. Inland, great forest trees tower above
a miniature forest of bracken, and at the opening of a glade one may
catch glimpses of the deer appearing and vanishing again.

The Carys were in very ancient days settled at St Giles-in-the-Heath,
but a branch of them came to Clovelly in the reign of Richard II. They
were of the same race as the Carys of Torre Abbey, and the family of
whom Lord Falkland is the head. John Cary, who acquired the property,
was a distinguished character. As a Judge, 'he scattered the rays of
justice about him, with great splendour.' He was called to show firmness
and loyalty under the most trying circumstances, but, 'true as steel ...
the greatest dangers could not affright him from his duty and loyalty
to his distressed master Richard II, unto whom he faithfully adhered
when most others had forsaken him.' When the King had been deposed,
'this reverend Judge, unable and unwilling to bow like a willow with
every blast of wind, did freely and confidently speak his mind.' So
faithfully did he maintain King Richard's cause that, when Henry IV came
to the throne, the Judge was banished the kingdom, and his goods and
lands were confiscated. These, Sir Robert Cary, his son, recovered
literally at the point of the sword, for a 'certain Knight-errand of
Arragon,' of great skill in feats of arms, 'arrived here in England,
where he challenged any man of his rank and quality.' Sir Robert
accepted the challenge, and a 'long and doubtful combat was waged in
Smithfield, London.' In the end the 'presumptious Arrogonoise' was
vanquished, and Henry V, to whom Sir Robert's gallantry appealed,
restored him 'a good part of his father's lands,' and granted him leave
to bear 'in a field silver, on a bend sable, three white roses,' the
arms of the conquered knight--the arms that the Carys still bear. The
Clovelly branch of the family is now extinct.

A little to the south of Clovelly, and on high ground, are Clovelly
Dykes, the remains of an old camp, sometimes called British and
sometimes Roman. It is large and circular, and the position was
strengthened by three great trenches, about eighteen feet deep and three
hundred feet long, which lie around it. The camp commands the only old
road in the surrounding country.

About seven or eight miles to the west is the grand headland of Hartland
Point. It is a narrow ridge that rises precipitously three hundred and
fifty feet above the water, projects far out into the sea, and abruptly
ends the coast-line to the west. The coast is very fine, but also most
dangerous, and the cliffs, cleft here and there by great chasms, fall
sheer down to needle-points of hard black slate rock jutting out into
the sea.

The name of Herty Point, as it used to be called, was originally, says
Camden, 'Hercules's promontory,' and this title has given rise to 'a
very formal story that Hercules came into Britain and killed I know not
what giants.' Here Camden pauses in his description of the place, to
consider whether there ever was a Hercules at all, and, if so, whether
there were not really forty-three Hercules; and if this was not so,
whether Hercules was perhaps 'a mere fiction to denote the strength of
human prudence,' or, again, possibly a myth personifying the sun, and
his labours the signs of the zodiac, 'which the sun runs through
yearly.' On the whole, he decides that, at any rate, Hercules never came
to Britain, but the name might have been given to the point by the
Greeks 'out of vanity,' because 'they dedicated everything they found
magnificent in any place to the glory of Hercules.'

Four miles south-east of the headland lies Hartland town. It has been
briefly described as 'a very quiet street of grey stone cottages and
whitewashed houses on a high and windy tableland.' Close by is Hartland
Abbey, founded, according to tradition, by Githa, the wife of Earl
Godwin, and mother of Harold II, in honour of St Nectan; for she 'highly
reverenced the man, and verily believed that through his merits her
husband had escaped shipwreck in a dangerous tempest.' In the reign of
Henry II, leave was given to Oliver de Dynant to change the community of
secular canons into regular canons of St. Augustine's order, and to
found a monastery for them. But between the successors of the founder
and the canons matters did not always run smoothly; in fact, on one
occasion, about a hundred years later, they actually came to blows in
the church, as is made clear by an entry in the register of Bishop
Bronescombe, for it records that the bishop had reconciled the church,
'which had been polluted by an effusion of blood in an affray between
Oliver de Dinham and the canons.'

After the Dissolution the Abbey was bestowed by the King upon the
Sergeant of his cellar, a man named Abbott. Parts of the Abbey remained
unaltered and in good repair till the end of the eighteenth century,
when, in building the present house, the unfortunate taste of the period
destroyed the hall, which was over seventy feet long, and a portion of
the cloisters, which were then still perfect. Parts of them, however,
are still standing. The cloisters had been rebuilt at a very early
date, for Dr. Oliver quotes an inscription which was over one of the
arches that shows them to be the work of the Abbot John of Exeter, who
resigned in 1329. Bishop Stapledon had found many defects in the
structure of the Abbey, when he made his visitation in 1319, and had
ordered them to be at once remedied. During the alterations made about
one hundred and twenty years ago, the monument of a Knight Hospitaller
was found, and within the last few years small pieces of carved stone
have been dug up--amongst others, a Madonna's head with traces of blue
and gold still upon it; a monk kneeling, and a knight and lady hand in
hand. The Abbey is now the property of Sir Lewis Stucley.

Nearer the shore, and on high ground, is the church of St Nectan, whose
tall pinnacled tower is a landmark to sailors. The tower is
Perpendicular, but most of the church is late Decorated, and the north
side has a Norman doorway. The great feature is the very beautiful
screen which stretches across the whole church; but the cradle roofs are
good, and there is other carving. On the pulpit is the figure of a goat
with tusks, and the puzzling inscription, 'God save King James. Fines.'
The Norman font is curiously sculptured with grotesque faces that look
down on to equally quaint faces on the pedestal--an allegory in stone
which Mr Hawker of Morwenstow interpreted as the righteous looking down
on the wicked.

Three or four miles farther on is the actual border-line, and here one
must turn, although, looking south towards Widemouth Bay, it is
irresistibly tempting to quote a few verses of rank doggerel, written on
a shipwreck which happened there on November 23, 1824. The verses were
probably inspired by terrible stress of emotion, and suggest the idea
that they were written with a spar rather than with a pen; but no doubt
they were for ever the joy and pride of their author.

    'Come all you British seamen,
    That plough the raging main,
    Who fight for King and Country,
    And your merchants do maintain.

    I'll sing you of a shipwreck
    That was here the other day,
    At a place that's called Widemouth,
    Near Bude, and in that bay.


        'So my British tars be steady,
        And maintain your glorious name;
        Till you're drowned, killed, or wounded,
        You must put to sea again.

    'The twenty-third of November,
    That was the very time,
    A fine and lofty schooner brig,
    The _Happy Return_, of Lyme,
    The bold and noble Captain
    Escaped from the deep,
    And died with cold that very night
    Near to a flock of sheep.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'The mate, as fine a seaman
    As could stand on a deck,
    Had with his noble Captain
    Escaped from the wreck;
    No refuge could be found on shore.
    No good could there be done;
    He returned on board the deck and died:
    The poor man lost his son.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'This poor man's son was not drown'd,
    But found dead the next day;
    Three only of this manly crew
    Escaped death and sea.
    Have pity on poor seamen,
    Kind gentlemen, I beg;
    The one of them is wounded,
    The poor man broke his leg.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'I've twice myself been shipwreck'd,
    Twenty-two years at sea,
    But never saw a gang of thieves
    Before that very day;
    Had it not been for Captain Thomas,
    And his loyal Preventive crew,
    They'd have stolen the cargo and the deck,
    The mast and rigging too.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'This schooner came from Dublin,
    To London she was bound;
    I could not believe such daring thieves
    Stood on the British ground.
    The Farmers of the country,[8]
    That distress ought to relieve,
    Some of them were stealing butter,
    While others stole the beef.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'Seamen call this place West Barbary.
    To me it does appear,
    More of the cargo would have sav'd,
    Were they wrecked on Algier:
    The people might as well come in,
    Rob the market or the fair;
    But to rob distressed seamen,
    No one had business there.


        'So my British tars, etc.

    'Now to complete this shipwreck,
    And for to end this song,
    I've told you nothing but the truth,
    No mortal I have wrong'd.
    Great praise is due to Pethick.[9]
    His wife and family brave,
    That did their best that very time
    Poor seamen's lives to save.


        'So my British tars, etc.'

[Footnote 8: St. Ginnes.]

[Footnote 9: The cottager by the seaside.]

Kingsley remarks that 'an agricultural people is generally as cruel to
wrecked seamen as a fishing one is merciful,' and speaks of the many
stories he has heard of 'baysmen' on this coast 'risking themselves like
very heroes to save strangers' lives, and at the same time beating off
the labouring folk who swarmed down for plunder from the inland hills.'

Retracing the way to Northam Burrows, passing through them to their most
northerly point, and crossing the Taw, one arrives at a strip of
shore--Braunton Burrows--which corresponds to the strip on the southern
bank of the river.

'A great chaos of wind-strewn sand-hills,' inhabited by armies of
rabbits, and haunted by peewits and gulls, the Burrows are brightened by
masses of wild-flowers, from the great mullein--once known as
hedge-taper, because of its pale torch of blossoms--to the tiny delicate
rose-pink bells of the bog-pimpernel. 'To the left were rich, alluvial
marshes, covered with red cattle sleeping in the sun, and laced with
creeks and flowing dykes.... Beyond again [looking back to the south]
two broad tide-rivers, spotted with white and red-brown sails, gleamed
like avenues of silver ... till they vanished among the wooded hills. On
the eastern horizon the dark range of Exmoor sank gradually into lower
and more broken ridges, which rolled away, woodland beyond woodland,
till all outlines were lost in a purple haze; while far beyond the
granite peaks of Dartmoor hung like a delicate blue cloud, and enticed
the eye away into infinity.'

In the midst of the sand-dunes are the remains of a little, very old
chapel, St Anne's Chapel, which is said to have been built by St
Brannock. North of the Burrows the land rises into cliffs, on which grew
(I hope, _grows_) the great sea-stock; and Baggy Point, at the southern
end of Morte Bay, runs out into the sea. Beyond the Point, the broad
yellow line of Woolacombe Sands stretches along the bay towards Morte

Not far off was the manor of the Tracys, Woolacombe Tracy. A curse was
brought on this family by William de Tracy, 'first and forwardest of the
knights who murdered Thomas a Becket.' For, 'the Pope banning, cursing,
and excommunicating,' a '_Miraculous Penance_' was imposed on the
Tracys, 'that whether they go by _Land_ or _Water_, the _Wind is ever in
their faces_.' Fuller, who gives this information, concludes dryly: 'If
this was so, it was a _Favour_ in a hot _Summer_ to the _Females_ of
that _Family_, and would spare them the _use_ of a _Fan_.' On William de
Tracy himself fell the special curse, that ever after his death he
should be compelled to wander at night--some say over Woolacombe Sands,
others among Braunton Burrows--till he could make a rope of sand. But,
whenever the rope is nearly woven, there comes a black dog, with a ball
of fire in his mouth, and breaks it; so the penance is never at an end.
Shrieks and wails have been heard by people in cottages near the shore.
Sometimes the uneasy spirit haunts the northern landing-place of the
ferry from Braunton Burrows to Appledore, and a wild, long-drawn cry of
'Boat ahoy!' comes ringing in the darkness over the waters. No one
answers that cry now after dusk, for once, many years ago, the ferryman,
who is well remembered among the Appledore people, went over, and no man
was there, but the black dog jumped into the boat. The ferryman, not
much liking this, put back again as fast as he could, but when Appledore
was nearly reached the dog swamped the boat, made his way to shore, and
was lost in the shadows of Northam Burrows. 'And the boatman's nerve was
so much shaken that soon afterwards he gave up the ferry.

A monument to William de Tracy was wrongly supposed to lie in the church
of Morthoe, or Morte, as it is more commonly called, on the north of the
bay. The memorial is of another William de Tracy, rector here till his
death in 1322. It is an elaborately sculptured altar-tomb, and bears the
incised effigy of a priest; on the sides are figures of St Catherine and
St Mary Magdalene, to whom jointly the rector founded a chapel in his
church. The church is mainly Perpendicular, but it has an Early English

The northern curve of the bay ends in Morte Point, and here is a
cromlech in ruins, for the massive slab of rock which formed the
cover-stone has fallen from the upright stones on which it used to lie.

Beyond the point, at the end of the reef, is a huge rock called the
Morte Stone, very dangerous on that exposed coast. The Normans are
supposed to have given its sinister name, and many since their time have
found it a true rock of death. No fewer than five vessels have been lost
there in one winter. Rather more than a mile to the north, Bull Point,
jutting out into the sea, abruptly ends the coast-line on the north; the
cliffs fall back slightly, and stretch away eastward, above 'black
fields of shark's-tooth tide-rocks, champing and churning the great
green rollers into snow.'

Returning to the Taw, inland, upon the eastern side of the Burrows, one
passes Braunton, two or three miles short of the estuary. The most
interesting point about this village is its association with its
name-saint, St Brannock--for the ancient name was Brannockstown. Old
writers rather wildly assert that the saint was the son of a 'King of
Calabria,' but Mr Baring-Gould, in a rapid sketch, says that he was the
Irish confessor of a King of South Wales, who, not finding happiness in
the life he was leading, migrated to North Devon. The legends that
sprang up about his name are steeped in a golden haze. When St Brannock
arrived, the whole place was 'overspread with brakes and woods. Out of
which desert, now named the Borroughs (to tell you some of the marvels
of this man), he took harts, which meekly obeyed the yoke,' and made
them 'plow to draw timber thence to build a church, which may gain
credit if it be true.' The caution of this commendation is delightful.
More, alas! we do not learn, for the writer forbears 'to speak of his
cow (which being killed, chopped in pieces, and boiling in the kettle,
came out whole and sound at his call), his staff, his oak, and his man
Abel, which would seem wonders. Yet all these you may see at large,
lively represented to you in a fair glass window.' It is very
disappointing that the window filled with the further wonders, the very
names of which have a charm, should have perished.

St Brannock Church is large, and, like Morte Church, is partly
Perpendicular and partly Early English. It has an unusually wide
panelled roof, and on one of the panels is carved a sow and some little
pigs--an illustration of a legend connecting the saint with the church,
for the tradition ran that he had been told in a dream to build his
church 'wherever he should first meet a sow and her family.' A similar
group is to be seen in the porch of the church at Newton St Cyres. Some
of the bench-ends in St Brannock's Church are very beautifully carved.

The road to Barnstaple, bending to the south-east, follows the estuary
of the Taw for nearly six miles.

The town is very prettily placed, but it is dominated by modern
buildings, and has not the air of antiquity with which its history might
have invested it. The river sweeps round a bend of a green and pleasant
valley just above the town, and along the strand is a walk shaded with
trees, looking over the river to a pastoral country beyond. Nearer the
bridge is Queen Anne's Walk, 'an open portico near the river, called the
Quay Walk, being an exchange of the merchants, etc.,' renamed when it
was rebuilt in Queen Anne's reign. From the bridge westward the scene
has an air of peaceful contentedness. Sea-gulls flutter among the
sand-banks, from which 'the sea retires itself' at low-tide, leaving
only a small, shining stream, which seems 'to creep between shelves and
sands.' Beyond are green marshes, and gentle rounded hills behind them
lead on one from another. The country is much the same all along the
river to the sea.

Bideford is proud of its bridge, which is very high, and has sixteen
arches. Several people have been given the credit of building it, and
its date is supposed to be some time during the thirteenth century.

The church, dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, is cross-shaped, and the
lead steeple looks well against the sky, especially when it is
surrounded by a shoal of swallows swooping and darting about it in all
directions. The church has been much restored, and altered from the
original building; evidently there were once three altars in it; and a
piscina still remains in the south aisle, close to the west wall of the
transept. A curious monument was erected in 1634 by Martin Blake, the
Vicar, to his son and four children who died very young. A heavy and
elaborate framework surrounds a severe likeness of a melancholy-looking
man, who is resting his head on his hand. On the monument are short
detached sentences, numbered:

     '1. He was cut off in the flower of his life.

            *       *       *       *       *

     '10. His heart on fire for the love of God.

     '11. Martin Blake, the Father, was taken from the Pulpit, and sent
          to Exeter jail for four years.

     '12. The Pulpit empty, and the congregation waiting for him.

     '13. He wishes to depart this life, and be at peace with his children.

     '14. But it is necessary I should remain in the flesh for the good
          of my people.

     '15. He that shall endure to the end shall have a crown of life.'

Mr Blake suffered much during the Civil War, but I can find no record of
any imprisonment beyond his being in 1657 'a prisoner at large in
_Exeter_ for six weeks.' In 1646 he was petitioned against on account of
his Royalist sympathies, 'by one _Tooker_,' to whom he had shown great
kindness, and who intrigued against him in the most abominable manner.
Though Sir Hardress Waller wrote to the Committee of sequestrations on
his behalf, he was suspended, and as about a year later his suspension
was cancelled, the infamous Tooker very hurriedly concocted a petition,
ostensibly from Barnstaple, praying that the 'Discharge' might be
repealed. Walker comments on the astonishing speed with which Tooker
managed this business. 'The Reader ... will certainly think, as I do,
that he who _walked to and fro in the Earth_, helped them to it; tho'
not in the Quality of a Courier, but in his other Capacity, that of the
_Father of Lies_.' Mr Blake, however, was allowed to return to his
living, but 'not without the cumbrance of a _Factious Lecturer_,' and
was not in full possession till after the Restoration.

Barnstaple asserts that it became a borough at a very early date--in
fact, that it 'obtained divers liberties, freedoms, and immunities from
King Athelstan'; but whether this were so or not, the inhabitants
certainly received a charter from Henry I, and further privileges were
added by King John. The barony of Barnstaple, first granted to Judhael
de Totnes, passed to the Tracys, then by marriage to the Lords Martin,
and again by an heiress to the Lords Audley. The son of this heiress was
the 'heroical' Lord Audley who so greatly distinguished himself at the
Battle of Poitiers.

Barnstaple sent three ships to join the fleet that met the Armada.
Risdon calls it 'the chief town of merchandise next the river's mouth,'
and says that the people 'through traffic have much enriched
themselves,' although their haven is so shallow 'that it hardly beareth
small vessels.' Yet spring-tides sometimes flood the marshes all round,
and on one occasion some of the people 'to save their lives were
constrained from their upper rooms to take boat and be gone.' Westcote
speaks of it as trading especially with 'Spain and the islands,' and
till the latter half of the eighteenth century wool for the serge-makers
from Ireland and America was brought to this port; but its trade has now
almost dwindled away.

Barnstaple Fair is a great institution, and, though not quite the event
that it used to be, still keeps up many traditional ceremonies. On the
first morning a large stuffed glove is put out on the end of a pole from
a window of the Guildhall, and is supposed to be the symbol of welcome
to all comers. This sign was adopted long ago, and in the accounts in
1615 and 1622 are two entries: 'Paid for a glove put out at the fair,
4d.,' and 'Paid for a paire of gloves at the faire, 4d.'

In the Guildhall, toast and spiced ale are handed round in loving-cups
to all comers, and after two or three speeches the Mayor and Corporation
proceed to the High Cross and other places in the borough, and the Town
Clerk reads the Proclamation of the Fair. A 'Fair Ball' is still given,
but the custom of a stag-hunt on the second day has been dropped.

Barnstaple was a sort of shuttle-cock during the Civil War. Here, as
elsewhere, the citizens were not all of one mind; though the merchants
and the majority were for the Parliament, and it was taken possession
of first by one side and then by the other.

In August, 1643, Barnstaple and Bideford sent a combined force against
the royal troops under Colonel Digby at Torrington, but being completely
routed, their courage was shaken, and a few days later Barnstaple was
surrendered to Prince Maurice. The next year, however, most of the
garrison having been drawn away, the inhabitants arose and took
possession of the town for the Parliament. Prince Maurice hurriedly sent
Colonel Digby to bring them to reason, but with great determination they
resisted the Royal troops, who were driven back. During the next three
months the fortunes of the Parliament in the West were at a very low
ebb, and in September the town was summoned by Lord Goring. The store of
ammunition was very low, and as soon as they were blockaded, the
townspeople found themselves short of provisions. 'At that time but
weakly garrisoned, the town surrendered on terms, and the garrison
quitted it on the 17th, leaving 50 pieces of ordnance.'

In the following May the Prince of Wales arrived, for, says Clarendon,
'no place was thought so convenient for his residence as Barnstaple, a
pleasant town in the north part of Devonshire, well fortified, with a
good garrison in it, under the command of Sir Allen Apsley.' The King
sent orders to the Prince, who at this time was little more than fifteen
years old, 'by the advice of his council, to manage and improve the
business of the West, and provide reinforcements for the army.' The
Prince's council had no easy task, for they were harassed by several
causes. Lord Goring's jealousy and selfishness were a great hindrance;
in consequence of a petition regarding the violence of his horse, the
Prince, says Clarendon, 'writ many earnest letters to the Lord Goring.'
Another great difficulty to be grappled with here was a fierce quarrel
between Sir Richard Grenville and the Commissioners of Devon and
Cornwall, who complained of him in such bitter terms, that anyone who
judged from their report must have concluded him to be 'the most justly
odious to both counties that can be imagined.'

Prince Rupert paid the Prince a visit in June, and not long afterwards
Lord Goring's horse arrived in hot disorder, having been chased most of
the way from Bridgwater by Fairfax's troops. In the following spring the
town was besieged by the Parliament's troops, and the day after the
treaty for the surrender of Exeter was completed, Fairfax himself
marched to Barnstaple. The Governor, seeing that resistance was
hopeless, gave 'the castle and the town ... as a security for surrender
of the fort at eight days' end'; and on honourable terms Barnstaple
yielded to the enemy. It was the last town in Devonshire to be delivered
to the Parliament.

About two miles upstream the river 'Taw vails bonnet to Tawstock, in our
ancestors' speech,' says Westcote, and he goes on to describe it as 'a
pleasant and delicate seat indeed, in a rich soil, and inhabited by
worthy personages.' The modest claim has been put forward that the view
here includes 'the most valuable manor, the best mansion, the finest
church, and the richest rectory, in the county.' Possibly other parishes
may not agree with all the superlatives, but the beautiful features of
the valley certainly offer a temptation to use them.

Tawstock Court was once the property of the Earls of Bath, and now
belongs to their descendant, Sir Bourchier Wrey. An Elizabethan gateway
is all that is left of the old house, which was burnt down, and rebuilt
in 1787. The beautiful cruciform church is chiefly Decorated, but parts
are of a later date; it is dignified by a fine central embattled tower,
crowned by pinnacles. In the church are several altar-tombs to the
Bourchiers, Barons Fitzwarine and later Earls of Bath, and to their
wives, and there is a very early effigy carved in wood.

Leaving the Taw and crossing the country to the south, and a little to
the west, one reaches the Torridge, and Torrington, a town 'built
scatteringly, lying at length, as it were, upon the brow of a hill
hanging over the river.' It is, perhaps, chiefly known as the scene of a
skirmish and an engagement during the Civil War. The skirmish, already
mentioned, took place when the Parliament's partisans set out from
Barnstaple and Bideford to attack Colonel Digby, who, with a small
force, had established himself there. It was indeed a case of fortune
favouring the bold, for the Royalists were taken unawares, and had it
not been for the daring of 'the Colonel, whose courage and vivacity upon
action was very eminent, and commonly very fortunate,' the day might
well have been with the other side. Colonel Digby had divided a small
number of horse into little parties in different fields, and was waiting
for some of his troops to join him before attacking the enemy, when a
band of about fifty Parliamentary musketeers came towards the ground
where they stood. Realizing that, if these once gained possession of the
high banks between the two forces, his party must be driven off, Colonel
Digby, with instant decision, took four or five officers with him, and
charged with such vigour that the raw country troops, smitten with
panic, threw down their arms and ran, 'carrying so infectious a fear
with them, that the whole body of troops was seized by it and fled.'
Colonel Digby followed, with all the horse at his disposal, 'till,' says
Clarendon complacently, 'their swords were blunted with slaughter.'
Perhaps the Royalists were more anxious to impress a salutary warning
against the sin of rebellion than to kill the fugitives, for Clarendon
finishes the account by saying that the rebels 'were scattered and
dispersed all over the country, and scarce a man without a cut over the
face and head, or some other hurt, that wrought more upon their
neighbours towards their conversion, than any sermon could be preached
to them.' This affair practically brought about the submission of
Barnstaple, Bideford, and Appledore.

The second engagement was of a far more important character, with fatal
consequences to the King's cause in the West--already in a hopeless
condition. In the early spring of 1646, Lord Hopton marched to
Torrington, and was waiting there for the arrival of about half his
ammunition and provisions, when he heard that Sir Thomas Fairfax, with a
large army, was in the immediate neighbourhood. To the best of his
power, he hurriedly made such defences as were possible. His position
was excellent, for Torrington stands on a hill almost surrounded by deep
valleys, but his force was very inferior in numbers to that of the
enemy. It is curious that the second engagement at Torrington began
accidentally. Fairfax's army had had a series of encounters with an
outlying troop of Royalist dragoons on approaching the town, and by the
time they drew near the day was nearly spent. As the Royalists were well
prepared for their arrival, the lanes and fields near the town being
lined with musketeers, the Parliamentary Generals resolved to stay at a
little distance and wait for the morning to attack. The Royalist word
for the night was, 'We are with you,' and their sign, that each man had
a handkerchief tied round his right arm. The word for the other army
was, 'Emmanuel, God with us,' and their signal, a sprig of furze in
every hat.

About nine o'clock a noise in the town suddenly awoke the suspicion that
the Royalists were retreating, so, says Sprigg, 'that we might get
certain knowledge whether they were going off or not, a small party of
dragoons were set to fire on the enemy near the barricadoes and hedges;
the enemy answered us with a round volley of shot.' Whereupon the
engagement became general, and both sides fought 'in the dark for some
two hours, till we beat them from the hedges and within their
barricadoes, which were very strong, and where some of their men
disputed the entrance of our forces with push of pike and butt-end of
musket for a long time.' At length the Parliamentary troops prevailed,
and their horse 'chased the enemy through the town.' Lord Hopton,
bringing up the rear, had his horse shot dead under him in the middle of
the town, but, in spite of the fact that he was slightly wounded, he
made yet another effort to rally his troops, and they, 'facing about in
the street, caused our foot to retreat.' Then a body of horse dashed up
with a vehemence that the Royalists could not stand against, and they
were obliged to fly; 'one of the officers publicly reporting,' says
Clarendon bitterly, 'lest the soldiers should not make haste enough in
running away, that he saw their general run through the body with a

Scarcely were the Parliamentarians in possession of the town, when a
frightful explosion occurred. The church, which unknown to them, Lord
Hopton had used as a powder-magazine, was blown up and about two hundred
prisoners whom the Roundheads had confined in the church were killed. In
his account of the disaster, Sprigg, who was obviously, from passages in
his writings, a man of warm feelings, and a clergyman by profession,
refers very cheerfully to the fact that 'few were slain besides the
enemy's (that were prisoners in the church where the magazine was blown
up), and most of our men that guarded them, who were killed and buried
in the ruins,' and not for one moment does the melancholy fate of the
many victims seem to damp his joy.

The victory was a very important one, and a public thanksgiving was held
in consequence--indeed, this was the last real resistance made by the
Royalists in the West.

The church has been very unfortunate, for since it was rebuilt in 1651
the tower has been blown down, and it fell through the roof, doing a
good deal of damage. An old print shows this tower to have been a
wonderful erection of slates and tiles, projecting eaves, and irregular
gables, surmounted by a little dome, with a weathercock on the top of
all. It was replaced by a slender, tapering, but more conventional

Margaret, Countess of Richmond, and mother of Henry VII, lived here for
some time, and left a generous gift, for, 'pitying the long path the
pastor had from home to church,' she 'gave to him and his successors the
manor-house with lands thereto': and on this site of the manor-house
stands the present vicarage. Besides making this gift, 'on every
occasion a friend to learning, even in its infancy, she built a room for
a library, and furnished it with the most useful books then to be had.'

Torridge Castle, a building of the fourteenth century, stood on the
verge of a steep descent to the river. In Risdon's day it was almost
gone, the ruins had 'for many years hovered, which, by extreme age, is
almost brought to its period;' and in 1780 the chapel, the only part
left, was partly pulled down and afterwards turned into a school.

About a mile or so to the east stands Stevenstone--a new house, in the
midst of a fine deer-park. For over three centuries Stevenstone was
owned by the Rolles, and when Fairfax's troops advanced on Torrington,
two hundred dragoons were being entertained by 'Master Rolls,' and the
advance was disputed by these dragoons, who, after a long and straggling
fight in the narrow and dirty lanes, eventually fell back on the town.
Here Fairfax took up his quarters after the town had been taken.

A few miles upstream the Torridge passes Potheridge, the birthplace of
General Monk, whose ancestors had owned property here since the reign of
Henry III.

The character of George Monk is extraordinarily interesting, a curious
point being that, though he was essentially cautious, level-headed, and,
as Clarendon says, 'not enthusiastical,' and therefore unlikely to rouse
very vivid sentiments in others, as a matter of fact he awoke violent
feelings either of glowing enthusiasm or of extreme bitterness. It is
easy to understand his unpopularity with keen partisans who looked on
their opponents and all their ways with abhorrence, and therefore failed
to understand how an honest man could fight for the King, then accept a
command from Cromwell, and finally become the prime mover of the
Restoration. But--'If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer'; and it may well be
that the beat that ruled Monk's steps was the peaceable government and
welfare of the people, and especially of the army, and to the personal
claims and rights of the rulers he was indifferent. The general state of
things needed reform badly enough. Monk's acts were never inconsistent,
but he had a genius for silence. When war in England broke out, he
returned from fighting for the King in Holland, to fight for him at
home. When Cromwell offered him his release from the Tower, at the price
of helping to subdue the Irish rebels, his accepting the command was to
the advantage of this country.

To begin with, Monk was forced to turn soldier with unexpected
suddenness. The Under-Sheriff of Exeter publicly affronted Sir Thomas
Monk, on which his son, aged sixteen, went to Exeter and gave the
offender 'the chastisement he deserved (without any intention of
murder).' This step created a good deal of disturbance, and to avoid
more, 'our young gentleman' was packed off to 'the School of War in the
Low Countries.'

He was taken prisoner early in the Civil War, and after over two years
of close imprisonment, agreed to accompany the Lord Deputy Lisle to
Munster. After leaving Ireland he gained brilliant successes at sea over
the Dutch. Prince tells a tale that is characteristic of him and of
Cromwell. The seamen who had served under Monk had been told that they
should receive their full pay as soon as the prizes were sold off, but
were unreasonably impatient; and while Monk was actually at Whitehall
putting their claims before the Protector, news was brought him 'that
three or four thousand seamen were come as far as Charing Cross with
swords, pistols, and clubs, to demand their pay. General Monk, thinking
himself wronged in this, ran down to meet them, drew his sword, and fell
upon them; Cromwell following with one or two attendants, cut and hew
the seamen, and drove them before him.' Prince finishes the story with
applause of the boldness that 'should drive such great numbers of such
furious creatures as English seamen.' Later, Monk's command in Scotland
resulted in a state of order and quietness then very unusual in that

Accusations of dealing unfairly with the Parliament in 1659 may be
levelled against him with some justice, but how was loyalty possible to
a household so divided against itself as were the rulers of the Kingdom?
The Army and the Parliament were in bitter antagonism to each other, and
Lambert's soldiers had shut the Parliament out of Westminster. The
members of the Rump Parliament, the earlier 'secluded' members, the
Presbyterians, the Independents under Lambert, the Royalists, and
smaller parties, were all working for their own ends. When Monk marched
south, a deputation was sent to meet him from the Council of Officers,
ostensibly to make terms between their army and his, but also with the
secret object of establishing an understanding between him and Fleetwood
that would enable the latter to get rid of his friend and colleague,
General Lambert. Meanwhile Lambert, jealous of Fleetwood, sent a
private and friendly message to Monk by Major-General Morgan, who not
only betrayed his party at Lambert's bidding, but betrayed that patriot
as well, for at the same time that he gave the message, he also
delivered a secret letter from Lord Fairfax, begging Monk to adopt a
course which would have been fatal to Lambert. And the country as a
whole was heartily sick of both factions.

Had Monk openly declared himself for the Stuarts, at the time that he
first began to prepare for the Restoration, he would probably have
imperilled the success of the whole scheme, and most certainly would
have plunged the country again into the horrors of Civil War. When he
did reveal his negotiations with the exiled Court at Breda, 'London
would not have borne many days, or even many hours longer, the extreme
tension it was then suffering--the City one way, Westminster the other
way; Monk's army between them, and Fleetwood's wolves prowling all
round, and ready to pour in.'

Apart from all else, tribute must be paid to Monk's marvellous skill in
so ordering affairs that the Restoration was brought about almost
without the cost of a drop of blood. During the winter of 1659, a far
larger army than his own lay for many weeks a few miles to the south on
the Border, sent there with the especial purpose of watching and if
necessary attacking him. But Monk knew how to bide his time and to
prolong negotiations to suit his convenience till in the end, without a
blow being struck, he marched his army south to London. Masterly was the
diplomacy and grasp of detail which, on the eve of announcing the
Restoration, dispersed over the country all soldiers who would be
inclined to stand by the Parliament, making any serious attempt at a
revolt on their part impossible.

One failing his most fervent admirer cannot ignore--a strong leaning to
avarice. But his popularity was unbounded, and 'it was his singular
fortune to win in succession the affection of three very different
populations, those of Dublin, Edinburgh, and London.' In Ireland his men
were devoted to him. 'A soldier, tho' sick and without shoes, would
strive to go out with honest George Monk.' After the death of Cromwell
he was offered the crown, but he refused, 'holding it a greater honour
to be an honest subject than a great usurper.'

During the frightful visitation of the Plague, the Earl of Craven, and
the Archbishop of Canterbury and Monk, were the only high officials who
stayed at their posts, and exposed themselves perpetually to the 'seeds
of death.' So great was the public confidence in him, that at the time
of the Great Fire, he being then at sea, 'the people did believe and
say: "If he had been there, the city had not been burned."' No idol of
the mob could ask a more whole-hearted adoration.

The popular feeling is expressed in a rather limping acrostic on his
name, of which I quote only the first quarter. It was called 'England's
Heroick Champion, or The ever-renowned General George Monck.' The date
is about 1659-60.

'G ood may'st thou be, as thou are great.
 E ver regarded.
 O r like _Alexander_ compleat,
 R ichly rewarded.
 G ainst thy virtue none dare stand,
 E xcluded Members now are
         Back return'd by thy hand.

'M any miles didst thou compass,
 O nly us to free;
 N othing by thee too hard was,
 C ompared to be.
 K eep us in thy protection!
         We were all greatly distrest;
         Bring thou in all the best.

'G reat bonfires then was made,
 E xpressing joy,
 O f us that sorrow did invade,
 R efresh our annoy.
 G uard us with thy aid, we desire;
 E xaltation we all will raise
         Unto heaven in thy praise.

'M uch good hast thou already done,
 O ver this land;
 N ow our hearts thou hast quite won:
 C ommand! Command!
 K indly we will entertain
         Those that were excluded,
         For they have not intruded.'

In later years, as Duke of Albemarle, he returned to the estate of his
forefathers, and rebuilt Potheridge in a very magnificent manner. It has
since been pulled down.

If the traveller follows the Torridge upstream, he will be led south
till he is within two miles of Hatherleigh, and here the river curves
away westwards, and then in a northerly direction. In the spring, this
clear, rippling stream has a special charm--thousands and thousands of
daffodils grow along the banks though only sparingly in the fields
beyond, so that, if the river happens to be low and the water not to be
seen at a little distance, the windings of the river through the wide
green valley are marked by two broad lines of pale, clear yellow.

Hatherleigh Moor was given a bad name very long ago. The saying is

    'The people are poor, as Hatherleigh Moor,
    And so they have been for ever and ever.'

But the people of the little town are able to graze their cattle and cut
furze for fuel on it. Hatherleigh parish has two holy wells. St John's
Well stands on the moor, and there used to be a pretty custom of
fetching its water for a baptism. The water of St. Mary's Well was good
for the eyes, and within the memory of persons still alive pagan
traditions were observed around it on Midsummer Eve. Amidst 'wild scenes
of revelry ... fires were lit, feasting and dancing were indulged in.'

For some years, in this part of the country, while he was curate to his
father, who had the neighbouring living of Iddesleigh, the renowned
'Jack' Russell preached on Sundays and hunted on weekdays. He was
immensely popular, and so many stories are told of him and his hounds
that it has been already said, 'Russell is fast becoming mythical.' He
was not the ideal of a modern parish priest, but this is the opinion of
one who remembers him. The writer begins by speaking of a friend of
Russell's as a man who 'seems ... to have been as good a Christian as he
was a gentleman; not ecstatic perhaps, but in the sense of leading a
godly, righteous and sober life. And,' he goes on, 'the same may with
certainty be predicated of Russell ... Russell, like a wise man, got
right home to Nature. It was not for nothing that the gipsy chieftain
left him his rat-catcher's belt, and begged for burial at his hands in
Swymbridge churchyard.'

Perhaps the following story of him is not quite so well known as many

Mr Russell once advertised for a curate: 'Wanted, a curate for
Swymbridge: must be a gentleman of moderate and orthodox views.'

Soon after this advertisement had appeared Mr Hooker, Vicar of
Buckerell, was standing in a shop door in Barnstaple, 'when he was
accosted by Will Chapple, the parish clerk of Swymbridge, who entered
the grocer's shop. "Havee got a coorate yet for Swymbridge, Mr Chapple?"
inquired the grocer, in Mr Hooker's hearing. "No, not yet, sir," replied
the sexton. "Master's nation purticler, and the man must be orthodox."
"What does that mean?" inquired the grocer. "Well, I reckon it means he
must be a purty good rider."

Here we must leave the Torridge altogether, and go eleven miles
south-east to the point where the Taw leaves the uplands of Dartmoor.
Almost the first village that the river passes is South Zeal, close to
South Tawton, and near South Zeal was the old home of the Oxenhams, the
family about whom the well-known legend of the white bird is told. When
an Oxenham is about to die, a white bird flaps at the window or flies
about the sickroom, and stories of the bird having been seen at such
times have been told at intervals, through two centuries. The evidence
in some instances seems fairly good, but where an apparition is expected
it is not unlikely imagination may play tricks, or a chance event may be
interpreted as an omen.

Lysons quotes from Mr Chapple's manuscript collections a case that
happened in 1743, the story being given to Mr Chapple by the doctor. Mr
William Oxenham was ill, and 'when the bird came into his chamber, he
observed upon the tradition as connected with his family, but added he
was not sick enough to die, and that he should cheat the bird, and this
was a day or two before his death, which took place after a short

It is necessary to pass over thirteen or fourteen miles, but at
Chumleigh one must turn aside to the east, for about six miles in that
direction was the ancient home of the Stucleys. Affeton Castle has been
for many years altogether in ruins, but in the middle of the last
century Sir George Stucley roofed over the old gate-house and made it
habitable as a shooting-box. This is the only part of the castle still
standing, though the farmhouse close by is no doubt built upon some of
the foundations. 'Lusty Stukeley' (the name was spelt in several ways)
was far from among the worthiest of his family, but distinctly the most
entertaining. His ideas were certainly 'spacious' enough for the great
days in which he lived, though he was too crack-brained and full of self
to fall into line with his betters, whose deeds still bear rich fruit.
'He was,' says Fuller severely, 'one of good parts, but valued the less
by others, because over-prized by himself.'

If it be allowed that the personality of everyone inclines to being drab
or flamboyant, his may be compared to fireworks. Thomas Stukely, who was
born about 1530, was for a younger brother unusually well endowed, 'but
his profluous prodigality soon wasted it; yet then, not anyway dejected
in mind, he projected to people Florida, and there in those remote
countries to play rex.' He 'blushed not' to tell Queen Elizabeth 'that
he preferred rather to be sovereign of a mole-hill than the highest
subject to the greatest king in Christendom.' His audacity reached the
point of bandying words with the Queen, who seems, from the polite irony
of her tone, to have been amused by his vanity.

'I hope,' said the Queen, 'I shall hear from you when you are stated in
your Principality?' 'I will write unto you,' quoth Stuckley. 'In what
language?' said the Queen. He returned, 'In the stile of Princes, To our
dear Sister.'

And on this Stukely departed, but not to Florida, for he met with
reverses which dashed his plans, but not his spirits. Westcote quotes 'a
ditty made by him, or of him,' apparently at this time:

    'Have over the waters to Florida.
    Farewell good London now;
    Through long delays on land and seas,
    I'm brought, I cannot tell how.

    'In Plymouth town, in a thread-bare gown.
    And money never a deal:
    Hay! trixi trim! go trixi trim!
    And will not a wallet do well?'

Unfortunately, his career was a great failure. From sunning himself at
the Court of Elizabeth, he turned to paths of disloyalty, and became the
'Pope's pensioner.' The Pope created him Marquis of Leinster, and added
several minor titles, and then this 'Title-top heavy General' attempted
in vain to carry treasonable help to the Irish rebels. Yet he had 'the
fortune to die honourably.' Arrived in Lisbon at the moment when the
King of Portugal was starting in a campaign to Barbary, Stukely was
persuaded to join his army, and fell, fighting gallantly, at the Battle
of Alcasar, 1578.

    'A Fatal Fight, where in one day was slain
    Three Kings that were and one that would be fain.'

About five miles to the north, at King's Nympton, the Pollards were
settled for some generations, and many of them 'lived to be as proper
gentlemen as most in this or any other county.' Sir Hugh Pollard fought
in the Civil War, and as Governor of Dartmouth Castle made a brave and
resolute though unsuccessful defence. After the Restoration, Charles II
appointed him Comptroller of the Household. It was said of Sir Hugh
'that he was very active and venturous for his Majesty in the worst of
Times, and very hospitable and noble with him in the best.'

Five miles north of Bishop's Nympton is the old town of South Molton,
and the manor was part of the demesne of Edward the Confessor. In the
reign of Edward I, Lord Martin held it 'by sergeantry to find a man with
a bow and three arrows to attend the Earl of Gloucester when he goeth to
Gower [in Wales] to hunt.'

In the spring of 1654, Charles II was proclaimed King in South Molton,
for the Wiltshire gentlemen who had risen against the Government, headed
by Sir Joseph Wagstaff and led by Colonel Penruddock and Mr Hugh Groves,
made their way so far west before they were overpowered. Sir Joseph
escaped, but the other two leaders were beheaded at Exeter.

A little to the north of the town, and about eight miles south of
Barnstaple, are the wide grounds of Castle Hill--broad lawns and slopes,
clear streams, and rich feathery masses of woodland that, shaded and
softened by distance, spread far away.

The Fortescues, not long after the Conquest, were granted lands in
Devonshire, and in one generation after another they have come forward
to take a part in public affairs--often a Samson's share of toil. Sir
John Fortescue fought at Agincourt, and was chosen Governor of Meaux by
Henry V. Sir Edward Fortescue, when he had surrendered Salcombe Castle,
had the consolation of knowing that this fort had been held for the King
later than any other place in Devonshire. Sir Faithful and Sir Nicholas
Fortescue were distinguished commanders in the same war. In the reign of
Henry VI, Sir Henry Fortescue was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, though
his fame is very much eclipsed by the greater brilliancy of his brother.

Sir John Fortescue, Lord Chief Justice, is usually spoken of as Lord
Chancellor, though it is doubted whether he ever received a valid
appointment; for when the honour was bestowed upon him, Yorkists and
Lancastrians were already at war. As the trouble deepened, Sir John laid
aside his robe for his sword, and fought bravely for the 'falling cause'
in the terrible battle of Palm Sunday. Later, he accompanied the King
and Queen in their flight, and while abroad, with courageous optimism,
began to instruct the Prince in the 'lawes of his country and the
duties of a King of England.' Of Sir John's two celebrated treatises--De
Natura Legis Naturæ, and De Laudibus Legum Angliæ--the latter and most
famous was specially compiled for the benefit of the Prince, and Sir
Edward Coke has enthusiastically declared it 'worthy to be written in
letters of gold for the weight and worthiness thereof.'

A Fortescue of a later generation who 'took to the law,' eventually
became Master of the Rolls. He was a great friend of the poet Pope, and
from the gentle mockery in some of the long letters of the poet still in
existence, it would seem that Mr Fortescue had a proper share of
prejudice in favour of his own county. In 1724 Pope writes: 'I am
grieved to tell you that there is one Devonshire man not honest; for my
man Robert proves a vile fellow, and I have discarded him.' And in
another letter, nearly ten years later, in March, 1734-35: 'Twitnam is
very cold these easterly winds; but I presume they do not blow in the
happy regions of Devonshire.'

Sir John Fortescue, born in 1533, had the honour of being chosen
'Preceptor to the Princess Elizabeth.' Later he was appointed Keeper of
the Great Wardrobe; whereupon it was remarked that Sir John Fortescue
was one whom the Queen trusted with the ornaments of her soul
and body. 'Two men,' Queen Elizabeth would say, 'outdid her
expectations,--Fortescue for integrity, and Walsingham for subtlety and
officious services.'

Towards the end of the eighteenth century a member of one of the
branches of Fortescues who settled in Ireland was created Lord Clermont.
He was very much liked by the Prince of Wales, and both Lord and Lady
Clermont were a great deal at Court. In Wraxall's 'Posthumous Memoirs'
there is an amusing account of an evening spent by Lady Clermont in
launching into London society the Count Fersen who was noted for his
devotion to Marie Antoinette. Already 'Swedish Envoy at the Court of
France,' he had arrived in England, 'bringing letters of introduction
from the Duchesse de Polignac to many persons of distinction here, in
particular for Lady Clermont. Desirous to present him in the best
company, soon after his arrival she conducted him in her own carriage to
Lady William Gordon's assembly in Piccadilly. She had scarcely entered
the room and made Count Fersen known to the principal individuals of
both sexes, when the Prince of Wales was announced. I shall recount the
sequel in Lady Clermont's own words to me, only a short time subsequent
to the fact. "His Royal Highness took no notice of me on his first
arrival, but in a few minutes afterwards, coming up to me: 'Pray, Lady
Clermont,' said he, 'is that man whom I see here Count Fersen, the
queen's favourite?' 'The gentleman,' answered I, 'to whom your royal
highness alludes is Count Fersen; but so far from being a favourite of
the queen, he has not yet been presented at Court.' 'D----n!' exclaimed
he, 'you don't imagine I mean my mother?' 'Sir,' I replied, 'whenever
you are pleased to use the word "queen" without any addition, I shall
always understand it to mean my queen. If you speak of any other queen,
I must entreat that you will be good enough to say the Queen of France,
or of Spain.' The Prince made no reply; but after having walked once or
twice round Count Fersen, returning to me: 'He's certainly a very
handsome fellow,' observed he. 'Shall I have the honour, sir,' said I,
'to present him to you?' He instantly turned on his heel, without giving
me any answer; and I soon afterwards quitted Lady William Gordon's
house, carrying Count Fersen with me. We drove to Mrs St John's, only a
few doors distant, who had likewise a large party on that evening. When
I had introduced him to various persons there, I said to him, 'Count
Fersen, I am an old woman and infirm, who always go home to bed at
eleven. You will, I hope, amuse yourself. Goodnight.' Having thus done
the honours as well as I could to a stranger who had been so highly
recommended to me, I withdrew into the ante-chamber and sate down alone
in a corner, waiting for my carriage.

'"While there the Prince came in, and I naturally expected, after his
recent behaviour, that he would rather avoid than accost me. On the
contrary, advancing up to me: 'What are you doing here, Lady Clermont?'
asked he. 'I am waiting for my coach, sir,' said I, 'in order to go
home.' 'Then,' replied he, 'I will put you into it and give you my arm
down the stairs.' 'For heaven's sake, sir,' I exclaimed, 'don't attempt
it! I am old, very lame, and my sight is imperfect; the consequence of
your offering me your arm will be that, in my anxiety not to detain your
royal highness, I shall hurry down and probably tumble from the top of
the staircase to the foot.' 'Very likely,' answered he, 'but if you
tumble, I shall tumble with you. Be assured, however, that I will have
the pleasure of assisting you and placing you safely in your carriage.'
I saw that he was determined to repair the rudeness with which he had
treated me at Lady William Gordon's, and therefore acquiesced. He
remained with me till the coach was announced, conversed most agreeably
on various topics, and as he took care of me down the stairs, enjoined
me at every step not to hurry myself. Nor did he quit me when seated in
the carriage, remaining uncovered on the steps of the house till it
drove off from the door."'


Lundy, Lynmouth, and the Borders of Exmoor

    'Ay, ay, the year's awaking,
    The fire's among the ling,
    The beechen hedge is breaking,
    The curlew's on the wing:
    Primroses are out, lad,
    On the high banks of Lee,
    And the sun stirs the trout, lad,
    From Brendon to the sea.

    'I know what's in your heart, lad,--
    The mare he used to hunt,
    And her blue market-cart, lad,
    With posies tied in front--
    We miss them from the moor road,
    They're getting old to roam;
    The road they're on's a sure road,
    And nearer, lad, to home.'

    H. NEWBOLT: _April on Waggon Hill_.

The charm of the coast-line of North Devon lies partly in its great
irregularity. 'At one spot a headland, some five hundred feet high,
rough with furze-clad projections at the top, and falling abruptly to a
bay; then, perhaps, masses of a low, dark rock, girding a basin of turf,
as at Watermouth; again, a recess and beach, with the mouth of a stream;
a headland next in order, and so the dark coast runs whimsically
eastward, passing from one shape to another like a Proteus, until it
unites with the massive sea-front of Exmoor.' At the eastern ridge of
the county, the hill on which Oldbarrow Camp stands rises more than
eleven hundred feet straight out of the sea.

Ilfracombe's tiny bay is almost surrounded by rocks, but a pier was
built by one of the Bourchiers, Earls of Bath, and his successors--one
Sir Bourchier Wrey after another--have improved and enlarged it.
Westcote speaks of it as 'a pretty harbour for ships of small burden,
but dangerous to come in in some winds, especially for strangers; for
whose better security they keep a continual pharos to direct their
course.' The lighthouse now stands on the Lantern Rock, at the mouth of
the harbour, where once stood a little chapel dedicated to St Nicholas.
The dedication explains its position, for St Nicholas was a sea-saint,
whose protection used to be specially implored as a defence against

Nowadays Ilfracombe is of no consequence as a port, but six centuries
ago it must have been of some importance, for when Edward III was
besieging Paris it contributed six ships and eighty-two mariners to a
fleet. Although the nucleus of the town is old, and indeed consisted
only of one 'scattering street,' its development is very modern, and has
happened since it became popular as a watering-place.

The architecture of the church is very varied. The tower is probably
Norman, finished by Perpendicular battlements and pinnacles; it is built
above the centre of the north aisle, and projects into the church. There
are also remains of Transitional work, and in the chancel is a Decorated

Leading inland from Ilfracombe are 'lovely combes, with their green
copses, and ridges of rock, and golden furze, fruit-laden orchards, and
slopes of emerald pasture, pitched as steep as house-roofs, where the
red long-horns are feeding, with their tails a yard above their heads.'
About twenty-two miles to the west, the sea-line is broken by an island,
about which there is an indefinable air of romance. Lundy is three and a
half miles long, its greatest width is a few yards short of a mile, and
it is surrounded by high and dangerous cliffs and rocks--too well known
even in the present day by the ships wrecked on them. Perhaps those
oftenest heard of are the reefs of the Hen and Chickens, 'fringed with
great insular rocks, bristling up amid the sea,' which dashes on them in
a never-ceasing cloud of foam on the north, and the fatal Shutter on the
south-west. Lundy has been described as a 'lofty table-headed granite
rock.... The cliffs and adjacent sea are alive with seabirds, every
ledge and jutting rock being alive with them, or they are whirling round
in clouds, filling the air with their discordant screams.' Westcote
remarked: 'In breeding time, in some places, you shall hardly know where
to set your foot but on eggs,' and adds that it affords 'conies
plentifully, doves, stares (which Alexander Nectan termeth Ganymede's
birds).' Mr Chanter translates 'Ganymede's birds to be gannets, as there
were very many of these birds there'; but an older commentator soars
higher, and thinks of eagles and ostriches!

A description of Lundy as it was in the middle of the eighteenth century
is dimly suggestive of Robinson Crusoe. 'Wild fowl were exceeding
plenty, and a vast number of rabbits. The island was overgrown with
ferns and heath, which made it almost impossible to go to the extreme of
the island. Had it not been for the supply of rabbits and young
sea-gulls our tables would have been but poorly furnished, rats being so
plenty that they destroyed every night what was left of our repast by
day. Lobsters were tolerably plenty, and some other fish we caught. The
deer and goats were very wild and difficult to get at. The path to the
house was so narrow and steep that it was scarcely possible for a horse
to ascend it. The inhabitants by the assistance of a rope climbed up a
rock in which were steps cut to place their feet, to a cave or magazine
where Mr Benson lodged his goods.' There have been considerable
differences of opinion about the name, and Mr Baring-Gould believes:
'Lundy takes its name from the puffins, in Scandinavian _Lund_, that at
all times frequented it; but it had an earlier Celtic name, Caer Sidi,
and is spoken of as a mysterious abode in the Welsh _Mabinogion_.'

Many centuries later it seems to have had the power of inspiring
fabulous tales, for Miss Celia Fiennes, who looked at it in her journey
from Cornwall, makes a statement almost as wonderful as some of Sir John
Mandeville's tales of Barnacle Trees and other marvels. She says: 'I saw
the isle of Lundy, which formerly belonged to my Grandfather, William
Lord Viscount Say and Seale, which does abound with fish and rabbits and
all sorts of ffowles, one bird y^t lives partly in the water and
partly out and so may be called an amphibious creature; it's true that
one foot is like a turkey, the other a goose's foote; it lays its eggs
in a place the sun shines on and sets it so exactly upright on the small
end, and there it remaines till taken up, and all the art and skill of
persons cannot set it up soe againe to abide.'

Legends apart, Lundy has been the scene of many thrilling adventures,
and has had an eventful history. The advantages of its position for
watching and falling upon richly laden merchant ships on their way to
and from Bristol and other towns, and the great difficulties that met
any enemy trying to land, resulted in the island being appropriated by
one band of pirates after another, of whom the De Moriscoes were the
most celebrated. Henry II, getting tired of their turbulence and
lawlessness, granted the island to the Knights Templars, but it does not
appear they were ever able to establish themselves there. In 1158 the
raids of the Moriscoes became so intolerable that a special tax was
imposed in Devon and Cornwall for the defence of their ports, and for
furnishing means for an attack on Lundy, but Sir William de Morisco
seems to have triumphantly survived the storm. Later he was taken
prisoner by the French in a sea-fight, but was eventually released.

Sir William, his son, was charged, upon the evidence of a semi-lunatic,
with conspiring to assassinate Henry III, and on the strength of it was
condemned to death--a sentence that, as he fled to Lundy, was not
carried out for four years, when he was taken by stratagem. Lundy was
then seized by the King, but forty years later the Moriscoes once more
gained possession of it. Edward II granted the island to one of the
Despencers, and in his own distress attempted to take refuge here:

    'To Lundy, which in Sabrin's mouth doth stand,
    Carried with hope (still hoping to find ease),
    Imagining it were his native land,
    England itself; Severn, the narrow sea;
    With this conceit, poor soul! himself doth please.
    And sith his rule is over-ruled by men,
    On birds and beasts he'll king it once again.

    ''Tis treble death a freezing death to feel;
    For him on whom the sun hath ever shone,
    Who hath been kneeled unto, can hardly kneel,
    Nor hardly beg what once hath been his own.
    A fearful thing to tumble from a throne!
    Fain would he be king of a little isle;
    All were his empire bounded in a mile.'

But the winds were against him, and he was driven on to the Welsh coast,
into the hands of his enemies.

During the reign of Henry VIII, French pirates seized the island, and
plundered and robbed at large, but they were accounted for by the valour
of Clovelly fishermen, who made a determined attack, and killed or made
prisoners of the whole band. In 1608 a commission was held to consider
the grievances of merchants who complained of piracy in the Bristol
Channel; and in 1610 'another commission was issued to the Earl of
Nottingham to authorize the town of Barnstaple to send out ships for the
capture of pirates, and the deposition was taken of one William Young,
who had been made prisoner by Captain Salkeld, who entitled himself
"King of Lundy," and was a notorious pirate.' Two years later 'the _John
of Braunton_ and the _Mayflower_ of Barnstaple caught as notorious
Rogues as any in England.' After another thirteen years: 'The Mayor of
Bristol reports to the Council that three Turkish pirate vessels had
surprised and taken the island of Lundy with the inhabitants, and had
threatened to burn Ilfracombe.' During an inquiry following this report,
evidence was given that seems very curious when one considers the date,
nearly halfway through the seventeenth century: 'From Nicholas Cullen,
"That the Turks had taken out of a church in Cornwall about sixty men,
and carried them away prisoners."'

French pirates made Lundy their headquarters three years later, and in
June, 1630, Captain Plumleigh reported that 'Egypt was never more
infested with caterpillars than the Channel with Biscayers. On the 23rd
instant there came out of St Sebastian twenty sail of sloops; some
attempted to land on Lundy, but were repulsed by the inhabitants.'

One of the most conspicuous of all Lundy's owners was a certain Thomas
Benson, merchant of Bideford, who, with great sang-froid and
considerable humour, combined smuggling and piracy with being a member
of Parliament. Unfortunately, his varied occupations after a while
brought him to grief. Amongst other charges, it was proved that he had
'entered into a contract with the Government for the exportation of
convicts to Virginia and Maryland, and gave the usual bond to the
sheriff for so doing. But instead of doing this he shipped them to
Lundy, where he employed them in building walls and other work in the
island. Every night they were locked up in the old keep of the
Mariscoes. He regarded himself as King of Lundy, and ruled with a high
hand.' In answering this accusation he offered the ingenious excuse for
his breach of contract: 'That he considered Lundy to be quite as much
out of the world as these colonies.'

From Ilfracombe, towards Lynton, the road at first follows the edge of
the cliff, high above the sea. One tiny bay curves inland till the road
seems almost to overhang the water, blue-green with undertones of grey,
and the foam splashing on the broken rocks. All around is a sense of
wide spaces and freshness. Headland beyond headland rises to the east,
the Little Hangman, Great Hangman, and Highveer Point, softened by a
transparent grey haze. A little to the right of them are the first
ridges of Exmoor, some long, some short, ending in full curves and
slopes clearly outlined against the sides of their higher neighbours,
and the highest against the sky. In the prettiest of hollows, Watermouth
Castle looks down a slope of richest pasture to the sea sparkling below,
and a great mass of rock shields it from storms blowing off the water.
Clouds of foliage soften the lines of the hill rising behind the Castle.

A short distance inland is the village of Berrynarbour, chiefly to be
remembered as the birthplace of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, 'a
perfect rich gem, and true jewel indeed,' over whose virtues Westcote
falls into panegyrics. 'If anywhere the observation of Chrysostom be
true, that there lies a great hidden treasure in names, surely it may
rightly be said to be here; grace in John and eminent perfection in

John Jewel was born in 1522, and when very young was sent to Oxford,
where he showed a passion for learning, and before long became famous as
a lecturer and preacher. 'His behaviour was so virtuous that his
heaviest adversary ... could not notwithstanding forbear to yield this
testimony to his commendation: "I should love thee, Jewel, wert thou not
a Zuinglian. In thy faith thou art a heretic, but sure in thy life thou
art an angel."'

Jewel's friendship with Peter Martyr, and other marks of his Protestant
leanings, were the reason of his being expelled, in Queen Mary's days,
from Corpus Christi College. But he had 'a little Zoar to fly
unto'--Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke College.

As danger became more imminent, he escaped to Switzerland, and did not
come back to England until Elizabeth's reign had dawned. Fuller's brief
summary is that he 'wrote learnedly, preached painfully, lived piously,
died peaceably, Anno Domini 1572.' And his 'memory' (to return to
Westcote) was 'a fragrant, sweet-smelling odour, blown abroad not only
in that diocese, but generally through the whole kingdom.'

Our author finishes his remarks on Berrynarbour by quoting an epitaph
then to be found in the church, a building which has a fine
Perpendicular tower with battlement and pinnacles. The memorial was to
Nicholas Harper:

    'Harper! the music of thy life,
    So sweet, so free from jar or strife;
    To crown thy skill hath rais'd thee higher,
    And plac'd thee in the angels' choir:
    And though that death hath thrown thee down,
    In heaven thou hast thy harp and crown.'

A short distance farther on, the road runs down into Combe Martin Bay,
following the little creek that narrows and narrows inland between high
rock walls till two small houses seem almost to block it, and the road
twists round them and runs up the enclosed valley beyond. The village is
an odd one, for it is over a mile long, but hardly any houses stand away
from the main street, which is made up of cob-walled, thatched cottages,
quite large shops, little slate-roofed houses, and villas in their own
garden, all jumbled together as if they had been thrown down
accidentally. Masses of red valerian, and some of the graceful bright
rose-bay willow-herb, give colour to the banks and overhang the walls.

Combe Martin has the rare distinction amongst English parishes of owning
mines with veins of silver as well as lead. Camden tells us that the
silver-mines 'were first discovered in Edward the First's days, when
three hundred and fifty men were brought from the Peak in Derbyshire, to
work here.' This statement Fuller amplifies by the note that 'It was
forged for the Lady _Eleanor_ Dutchesse of _Barr_, daughter to the said
King, who married the year before.'

In the reign of Edward III the mines yielded the King 'great profits
towards carrying on the French war,' and Henry V 'made good use of
them,' but after that they were neglected for a long while. In Queen
Elizabeth's reign, Adrian Gilbert, Sir Humphrey's brother, began to work
them again, and Sir Beavis Bulmer followed with considerable success,
'by whose mineral skill great quantity of silver was landed and

The Queen presented the Earl of Bath with a rich and fair silver cup
made here, bearing this inscription:

    'In Martin's-Comb long lay I hid,
    Obscure, depress'd with grosser soil;
    Debased much with mixed lead,
    Till Bulmer came, whose skill and toil
    Refined me so pure and clean
    As richer nowhere else is seen.

    'And adding yet a farther grace,
    By fashion he did enable
    Me worthy for to take a place
    To serve at any prince's table.
    Comb-Martin gave the ore alone,
    Bulmer fining and fashion.'

The mines have been worked at intervals since, and as late as 1845 a
smelting-house was built in the valley.

The church is of rose-coloured stone, and has a high battlemented tower,
in which are niches with figures in them. There is a good screen, with
paintings of the Apostles on the panels. In the south aisle is a
monument to the wife of William Hancock, 'an effigy the size of life,
exquisitely and elaborately sculptured in white marble. It bears the
date 1634. Dame Hancock is represented in the dress of that time,
covered with point lace and looped with knots of riband; she has a pearl
necklace round her throat and her hair in curls, and bears some
resemblance to the portraits of Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I.'

From Combe Martin the road to Lynton turns inland and makes a deep curve
to the south, and two or three miles from its most southerly point, and
about ten miles from Ilfracombe, is Arlington Court, the home of one of
the many branches of that great North Devon family, the Chichesters. The
first of this name were settled at Chichester in Sussex, but by marriage
with the daughter and heiress of John de Raleigh, about the middle of
the fourteenth century, John Chichester came into the possession of
several manors in North Devon. About a hundred and fifty years later,
Youlston, with other manors, was granted to 'John Chichester and
Margaret his wife and their heirs for ever, at the annual rent of a
rose, at the feast of St John the Baptist.'

Sir John Chichester was among the most zealous Protestants in
suppressing the rising that broke out in the West in 1549. After the
insurrection was crushed, 'it was declared that the rebels used the
church bells in every parish to excite the people. The bells were taken
down, and all the clappers were made a present to Sir John Chichester,
as a reward for having assisted against the rebels. Strype says: "No
question he made good benefit thereof."'

Sir John had reason to be proud of his seven sons, for four 'were
knights, one created a baron, and one a viscount.' Ireland was the
special field of their triumphs, and it is a curious coincidence that
four hundred years before one of their ancestors, 'Master Robert de
Cicester, ... being a discreet person,' had been specially chosen to go
on the King's business to that country.

Prince calls Sir Arthur Chichester, the second son, 'one of the chiefest
ornaments of our country.' He received his baptism of fire in France,
under the command of Henri IV, and 'for some notable exploit done by
him ... was by that puissant prince honoured with knighthood.' He fought
in the Armada, and the next year sailed as one of Drake's captains, and
then became lieutenant-colonel of a regiment in the West Indies. Fuller
speaks of his career in Ireland in the sympathetic tone of his day
towards that unhappy country. 'By his valour he was effectually
assistant, first to _plough_ and _break_ up that barbarous Nation by
Conquest, and then to _sow_ it with _seeds of civility_ when by King
_James_ made Lord Deputy of _Ireland_.' The 'good laws and Provisions'
made by former Governors were 'like good lessons set for a Lute out of
tune, useless untill the Instrument was fitted for them.' Sir Arthur
established new and wider circuits for Justices of Assize, with the most
excellent results, for, 'like good Planets in their several spheres,
they carried the influence of Justice round about the Kingdom.' And, if
Fuller is right, although he governed with a very firm and sometimes
heavy hand, he contrived to avoid the unpopularity which it would be
imagined must have fallen to his share amongst an oppressed and
rebellious people. Indeed, not only did the Irish under his authority
seem, for a time, resigned to English rule, but they even showed a
passing desire to imitate their fashions; for, 'in conformity to the
English Custome, many _Irish_ began to cut their _mantles_ into

In 1612 Sir Arthur was created Lord Chichester of Belfast, and, having
resigned his office of Lord Deputy, was called back to it two years
later--the same year, his biographer observes, that the Irish harp took
its place in the arms of England. His 'administration,' says Leland,
'was active, vigilant, cautious, firm, and suited to a country scarcely
emerging to civilization and order.'

A rather florid 'Elegie on the Death of my Lord Chichester' reflects
contemporary opinion:

    'From Chichester's discent he tooke his name.
    And in exchange of it, return'd such fame
    By his brave deeds, as to that race shall be
    A radiant splendour for eternitie.
    For fame shall write this Adage. Let it last
    Like the sweete memorie of my Lord Belfast.'

In Swymbridge Church there is a monument of a youthful Chichester,
'whose portrait is given, and whom the bird of Jove is represented as
carrying off to serve Ganymede in heaven. Turning back towards the
coast, the thought of Sir Robert Chichester, son of Lord Chichester's
eldest brother, is suggested. For tradition says that he is forced to
haunt the shore near Martinhoe, weaving traces out of sand (_the_
occupation of aristocratic ghosts in North Devon!), and, having fixed
them to his carriage, he must drive up the face of the crag and through
a narrow cleft at the top, known as Sir Robert's Road. 'The natives
believe that they hear his voice of rage as he labours at his nightly
task; and at other times they fancy that they see him scouring over
Challacombe Downs, followed by a pack of hounds, whose fiery tails gleam
in the gathering darkness.'

The descent into Parracombe is almost alarming, as the village is at the
bottom of a valley with precipitous sides. Driving down-hill, the ground
falls away so sharply that just beyond the horses' heads one sees only
space. The old and interesting church of St Helen is Early English; it
is now used only on rare occasions, and a new church has been built
close by. St Helen's keeps its old chancel screen, but it is in a
mutilated condition, for the rood-beam was taken away to be cut up into

Over all this valley hovers the charm of an overflowing abundance, which
particularly shows itself in the pleasant gardens of fruit and flowers,
and the overgrown hedges with their rich decoration of berries, crimson
leaves, and purple and golden flowers.

Directly north is the bit of coast that Kingsley so vividly described:
'What a sea-wall they are, those Exmoor hills! Sheer upward from the sea
a thousand feet rise the mountains; and as we slide and stagger lazily
along before the dying breeze, through the deep water which never leaves
the cliff, the eye ranges, almost dizzy, up some five hundred feet of
rock, dappled with every hue, from the intense dark of the tide-line;
through the warm green and brown rock-shadows, out of which the
horizontal cracks of the strata loom black, and the breeding gulls show
like lingering snowflakes; up to the middle cliff, where delicate grey
fades into pink, pink into red, red into glowing purple; up to where the
purple is streaked with glossy ivy wreaths, and black-green yews; up to
where all the choir of colours vanishes abruptly on the mid-hill, to
give place to one yellowish-grey sheet of upward down, sweeping aloft
smooth and unbroken, except by a lonely stone, or knot of clambering
sheep, and stopped by one great rounded waving line, sharp-cut against
the brilliant blue. The sheep hang like white daisies upon the steep;
and a solitary falcon rides, a speck in air, yet far below the crest of
that tall hill. Now he sinks to the cliff edge, and hangs quivering,
supported, like a kite, by the pressure of his breast and long curved
wings, against the breeze.'

About six miles west of Lynmouth is the lovely valley of Heddon's
Mouth--that is, 'the Giant's mouth; _Etin_, A.S., a giant.' It is a very
narrow green cleft, shut in by two precipitous cliffs rising eight
hundred feet straight out of the sea. Heddon's Mouth Water hurries along
the glen, buries itself in a bank of shingle, and flows out again lower
down the beach. Huge rocks tumbled together make great barriers that
block each side of the cove. On the eastern side, close to the mouth of
the valley, part of the towering wall seems to have fallen away, showing
bare rocks and soil of a warm light brown tempered by shades of pink.
The western side is very steep, but covered with short grass, sea-pinks
and thyme, and crowned by a great mass of boulders. The face to the sea
is slightly hollowed, suggesting that on this side also part of the
cliff has fallen. East and west, one great headland after another is
seen, misty but impressive, above a silvery grey sea. Inland the valley
changes suddenly from barren cliffs to a profusion of copses and
thickets, and several beautiful deeply cleft combes, overbrimming with
thick trees, open into the valley. Among the wayside bushes are the
pretty purple-crimson flower-heads and thick cool leaves of that not
very common wild-flower, livelong.

A road passing through a wood and by a little rushing stream overhung by
hazels, leads towards Lynton, and crosses the tiny railway, on whose
bank masses of the slender stems of great moon-like evening primroses
shine in the grey twilight with an almost weird effect.

The more interesting way to Lynton is along the coast-road, which is
soon reached from the valley. Beneath the road the cliffs fall
precipitously hundreds of feet to the sea, and a few little horned sheep
and some white goats, scrambling on the face of them, seemed to have the
same hold as flies on a window-pane. Ravens are often seen even now
amongst these almost inaccessible rocks. The road runs through a
fir-wood, and as it rises and falls one may catch delicious glimpses of
the sea through the ruddy stems and the great dark fans and tasselled
ends of the branches; and the scent of pine-needles and of the sea
stirring amongst them makes the charm still greater. The road looks down
into Wooda Bay, which is also surrounded by woods, and passes to the
tinier but very lovely Lee Bay. A little combe leads down to the shore,
sheltered by leaves which, luminous from the sunshine above them, shade
the glen from the fierce rays, and it is filled with a subdued,
mysterious light. Stem beyond stem is partly hidden by the fresh,
vigorous green shoots springing round them, or hanging in garlands from
branch to branch, and suggests the wonderful fairyland that Richard
Doyle saw, and enabled many people to see.

A little stream, breaking into miniature waterfalls and reflecting the
foliage in its pools, finally disappears into the shingle, to emerge
close to the sea. A few yards away is a tiny dropping-well on the face
of the cliff, almost hidden by a green veil of plants that grow at the
foot of the rocks or swing from the clefts.

Close to the bay stands Lee Abbey, a comparatively modern house, on the
site of the old house of the De Wichehalses--a family who, considering
the not very remote date of their history, have been surrounded with a
surprising number of fables: Mr Blackmore contributed a share.

The Wichehalses had not a Dutch origin; the daughter of the house called
Janifred never existed, and consequently the whole tragic tale of her
lover's faithlessness and her sad fate is entirely imaginary. 'The
Wichehalses,' says Mr Chanter, who has studied their history with
minute care, 'originally took their name from their dwelling-place, a
hamlet called Wych, near Chudleigh. Nicholas, a younger son, but founder
of the most eminent branch, settled in Barnstaple about 1530, and made a
large fortune in the woollen trade, part of which he spent in buying
property in North Devon--amongst others, the Manors of Lynton and
Countisbury. Here his grandson Hugh Wichehalse removed in 1627, leaving
Barnstaple with his wife and children for the double reason that
political troubles were already brewing and rumours were afloat that the
plague was drawing near.'

Hugh Wichehalse seems to have avoided all strife as far as possible, but
his son John threw himself vehemently on to the side of the Parliament,
and became notorious for persecuting the Royalist clergy in the country
round, whose lot in any case was a sorry one. John sold some of his
estates and left a portion to his younger son, so that his eldest son
(another John) and his wife, both of whom were extravagant, soon found
themselves in difficulties. John Wichehalse made himself justly
unpopular by the part he played after Sedgemoor. A Major Wade, in the
Duke of Monmouth's army, had escaped from the battle-field and, with two
other men, was hidden by a farmer at Farley. A search was made for them,
in which Wichehalse joined with one of his servants, whom he had armed.
His conduct was particularly odious, because Wade was a great friend of
some of his own relations, who had very generously, by gifts, loans, and
good counsel, repeatedly helped him out of his difficulties. In course
of time they arrived at the right farm, and while they were coming in by
the front door, Wade and the others escaped by the back. Babb,
Wichehalse's servant, and another of the party saw the men running, and
fired, and Wade was shot through the body, so that he was disabled and
taken prisoner. Wichehalse's servants also killed another of Monmouth's
men, and his body was impaled on a gate near Ley.

'In the neighbourhood,' says Mr Chanter, 'the blame was put on his
servant, John Babb, who was said to have incited his master to kill
every rebel they could find; and local tradition has it that the Babbs,
who had been the favourite retainers at Ley, never prospered after. When
their master left Lynton they moved to West Leymouth, as the modern
Lynmouth was called then, and employed themselves in the herring-curing
industry, which the cottagers said failed because Babb was engaged in
it; and years after his granddaughter, Ursula Babb, was pointed out as
the last of the race with the curse on it, and, as she was reported to
possess the evil eye, became a great object of fear to all around.'

John Wichehalse and his wife went to London, and wasted their goods
until he died, when the mortgages were foreclosed, and no property in
Lynton was left to the family. The melancholy fate of their daughter
Mary may have suggested the more romantic story of Janifred. Mary
Wichehalse married, but later returned to Lynton, where, under the care
of a faithful servant, she spent her time wandering over the cliffs
looking at the lost inheritance. Some say that she fell off the rocks,
and others that she was washed away by the tide, but both accounts agree
that she was drowned.

The Valley of Rocks is wild, grand, and rather dreary, 'all crags and
pinnacles.' Southey was deeply impressed by it: 'Imagine a narrow vale
between two ridges of hills somewhat steep; the southern hill turfed;
the vale, which runs from east to west, covered with huge stones and
fragments of stone among the fern that fills it; the northern ridge
completely bare, excoriated of all turf and all soil, the very bones and
skeletons of the earth; rock reclining upon rock, stone piled upon
stone, a huge terrific mass--a palace of the preAdamite kings, a city of
the Anakim, must have appeared so shapeless, and yet so like the ruins
of what had been shaped after the waters of the flood had subsided. I
ascended with some toil the highest point; two large stones inclining on
each other formed a rude portal on the summit. Here I sat down. A little
level platform, about two yards long, lay before me, and then the eye
immediately fell upon the sea, far, very far below. I never felt the
sublimity of solitude before.' Names have been given to the great
rock-masses. The Castle Rock looks far over the sea, the Devil's
Cheesewring is on the inner side of the valley, and there are many
others. A narrow path cut in the deep descent of the cliffs leads from
the valley, 'where screes and boulders, red and grey and orange, covered
for the most part with lichen or tendrils of ground-ivy, lend splashes
of vivid colouring to the hill-side;' and about a mile farther on is

Perched on the cliffs nine hundred feet immediately above Lynmouth,
Lynton looks down to the inlet, into which two ravines open from the
south. Down these ravines rush the East and West Lyns, hidden among the
woods; and the two streams join just before they reach the sea-shore.
Countisbury Foreland stands high to the east of the harbour and
stretches far out into the sea, and between the foreland and the
mainland is another long, steep, winding cleft.

I once saw the bay in an exquisite light very early in the morning.
Earth and sky and sea were all veiled in the softest grey, and in the
sky was one little flush of pale rose pink. But for a sea-gull crying
under the cliff, the stillness was absolute.

Lynmouth consists of a tiny quay, a little group of houses, and the
ravines beyond. It is impossible to imagine any place where buildings
and tourists could more exasperate a true lover of earlier days. Still,
they cannot have more than a superficial effect--except at the meeting
of the streams, which is quite spoilt by the houses on either side.

The music of the Lyns has been noticed by many comers, and about sixty
years ago the Rev. H. Havergal, whilst staying here and listening to the
continuous tone of the Lyn at low-water, composed this chant:

[Illustration: MUSIC OF THE LYNS.]

As a place for visitors to admire, Lynton was discovered in the
beginning of the nineteenth century. The French Revolution and
Napoleonic wars obliged those who were in the habit of going abroad for
change and amusement to look for it in comparatively unknown parts at
home. In 1807 the first hotel--not counting a small and inconvenient
village hostelry--was opened; and even at this date there were no
wheeled vehicles in either village, ponies and donkeys carrying
everything. Until this time Lynton and Lynmouth had been the quietest of
little fishing-villages, without even the doings of a resident squire or
rector to furnish a subject for a little gossip.

The ecclesiastical history of the little neighbouring parish of
Countisbury is very much mixed up with that of Lynton. Mr Chanter prints
some of the Countisbury churchwardens' accounts, which, as he observes,
are chiefly remarkable for the prominent part that beer played in every
event, from killing a fox to the visitation of 'ye Dean Ruler.'

                                                          s. d.
'Pd when one fox was killed for beer                      2  0
 Pd more for beare when one fox was killed                2  6
 Pd for bear when two foxes were killed                   7  6
 Pd for ale for the fox hunters                           2  0'

Other entries are for killing 'wild cats, greys [badgers], and hedge
hogs ... salaries of dog-whipper ... fox-hunter, etc., and repairs to
the base viol.'

Lynmouth and Lyn were noted for the fishery, and especially for their
herrings and oysters. The fishery was developed in quite early days by
the abbots of Ford Abbey, who claimed the whole coast-line of Lynton and
of Countisbury. Cellars and curing-houses, called 'red-herring houses,'
were built close to the beach, and were apt to be swept away by any
violent storm, for the little harbour has a double reason for dreading
bad weather--not only do the breakers surge over their usual limits and
wash away or damage all that is in their way, but at the same time the
streams come down a roaring, foaming torrent, which rolls along great
boulders and hurls itself against all obstacles. In 1607 a whole row of
red-herring houses was swept away, and since that date the records of
disputes as to repairs to the harbour and petitions from the fishermen
tell how greatly they have suffered from this cause. The fishing has
dwindled until it is now a very trifling matter indeed.

The small parish of Countisbury is high on the cliffs, on the eastern
side of the river, and the road to it from Lynmouth rises at once to a
height of eleven hundred feet. A little Perpendicular church with an
embattled tower crowned by pinnacles stands at the mercy of every wind
that blows.

Farther to the east, and almost on the boundary-line of Somerset, is
Oldbarrow Camp, which differing archæologists have claimed to be
British, Roman, and Danish. From this hill the fall to the sea is
precipitous, and the descent into Somerset is almost as steep; inland,
the ground also sinks away, leaving a magnificent view and a grand sense
of space. Even when the light is fading there is a great charm, for
looking down into the hollow, one sees a faint blue tinge lying like
bloom upon the misty twilight that nils the valley--a sharp contrast to
the clear darkness of the evening sky. Countisbury Camp is not far from
Oldbarrow, and in Lynton there are two more ancient 'castles,' each
consisting of a single fosse and rampart, and other monuments. Several
stone circles, 'over forty feet in diameter,' have been wickedly removed
from the Valley of Rocks 'for the purpose of selling them as
gate-posts!...' Spindle-wheels, or pixie grinding-stones, as the natives
call them, have been found in the neighbourhood, as well as arrow-heads
and 'a skinning knife with a ground edge of black flint.'

The winding valley of the West Lyn is very beautiful, but not so wild as
that of the East Lyn; it lies deep down beneath fir-woods, whose serried
spires mount higher and higher on the steep hill-side. A little way from
Lynton, along this lovely road, is Barbrook Mill, and close by a cottage
covered with purple clematis, among trees loaded with rosy apples.

Following up the East Lyn from Lynton, the fitness of Dean Alford's
words is realized:


    This onward deepening gloom; this hanging path
      Over the Lyn that soundeth mightily,
    Foaming and tumbling on, as if in wrath
      That might should bar its passage to the sea;
    These sundered walls of rock, tier upon tier,
      Built darkly up into the very sky,
    Hung with thick wood, the native haunt of deer
      And sheep that browse the dizzy slopes on high.

These 'walls of rock' are now and again cleft by the narrow openings of
steep and wild ravines. It is intensely solitary; there is scarcely any
sound or movement, but perhaps a buzzard high in the air may hang over
the valley for a few moments. About two miles from the harbour is
Watersmeet, where the Farley Water rushes into the Lyn. When the leaves
are on the trees the stream can hardly be seen from the road, for it
lies below a high, steep bank. By the water's edge in the shaded light
there is a suggestion of mystery, and the bed of the stream is so shut
in that but for the stirring of the leaves, the shifting gleams of
sunlight in the waters, and the freshness of the air, one could almost
imagine oneself underground. The glossy leaves of festoons of ivy and
wild-flowers cover the red rocks. The Farley Water falls over a
succession of little waterfalls, swirling and foaming in the pools
between, and then slips over little rocky ridges and slopes covered with
duck-weed so wide that the 'stream covers it like no more than a thin
film of glancing emerald.' Below, the valley opens enough to allow space
for a tiny lawn, overhung with oak-trees; and here it is joined by the
Lyn, which has raced along the farther side of a steep tongue of land.

The road passes a fir-wood, bright with golden-rod and ragwort and soft
blue scabious, and by-and-by turns eastward, and reaches the scattered
village of Brendon. Brendon 'church-town' is made up of church, school,
parsonage, and a few farms, and can scarcely be called a village. The
church stands high on the hill above the river; it is very small, and
has been rebuilt comparatively lately; its dedication is the most
interesting thing about it. All who ever rejoiced in 'The Water Babies'
should remember this Irish saint. 'Did you never hear of the blessed St
Brandan, how he preached to the wild Irish, on the wild, wild Kerry
coast; he, and five other hermits, till they were weary and longed to
rest?... So St Brandan went out to the point of Old Dunmore, and looked
over the tide-way roaring round the Blasquets, at the end of all the
world, and away into the ocean, and sighed, "Ah that I had wings as a
dove!" And far away, before the setting sun, he saw a blue fairy sea,
and golden fairy islands, and he said, "Those are the islands of the
blest!" Then he and his friends got into a hooker and sailed away and
away to the westward, and were never heard of more.'

A little higher up the little river (here known as Brendon Water) is a
very old bridge, now unused, and a wide modern bridge, which crosses the
two branches of the divided stream just below a little green island.
Bushes crowd and overlap each other on the banks, and it is very likely
a grey water-wagtail will dart from among the leaves and flit jauntily

The road all this way follows the water--for some distance the boundary
between the counties--and here it is sunk between the barriers of the
County Wall separating Devonshire and Somersetshire. A great bare cliff,
covered only with short grass, and scanty tufts of heather and furze
growing thinly upon it, towers above the road; the other side of the
valley is lower, gentler, and wooded. Malmsmead Bridge crosses over the
Badgeworthy Water, as the stream--which seems to change its name nearly
every half-mile in the most perplexing manner--is here called, a little
higher than the point at which it is joined by its tributary, Oare
Water. Above the bridge the road becomes a rough track that leads up
into the very wild and beautiful valley of Badgeworthy Water, well known
by name to all lovers of 'Lorna Doone.' Some of the natives are apt to
mislead strangers by wrongly calling this glen the Doone Valley. Further
upstream the valley becomes narrower, and the sides steeper, winding in
long beautiful curves. The shallow stream is brown, but very bright and
clear and pebbled; boggy patches lie here and there by the side, and in
one patch the sweet-ferns grow so large and thick that their
characteristic 'sharp sweet' scent is strong enough to betray them
before one catches sight of the finely-cut fronds. On the east side of
Badgeworthy Water is Deer Park, where many deer lie and the fir-woods
come down to the water's edge. On the opposite side is Badgeworthy Wood,
chiefly of oaks, most of which are not very large, but many of them are
gnarled. The number of oak-apples that I have seen in this wood was
amazing; on one tree they seemed like cherries on a cherry-tree. Nearly
all were scarlet, and they glowed in the sunshine.

'Lorna Doone' has brought so many visitors to the scene that it is no
news to say that the account of the water-slide is fictitious. This word
is deliberately chosen instead of 'exaggerated,' which is often applied
to Mr Blackmore's picture of the fall; for he was not describing
scenery--he was setting a scene in his novel, and there was no reason
why he should be bound to inches, or even feet! And this argument
applies to what he has said of the Doone Valley. At the same time, in
his 'Exploration of Exmoor,' Mr Page observes that a true description of
the valley of Badgeworthy Water would very nearly represent Mr
Blackmore's Glen Doone; and it still seems absolutely apart from the
ordinary race and fret of life.

Two long, smooth slopes of rock one below another form the chief part of
the water-slide, and the thin stream slipping over them makes one wish
to see how the fall would look when the water comes down, a roaring
torrent, swollen by heavy rains and melting snow. On one side of the
water-slide the ground rises very sharply, but up the other side a tiny
path twists through the wood, and opens quite suddenly on a very still
valley with steep sides and a broad, open space between. A mountain-ash
bearing vividly scarlet bunches of berries hangs over the stream close
to the opening; but beyond, only a few stunted thorns grow sparsely
amongst an abundance of heather, furze, bracken, and whortleberries.
Lorna's bower seems to have been seen to some extent through the
author's imagination. In a shallow combe at a little distance are the
ruins of what appear to have been the walls of enclosures, but they are
very indefinite. These are all that remain of the Doones' houses, but
recent research denies that the Doones ever existed!

From the top of the hill above the water-slide there is a very beautiful
view of the winding glens opening out of each other, and at this point
one is able to follow their curves for a long way before the hills shut
them out of sight. With the sun shining through the haziest clouds, and
the radiant glow of a diffused light calling out delicate tints on the
distant slopes, the whole scene seems most fitly described by the old
words of praise, 'a fair country.'

Retracing the path to Malmsmead, one is irresistibly tempted to go a few
steps into Somerset to look at the tiny church of Oare, where, Mr
Blackmore says, Lorna Doone and Jan Ridd were married. The church is
very narrow, and it stands among trees on the slope above the stream. On
the south side of the nave, close to where the old east wall stood (the
chancel is new), is an early piscina of a curious shape; it is supported
by a large carved human head, with a hand to each cheek, and there is a
thick, solid cap on the top.

Challacombe is a small village on the western border of Exmoor, seven or
eight miles south of Lynton, and the church looks far over the moors.
Westcote derives the name from 'Choldicombe, or rather Coldecombe, from
its cold situation, next neighbour to Exmoor;' and he speaks of 'divers
hillocks of earth and stones ... termed burrows and distinguished by
sundry names,' in the parish, and hints at their uncanny nature by
telling how 'fiery dragons have been seen flying and lighting on them.'
Such tales he dismisses scornfully, but he tells of 'a strange accident'
that happened 'within these seven years, verified by oath of the party,
who otherwise might have had credit for his honesty.' A labouring man,
having saved enough money to buy a few acres of waste land, began to
build himself a house on it, and from a burrow near by he fetched stones
and earth. He had cut deep into the hillock, when 'he found therein a
little place, as it had been a large oven, fairly, strongly, and closely
walled up; which comforted him much, hoping that some great good would
befall him, and that there might be some treasure there hidden to
maintain him more liberally and with less labour in his old years:
wherewith encouraged he plies his work earnestly until he had broken a
hole through this wall, in the cavity whereof he espied an earthen pot,
which caused him to multiply his strokes until he might make the orifice
thereof large enough to take out the pot, which his earnest desire made
not long a-doing; but as he thrust in his arm and fastened his hand
thereon he suddenly heard, or seemed to hear, the noise of the trampling
or treading of horses coming, as he thought, towards him, which caused
him to forbear and arise from the place, fearing the comers would take
his purchase from him (for he assured himself it was treasure); but
looking about every way to see what company this was, he saw neither
horse nor man in view. To the pot again he goes, and had the like
success a second time; and yet, looking all about, could ken nothing. At
the third time he brings it away, and therein only a few ashes and
bones, as if they had been of children, or the like. But the man,
whether by the fear, which yet he denied, or other cause, which I cannot
comprehend, in very short time after lost senses both of sight and
hearing, and in less than three months consuming died.'

This tale is followed by another, of a 'mystical sciencer,' and Westcote
finishes with the comment that the stories are 'not unfit tales for
winter nights when you roast crabs by the fire, whereof this parish
yields none, the climate is too cold, only the fine dainty fruits of
wortles and blackberries.'

A little to the north of Challacombe is the great hill of Chapman
Burrows, where stands a 'tall, lean slab of slate, the Longstone.' It is
nine feet high, and in the broadest part about two feet eight inches
wide. The history of the Longstone is unknown, but the suggestion has
been made that it may be an ancient relic, a menhir, and this view is
supported by the fact that about a dozen large tumuli lie on the slopes
around. One of these is between ten and twelve feet high and three
hundred feet round at the base. Burrows are found all over Exmoor. 'The
eye of reflection sees stand uninterrupted a number of simple sepulchres
of departed souls.... A morsel of earth now damps in silence the éclat
of noisy warriors, and the green turf serves as a sufficient shroud for

By far the greatest part of Exmoor lies in Somerset, so that here one
must not wander far amongst great round hills, wide distances, and deep
combes. One has heard of strangers who have been disappointed by the
first sight of Exmoor, for its heights are not very evident. There are
no peaks, no sharply-cut isolated hills, nor any with a very striking
outline, except Dunkery; but the whole moor is a tableland, across which
the coach road runs at a level from twelve hundred to fourteen hundred
feet above the sea: 'A bare rolling waste of moorland stretching away
into the eastern distance, like the ocean "heaving in long swells,"' and
large spaces of bracken, of bogs fringed with cotton-grass and rough
grass and whortleberries, among which rise little glittering streams
that splash their way down into the valleys beneath.

The sides of the glens leading from the borders of the moor are crowded
with endless masses of mountain-ashes, and whether the leaves make a
background to the flat creamy clusters of sweet, heavily scented flowers
or to great bunches of scarlet fruit, the long ranks give a very rich

Mr R. J. King has observed that Exmoor, 'still lonely and uncultivated,'
was probably at one time during the English conquests a boundary or
'mark,' 'always regarded as sacred and placed under the protection of
some deity or hero.' Amongst some very interesting remarks, he says that
the intermingling in Devonshire of the Celtic and Teutonic races 'may be
traced in folk-lore, not less distinctly than in dialect or in
features.... Sigmund the Waelsing, who among our English ancestors
represented Sigfried, the great hero of the Niebelungen-lied, has
apparently left his name to the deep pool of Simonsbath ... again, side
by side with traditions of King Arthur, to the parish of Simonsward in

It is difficult to imagine any moorlands destitute of superstition, and
plenty linger on Exmoor. Mr Page (writing in 1890) gave some instances
that have occurred comparatively lately. He speaks of 'overlooking' and
of witchcraft, and says that 'not many years since the villagers of
Withycombe, by no means an Ultima Thule among hamlets, firmly believed
that certain ancient dames had the power of turning themselves into
white rabbits.'

'An astonishing instance of belief in witchcraft' within his own
experience was one where an old woman--'as harmless a creature as can be
found in the country'--was believed by her neighbours to have not only
the evil eye, but also 'the power of turning herself into a black dog,
in which form she was met a short time since, during the twilight hour,
in a neighbouring lane. For these all-sufficient reasons the poor old
soul was, for a while, unable to obtain the services of a nurse during
an illness from which she is only now recovering.'

Another story shows the remarkable powers of a wise woman. Mr Page
explains that he cannot give the real name of the couple, but calls them
Giles. Giles deserted his wife. 'For a while Mrs Giles bore his absence
with a fortitude born, perhaps, of no very great love for her partner.
Then she suddenly took it into her head to have him home. She did not
telegraph, she did not even write; but one day the errant husband was
seen by the astonished villagers hurrying towards his deserted home.
_And his footsteps were marked with blood!_ The witch-wife had compelled
his return in such haste that not only the soles of his boots, but those
of his _feet_, were worn out.'

Mr Page mentions that 'the old mediæval custom of touching a corpse
still prevails. At an inquest lately held at or near South Molton, each
of the coroner's jury, as he filed past the body, laid his fingers on
the forehead. This act, it was believed, would free him from dreams of
the deceased.

Omens and portents such as mysterious knockings, a particular sound of
church-bells, or a bird flying into a room, are very grave warnings, and
a story of this character comes from near Taunton. 'A farmer riding home
from Taunton Market noticed a white rook among the sable flock settling
over a field. When he reached home there were symptoms of uneasiness
among his cattle, and that night the dogs barked so vociferously that
he had to get up and quiet them. In the morning he was dead.'

Writing of other traditions, 'one of the most beautiful of Easter
customs still survives. Young men have not yet ceased on the
Resurrection morning to climb the nearest hill-top to see the sun flash
over the dark ridge of Quantock, or the more distant line of Mendip.' To
see the newly-arisen sun on Easter morning was an augury of good luck.
'Early in the century Dunkery, probably because it is the highest land
in Somerset, was favoured above all surrounding hills, and its sides,'
says Miss King, 'were covered with young men, who seemed to come from
every quarter of the compass, and to be pressing up towards the Beacon.'

Exmoor stag-hunting is far-famed, for it is the only corner of England
where wild red deer are still to be found. The fashion of coming here to
hunt from a distant part of the country is comparatively modern, but
Hugh Pollard, Ranger of the Forest, kept a pack of stag-hounds at
Simonsbath more than three hundred years ago, and the Rangers who
succeeded him continued to keep the hounds.

Even before the Conquest, the moor had been a royal hunting-ground.
Deeds show that in the reign of Edward the Confessor there were at least
three Royal Foresters; and William I, says Mr Rawle, 'probably reserved
to himself the forest rights, for the Conqueror, according to the Saxon
Chronicle, "loved the tall deer as though he had been their father," and
would scarcely be likely to forgo any privileges concerning the vert and
venison.' Various tenures show that later Kings kept Exmoor as a
preserve. Walter Aungevin held land in Auri and Hole (near South Molton)
under Edward III, 'by sergeantry that whensoever our lord the King
should hunt in the forest of Exmoor, he should find for him two barbed
arrows.' And Morinus de la Barr, farther to the west, near Braunton,
held his land on the same tenure with the addition of finding 'one

Nearly thirty years later in the same reign, a very curious tenure is
registered. 'Walter Barun held certain lands and tenements in the town
of Holicote, of the King in capite, by the service of hanging upon a
certain forked piece of wood the red deer that die of the murrain in the
King's forest of Exmoor; and also of lodging and entertaining the poor
strangers, weakened by infirmities, that came to him, at his own proper
costs, for the souls of the ancestors of our Lord King Edward.'

The Forest of Exmoor was part of the jointure of several Queens of
England. Henry VIII settled it on Catherine of Aragon, and it was
afterwards held by Jane Seymour. James I gave it to his Queen, but
Charles I had other views, and announced his intention of drawing 'the
unnecessary Forests and Waste Lands' [Dartmoor and Exmoor] 'to
improvement.' Needless to say, the scheme died in its early stages, and
when Charles II came to the throne, he granted a lease of the forest to
the Marquis of Ormonde.

Besides the wild-deer on Exmoor, there are, as everyone knows, creatures
almost as wild--herds of Exmoor ponies. Very few now are pure 'Exmoors,'
except those belonging to Sir Thomas Acland. Among these ponies the true
breed has been carefully preserved, and there has been no crossing. It
seems a little odd to think of Exmoor ponies being mentioned in
Domesday, but Mr Chanter quotes an entry referring to the stock in the
parishes of Lynton and Countisbury, '72 brood mares, probably the Exmoor
ponies running half wild on the moor; in Brendon, 104 wild mares (_equas
indomitas_) are mentioned.'

'The average height is 12-1/2 hands, and bays and buffy bays with mealy
noses prevail; in fact, are in the majority of three to one.' The older
ponies live out all the year round, but stacks of hay and straw are
built by the herdsmen against the time when the snow lies deep. 'Still,
like honest, hard-working labourers, the ponies never assemble at the
wicket till they have exhausted every means of self-support by
scratching with their fore-feet in the snow for the remnants of the
summer tufts, and drag wearily behind them an ever-lengthening chain of

The moor makes an excellent sheep-walk, but attempts to cultivate it
have not prospered. As far as agriculturists are concerned, 'Exmoor is
best left alone--the "peat and heather in hill and dale."'

There is an old ballad called 'The Farmer's Son of Devonshire,' in which
the views of one character, 'Brother Jack,' show a distinct resemblance
to those of the great John Fry in 'Lorna Doone.' Here are a few verses.
The sub-title is a long one, beginning: 'Being the Valiant Coronel's
Return from Flanders.' To the tune of 'Mary, live long.'

    'WILL. Well met, Brother Jack, I've been in Flanders
    With valiant Commanders, and am return'd back to England again;
    Where a while I shall stay, and shall then march away;
            I'm an Officer now.
    Go with me, dear Brother, go with me, dear Brother,
            And lay by the Plow.
    I tell thee, old boy, the son of a farmer,
    In glittering armour, may kill and destroy
            A many proud French;
    As a Squire or Knight, having courage to fight,
            Then valiantly go,
    In arms like a Soldier, in arms like a Soldier,
            To face the proud foe.

    'JACK. But, dear Brother Will, you are a vine yellow,
    And talk mighty mellow, but what if they kill
            Thy poor brother Jack
    By the pounce of a gun? If they shou'd I'm undone.
    You know that I never, you know that I never,
            Had courage to fight.

    [WILL replies at some length.]

    'JACK. The enemies' men with horror will fill me,
    Perhaps they may kill me, and where am I then?
            This runs in my mind;
    Should I chance to be lame, will the trophies of _Fame_
            Keep me from sad groans?
    A fig for that honour, a fig for that honour,
            Which brings broken bones.

    'Such honour I scorn, I'd rather be mowing,
    Nay, plowing or sowing, or threshing of corn,
            At home in a barn;
    Then to leave Joan my wife, and to loose my sweet life,
            In peace let me dwell;
    I am not for fighting, I am not for fighting,
            So, Brother, Farewell.'


Castles and Country-Houses

    'As Marly's bright green leaves give place
    To tints of rich and mellowed glow;
    As close the shortening autumn days,
    Whilst summer lingers, loth to go;
    Quick rises each familiar scene,
    And fancy homewards turns her gaze;
    Such are the hues in Oakford seem,
    And such a light o'er Iddesleigh plays--
    Methinks the oaks of dear old Pynes
    With richer brown delight the eye;
    Nor would I take these reddening vines
    For our wild cherry's crimson dye.'


Powderham Castle is a fine building in a lovely setting. On the east the
park leads down towards the marshy edge of the broad rippling estuary,
on either side there spread trees and bracken, with the deer feeding
among them, and hills sloping gradually upwards make a very pretty

The Castle is difficult to describe, for one century after another has
added a wing or pulled down a corner, and the result is an irregular
building of very varying architecture. Even the exact colour is not easy
to tell, but different shades of grey prevail. The north tower, the
earliest part, is built of small and uneven stones. There is a tradition
that Powderham was begun by William of Eu soon after the Conquest, and
another story is that it existed before that date, and was built by a
Saxon to prevent the Danes sailing up the river to Exeter; but the
oldest portion now standing is probably due to Sir Philip Courtenay, who
was born about A.D. 1337.

The Castle was strongly fortified, and in the Civil War withstood an
attack planned by General Fairfax himself. The General, says Sprigg,
ordered 'a design in hand against Pouldrum-house, by water and land,
which, being on Friday, December 12, was immediately put in
execution.... The design against Pouldrum-house was this, and thus
carried: Lord's Day, December 14, nine of the clock at night, Captain
Deane (the comptroller of the ordnance) was commanded over Ex with 200
foot and dragoons, to possess Pouldrum-castle, but the enemy had some
few hours before got 150 into it, unto those that were there before,
which our men not discovering before they had landed, would not return
without attempting something. The church at Pouldrum being not far
distant from the castle, they resolved to possess and make the best of
it, and accordingly did so, and the next morning they got provisions
from Nutwell-house unto them into the church, and began to fortify the
same. The enemy at Excester, much startled hereat, fearing the castle
would be lost, as well as the river blocked up by the fortifying of this
church, sent therefore, on Monday, the 15th, a party of 500 foot, who
joining with 200 from the castle assaulted our men about seven at night,
threw in many hand granadoes amongst them, and so continued storming
till ten, but were beaten off with much loss, leaving their dead on the
place, and carrying with them many wounded, as appeared by the snow,
that was much stained with blood as they retreated.' The Parliamentary
soldiers remained in the church, and Sprigg, not unnaturally, vaunts
their stoicism a little. 'They were resolved to continue in their duty;
and notwithstanding the extremity of the cold, by reason of the great
frost and snow, and want of all means to resist or qualify the same in
the church, having no firing there, they would not quit the same till
they received orders to do so; which hard service (hard in every
respect) ... they were not immediately discharged of.' However, the next
day, 'the general considering further the bitter coldness of the
weather, and the hardness of the duty they would necessarily be put
unto, if they should make good the church, sent orders to them to draw
off, w^h that they might do with the more safety, two regiments were
appointed to draw down and alarm the enemy on that side Excester, while
they made good their retreat over the river.'

Powderham held out gallantly for more than another month,
notwithstanding that 'Colonel Hammond was set down with some force'
about it; and Fairfax, on his return from his victory at Dartmouth,
'marched to Chidley, endeavouring first to take a view of Pouldrum,'
meditating a fresh attack. But the garrison had reached their limit of
endurance, and the same night (January 24, 1646) the Castle was

About the year 1700 great alterations were made, and now battlemented
towers and French windows, iron balconies, and loopholes in massive
walls many feet thick, in strange juxtaposition, show how it has been
adapted to the taste and needs of its successive owners. On the west is
a large courtyard, the Castle itself forming one side of the quadrangle;
on the east, a broad terrace, set with little box-edged beds, high
vases, and clipped cypresses, and little turrets at the angles. Smaller
terraces run north and south of the Castle, and along the south terrace
is a magnificent thick, high, and very dense yew-hedge. The centre of
the east front is a low tower, and at each end are projecting wings. In
the south wing is the present chapel, once a granary. Perhaps its most
uncommon feature is the number of old bench-ends, most of whose panels
are carved with heads, some of which were shaped piously, though others
are grotesque. Through the chapel is the priest's room, a large and
delightful one, lighted on three sides; with Pope Gregory in stained
glass, and the Courtenay arms beneath, in one window.

The walls of the 'staircase hall' are a pale blue-green, and show a bold
and very elaborate decoration, a belated example of the manner of
Grinling Gibbons. Long white garlands, holding together flowers, fruit,
spears, a quiver of arrows, birds, beasts, trumpets, and a mass of
intricate designs, hang down the walls in high relief. The fine
banqueting-hall has a carved and vaulted roof, and high at one end is a
gallery. Deep panelling runs all round the hall, and at the head of the
panels are little shields, the coats of arms of the English and French
branches of the Courtenays, and of the ladies whom the successive heads
of the family have married--with, in every case, the shields of her
parents and grandparents as well. The heraldic chimneypiece is high and
very elaborate. In the long drawing-rooms hang two examples of the few
life-size groups that Richard Cosway painted. Both pictures are of three
daughters of the house; the dresses are white, and the whole colouring
extremely delicate. In the most delightful of the two the ladies are
standing, and their figures and attitudes are extremely graceful. In the
second picture all three are sitting on the ground, and though very
pretty, this group has not the particular charm of the first. The large
'music-room' has been arranged to suit its name, for on the walls are
tiny frescoes representing the triumph of Music, musical instruments are
sculptured in marble on the chimneypiece, and even pattern the Aubusson
carpet. In the panelled entrance-hall is some fine carving, and here
hang the rather melancholy portraits of the unhappy Marquis of Exeter
and his unfortunate son, and a large picture of a Lord and Lady Devon,
most of their fourteen daughters, and their only son.

Powderham was brought to the Courtenays as the dowry of Margaret Bohun,
daughter of the Earl of Hereford, and she left it to her fifth son, Sir
Philip Courtenay, the ancestor of the present owner.

It would be impossible here to attempt the most imperfect outline of the
changing fortunes of this 'imperial family,' even from the date at which
they settled in England, and without any reference to the days when
Courtenays were Kings of Jerusalem and Emperors of Constantinople.
Members of this family have played important parts in different crises
of the nation's history, and very many have been eminent in peace and
war. From the chronicle of their lives and losses, battles and honours,
I am able to quote here only a few scattered instances.

Sir Hugh Courtenay, born 1327, was often 'employed by the King in his
wars in _France_ and _Scotland_,' and fought at the battle of Crecy. The
next year, among other 'brave Martialists,' he diverted himself by mimic
battles at Eltham, and it is recorded that at this tournament the King
gave him 'an Hood of White Cloth, embroidered with men in the posture of
Dancers, buttoned with large Pearls.' Authorities are divided as to
whether he or his father, the Earl of Devonshire, was one of the
founders of the Order of the Garter. Sir Hugh's son of the same name
married Matilda, daughter of the Earl of Kent, and his wife--usually
known as the Fair Maid of Kent, Lady Matilda Courtenay--inherited her
mother's beauty--'"the fairest lady in England," saith Froissard.' Hugh
Courtenay died young, and his widow fell in love with 'Lord _Valeran_,
Earl of _St Paul_, who, having been taken Prisoner in the Marches of
_Calais_, was kept in the English Court, and by his winning Behaviour
did much engage the Ladies Affections to him. The Princess her Mother
[who as a widow had married the Black Prince] was at first much against
the match, but at last she yielded, and the king her brother gave his
consent, and for her dowry bestowed upon the Earl the Manor of Byfleet.
_Walsington_ says that this marriage was celebrated on the Octaves of
Easter, at Windsor, with great Pomp, and the Earl got from France a
great many Musicians and Dancers for that purpose.'

Sir Hugh was the eldest of seventeen children, and several of the sons
were distinguished men. On the eve of the Battle of Navaretto, Sir Hugh,
Sir Philip, and Sir Peter were knighted together by the Black Prince.
Their eagerness to fight on land or sea led, on one occasion, to an
unfortunate result. In 1378 the Duke of Lancaster was exasperating the
fleet under his orders by his 'slow Proceedings and unnecessary delays,'
and a part of it set out without him. 'Sir Philip and Sir Peter
Courtenay, two brothers who had the Command of some ships, espying some
vessels belonging to the enemy, inconsiderately assaulted them, being
the whole Spanish Fleet, and though they bravely fought, and defended
themselves, yet in the end were beaten, most of them who were good
gentlemen of Devonshire and Somersetshire being slain. Sir Peter with
some others were taken Prisoners, and Sir Philip was sore wounded but
escaped the hands of his enemies.'

Later on Sir Philip was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and must have
wrestled with enough turbulence and riot to satisfy anyone. His manner
of governing seems, at any rate, to have pleased the King, who, whilst
Sir Philip was still in office, showered honours upon him--'the Park of
Bovey Tracey ... Dartmoor Forest, and the Manour of Bradnich.' He was
made 'Steward of all the King's Manours and Stannaries in the county of
Cornwall,' and later on was appointed to other posts of importance.
Unluckily, Sir Philip's chief principle of action seems to have been
that might is right, and complaints being made to the King that he had
expelled two of his neighbours from parts of their lands, and imprisoned
the Abbot of Newenham, and two of his monks, 'with great force,' the
intrepid knight was sent to the Tower. However, after a little while,
'at the request of the Lords and Commons, he was restored to his place
and good name.'

William Courtenay, a brother to Sir Philip, was Bishop of London at the
critical time when Wyclif's doctrines were first stirring men's minds,
and after the murder of Archbishop Sudbury, Bishop Courtenay was
translated to Canterbury, and began to take very severe measures against
the heretics. A strange event marked a meeting of many dignitaries of
Church and State, who had gathered to censure Wyclif's teaching and find
means for its extermination. 'When they were just going to begin their
business a wonderful and terrible earthquake happened throughout all
England, whereupon differs of the suffragans being affrighted thought
fit to leave off their business, but the Archbishop encouraged them to
go on, and they proceeded to examine Articles of Wickliff, and to give
their censure upon them.'

The Archbishop persuaded Parliament to pass an Act against certain
preachers of heresy, that they might be arrested and kept 'in strong
Prison until they shall justify themselves according to the Law of the
Holy Church,' and brought the Chancellor of Oxford literally to his
knees, begging the Archbishop's pardon for having shown favour to the
Lollards against special commands.

His strong will was exercised in all matters, great and small, and
offenders were punished in the most conspicuous fashion. The Archbishop
took a high hand in dealing with affairs of the Diocese of Exeter, and
the Bishop of Exeter greatly resented it, and appealed against him to
Rome. The Archbishop then 'cited' Bishop Brantyngham 'to answer certain
Articles to be proposed to him in the Visitation,' but some of the
'Bishop's Officers' met the bearer at Topsham, and 'did beat him, and
forced him to eat the Citation, Parchment, Wax, and all.' The contempt
of his commands, and the maltreatment of his messenger, naturally roused
the Archbishop to wrath, and he inflicted this very heavy penance: 'That
in the Church of _Canterbury_, _St Paul's_ in _London_, and the
Cathedral Church of _Exeter_, they should upon three Holy Days named,
being in their shirts only, in a Procession going before the Cross,
carry Wax Tapers burning in their hands, and then that they should give
to the Priest a Salary to say Mass every day at the Tomb of the Earl of
Devonshire; and lastly, every one of them was enjoined to pay a sum of
money, for repairing the Walls of the City of _Exeter_.' In addition to
the public disgrace, the trouble and cost of this penance must have been

The sixth of these brothers, Sir Peter Courtenay, was, says Fuller, 'a
true son of Mars and actuated with such heroic fire, that he wholly
addicted himself unto feats of arms.' It has been already mentioned that
he fought in the Spanish wars, and in milder moments he distinguished
himself at 'justs and tournaments now justled out of fashion by your
carpet knights.' As a prisoner of war in France, his captivity was
lightened by the attentions he received, even from the King of France
himself, and he was on such good terms with his captors that after his
release he gained leave of Richard II 'to send into France, by
Northampton Herald, and by Anlet Pursuivant, as a return for the
civilities he received in France ... eight cloths of Scarlet, Black and
Russet, to give to certain Noblemen of that Realm; as also two Horses,
six saddles, six little bows, one sheaf of large Arrows and another
sheaf of Cross-bow Arrows; likewise a Greyhound, and other dogs for the
King of France's Keeper.'

The Wars of the Roses were especially fatal to the House of Courtenay,
no less than three Earls of Devon losing their lives for King Henry, and
in consequence the elder branch of the family became extinct.

A pleasanter time to look back upon was the beginning of the reign of
Henry VIII. Henry VII had married Elizabeth, the elder, and the Earl of
Devonshire Katherine, the younger, of Edward IV's daughters, and after
Henry VIII's accession to the throne the Earl of Devonshire seems to
have been much at Court. In the early months of 1509 preparations were
made for 'solemn Justs in Honour of the Queen. The King was one, and
with him three Aids: the King was called _Coeur Loial_, and the Earl
of _Devonshire_, _Bon Voloire_, Sir _Thomas Nevet_, _Bon Espoire_, Sir
_Edward Nevil_, _Valiant Desire_, and their Names were put in a fine
Table, and the Table was hung on a Tree curiously wrought, and they were
called _Les Chevaliers de le Forest Salvigne_, and they were to run at
the Tilt with all comers.'

The irony of the King's choice of a _nom de guerre_ seems to have
escaped the historian.

'On the 1st day of _May_ 1510, 2 Henry VIII, the King, accompanied with
a great many valiant Nobles, rode upon managed Horses to the Wood to
fetch May, where he and three others, viz., Sir _Edward Howard_,
_Charles Brandon_, and _Edward Nevil_, which were Challengers, shifted
themselves, and did put on coats of green Sattin, guarded with crimson
Velvet; and on the other side were the Earls of _Essex_ and
_Devonshire_, the Marquis of _Dorset_, and the Lord _Howard_, and they
were all in crimson Sattin, guarded with a pounced Guard of green
Velvet. On the third Day the Queen made a great Banquet for the King and
those who had justed, and after the Banquet she gave the Chief Prize to
the King, the second to the Earl of _Essex_, the third to the Earl of
_Devonshire_, and the Fourth to the Marquess of _Dorset_. Then the
Heralds cried aloud, _My Lords, For your noble Feats in Arms, God send
you the Love of the Ladies whom you most admire_.'

The next year the Earl of Devonshire died, and was succeeded by his son,
Henry, who for a time was high in the favour of his royal cousin. He
seems also to have taken part in many 'Justs and Tourneys.' One summer
'the Queen desired the King to bring to his Manour of Havering in Essex,
to the Bower there, the Gentlemen of _France_ that were Hostages, for
whose Welcome she provided all things in a liberal manner.' The
entertainment seems to have taken the shape of a small masked ball, and
'the King gave many gifts where he liked.' At the Field of the Cloth of
Gold, the Earl of Devonshire had the honour of tilting with the French
King, 'and they ran so hard together that both their Spears broke, and
so they maintained their Courses nobly.'

The next year 'the King kept his _Christmas_ at _Greenwich_ in great
splendour'; and there was another tournament and many challenges. 'Noble
and rich was their Apparel, but in Feats of Arms the King excelled the

In the year 1525 the Earl was created Marquis of Exeter, and seven years
later, before starting for France, the King formally named his cousin
Heir Apparent to the Crown. After this Fortune turned her back on him,
and though, at the King's bidding, he dealt with the northern rebels,
taking with him 'a jolly company of Western Men, well and completely
appointed,' it was thought that his power, shown by 'so sudden raising
divers thousands,' awoke the King's jealousy. The influence of the
Marquis 'over the west was second only to the hold which the Duke of
Norfolk had upon the eastern counties'; and therefore, when two years
later it was reported he had said, 'Knaves rule about the King. I trust
to give them a buffet one day,' Cromwell was glad to seize the
opportunity of simultaneously striking at feudalism in the West, and of
dealing a blow at the inflexible Cardinal Pole, the Courtenays' kinsman.
The Marquis was at once arrested on the charge of being an accomplice of
the Cardinal, and was beheaded on Tower Hill.

Edward, his son, who was only twelve years old at the time of his
father's death, was committed to the Tower, 'lest he should raise
Commotions by revenging his Father's Quarrel,' and here he remained for
twenty-seven years. There is a pretty account of Queen Mary coming to
the Tower, soon after her accession, where '_Thomas_, Duke of _Norfolk_,
Dr _Gardiner_, late Bishop of _Winchester_, _Edward Courtenay_, son and
heir to _Henry Marquis_ of _Exeter_, the _Dutchess of Somerset_,
Prisoners in the Tower, kneeling on the Hill, within the same Tower,
saluted her Grace, and she came to them and kissed them, and said,
"These be my prisoners," and caused them presently to be set at

The very next day the Queen restored to her cousin the title of Earl of
Devon (forfeited by his father's attainder), and soon after all his
lands that remained in her possession, and also showed him other
favours. In fact, 'it was reported that she carried some good affections
towards the Earl, from the first time that she saw him.... Concerning
which, there goes a story that the young Earl petitioning the Queen for
leave to travel, she advised him to marry and stay at home, assuring him
that no lady in the land, how high soever, would refuse to accept of him
for a husband, by which words, she pointed out herself to him, as
plainly as might either stand with the Modesty or Majesty of a Maiden
Queen.' But, says Fuller with extreme candour, 'either because his long
durance had some influence on his brain, or that naturally his face was
better than his head, or out of some private fancy and affection (which
is most probable) to the Lady Elizabeth,' who, another writer declares,
'of that moderate Share of Beauty that was between them, had much the
better of her,' the Earl evaded the honour hinted to him, and begged
leave to pay his addresses to the younger Princess. The Queen's feelings
and vanity were deeply wounded, and, on a suspicion that the Princess as
well as himself were concerned in Wyatt's rebellion, they were both sent
to the Tower.

Cleaveland tells a charming story of the Princess and of a child who
lived in the Tower. 'During the time that the Lady Elizabeth and the
Lord Courtenay were in Prison, a little boy, the son of a Man that lived
in the Tower, did use to resort unto their chambers and did often bring
her Grace Flowers, as he did to the other Prisoners that were there,
whereupon some suspicious heads, thinking to make something of it, on a
Time called the Child unto them, promising him Figs and Apples, and
asked him when he had been with the Earl of _Devonshire_, knowing that
he did use to go to him: The Boy answered, _That he would go by and by
thither_. Then they demanded of him, when he was with the Lady
_Elizabeth_? He answered _Every Day_. Then they asked him, what the
Lord _Devonshire_ sent by him to her Grace? The Child said, _I will go
and know what he will give to carry to her_; such was the discretion of
the child (says Mr _Fox_), being but four Years of Age. _This same is a
crafty Boy_, said the Lord Chamberlain; _How say you, my lord Shandois?
I pray you, my Lord_, says the Boy, _give me the Figs you promised me;
No_, quoth the Lord, _thou shalt be whipt, if thou come any more to the
Lady Elizabeth or the Lord Courtenay_. The Boy answered, _I will bring
my Lady and Mistress more flowers_, whereupon the Child's Father was
commanded to permit the Boy to come no more up into the chambers. The
next Day, as her Grace was walking in the Garden, the Child peeping in
at a Hole in the Door, cried unto her, _Mistress, I can bring no more
flowers_: Whereat she smiled, but said nothing, understanding thereby
what they had done. Soon after the Chamberlain rebuked highly his
Father, commanding him to put him out of the House; _Alas! poor Infant_,
said the Father: _It is a crafty Knave_, quoth the Lord Chamberlain,
_let me see him here no more_.'

Soon after Queen Mary's marriage, her husband tried hard to persuade her
to release her sister and the Earl, 'and nothing, says _Heylin_, did
King _Philip_ more Honour amongst the _English_.' It is to be remembered
to his good, that he interceded very earnestly, and in the end
successfully, for another Devonshire conspirator in Wyatt's rising, Sir
Peter Carew.

The Earl, fearing that he might, 'upon the first disorder, be committed
to the Tower, to which his Stars seemed to condemn him,' prudently
resolved to go abroad; but he must have been born under a very unlucky
planet, for the next year he was seized with illness, and died at Padua.
With him the title became extinct for about two hundred and fifty years;
then Lord Courtenay, a descendant of the Powderham branch of Courtenays,
established his claim to the earldom. As the attainder of the Marquis of
Exeter was never reversed, that title was never revived in this family.

Among the 'Roxburghe Ballads' is one relating to the Courtenays, called
'The Stout Cripple of Cornwall.' No notes throw any light upon the
possible origin of the story or offer any opinion as to the probability
of the ballad being an account of a true incident, or 'founded on fact,'
or wholly imaginary.

    'Of a stout Cripple that kept the highway,
    And beg'd for his living all time of the day,
    A story I'll tell you that pleasant shall be--
    The Cripple of Cornwall sirnaméd was he.

    'He crept on his hands and his knees up and downe,
    In a torn jacket and ragged patcht gowne;
    For he had never a leg to the knee--
    The Cripple of Cornwall sirnaméd was he.

    'He was of stomake courageious and stout,
    For he had no cause to complaine of the gout;
    To go upon stilts most cunning was he,
    With a staff on his neck most gallant and free.

    'Yea, no good-fellowship would he forsake,
    Were it in secret a purse to take,
    His help was as good as any might be,
    The Cripple of Cornwall sirnaméd was he.

    'When he upon any such service did go,
    The crafty young Cripple provided it so,
    His tools he kept close in an old hollow tree,
    That stood from the city a mile, two or three.

    'Thus all the day long he beg'd for relief,
    And late in the night he play'd the false theefe,
    And seven years together this custom kept he,
    And no man thought him such a person to be.

    'There were few graziers who went on the way,
    But unto the Cripple for passage did pay.
    And every brave merchant that he did descry,
    He emptied their purses ere they passed by.

    'The gallant Lord Courtenay, both valiant and bold,
    Rode forth with great plenty of silver and gold,
    At Exeter there (for) a purchase to pay,
    But that the false Cripple his journey did stay.

    'For why, the false Cripple heard tidings of late,
    As he lay for almes at this noble-man's gate,
    What day and what houre his journey should be;
    "This is," quoth the Cripple, "a booty for me."

    'Then to his companions this matter he moved,
    Which he in like actions before-time had proved;
    They make themselves ready, and deeply they sweare,
    This money's their own, before they come there.

    'Upon his two stilts the Cripple doth mount,
    To have the best share he makes his account;
    All clothed in canvas downe to the ground,
    He takes up his standing, his mates with him round.

    'Then comes the Lord Courtenay, with half a score men,
    That little suspected these thieves in their den,
    And they (thus) perceiving them come to their hand,
    In a darke (winter's) evening, they bid him to stand.

    '"Deliver thy purse," quoth the Cripple, "with speed--
    For we be good fellows and thereof have need."
    "Not so," quoth Lord Countenay, "but this I'll tell ye,
    Win it and wear it, else get none of me."

    'With that the Lord Courtenay stood on his defence,
    And so did his servants; but ere they went hence,
    Two of the true men were slain in the fight,
    And four of the thieves were put to the flight.

    'And while for their safeguard they run thus away,
    The jolly bold Cripple did hold the rest play,
    And with his pikestaff he wounded them so,
    As they were unable to run or to go.

    'With fighting the Lord Courtney was driven out of breath,
    And most of his servants were wounded to death,
    Then came other horsemen riding so fast,
    The Cripple was forced to flye at the last.

    'And over a river that ran there beside,
    Which was very deep and eighteen foot wide,
    With his long staff and his stilts leaped he,
    And shifted himself in an old hollow tree.

    'Then through the country was hue and cry made,
    To have these bold thieves apprehended and staid;
    The Cripple he creep on his hands and his knees,
    And on the hieway great posting he sees.

    'And as they came riding, he begging doth say,
    "O give me one penny, good masters, I pray;"
    And thus on to Exeter creeps he along,
    No man suspecting that he had done wrong.

    'Anon the Lord Courtney he spies in the street,
    He comes unto him and he kisses his feet,
    Saying, "God save your honour and keep you from ill,
    And from the hands of your enemies still!"

    '"Amen!" quoth Lord Courtney, and therewith flung downe
    Unto the poor Cripple an English crowne;
    Away went the Cripple, and thus did he thinke,
    "Five hundred pound more would make me to drinke."

    'In vain that hue and cry it was made,
    They found none of them, though the country was laid;
    But this grieved the Cripple both night and by day,
    That he so unluckily mist of his prey.

    'Nine hundred pound this Cripple had got,
    By begging and thieving--so good was his lot--
    "A thousand pound he would make it," he said,
    "And then he would quite give over his trade."

    'But as he (thus) strived his mind to fulfill.
    In following his actions so lewd and so ill,
    At last he was taken, the law to suffice,
    Condemned and hanged at Exeter 'size.

    'Which made all men greatly amazed to see,
    That such an impotent person as he
    Should venture himself in such actions as they,
    To rob in such sort upon the hye-way.'

On a hill about two miles east of Totnes stand the ruins of Berry
Pomeroy, at a little distance almost hidden in the thick woods around
them. Vistas of green leaves without end open from the road to the
castle, long lines of beeches and oaks stretching out of sight and
broken by glades chequered with flickering lights and shadows. On the
north and east side of the walls the ground falls away precipitously to
a great depth, and a stream runs along the valley beneath. The ruins are
covered with ivy, saplings and bushes spread their fresh shoots and
sprays among the crumbling stones, and all is open to the sky; but
enough remains to show what a noble building Berry Pomeroy must have
been. The outer walls of the Castle were built by the Pomeroys--it is
thought probable by Henry de Pomeroy, in the reign of King John, though
the Castle was granted them by William the Conqueror. A hexagonal tower
flanks the gateway on either side. Above it is the guard-room, in which
two pillars support circular arches that are in a very perfect
condition, and the grooves in the walls for the portcullis may easily be
traced. It is usually reported that the Pomeroys' coat of arms is still
visible on the gateway, but as the lodge-keeper, who for many years has
trimmed the ivy at intervals, has never seen it, it may be that a little
imagination has come to the help of mere eyesight.

A curtain wall connects the gateway with a tower called St Margaret's
Tower, of which merely the shell remains, smothered in overhanging ivy,
brambles, long grass, and a tapestry of plants, and beneath the tower is
a small, dark dungeon. To the left, across the quadrangle and along the
western wall, are a number of rooms more or less imperfect that belonged
to the Pomeroys' castle. They lead one into another, and contain
enormous fireplaces and chimneys. Opposite the gateway the ruins are
much more broken down, in parts hardly more than fragments and tall
trees peer over a low wall, the crowning point of a very steep ascent.

Just inside the gateway, on the right, is the skeleton of the splendid
west front, due to Sir Edward Seymour. The inner buildings, which rose
in Tudor days, are of a character entirely different from that of the
older remains, and the Seymours' spacious ideas were reflected in the
magnificence of their castle. The windows and traces of fireplaces in
the walls show that it must have been four stories high and held a maze
of rooms. One becomes confused wandering through enclosed spaces,
cell-like, for the great height, unbroken by floor or ceiling, gives an
impression that the rooms are small. Over all is an uncomfortable sense
of desertion, and the high empty windows, with stone mullions and square
labels, somehow give a skull-like appearance to the frame of the west
front. There is not the feeling of repose that there is about some
ruins, which seem to disown their debt to man, and to be bent on
pretending that they are as entirely a work of Nature as any
lichen-covered boulder lying near them. I do not know if Berry Pomeroy
is said to be haunted, but it awakens an uneasy sensation that it is
itself a ghost--the ghost of an unsatisfied ambition, the creation of
many minds who planned and toiled, soared and fell.

As a matter of fact, the Seymours' castle was never finished, and it is
curious that, as it was destroyed in comparatively recent times, there
should be no account of such an important event. The theory most usually
accepted is that it was burned by lightning; but there is no absolute
proof that this was the case.

Of the Pomeroys of Berry Pomeroy few records of much importance remain.
Ralph de la Pomerai was so 'greatly assistant to William the Conqueror'
in subduing this kingdom, that no less than fifty-eight lordships in
Devonshire were awarded him. Henry de Pomeroy, in the reign of King
John, was a powerful and rebellious noble, who must have been a terror
to his weaker neighbours. Occasional glimpses of this family are given
by old deeds and papers, as, for instance, in 1267, when a 'Pardon' was
granted by 'Edward, eldest son of the king, to Sir Henry de la Pomeroy,
who was against the king in the late disturbances in the kingdom.' About
the same date is a grant by Sir Henry, 'for the health of his soul,' of
the Manor of Canonteign, the advowsons of four churches, and 'other
possessions to the Prior and Convent of the Blessed Mary of Martin ...
by ordinance of Walter, Bishop of Exeter.'

Some years later Edward I, now King, sent a second pardon to Sir Henry
'and Joan, his wife, for detaining Isabella, daughter and one of the
heirs of John de Moles, deceased, and marrying her against the king's
will to William de Botreaux, the younger.' So that he appears to have
followed his own pleasure with extreme independence.

A note on a more peaceful subject is extracted from the Testa de Nevil:
'Geoffrey de la Worthy holds one tenement, four acres of land and a
half, and two gardens of Henry de la Pomeroye, in Bery, rendering at
Easter and Midsummer four shillings and nine pence, and one pound of wax
and three capons, the price of the wax sixpence, and the capons one
penny.' One penny!

The terms of settling several other disputes are preserved--in one case
at great length. In the reign of Henry VII, Sir Edward Pomeroy fell out
with 'the Mayor of Totnes and his brethren'; several gentlemen
arbitrated between them, and eventually 'awarded that the said Sir
Edward Pomeroy shall clearly exclude, forgive, and put from him all
malice and debates ... and from hensforth to be loving unto theym,' and
the same conciliatory spirit was to be shown by the other side. As a
really satisfactory conclusion, Sir Edward was desired to send the Mayor
and his brethren a buck to be eaten in state, 'Provided that the same
Sir Edward be at the etyng of the same bucke, in goodly manner.
Furthermore we award that the said maiour and his brethren shal paye for
the wyne which shal be dronke at the etyng of the same bucke.'

Sir Thomas Pomeroy, the last of this family to own the Castle, fell into
disgrace through joining in the Western rebellion against the
Prayer-Book, and his estate passed to the Protector Somerset.

It would be absurd in this chapter to attempt to touch on more than a
very few points in the history of the great family of the Seymours, or
to touch on any that are not connected with Devonshire. Amongst the Duke
of Somerset's papers are some extremely interesting letters and
documents relating to Sir Edward Seymour's descendants in this county.
The second wife of the Protector Somerset, Ann Stanhope, is described in
no flattering terms, one biographer attributing some of the Duke's later
troubles to 'the pride, the haughty hate, the unquiet vanity of a
_mannish_, or rather of a _divellish_, woman.' Haywood says she was
'subtle and violent in accomplishing her ends, and for pride,
monstrous.' It can easily be imagined, therefore, that she persuaded the
Duke to set aside her stepson in favour of her own eldest son; but all
the honours that should have passed to him were forfeited by the
attainder of the Duke. The title of Earl of Hertford was, however,
restored to Ann Stanhope's son in the reign of James I.

The true heir, Sir Edward Seymour, to whose descendants the dukedom has
now reverted, was given Berry Pomeroy by his father. His grandson,
Edward, showed great zeal in making ready the defences of the coast when
the Armada was expected, and from various letters, orders, and
'precepts,' it is obvious that these preparations brought him great
responsibility and an immense amount of work. In 1586 a letter was
forwarded to him from the Lord-Lieutenant in reference to the 'beacon
watches.' Instructions were sent that 'one, two, or three horses for
post' should be kept at a convenient place near each beacon, that one or
more might be ready to start at a moment's notice if the signal were
given. Further directions were: 'That the wisest and discreetest men of
every parish be appointed to assist the constables; ... Commandment to
every person within every parish that they do not [set any furze or]
heath on fire after seven of the clock in the afternoon.' And there were
a host of orders regarding 'the trained soldiers, and also all others
mustered and charged with armour.'

Later Colonel Seymour was called into council with the Earl of Bath, the
Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and others, to draw up orders as to
stores of 'powder, match, and lead,' that 'one moiety more of each sort'
be kept in towns than was previously ordered, and that 'armour, weapons,
horses, and other necessary furnitures for the wars be held in perfect
readiness ... for all sudden service without defect.'

His grandson, another Sir Edward, was a very loyal and devoted servant
of Charles I. In 1643 he was given full power and authority in His
Majesty's name 'to impress, raise, enroll, and retain one regiment of
1,500 foot soldiers;' and in the following August he was appointed to
the important post of Governor of Dartmouth. Besides supervising
the garrison and the defences of the town, this officer was
required to raise loans, supply ordnance, ammunition, and other
necessaries--sometimes even troops--to captains in the neighbourhood. He
was also desired to do his best to provide money and 'sea-victuals' for
ships going out in the King's service, and received particular
instructions from the King to prevent any 'ships, vessels, prizes, or
anything belonging to them,' that might be captured, from being
plundered or disposed of before they had been 'legally adjudicated by
the judge of our Admiralty there ... for the time being.'

The tone of letters that passed between certain generals, Royalist and
Puritan, about this date, furnishes an additional reason for mourning
the tragedies of the time. The following letter is from the Earl of
Warwick to Colonel Seymour:

     'IN TORBAY, ABOARD THE _James_,

     '1644, _July_ 18.

     'I return you my serious acknowledgment of your civility, and
     should most gladly embrace an opportunity to serve you, not only
     for your respects, but also for that ancient acquaintance I have
     had with your noble family and the honour I have borne it, the
     recalling whereof to memory adds to the trouble of our present
     distance, which I hope God will, in due time, reconcile, so as the
     mutual freedom of conversation which we sometimes enjoyed may be
     restored, which I shall the more value as it may give me advantage
     of testifying my esteem of you.... It is a pity the truth should be
     clouded by some mis-informations that have overspread these parts.
     God will in his time scatter them and undeceive those that wait
     upon him for counsel.'

A few days later, in Colonel Seymour's reply to this letter, he admits
he has been culpably generous to his adversary. 'Truly, for my own part,
I had rather err with mercy than justice, for had not my lenity made me
a delinquent to duty, your Lordship had wanted some of Dartmouth now
aboard you.'

At the beginning of the war a fine letter was written by Sir William
Waller to his friend and present adversary, Lord Hopton:


     '1643, _July_ 16.

     'The experience I have had of your work, and the happiness I have
     enjoyed in your friendship, are wounding considerations to me when
     I look upon this present distance between us; certainly, my
     affections to you are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot
     violate my friendship to your person, but I must be true to the
     cause wherein I serve. The old limitation--_usque ad alias_--holds
     still, and where my conscience is interested, all other
     obligations are swallowed up. I should most gladly wait upon you,
     according to your desire, but that I look upon you as engaged in
     that party beyond the possibility of a retreat, and, consequently,
     incapable of being wrought upon by my persuasions, and I know the
     conference can never be so close between us but that it would take
     wind and receive construction to my dishonour. That great God who
     is the searcher of my heart, knows with what a sad sense I go on
     upon this service, and with what a perfect hatred I detest this war
     without an enemy, but I look upon it as _opus Dei_, which is enough
     to silence all passion in me. The God of Peace, in his good time,
     send us the blessing of peace, and, in the mean time, fit us to
     receive it. We are both upon the stage, and must act the parts that
     are assigned to us in this tragedy; let us do it in a way of honour
     and without personal animosities.'

Later, Colonel Seymour gave up the Governorship of Dartmouth, and was
succeeded by Sir Lewis Pollard.

Among the Seymour papers are some interesting notes, dated '1645, May
22,' relating to horses and arms raised in the Hundred of Stanborough.
'Mr Bampfield, parson, will bring a horse and arms to-morrow at
Berry.... John Key of Rattery affirms that he hath three horses in the
King's service; that he hath one mare only, which he proffers; his
estate not above 40 li. per annum, and hath no money. Dipford:--Mr
William Fowell, late of Dipford Downs, assessed a horse and arms
complete; his wife appears; says that Prince Maurice had one horse and
Captain Newton had another for a country horse very lately; all the
answer. Mr John Newton doth not appear. Buckfastleigh:--Mr Richard Cable
hath brought one gelding with all arms, only a carbine instead of
pistols, and no rider. Dortington:--Mr Champernowne brought a little
pretty fat old horse, but nothing else.'

In 1647 Colonel Seymour's lands and goods were sequestrated, and he
himself was kept either in prison or on parole all through Cromwell's
days. Letters and papers of this period shed a light on the difficulties
and hardships that in some cases befell the families of Cavaliers. Sir
Thomas Fairfax intervened on behalf of Mistress Seymour, who was then
at the estate of Maiden Bradley in Wiltshire, saying that he had
forbidden the soldiers to molest her in any way, and begging the
Committee for the County to insure that no civilian 'should prejudice
her in the enjoyment of her rights.' The lady had a humbler but very
earnest advocate, a servant of Sir Henry Ludlow's, who had been in
danger of being ruined 'had she not been means for my preservation.' She
had begged his liberty of Colonel Molesworth when the King's soldiers
were hunting for him, in order to exchange him for one of their side
taken prisoner, 'a blackamoor.' Mistress Seymour, too, gave this poor
man a good price for some wheat, 'which then none else would do, and had
she not bought it, it is very likely that it would have been taken away
by the soldiers, as the corn in the barn was.'

Mistress Seymour was evidently strong-minded as well as charitable, as
is shown in a letter written by her husband from the Marshalsea, at
Exeter,--an appeal to be given a hearing. He complains that being
'hurried away to prison and no bail taken, no crime or accusation
produced, makes me sigh when I remember the liberty due to a freeborn
subject in England'; and the thrust is followed by a threat: 'If this
request be denied, I have found a way to be even with them; for, if not
granted, I intend to send up my wife.... And I pray advise the Council
of State from me, in relation to their own quiet, let them grant my
request rather than be punished with her importunity.'

The Council were evidently impressed by Colonel Seymour's wisdom, for
two months later they granted him a pass to return home. His liberty
was, however, very much clipped, and rather more than two years later
the following 'parole' was exacted of him: 'Undertaking to remain at the
dwelling-house of Mr Holt in Exeter, and when required to deliver
himself a prisoner to Captain Unton Crooke.' _Signed._

Sir Edward Seymour died in 1659, and Colonel Seymour, now Sir Edward,
became a member of Parliament a year or so later. His letters to Lady
Seymour from London are amusing from their variety of news and gossip.
Sir Edward's style was terse, not to say jerky. One letter he begins by
bitter complaints of their 'most undutiful son,' his 'obstinacy' and
'untowardness,' and then passes on to speak of his own imminent return.
Then: 'I was this day sennight, which was the last Saturday, upon the
scaffold, where I saw Sir Henry Vane's head severed from his
shoulders.... The Queen perfectly recovered. Cherries are cried here in
the streets for a penny a pound.'

Sir Edward received scanty reward for all his sacrifices, but he was
reappointed Governor of Dartmouth, and in 1679 his son writes to tell
him that he had been 'pricked Sheriff for the County of Devon ... by the
King with all the kindness imaginable,' and an assurance that if Sir
Edward felt the work too much for him, a subordinate should be found and
the 'chargeable part' made easy. The Earl of Bath wrote by the same
post: 'His Majesty declared in Council that he made choice of you, not
only because you were the best man of your county, but also a person on
whom he could by long experience place his greatest confidence.'

Sir Edward died in the winter of 1688, and his son became the fifth Sir
Edward Seymour of Berry Pomeroy in succession.

The new Sir Edward was a very distinguished man, who in 1672 had been
unanimously chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. He was the Seymour
whose influence Lord Macaulay rated so highly, and whose support was
extremely valuable to William of Orange when he arrived in England.
Unfortunately, few of Sir Edward's papers, or papers referring to him,
are now to be found. A long and carefully balanced epitaph in Maiden
Bradley Church describes him as


       *       *       *       *       *


About five miles north-east of Berry Pomeroy stands Compton Castle, and
there is a tradition that they were once connected by a subterranean
passage. Compton is a very interesting example of a fortified
manor-house, built in the early part of the fifteenth century. It stands
low on the slope of a narrow, winding green valley, and on the west the
hill has been cut back to make room for the walls.

The castle faces east, a garden-plot lies in front, and the foundations
of an ancient wall divide it from the lawn beyond. Close to the central
door stands the base and broken shaft of a stone cross. The picturesque
western front of the castle is gabled and embattled, and a very high
archway is built in the centre of the wall. The colour is difficult to
describe, for the castle is very much overgrown with ivy and a faint
green lichen has crept over the stones in many parts, but the shades
pass from a rich cream colour to a soft grey. A very marked feature is
'the great number of projections carried on machicoulis, through the
openings of which stones and other missiles could be thrown on the heads
of assailants.' Both the chief doorway and a postern gate to the south
were defended by portcullises.

On the north side an Early Perpendicular window marks the chapel. The
central doorway opened into the large and almost square guard-room, and
on the north side of this room a pointed doorway leads into the chapel,
which keeps some of its special characteristics. At the east end a
square space is sunk in the wall above the spot where the altar stood,
and in this space the faint traces of a fresco can still just be seen.
In the wall that shuts off the guard-room is a cinquefoiled piscina and
a four-light window, the stonework of which is like that in the east
window, and this window allowed anyone in the guard-room to join in
Divine service. In the west wall is a hagioscope, and from a room next
the chapel a newel staircase led to the priest's room on the floor
above. A little window with two cinquefoiled openings in his wall
enabled the priest to look down into the chapel., and the height of the
sill from the floor suggests that it may have served him as a
_prie-dieu_. The moulded base of a stone cross still remains over the
ancient belfry, which rises out of a mass of ivy.

There are a bewildering number of rooms, many now inaccessible, and the
height of the walls shows that there were two or three, and in the
north-east block four, stories. The banqueting-hall, forty-two feet in
length and twenty-three in width, has utterly disappeared, and only the
gable-marks of the roof against the buildings on the south side have
enabled Mr Roscoe Gibbs to draw his very careful deductions. In the
kitchen the huge fireplace, stretching the whole width of one wall,
still keeps its great fire-bars; next the kitchen is the steward's room,
above which two stories still stand, though the upper one is absolutely
in ruins.

Outside these rooms is a large open space, now grass-grown, and the
sprays and buds of a cluster-rose tap against the massive walls. Close
by lies a heavy round of granite, slightly hollowed out towards the
centre, which is shown as one of the stones used for grinding corn. In
an upper room is a hiding-place for treasure--two long, shallow cavities
in the floor, of which there cannot have been the slightest sign when
the floor was covered with planking. A vaulted passage leads to the
south court, and in one corner of this court rises a watch-tower over a
horrible little dungeon or chamber of torture.

The walls throughout the whole building are from two and a half to four
feet thick, and a thick and solid wall nearly twenty-four feet high
protects an inner court, where even in January the turf is firm,
springy, and close. At the farther end, on steps leading into the
garden, a peacock looks wonderfully appropriate, and some white fantails
strutting in front of the heavy walls add very much to the picture.
There is scarcely any sign of the old 'pleasaunce,' except a low and
fairly broad box-hedge, which runs each side of a path in the present
garden, where a few violets and one or two strawberry-blossoms are
tokens of the softness of the air.

The Castle has changed owners many times. 'Stephen' held it of Judhael
of Totnes; then it passed to the De la Poles; Lady Alice de la Pole gave
it to the Comptons, and seven generations later a Compton heiress
brought it, in the reign of Edward II, to the family of Gilberts, of
whom Sir Humphrey Gilbert was a descendant. The Gilberts seem to have
lived alternately at Compton and on their older property, Greenway, and
with one interval the castle belonged to them till nearly the end of the
eighteenth century. The only trace of them now to be seen is in the
spandrels of a small cinquefoil-headed opening on the projecting gabled
wing to the south of the central door. Each spandrel is sculptured with
their crest, a squirrel holding a hazel branch.

Mr Eden Phillpotts has painted the ruins with a characteristic touch:

'At gloaming time, when the jackdaws make an end of day, when weary
birds rustle in the ivy ere they sleep, hearts and eyes, gifted to feel
and see a little above the level prose of working hours, shall yet
conceive these heroes of old moving within their deserted courts. Some
chambers are still whole, and bats sidle through the naked window at the
call of dusk; some are thrown open to sun and rain and storm; the chapel
stands intact; the scoop for holy water lies still within the thickness
of its wall. But aloft, where rich arras once hid the stone, and silver
sconces held the torch, Nature now sets her hand, brings spleenwort and
harts-tongue, trails the ivy, the speedwell, and the toad-flax....

'Ivy-mantled, solemn, silent, it stands like a sentient thing, and
broods with blind eyes upon ages forgotten; when these grey stones still
echoed neigh of horse and bay of hound, rattle of steel, blare of trump,
and bustle of great retinues.'

The castle of Okehampton stands about half a mile from the town, and
looks on one side over fertile hills and valleys, woods, and rich
meadows, and the gleaming waters of the West Okement, on the other
towards the bold, changeless outlines of the outer barriers of Dartmoor.
The Castle was once surrounded by its park. Risdon mentions that
originally there were 'Castle, market, and park adjoining.... The park,
which containeth a large circuit of land, King Henry the eighth, by the
persuasion of Sir Richard Pollard, disparked and alienated the same.'
The Okement, rippling over a rocky bed--the name _uisg maenic_ means the
'stony water'--hurries past the foot of a knoll on which the castle
rises out of a cloud of green leaves that shelter and half hide the
walls. Protected by the river and a steeply scarped bank on the south, a
natural ravine on the north, and a deep notch cut on the western side,
the mass of slate rock that it stands on was a point of vantage. On the
crest of the hill the keep stands on a mound, with which two sets of
buildings were connected by curtain walls. These buildings stretch down
the slope to the east, the space between the two blocks narrowing
towards the gateway.

Mr Worth observes that in Devonshire and Cornwall most of the smaller
Norman keeps were round, as at Totnes, Launceston, and Plympton; but the
stronger castles had square keeps. Okehampton, though not a large or
very strong fortress, was distinguished by its square keep, and
'occupies what may be called a middle position.'

Tradition has always held that Baldwin de Brionis, to whom the Conqueror
gave the manor, built the Castle, and Mr Worth, after a searching
examination, thinks that, as regards the lower part of the keep walls,
this may very well be the case; for they are not only Norman, but Norman
of the period in which Baldwin lived. The other buildings are later, but
vary in date, the most modern being the part of the block which contains
the chapel, and which was probably reconstructed from older buildings
towards the close of the thirteenth century.

There are gaps in the walls of the keep, but the ruins show that there
were four rooms, two above and two below; some of the windows and a
fireplace in one of the upper rooms are still to be seen. In the
northern block of buildings was the great hall--forty-five feet long and
twenty-five feet wide--lighted by two large windows to the south, and
entered by a boldly moulded granite doorway. A second doorway in one
corner led to a staircase-turret which led to the roof.

On the southern side the buildings are larger and less imperfect. Here
is the chapel, 'evidently,' says Mr Worth, 'a portion of a larger
structure, which has, perhaps, for the most part disappeared....'

East of the chapel are the guard-rooms, in a two-storied block of two
rooms on each floor. A doorway in the north-eastern corner leads into
the porter's lodge, a small room in the gate-tower with 'a loop window
in the eastern wall commanding the approach. Above this chamber there is
one precisely similar in the upper story (the floor, of course, is
gone), and it is noteworthy that this is the only part of the fabric
that retains its roof, which is supported by three massive stone ribs.'

The barony of Okehampton was one of many grants made by the Conqueror to
Baldwin de Brionis, and some generations later it passed by marriage to
the Courtenays, in which family it remained until the Marquis of Exeter
was attainted and beheaded in 1538. The Castle was among the possessions
that Queen Mary restored to the Earl of Devon, and on his death in 1556
his lands were divided amongst his heirs. Okehampton Castle fell to the
share of the Mohuns, and in 1628 John Mohun was granted a peerage and
took the title of Lord Mohun of Okehampton. The last Lord Mohun died in

To the barony of Okehampton belonged Floyer's Hayes, in the parish of St
Thomas the Apostle, near Exeter, and it was held on this curious tenure:
'That if the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, came at any time into Exe Isle,
they [the Floyers] were to attend them, decently apparelled with a clean
towel on their shoulders, a flagon of wine in one hand and a silver bowl
in the other, and offer to serve them with drink.'

About thirteen miles south-west of Okehampton, Sydenham stands in a
beautiful valley, overshadowed by woods, in which the shining green of
the laurels, the darker masses of the rhododendrons' tapering leaves,
patches of russet bracken, and feathery light green moss make a feast of
colour, even when overhead there is only the bare tracery of twigs and
branches. The coverts lie on a hill-side that is steep and fairly high,
and at the foot is a rushing stream which is crossed by a bridge exactly
opposite the front of the house.

The following notes have been most kindly sent me by Mrs. Tremayne:

'The Manor of Sidelham, or Sidraham, now called Sydenham, appears to
have been originally held by four Saxon Thanes, whose names have not
been preserved, and to have passed from them into the hands of that
powerful noble, Judhaell de Totnais. On his banishment by William Rufus,
his property was confiscated, and Sydenham gave its name to a family who
still possessed it in the reign of Henry III, and was succeeded by a
family called Mauris, from whom it passed in marriage to Trevage, and
from Trevage to Wise. Part of the house dates from the fourteenth
century, and is said to have originally formed a quadrangle or H, but in
the reign of Elizabeth it was built into the shape of an E, and is a
very perfect example of Tudor domestic architecture.

'Sir Edward Wise, in the reign of James I, very much beautified the
house, and legend says that he tried to add such height and such an
amount of granite to it that Risdon writes, "The very foundations were
ready to reel under the burthen." The house lies in a lovely wooded
valley on the banks of the River Lyd, and it has four separate
entrances, each opening on to a court or garden. Access to the
front-entrance--commonly called the Green Court--is through a fine iron
gateway, and above the central door are the Wise arms. Most of the
windows have eight rounded granite mullions and small leaded panes of
glass, and in some the original glass still remains. Two windows in the
front are of Charles I.'s date, and have quaint fan-shaped lights. Over
the large granite open fireplace in the front-hall is the date 1656,
when the house underwent repair after damage, caused, it is said, in the
Civil Wars. There is a story repeated in many histories of Devon, and
told by Lysons amongst others, that Sydenham was taken in 1644 by
Colonel Holborne; but I have every reason to believe that the Sydenham
garrisoned and taken was Combe Sydenham, in the parish of Stogumber,
near Taunton, but the fact that within the last forty years a sword and
other weapons, also seventeenth-century horseshoes, have been found may
be taken as a proof that fighting of some sort did take place.

'In making alterations in the kitchen chimney some twenty years ago, a
little hiding-place, or priest's room, was found opening out of it, and
in it was an oak table and the remains of a chair; and since then large
and small unsuspected rooms have been discovered, and it has been said
that in the largest a troop could lie hidden--as indeed it could with
ease. Quite recently a secret passage leading from the house towards the
river has been found, bearing out the legend always handed down, "that
the Lady Wise of the day escaped with a large party by a secret passage
near the river, and got into the woods undetected by the soldiers who
were round the house." It is very probable that the secret rooms
mentioned and the passage communicated.

'There is fine oak panelling in most of the rooms, and in the
dining-room the panelling is inlaid in a delicate design with an
ivory-like substance. Secret passages exist to this day in the walls,
which are of immense thickness, in some places being seven feet in
depth. There are three oak staircases, the main one being finely carved
with figures standing at the angles, and another having very fine

'In what goes by the name of the King's Room there is an ancient bed,
with fine old red silk curtains and the Prince of Wales's plumes over
it, in which Charles I and Charles II are reported to have slept. It is
quite likely that Charles II, when Prince of Wales, did come here, as he
is known to have been many weeks in the neighbourhood.'

The garden is delightful, and no change in it has been made for very
many years. A wide lawn slopes away from the house, and a very small
straight rivulet runs through it just a foot or two from the path. At
the foot of the slope is a tiny lake, which, though very narrow, divides
the lawn from end to end, and beyond the water the ground rises
gradually. Clipped bushes and a large flower-border mark the farther
edge of the lawn.

The Tremaynes were originally a Cornish family, but they came to
Devonshire early in the fourteenth century. For at this time Isabella
Trenchard of Collocombe married Thomas Tremayne, and after his death Sir
John Damarel, 'and so much gain'd the affection of her second husband
that he gave her and her heirs by Tremain (having none of his own)' some
of his estates.

Thomas Tremayne and Philippa his wife lived during the sixteenth
century, and had sixteen children, several of whom distinguished
themselves. Andrew and Nicholas were twins, and so amazingly alike 'in
all their lineaments, so equal in stature, so colour'd in hair, and of
such resemblance in face and gesture,' that they were only recognized,
'even by their near relations,' 'by wearing some several coloured riband
or the like ... yet somewhat more strange was that their minds and
affections were as one: for what the one loved the other desired: ...
yea, such a confederation of inbred power and of sympathy was in their
natures, that if Nicholas were sick or grieved, Andrew felt the like
pain, though far distant and remote in their persons.'

When Sir Peter Carew fled the country, suspected of plotting against
Queen Mary, Andrew Tremayne embarked with him at Weymouth, and later
Nicholas joined his twin in France, and they threw in their lot with a
troop of adventurers who harassed the Channel. Froude has said: 'The
sons of honourable houses ... dashed out upon the waters to revenge the
Smithfield massacres. They found help where it could least have been
looked for: Henry II of France hated heresy, but he hated Spain worse.
Sooner than see England absorbed in the Spanish monarchy, he forgot his
bigotry in his politics. He furnished these young mutineers with ships
and money and letters of marque. The Huguenots were their natural
friends; with Rochelle for an arsenal, they held the mouth of the
Channel, and harassed the communications between Cadiz and Antwerp.'

Occasionally the twins met with ill-luck, and an entry in the Acts of
the Privy Council records that: 'To be committed to several prisons, to
be kept secret, without having conference with any ... Andrew Tremayne
to the Marshalsey and Nicholas Tremayne to the Gate House, suspected of
piracy.' Afterwards they went back to their life of risks and chances on
the high seas.

But when Elizabeth came to the throne a different view was taken of
these rovers. 'Privateering suited Elizabeth's convenience,' says
Froude. 'Time was wanted to restore the Navy. The privateers were a
resource in the interval ... they were really the armed force of the
country.' So (in 1559) instructions were sent to the English Ambassador
in Paris that certain gentlemen, among whom were the Tremaynes, 'as
shall serve their country, the Ambassador shall himself comfort them to
return home. Circumspection must be used.' The postscript is
characteristically cautious.

The Queen valued Nicholas as a trustworthy messenger, where a matter
needed discreet handling, and the bearer of it was likely to be in
danger. In 1559-60 the Bishop of Aquila wrote to the King of Spain: 'The
Queen has just sent to France an Englishman called Tremaine, a great
heretic, who is to disembark in Brittany. I understand that he goes
backwards and forwards with messages to the heretics in that country.'
On one journey he was arrested when carrying letters in cipher, and
Throckmorton, the English Ambassador in Paris, wrote to the Due de
Guise, asking for his release. Nicholas was a special favourite of the
Queen, but as he loved a camp better than a court, she gave him leave
'to enter into the service of the King of Navarre, by which means he
will be better able to serve her.' The King of Navarre, however, did not
greatly appreciate Tremayne, and a short time afterwards Throckmorton
writes: 'The bearer, Mr Tremayne, came out of England with intent to see
the wars in Almain, or elsewhere, thereby to be better able to serve the
Queen. He has been here a good while to hearken which way the flame will
rise to his purpose; but now, finding all the Princes in Christendom
inclined to sit still, returns home. Desires Cecil to do something for
him to help him to live, as it will be right well bestowed. The Queen
will have a good servant in him, and Cecil an honest gentleman at his

Andrew had entered the army, and in Scotland reaped fame from the
brilliant cavalry charge which drove the French back into Leith. Lord
Grey wrote in 1560-61 that he had chosen Captain Tremayne to escort Lord
James, 'because he is a gentleman of good behaviour, courtesy, and well
trained, and also that he stands in the favour of the Lords of Scotland
by reason of his valiant service at Leith.'

In the winter of 1562-63 the Queen began openly to help the Huguenots at
Havre, and Nicholas Tremayne was sent there at the head of 'fifty
horsemen pistolliers.' In the following May Captain Tremayne's band and
some others, in a skirmish, 'repulsed the Rheingrave's whole force,
slain and taken near 400, with one ensign and seven drums. Not more than
twenty of their own were killed and wounded, none to his knowledge
taken.' Four days later Tremayne's troops, over-confident, risked too
much, and their Captain was shot, to the great grief of his
fellow-officers. Warwick wrote to Cecil: 'Whereas you write that you are
more sorry for the death of Tremain than you could be glad of the death
of a 100 Allmaynes, I assure you that there is never a man but is of the
same opinion.' The Queen was much grieved by the loss. 'She had
resented,' says Froude, 'the expulsion of the French inhabitants of
Havre ... she was more deeply affected with the death of Tremayne; and
Warwick was obliged to tell her that war was a rough game; she must not
discourage her troops by finding fault with measures indispensable to
success; for Tremayne, he said, "men came there to venture their lives
for her Majesty and their country, and must stand to that which God had
appointed either to live or die."'

Risdon concludes his account of the twins by saying that they died
together; but this is not altogether accurate, for, about a week after
the death of Nicholas, Andrew with three hundred soldiers set sail from
Berwick for Havre. It is, however, quite true that they died in the same
place, and the interval between their deaths was very short, for about
seven weeks after his twin was killed Andrew Tremayne succumbed to the

Edward Tremayne, another brother, followed the fortunes of the Marquis
of Exeter, and was 'a great sufferer for his inviolable fidelity to his
noble master.' So firm was his devotion that even torture failed to
extort from him a confession that the Marquis and 'the Lady Elizabeth'
had been involved in Wyatt's conspiracy. His 'invincible resolution'
asserted their innocence, even on the rack, and Queen Elizabeth later
recognized this splendid loyalty by making him 'one of the clerks of Her
Majesty's most honourable privy-council.'

Cecil had a high opinion of Tremayne, and in 1569 showed his faith in
Tremayne's judgment by sending him to Ireland, to sift the terrible but
conflicting stories of its miseries and rebellions, and 'to let him
know quietly the real condition of the country.' Tremayne, to begin
with, wrote hopefully of remedies for all that was wrong, but after a
year's study and experience realized that the trouble lay deeper than he
had at first understood. Nevertheless, some notes on the state of
Ireland by Edward Tremayne are endorsed by Lord Burghley 'A good
advice.' The Queen showed her confidence by entrusting to him (in 1580)
a very delicate task. The treasure that Drake brought home in the
_Pelican_ had to be registered; the examination must be made before some
public officer, but the Queen feared that it might be necessary to make
restitution to Spain, and, not objecting to a little crooked dealing,
was very anxious that the total amount of the booty should never be made
known. In obedience to the instructions he received from her, Tremayne
writes to Walsingham: 'I have at no time entered into the account, to
know more of the very value of the treasure than he made me acquainted
with. And to say the truth, I persuaded him to impart to me no more than
need, for so I saw him commanded in her Majesty's behalf, that he should
reveal the certainly to no man living.' Here follows a fine tribute to
Drake's unselfishness: 'And withal, I must say, as I find by apparent
demonstration, he is so inclined to advance the value to be delivered to
her Majesty and seeking in general to recompense all men that have been
in this case dealers with him, as I dare take an oath with him, he will
rather diminish his own portion than leave any of them unsatisfied.'

Edmund Tremayne, of a later generation, faithfully served his King in
the troubled times of the Civil Wars, 'and was several hundred pounds
deep in their books, at Haberdashers' Hall, for his loyalty. He is also
stated to have repaid a considerable portion of the money borrowed for
the necessities of the Queen during her sojourn at Exeter, at the time
of the birth of the Princess Henrietta. Later he was imprisoned and his
goods were sequestrated.'

A very treasured possession in the family is the 'tongue token,'
believed to have originally belonged to this Edmund Tremayne. These
tokens, small enough to put under the tongue in case of need, were given
to the bearers of messages from those of high rank or importance, as a
proof of the genuineness of the bearer, where there was too much danger
to risk a written word. This token is a tiny oval of gold, with the head
of King Charles on one side and his initials on the other. Edmund
Tremayne is supposed to have received this token when he carried the
news of the Princess's birth from Exeter to the King at Oxford.

Mr Tremayne's grandson, Edmund, married Arabella, the daughter and
heiress of Sir Edward Wise, who brought Sydenham to the Tremaynes.
Various traces of the Wises remain, among them a portrait of a
golden-haired Lady Wise. She is painted wearing a white satin dress, an
immense Vandyck collar, and many ornaments. Among her possessions was a
magnificent set of 'horse furniture,' made, it is supposed, for some
state occasion when she rode with her husband in the year (1633) that he
was High Sheriff. It is of very fine and rich crimson velvet, arranged
to fit over the pommels of the saddle and hang down on either side. The
furniture includes an imposing red velvet stirrup, and both this and the
saddle-cloth are elaborately and beautifully worked with silver
embroidery, and hung with silver tassels to match; and a piece of velvet
that lay over the crupper is thickly strewn with delicate little silver

About fourteen miles north-east of Exeter, in the valley of the Culm,
stands Bradfield; an avenue of cedars leads up to the house, which is an
Elizabethan one in a very perfect condition. The banqueting-hall is
panelled throughout, and its fine carved roof is supported by
elaborately carved and pierced hammer-beams. High at one end is the
minstrels' gallery, and at the other is a latticed window, which opened
on to a corridor, and is said to have been used by the lady of the
house, who could see from it anything that might be happening in the
hall. A high arch on one side of the hall divides a small panelled room,
where the guests gathered before dinner. The arch is of white stone, and
little blocks, each bearing a shield or flower, are set at intervals on
the mouldings.

The music-room is panelled, and above the panels are hangings of
Spanish leather covered with graceful designs. The fireplace and very
interesting 'porch' projecting into the room look like late Italian
Renaissance work, though, from the dresses of the carved figures on
them, they are supposed to have been actually made in England. The porch
is richly carved and painted, and slender strips of very light wood are
inlaid amongst a mass of ornamental details. The figures seem more than
a little incongruous to each other. On one panel are Adam and Eve with
the Tree of Knowledge between them, and above appear ladies and
gentlemen of the court of Queen Elizabeth--little coloured figures,
standing well out from the backs of their niches.

The fireplace is very elaborately carved and painted, and here, too, are
figures in curious juxtaposition surrounded by very rich decorations.
Amongst others may be seen a farmer and his wife, a cook, with a large
goose that she is about to kill, and a dairymaid, with a miniature cow
in her arms. High above these are the sons and daughters of Jesse in
splendid robes and crowns.

Bradfield, in ancient days Bradefelle, was once held by a family of that
name. The deed that carried it to the Walronds is not dated, but a
marginal note says that 'Fulke Paynel' was dead in 1 Henry III. The deed
runs as follows:

Fulke Paynel grants to Richard Walerond of Exeter all his land of
Bradfield in his Manor of Offeculme. Richard Walerond is to make two
suits yearly, one at 'La Hockeday,'[10] and one at Michaelmas
amercement, to consist of one sextary of wine of the value of sixpence
and not more. Grant of common pasture throughout the manor, except in
fields and meadows. One pound of pepper to be paid at Michaelmas
annually. In recognition of this grant Richard Walerond 'pays to Fulke
Paynel five marks of silver, and gives to Hande his wife' one golden
ring, and to William his heir one golden brooch.

[Footnote 10: 'La Hockeday' is commonly, but incorrectly, supposed to
commemorate the freedom of the English by the massacre of the Danes on
the Feast of St. Brice, 1002. 'Hoke-tide' began on the Monday after the
second Sunday after Easter.]

Witnesses: Simon son of Roger, Hamelin de Boulay, William de Lomene,
Walter de Tiddecomba, Simon de Baunton and Robert his brother, Peter
Comyn, Radulphus de Doddescomba, Walter de Soffewill, 'and many others.'

Among the Walrond papers is an agreement dated Michaelmas, 1261,
regarding a farm 'let for nineteen years, in consideration of four marks
paid and one mark a year for six years and rent of six shillings a year
... and two capons at Michaelmas and one bushel of winter wheat at
Christmas in each year, from one ferling of land in Cumb.'

I believe that the views held by Sir Henry Walrond of the arrival of
William of Orange are not clearly recorded, but whatever they were, a
note written by General Ginkel, during the march from Tor Bay to
Whitehall, was, considering the position of things, decidedly

     'Sir van Ginkel, Lt.-General of the Cavalry of the United
     Netherlands, in the service of his Highness, the Prince of Orange,

     'We have taken up our quarters in the house of Sir Hendrie Waldron,
     which quarters we desire shall be kept open as long as the troops
     of His Highness shall remain in this town or neighbourhood; we have
     also left in the care of the aforesaid Sr Hendries Waldron two
     black horses, and likewise the gray mare, which he shall keep for

     'Given at Columpton the 7/17 November, 1688.


A charming echo from the past sounds in a very different epistle--a
love-letter from Sir William Walrond to a Mistress Courtenay. The letter
is written on a sheet of paper covered with gold-leaf and bordered with
elaborate designs. The case belonging to it is embroidered in fine
crewel-work in (more or less) natural colours, representing figures,
scenery, and a house in the background, and it suggests the needles of
Little Gidding.


     'The happiness I late enjoy'd by the fruition of your sweete
     society gives an incentive to mee to let you knowe how deep you are
     percullest[11] in my brest, though their injurious feare [youth's
     usual concomitant] obscured those larger narratives of my most
     intensive love and really devoted service ... 'twas my present fate
     then to be lesse expressive when I most admir'de these eminent
     perfections which both art & nature have adorn'd you with and as
     being doubtful of obtaining what I heartily desired remained your
     captive but in confidence of your candid disposition am now your
     humble petitioner to bee so far happified as to be deemed your
     honouring servant. Let then, I beseech you (worthy, lady) this poor
     and unpolished character of my due respects and firm affections
     achieve the happiness of kissing your fairest hands and you shall
     thereby engage at present and in future

    'Your most honouring

    'friende and servant,


    '_Anderdon this 27th of October, 1659._'

[Footnote 11: Portcullised.]

Pynes stands in the Exe Valley, just within three miles of Exeter
Cathedral. It is of red brick with white dressings, and has many high
narrow windows. A view has been put forward that the politics of country
gentlemen in the early part of the eighteenth century may always be
traced by their trees; those who were in favour of William III set
lime-avenues, while Jacobites planted Scotch firs. There is a tradition
in the family that, while the Northcotes were for the Prince of Orange,
the Staffords were for King James, but it seems quite as likely that
political significance was not always the chief point in planting trees.
In any case, there are many Scotch firs, and a lime-avenue (peculiarly
in keeping with the style of the house) is shown by prints to have led
far over the hill to Upton Pyne, but is now, alas! represented only by
one or two aged survivors.

The manor belonged to the family of Pyne in the reign of Henry I, and
after many years was brought by an heiress to the Larders. From this
family, after another interval, it passed by marriage to the
Coplestones, of whom it was bought by Hugh Stafford.

The Staffords, or, as the name originally was, Stowfords, migrated from
Stowford in Dolton near Torrington, soon after the Restoration. Hugh
Stafford, born in 1674, was very keenly interested in the subject of
apple-growing and cider. He wrote a 'Dissertation' on the subject, and
especially on a certain apple called the Royal Wilding, from which it
had just been discovered (about 1710) a very superior kind of cider
could be produced. Unfortunately, Lord Bute's cider-tax so greatly
discouraged the manufacture that after it had been imposed farmers only
made enough for their own use and their labourers', and were not very
critical as to the quality. In consequence, the choicest kinds of fruit
were neglected, and both the Royal Wilding and the White Sour of the
South Hams, another much-prized apple, are no longer to be found.

The daughter and heiress of Mr Stafford married her neighbour, Sir Henry
Northcote. The Northcotes have been settled in Devonshire since the
reign of Henry I, when Galfridus de Northcote held the lands of
Northcote at East Down, near Barnstaple, and in the middle of the
sixteenth century Walter Northcote was living at Uton, in the parish of
Crediton. In this neighbourhood his descendants remained until Sir
Henry's marriage, when they came to Pynes.

John Northcote was one of the Devonshire justices who attended Quarter
Sessions during the later part of the reign of Elizabeth, and he lived
till within ten years of the outbreak of Civil War. From his epitaph, it
appears that he was tried by the Star Chamber; the verse has been
translated as follows:

    'To him the Queen's Commission in his youth
    Trusted the scales of Justice and of Truth.
    Fair was the balance held, and pure his fame,
    Though by Star Chamber tried, as gold by flame.'

Nothing is known of the trial, not even the charge, but it is pretty
certain that, in common with several other justices at that time, he
had showed 'a want of "forwardness"' in collecting ship-money.

Another justice, Walter Yonge, notes in his diary that in 1627 letters
were sent to the justices of Devon, 'to the Mayors of port-towns,
Exeter, Dartmouth, Totnes, Plymouth, and Barnstaple, bidding the towns
provide ships, and the country, men and victuals.' Later, letters were
sent demanding that a large sum should be raised 'to set a fleet at sea
... we having but six or seven days to raise the money, and to return it
to London; but _our county refused to meddle therein_.' John Northcote
was Sheriff just at this time, and was most probably held responsible
for the intractability of his countrymen.

Sir John Northcote, his son, was born in 1599, and became a Member of
Parliament, he and Sir Edmund Fowel representing Ashburton in the Long
Parliament. During his first few weeks in the House of Commons, Sir John
took notes of the proceedings, and the small brown volume in which they
are written still exists. The notes have been transcribed by Mr A. H. A.
Hamilton, and are very interesting, for they record threatenings of the
great storm so soon to burst over England. The pages open with
'Proceedings against the Earl of Strafford. Mr Pimm's [Pym]
Report'--which report prefaces terrible accusations with a personal
touch: 'Long known the person charged by acts of friendship.'

Many letters, reports, and commissions, refer to Jesuits and priests,
and often the Queen's name appears intervening on their behalf; laws
against them were more and more relaxed, 'signifying his Majesty's
pleasure at instance of her Majesty,' till the Commons became uneasy,
and a 'petition' was framed to the King, to remind him of his
'protestation' at the opening of his reign, that the Queen 'should not
intermeddle with matters of religion.'

The long and stubborn opposition to the exaction of ship-money, 'Voted
illegal and entered _nullo contradicente_,' is given. The Judges who had
declared the tax to be legal were supposed to have been tampered with by
Strafford, and Mr Hyde (afterwards Lord Clarendon) suggested that they
should be interviewed as to what had passed. The following is a bit of
the debate as it was taken down; as Sir John did not write shorthand, he
was naturally able to give only the gist of each speech:

'MR HIDE. That some of the house be sent to know what solicitations
[_had been made_].

           *       *       *       *       *

'SIR FRANC. SEYMOUR. That proof be first made.

'MR PELHAM. That it will amount to high treason and to prepare present

'SIR JO. WRAY. The posy of his grandfather, Just and True. Sir Ed. Cook
[said] whoever shall go about to overthrow Common Law, the Common Law
will overthrow him. His motion, _Currat Lex_.

'SERGEANT EVERS. To have first the votes of the Lords.

'SIR P. STAPYLTON. That Mr Peard be sent to Judge Jones.

'SIR JO. STRANGWAYES. That Justice Crook be sent to.

'LORD FAWKLAND. That they be sent to all at once.

'SIR NEVILL POOLE. That Lord Keeper be forth coming.

'MR CONTROLLER. That respect be had to Judges. That none be urged to be
accuser, but concluded that all be sent to.

'SIR JO. CULPEPER. Of twelve one was a Judas. To send to all the Judges
that gave the Judgment, and to send immediately.'

Another debate shows the King and Parliament for the moment on unusually
good terms. Sir Benjamin Rudyard said: 'God blest his Majesty with
hopeful and fruitful progeny. To put in mind to provide for them. The
first prince born amongst us this 100 years. Queen's good affection to
Parliament. Concern her Majesty to uphold the glory and government of
this kingdom.'

When the crisis came, most of the Devonshire members seem to have
supported the Parliament, guided, no doubt, to some extent by the
wonderful influence of 'King' Pym. Pym sat for Tavistock; 'his colleague
was a son of the House of Russell. William Strode sat for Buralston, and
his elder brother for Plympton.' Northcote was slightly connected with
the Strodes, and when war broke out he followed the Earl of Bedford. In
September, 1642, Sir Hugh Pollard wrote to the Earl of Bath: 'The Earl
of Bedford is now at Taunton, in want of men and money; he hath sent to
his friends Chudleigh, Bampfield, and Northcote, for a supply of both,
whose oratory cannot get one trained man to move, nor above eight

The letter receives a curious comment from the succeeding ones. At that
very time the Earl of Bedford was issuing orders for the arrest of Sir
Hugh Pollard, and four days afterwards Sir George Chudleigh and Sir John
Northcote wrote to Major Carey, expressing their approval of Captain
Dewett's conduct in capturing the Earl of Bath. Sir John was now at the
head of a regiment of twelve hundred men, and seems to have held the
command during the first two years of the Civil War. He took an active
part in the defence of Plymouth, and in 1643 at Modbury a victory was
won by the forces under Lieutenant-General Ruthen, Sir J. Bampfield, and
Sir John Northcote, over Lord Hopton's troops. Many of the
Parliamentarian gentlemen were anxious for peace, and just after this
skirmish tried to arrange an 'association' or neutrality between Devon
and Cornwall; but the idea was quashed by Commissioners from London. A
few months later Clarendon mentions that Sir John was sent by the Earl
of Bedford, the Parliamentary General of Horse, to negotiate a treaty
with the Marquis of Hertford.

Sir John was elected to the Parliament of 1656, and showed himself a
constant lover of liberty. He inveighed against the powers granted to
Cromwell's House of Peers. 'It was minded you ... that no law was
rightly made but by King, Lords, and Commons. I am sure this law was not
made so.' He lays stress on the point that the old House of Lords
ventured all that they had, and protests against their being superseded
by new-comers. 'That they should be excluded and these advanced is not
just nor reasonable.' A little later he spoke again on the same subject:
'We thought in the long Parliament we might restrain the inordinate
power of the Chief Magistrate. That was the ground of our quarrel in the
late war; but ... it seems we cannot bound these Lords' exorbitant
powers.... I did fight against an exorbitant power in the King's hands,
and _I will fight against it again to the last drop of blood_, if his
Highness command me, whenever such power shall be set up, if it be
to-morrow, and in whatever hands it be.'

John Northcote was one of the two Knights of the Shire for Devon in the
Convention Parliament, the other being the Lord General Monk. The
Restoration was gladly welcomed by him, but he 'spoke repeatedly in
favour of pardon and amnesty, and when necessity arose, he seems to have
confronted the triumphant Cavaliers in debate as boldly as he had met
them, or their fathers, in the field.' This was the last Parliament that
Sir John sat in. A little later he turned to the West, and spent most of
the days that were left him in Devon.

List of Authorities Consulted

BARING-GOULD (S.): A Book of Dartmoor.

BARING-GOULD (S.): A Book of the West.

BARING-GOULD (S.): Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.

BLOUNT (T.): Tenures of Lands.

BLUNDELL'S Worthies, edited by M. L. Banks.

BRAY (MRS.): The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy.

BRITTON (J.) and BRAYLEY (E. W.): Beauties of England and Wales.

BRITTON (J.) and BRAYLEY (E. W.): Devonshire Illustrated.

CAMDEN (W.): Britannia.

CAREW (BAMPFYLDE MOORE): Life and Adventures.

CAREWE (SIR PETER), Dyscourse and Dyscoverye of the Lyffe of, ...
 collected by John Vowell, als. Hoker, of the Citie of Excester, gent.

CARRINGTON (N. T.): Dartmoor.

CHANTER (J. F.): A History of the Parishes of Lynton and Countisbury.

CHANTER (J. R.): Lundy Island.

CHICHESTER (Sir A. P.): History of the Chichester Family.

CLEAVELAND (E.): Genealogical History of the Noble and Illustrious
    Family of Courtenay.

CLERMONT (LORD): History of the Fortescues.

COTTON (R. W.): Barnstaple and the Northern Part of Devonshire
    during the Great Civil War.

COTTON (W.): An Elizabethan Guild of the City of Exeter.

COTTON (W.) and WOOLLCOMBE (H.): Gleanings from Municipal and
    Cathedral Records of Exeter.

DARTMOOR Preservation Association's Transactions.

DEFOE (D.): A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain.

DEVON Notes and Queries.

DEVONSHIRE Association's Transactions.

EDMONDS (Chancellor): Exeter Cathedral.

EVERITT (W.): Devonshire Scenery.

FIENNES (CELIA): Through England on a Side-Saddle in the Time of
    William and Mary.

FOX (S. P.): Kingsbridge and its Surroundings.

FREEMAN (E. A.): Exeter.

FRIEND (H.): Bygone Devonshire.

FROUDE (J. A.): History of England.

FULLER (T., D.D.): Worthies of England.

GILPIN (W.): Observations on the Western Parts of England.

HARDING (W.): History of Tiverton.

HARRIS (J. H.): My Devonshire Book.

IZACKE (R. and S.): Remarkable Antiquities of the City of Exeter.

KELLY'S Directory of Devonshire.

KING (R. J.): Sketches and Studies.

KINGSLEY (C.): Miscellanies.

LELAND (J.): Itinerary.

LYSONS (D. and S.): Magna Britannia.

MOZLEY (T.): Henry VII, Prince Arthur, and Cardinal Morton.

MURRAY'S Handbook of Devon.

NORWAY (A. H.): Highways and Byways in Devon and Cornwall.

OLIVER (G., D.D.): History of the City of Exeter.

OLIVER (G., D.D.): Lives of the Bishops of Exeter.

OLIVER (G., D.D.): Monasticon Dioecesis Exoniensis.

PAGE (J. L. W.): An Exploration of Exmoor.

PEEKE (RICHARD, of Tavistock): His Three to One.

POLLOCK (Sir F.): Dartmoor and the Walkham. _Eng. Illus. Mag._, 1884.

POLWHELE (R.): History of Devonshire.

PRIDHAM (T. L.): Devonshire Celebrities.

PRINCE (J.): Worthies of Devon.

RALEIGH (SIR WALTER): Life, by Martin Hume.

RAWLE (E. J.): Annals of the Ancient Royal Forest of Exmoor.

RAWLE (E. J.): The Doones of Exmoor.

RISDON (T.): Chorographical Description or Survey of the County of Devon.

ROGERS (W. H. H.): Memorials of the West.

ROWE (C. R.): South Devon.

ROWE (J. BROOKING): History of the Borough of Plympton Erle.

ROWE (S.): A Perambulation of Dartmoor.

SNELL (F. J.): Memorials of Old Devonshire.

SPRIGG (J.): Anglia Rediviva; or, England's Recovery.

VOWELL (J., _alias_ HOKER): Antique Description of the City of Exeter.

WALKER (J.): Sufferings of the Clergy.

WALPOLE'S Universal British Traveller.

WATKINS (J.): An Essay towards a History of Bideford.

WESTCOTE (T.): View of Devonshire in MDCXXX.

WHITFELD (H. F.): Plymouth and Devonport in Times of War and Peace.

WIDECOMBE Tracts, 1638.

WIFFEN (J. H.): Historical Memoirs of the House of Russell.

WORTH (R. N.): History of Plymouth.

WORTH (R. N.): The West-Country Garland.


Acland, Lady Harriot, 29;
  Sir John, 29;
  Sir Thomas, 270

Adams, Will, 112

Adelaide, Queen, and Honiton lace, 49

Affeton Castle, 238

Ameredith, William, 153

American prisoners at Princetown, 85

Apsley, Colonel, 211;
  Sir Allen, 227

Arms and motto granted to Exeter, 9

Arlington Court, 252

Arundell, Colonel, 46

Ashburton, 121

Ashe, 68

Athelstan, monastery founded at Exeter by, 3

Atterbury, Bishop, anecdote of, 97

Audley, Lord, 128

Avant, Philip, 113

Axminster, 69

Axmouth, 66

Babb, John, 257;
  Ursula, 258

Ballads, poems, and songs, local, 69, 70, 83, 87, 99, 104, 106, 109, 117,
  123, 124, 125, 134, 141, 149, 170, 179, 192, 193, 195, 201, 206, 208,
  218, 239, 247, 251, 261, 271, 283

Bampfylde, Bampfield, Hugh, 24;
  John, 32, 33, 291;
  Sir John Coplestone, 32

Bampton, 13

Barker, Pentecost, 175

Barnstaple, 224

Barun, Walter, 269

Baunton, Robert de, 307;
  Simon de, 307

Bedford, Earls of, 80, 182

Beer, 65

_Bellerophon_ in Plymouth Harbour, 177

Benet, Sir Henry, 148

Benson, Thomas, 249

Berkeley, Sir John, 12, 32, 90, 211

Berry Head, 113

Berrynarbour, 249

Berry Pomeroy, 285

Bickleigh, 24

Bideford, 201

Bigbury Bay, unknown lady drowned in, 146

Blackaller, John, 8

Blackhall, Christopher, 131

Blackmore, R. D., 20

Blackpool, 151

Blake, Martin, 224, 225

Blowing-house on Dartmoor, 75

Blundell, Peter, 19

Blundell's School, Tiverton, 19

Bohun, Margaret, 275

Bolt Head and Bolt Tail, 146

Boniface, 35

Bonville, Cicely, 57;
  Nicholas, 69

Botreaux, William de, 287

Boulay, Hamelin de, 307

Bradfield, 305

Bradninch, 29

Branscombe, 64

Braunton Burrows, 221

Bray, Mrs., on Wistman's Wood, 77

Brendon, 262

Brent Tor, 71, 198

Brioniis, Baldwin de, 297, 298

Briwere, Alicia de, 107;
  William, Lord, 107

Bromehall, Walter de, 91

Brown, Rev. Charles, 94

Browne, Richard, 161;
  William, 82, 194

Brudenell, Mr, 31

Buckfast Abbey, 122

Buckfastleigh, 122

Buck-horn, 115

Buckland Abbey, 195

Budleigh, East, 60

Budleigh Salterton, 60

Buller, Charles, 40;
  John Francis, 40

Bulmer, Sir Beavis, 251

Burgoyne, General, 30

Burke, Edmund, 146

Burleigh, Lord, 161

Bussell, Nicholas, 98

Cabal Government, the, 101

Cable, Richard, 291

Calder, John, 149

Canonteign, 98, 99

Carew, Sir Alexander, 173;
  Bampfylde Moore, 24;
  Dorothea, 17;
  Sir Gawen, 38, 52, 53, 54;
  George, 52, 108;
  John, 52;
  Sir Peter, 38, 52, 53, 54, 152, 282, 301;
  Sir William, 53

Carew arms, 52

Carey, Cary, Colonel, 153;
  George, 142;
  Sir Henry, 140;
  John, 215;
  Sir Robert, 216

Castle Hill, 240

Cecil, Sir Edward, 185;
  Sir Robert, 135;
  Sir William, 135

Cergeaux, John, 128

Chagford, 90

Challacombe, 285

Champernowne, Sir Arthur, 108, 128;
  Henry, 62, 128;
  Richard, 142;
  William, 291

Chapman Burrows, 266

Chapple, Will, 237

Charles II at Plymouth, 175

Charm for staunching of blood, 150

Chesney, Sir Charles, 20;
  George, 20

Chichester, Sir Arthur, 252;
  John, Sir John, 252;
  Robert de, Sir Robert, 252, 254

Choak-a-bone, tomb of, 67

Christmas custom at Dean Prior, 124

Christow, 97

Chudleigh, 100

Chudleigh, Sir George, 312

Churchill, Sir Winston, 68

Cider, Lord Bute's tax on, 50

Civil War, the, 11, 12, 22, 32, 50, 58, 90, 98, 139, 173, 194, 207,
  226, 229, 273, 289, 312

Clements, Captain, 115

Clermont, Lady, anecdote of, 241

Clifford, Anthony, 100;
  Sir Thomas, 100

Clovelly, 213

Clyst River, 45

Cocke, Captain, 162

Coffin, Richard, 212;
  Sir William, 212

Colcombe, 68

Coleridge, Lord, on Ottery, 57

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 58

Colyton, 67

Combe Martin, 250

Common rights on Dartmoor, 79

Compton Castle, 294

Comyn, Peter, 307

Convicts at Lundy, 249

Cornish, the, their ignorance of English, 8

Cosway, Richard, 16

Countess Weir, 7

Countisbury, 260, 261

Courtenay, Lord, 54;
  Edward, 280;
  Lady Elizabeth, 281;
  Henry, 279;
  Hugh, Sir Hugh, 275, 276;
  Lady Matilda, 276;
  Sir Peter, 276, 278;
  Sir Philip, 272, 275, 276;
  Robert, 15;
  William, 153, 277

Coven, John, 95

Cranbrook Castle, 92

Crediton, 34

Creedy River, 34

Crockern Tor, 78

Crofts, Sir James, 135

Cromwell, Thomas, 80

Crosses on Dartmoor, 80

Cullen, Nicholas, 248

Cullompton, 27

Culm River, 27

Damarel family, 45

Damarel, Sir John, 300

Dancing Tree at Moreton, 92

Danes, the, in Devon, 104;
  at Exeter, 3;
  at Northam, 210

Daniel, Tom, 17

Dart, the, 19

Dartington Hall, 127

Dartmoor Forest, 71

Dartmouth, 136

Davis, Captain John, 11, 132;
  Mr, 98

De Albemarle family, 45

Dean Prior, 123

Deane, Captain, 273

Defoe, Daniel, on Honiton cider, 50;
  on trade of Exeter, 10

Dennis, Sir Thomas, 153

Devon, earldom of, restored, 281

Devonport, 157

'Devonshire Boys' Courage,' 104

Dickens's, Charles, description of Clovelly, 214

Digby, Colonel, 173, 227, 229

Dittisham, 133

Dodbrooke, 142

Doddescomba, Radulphus de, 307

Doddiscombsleigh, 97

Dog Acre Orchard, Axmouth, 67

Dog buried with parson of Axmouth, 66

Dogs as fish catchers, 132

Doone Valley, the, 264

Downes, 39

Drake, Sir Francis, 11, 108, 134, 165, 185, 195, 204;
  Sir John, 68

Drewsteignton, 91

Drizzlecombe, 75

Druidical remains, supposed, 76

Duel between Lord Mohun and Duke of Hamilton, 52

Dunsford, 97

Dynant, Oliver de, 217

Earls, William, 95

Easter customs on Exmoor, 268

Edgecombe, Betty, 150

Edward the Confessor in Exeter, 3

Edwards Susanna, 209

Elford Walter, 82

Eliot, Sir John, 173

Endsleigh, 199

Epigram on Sir Francis Drake, 171

Epitaphs, 16, 36, 49, 66, 203, 250, 293, 309

Escot, in Ottery, 55

Exe, the, 13

Exeter, 1;
  arms and motto, 9

Exeter Canal, 8

Exeter Cathedral, 5

Exeter Guildhall, 9

Exmoor, 267

Exmoor ponies, 270

Exmouth, 45

Exmouth, Lord, 99

Fairfax, Sir Thomas, 12, 23, 58, 98, 139, 229, 272, 274, 291

Falaise, William de, 128

Fersen, Count, and Lady Clermont, 241

Fiennes, Miss Celia, 41, 246

Fingle Bridge, 91

Fingle Gorge, 92

Fires at Tiverton, 20, 21

Fitz, John, 190

Fitz-Alan, Henry, 142

Fitzford House, 190, 194

Fitz-John, Matthew, 142

Fitz-Roald, Alan, 142

Floyer's Hayes, 298

Folk-lore, 254

Forde House, 103

'Forests of the Dartmoors,' 87

Fortescue, Sir Edward, 149, 240;
  Sir Faithful, 240;
  Sir Henry, 240;
  John, Sir John, 6, 240, 241;
  Sir Nicholas, 240

Fortibus, Isabel, 7

Fossway, the, at Honiton, 48

Fowell, Sir Edmund, 310;
  William, 291

Freeman, Professor, description of Exeter, 1, 12;
  on Exeter's privileges, 7,
  on Roman conquest of Exeter, 2

French prisoners at Crediton, 39;
  at Princetown, 85

Fulford, Sir Baldwin, 93

Fuller, Thomas, on Honiton lace, 49

Garret, Captain, 167

Gates, General, 31

Gaveston, Piers, 80

Gibbs, Hon Herbert, 127;
  John, 126;
  Thomas, 126, 127;
  William, 126, 127

Gilbert, Adrian, 251;
  Sir Humphrey, 11, 61, 133, 168, 251, 295

Giles, Sir Edward, 125;
  John, 125

Ginkel, General de, 307

Glanvill, Eulalia, 192;
  Judge, 191

Godolphin, Sidney, 90

Gorges, Sir Ferdinando, 172

Goring, Lord, 227

Grandisson, Beatrice de, 57;
  Bishop John de, 5, 56;
  Sir Otho, 57

Great Fulford, 93

Greenaway, 133

Greenway, Joan, 19;
  John, 16, 19

Grenville, Sir Bevil, 207;
  John, 207;
  Richard de, Sir Richard, 174, 191, 194, 195, 203, 204, 205, 207,
    208, 227;
  Thomas, 203

Grimspound, 74, 75

Grove, ----, 12

Groves, Hugh, 240

Guildhall, Exeter, 9

Guilds in Exeter, 9, 10

Gurney, Sir Richard, 202

Haccombe, 108

Hals, John, 127

Hameldon Barrow, 74

Hamilton, Duke of, 52;
  Sir Robert, 51

Hammett, John, 94

Hammond, Colonel, 274

Hancock, William, 252

Harnage, Major, 30

Harper, Nicholas, 250

Harrys, Christopher, 195

Hartland, 217

Hartland Abbey, 217

Hartland Point, 216

Harvest custom in Devon, 51

Hastings, Lord, 29;
  Simon, 107

Hatherleigh, 236

Haughton, Captain, 139

Hawkins, Sir John, 63, 162, 171;
  Sir Richard, 164;
  William, 162, 165

Hawley, John, 137

Hayes Barton, 60

Heddon's Mouth, 255

Hele, John, 195

Hembury Fort, 48

Henrietta, Princess, born at Exeter, 11

Henrietta Maria, Queen, at Exeter, 11

Herrick, William, 123

Hexter, Ann, 95

Hillersdon, John de, 27

Holborne, Colonel, 299

Hole, Robert, 150

Holland, John, 128;
  Lord, 173

Holne, 121

Holt, Mr, 292

Holy wells at Hatherleigh, 236

Honiton, 47

Honiton lace, 49

Hooker, Mr, 237

Hopton, Ralph, Lord, 173, 229, 230, 231

Hounds as tin-carriers, 78

How, John, 95

Howard, Sir Charles, 191;
  Lady, 190

Huguenots at Plymouth, 175

Hungerford, Lord, 29

Hunters' Lodge Inn, 55

Hut-dwellings on Dartmoor, 74

Ilfracombe, 244

Izacke's description of Exeter, 2

Jago, Dr, 191

Jewel, Bishop John, 249

Judhael de Totnes, 130, 226, 228, 295

Kennaway, Sir John, 55

Kenwith Castle, 210

Key, John, 291

Killerton, 29

Kilworthy House, 193

King, R. J., on Dartmoor, 71

Kingsbridge, 141

Kingsley, Charles, 121;
  description of Clovelly, 214

Kingskerswell, 110

King's Nympton, 239

Kingsteignton, 103

Kings wear, 140

Lake, Thomas, 95

Landslip at Lyme, 67

Lane, John, 28, 150;
  Richard, 150;
  Thomasine, 28;
  Mr, 150

Lechlade, Walter de, 56

Leofric, first Bishop of Exeter, 3

Ley, W., 95

Library, ancient, in Exeter Cathedral, 4;
  in Crediton Church, 37

Lloyd, Temperance, 209

Lomene, William de, 307

Longstone, the, 266

Ludlow, Sir Henry, 292

Lundy Island, 245

Lyde, Robert, 42

Lydford, 82

Lydford Gorge, 84

Lynmouth, 259, 260

Lynton, 259

Marwood, Dr, 68

Mary Tavy, 196

Massie, General, 22, 23

Merivale, Samuel, 175

Mohun, Lord, 52;
  John, 298;
  Sir Reginald, 69;
  Richard de, 107;
  Sir William, 69

Mohun arms, 52

Moles, Mules, Isabella de, 287;
  Nicholas de, 110

Molesworth, Colonel, 292

Monk, George, Duke of Albemarle, 33, 69, 232;
  Sir Thomas, 232

Moore, Major, 24

Moretonhampstead, 92

Morisco, Sir William de, 247

Morton, Cardinal, 29

Morwellham, 199

Morwell Rocks, 199

Mules, see Moles

Mozley, Rev. ----, 28

National Debt, origin of the, 101

Newcomb, John, 8

Newenham Abbey, 69

Newton, John, 291

Newton Abbot, 102

Newton St Cyres, 41

Norden, John, 8

North, Lord, and cider tax, 51

Northcote, Galfridus de, 309;
  Sir Henry, 309;
  John, Sir John, 122, 309, 310, 312, 313;
  Walter, 309

Oare, 265

Ogham inscription at Tavistock, 180

Okehampton Castle, 296

Okey, Colonel, 98

Oldbarrow Camp, 261

Orange, William, Prince of, 113

Osey, Thomas, 37

Otter River, 47

Otterton, 60

Ottery Mohun, 52

Ottery St Mary, 55

Ottery St Mary Church, 56

Oxenham, William, 238

Paignton, 110

Parker, William, 162

Parracombe, 254

Paynel, Fulke, 306

Peeke, Captain Richard, 185

Penruddocke, ----, 12;
  Colonel, 240

Peryam, William, 36

Peter Tavy, 196

Peverell, Hugh, 27

Pickering, Colonel, 58

Pilchard fishery, 161

Pilgrim Fathers, the, 171

Pim, John, 184

Pinhoe, Danish fight at, 3

Pixies, the, 86

Pixies' House, 82

Pixies' Parlour, 100

Plumleigh, Captain, 248

Plymouth, 155

Plympton, 177

Plymtree, 28

Pole, Alice de la, 295

Polglas, William, 128

Pollard, Hugh, Sir Hugh, 139, 211, 239, 269, 312;
  Sir Lewis, 291;
  Sir Richard, 296

Pollock, Sir F., on Dartmoor, 71

Poltimore, 31

Poltimore, Lord, 32

Pomeroy, Pomerai, Sir Edward, 288;
  Henry de, 182, 285, 287;
  Ralph de la, 287;
  Sir Thomas, 288

Porter, Endymion, 124

Portledge, 212

Potheridge, 232

Potter, Barnabas, 126

Powderham Castle, 272

Prawle Point, 145

Prayer-Book riot, 38

Priests' hole, a, 299

Princetown, 84

Pynes, 308

Pynho, Sir Robert de, 148

Quivil, Bishop Peter, 5

Raleigh, John de, 252;
  Sir Walter, 60, 80, 128, 133, 153, 203, 204

Rame, Thomas, 7

Rattenbury, Jack, 65

Rattery, 126

Reay, Samuel, 17

Redvers, Baldwin de, 4, 15;
  Mary de, 15;
  Richard de, 14;
  William de, 14

Reidesel, Baroness of, 30

Revel, the, at Kingsteignton, 103

Reynell, Lieut, 30

Richmond, Henry, Earl of, 7;
  Margaret, Countess of, 231

Robin, Mr, 11

Rodge, James, 49

Roope, Mr, 153

Rougemont Castle, Exeter, 4

Rugglestone, the, 76

Russell, Lord, 9,
  Rev. John, 20, 236;
  John, 182;
  William Lord, 184

St. Leger, Sir John, 7, 152

Salcombe, 144

Salkeld, Captain, 248

Saltram, 177

Sampford ghost, the, 26

Sampford Peveril, 26

Sandridge, 132

Schorne, Sir John, 145

Screen at Plymtree, 28

Seaton, 66

Sexton, Mary, 203

Seymour, Colonel, 153, 211, 289, 290;
  Edward, Sir Edward, 116, 139, 286, 288, 289, 292, 293

Shapcote, Colonel, 46

Shebbeare, Dr, 209

Sheeps Tor, 81

Shute, 69

Sidmouth, 64

Silver mines at Combe Martin, 251

Simon, son of Roger, 307

Slapton Sands and Lea, 151

Slee, George, 16

Smuggling, 65

Snell, John, 149

Snowdon, Thomas, 95

Soffewill, Walter de, 307

South Molton, 239

South Tawton, 237

Speare, William, 94

Splatt, Hannah, 96

Sprigg, Joshua, 58

Stafford, Hugh, 309

Stanhope, Anne, 288

Stannary Parliament, 78

Stapleton, Bishop Walter de, 5

Starcross, 42

Starre, John, 66

Start Point, 151

Stevenstone, 231

Stonerows, etc., on Dartmoor, 74

Stonehouse, 157

Stonehouse, Joel de, 157

Storm at Widecombe, 80

'Stout Cripple of Cornwall, the,' 283

Strangwich, George, 192

Strode, William, 311

Stucley, Stukeley, Sir George, 238;
  Sir Lewis, 218;
  Thomas, 238

Suffolk, Duke of, 54

Sully, Sir John, 36

Superstitions on Dartmoor, 85;
  at Whitstone, 96

Sutton, James, 94

Sydenham, 298

Talbot, Sir Gilbert, 22

Tavistock, 179

Tavy Cleave, 197

Tawstock, 228

Teign, the, 89

Teignmouth, 103

Tenure, curious, 269

Thackeray, W. M., at Ottery, 59

Thomas, Grace, 210

Thurlestone, 147

Tiddecomba, Walter de, 307

Tin trade on Dartmoor, 77

Tiverton, 14

Toby, Tryphena, 141

Tongue token, a, 305

Topsham, 41

Tor Abbey, 107

Torbay, 106

Tor Cross, 151

Torner, Major, 139

Torquay, 106

Torridge Castle, 231

Torrington, 228

Totnes, 129

Tourville, Admiral de, 104

Tracy, William de, 221

Trelawny, Rebecca, 40

Tremayne, Andrew, 301, 302, 303;
  Edmund, 302, 305;
  Nicholas, 301, 302, 303;
  Thomas, 300

Trembles, Mary, 209

Trenchard, Isabella, 300;
  Sir Thomas, 182

Tuckers' Hall, Exeter, 10

Tuckfield, John, 36

Ugbrooke, 100

Valletort, Reginald de, 160

Valley of Rocks, 258

Vane, Sir Henry, 293

Venton House, 126

Vere, Sir Francis, 135

Wade, Major, 257

Wagstaff, Sir Joseph, 240

Waldron, John, 16, 19;
  Richard, 19.
  _See also_ Walrond

Wallabrook, the, 89

Waller, Sir Hardress, 225;
  Sir William, 290

Walrond, Walerond, Sir Henry, 307;
  Richard, 306;
  Sir William, 307.
  _See also_ Waldron

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 135

Warbeck, Perkin, at Exeter, 7

Wardlaw, Colonel, 174

Warelwast, Bishop William, 5

Weare, Colonel, 22

Webber, Will, 116

Wesley, Samuel, 19

Westward Ho, 212

Whiddon, John, 147

White ale, 143

White bird of the Oxenhams, 237

Whitstone, 93

Whittle, John, 113

Wichehalse, Hugh, 257;
  John, 257, 258;
  Mary, 258;
  Nicholas, 257

Widdecombe-in-the-Moor, 80

Wilford, Sir William, 162

William the Conqueror besieges Exeter, 4

Wise, Arabella, 305;
  Sir Edward, 299, 305

Wistman's Wood, 76

Witchcraft, 209, 268

Witches' Stone near Honiton, 55

Woggan, Captain, 98

Wolcot, Dr John, 143

Woodbury Castle, 45

Woolacomb Tracey, 221

Worthy, Geoffrey de la, 287

Wrey, Sir Bourchier, 228, 245

Wright, Jacob, 96

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 54

Wynfrith, St, 35

Yonge, Walter, Sir Walter, 55, 310

Young, William, 248

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