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Title: Surrey - Painted by Sutton Palmer; Described by A.R. Hope Moncrieff
Author: Moncrieff, A.R. Hope
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.

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               SERIES of




=CAMBRIDGE=         By W. MATTHISON and M.
                           A. R. TUKER.

=OXFORD=            By JOHN FULLEYLOVE and
                           EDWARD THOMAS.

                           A. R. HOPE MONCRIEFF.

=SURREY=            By SUTTON PALMER and
                           A. R. HOPE MONCRIEFF.

                           CLIVE HOLLAND.

                           MACKENZIE MACBRIDE.

    _Other Volumes to follow._


                   64 & 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

                   205 FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

                   ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREET, TORONTO

                   300 BOW BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA

[Illustration: BLUEBELLS, RIPLEY.]


                              PAINTED BY

                            SUTTON · PALMER

                             DESCRIBED BY



                            A & C BLACK LTD

                  4, 5, 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W. 1.

  _First Edition, with 75 Illustrations, published in 1906_
  _Reprinted in 1909, 1912, and 1915_
  _Second Edition, revised, with 32 Illustrations, published in 1922_


The illustrations in this book speak for themselves. The writer feels it
no easy undertaking to strike bass chords in prose that may worthily
accompany these high notes of Surrey's fame; but he has done his best
towards pointing out its special charm of varied formation and surface,
here displayed upon the course of excursions made in several directions,
so as to bring in all the chief features. To author as well as artist,
both at least long sojourners in this choice county that gives homes to
many an adopted son, the work has been a labour of love. The moral
enforced at once by pen and pencil is that few great cities are so lucky
as London in having at its back-doors a playground, pleasure-ground, and
garden-ground of such manifold interest and beauty.




A "HOME" COUNTY                                               1


THE RIVERSIDE                                                22


DOWN THE WEY                                                 58


UP THE MOLE                                                  87


THE PILGRIMS' WAY                                           111


THE ROMAN ROAD                                              144


LEITH HILL                                                  167


HINDHEAD                                                    183


COMMONS AND CAMPS                                           200


THE BRIGHTON ROADS                                          224

INDEX                                                       253



1. Bluebells, Ripley                                       _Frontispiece_

                                                             FACING PAGE

2. Godalming--a Bit of the Old Town                                    9

3. St. Catherine's Chapel, near Guildford                             16

4. Windsor Castle from Cooper's Hill, near Egham                      25

5. Hampton Court                                                      32

6. From Richmond Hill                                                 41

7. Richmond                                                           48

8. The Meads, Farnham                                                 57

9. Somerset Bridge, near Elstead                                      64

10. A Hayfield, Wonersh                                               73

11. Pyrford Church, near Woking                                       80

12. Water Lane, near East Horsley                                     89

13. A Corner of Esher Common                                          96

14. The Village of Betchworth, near Dorking                          105

15. A Stream near Shalford                                           112

16. Vale of Albury, from St. Martha's Hill                           121

17. Autumn Weeds, Chilworth                                          128

18. A Summer's Eve, Milford Common                                   137

19. Eashing, near Godalming                                          144

20. Spring Blossoms, near Dorking                                    153

21. The Vale of Dorking                                              160

22. Friday Street, on the way to Leith Hill                          169

23. Abinger Hammer                                                   176

24. A Wide Stretch, from the Gibbet, Hindhead                        185

25. Witley Church                                                    192

26. Woodland Depths, Wotton                                          201

27. An Old Farm, near Leith Hill                                     208

28. The Great Pond, Frensham                                         217

29. The Bourne, Chobham                                              224

30. Reigate Heath, Evening                                           233

31. Flanchford Mill                                                  240

32. A Slope of Bluebells, Hascombe                                   248







Surrey is but a small county, the latitudes or longitudes of which a
good walker could traverse in a day; but perhaps no other in England can
be found so close packed with scenes of manifold beauty. Among the "Home
Counties," at least, it seems best to answer Mr. P. G. Hamerton's
criterion of a perfect country as "one which, in a day's drive, or half
a day's, gives you an entirely new horizon, so that you may feel in a
different region, and have all the refreshment of a total change of
scene within a few miles of your own house." Its over-the-way neighbour
Middlesex, which Cobbett, in his slap-dash style, puts down as all ugly,
is at least comparatively tame and monotonous; and one must go as far as
Derby or Devon for such boldly "accidented" heights as those from which
Surrey looks over the growth of London.

The county's varied features run from north to south in zones a few
miles broad, whose characteristic beauties not seldom dovetail into each
other with fine effect of contrast. The north border of this "south
land" is the winding Thames, its rich banks rising to wooded eminences
like St. Ann's Hill and St. George's Hill, the swell of Richmond Park,
the Ridgeway of Wimbledon, and those suburban eminences from which the
Crystal Palace shines over Kent. The east side of this zone is masked by
the spread of Greater London, rich and poor; and the west side, too,
becomes more thickly dotted with villages and villas; while to the south
that giant octopus goes on stretching its grimy tentacles over the green
fields turned into "eligible building sites." How far its process of
urbanification will reach, seems to depend on the stability of Britain's
commercial greatness, which again depends, we are told, on the Fiscal
question, if not on circumstances quite beyond our control, such as the
stock still on hand in the national coal-cellar. When that New Zealand
tourist comes to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's, will he find Southwark,
like ancient Croton, fallen to a squalid fever-stricken townlet, or an
American syndicate at work digging up the ruins of Kingston, as Nippur
is now excavated after being forgotten for thousands of years? Babylon
is "become heaps," Nineveh a "dwelling-place for dragons." What prophet,
then, shall assure us that in a yet unbuilt Australian capital, or at
some future transatlantic hub of the universe, fragments of
jerry-builders' brick and specimens of electroplated ware from Tooting
or Woking may not come to be exhibited, even as our museums treasure
Roman tiles and coins dug up in the fields of Surrey! There are
scientific Cassandras who hint how no insurance office can guarantee
that all these millions of smug citizens might not any night be roused
to homeless terror by the shock of an earthquake, like that which ruined
San Francisco.

Meanwhile the greatest city of the world thrives and goes on growing, so
that almost all of Surrey which it does not already cover may be counted
as its home-farm or pleasure-grounds. This generation is hardly moved to
exclaim, as a writer of last century did on Denmark Hill: "The rich
carpet of Nature decked with Flora's choicest flowers, and wafting
perfumes of odoriferous herbs floating on the breezes, expanded and made
my heart replete with joy!" William Black, indeed, found beauty at the
doors of Camberwell; and the heights of Norwood deserve a better fate
than to be covered with villas. But this mass of bold contours is
exceptional so near South London. More often we must be content to get
over a green rim of our scenic nosegay. From the undulating streets and
suburban rows we usually pass on to a plain, presenting market-gardens
and dairy-farms, where the open ground is not required for playing
fields. Private groves and hedgerows make a show of timber; and when
branches are bare, a frequent feature of the scenery will be those
goal-posts which a critically observing foreigner has mistaken for
gallows. Here we are in the first zone of Surrey, a stretch of London
clay and brick earth, broken here and there by patches of gravel and
sand, which, when large enough, are like to be marked out by the hungry
game of golf.

This, where the builder is busiest "making the green one red," may be
called in general the stratum of surface brick, followed southwards by
successive belts of chalk, sand, and clay. Some ten miles bring us to
rising ground, on which cuttings and broken knobs reveal chalk built up
at the bottom of the sea ages before London or Babylon had a name. Here
we reach the second zone, that of the North Downs, a chalk ridge running
roughly straight across the county from Farnham to Tatsfield, near the
eastern border reaching a highest point of about 880 feet. This central
line, broadened to several miles at Croydon, narrowed to a high edge
beyond Guildford, makes Surrey's best-marked feature, its natural
baldness much bewigged by the woods and parks of London's luckier
citizens; and thus adorned, there are those who hold the chalk heights,
with their dry soil and clear air, dearer than the aspects more common
in the next zone.

The steep south faces of the Downs look into the Holmesdale Valley of
greensand and gault, across which, within a rifle-shot, rise a line of
sandy hills whose more rugged and shaggy outlines often form the
loveliest scenes in Surrey, to some tastes, certainly the wildest,
though many corners have been tamed by grounds and gardens among
stretches of bristling common and straggling pine wood. These heights
stand usually lower than the Downs; but at more than one point, as Leith
Hill, they are the most mountainous prominences of the south-eastern
counties. Hants, Sussex, and Surrey meet about Hindhead and its
neighbour Blackdown, next in height to Leith Hill, where an illustrious
settler has famed the view over

    Green Sussex fading into blue
    With one grey glimpse of sea.

But here a prosaic describer must note how it is only from some point of
vantage, and at some rarely clear hour, that through a gap the sea comes
in view of Surrey hills, since their prospect southwards is usually
bounded by the line of the South Downs, crossing Sussex to end in the
bluff of Beachy Head.

Between stretches the Weald, a strip of which, except in that
south-western corner filled by the broadened sand heights, belongs to
Surrey and makes its southern zone of fresh features. This wide plain
once lay shaded under the great Andredeswald, that was the Black Country
of England before coal and steam came into play, and still earlier it
raised a barrier parting the South Saxons from kindred invaders. Its
_hursts_ and woods hint how the clay soil bore a primæval forest,
notably of oaks, patches of it still preserved in the parks dappling an
expanse of farm land long ago cleared to feed the furnaces that cast
cannon and other iron work, specimens of which may be found in churches
and homes about this district. Less picturesque, on the whole, than the
zones to the north, the Surrey Weald is more remote from metropolitan
sophistication, and keeps perhaps a larger proportion of the old
weathered cottages and moated granges, which æsthetic citizens love to
look on rather than to inhabit. It must be the Weald Fuller has in mind
when he speaks of Surrey's skirts as "rich and fruitful," but its inward
parts "hungry and barren," though these, even in his day, "by reason of
the clear air and clean ways, full of many genteel habitations."

Some brooklets of the Weald run southward to the English Channel, else,
nearly the whole of Surrey drains into the valley of the Thames, a river
to make the landscape fortune of any county. If ever its scenes have a
fault, from the artist's point of view, this may appear to be the
absence of water; yet some of its noblest prospects are where the Mole
and the Wey break through the sand or chalk ridges to reach the river
plain. Surrey has smaller streams less widely known. Ruskin, to deaf
ears, lamented the defilement of the Wandle, its source, its curving
course, and its mouth all now within the limits of Greater London. Do
Putney boys trace to its head the Beverley Brook, as Charles Lamb's
companions tried to play explorer up the New River? How many of the
most schooled Londoners could tell through what parishes and by what
suburban settlements flows the Hogsmill River, or the Bourne, or the
Burway Ditch? A Brixton householder may hear the name of the Ephra
without guessing how its course is below his feet. There are veteran
ramblers in Surrey who know not the Deanoak Brook, nor the Blackwater.
The motorist scorching along the Tillingbourne Valley road comes home
ignorant what beautiful banks he has skirted, while one goggled eye was
all upon his gear, and the other on the look-out for police traps.

The fact is that Surrey has plenty of water, often lost in the
picturesque roughness of its contours. In smoother counties any hillock
may disclose some Ouse or Avon shining miles away, whereas here the
windings and branchings of the Wey and Mole go often unsuspected till
one come close upon them. Below Surrey's bare, bony prominences, its
veins will lie lost in the plumpness of the valleys. Both chalk and sand
hills, dry as their tops may seem, are full of springs, escaping not
only in streams, but into stagnant or slowly trickling pools, that
sometimes form a chain of lakelets, or, as in the case of Virginia
Water, have


been improved into trim sheets to leave no note wanting in the landscape
scale. Even within the wider bounds of London sparkles a lake like that
of Wimbledon Park, where in hard winters ice is coined into silver.
Sandy commons, as well as marshy bogs, are unexpectedly found dotted
with ponds, often beautifully hidden behind a curtain of foliage, as the
"Silent Pool" of Albury, invisible to the cyclist spinning by within a
hundred yards. The modest titles of some of these Surrey lakes may well
deceive a stranger who has not opened his eyes upon the "Waggoners'
Wells" of Hindhead or the "Ponds" of Frensham. On the south side of the
county, where they once lay among thick woods, such waters often
preserve the title of "Hammer Ponds," from the days when they were
dammed up to work iron forges.

Surrey's character for variety is carried out by the way in which green
openings and barren scrubs are mixed up with the elaborate works of man.
Who shall say where London begins or ends? If we think to get clear of
it at Wandsworth, we find it breaking out again at Wimbledon. The
country lad tramping up to those streets paved with gold, may meet them
at Mitcham, and a little farther on lose himself on Figgs Marsh. The
widest definition of Great London is the Metropolitan Police District,
taking in all parishes fifteen miles from Charing Cross, the Postal
District being a little more restricted. But still, beyond these bounds,
we come upon settlements of citizens making their homes an hour's
journey from the smoke and din of their work-place. Favourite sites for
such colonies are the edges of commons so frequent on the south side of
London, in Surrey to be counted by hundreds, open woodlands, stretches
of copse and heath, well-worn playgrounds, down to the patches of green
that seldom fail to grace the smallest hamlet. Several of these public
pleasure-grounds run into London, where the south-western resident can
make a round over Clapham, Wandsworth, Putney, Wimbledon, Mitcham,
Tooting, Tooting Bec and Streatham Commons, with tramways or 'buses to
bridge him from one open space to another. It is on the farther side of
the county, of course, that we must look for the widest and wildest
expanses of ground, not waste so long as it serves to keep jaded
citizens in touch with the charms of untamed nature; yet even here begin
to gather the shadows of villadom, and the haunts of vipers are dug out
for tram-lines through brick and stucco avenues.

Of Surrey's population, over two millions, the greater part is
concentrated on some fifty of the 755 square miles that make its
measurement. In this county lie half a dozen of the metropolitan
boroughs, to which may be tacked on Croydon, Richmond, and Kingston, and
many a village promoted to be a "choice residential suburb." The last
census notes a slight decrease in what it terms the outer belt of
suburbs; but that seems to mean only a shifting farther into the
country, as trains and trams bring a wider circle within the area where
the builder can claim fresh nooks as "ripe for development." The once
rustic "box" of the early Victorian citizen is apt to have come down in
the world. Perhaps nine-tenths of my readers may look blank when
reminded how Mr. Quirk's "Alibi House" was at Camberwell, and Mr.
Tagrag's "Satin Lodge" at Clapham; yet surely they are aware of the
miniature Walworth Castle, in which Mr. Wemmick kept an aged parent.
"Lovell the Widower's" home at Putney, and the palatial Roehampton
villas of Thackeray's city magnates may still stand high in house
agents' books. But in ex-suburbs, as a rule, such pleasure-houses of a
former generation are in no demand now, their sites often covered by
shabby streets, shops, or blocks of flats; while leagues farther out,
at Purley, Tadworth, or Claygate, spring up a fresh crop of smartly
painted villas, in lines or knots, with white walls, red roofs, green
water-butts and "modern conveniences," to tempt Londoners who can afford
fresh air for living in. Every year some new village or hamlet is
strangled in the arms of the monster that has yearly been adding a score
of miles to its myriad streets, and taking in new inhabitants enough to
people a town. Yet Surrey has the surprising feature of a deserted
village, and that on the very edge of the county of London. Fitly named
Lonesome, it stands close to Streatham, a few minutes' walk from more
than one railway station. The builder is so busy hereabouts, that for
all I know it may have been broken up before this page gets into print;
but for a generation it has stood uninhabited, with cracked walls and
smashed windows, an unlovely ruin, making a monument of some story in
which an obstinate landlord, a disagreeable industry, or a disastrous
enterprise are vaguely mixed up in my memory.

The old towns of Surrey have more or less undergone the same change as
the metropolitan outskirts, some almost lost in the "Wen," as Cobbett
loved to call it, some making a nucleus for a sort of remote suburb,
much affected by the "dead weight" fund-holders and stock-jobbers so
loudly denounced by that obstreperous patriot. The villages, too, are a
conglomeration of old and new about their ancient or spick-and-spanly
rebuilt churches, and their straggling greens, kept in time-honoured
sanctuary from the weapons of the jerry-builder. The whole county
betrays its metropolitan dependence in the many trim enclosures around
modern mansions and villas, among which holds up its head here and there
some lordly old hall like Sutton or Loseley, some once strong castle
like those of Guildford or Farnham. There are not a few ivied
manor-houses still standing; some fallen to the estate of farm-houses,
some restored or enlarged to be choice residences for new owners. A
weather-beaten cottage of gentility will command a fancy price, so long
as it be not too near the madding crowd, nor yet too far from means of
soon mingling with the same. Then Surrey is famed for those real
cottages, "sacred to the poor," that may appear in the very heart of
some smug, commonplace suburb, but more often in out-of-the-way nooks,
where nature better blends with their timbered and gabled quaintness,
"each a nest in bloom," thatched, tiled, time-stained, patched,
top-heavy, leaning-to as if ripe to tumble among a bed of flowers--

    One that, summer-blanch'd,
    Was parcel-bearded with the traveller's-joy
    In Autumn, parcel ivy-clad; and here
    The warm-blue breathings of a hidden hearth
    Broke from a bower of vine and honeysuckle:
    One look'd all rose-tree, and another wore
    A close-set robe of jasmine sown with stars:
    This had a rosy sea of gillyflowers
    About it; this, a milky way on earth,
    Like visions in the Northern dreamer's heavens,
    A lily-avenue climbing to the doors;
    One, almost to the martin-haunted eaves
    A summer burial deep in hollyhocks:
    Each its own charm.

With such modestly hidden charms are contrasted a rank growth of
conspicuous Institutions--schools, orphanages, "homes," asylums,
barracks, prisons and the like, thick set in certain spots, as about
Sutton or Caterham. Some of these have been able to adapt stately old
mansions to their use, as at Beddington and Roehampton; but more often
they are modern, ungraceful, appalling, usurping, dominating landscapes
thrown away on criminals or lunatics. It seems an ominous sign of the
times that as often as one sees a new pile rising on Surrey heights, it
is apt to turn out a lunatic asylum, for which the flats about Hanwell
surely offer a fitter site. The most showy of such structures are the
far seen Holloway College above Egham, and the Sanatorium for the insane
in the valley below, which cost over a million, made out of the profits
of notorious patent medicines, to be given back thus to the public by a
benefactor who here showed himself a posthumous humorist in bricks and
mortar. Or was his will made in some mood of repentance, such as led
mediæval cut-throats to endow churches and chantries? His College, for
which _olet_ would make an appropriate motto, is devoted to the higher
education of women, that they may teach their children to put no faith
in quackery, even when disguised under the American euphemism of
"proprietary articles."

Had I had the ear of such a pious founder, I would have counselled him
to leave part of his ill-got gains as a fund for prosecuting,
pillorying, pelting, daubing with hatred and ridicule, whipping at the
cart's tail of public opinion, transporting to some Malebolge, foul with
their own concoctions, those unspeakable humbugs, who, not content with
the lower-class religious papers as an area to be defiled by their lying
advertisements, impudently deface the fair scenes of Surrey with
loathsome placards of this and that mischievous or worthless nostrum, to
sicken the considerate passer-by at the thought of popular ignorance and
credulity so easily preyed upon. Some day this mean offence may be
repressed by law. Might we not begin by restricting the pill-and
potion-mongers to Hackney Marsh or Barking Level as a sink for their
shameless besliming? There is no spot in Surrey, not even the New Cut,
Lambeth, nor the Sewage Farm of Croydon, that deserves such pollution.
The endowment above invited may be vested in a body bearing the mystic
device S. C. A. P. A., a league of champions sworn to slay this hideous
Jabberwock, which one should not fear to mention by its legion names,
for the last thing such an impostor dare do is to look twelve honest men
in the face and have wrung out of him the composition of his panacea,
swallowed so trustfully by the fools who enrich knaves.

Staringly mendacious advertisements are not the only scandal to raise
the gorge of a poor but honest wayfarer on Surrey's countless roads,
alive with all kinds of travel, from farm-waggons to cycles, from
four-horse coaches to tramps. At their London ends, the highways are cut
up by


tram-lines, which threaten to go far, unless this locomotive growth be
nipped by the blast of motor cars. The invasion of the motor is still a
sore subject along once quieter roadsides of Surrey. How Cobbett would
have blustered if, on some rural ride, he had fallen in with a modern
"dead weight" hurrying out of the "Wen" at full career, on his 60 h.-p.
Mercedes, a flashy show of paint and furs! But one need not have any
special spite against the "jews and jobbers" who were his _bêtes noirs_,
to be choked by indignation in the fog of dust and smoke through which
one catches a hasty glimpse of bugbears in armour, masked and bandaged,
like the uncanny monstrosities of Mr. Wells' stories. It is all very
well to remember how railways, too, were banned by prejudice, so that
some half-century ago a liberal-minded John Bull, like the chronicler of
Jorrocks and Soapey Sponge, still undertakes to apologise for those
novelties on the score of their useful service to country life. But
trains do not drive people off the roads and out of snug homes that lie
too near the dusty triumph of Goth and Vandal chariots, "rigged with
curses dark." Far more terrible are such swift Juggernauts than the
insidious speed of the cyclist, who has lived down his reproach as a
"cad on castors," being indeed kept considerate by the chance of getting
the worst of it in case of collision with man or beast, whereas there
can be no standing against the weighty momentum of those Bulls of
Bashan, "hazing and mazing the blessed _roads_ with the devil's own
team"--nay, the very fields, into which they scatter grit over
strawberry beds and haycocks as well as hedgerows. And what one grudges
most in the mad speed of the motorist is that, while he makes a moving
blot on the landscape, his goggles can snatch but dim joy from prospects
through which he is borne in such a whirl of excitement past one lunatic
asylum to another.

Sportive sons of this tribe of Jehu have the enjoyment of an automobile
race track laid down at Brooklands, near Weybridge, a sort of mechanical
Epsom or Newmarket, and there has even been talk of a motor road all the
way to Brighton. Did they never cast an eye on the miles of useless
tunnels at Welbeck, which their present owner might be glad to have
turned to some good purpose? There they could pant and fizz up and down
at their own pace all day and night long in an exhilarating gleam of
electric light, and smudge no fair scene flung away on their rushing
course. These machines are signs of the times, when, as Horace said--or
something to this effect--in days that were not so high-geared:--

    Too bold we grow, too fast we go;
    Too many things we want to know,
        Too many sights to see;
    'Tis not enough o'er earth to fly;
    Man strives to scale the very sky
        On L.S. piled on D.

But let the humble pedestrian take heart when overshadowed by the proud
passage of Sir Gorgius Midas. His car prevails on the highways, but on
the byways it is helpless, all the more if the weight of its armour be
five thousand shekels of brass. And Surrey abounds in byways, some still
twisting through the outer streets of London, their original character
to be guessed only by such titles as _Coldharbour Lane_, _Cut-throat
Lane_, which perhaps was "Cut-through Lane" in its blossoming days, and
the _Worple Roads_ and _Worple Ways_ of Richmond, Wimbledon, and
Mortlake, whose villa-dwellers may be ignorant that these names denote
old bridle-paths.

Country-folk or towns-folk, we are not always fully aware of our own
blessings. Let not familiarity breed contempt for what strikes a
stranger as one of the pleasantest traits in an English landscape.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is not the only American who, in visiting _Our Old
Home_, has taken admiring note how:--

     The high-roads are made pleasant to the traveller by a border of
     trees, and often afford him the hospitality of a wayside bench
     beneath a comfortable shade. But a fresher delight is to be found
     in the footpaths, which go wandering away from stile to stile,
     along hedges, and across broad fields, and through wooded parks,
     leading you to little hamlets of thatched cottages, ancient,
     solitary farm-houses, picturesque old mills, streamlets, pools, and
     all those quiet, secret, unexpected yet strangely familiar features
     of English scenery that Tennyson shows us in his idylls and
     eclogues. These by-paths admit the wayfarer into the very heart of
     rural life, and yet do not burden him with a sense of
     intrusiveness. He has a right to go whithersoever they lead him;
     for, with all their shaded privacy, they are as much the property
     of the public as the dusty high-road itself, and even by an older
     tenure. Their antiquity probably exceeds that of the Roman ways;
     the footsteps of the aboriginal Britons first wore away the grass,
     and the natural flow of intercourse between village and village has
     kept the track bare ever since. An American farmer would plough
     across any such path and obliterate it with his drills of potatoes
     and Indian corn; but here it is protected by law, and still more by
     the sacredness that inevitably springs up in this soil along the
     well-defined footpaths of centuries. Old associations are sure to
     be fragrant herbs in English nostrils; we pull them up as weeds.

Surrey is seamed with such immemorial rights of way, some, indeed, lost,
stolen, or strayed into more formal roads; but County Councils and the
like are now vigilant against private usurpation of their charms. On the
edge of the noisy town, and all over the quiet countryside, they may be
found and followed, sometimes for miles, every kind of them, straight
field-cuts, blooming hedgerow paths, hard-beaten tow-paths, green
ridges, leafy archways, trim woodland avenues "for whispering lovers
made," free passages over lordly demesnes, straggling tracks across
rough heaths, half-choked smugglers' lanes, and old historic roads, here
improved into a busy turnpike, there run wild as a grassy sward or
shrunk to a doubtful footway, all open to lovers of virtue, who are
quiet, and go _a-walking_, as a modern Izaak Walton might choose, now
that the waters of the Mole and the Wandle are strictly preserved. Let
other-minded excursionists stay in Middlesex.



Surrey's crooked northern border is washed by the Thames, "great father
of the British floods," to whom so many compliments, vows, and addresses
have been offered in prose and verse:--

    O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
    My great example, as it is my theme!
    Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
    Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full!

These lines, in which let no writer scorn to join chorus of quotation,
are from Denham's _Cooper's Hill_, a title supplied by the "airy
mountain" that raises its "proud head"--to a poetic height of 200 feet
and more--upon the north-western corner of Surrey. Descending the river
from Windsor, after passing Old Windsor Church, we enter this county
beyond the "Bells of Ouseley," to find the right bank edged by what
plain prose must belittle as a wooded rise, on whose top, pleasant
rather than proud, stands a stately mansion that, in the course of its
chequered history, grew into a banyan grove of buildings built in vain.
Cooper's Hill was in Victorian times the property of one of those
meteoric financiers flashing across the sky of British commerce, the
same who in London built for himself a house so large that no one ever
lived in it. Then the place made itself a new name as a college for the
Indian engineering service; but this institution came to be uprooted,
and its halls passed into private occupation, after for a time standing
desolate, as those of Ossian's Balclutha, while there was question what
to do with them. An academy for horse-marines, a week-end club for
members of Parliament, a training-school for county councillors, are
suggestions that could be made; but, to my mind, a truly Liberal
Government might have endowed Cooper's Hill as an asylum for minor

This first though not foremost of Surrey heights is surrounded by fair
and famous scenes to inspire the Denhams of our generation. Below it, on
the Berkshire edge, lies Beaumont, once home of Warren Hastings, now a
Roman Catholic Eton. Behind it opens Englefield Green, a village of much
gentility, which has housed many well-known persons, from Louis
Napoleon to the late R. H. Hutton of the _Spectator_; and it is clearly
the "Dinglefield" of Mrs. Oliphant's _Neighbours on the Green_. Near
this, at the Bishops Gate of Windsor Park, is the hamlet where Shelley
wrote his _Alastor_, and did not let his views of Church or State be
charmed by the sight of Windsor Castle that here rises royally into
prospect. Windsor Park is mainly in Berkshire; yet, keeping down the
woods and rhododendron walks on the east side, we should come upon
Virginia Water, overflowing at one end into Surrey, which may claim a
share of the royal demesne, and a large one of the wider bounds once
known as Windsor Forest.

From the Thames slope of Cooper's Hill, where "Denham's Seat" makes a
view-point across the river, expands a wider landscape over the flat
fields of Bucks and Middlesex, watered by the branching Colne. The spire
to the north marks a village known on maps as Wyrardisbury, but to men
as Wraysbury; then a mile beyond, across the railway, comes Horton, home
of Milton's youth. But the scene of greatest fame lies in the
foreground, at our feet, for this wide riverside meadow, degraded to a
race-course as it has been, is Runnymede, on which King John was forced
to sign the first great charter


of our liberties. Some would have that historic stage to be Magna Charta
island off the west end of the mede, where a stone is shown as the table
of signing; but no Surrey patriot can allow such a pretension on the
part of Buckinghamshire, while it may be that the king had his quarters
at the Benedictine Nunnery of Ankerwyke on the other bank, if not at the
old house in Staines pretending to that honour. It is remarkable what a
number of places in many parts of England claim to have housed or lodged
a so unpopular and worthless sovereign.

Above Runnymede, dropping off the ridge of Cooper's Hill, one may come
down to the pleasant town of Egham, its one long street lying a mile
back from the river; but its accretions straggle on towards the bank,
where the tow-path leads by havens of boating men and "Anglers' Rests"
to the bridge of Staines. This is a Middlesex town, the older part of it
also lying back from the Thames, upon the Colne, whose damp flats form a
somewhat dreary background, not enlivened by the banks of a huge
reservoir for thirsty London. But Staines has a name on the Thames
through its ancient stone, marking the limit of London City's
jurisdiction, thirty-six miles up the river. There may be Londoners who
never heard of this stone, which made the goal of a Lord Mayor's
progress eighty years ago, to be celebrated by his Lordship's chaplain
in a most amusing style, by no means meant to be amusing. Having spared
the reader Akenside's inscription for the column on Runnymede, I have
half a mind to inflict upon him some account of this expedition, as
raised to all the dignity of history, and all the interest of
exploration, in the reverend gentleman's now rare volume. But it might
seem too like ancient history to a generation of impatient readers, who
know the Lord Mayor's State barge only from the heading of their
_Illustrated London News_, and perhaps do not know how the Corporation's
Admiralship has passed into the farther reaching hands of the Thames
Conservancy. "Suffice it, therefore, to say that though the party were
three successive days--two of which included fifteen hours--upon the
water; yet, such was the fine and ever-varying nature of the home
scenery around them, which was itself sufficient to engross the
attention, as the Thames made its azure sweeps round slopes of meadow
land; so diversified were the occupations of reading, working, and
conversation--conversation which, always easy and intelligent, was often
such as to discover memories containing ample registers of
miscellaneous snatches and fragments of sentiments, both in prose and
verse, which were sometimes applied with considerable tact and address
to passing scenes; so well and interestingly, in short, were the several
successive hours filled up"--that one must break off the chronicler's
long-winded sentence with his own admission, that "it would be difficult
and tedious to detail all the particulars" of that civic voyage.

I do not aspire to emulate this author's stilted gait on the trip from
Staines to London, but I invite the reader to plod with me along the
tow-path; that, as he is aware, will pass from one side to another, a
matter hardly understood by an observant American writer, who made note
how "one shore of the Thames, sometimes the right, sometimes the left,
it seems, belongs to the public." From the Bells of Ouseley to Staines
Bridge the tow-path has been in Surrey; now it crosses to the pleasant
river front of the town, the Surrey side being blocked by private
paradises and boating-houses. To Chertsey, the next Surrey town, we
might, indeed, cut across by a road that at one point comes close to the
river; but the more inviting way is the path on the Middlesex bank, and
at one of the locks we may have the luck to catch a steamboat plying in
summer between Kingston and Oxford on a river, of which that old poet
might say more emphatically in our generation:--

    Though with those streams, he no resemblance hold,
    Whose foam is amber and their gravel gold;
    His genuine and less guilty wealth to explore,
    Search not his bottom, but survey his shore.

The riches of the shore here are chiefly in trim gardens and flat
fields, by which the tow-path leads windingly, yet spares us Father
Thames' most wayward aberration, the mile-long loop of Penton-Hook,
across the mouth of which we cut by the lock in a couple of minutes.
Before reaching this from Staines, is passed on the opposite bank a
surprising collection of bungalows, shanties, and tents, one of those
settlements of genteel gipseying that have grown up on the banks in our
time. Beyond the lock, we come to the Middlesex village of Laleham, in
whose churchyard lies Matthew Arnold, born here in his father's
pre-Rugby days. Below this leafy place, beginning to be overlaid by
builders' plans, road and tow-path run together beside Laleham Park
towards Chertsey Bridge, the Surrey bank being fringed by willow copses,
much sought for floating flirtations and picnic teas. But to reach the
older part of Chertsey, one had better cross by the ferry at Laleham,
and take a mile of straight hedgerow path over the Abbey Mead, passing a
crumbling fragment, all that now represents what was once the richest of
Surrey's monasteries, as it was the first founded in the county by St.

Nowadays there is not much air of ecclesiastical dignity about Chertsey,
rather of quiet prosperity in the long thoroughfare that crooks itself
nearly two miles from the station to the bridge, connecting the new
quarters that have sprung up at either end. The lion of this straggling
town is the house on the right side of the way up to the station, marked
by a tablet recording how "here the last accents flowed from Cowley's
tongue"; but such a relic has gone down in value since the days when
Abraham Cowley ranked among the first flight of British poets. A name
more familiar to this generation is that of Charles James Fox, who had
his country retreat at St. Ann's Hill. Another notable neighbour of
Chertsey was Thomas Day, author of _Sandford and Merton_. About three
miles behind the town, past Botley's Park, Potter's Park, and Ottershaw,
the now rich woods of Anningsley make a monument to that earnest
philanthropist, who fixed his home here on poor sandy land that he
might give employment in improving it by plantations. His death came
about through too consistent carrying out of his principle that animals
can always be managed by kindness; he was killed by being thrown from an
unbroken colt; then the wife whom he had chosen with so much
scrupulosity, after pupils trained for that post had failed to pass his
examination of trying ordeals, showed herself a worthy helpmeet by
spending the rest of her life in heart-broken seclusion.

Pleasant walks may be taken by those parks to the Basingstoke Canal and
the valley of the Wey, a few miles behind Chertsey. But no one who has
an hour to spare here should miss the ascent of St. Ann's Hill, which
lies a short mile to the west on the road leading out near the railway
station. The grounds, with their grotto, "Temple to Friendship" and such
like, are of course private; but at the "Golden Grove," notable by a
tree bearing up a platform in front, one can turn off the road for a
public path leading over the hill. Though only about 200 feet high, this
richly-wooded eminence looks far over the Thames valley; and through the
foliage at the top vistas have been cut framing such prominent landmarks
as Windsor Castle, the Holloway College, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Richmond
Hill, the Crystal Palace, and the Great Wheel at Earl's Court, till it
had ceased to obtrude itself on so many points of view to the west of
London. There are traces of an old encampment that gave this hill the
forgotten name of Aldbury; and hidden among the trees is a "Nun's Well,"
from which perhaps it was re-christened after a now vanished chapel of
St. Ann.

A couple of miles above Chertsey, between the Thames and the big village
of Addlestone, swells up Woburn Park, its grounds once celebrated as a
_ferme ornée_, but now a nursery of the young idea, where
prospect-hunters are out of bounds. Round it one may take a pleasant
path from Chertsey Bridge, leading over the green level of Chertsey
Mead, and curving into the Weybridge Road, where it crosses a Bourne not
far from the canalised course of the Wey. This path cuts off the bends
of the Thames tow-path, which as far as Weybridge keeps the Middlesex
bank. But if one were going from Chertsey Bridge to Walton Bridge, more
than half the distance is saved by taking the fairly straight road
through Shepperton in Middlesex. Travellers on wheels are willing to
give a wide berth to the Thames bendings, cyclists indeed being warned
off the tow-path; and the modern Great Western Road, like the old Roman
way to Silchester, does not touch Surrey till the bridge at Staines has
been crossed.

Thus Weybridge, lying off direct roads, entangled between the Thames and
the Wey, seems not so well known as it deserves to be. Richmond
excepted, I declare this the pleasantest riverside town in Surrey. It
stretches roomily from the river to the railway, with one end in the
lush meadowland of the Thames valley, and the other rising on the heath
and pine-wood scenery so characteristic of West Surrey. I once met a
honeymoon couple from the North who were pining among the tame richness
of England, but their spirits revived at the "Hand and Spear," near
Weybridge station, which I prescribed as a tonic in their case. Here,
behind the railway, begins the wooded ridge of St. George's Hill, the
top of which was an ancient camp, and one of Cæsar's supposed stations
in Surrey. Nearly the whole of this long height is a private enclosure,
but it has been liberally set open to ramblers who will do no mischief.
In a central glade among the pine woods is even provided a Swiss Châlet
for refreshments; then a little south of this, where

[Illustration: Hampton Court.]

the ridge makes a sudden drop, opens a clear and wide view to the Downs.
The southern gate of the park lets one out on a road between Byfleet and
Cobham; and the winding tracks through the woods lead down on either
side to varied scenes, on the west the mazes of the Wey, straightened
out by its canalised arm, on the east an expanse of common and fir woods
falling to the alluvial bed of the Mole.

It is no wonder, then, that many Londoners--too many, says the last
comer--have built themselves villas on the dry upper slopes of Wey
bridge, while the older part of the town on the river bank is better
known to transient visitors of aquatic tastes. A link between the two
quarters is the spire rising near the bridge over the Wey to mark the
oldest part of all. The rebuilt church contains a tomb by Chantrey for
the Duchess of York, whose residence at Oatlands is also commemorated by
a pillar on the Green, a second-hand monument that once ornamented the
Seven Dials of St. Giles. Another royalty, Louis Philippe, for a time
found sepulchre in the Roman Catholic chapel here, till the bones of
this exiled family might be removed to their native land.

Oatlands Park borders Wey bridge on the east. If the general reader be
surprised that Drayton, in his account of what Milton styles
"Royal-towered Thames" couples Oatlands with Hampton Court and Richmond,
that is because readers with so much to read forget how this, too, has
been a palace, which made one stage of King Charles's long journey to
the scaffold; and his youngest son, as born here, was Henry of Oatlands.
In the park stood two yew trees, some hundreds of yards apart, between
which legend draws its long bow in measuring by them a feat of Queen
Bess's archery. The mansion is now an hotel; and the grounds have been
encroached on for building plots. A century ago it belonged to George
IV.'s military brother, that Duke of York whom Charles Greville, in his
critical way, calls the only one of the royal princes bearing the
character of an English gentleman; and he touches on the Duchess's
extraordinary love of dogs, parrots, and monkeys. The graves of her
hundred pets still ornament the park, which has also to show such a
costly grotto as was dear to Georgian "improvers." Another feature of
these grounds is the Broadwater Lake, representing a former course of
the Thames. The tongue of land beyond was once Middlesex, but by
alteration of the channel has been thrown into Surrey.

To this side the tow-path crosses at Weybridge, and one can double the
distance to Walton by following the bends of the river opposite
Shepperton and Halliford. Near Walton Bridge is reached a scene of
historic note, for Cowey Stakes here has been taken to be the ford by
which Cæsar crossed the Thames on his pursuit of Cassivelaunus. What
will be more obvious to the wayfarer is a very modern encampment of
tents, with other shelters and conveniences, including a floating bath,
which has sprung up of late years near the Middlesex end of Walton
Bridge. The town of Walton-on-Thames stands mainly back from the river,
its station being a mile behind. It has no such wild background as St.
George's Hill, but lies pleasantly mixed up with groves and parks, and
seems a snug place of retreat for quiet-minded Londoners. Walton Church
was the scene of Elizabeth's cautiously Anglican view of the

    Christ was the Word who spake it,
    He took the bread and brake it;
    And what that Word did make it
    That I believe, and take it.

This church boasts the tomb of Lilly the astrologer, and monuments by
Chantrey and Roubiliac; then near it is to be seen the house of the
regicide Bradshaw, now split up into cottages. In the churchyard is
buried "bright, broken Maginn," Thackeray's "Captain Shandon," who set
so many tables in a roar.

But the literary and historic memories of such places may not much
concern those who have come out for a day on the river. Each of these
Thames-side towns is a haven for escaped Londoners, often familiar with
little more of them than the boat-houses on their banks, and the inns,
some of which seem too eager to make their hay while the sun shines.
Each has its fleet of boats, moored thickly together in whole rafts, its
clubs, and its annual gala day of the local regatta. On a fine Sunday or
Saturday afternoon every lock is packed with youth and beauty, set off
by gay colours and airy costumes. Every reach within railway ride of
London may be found lively with a jumble of craft of all sorts, from
Canadian canoes to Venetian gondolas, tiny yachts, skiffs, tubs,
outriggers, punts, ferry-boats, eights, fours, "dongolas," "randans,"
pairs, rowed, poled, tugged, towed, or idly moored, like the big
house-boats whose cramped luxury gives a lazy refuge from cares and
taxes. Among all these the barges of business move like surly and
clumsy tyrants; and water-scorching machines sweep through the fluttered
crowd as wolves in a sheepfold. Steamers and motor-launches have
replaced the State barges in which Lord Mayors and such-like used to
progress in the days when to be a "jolly young waterman" was more of a
trade than a pleasure.

    Those flights upon the banks of Thames,
    That so did take Eliza and our James--

were winged by mercenary arms. It seems well that the golden or gilded
youth of our generation are more active, taking their amusement _moult
tristement_, as might be judged by an unsympathetic foreigner. An
English writer has found fault with Thames boats as "built for woman and
not for man, for lovely woman to recline, parasol in one hand and tiller
ropes in the other, while man--inferior man--pulled and pulled and
pulled as an ox yoked to the plough." But that is hardly fair now that
girls boyishly take their turn at the oar, even exhibiting the spectacle
of whole galleys deftly womanned by crews of water-Amazons. The only
right left to man here is the panting and perspiring toil of the
tow-path, to which he bends devotedly like "the captives depicted on
Egyptian monuments with cords about their necks." Such slavery may well
be preferred to the aid of those exorbitant and foul-mouthed hirelings
who infest the river banks in search of a job, which to Edwin makes a
labour of love, so Angelina be drawn along cool, at ease, grateful, and
admiring. With his dynamic energy, contrast the contemplative, perhaps
misanthropic, and apparently celibate joys of the angler, throned upon
his punt or posted on the bank, as he has been ever since Pope's day--

    The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
    Intent, his angle trembling in his hand:
    With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed,
    And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed.

Below Walton, the Thames winds quietly on between banks that again
suggest a quotation from Denham--

    No stupendous precipice denies
    Access, no horror turns away our eyes.

The panorama is one of green meadows, garden grounds, shady islands,
cuts and creeks, Sunbury Lock, boat-houses, inns, water-works,
racecourse enclosures, and hints of villages lying back from the river;
but Hampton Church stands out on the bank; then a string of islets
brings us on to the mouth of the Mole opposite Hampton Court. This
palace of popular resort, with its galleries, courts, gardens, and park
avenues, its barracks, its many houses of entertainment, and its
terminus of London tramways, is in Middlesex; but its station is across
the bridge in Surrey; and if one wanted matter to fill a few pages, one
might fairly include a description of its treasures. But so much has to
be said of the Surrey side, that we had better pass on with one look at
this monument of old England, touched with graces of continental taste.

The tow-path, that has been in Surrey since we left Weybridge, again
crosses to pass with princely breadth under the wall of Hampton Park.
But on the Surrey side also, we are not kept far from the river, for,
after a diversion through Molesey, the road comes to the bank by the old
church of Thames Ditton; then, through the outskirts of Long Ditton, it
joins the much-wheeled Ripley road, which in front of Surbiton becomes a
waterside esplanade beseeming that most respectable London colony that
has the name of being affected by west-end tradesmen and the like "warm"
citizens. Such, at least, is the reproach brought against it by
satirical scribblers, who perhaps live at Peckham or Camden Town,
envious at heart of Surbiton's social amenities as described in the
instructive life of "Mr. Bailey Martin." Another novelist suggests how
Surbiton wants nothing but a pier to look like a seaside resort, with
its parade, bandstand, and so forth, along which, by two miles of
houses, we come into the ancient borough of Kingston, that makes a core
for so much villadom.

As an independent town, this, with its excrescences, Surbiton, Norbiton,
Malden, is second for size in Surrey, overgrown only by Croydon; and
Kingston has also a Middlesex Lambeth in its transpontine quarter,
Hampton Wick. It is so far the county seat that the Hall of the County
Council has been built here; while it no longer shares with Guildford
and Croydon the dignity of assize town. There was a time when it might
boast of higher rank, for in the tenth century the Saxon kings were
crowned at this Rheims or Scone of South England. It seems always to
have been a place of importance through its ford, then through a bridge
which was long the next one above London Bridge. When a hostile attack
on London failed from the Southwark side, the enemy had nothing for it
but to march all the way round by Kingston, as Sir Thomas Wyat did to
little purpose. In the Civil War a

[Illustration: FROM RICHMOND HILL]

bridge of boats came to be thrown across the river at Putney. The first
movement of this war was about Kingston, a place worth seizing as key of
the road to Portsmouth, so in turn held by Royalists and Roundheads; and
almost the last sharp encounter between the two parties was a running
fight that ended in the outskirts of the town. London citizens of that
day must have had stirring news, when more than once they heard of
hostile forces so near their gates as at Hampton and Hounslow. The
wayfarer on Wimbledon Common is still apt to be startled by the sight of
train-bands slinking in knots from copse to hollow; but these are only
our Boy Scouts practising the devices of modern war; and presently, we
know, they will go home in peace to their tea. It was otherwise when
Captain Hew-Agag-in-pieces, or the doughty Sir Hudibras, could not take
his family on a trip up the river without the risk of falling into the
hands of malignant Philistines, its banks a paradise lost to Milton,
while perhaps Denham or Herrick might have safely ventured--

    With soft-smooth virgins for our chaste disport
    To Richmond, Kingston, or to Hampton Court.

Near the end of Kingston Bridge, now crossed by a tramway, stands the
restored Church, which has the distinction of being one of the largest
in Surrey, and contains old monuments, besides a show of modern memorial
windows. The chapel where the Saxon kings were crowned has been
destroyed; but the rough stone on which they traditionally sat is
reverently enclosed in the market-place for all to see but not to touch.
Could it speak for itself, this might tell strange tales of forgotten
superstition, like that other boulder in Westminster Abbey, uneasy seat
of Scottish kings, that must have travelled so far by land and sea since
it made Jacob's pillow. By a recently "restored" statue of Queen Anne
before the Town Hall, Kingston also shows special devotion to the memory
of that truly dead sovereign. Such are "the memorials and the things of
fame that do renown this city"--as it might claim to style itself; and
the market-place whereabout they stand makes often a lively and
picturesque scene, on which the quasi-cockney mingles with the true

Kingston is a headquarter of Thames boating, and its population must to
a considerable extent be made up of such "Jacks" as are the
camp-followers of this exercise. It is also fortunate in lying close to
three royal parks that have all become practically public
pleasure-grounds. The pleasantest way down the river is by the high edge
of Richmond Park; but below also one may take the tow-path, now on the
Surrey bank; while a middle way is the road passing over Ham Common. The
Middlesex bank is almost entirely taken up by private grounds; though at
Hampton Wick there is a tea-garden resort reached by a path from the
road behind. In the secluded back-water opening here there used to be a
capital bathing station, the nearest to London; but this has now been
closed by the excessive modesty of suburban senators; and not till the
shades of dusk may the youth of Teddington sally forth to make a noisy
Arcadia of the tow-path. Teddington lies in Middlesex, between Hampton
Wick and Twickenham, where the spread of villadom has not yet wholly
overwhelmed market-gardens, like that cultivated lovingly but at a loss
by the author of _Lorna Doone_.

At Teddington (Tide-end-town?) is the last rushing weir, and the Thames
current is for the last time bridled by a lock, not counting that
half-lock at Richmond. Henceforth, without ceasing to be a
pleasure-stream, it attends more strictly to business, and its voyagers
have to reckon with the tide. Above Teddington, the river is frequented
rather by more or less practised oarsmen; but on the Richmond reach we
may find a larger proportion of land-lubbers splashing manfully as best
they can; and on public holidays, it might be safer not to mingle in the
throng of lasses and lads who are trying their prentice hands at aquatic
pursuits, prices being then raised as the standard of experience is

All the building is still on the Middlesex side, where Twickenham has
pleasant homes to show, as also celebrated ones like Pope's Villa; but
the main part of the town lies hidden away behind Eel Pie Island. The
Surrey tow-path is bare, but for Ham House, whose famous avenue, beyond
Twickenham Ferry, opens on to the bank, here a broad bowery sward, with
room for all the engaged couples of Petersham and Richmond to keep aloof
from each other. Eyes less preoccupied will be attracted to the trees
and lawns of Orleans House and Marble Hill across the river, then
arrested by the noble brow of Richmond Hill that seems to bar our way

Richmond, of old known as West Sheen, was once a royal residence, and
its Green shows a fragment of the palace in which Elizabeth and other
sovereigns died. Most of Richmond's antiquity has disappeared, down to
the renowned Cobweb Cellar, swept away two or three years ago, beneath a
rebuilt tavern; but much of the place still wears a dignified look of
Georgian old fashion, borne out by the narrow, bent main thoroughfare
that on a Saturday night will be more crowded than the Strand. The newer
streets above are quiet and genteel enough; but all the quarter between
the station and the front of busy boat-houses lays itself out for
strangers brought by four railway lines from London; and the streets
here are thickly set with houses of entertainment of every rank,
including confectioners to provide the "maids of honour" cheese-cakes
that are at Richmond what whitebait is or was at Greenwich. These two
places long made rival goals of London junketings up and down the river;
but automobiles now ply farther afield, carrying their best customers
past the Richmond hotels, so that the renowned "Star and Garter" had to
close its doors, to be reconstructed as a hospital for disabled

The great sight here, of course, is Richmond Hill, to which a gradual
ascent leads from the bridge, or from the bank above the boat-houses a
steeper one up the slope laid out as a beautiful public garden, its
highest part a shady terrace, commanding that rich landscape over which
gazed Jeanie Deans, in her heart perhaps preferring the view from
Arthur's Seat. "A huge sea of verdure, with crossing and intersecting
promontories of massive and tufted groves, was tenanted by numberless
flocks and herds, which seemed to wander unrestrained and unbounded
through the rich pastures. The Thames, here turreted with villas and
there garlanded with forests, moved on slowly and placidly, like the
mighty monarch of the scene, to whom all its other beauties were but
accessories." Flocks and herds, indeed, are not so visible in our day;
but the hundred barks and skiffs seen by Scott, may appear multiplied by
tenfold on the reach of the river extending at our feet.

Passing on before the transformed "Star and Garter," and through the
gate of the Park, from this corner of it one has the same outlook--

                       ... Here let us sweep
    The boundless landscape: now the raptured eye
    Exulting swift to huge Augusta send,
    Now to the Sister Hills that skirt her plain,
    To lofty Harrow now, and now to where
    Majestic Windsor lifts his princely brow....
    Heavens! what a goodly prospect spreads around,
    Of hills and dales, and woods and lawns and spires,
    And glittering towns, and gilded streams, till all
    The stretching landscape into smoke decays.

Richmond Park is nearly nine miles in circuit, at its Robin Hood Gate
almost adjoining the wilder expanse of Putney Heath and Wimbledon
Common. It is a royal demesne, but by degrees, one of them a "village
Hampden" lawsuit, it has come to be treated as a public pleasure-ground.
Quite recently King Edward crowned former concessions by giving up
game-preserving in the many thickets that shade its swards, stocked with
herds of not too shy deer. In a central hollow are ponds that serve for
skating. Every part is now open except the enclosures of several
residences within the park, which are tenanted by royal favour. The
White Lodge on the farther side was the youthful home of the Princess of
Wales. Pembroke Lodge, near the Richmond Gate, was granted as retreat to
the veteran statesman Earl Russell, having originally been built for
that Countess of Pembroke young George III. loved in vain. On a mound
here Henry VIII. is said to have watched for the rocket from Anne
Boleyn's scaffold on Tower Hill, as signal of his being a not
disconsolate widower.

On the riverside below Richmond Green, for public recreation is also
given up the old Deer Park, over which the Chinese pagoda beacons us
towards Kew Gardens. The Observatory here has now, through disturbance
caused by the vicinity of electric lines, lost its function of testing
delicate instruments. Along the road by the Lion Gate of the Gardens,
Richmond and Kew almost run into each other. As usual, it is twice as
far by the pleasanter path on the bank, which passes outside the Park
and Gardens, with views across the river upon St. Margaret's, then on
Isleworth, on the grounds of Sion House, the home of an English Duke,
but at Lisbon its keys are or long were kept by the sisterhood banished
hence at the Reformation; then on the wharves and slums of Brentford,
county town of Middlesex, where the Brent makes shamefaced confluence as
a canal. Thus we come to the new Kew Bridge and Kew Green, which still
keeps a look of the dignity it wore as a favourite residence of George
III.; even in our own day it has housed a branch of the royal family at
Cambridge Cottage. The place is a great resort of his present Majesty's
subjects, for whose refreshment appear many tea-houses and taverns. The
grounds of Kew Palace are now thrown into the gardens, that,

[Illustration: RICHMOND.]

open at all reasonable hours, make such a famous sight. Every Londoner
knows the Palm-Houses, the Botanical Houses, the show of aquatic plants,
and the gallery of Miss North's paintings from all over the world. But
what many a visitor may pass unnoticed is what Richard Jefferies judged
the best show of all, the enclosure called the Herbaceous Ground, "a
living dictionary of English wildflowers," to which "the meadow and the
cornfield, the river, the mountain and the woodland, the sea shore, the
very waste place by the roadside, each has sent its peculiar
representatives," so as here to present an essence of wild nature, and
an epitome of the hills, woodland banks, and hedgerows of Surrey.

Thomson poetically speaks of Richmond as the place where "silver Thames
first rural grows"; but in prosaic fact the Surrey bank below Kew may
often be found a bushy solitude, sometimes a sloppy one, when overflowed
by high tides; and on the other side, the villas of Gunnersbury once
passed, the advance of Chiswick is masked by trees and market-gardens as
yet occupying a tongue of flat land, round which the river makes a
southward bend. The tow-path takes us on beside Mortlake, reached at its
"White Hart" haven of London omnibuses, and beneath the railway bridge,
so crowded when this is the goal of the University boat-race. Did one
care to explore Mortlake, in the Roman Catholic cemetery, behind the
station, would be found an extraordinary modern tomb, a huge stone tent
decorated with crescents and stars more conspicuous than crosses,
beneath which Sir Richard Burton rests after his many travels. In the
church is buried Dr. Dee, that "last of the magicians," who was indeed
one of the first of our mathematicians. Farther back Richmond Park is
gained through the amenities of Sheen, now dwindling before the builder;
but there is still a pretty patch of Sheen Common.

The river front of Mortlake almost touches that of Barnes. Here it is
the turn of Surrey to throw out a flat promontory of market-gardens,
across the neck of which one can make a short-cut to Putney or to Barnes
Common. Keeping the bank, one has rather a dull walk round by the ferry
to Chiswick Church, then opposite Chiswick Mall and the old-fashioned
riverside front of Hammersmith, where the bridge would bring one fairly
into London. The London County Council's scheme to run regular steamers
so far did not command the success it deserved; but in the fine season
ply occasional excursion Argoes, holding on up to Kew or still farther.

The river now becomes imprisoned in water-works, wharves, and piers; and
at low tide it reveals unlovely stretches of mud below the scrubby withs
that bind this shorn Samson's writhings. Yet still, besides craft of
business, it may be found alive with boats, including police-cruisers
commissioned against boys surreptitiously bathing from a bit of
rubbish-strewn wilderness on the Middlesex bank, that in a few years
will be overflowed by the tide of houses creeping up behind. Meanwhile,
why not leave those unshamed urchins alone, whose aquatic gambols till
lately made a cooling sight from the opposite tow-path? One or two of
them were drowned every year, it is said; but the sum of life saved by
our grandmotherly councillors must fall far below the amount of health,
cleanliness, and cheerfulness stolen on such waste spots; and it might
well be considered what will become of this country a generation after
its youth has been schooled and policed out of exulting to risk life,
limb, and skin.

I forget what last-century autobiographer mentions a party of
schoolfellows landing to bathe a little higher up in the grounds of
Brandenburgh House, then occupied by the Margravine of Anspach, and
being surprised by her unserene Highness in person, who, armed with a
riding whip, took the young Adams at sore disadvantage. This vivacious
Amazon had been widow of Lord Craven, who built another house, called
Craven Cottage, just below the osier-fronted waste at present awaiting
reclamation. The Craven Cottage grounds have been fortified and
garrisoned by a club that carries on the business of drawing enormous
crowds to bet and roar over the performances of professional athletes,
their din suggesting another hint as to the welfare of the next
generation. But we may take hope to see how manfully the striplings of
Putney and Hammersmith ply oar and sculls in what else might be their
hours of ease; as everywhere within reach of the capital, that
sympathetic visitor, Mr. John Burroughs, could admire "young athletic
London, male and female, rushing forth as hungry for the open air and
the water as young mountain herds for salt."

Ramblers on the Surrey side get a tantalising glimpse of expensive
pastimes, for the tow-path leads them beside the grounds of Barn Elms,
home of more than one notability in the last three centuries, now arena
of the Ranelagh Club's sports. At the end of this enclosure is bridged
what looks like a muddy back-water, but is the mouth of the Beverley
Brook, so idyllic as it flows by Wimbledon Common to Roehampton; then
beyond we come to the boat clubs and taverns of Putney, facing the
grounds of Fulham Palace, now turned into a public park along the river

Putney is a suburb of much respectability, rising on to heights of
gentility at the back, and merging with the super-gentility of
Roehampton's palatial villas. In future this birthplace of Gibbon may
also be known as abode of the poet Swinburne. At present it has an
annual hour of clamorous fame as starting-place of the University
boat-race. In the past it made an appearance in history as headquarters
of Cromwell's army during the autumn of 1647, while negotiations went on
with the Parliament at Westminster on one hand, and with the King at
Hampton Court on the other. The church, then used as a council hall, has
one fine old feature in the chantry of Bishop West; and the way in which
it faces the corresponding tower of Fulham has provoked a legend of
their having been built by two giant sisters, who, as in the case of St.
Catherine's and St. Martha's Chapel near Guildford, are credited with
using one hammer between them, which they flung backwards and forwards
across the river.

Putney, as yet unfettered by tramways, is closely linked with London by
motor-buses plying all the way to northern and eastern suburbs, as well
as by trains of more than one line. But now the tow-path fails us, and
we must take ship to keep an eye on the Surrey shores. A little below,
the river will touch the four-mile-circle from Charing Cross. Once more
it is bordered by trees and lawns, but these belong to Hurlingham Club
and to Wandsworth's new park; and it has far to go before reaching green
fields again on the shores of Kent and Essex. Shades of its prison-house
close in upon it fast, beginning with the group of grimy wharves and
mills amid which ends the bedraggled Wandle, turned to many a task from
its source to its mouth. The old buildings of Wandsworth have been
vanishing like the Mayoralty of Garratt Green behind it; but it has
still some quaint nooks, and the true Surrey feature of its open Common.

The next steamboat stage is by Battersea Reach, where it takes an
artist's eye to catch the points of beauty dear to Turner. Battersea
Park faces the restored dignity of Chelsea. A huge railway arsenal
covers the site of those Nine Elms that have long gone to make coffins
for the dancers in Vauxhall Gardens. Doulton's pottery works look across
to the Tate Gallery. Lambeth Palace is passed, then St. Thomas's
Hospital stares from wakeful eyes at the House of Parliament. Below
Westminster Bridge, Surrey is to give a site for the _Hôtel de Ville_ of
our County Council; but as yet the bank here makes a shabby contrast to
the clubs and hotels of the Middlesex side. St. Paul's looks down upon
Southwark, which has now a Cathedral Church of its own in St. Saviour's,
with its old monuments and new memorial windows. This lies at the end of
London Bridge, beyond which the tanneries of Bermondsey have hidden the
very site of its once famous Abbey, opposite the Tower of London. The
last Surrey parish is Rotherhithe, where Captain Lemuel Gulliver could
find a pleasant retreat after his voyages, when it was known as Redriff;
but now the name of its Cherry Orchard pier seems a mockery, till one
searches out the groves and garden-beds of Southwark Park, hidden behind
a front of wharves and warehouses. A dull change this from the green
meads of Egham or the slopes of Richmond. But a painter in words, too
early lost to his Surrey home, George W. Steevens, can show colour,
life, and romance in those avenues of dingy buildings and naked masts.

     Always the benign sun-and-smoke clothes them with softness and
     harmony; it softens their vermilion advertisements to harmony with
     the tinted azure of the sky and the vague grey-brown of the water.
     Brutal business built them, to ship and unship, and be as crass and
     crude as they would, but the smoke turns them into the semblance of
     sleepy monsters basking by the river they love. Presently the tall
     sky-line breaks and drops; let in between the monsters appears a
     terrace of tiny riverside houses, huddled together as in a
     miniature. There is a tiny tavern with a plank-built terrace rising
     on piles out of the water, a tiny shop all aslant, a tiny brown
     house with a pot-belly of a bow-window. It all babbles of Jack and
     Poll, of crimps and tots of rum, and incredible yarns in the
     bar-parlour. Next, between the dusky wharves, an Italian
     church-tower soars up out of a nest of poor houses; the sun catches
     its white face and transfigures it. Then, the dearest sight of
     all--ships appearing out of the land, fore and main and mizzen,
     peak and truck, halliards and stays, and men like flies furling
     top-gallant sails above the roofs of London. As we open the region
     of the docks we are in a great city of ships--big steamers basking
     lazily with their red bellies half out of water, frantic
     spluttering tugs, placid brown-sailed barges, reckless banging
     lighters--and behind all this, clumps and thickets and avenues of
     masts and spars and tackle stretching stretching infinitely on
     every side. The houses have melted all away, and London is become a
     city of ships.

Here we go on shore from Father Thames, that

[Illustration: THE MEADS, FARNHAM.]

sober and steady as he looks, leads so many a British stream to end its
skittish, froward, and headstrong youth by running away to sea:--

    And round about him many a pretty page
    Attended duly, ready to obey;
    All little rivers which owe vassalage
    To him, as to their lord, and tribute pay:
    The chalky Kennet and the Thetis grey;
    The moorish Colne, and the soft sliding Breane;
    The wanton Lea, that oft doth lose his way;
    And the still Darent, in whose waters clean
    Ten thousand fishes play and deck his pleasant stream.

Further on in his catalogue of rivers, Spenser gives the Mole a whole
couplet to itself, well known to guide-book writers in search of copy.
But one rubs one's eyes to find him omitting Surrey's principal
tributary, so compliant, too, in yoke of rhyme,--the Wey, a clansman of
the Welsh Wye, and also of that disguised "Thetis grey," which turns out
to be the stream flowing into the Thames at Cookham, on maps styled Wye,
though a high authority suspects that it adopted this good old British
name only by suggestion from its course beside Wycombe, even as the men
of some broken clan might wrap themselves in the tartan of Campbell or



The chief river flowing through Surrey is one which Pope shows himself
not infallible in mislabelling "the chalky Wey that pours a milky wave."
But as the Amazon is not altogether a Brazilian stream, so the Wey has
its rise in other counties; and still further to compare great and
small, there might be some question as to its main source. One branch
springs on Blackdown in Sussex, flowing round Hindhead; another comes
less deviously from beyond the Hampshire Alton, rising beside White's
Selborne. The latter has more honour in maps, so let us take this up
where it enters a bulging south-western corner of Surrey near Farnham's
pleasant market-town, whose antiquity is vouched for by a scattering of
old houses and cobbled ways about the long main street. Here the Wey
crooks through green meadows, on which oast-houses and stacked
hop-poles, if not a show of trailing vines, reveal the rich gault soil
making this corner of the country an oasis of hop cultivation,
especially in the woodbine variety. It is but natural, then, that ale
should be a renowned product of Farnham, which has also, at the outlying
village of Wrecclesham, a notable manufactory of green pottery known as
Farnham ware. If I am not mistaken, the hop-fields appear to have shrunk
of late years hereabouts; but still Farnham would make a scene for that
story of a learned stranger preaching on the evidences of design as
evinced in the study of optics, and being duly complimented by the
churchwarden: "capital sermon of yours, sir, about the 'opsticks; we
mostly calls 'em 'oppoles in these parts; but we knew what you meant!"

The lion of the place is its Castle, originally built in Stephen's
troubled days, and now making a lordly abode for the Bishops of
Winchester. Its most prominent appearance in our annals is during the
Civil War, when it was held for the Parliament by George Wither, and for
the King by a more loyal bard, Sir John Denham, but was partly blown up
by the namesake of another poet, Sir William Waller; then it came to be
dismantled under Cromwell. Restored and modernised, it still preserves
the ivied Keep enshrining a flower garden, Fox's Tower, the stately
hall, the ancient servants' hall and kitchen, the chapel with its rich
carvings, said to be by Grinling Gibbons, and other old features to put
a prelate in no danger of forgetting his historic dignity. The park,
with its elm avenue, open to the public, is a noble expanse sloping up
towards Hungry Hill, by which one passes from this home of peaceful
state to the dusty purlieus of Aldershot Camp.

Below the Castle, on the opposite side of the high-road, stands the
Parish Church, among whose memorials the most interesting is the tomb of
William Cobbett beside the porch. Inside the building also is a tablet
in his honour, as could hardly have been foreseen by that porcupinish
Tory-democrat, whose quills were so readily roused at the very name of a
parson. He is believed, not without question, to have been born at the
"Jolly Farmer" Inn, near the station; and he died at Normandy Farm, on
the north side of the Hog's Back. Amid his crabbed grumblings and
cross-grained whims, his heart always warms at the recollection of
boyish toils and pranks about Farnham, his early entrance on life as an
unschooled bird-scarer, his games of rolling and sliding down the sandy
sides of Crooksbury, his bird's-nesting sport on its tall trees, his
trotting after the hounds, and his malicious trick of drawing a red
herring across a hare's scent to revenge himself for a cut from the
huntsman's whip.

Another memory honoured at Farnham is that of Augustus Toplady, author
of "Rock of Ages," better known than "Rural Rides," who was born here,
1740. Izaak Walton was a sojourner at the Castle, and must have had many
a day on the Wey, as in his old age on the Itchen. A writer of our own
time connected with Farnham was "Edna Lyall," more than one of whose
novels contains sympathetic descriptions of the scenery around
"Firdale," the quiet market-town that "wound its long street of
red-roofed houses along a sheltered valley, in between fir-crowned

But more resounding names are familiar in this neighbourhood. Just
outside of the town, down the Wey, lies Moor Park, the seat of Sir
William Temple, whose saturnine dependant Swift here ate the bitter
bread of servitude, and at least began _A Tale of a Tub_, that would
make such an inspiring model for Cobbett, the gardener's boy, who on his
runaway trip to Kew spent all the coppers he had left on a copy of it,
curiosity being for once stronger than hunger. For a time Moor Park was
turned into a Hydropathic Establishment. A recent owner tried to shut up
the old right of way through it, but was sturdily withstood by the
Cobbetts of this generation; and one can walk unquestioned right beside
the house and garden, where Temple's heart is buried under a sundial;
then on past the cavern keeping green the name of Mother Ludlam, a
mistily white witch, whose caldron is still shown in Frensham Church.
Thus may be reached the farther gate near the Wey, beside which a
restored cottage is pointed out by vague tradition as the abode either
of Swift or of Stella, or as their meeting-place.

Across the bridge here opens the gate of another park, in which are
enclosed the remains of Waverley Abbey, the finest ecclesiastical ruins
in Surrey, not very rich in such treasures. This was the first
Cistercian monastery in England, whose scanty remains stand tangled in
greenery, a beautiful sight, and still substantial enough to indicate
its fallen grandeur. Recent excavations by the Surrey Archæological
Society have been well rewarded. The eighteenth-century mansion kept the
old monks' garden, in which Cobbett worked as a boy, and got his fill
of fruit, for, he says, the produce could never have been consumed
unless the servants lent a mouth. A visitor to the neighbourhood was Sir
Walter Scott, who carried away the name of Waverley as a fruitful seed.
His famous novel has nothing of the Abbey save its name; but _Sir
Nigel_, a lively work of one of our generation's romancers, Sir A. Conan
Doyle, has brought this skeleton of a great religious house to life for
us as it was in Plantagenet days.

     In the centre lay the broad Abbey buildings, with church and
     cloisters, hospitium, chapter-house and fraterhouse, all buzzing
     with a busy life. Through the open window came the low hum of the
     voices of the brethren as they walked in pious converse in the
     ambulatory below. From across the cloisters there rolled the
     distant rise and fall of a Gregorian chaunt, where the precentor
     was hard at work upon the choir; while down in the chapter-house
     sounded the strident voice of Brother Peter, expounding the rule of
     St. Bernard to the novices. Abbot John rose to stretch his cramped
     limbs. He looked out at the green sward of the cloisters and at the
     graceful line of open Gothic arches which skirted a covered walk
     for the brethren within. Two and two, in their black and white
     garb, with slow step and heads inclined, they paced round and
     round. Several of the more studious had brought their illuminating
     work from the scriptorium and sat in the warm sunshine, with their
     little platters of pigments and packets of gold-leaf before them,
     their shoulders rounded and their faces sunk low over the white
     sheets of vellum. There, too, was the copper-worker, with his
     burin and graver. Learning and art were not traditions with the
     Cistercians as with the parent Order of the Benedictines, and yet
     the library of Waverley was well filled both with precious books
     and with pious students. But the true glory of the Cistercian lay
     in his outdoor work; and so ever and anon there passed through the
     cloister some sunburned monk, soiled mattock or shovel in hand,
     with his gown looped to his knee, fresh from the fields or the
     garden. The lush green water-meadows speckled with the
     heavy-fleeced sheep, the acres of cornland reclaimed from heather
     and bracken, the vineyards on the southern slope of Crooksbury
     Hill, the rows of Hankley fishponds, the Frensham marshes drained
     and sown with vegetables, the spacious pigeon cotes, all circled
     the great Abbey round with the visible labours of the Order.

An active youth, like the hero of this tale, might have followed the
windings of the Wey below Farnham, whence it sets out as with a bold
design of tunnelling the Hog's Back, but is content to turn away after
piercing the railway. The heedful pedestrian had better not try to keep
by its green banks. From Farnham station he has a pretty walk by a road
that in half an hour brings him to the Waverley end of the bridge. For
the longer way to the other side, he takes the Hog's Back road, turning
off on a byway marked "Moor Park." Above this left bank, opposite
Waverley Abbey, rise the well-wooded slopes of Crooksbury, that to
Cobbett's untravelled eyes seemed such


a mighty mountain; but he may often have scampered up it in a few
minutes. From the top there is an open look-out upon the line of the
Hog's Back to the north; in other directions the view is much impeded by
the tall trees, ranked in sharp lines, that from some points suggest a
gigantic yew clipped to a pattern.

An hour's walk by road through the foot of these woods would bring us
back to the much meandering course of the river at Elstead, but at the
cost of leaving out Tilford, where comes in the branch from Blackdown.
One should by all means turn off on the right to this picturesque
village, with its islanded green, its old bridges, and its "King's Oak,"
reputed as marking the boundary of the Abbey lands in Stephen's reign.
Such great age for this landmark has been questioned, but it shows so
plainly the burden of time that a colleague and successor has been
provided which will authentically chronicle the date of Queen Victoria's
Diamond Jubilee. Tilford Church, not very attractive outside, has a
reredos in memory of Charlotte Smith, that now forgotten novelist, who
died a century ago at Tilford House, said to have been known to another
author still well remembered in nurseries, Dr. Watts.

From Tilford open beautiful rambles by Frensham Ponds on to the heaths
of Hindhead, also to be gained from Elstead by way of Thursley and the
Punch Bowl. On the other side of the river, fine commons rise up to the
Hog's Back. Between these swelling and bristling heights, we follow the
green valley of the Wey, that below Elstead again ties itself into knots
of vagary, then beyond the Somerset Bridge begins to behave more
prettily as it enters the park of Peperharow. To the left side stands
Lord Midleton's mansion, near the Church, restored from the designs of
Pugin, and enriched with interior ornamentation that make it one of the
finest in this part of Surrey. On the other side, at the south edge of
the Park, in Oxenford Farm, which keeps its fragment of real antiquity,
Pugin reproduced an old English grange; and not far off the same
architect built a shrine for Bonfield Well, one of old medical repute.
As may be supposed from the fact of a parish church standing in the
middle of this demesne, there is a public way through it, coming out at
the village of Eashing, where one should not neglect to visit the
picturesque old bridge, now guarded against parochial vandalism by the
National Trust.

The Godalming high-road, running by the south side of Peperharow, here
deserts the Wey valley. Another road, crossing at Eashing, mounts up by
the fine modern Church of Shackleford and over the heights of Hurtmore,
to come down again to Godalming by the Charterhouse School. But the
pedestrian should by all means keep a path near the left side of the
Wey, passing under a high bank to the bend where, along a charming
little bit of woodland, cleft by green gulleys, is reached a closed-in
swimming-place. Beyond this first sign of Godalming he gets on a road
again, below that hillside suburb that has grown up about the
transplanted Charterhouse School.

Thackeray's contemporaries would stare to see their old "Smithfield"
seminary in its picturesque new surroundings, the chief buildings set on
a hill, where they form a conspicuous landmark. Only foreigners may need
to be told how Charterhouse is one of our oldest "public hives of
puerile resort" fixed in the heart of London till a generation ago, when
it set the example of swarming into the country, as has since been the
tendency of other great London schools. From the original building, now
occupied by Merchant Taylors' School, was brought bodily the old
archway, carved with idle names, Thackeray's among them; but the rest
of the buildings wear an air of still spick-and-span dignity. The Chapel
is worth seeing, and so is the Museum, which contains MSS. and drawings
of Thackeray, letters of John Wesley and John Leech, and relics of the
South African war given by another _alumnus_, General Baden Powell, who
laid the foundation of the cloisters leading to the Chapel, as a
memorial of old Carthusians not so fortunate in coming back from that
war. Since the school was moved from London it has flourished well; for
long under the head-mastership of Dr. Haig-Brown, of whom it is told
that when the Mayor of Godalming, in proposing his health, complimented
him as a combination of the _fort[=i]ter in re_ with the _suav[=i]ter in
modo_, this pained scholar professed to be overwhelmed not only by the
quality but by the _quantity_ of such praise.

With so scholastic a garrison in its citadel, Godalming may now
stereotype its spelling and pronunciation. Pepys writes it as
_Godliman_; and by old-fashioned folk in later days it was vernacularly
spoken of somewhat as _Gorlmin_. The main part of the town lies out of
sight behind the other bank, below which a trout of over 12 lbs. was
caught not many years ago; but coarse fish are the more frequent spoil
of local anglers. Across the bridge the road takes us by the Church and
up into the High Street, showing old inns, picturesque seventeenth-century
dwellings, and a quaint Market House near the upper end. Above the
station, on the farther side of the line, is Westbrook, the home of
General Oglethorpe, the philanthropic founder of Georgia, which he
designed as a refuge for poverty-stricken Britons and persecuted German

Americans will admire this as a good specimen of the English
market-town, old enough to be mentioned in King Alfred's will. England
has hundreds of such towns to show, but not many of them are surrounded
by so beautiful a mingling of meadowland and woodland, of hill, heath,
and water scenery, often illustrated by Creswick, Hook, and Birket
Foster. In all directions there are lovely walks and drives. The water
tower over the Charterhouse shows the heights above the Wey, across
which go roads to Loseley, Compton, and the Hog's Back. On the opposite
side a more distant tower rises upon a swell of woods, parks, and
heaths, through which is the way to Bramley and Wonersh. The high-road
southward for Portsmouth goes along a well-wooded valley to Milford,
where it mounts the broken and pitted heaths for Hindhead, while the
fork to the left follows the railway to Witley and Haslemere. Perhaps
the finest walk in this direction is along the wooded heights to the
east of the railway, where can be gained High Down Ball, a bare knoll
looking over the woods; then by Hambledon Common one can turn down to
Witley station in the valley, or keep the heights--

            where Hascombe vaunts
    Its beechen bowers and Dryad haunts.

With such hints for divagation, let us resume our way down the river,
henceforth navigable by barges and bridled by locks. Its course now is
over the flat of Pease Marsh, towards the high chalk coast-line three or
four miles ahead, shut in on either side by lower heights; and about
half-way there opens a view of Guildford in the gap through which it
will pass the Downs. On the right side was the junction of the now
abandoned Wey and Arun Canal, its grass-grown trench making a peculiar
and not unpleasing feature in the valley to the south-east, beneath the
picturesque crests and clumps that hide Wonersh. The spire of Shalford
Church welcomes us to another of the many "prettiest villages in
Surrey," where is the confluence of the Tillingbourne flowing down from
Leith Hill between the chalk and the sand ridges, by whose varied
heights we are now beautifully surrounded. We pass under St. Catherine's
Chapel at the crossing of the Pilgrims' Way, which mounts among the
woods to high-perched St. Martha's, two or three miles on the right.
There are roads on either side the river as it winds into the Downs, but
the tow-path, unless in wet weather, makes the best way, bordered as it
is by noble trees hanging over from private grounds. And so, beside a
picturesque mill-race, we come into the lower end of Guildford, near the
railway station, where the playful river for the first time finds itself
imprisoned by buildings.

Guildford is Surrey's county town, though so far shorn of its dignity
that the County Council meets at Kingston, and much overgrown by
Croydon, not to speak of the South London suburbs. There is no question
as to its antiquity. It seems to have been a place of note in Saxon
days; then, soon after the Conquest, a lordly castle was built here,
that came to be visited by several of our Norman sovereigns. The town
was so happy as not to figure much in history, and to this it may owe
the preservation of so many old buildings. There is no southern county
seat that looks its part better than Surrey's, even since in our day its
time-honoured features have been much overlaid by new ones, while
everywhere it wears an air of roominess and thrivingness not always
associated with the picturesque. Being only thirty miles from London,
reached by three, nay four railway lines, it has become a favourite
place of residence for business men and of retreat for officers, whose
houses go on spreading up the dry and airy slopes of the Downs, above
the old town rooted in the hollow of the Wey. Hence steeply-mounting,
the broad main thoroughfare well displays its points of gabled roofs,
projecting oriel windows and quaint doorways, more than one of the old
houses, such as No. 25 and the Angel Inn with its vaults, being
themselves notable sights. "Shall we go see the relics of this town?" If
so, nearly all of them lie along or about its unique High Street, up
which let us stroll, beginning from the bridge in the dip below the
railway station, which is on the other side of the river.

Above the bridge stands up the tower of St. Nicholas, one of Guildford's
three parish churches,

[Illustration: A HAYFIELD, WONERSH.]

which has been more than once rebuilt, but preserves the ancient Loseley
Chapel, containing fine monuments of the More family. A little way up
the High Street, to the right, in Quarry Street, will be found the old
church of St. Mary's, partly built of chalk mixed with flint and rubble,
showing many remarkable points of interest and controversy for
archæologists, among them a bit claimed as Saxon, some grotesque
corbels, and the vaulted roof of St. John's Chapel, ornamented with grim
mediæval frescoes, which, like those in Chaldon Church, have become much
obliterated, but it is now proposed to revive them. Their subject seems
to be various marvels and horrors, mostly connected with legends of St.
John; and they have been taken for the work of William of Florence, an
artist employed by Henry III.

On the other side of High Street, a projecting clock face marks the
Guildhall, dating from the end of the seventeenth century. This is a
place to be visited, for behind its striking exterior are treasured
several royal portraits, among them Charles II. and James II. by Lely,
also some curious carvings on the mantelpiece of the Council Chamber,
with a collection of standard measures of 1601 given by Queen Elizabeth.
The woolsacks in the town arms commemorate a former renown for the
making of cloth, also woven at surrounding villages, an industry said to
have decayed through shortcomings on the part of the manufacturers.
Aubrey asserts that Wonersh, now such a quiet village, flourished by
making blue cloths for the Canary Islands, till the greedy clothiers hit
on a trick of stretching out a web of 18 yards to 22 or 23, which led to
their losing the market.

At the top of the ascent, on the right-hand side, is the High or Trinity
Church, rebuilt in the eighteenth century, not very pleasing in itself,
but enshrining some of the old memorials, as well as later ones. One of
these, in all the absurdity of classical costume, shows the recumbent
effigy of Speaker Onslow, who so long and so worthily filled the Chair
of the House of Commons, and whose family are still Guildford's great
neighbours and patrons. The principal monument is the elaborate one to
Archbishop Abbot of Canterbury (d. 1633), erected in the old church by
his brother Sir Maurice Abbot, a Lord Mayor of London, to be beheld by
Pepys among other tombs "kept mighty neat and clean with curtains before
them." This prelate stands high among the benefactors of his native
town, though as a stalwart Puritan he has had hard things said against
him. His chief claim to remembrance is as one of the body of scholars
who translated or edited the authorised version of the Bible. Another of
"that happy ternion of brothers," as Fuller calls them, was Robert
Abbot, who by long display of learning came to be Bishop of
Salisbury--"but alas! he was hardly warm in his see before cold in his
coffin." As for George, the archbishop, "he did first _creep_, then
_run_, then _fly_ into preferment," yet to have his wings painfully
clipped after he had reached the highest post of the English Church.
Shooting deer at Bramshill Park, near what was to be the rectory of his
descendant, Charles Kingsley, this muscular Christian primate had the
ill-luck to kill a keeper. Like the keen sportsman he was, King James
made light of the accident, as one that might happen to any one; and a
jury threw the blame on the victim; but the scandal was so great that it
seemed well to grant a royal pardon to the right reverend manslayer.
Even then, three Bishops-elect, Laud among them, declined to receive
consecration at his blood-stained hands. The unfortunate Archbishop
showed himself greatly concerned; he settled a pension on the man's
widow, who with such a dowry soon got another husband; and he kept a
monthly fast for the rest of his life. The story goes that he never
smiled again. For a time he went into retirement at the Hospital with
which he had endowed Guildford, as an almshouse for the tradesmen whose
decaying industry he strove to restore. But we hear of no remorse for
what seems a darker offence than accidental manslaughter--the pains this
Archbishop had taken, in 1611, to get two unfortunate men burned for
their damnable guilt in disagreeing with him on a point of theology.

Abbot's Hospital, standing just opposite the church, is one of the
principal sights of the town, a building of stately picturesqueness that
bettered its model, the similar institution founded by Archbishop
Whitgift at Croydon. Passing through the noble archway adorned with the
arms of Canterbury, and under the imposing tower with its domed turrets,
the visitor finds himself back in a quiet nook of Jacobean England,
where all seems in keeping with its motto, _Deus nobis haec otia fecit_.
On the left of the gardened quadrangle are the apartments of the twelve
brethren, on the right those of eight sisters, all bound not to practise
forgery, heresy, sorcery, witchcraft and other crimes. Farther on are
reached the Master's house, and the entrance to the Hall and Chapel.
The panelled Hall preserves its old fittings, and some portraits of
sound Protestant divines, while in the coloured glass will be noticed
the inscription of a quite mediæval pun, _Clamamus Abba Pater_. The most
striking feature of the Chapel is the two painted windows telling the
story of Jacob, in pictures with Latin legends, the first representing
Esau's hunting errand, that must afterwards have been a sore subject
with that pious founder.

High Street, now mounted to its highest, goes on as Spital Street to
fork eventually as the Epsom and the London Roads, both of them, indeed,
leading to London. Beyond this, all is smart and modern, where an airy
suburb straggles on to the Downs. But on the right of Spital Street was
passed the Grammar School, founded at the beginning of the sixteenth
century, and still preserving some of its old features that make it
worth a visit. Its treasure is a library of chained books, several
scores in number, surpassed only by those at Wimborne Minster and at
Hereford Cathedral. Schoolboys of our generation may be more interested
in an antiquarian discovery of Dr. W. G. Grace, who found a musty record
of the Guildford boys playing cricket so far back as the time of Queen

To the last has been left that which is not the least of Guildford's
lions, its old Castle, standing above St. Mary's, a little to the right
of the Market as we came up High Street. Guildford Castle is believed to
date from Henry II., but first comes to mention in King John's time.
What has been left of it by the power _Edax rerum_ is mainly its grim
keep, solidly planted on a mound that may have been the site of a
pre-Norman fortress. Beside this, part of the area is prettily laid out
as a public garden. Some curious bits of carving are to be noted in the
keep. Within the gateway on the lower side will be found the Surrey
Archæological Society's Museum, not a very large one as yet, but
containing a varied show of county antiquities. From the top of the keep
there is a fine view of the Wey valley.

This view may be enlarged by mounting the lane behind, that leads to a
much less imposing modern fort on the Downs, by which goes out the grand
walk along them to Newland's Corner, and on by the line of the Pilgrims'
Way. On the opposite block of the Downs, above Guildford, the cemetery
affords another good prospect point, reached by taking the steep rise of
the old Hog's Back road leading up from the bridge below the station.
Near the entrance of this finely displayed burial-ground, a marble cross
marks the grave of the author of _Alice in Wonderland_, with whom
Guildford was a favourite sojourn. "There must have been something
remarkable about that gentleman," an official of the place opined to me,
"for a good many has asked me where he lies." One spectacle is no longer
available on this stiff ascent, at the top of which, as Defoe states
admiringly, the gallows used to stand so plain in view "that the Towns
People from the High Street may sit at their Shop Doors and see the
Criminals executed."

Fair scenes about Guildford will be spoken of under another head. Let us
here hold on down the Wey, which henceforth takes two forms, now
coinciding, then going apart, the canalised Wey Navigation, and the
wilful loops that could not be made to fit the course of this water-way,
for which they have suffered depletion, but in flood time can yet assert
themselves by turning the low meadows into lakes. As in the case of
Hogarth's "Industrious Apprentice," the canal has thriven so that it may
be called the main stream, while it is seldom so straight-lined or
business-minded but that its tow-path makes a pleasant riverside walk.
This canalisation was carried out as far back as the middle of the
seventeenth century, just after the Civil War, locks being then first
introduced into England; and the opening of such a convenience for
carrying corn and timber to London helped to bring back Guildford's old

Over flat meadows, the river goes out to the north, bending round the
suburb of Stoke Park, then takes its course by a series of locks,
bridges, and mills that make goals for boating parties. The first name
of fame it reaches, some three straight miles from the town, is Sutton
Place, standing back in its park that stretches down to the left bank.
Loseley, above Guildford, is Sutton's only rival as at once the
stateliest and loveliest mansion in Surrey, taking a high place among
the lordly halls of England. In the Reformation days, when donjon keeps
could give place to orieled and gabled mansions, this was built by Sir
Richard Weston, ancestor and namesake of the Wey's canaliser. A peculiar
feature is the use made of terra-cotta, on which, as on the windows of
the Hall, is repeated the builder's _rebus_, a bunch of grapes and a
tun. It need hardly be said that such a house is rich in relics of the
past. But indeed one cannot here speak worthily of what has had a whole
sumptuous quarto devoted to it by Mr. Frederic Harrison,


who may well call it a landmark of English architecture, one of the
earliest great houses not built with a design of defence.

     The house is almost contemporary with some of those exquisite
     châteaux of the age of Francis which are still preserved on the
     Loire. Like them, it possesses Italian features of a fancy and
     grace as remote from the Gothic as from the classical world. Like
     them, as was every fine work of that age, it is the embodiment of a
     single idea, of a personal sense of beauty of some creative genius;
     and thus it stands apart in the history of house-building in
     Europe, a cinque-cento conception in an English Gothic frame....
     The house, too, has had the singular fortune to retain, at least on
     the outside, its original form, and to be quite free from later
     additions. Save that one side of the court has been removed, the
     principal quadrangle, as seen from within, is in every essential
     feature exactly as the builder left it. Nor, except by the removal
     or the renewal of some mullions, has the exterior on any side
     suffered any material change. It is not, like so many of our
     ancient mansions, a record of the caprice, the ambition, the decay
     or the bad taste, of successive generations. No Elizabethan
     architect has added a classical porch; no Jacobean magnate has
     thrown out a ponderous wing with fantastic gables and profusion of
     scrolls; no Georgian squire has turned it into a miniature
     Blenheim, or consulted his comfort by adding a square barrack....
     This unity and peace, which seem to rest on the old house almost as
     on a ruin or a cloister whence modern improvements are shut out,
     are doubtless due to this: that from its building till to-day the
     place has remained in the same family, and that a family debarred
     by adherence to the ancient faith from taking active part in the
     world of affairs.

The Wey's next turn is round the village of Send, where its navigable
branch makes eastward, while vagrant channels stray off a little north
to touch Woking. This name may seem familiar to London travellers, yet
few of them will know where and what Woking is. The lively new town that
has grown up so fast on the heaths about Woking Junction, stands nearly
two miles north of the original village, huddled about the tower and
tiled roof of its old church, a landmark conspicuous over the river
flat. Even when Defoe made his tour, this place lay "so out of all Road,
that 'tis very little heard of in England; it claims however some Honour
from its being once the Residence of ... the old Countess of Richmond,
Mother to King Henry VII., who made her last Retreat here," and who, he
might have added, had the singular fortune of being thrice a bride in
her teens. The moated royal manor has long disappeared; but this
back-water village preserves a Market Hall as token of former dignity.

When the branches of the Wey unite about a mile east of Old Woking, it
is only to split up again in vagrant loops, tangled by the taking in of
a tributary from the commons near Aldershot. The knot of tortuous
channels here encloses one of Surrey's rare ruins, the remains of
Newark Priory, of which the south transept walls still stand in broken
state, impressive rather than imposing, to be a favourite rendezvous of
picnic parties. Near the ruins a large old timber mill makes another
landmark of these watery meadows, overlooked from the north by a bank
bearing up the little church of Pyrford, with its faded wall paintings
and like hints of antiquity.

Lying some two or three miles by sandy roads from Woking or from Byfleet
stations, Newark is perhaps oftener visited by way of Ripley, a mile to
the south, a pleasant village about a spacious green, where the "Talbot"
and the "Anchor" have taken a new lease through the favour of cyclists.
With this fraternity the Ripley road came to be a so frequent spin, that
the Vicar, willing to run with the times, opened a free stable for
cycles at his parsonage, and set apart special seats for their riders,
who have repaid such hospitality by contributing a memorial window.
Another hostelry, frequented by golfers, is the "Hautboy" of Ockham,
birthplace of the scholastic theologian of that ilk. This oakland
village is separated from Ripley by Ockham Park, a demesne of Earl
Lovelace, Byron's grandson, who has another seat not far off at East
Horsley, where its Clock Tower may be seen standing up in the woods
along the south side of the Downs, that since we left Guildford have
been drawing away from the course of the river.

Following the Wey from Newark Priory, again we find its industrious and
its idle channels at cross purposes with each other, the latter making
one particularly extravagant bend eastward, so as to infect with its own
devious character the roads that must tack towards bridges. At the
Anchor Lock, and its quaint old inn, one might turn off to the right,
across a feeble branch, for the little church of Wisley, and by it push
on to Wisley Common, with its fir-girdled lakelet on the Ripley road,
and its "Hut" hostelry, a combination of a snug hotel and of a "Trust"
model public-house. Beside this road, on the west edge of the common, a
board shows the way among pine woods to a new feature of the Wey valley,
the Horticultural Society's Gardens, transplanted from Turnham Green,
already a sight worth seeing, but not open without an order from a
Fellow. The nearest stations are Effingham and Horsley, each about three
miles off to the south-east; and over the common the high-road leads on
in a couple of miles to Street Cobham, near which the Mole comes within
a mile or so of the Wey.

Striking off from the Wey Navigation on the other side, for instance by
a footpath from a bridge half a mile beyond the Anchor Lock, one could
soon reach Byfleet station on the main line, beyond which are the golf
links of New Zealand and the woods of Anningsley. Now the straggling
river waters the scattered hamlets of Byfleet, in which parish Henry
VIII. is said to have been nursed at Byfleet Park. The main village,
half an hour's walk from the station, lies below the wooded ridge of St.
George's Hill, that now stands up to the right as a last stronghold of
the heaths and pines of Surrey on the edge of the Thames valley.

Here the Wey Navigation seems to swerve needlessly to the left, meeting
the branch with which it makes a junction beside the railway line. This
branch is the Basingstoke Canal, of late years fallen into disuse, and
in parts almost dried up, or choked with weeds; but there have been
rumours of its being restored to activity. The tow-path of the united
canal gives hence a plain walk to Weybridge, safe from the "Gadarene
grunt" of the motor-car. The old channel takes an extremely crooked
course nearer the flank of St. George's Hill, which at its southern end
one might mount to pass through the private grounds as the pleasantest
path to Weybridge station, a mile beyond which the Wey makes its last
twist into the Thames. Thus ends a river that has led us through the
heart of Surrey, itself a goodly stream, and often decked out in such
rich green attire as would beautify the most frumpish canal.



The second river of Surrey is the Mole, a more untamed stream than the
Wey, not harnessed to any occupation unless angling and pleasure-boating
by stretches, or here and there the turning of a mill. The name has been
taken for a little joke of our ancestors, as denoting the way in which
at one part of its course this river tries a trick of burrowing in hot

        That, like a nousling Mole, doth make
    His way still underground, till Thames he overtake.

But it seems doubtful whether the name of this retiring animal be as old
in English as that of Molesey, the Mole island, where the river enters
the Thames at what is now rather a chain of shady islands, a noted port
of pleasure-boats; and the name Tagg, that has taken such banyan-like
root here, seems also to have a smack of Saxon origin. The Emlyn is the
Mole's old _alias_, which has been connected with a Celtic word for
"mill"; and when we compare the Latin _Mola_ and _Molina_ a more
probable origin of the name may be suggested. But such a derivation also
is scouted by one of the chief pundits of English etymology, who guesses
rather that "Mole has been manufactured by backward inferences out of
Molesey, and that this contains the genitive of a personal
name"--perhaps some Tagg of primitive days.

To its obscure name poets have added such epithets as the "sullen" Mole,
the "soft and gentle" Mole, and the "silent" Mole. The "sulky" Mole
sometimes suggests itself; and the "wild" Mole would be not out of place
in flood time. In its upper course it has ripples and rushes; and as it
pushes through the chalk it may give itself up to the freaks of its
"swallows"; but in general this "wanton nymph" takes a rather tame
career on a flat arena, showing its friskiness chiefly by curving turns,
or by cascades too neat to be natural; often, too, it varies its mood
between weedy shallows and curdling pools; now it seems to sleep under a
crumbling meadow bank; now it tries a run beneath a wooded slope, or
steals out of a vault of trees to be half-buried in "weeds of glorious


feature"; then at last it creeps slowly over the Thames plain, like an
idle scholar who knows what tasks await the end of its holiday
independence. In the final mile or two it makes an attempt at a delta of
two branches, that to the right styled the Ember river.

The Mole justifies its name in seeming shyer than the Wey, keeping
clearer of towns, and being not made familiar to wayfarers by a
tow-path. Much of its stealthy course, indeed, is imprisoned in private
grounds, whose owners may be jealous of angling rights; the Mole has
even been chained and brought into law courts. In following it upwards,
we must often be content to keep near its bed, sometimes only to be
stuck to by ordeals upon muddy banks, in thorny gaps, over barbed wire
fences, or in face of threatening notices to trespassers; and even the
footpaths that lead from church to church, or cut off angles of
high-roads, are seldom so far left to themselves as to follow the
windings of this vagrant river.

If, like the author of "The Farmer's Boy," he would spend--

        One dear delicious day
    On thy wild banks, romantic Mole--

I do not advise my reader to track the river from its mouth through
East Molesey, though the police station here stands near such an
Arcadian feature as a ford across the eastern branch. But behind the
Hurst Park racecourse, opposite Hampton, he may take a road by West
Molesey Church, that, straggling off southwards, soon ends in a fairly
straight footpath, a mile on touching the left bank of the Mole at its
old paper-mills. So far the path may seem not very attractive unless to
lovers or philosophers; but beyond the railway it is enlivened by a
prospect of the grounds of Esher Place on the farther bank. The gateway
of ivied brick, so conspicuous here, is known as "Wolsey's Tower," a
sturdy remnant of the Episcopal residence to which that proud Cardinal
retreated after his disgrace, but found himself so unwell, perhaps from
the dampness of an abode near the river, where "he wanted even the most
ordinary parts of household stuff," that he got leave to remove to
Richmond for a time before being sent northward by the unrelenting king.
The modern mansion has been built higher up, out of the way of floods
and footpath starers.

Behind Esher Place is Sandown racecourse, which also has memories of
ecclesiastical state and of the transitoriness of worldly things that
might serve as a text to its pleasure-seeking frequenters, if they
cared for texts "worth following." This was once the seat of a Priory
and Hospital, whose brethren were all swept away by the Black Death, and
every trace of its buildings has long disappeared. By its enclosure
ascends the high-road, passing near Esher station, almost a mile away
from Esher; but that seems close proximity in this part of the county,
where some places lie twice as far from the stations deceivingly named
after them for want of a nearer title.

From the river bank let us turn up into Esher, on the high ground above
it. If this be styled a village, it is a village of much dignity, beset
by mansions and villas, and looking conscious of courtly patronage, for
at the farther end it has the park of Claremont, residence of more than
one royal family, and now occupied by the widowed Duchess of Albany.
Here died the lamented Princess Charlotte, whose husband afterwards
became the first king of the Belgians. Here ended the eventful life of
Louis Philippe. In the Church, that raises its graceful spire beside the
cross-road leading up from the river, there is a monument to King
Leopold, also a bust of the late Duke of Albany. The old church, by the
main road, was disused more than half a century ago; and the graveyard
of the new one has had time to gather a good show of memorials, among
them the tomb with recumbent effigies erected for himself in his
lifetime by Lord Esher, Master of the Rolls. Samuel Warren, author of
_Ten Thousand a Year_, is also buried here, as may be seen by any
cycling Tittlebat Titmouse. The sisters Jane and Maria Porter lived for
a time at Esher, as did William and Mary Howitt.

But the literary fame of Esher should rest on its identification with
the Highbury of Jane Austen's _Emma_, a matter which I am prepared to
prove against those inconsiderate and presumptuous theorists who vainly
put forward Leatherhead for such honour. The only scrap of evidence they
have is the occurrence of the name "Randalls Park" near Leatherhead. It
is a note of this beloved author--caviare as she may be to the
general--that she did not put herself out of the way in christening her
characters and scenes. Some of the names in _Emma_ seem to have been
suggested to her by tombstones opposite her seat in Chawton Church. At
Esher _Weston Green_ may well have prompted her "Mr. Weston"; and
_Weylands_ would easily become "Hartlands." It might be thought
far-fetched to connect _Sandown_ with "Donwell Abbey," if one did not
know that there is a well of old note beside the racecourse, and that
Sandown was originally a priory. Now for more positive marks of
identity. "Highbury" is in Surrey, and on a hill. The description of the
Donwell grounds (chap, xlii.) exactly fits the banks of the Mole, which
lies a Georgian lady's "twenty minutes' walk" below the place. This is
introduced as being a large village, almost a small town. The market
town (iv.) is Kingston; and Cobham is spoken of as within a walk. It is
sixteen miles from London (_passim_), where Frank Churchill rode to get
his hair cut; nine miles from Richmond (xxxvii.); and seven miles from
Box Hill (xliii.). The only one of these distances that does not quite
suit Esher is the last; but then the mileage would no doubt be minimised
to soothe Mr. Woodhouse's fidgety concern for his horses; and who can
say that they were not to be put up at the "Running Horse" of Mickleham,
a mile or two short of the scene which Mrs. Elton desired to explore?
But Box Hill is only three miles from Leatherhead; and if Frank
Churchill sojourned there, he could surely have had his hair cut at
Dorking, where, for all we know, Mr. Stiggins's grandfather carried on a
barber's business in the High Street. By this demonstration, I claim to
have for ever settled a controversy that has vexed generations of
painful students, and seems to me too lightly passed over in Mr. W. H.
Pollock's book on the "immortal Jane."

Had Miss Burney been the author of _Emma_, she would no doubt have made
loyal mention of Claremont. This is a house with a history, even before
it became a royal demesne. It was originally built by Sir John Vanbrugh,
that playwright and architect of Queen Anne's reign, who had such an
unkind epitaph--

    Lie heavy on him, earth, for he
    Laid many a heavy load on thee!

He sold the place to the Earl of Clare, from whom came the name
Claremont. The improvements begun under this peer were carried out on a
larger scale by the famous Lord Clive, who rebuilt the house and had the
grounds laid out by "Capability Brown" at enormous expense. Macaulay
tells us how Surrey peasants whispered that the wicked lord had the
walls made so thick to keep himself from being carried away by the
devil; and Clive's unhappy death would not go to silence such rumours.
After passing through the hands of successive owners, this classical
mansion was bought by the Crown about a century ago, and has served, as
we saw, to house royal and princely families.

Though blocked up on one side by the Claremont enclosure, Esher has
beautiful country open to it in most directions. The least pleasing
scene is the upward course of the Mole, which recalls a Middlesex stream
as it curves round by the big village of Hersham. It might now be
followed viâ the high-road, the Ripley road of cyclists, that runs by
the park wall, and below a pine-clad knoll on the other side, from which
there is a good view over the river's bends. Here the park ends, and one
may turn off through the woods to the left, among which lies hidden the
Black Pond, a characteristic specimen of Surrey "lochans." About the
road and eastward to the direct Guildford line, there opens some two
miles breadth of woods and heaths, through which one may stray at will,
Esher Common, Abrook Common, Oxshott Heath, and Fair Mile Common, all
running into each other, with the park cut out of their expanse at the
north end. Among the winding tracks and swelling pine banks of this fine
wilderness it is easy to get lost, but the road and the railway on
either hand will keep the wanderer not far out of his way for Cobham,
the next place on the Mole, whereabouts Pepys, travelling south, went
astray for two or three hours, before these roads were so well equipped
with guide-posts.

Cobham is a two-fold, indeed, a three-fold place: Street Cobham, on the
road, as its name denotes, and Church Cobham, a mile or so east, towards
the railway station of this name, that lies a mile beyond, where the
village has broken out afresh in our time. The road takes us over the
bridge of the Mole, successor of one said to have been originally built
by Queen Maud, when one of her maids was drowned in crossing the ford,
"for the repose of her soul," which probably implies a chapel at the
bridge end, taking toll of Christian charity. To the left-hand side of
the road, near the bridge, is Pains Hill Cottage, where Matthew Arnold
spent his last years; there is a brass to him in Cobham Church. On the
farther bank the road mounts by Pains Hill, a demesne once celebrated
for its grounds, laid out in the landscape garden style of such
"improvements" as delighted the Mrs. Eltons of Jane Austen's day. But
this is not our road, for the Mole now takes a curving course east to
west, and to keep near it we must turn aside for Church Cobham. Here it
comes nearest to the Wey, at Pains Hill there


being only a mile or so between the crooks of the two rivers.

Cobham Park now stands in the way of our tracking the Mole's meanders
freely. From near Cobham station I have held the bank round a great loop
to the south, and along that mill-pond opening which makes such a show
from the railway; but, to tell the truth, this vagary is hardly worth
trespassing for. Anglers are understood to be well off for time and
temper; but the pedestrian will save both by keeping on the road across
the railway, which takes him down to Stoke D'Abernon Church and
manor-house, forming a picturesque group by the riverside. The relics of
this church are of no small interest, for besides its Vincent and
Norbury tombs, it contains what is believed to be the oldest brass in
England, to Sir John D'Abernon (1277), and another to his son (1327),
with some old glass as well as modern memorial windows. From the
station, shared between Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon, or from Oxshott, the
next one towards London, we might make for D'Abernon Chase, only one
name in a long stretch of woods and commons lying between the railway
and the Kingston-Leatherhead road, across which are gained the slopes of
Ashstead and Epsom Commons. But alas! in the heart of these woodlands
Pachesham Park is turned into a golf ground, about which bristle
warnings to trespassers, beside placards of "magnificent building
plots." Anyhow, this would be a divagation from the valley of the Mole,
on either side of which a road, made devious by its bends, goes round
about to Leatherhead.

A little beyond Stoke D'Abernon Church, one of these roads crosses the
river, presently on its banks coming by another of Surrey's antiquities,
Slyfield manor-house, now a farm, notable for its carved staircase and
fine ceilings and panelling. The road goes on southwards, swerving east
over Great Bookham Common for Leatherhead. The Mole for its part makes
another provoking loop to the north. I have nothing to say against the
road, a very pleasant one as roads go. But the pedestrian may now take a
_via media_ across country by turning down the left bank of the river
beside Slyfield, and presently bearing off right across fields, on a
mounting path that leads pretty straight into a lane, growing into a
road before it passes under the Leatherhead-Guildford line, which points
straight to Leatherhead. From the road bending in this direction, one
can gain the town along the bank of a mill-pond that might claim rank as
a lake; or holding on to the embankment of the Brighton line, one there
finds a path leading by a cricket-field up the course of the Mole.

But it would be a pity not to turn aside into the ancient town of
Leatherhead, displayed in full to wayfarers from Epsom to Guildford, its
chief thoroughfare guiding them to the bridge at which stands the old
"Running Horse." This is taken to be the very tavern which Skelton,
Henry VIII.'s learned tutor and doggerel poet, hoarsely sang of as
keeping an open door--

    To travellers, to tinkers,
    To sweaters, to swinkers,
    And all good ale drinkers.

But Skelton's hostess is more than once said to dwell "on a hill" beside
Leatherhead, and so to describe the riverside situation of this house
seems a license not to be granted even by poetic sessions. A little way
down the stream the cyclist might wash off his dust in a mill turned
into a quaint swimming-bath. Leatherhead has fewer signs of antiquity
than of prosperity, surrounded as it is by large houses, one of them St.
John's School for the sons of the clergy, a former headmaster of which
had a son of his own known to novel readers as "Anthony Hope." The two
stations are close together on the east side of the town, where a path
leads down the bank of the Mole. On the other side is the Church, a
mainly fourteenth-century one, with some noticeable coloured glass,
lying beneath the yew-dappled slopes of Leatherhead Downs, which we
shall presently come to by the Roman Road across them.

The high-road to Dorking goes out under the Church, to hold up the Mole
valley. But the traveller not bound, Ixion-like, to a wheel, should by
all means leave it by a lane just beyond the town, crossing the Mole and
striking into the path above mentioned as turning off the Guildford road
beside the railway. This path takes him near the river for a couple of
miles, by the lower edge of Norbury Park, between its heights and those
of Leatherhead Downs, a valley that becomes the finest stretch of the
Mole's scenery about Mickleham, judged by some the fairest spot in

Here, too, come the renowned "Swallows" of the Mole, with which its name
was rashly connected. This phenomenon is so much insisted on by old
writers that one must take it to have been more frequent and on a larger
scale in former days. Camden speaks of the river as disappearing for two
miles near Mickleham so completely that flocks of sheep could feed over
it. In our time it sinks only at points, or is reduced to a chain of
pools, after a continuance of dry weather, its current being swallowed
up in subterranean recesses, as happens notably in Derbyshire, and most
markedly in the Karst region of Austria, taken as the typical stage for
this freak performance of nature. An eminent geologist tells us how the
chasm which lets the Mole through the Downs is honeycombed beneath by a
mixture of broken masses of chalk, interspersed with looser drifts. "The
Swallows are evidently nothing more than the gullies which lead to the
fissures and channels in the chalk rock beneath. When the supply of
water in the river is copious, these hollows will be filled from above
faster than the water is discharged below, and the phenomenon
disappears. But when the quantity sent down by the river is small, the
subterranean channels drain off the water, and the bed of the river is
left dry."

Above the pretty village of Mickleham comes the most glorious _bouquet_
of the Mole, where it makes a grand curve below an amphitheatre of
woods, shown from the railway in a tantalising glimpse. The lofty and
leafy bank to the west is one face of Norbury Park, that so well
displays its noble timber on slopes both gentle and abrupt. Its most
celebrated feature is the "Druids' Grove" of yews, thus described by Mr.
L. Jennings:--

     The Druids' walk is long and narrow, with a declivity, in some
     places rather steep, to the left hand, and rising ground to the
     right, all densely covered with trees. The yew begins to make its
     appearance soon after the little gate is passed, like the
     advance-guard of an army. In certain spots it seems to have
     successfully driven out all other trees. As the path descends the
     shadows deepen, and you arrive at a spot where a mass of yews of
     great size and vast age stretch up the hill, and beyond to the left
     as far as the eye can penetrate through the obscurity. The trees in
     their long and slow growth have assumed many wild forms, and the
     visitor who stands there towards evening, and peers into that
     sombre grove, will sometimes yield to the spell which the scene is
     sure to exercise on imaginative natures--he will half fancy that
     these ghostly trees are conscious creatures, and that they have
     marked with mingled pity and scorn the long processions of mankind
     come and go like the insects of a day, through the centuries during
     which they have been stretching out their distorted limbs nearer
     and nearer to each other. Thick fibrous shoots spring out from
     their trunks, awakening in the memory long-forgotten stories of
     huge hairy giants, enemies of mankind, even as the "double-fatal
     yew" itself was supposed to be in other days. The bark stands in
     distinct layers, the outer ridges mouldering away, like the
     fragments of a wall of some ruined castle. The tops are fresh and
     green, but all below in that sunless recess seems dead. At the foot
     of the deepest part of the grove there is a seat beneath a stern
     old king of the wood, but the _genius loci_ seems to warn the
     intruder to depart--ancient superstitions are rekindled, and the
     haggard trees themselves seem to threaten that from a sleep beneath
     the "baleful yew" the weary mortal will wake no more.

Norbury, like other Surrey parks, had once a special renown also for
walnut trees, among which an eighteenth-century owner saw reason to make
havoc. At the end of that century the place belonged to Mr. W. Lock,
friend and patron of famous artists, by whom the famous "picture room"
had its walls and ceiling disguised with fictitious landscape scenes.
This paradise is not accessible without permission; but there are rights
of way through the park that open some of its sylvan treasures. One, as
we have seen, leads above the Mole from Leatherhead. Another from the
lodge and bridge at Mickleham runs up the slopes, in front of the house,
and through a wood to the hollow below Fetcham Scrubbs, a down on which
one can hold south by a path, becoming a road as it passes Polesden
Lacy, then beyond winding as a leafy lane on to the thickets and swards
of Ranmore Common.

But this beautiful digression would take one out of sight of the Mole
and its wide prospects. Fortunate is he who from the brow of Norbury
Park can with conscience clear of trespassing look down upon the Mole
valley, now ringed in by the richest heights of Surrey--Ranmore, the
outskirts of Leith Hill, the woods of Deepdene, Box Hill, and Juniper
Hill, among which the river has cleft its way through the ridge of the
Downs. Box, juniper, and yew all flourish on the chalk soil; and the
lordly parks on these hillsides have fostered a profusion of beeches,
chestnuts, cedars, and rarer timber that in the flush of spring or the
gorgeous decay of autumn hang like rich tapestry round the green
meadows, through which the straight line of the railway makes a chord
for the arcs of the river.

The highway leads along the east side of the valley, passing the hollow
between Juniper Hill and Box Hill, for which latter goes off a winding
road, but on foot it is more directly gained by the arduous path behind
the Burford Bridge Hotel. Just outside of Mickleham a path turns to the
right which would take one through the Fredley meadows, across the Mole,
and on to West Humble, where is the Box Hill station of the Brighton
line. On a slope near this station is conspicuous the long front of
Camilla Lacey, a house that hangs by a tale, for it grew out of Camilla
Cottage, built from the proceeds of Miss Burney's _Camilla_, the most
lucrative of her novels in its day, though not so well remembered as
_Evelina_. By this time she had married M. D'Arblay, one of a colony of
French _émigrés_ belonging to the constitutional


party, who from the excesses of their Revolution found refuge at Juniper
Hall, on the other side of the valley.

Juniper Hall, behind its grand cedars, stands back from the high-road a
short mile beyond Mickleham. It lies in the hollow, so as to have been
nicknamed Juniper _Hole_ by the lively novelist, and must not be
confused with the mansion of Juniper Hill above Mickleham. The Hall in
1792 was let to a party of refugee nobles, who had such distinguished
guests as Talleyrand and Madame de Staël, the latter making here what
she calls a "delicious sojourn." The Locks of Norbury Park were kind to
those exiles; and so, as she could, was Fanny Burney's sister, Mrs.
Phillips, then occupying a cottage at Mickleham. Fanny became intimate
with her sister's friends, especially with the handsome General
D'Arblay, with whom she exchanged lessons in their respective languages;
then soon it came to exchanging the speech of the eyes. Dr. Burney was
against the engagement from prudential considerations; but he did not
play the stern father after the young couple, without his presence, had
got married in Mickleham Church. Their only fixed income was the pension
of a hundred pounds given by Queen Charlotte to her ex-slave. She now
set about writing _Camilla_, which was so well subscribed for, that
after living in a small cottage at Bookham the ingenious husband could
build one for himself in the Mole valley. But here they spent only a few
years of happiness. After the peace of Amiens General D'Arblay went back
to France, where his wife had her turn of exile when the war broke out

This nook of Surrey is rich in literary associations. Polesden Lacy, on
the heights behind Camilla Lacey, was at one time occupied by Sheridan,
as Dorking tradesmen had sore reason to know. Dr. Aikin and Mrs.
Barbauld of _Evenings at Home_ stayed at Dorking for a season. At his
house in the Fredley meadows "Conversation Sharpe" was often visited by
writers and thinkers like Francis Homer and Sir James Mackintosh, who
from his Indian exile looked back fondly on what he called the "Happy
Valley." The two Mills, James and John, were also familiar with
Mickleham as a summer retreat; during half the year they went down by
coach for week ends; and it seems odd to find the zealous utilitarian
writing in 1836 how the railway is not yet decided on, "but we are still
in danger." Sharpe's house was afterwards occupied by the popular poet
Charles Mackay, father by adoption of the successful novelist Miss
Marie Corelli. Among many illustrious guests of the "Hare and Hounds" at
Burford Bridge have been Nelson and Hazlitt; and here Keats finished his
_Endymion_, perhaps getting a hint or two from "thorny-green
entanglement of underwood" on Box Hill, when "the good-night blush of
eve was waning slow." I am much mistaken if William Black also had not
at one time the chance of making copy from such fine scenery. Matthew
Arnold spent more than one summer at West Humble, where he mentions the
Miss Thackerays as rusticating near him, also Herman Merivale, who "says
it is the most enchanting country in England, and I am not sure but he
is right"; only this critical poet, though privileged to fish in Wotton
Park, is found sighing for stonier streams than the quiet Mole, which
here indeed seems the antipodes of lakeland _ghylls_ and _forces_. Grant
Allen tenanted "The Nook" near Dorking, when he helped to bring up out
of long neglect by the reading public the name of his neighbour, Mr.
George Meredith, who then lived at Burford Bridge, beneath the Downs he
has described so lovingly,--"springy turf bordered on a long line, clear
as a racecourse, by golden gorse covers, and leftward over the gorse
the dark ridge of the fir and heath country ran companionably to the
south-west, the valley between, with undulations of wood and meadow
sunned or shaded, clumps, mounds, promontories, away to broad spaces of
tillage banked by wooded hills, and dimmer beyond, and farther the
faintest shadowiness of heights, as a veil to the illimitable."

That view was over the Holmesdale Valley, into which we are coming round
a corner of the Downs. To this part of the Mole's basin we shall return
in tracking the Pilgrims' Way and the Roman Road, that crossed each
other between Mickleham and Dorking. The Mole does not touch Dorking,
but turns towards Box Hill, its old name White Hill, which has been
somewhat denuded of box trees since the days when it made a favourite
excursion for Epsom Spa visitors and for picnic parties from so far off
as Emma's "Highbury." But it is a grandly wooded face under which the
river crosses the Holmesdale Valley, on the other side winding round the
avenues of Betchworth Park, where stand the so-called castle ruins that
represent rather a tumble-down mansion. Above the park it passes by the
trim village green of Brockham, then opposite a huge chalk scar on the
Downs crooks up the valley to Betchworth Church, at the east end of
which is buried Captain Morris, that convivial lyrist of "the sweet
shady side of Pall Mall," who died near Brockham at the good old age of
ninety-four, and the interior has a memorial to another unforgotten
neighbour, Sir Benjamin Brodie, the surgeon.

One might now expect the Mole to be found running down the Holmesdale
Valley, between the chalk and the greensand; but it seems seldom this
river's way to do what might be expected of it. Over a dip in the sand
heights, it comes from the south, draining the wet Wealden clays beyond,
where it is fed by more tributaries than there are forks of the
Missouri. The main stream passes by Horley, and between the two arms of
the Brighton road. But all the peaceful expanse of meadows, fields and
woods stretching westward to the Horsham road, is seamed by its
branching brooks, one of the largest the Deanoak, a name recalling the
fame of this soil for oaks.

Among the vagaries of these modest streams, roads almost as crooked, or
reaches of green path, would take us to secluded villages lying within a
square of a few miles--Leigh (the way to which must be asked for as
_Lie_, as Flanchford Bridge near it is Flanchet in the vernacular),
sought out for its church brasses and weathered mansions come down to
farmhouses, one of them in tradition a haunt of Ben Jonson--Charlwood,
with its fine old church, distinguished by a noble screen and decayed
frescoes--Newdigate, so "far from the madding crowd"--Capel, that has
not so much to show, unless the adjacent station of Ockley, where under
the face of Leith Hill we get into oftener sought scenes. All this edge
of the county makes a pleasant rambling ground, with many picturesque
spots that lie out of the way of guide-books. Were we bent on tracking
up the various head-waters of the Mole, we must follow them over into
Sussex, what seems the most direct stream trickling north near Three
Bridges station, and the longest affluent rising in St. Leonard's
Forest, not far from Horsham.



Among Surrey's manifold roads, the _doyen_ is one now little traversed
by the whirligigs of time, but of immemorial antiquity and mediæval
fame. This is believed to be part of a British trackway stretching from
Kent to Cornwall, perhaps the road by which the metals of the west were
forwarded towards distant lands, where ancient bronze implements have
been unearthed thousands of miles from a tin mine. It is said that
ingots of tin have turned up on the eastern stretches of this way.
Tradition traces it at least from the straits of Calais to Stonehenge,
that Canterbury of heathendom reared on a plain which, as the Pamirs
knot together the great Asian mountain chains, is meeting-place of
several chalk ridges, offering natural roads above the marshy and jungly
bottoms. The road indeed may be older than Stonehenge, that might rise
upon it, as churches and chapels came to be built along a section of it
revived by Christian devotion. When its western end fell out of use,
lost in wanderings across wide downs, the eastern stretch seems to have
taken a new lease by throwing out a branch south, so as to join
Winchester and Canterbury, respectively capitals of the throne and the
altar in early Norman England.

Mr. H. Belloc, in his sumptuous volume, _The Old Road_, insists on the
inevitable importance of these cities, each a fixed point of repair
behind a group of bad ports, for one or other of which the seafarer must
make as wind and tide served him to come to land about the Isle of
Thanet or in the Solent. Each of the two cities stands up a river, where
the tide formerly flowed higher than it does now, and anyhow is within
easy reach of the open sea, while not too open to piratical attack, a
situation paralleled in the case of Exeter and Norwich, Rouen and Caen,
Lima and New York, Canton and Calcutta, not to mention a hundred other
instances. The curved road passing along the Downs between these
prosperous cities would have no lack of traffic; then, when Winchester
ceased to be a royal abode, the murder of


Thomas à Becket consecrated Canterbury as a famous shrine, that for
centuries drew devotees and idlers from the Continent, as well as from
all over England. Many of these would be our erstwhile fellow-subjects
in Western France, who conveniently landed at or about Southampton. By
their feet was beaten hard the track now broken to the eye, but well
preserved in memory as the "Pilgrims' Way." There would also be a stream
of pilgrimage in the other direction, to the watery halo of Winchester's
older St. Swithin; and foreigners who had trusted themselves in our
island might well make assurance doubly sure by visiting two "ferne
hallowes" whilst in the way with them, all such spiritual spas being
held good for the soul's health.

At each end this road finishes in a river valley, where the pilgrims had
their goal clear before them, and might halt, giving way to such a
passion of penitent devotion as moved the Crusaders at the first sight
of Jerusalem. But most of their track passes along the face of the
Downs, commonly keeping on the sunny and dry south side, and some little
way above the bottom, into which it may drop to seek a ford or other
convenience, or again, with less apparent reason, ascends to the top,
even crossing here and there to the other side. From shrine to shrine
which were its stations, but avoiding the worldliness of towns, it may
be traced with more or less clearness, as has been lovingly done by Mr.
Belloc and Mrs. Ady, and in less minute fashion by the reader's humble
servant. Sometimes it is disguised as a modern road or absorbed in a
park; sometimes its exact course is matter of conjecture or controversy;
but short and long reaches of it are still plainly marked, thanks to the
chalk, that has been easily trodden into half-natural terraces seldom
inviting the plough on their steep contours. Often it is bordered by
hedges of ancient yews, which, thriving on this chalk soil, seem
associated with pilgrimage memories in their local _alias_ of "palms,"
probably _palmer's tree_, a name grown so familiar that branches of yew
are, or were, used in the county for Palm-Sunday decorations. There are
fruit trees, also, growing wildly beside it, that may have sprung up
from stones thrown away by mediæval pilgrims on their thirsty march.
Another relic of them, in popular prejudice, is the large edible snail
_Helix pomatia_, found on this line, said to have been introduced by
French pilgrims, but more credibly attributed to a modern experiment at

It was not only in fine weather that folk longed to go on pilgrimage.
The day of St. Thomas's martyrdom fell at the very end of December, when
the gloom of our climate must have made a pious mortification to the
spirit, like peas in a pilgrim's shoes. But we know how the carnal man
was moved to such jaunts rather--

    When Zephyrus eke with his swoote breath
    Inspired hath in every holt and heath
    The tender crops.

Later on, the chief celebration was the Feast of the Translation in
July, when came the largest gatherings about the saint's tomb--100,000
on one Jubilee occasion, it is said--while at all seasons there would be
bands of impatient or belated pilgrims passing to and fro on their
soul-saving or time-killing errand. Of no austere mood for the most part
were these wayfarers, who went along with singing, revelry, and the
telling of tales, less or more edifying; sometimes with roisterings that
won them an ill name among scandalised rustics, always apt to be
attended by a camp following of pedlars, minstrels, beggars, and knavish
tramps. Pilgrimage was the tourist travel of the Middle Ages, undertaken
with an eye to making the best of both worlds, to seeing life as well as
preparing for death. One who set out for Rome got to be called a
_roamer_, as a _saunterer_ took his name from the _sainte terre_; then
both these adventurers came to bear not the best of characters in the
quiet countrysides through which they might spread plague and pox, as do
the votaries of Juggernaut or Benares at this day. That very fleshly
personage the Wife of Bath had been thrice so far as Jerusalem; and
among her companions to Canterbury were such as could be styled
"Epicurus' own son," or "a good fellow"; one who had no concern about
"nice conscience," and another whose "study was but little on the
Bible," besides rascally parasites of the Church. Chaucer's company, of
course, came from London by Watling Street, while this southern road
would be the way from the west country, as well as for numerous troops
landing at Southampton from France. But, indeed, the fame of St. Thomas
shone far over Latin Christendom, in days when British pilgrims crossed
the sea to the Spanish shrine of St. James at Compostella.

From Winchester to Farnham, the Pilgrims' Way runs through Hants in the
valleys of the Itchen and the Wey, and seems roughly represented by the
present high-road. Let us take it up where it enters Surrey, soon
reaching the long main street of Farnham, in which the "Bush" and the
"Lion and Lamb" make halting-places for modern pilgrims to Winchester.
At a humbler inn some way outside of the town I have found the Pilgrims'
Way quite an unknown name, mention of it being received with blank
stares, and on the part of one elderly rustic with muttered comment on
persons that "come poll-prying after other people's business." Yet it is
to be seen from that house, and can be followed in a pretty straight
line all along the side of the Hog's Back.

Between Farnham and Guildford rises this block of Downs, which Polonius
might well have judged "very like a whale," a bold eight-mile ridge of
sand crowned by chalk, along whose top, 400 to 500 feet high, goes an
airy high-road dear to cyclists and pedestrians once they have mounted
the long or steep ascents at either end. Taking the high-road from
Farnham, just beyond the second milestone one finds a byroad forking on
the right below the house called Whiteway's End and the conspicuous red
mansion of Downs End, on the butt of the bare ridge here dropping to the
hop-fields beneath. This lower road, running level beside the fir-woods
that swell up towards Crooksbury Hill, seems to have been the pilgrims'
beaten track, indicated to our generation by a post-office box at the
corner where it leaves the present highway. There is no need to quarrel
with the supposition that some troops may have chosen the higher road
along the top of the Hog's Back. I would have it understood as not my
purpose to enter upon byways of controversy, but merely to lead the
reader along the general line taken by the pilgrims, perhaps turning
aside here and there for the sake of a better view.

The Pilgrims' Way keeps down upon the sand, passing by the villages that
edge a sweep of woods, parks, and commons gently sloping to the
meandering Wey; and at several points one can mount steeply to the
high-road on the chine, where telegraph posts are more apparent than
houses. On the lower level this reach of the Way goes by or near three
parish churches. The first of these is Seale, prettily perched in a
wooded hollow beside the Hog's Back, about a mile on. The next mile or
so is marked by the manor of Shoelands, its name interpreted as taken
from the _shoolers_ or beggars that beset pious wayfarers, to whom
indiscriminate charity counted as a means of salvation. Then another
mile brings us to Puttenham, with its much restored Norman church. At
the lower edge of a wood above, by which a lane goes up to a white
lodge in the high-road, open some remarkable sand caves, believed to
extend as a labyrinth of secret passages under the chalk, now inhabited
by bats, as once by smugglers and outlaws like that Wild Man of
Puttenham that makes such a grim appearance in Sir A. Conan Doyle's
local romance; but at present the only peril here seems to be from golf
balls shot across the heath, where a flagstaff on a tumulus beacons our
way onwards.

We have now taken leave of the hop poles that, as we came from Farnham,
showed dwindling patches of gault beside the chalk. The sandy lane by
which we reached Puttenham is an undoubted part of the Way, that passes
half a mile to the north of the next church, being indeed far older than
parishes or churches, which, however, might well be built on such a
frequented thoroughfare. This church of Compton, older than À Becket's
martyrdom, is to archæologists one of the most interesting in the county
through its puzzling peculiarities, notably the two-storied chancel,
with a screen or arcade thought to be the oldest piece of woodwork in
England. The situation is pretty, and the village worth a ramble among
its bits of weather-worn antiquity. Such were the attractions that have
always brought a sprinkling of visitors to Compton, now endowed with a
new group of rare sights that on a fine summer day fill its byroads with
cycles and vehicles. On the pilgrims' track, the late G. F. Watts, R.A.,
made for himself a home named Limnerslease, and beside it set up
Artistic Pottery works, with a hostel for the youths trained here, in no
mere commercial spirit. In the same block of buildings, shortly before
his death, he opened a Gallery containing many of his most important
works, and a remarkable show of portraits, shut Thursday, free on three
days in the week, a small fee being charged on the others: this
exhibition is to be kept up as a monument of the artist who thus
illustrated such a pleasant spot. A little farther down the road is the
new village cemetery, which he enriched with a mortuary chapel,
decorated mainly, it is understood, by the handiwork of Mrs. Watts. This
structure, so prominent on a green knoll, is externally notable for its
terra-cotta mouldings, and inside it glows with colour in relief, the
walls being covered with figures, making a show of symbolic art such as
no other village in England can boast.

The wanderer who here ascends the ridge has the choice of coming down to
Guildford either by


the steep old road past the cemetery, or by the more winding gradients
of the new turnpike to the left. He who has descended as far as Compton
Church may hold on by a pleasant path through Loseley Park and past the
gabled house lying about half a mile south of the pilgrims' course. This
Elizabethan seat of the More family is, Sutton Place excepted, the
noblest mansion in Surrey, even in its incompleted state; and its hall,
the carvings of the drawing-room, its collection of valuable manuscripts
and royal portraits, its moated terrace, its mullioned windows, yew
hedges, pigeon-houses, and other old-time features, have their due fame
in guide-books and photographs. The house had a romance told in letters
preserved here, relating the secret love and marriage of its daughter
and the poet Donne. Such a connoisseur in ghosts as the late Mr.
Augustus Hare assures us that Loseley keeps no less than three of
them,--"a green-coated hunter, a sallow lady, and a warrior in plate
armour," of whom the last ought surely to feel himself rather an
anachronism, yet he once appeared most inconsiderately to scare "the
kitchen-maid as she was drawing some beer in the cellar."

From the footpath through Loseley Park one must mount a little to
regain the Pilgrims' Way before it passes along a bold bluff overlooking
the valley of the river, that now runs north into Guildford through a
gap in the Downs. This height bears up the sturdy ruin of St.
Catherine's Chapel, which, built early in the fourteenth century, became
a main station of the pilgrimage. Here, as at Shalford on the opposite
bank, and at other points along their route, was the scene of a great
fair, gathering together the parasites of these idle and not always
impecunious travellers. General James, in his _Notes on the Pilgrims'
Way_, has suggested with some show of reason that Bunyan here got hints
for his great work, such Vanity Fairs being kept up long after that
earlier pilgrim's progress had become a memory. It is believed that the
inspired tinker found a refuge both at Guildford and at Shalford, where
low marshy ground might well have been a "Slough of Despond"; and the
actual name "Dowding (Doubting?) Castle" appears on the map of Surrey
about a mile south of Tadworth. As for Delectable Hills, there is no
want of them in the prospect from St. Catherine's, where we see the
course of our route leading by St. Martha's Chapel up the Tillingbourne
valley, between the bold chalk slopes and the broken crests of the sand
ridge to the south.

Some question arises as to the next stage of the Way. The original road
would naturally have turned up to Shalford, the _Shallow ford_, whose
church spire, village stocks, and picturesque old mill invite wayfarers
of this generation to a slight diversion. But the convenience of a ferry
almost opposite St. Catherine's must have straightened out the pilgrims'
track, that from this ferry runs on over a park sward, then across the
high-road up to an avenue under whose shade path, lane, and overgrown
roadway go side by side. It is necessary to insist on these details, as
here for a space the track does not as usual cling to the side of the
chalk range. Its line is continued by a lane along the north side of a
wooded ridge called the Chantries, till it reaches an opening of broken
knolls, among which one might go wrong. But after falling into the path
over the Downs from Guildford, and crossing a sandy descending lane, one
should look out on the left for a marked "Bridle road to Albury," which
leads straight up by St. Martha's Chapel.

This chapel, such a prominent landmark on a 500 feet swell of heath and
copse, seems to have had its name corrupted from "Martyrs' Hill,"
perhaps from _Sancti Martyris_, and to be really a shrine of St. Thomas,
which would claim the special devotion of his votaries. The date of its
building is unknown, but it contains an ancient coffin lid, supposed to
be that of Cardinal Stephen Langton. At Tyting Farm below is an oratory
of the twelfth or thirteenth century, taken to have been the residence
of the priest in charge. The chapel itself, after long standing in
ruins, was restored in the middle of last century, and Sunday services
are held here. The week-day pilgrim will halt to enjoy the prospect of
the Tillingbourne valley before him, edged to his left by the Downs,
which a little way farther on have their famous view-point at Newlands
Corner, said to be named from Abraham Newland, the most popular author
of England in his time, as signing the Bank of England notes, then made
at Chilworth in the valley below St. Martha's, as Cobbett indignantly
records. The Bank-note factory has gone; but still stand here the
gunpowder mills which also excited Cobbett's wrath; and here too was a
well-known printing establishment, ruined by a fire. On the south side
of St. Martha's the view ranges over a hollow filled with commons,
woods, and lakelets, like the Mere at Great Tangley, a timbered
manor-house which tradition makes one of King John's many
hunting-lodges. Beyond this valley bristling heights run westward till
they rise to the conspicuous point of Ewhurst Windmill, between which
and St. Martha's might be steered a six or seven miles' course over one
of the wildest and most lovely tracts in Surrey.

Here indeed a conscientious guide must hesitate how to counsel the
pilgrim of the picturesque as to his progress among an embarrassment of
scenic riches. There is hardly such another walk in England as that
dozen miles or so along the top of the Downs between Guildford and
Dorking. From St. Martha's Hill, one ascends to the stretch named the
Roughs, a beautiful wilderness of beeches, yews, thorns, holly and other
chalk-loving copsewood tangled in bracken and bramble. On the further
side of this ridge there is a straight way up from Clandon station,
coming out at Newlands Corner (567 feet). Thence, keeping eastwards
along the wooded edge, one might in a mile or so drop down again into
the valley by a deep coombe leading to Shere. But all along one can hold
on by what is often a broad turf-way set in woods, with tracks going off
south to the Tillingbourne villages and the Dorking line, north to the
stations of the railway between Guildford and Leatherhead, each of them
base for rare rambles. One has only to keep the crest of the ridge,
taking the successive names of Netley Heath, Hackhurst Downs, and White
Downs, till the way opens out on the expanse of Ranmore Common,
stretching over the end of this block of the Downs above the gap made by
the Mole. Here, by Denbies Park, there is a charming descent to Dorking;
or northwards one finds a network of grassy and leafy lanes leading
across the ridge towards Leatherhead. But ridge has ceased to be the
fittest term for a table-land of chalk opening out beyond Guildford to a
belt several miles broad, dotted here and there by islands of other
formation, and often roughened by patches of the wildest ground within a
couple of hours' walk of London tramway lines. As to the rutted
sward-way along the Downs, usually a little back from the edge, its
merit is romantic loneliness, hardly a house coming to view between
Newlands Corner and Ranmore Common, where the crash of a woodman's axe
may recall American backwoods; but it has the defect of a want of
prospects, shut out by lush greenery that suggests a valley rather than
a height of several hundred feet.

The pilgrims of old days seldom took more trouble than they could help,
and their way lay below, near the foot of the Downs, where, after
Chilworth, Albury is the next village in the Tillingbourne valley. There
is much to be said, and something to be seen, at this old _bury_ on the
heath, to the south of which is the site of an ancient camp occupied by
the Romans. The Way, after running along the north of a wooded swell in
the valley, on the other side of which lies the village, enters Albury
Park at an ornate pinnacled fane popularly known as the Irvingite
Cathedral. For Albury was the cradle of the sect known to itself as the
Catholic Apostolic Church, of which the eloquent enthusiast Edward
Irving was not the only or the chief begetter. That distinction rather
belonged to Henry Drummond, banker, squire, and Tory M.P., a curious
amalgam of business ability and fanatical fancies. At his Albury mansion
he was in the way of gathering like-minded friends for study of the
Scriptures, and among them, by much brooding over the prophecies, was
hatched the new communion that claimed to be a return to gifts and hopes
of the Primitive Church. The parson of Albury in those days was the Rev.
Hugh McNeile, afterwards well known at Liverpool as a champion of sound
Evangelical teaching, who sympathised with the early efforts of the
movement, but withdrew from it when it began to take shape apart from
the Church as by law established; and poor Irving was deposed by his own
Presbyterian Church, while he fell into some suspicion even among his
brother sectaries. Through the marriage of his daughter, Drummond came
to be represented by the Duke of Northumberland, a family that inherited
his part as patron of the body, gathering humbler adherents in a
neighbourhood where Cobbett had found fault with the number of its
"meeting-houses" and the proportion of its people gone crazy through
religion. The elaborate services of the "Cathedral" are said to be still
well attended. The parish church, near the mansion, was turned into a
mortuary chapel and mausoleum by Mr. Drummond, who built a new one on a
site more convenient for the village, itself mainly transplanted by him
to a site more aloof from his house. Through the groves of the park,
past the house, with its famous yew hedge, terrace, and the gardens,
originally laid out by John Evelyn, ran the Pilgrims' track, here losing
its common character as a lonely hillside lane.


Another notable resident of Albury was Martin Tupper, that once
widely-read proverbial philosopher whose fame enacted the tragi-comedy
of the rocket and the stick. His name hardly got fair-play in a
generation when to sneer at it became a commonplace with every
criticaster, a kind of gentry apt to follow Mr. Pickwick's advice as to
shouting with the crowd. But to this much-bleating rhymester, thus shorn
of his glory, the wind of criticism was tempered by most robust
self-applause, as amusingly appears in his literary memoirs, illustrated
by rills of the torrents of prose and verse flowing from a truly
fountain pen. Some of his verses, indeed, as John Bull's address to
Jonathan, deserve not to be forgotten; and, while he had no patience
with his neighbours the Irvingites, he is always warmly on the side of
Protestantism, patriotism, and heart-of-oak sentiments. He claims, with
reason, to have been a precursor of the volunteer movement, not only by
his dithyrambic tootlings but by the practical foundation of an Albury
rifle club. He especially "fancied himself" as trumpeter of this
Holmesdale Valley and its history, as set forth in his romance, _Stephen
Langton_; and he was the _vates sacer_ of Albury's "Silent Pool," as he
christened the Sherbourne Pond of rustics, haunted by the spirit of a
bathing maiden to whom King John played Actæon, with the effect of
drowning that scared Diana.

This deep chalk basin of crystal water prettily set in a wooded dingle
is now one of the lions of the place, yet so secluded that many seekers
pass it by unseen. It lies at the foot of the Downs beside Sherbourne
Farm, to the left of the road coming down from Newlands Corner and
forking on the right for the Irvingite Church; just short of the fork a
lane turns left to a cottage where the key of the enclosure may be had.
It has been lately stated in the newspapers that the Silent Pool was
being sucked dry by water-works on the Downs; but since then I found it
deep and clear and cool as ever. Can it be that all we read in
newspapers is not always true?

Past the Silent Pool, the road leads between the Downs and Albury Park
to beautiful Shere, with its lime-tree avenue, its quaint cottages,
whose gables, brackets, and barge-boards make such tempting "bits" for
the sketcher, its good old "White Horse" inn, and its picturesque church
on the bank of the Tillingbourne, which offers here the unusual village
luxury of a small swimming-bath. This village is associated with
memories of the county historian, Bray, and of Grote, the more famous
historian of Greece. Its charming environs have been so attractive to
artists that a "Shere School" is noted among them. There is a house
hereabouts that made the home of three R.A.'s successively. Vicat Cole
was one of the early discoverers, also Mr. B. W. Leader, who still lives
at Burrows' Cross a little way towards the sand ridge.

A short mile on from Shere is Gomshall, whose "Black Horse" stands close
to the station for both villages, as for the more distant charms of
Abinger and Holmbury St. Mary. From the Tillingbourne, here harnessed to
industry, also giving a subject to art in an often-painted mill, the
Pilgrims' Way now mounted on to the Downs, looking across to the park of
Wotton and the sloping woodlands of Leith Hill. I have usually left the
reader to imagine for himself the views from these heights; but here I
may quote the description by that expert Mr. Baddeley, which figures in
more than one guide-book.

     Take the lane going off from the mill (near the _Black Horse_) up
     the hill. When the lane expands take path on left through the wood
     to a field with path going right up its steep incline. At top of
     field, before again entering the woods, a superb view eastward is
     obtained. Through a gap in the hills, between Box Hill and
     Deepdene, we look far away over the Weald of Kent. The crowning
     height of Leith Hill with its tower lies south-east, then the eye
     ranges over the valley between the Chalk and Greensand ranges to
     Holmbury and Ewhurst Mill. The South Downs appear in the blue
     distance to the left of the Hambledon Hills, and the irregular
     crest of Hindhead west of them. The whole is framed by the woods on
     either side of the field in which we stand. Entering the wood at
     top of this field, the path soon rejoins the cart-track from the
     lane that we left, and we reach the open meadows on the hill-top.
     Here the woods shut out any view. Proceeding westward along two
     meadows, at some farm buildings we take a path leading left into
     the woods over Shere, and in a few yards after entering these,
     obtain a view south and west that is even more beautiful than the
     one just described. From no point does the Vale of Chilworth appear
     to such advantage. Albury Park and the village of Shere are
     immediately below us, and far away we trace the vale past Chilworth
     to Shalford. Ewhurst Mill is again prominent due south, and the
     sweep round to Hindhead, already described, is continued to the
     Hog's Back, seen stretching westward like a long green gable roof.
     The prominent feature is St. Martha's Hill, with its chapel
     standing out as a lonely beacon in the distance. Charter House is
     seen to the south-west, the Devil's Jumps being to the right of it,
     and the hills of Hants beyond.

Without troubling oneself why the pilgrims now sought a more airy road,
one may get on to the Downs and follow the crest. Or a little farther
along the Dorking road, opposite a pond, goes off a pleasant way behind
Abinger Hall and across the stretch of wild common known as Evershed
Rough, at the edge of which a cross marks the spot where Bishop
Wilberforce of Winchester, riding across the Downs, was killed by a fall
from his horse. Farther on, past the Deerleap Wood and Wotton Church,
there is a rough scramble up the wooded coombe of Pickett's Hole, or a
more gradual road leads through Denbies Park, the drives of which are
formally closed on the last day of the year, else open to pilgrims on
horse or foot, but not to cyclists.

Thus we come to the final lofty expanse of Ranmore Common, where a
graceful spire makes a far-seen beacon beside the upper edge of Denbies
Park, whose mansion was the home of Mr. Cubitt, builder of Belgravia.
Beyond this, the Downs are cut by the Mole valley, across which rises
the bold promontory of Box Hill. How the Pilgrims' Way crossed this gap
makes again matter of question. Mr. Belloc is positive that the old road
must have gone straight over the mouth of the valley, perhaps by that
very lane in which the narrator of the "Battle of Dorking" had his
baptism of fire. But tradition, supported by such names as Pray Meadow
and Paternoster Lane, and by the ruins of a chapel in West Humble Lane
behind the Box Hill station, avers that here the pilgrims turned to the
north side of the Downs, making thus for Burford Bridge, a mile down
the river.

By Burford at all events is our best way up to the top of that Cockney
paradise, Box Hill. Lucky are the citizens with such a scene within
reach of their picnic excursions, and luckiest those sound enough in
wind and limb to make the straight ascent from the hotel up the steep
chalk slope, reached also by a zigzag road from Juniper Hall. The face
towards Dorking is covered by an enclosure of rich wood, open to any one
taking refreshment at the Swiss Cottage just within its gate. Beyond
this one is free to roam over turf slopes and among the groves, where
indeed of late years part of the land has been acquired by the War
Office for fortifications to figure in any future Battle of Dorking; so
here and there the forbidding initials W. D. remind us not to trespass
upon the demesne of a power that is master of twenty legions. It
appears, indeed, that this plan of fortification is not to be carried
out. Keeping as near the edge as possible, one comes round to a brow
looking over the next stretch of the Holmesdale Valley, where the Downs
are cut by an enormous chalk pit, the largest I know in the county,
taking its name from the village of Betchworth below.

This yawning mouth has swallowed up the Pilgrims' Way. To keep along the
Downs, curving as an amphitheatre of some half-dozen miles on to
Reigate, is no easy task. I have done it, and again I have failed to
find a practicable path, since "W. D." has in part closed the woods. A
friend of mine who repeatedly achieved the adventure, reports that he
never twice took quite the same line. Perhaps the stranger would save
himself time and trouble if, at the "Hand in Hand," he struck into the
road that runs behind the ridge to fall into the London highway piercing
its height through Pebble Coombe; then, from the edge of Walton Heath
beyond, he may get back on to the Downs, in front of their coronet of
woods. The Way, beyond that coombe, is traced by Mr. Belloc on rough
high ground; but a line of yews slanting up from the picturesque village
of Buckland with its church and court, a mile on in the valley, has been
taken to mark its ascent to Colley Hill and the lofty park of Margery
Grove. A mile farther on, it comes behind a beech wood on the brow
overlooking Reigate, the view from which was dubbed by Cobbett's dogged
patriotism the finest in the world. This is now a public demesne of
Reigate, a town lying just off the Way, though no doubt intimately
connected with it, as shown by the Chapel of St. Thomas, once to be
visited where now stands its old Town Hall. A little farther,
immediately above Reigate, among the copses of the height lurks a new
fort, inconspicuous as is the nature of such latter-day strongholds; and
where the Way passes through War Office property as a shady lane, it has
been clearly labelled by name so as to point it out to the meanest
topographical capacity. It crosses the Brighton road by another modern
feature, a suspension bridge, from the seats beside which the prospect
is most often enjoyed by cyclists.

Here is reached Gatton Park, where the Way, after rising to 700 feet,
betakes itself to the north slope of the ridge. Tradition and the O. S.
map make it coincide with the byroad leading beside the north edge of
the park; but Mr. Belloc maintains that it must have presently run
through this enclosure. One may enter at the lodge gate and walk among
its lakelets and timbered knolls to the east side, where are the
mansion, the church, and the "Town Hall," a sort of garden temple on a
little mound, in which till 1832 one person proceeded to the election of
two members of parliament. This notorious rotten borough, as


Mr. Belloc suggests, may have owed its privilege to former importance as
crossing-place of roads north and south. The small church is a museum of
ecclesiastical decoration, collected from far and wide by a former
owner, Lord Monson, buried in the mausoleum adjoining the house. His
mansion was designed on a lavish scale, carried out so far as the hall
goes, which makes a rich show of coloured marbles, terra-cotta reliefs
and frescoes, in imitation of a chapel at Rome; but it looks to be an
artistic Tower of Babel, as if the builder's ambitious plans had been
nipped by the Reform Bill when it took away the special value of what
Cobbett styled a "very rascally spot of earth." A successor of this peer
unfortunately lent his name to a too well-known financier; with the
result that Gatton passed into the hands of a gentleman who boasts how
he made his money from the mustard people superfluously leave on their
plates, and of whom his Redhill neighbours have cause to think that he
spends it with like liberality.

Beyond Gatton comes a descent into another gap of the Downs, filled by
the pretty and prosperous village of Merstham, with its "Feathers" Inn,
and its old Church on a knoll. In the valley, the high-road of Redhill
and two railway lines have obliterated the crossing of the Pilgrims'
Way on to the next face of the Downs, which now sweep back a little
farther north. For a short mile, we may be content to take a road along
the foot; then a path slanting up the slope brings us back to the crest,
where the Pilgrims' track has been transformed as approach to new
houses. Near these turns north a byway to the Church of Chaldon, lying a
mile or so behind our route.

This secluded Church is notable for the best of such fresco
wall-paintings as were a feature of other churches in Surrey. The work
seems to date from the generation after Becket, but became overlaid by
plaster and white washing, under which it was discovered on the Church
being restored a generation ago. Since their exposure, the colours have
somewhat faded, so the short-sighted visitor, unversed in mediæval
symbolism, may be told how the lower part displays the torments of the
wicked at the hands of hideous devils, beside a serpent writhing among
the fruit:--

    Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the world and all our woe.

From this grotesquely dismal scene, happier souls struggle up the Ladder
of Salvation to where on one side Christ is seen triumphing over the
powers of Evil, and on the other St. Michael weighing souls in his
balance. One of the figures below, holding a bottle, is interpreted as a
temperance lesson, no doubt needed by some of the pilgrims, who must
often have turned aside to profit by this pictorial sermon. The worst
torment seems to be that of a millionaire of the period, who had perhaps
not opened his money bags to relieve poor pilgrims.

For the Pilgrims' Way we have only to keep the brow of White Hill,
looking over to the southern ridge on which Bletchingley stands. After
crossing the road from Caterham to Bletchingley, it is continued by a
lane turning off beside a tower and past the mansion called Arthur's
Seat, to the War Coppice, once an ancient camp, but now, like the
Cardinal's Cap on White Hill, offered as a too eligible building site.
Except by peeps, the view to the south becomes obstructed; and we look
over the Harestone Valley, down which a pleasant path runs northward to
Caterham. At Gravelly Hill and its Water Tower, new road-making seems to
transmogrify the Way, that on the slope beyond must have taken a
scramble into the deep hollow through which runs the high-road to
Godstone. Perhaps the original track is represented by a narrow lane
descending on the south face of the Downs.

Across that quarried hollow, we again ascend the Downs for their last
half-dozen miles in Surrey. A little below the milestone goes off a
charmingly devious lane up Winder's Hill and along the south side of
Marden Park, past its white shooting "Castle" so conspicuous on the
brow, then the lodge gate, through which there is a bridle-way running
to Caterham or on to the farther end of the park, two miles north.
Evelyn tells us how this fine demesne was made from a "barren warren"
and a poor farm in a hardly populated parish, by that "prodigious rich
scrivener" of his own time, Sir Robert Clayton, a Lord Mayor of London,
whose virtues, or at least his fortunes, are attested by the monstrous
monument covering a whole chancel wall of Bletchingley Church on the
ridge to the south. Here, admiringly says our authority on such matters,
the wealthy citizen so changed the face of hill, valley, and "solitary
mountain," that before long Marden looked like "some foreign country"
which would "produce spontaneously pines, firs, cypress, yew, holly, and
juniper," not to mention "an infinite store of the best fruit."

The sylvan riches of Marden Park may be sampled from a lovely lane
winding round the outside of its enclosure to gain the open edge of the
heights. The Pilgrims' Way here dropped to a lower level, passing by
what is still called Palmer's Wood and another wood on the face of the
Downs, again hugely scarred by chalk cuttings. It next runs right
through the middle of Titsey Park, where a Roman villa was discovered
near its course. Titsey Place was the old seat of the Greshams, a name
well known in City annals, whose monuments are preserved in the new
church on the east side of the park. From this point eastwards the Way
is a modern lane easily followed for miles.

The modern pilgrim may as well leave this lower road to be looked down
on from the edge, along which he can hold on from Marden Park, by hints
of War Office possession, and some lonely houses that mark an attempt at
a new London settlement meant to take its name from Woldingham on the
lower ground behind. Thus is gained the inconspicuous swell of Botley
Hill, which appears to be the highest ground on the Surrey Downs (882
feet) but has no markedly prominent point to command a view, looking
north across a somewhat featureless table-land to the towers of the
Crystal Palace, and south over a more pleasing expanse of hills, dales,
woods, and villages. Presently this prospect is interrupted by woods,
behind which five roads meet to make the perilous descent by Titsey, as
other arduous lanes and paths have been seen dropping down towards Oxted
and Limpsfield. Still we may keep the edge, taking the Westerham road,
almost half a mile along which, at Cold Harbour Green, the highest face
of the Surrey Downs (880 feet) is marked by a clump of beech trees above
a farm named Pilgrims' Lodge. A little farther along the high ground
stands the last Surrey Church, Tatsfield, looking far over the vale by
which the Way now enters Kent.

Many a weary league had the pilgrims yet to tramp or trot, up and down,
along or above the Kentish Downs. Little thought had they to spare for
the beauties of their long road, unless when some poetic soul was
half-unconsciously moved by the freshness of a flowery mead or the
coolness of the good greenwood where "smalle fowles maken melody." Least
of all did they admire the arduous steeps and the patches of wilderness
on which a generation free from the fear of robbers and bogeys best
loves to linger. In this too short account of some forty miles as the
bird flies, which might well be doubled by turning here and there among
varied scenes and sites, I have been able only to outline one of the
most alluring ways in England, which threads together nearly all
Surrey's fairest charms. If the gentle reader do not believe my report,
let him make this pilgrimage for himself, as he may do, day after day,
in stretches of some dozen miles, by striking into its road from
Farnham, Guildford, Dorking, Redhill, or Caterham, each giving access to
a fresh block of the Downs.



An improvement on the British trackways, comparable almost to railways
in relation to turnpikes, must have been the paved and embanked Roman
roads, with their milestones and stations. Several of them are known,
either as straight stretches of modern highway, or fallen into miry and
grassy desuetude, or only guessed at as having shaped parish boundaries.
Least forgotten are the main roads connecting London with provincial
towns and camps. Our long and nearly straight Edgware Road was Watling
Street, with its branches making the Midland or London and North-Western
system of Roman travel. John Gilpin's road out by Tottenham and Edmonton
for several miles followed Ermyn Street, the Great Northern line of the
Romans. They had a Great Western road also, running by Staines to
Silchester, which has


preserved no familiar name. Watling Street, which originally, till
diverted to London Bridge, came down by our west-end parks to cross the
Thames at Westminster, in Surrey turned eastward into Kent as their
Chatham and Dover route. From either this or from Ermyn Street, or
rather as a continuation of both, "Stane" Street went south towards
Chichester, the Roman Regnum, with a branch that might be styled the
Brighton line of the period, when indeed Pevensey was the important
terminus on this coast. From earliest days of commerce, Surrey could not
but be crossed by ways from London to the southern ports; and perhaps
here, as elsewhere, the Romans only adapted older tracks, as our
generation may turn a canal into a railway.

More than one Roman road was made here, but what has been remembered as
_the_ Roman road, is the ancient Stone Street that ran right through the
centre of the county. This name, still in parts familiar, is borne out
by excavations made at different times, when flints and other stones
laid alternately, to a thickness of four or five feet, were found bedded
in sand and gravel or cement. As in the case of the Pilgrims' Way, part
of its line has been more or less closely followed by an actual road;
part has become obliterated, the course only to be guessed by the rule
of general straightness, unless where turned askew by insurmountable
obstacles; but one stretch still remains clearly marked out, buried
beneath a turf track that makes the joy of pedestrians. It begins just
beyond the racecourse of Epsom, to which the Romans marched by much the
same line as the cyclists' road through Kennington, Clapham,--or
Streatham,--Tooting, Morden, and Ewell. The name Newington _Causeway_ is
taken as a hint of Stone Street's connection with London Bridge.

Before it gets clear of the suburbs, this road passes the remains of the
once great Priory of Merton, hidden away behind a mill on the banks of
the Wandle, and shut in by what may now be called a purlieu of
Wimbledon, but could be described by Lackington, the autobiographical
bookseller, as "the most rural village of the most beautiful county."
Here were educated Thomas à Becket, and the founder of Merton College;
and here in 1236 a council of barons let their king know how they were
unwilling to change the laws of England. What the Merton folk remember
more clearly and proudly is the residence here of Nelson with his too
intimate friends the Hamiltons, in a house the identification of which
was made matter of recent newspaper controversy, so blurred are the
records of a century back. Confusion seems to have arisen from the fact
that the Hamiltons temporarily occupied Merton Abbey House; but their
fixed home was Merton Place, to the south of the Abbey, which has
disappeared along with the stream in the grounds, by Lady Hamilton
christened the Nile, in honour of her hero. The "Nelson's Arms" and
Nelson Grove Road preserve his memory here. Close to Merton Abbey
station there is a gateway to be seen as the finest fragment of the old
monastery, reached from the high-road by a path up the Wandle. To our
generation the Abbey has perhaps been best known as site of William
Morris's factory of artistic decorations. Merton has grown so fast that
a manorial mansion might well seem an anachronism here, as was
recognised by its squire, Mr. John Innes, bequeathing his property in
generous endowment for local amenities and benefactions to what is now a
London suburb, yet not without some rustic features.

The next village, Morden, looks still not unfit to have a squire in its
park; then two or three miles farther on, the cyclist spins unsuspecting
by another name fallen from high estate. He approaches Ewell and the
springs of the Hogsmill River, along the wall of Nonsuch Park, in which
once stood a stately palace built by Henry VIII.; and on the other side
of the road the name of Worcester Park recalls how this outlying
residential suburb also made part of a royal demesne, the neighbourhood
of which fostered Epsom in Tudor and Stuart days. Nonsuch Palace became
a favourite residence of Elizabeth and James I., and seems to have set a
fashion of the day in names. The Virginian colonists christened
Powhattan's lodge _Nonsuch_, as "the strongest and most pleasant place
in the country," when John Smith also complimented Pocahontas with the
title "Nonpareil of Virginia." The present mansion keeps no more than
the name of Nonsuch, the site of which was near the modern mock
antiquity styled Ewell Castle and the ivied tower of the old church,
that makes such a picturesque monument beside its successor. Pictures
and Camden's description preserve the grandeur of that vanished palace,
still standing in the plague year, to be used as a government office,
when Pepys hints how it was falling into decay, but Evelyn could admire
the manner in which its walls "were all so covered with scales of slate,
that it seemed carved in the wood and painted, the slate fastened on
the timber in pretty figures, that has, like a coat of armour, preserved
it from rotting."

So much for the high-road to Epsom. But if I were going there in no
hurry and in dry weather, I once could walk almost all the way from
Richmond Park or from Putney Heath over grass or green lanes, with only
two bits of road tramping, one at Coombe, and one through the houses of
Worcester Park: there has, indeed, been so much building hereabouts of
late, that I should fear now to find the paths turning to streets. This
way is mainly up the course of the Hogsmill River to Chessington, the
parish where Fanny Burney visited the retreat of her "Daddy" Crispe.
From the hillock on which the little church stands, more than one path
leads on by the tower of the asylum at Horton and beneath the railway
line into Epsom's main thoroughfare.

Few able-bodied Londoners of our generation have not by one route or
other visited Epsom, which has four railway lines from the capital, two
of them indeed not taking the trouble to come beyond the famous
racecourse on the Downs. The smart little town lies mainly along the
Dorking high-road, in a dip between the Downs and the expanse of Epsom
Common, which imperceptibly merges with the wooded swell of Ashstead
Common, named Leatherhead Common on a map of a century ago, before it
became a resort of school-feasting Londoners. A conspicuous building on
the Downs side is Epsom College, founded for the sons of medical men.
That tall tower at Horton makes a landmark on the flat to the other
side. The London end of the town is more commonplace, but farther on,
about the Clock Tower that replaces the old watch-house, roomy openings,
venerable inns, solid dwelling-houses, and shaded walks hint at the
amenities of Epsom in its days of watering-place fame. Beyond this south
end are the notable mansions of the Durdans and Woodcote Park, each in
their well-wooded grounds. Above all, shining on the top of the Downs,
the Grand Stand, more than once enlarged since its building in 1829,
makes the Capitol or Acropolis of this Surrey Olympia.

Racing upon Banstead Downs, as the name then was, is first heard of
under patronage of James I. on his visits at Nonsuch. A horse-race here
is said to have been the excuse for that gathering of Cavaliers that
ended so ill outside of Kingston, when they would have revived the Civil
War. Foot- as well as horse-races, with cudgelling and wrestling
matches, drew spectators in simple days whereof Herrick tells us how--

    Naked younglings, handsome striplings run
    Their goals for virgins' kisses; which when done,
    Then unto dancing forth the learned round
          Commixt they meet.

The running footmen of the quality were in a manner professionals at the
sport that made their duty. Pepys notes how one summer day the town talk
among such quidnuncs as himself was "of nothing but the great foot-race
run this day on Banstead Downs between Lee, the Duke of Richmond's
footman, and a tyler, a famous runner," and how the athletic flunkey
won, though the betting was three to four against him. Charles II. and
his brother of York both lost money on this "event," and let us hope
they paid up.

These princes helped to make horse-racing fashionable, Newmarket being
the chief scene of it, where the horses were ridden by noble sportsmen
in person, our merry monarch himself acting the jockey. The Banstead
gatherings were as yet not so celebrated, still Defoe in his _Tour_ is
quite enthusiastic about the spectacle on the Downs when "they are
covered with Coaches and Ladies, and an innumerable Company of Horsemen,
as well Gentlemen as Citizens, attending the Sport; and then, adding to
the Beauty of the Sight, the Racers flying over the Course, as if they
neither touched not nor felt not the Ground they run upon: I think no
sight except that of a Victorious Army, under a Protestant King of
_Great Britain_, could exceed it." That unlamented Prince Fred, "who was
alive and is dead," lived for a time at the Durdans, and then gave a cup
to be run for at Epsom, which brought its course into more note. But its
real fame and fortune date from about 1778, when a sporting Earl of
Derby and his friends founded the Oaks and the Derby stakes, to be run
for at what ought to be the brightest time of our year, yet the "blue
ribbon of the turf" has been won in a snow-storm.

Before the height of its racing renown, Epsom had, we know, had a spell
of prosperity as a spa. The mineral water, charged with sulphate of
magnesia, is said to have been discovered early in the seventeenth
century, through a countryman noticing how his cows--or his ass in a
variant story--would not drink it, a reversal of the usual legend, as
shown in the leading case of Bladud's pigs at Bath. In Fuller's day
"Ebsham" was a resort of citizens coming from what even then


might be styled "the worst of smokes into the purest of airs." By the
middle of the century the waters had won a name; and a little later
Pepys found the place so full that he could not get a lodging. Nell
Gwynne was another patron at this period. The height of its vogue seems
to have been under Queen Anne, whose husband came to drink the waters.
Nearness to London must have helped Epsom's favour; and its people were
not backward in laying themselves out to accommodate strangers, for
whose entertainment were provided the usual gaieties of a
watering-place, set off by its situation in what seemed "a great Park
filled with little Groves, Lodges, and Retreats for coolness of Air and
Shade from the Sun." But it is only in summer, says Defoe, that visitors
can be expected, the clays of the lowlands making ill roads for winter

Defoe declares Tunbridge Wells then the more fashionable place, favoured
by "the Nobility and Gentry, as Epsom rather by Merchants and Rich
Citizens"; both frequented rather for "the Mirth and Company, for Gaming
or Intriguing or the like," than for "meer Physick"; and he states that
Londoners of a lower class who sought serious treatment found it by
walking out to the wells of Dulwich and Streatham, so much beset on
holidays by "an unruly and unmannerly" crowd that the "better sort" kept
aloof from such Cockney haunts. One notes how a contemporary French
_Guide du Baigneur_ advertises Dulwich and Streatham as well as Epsom
among our spas, though other more famous British resorts have not yet
swum into the ken of this authority. The sulphur water of Streatham,
indeed, may still be tasted, pumped up behind the counter of a dairy by
a dispenser who has informed me that he finds it excellent as "supper
beer"--_de gustibus_, etc.

John Toland in 1711 gives the wordiest account of Epsom spa and its
company, lodged in a group of hamlets about the main street, with the
paved Terrace, Assembly Room, and two rival bowling-greens as centres of
intercourse. The writer himself had a "Hermitage" at Woodcote Green,
from which he thus describes, is his _Letter to Eudoxa_:--

     By the Conversation of those who walk there, you would fancy
     yourself to be this Minute on the _Exchange_, and the next Minute
     at St. _James's_; one while in an _East-India_ Factory, or a
     _West-India_ Plantation, and another while with the _Army_ in
     _Flanders_, or on Board the _Fleet_ in the _Ocean_.... A fairer
     Circle was never seen at _Baiae_, or _Cumae_ of old, nor of late at
     _Carelsbad_, or _Aix-la-Chapelle_, than is to be admir'd on the
     High-Green and in the Long-Room, on a publick Day. If the _German_
     Baths out-number us in Princesses, we out-shine them in Nymphs and
     Goddesses, to whom their Princes wou'd be proud to pay Adoration.
     But not to dissemble any Thing, bountiful Nature has likewise
     provided us with many other Faces and Shapes, I may add, with
     another Sett of Dress, Speech, and Behaviour (not to mention Age)
     ordain'd to quench the cruel Flames, or to damp the inordinate
     Desires, which the Young, the Handsom, and the Accomplish'd, might
     undesignedly kindle.... The Rude, the Sullen, the Noisy, and the
     Affected, the Peevish, the Covetous, the Litigious, and the
     Sharping, the Proud, the Prodigal, the Impatient, and the
     Impertinent, become visible foils to the Well-bred, Prudent,
     Modest, and Good-humour'd, in the Eyes of all impartial Beholders.
     Our Doctors, instead of prescribing the Waters for the Vapours, or
     the Spleen, order their Patients to be assiduous at all publick
     Meetings, knowing that (if they be not themselves of the Number)
     they'll find abundant Occasion to laugh at bankrupt
     Fortune-Hunters, crazy or superannuated Beaus, marry'd Coquets,
     intriguing Prudes, richly-dress'd Waiting-Maids and complimenting
     Footmen.... The Judicious EUDOXA will naturally conclude, that such
     a Concourse of all Ranks of People, must needs fill the Shops with
     most Sorts of useful and substantial Wares, as well as with finer
     Goods, Fancies, and Toys. The Taverns, the Inns, and the
     Coffee-houses answer the Resort of the Place. And I must do our
     Coffee-houses the Justice to affirm, that for social Virtue they
     are unequal'd by few, and exceeded by none; tho' I wish they may be
     imitated by all. A _Tory_ does not stare and leer when a _Whig_
     comes in, nor a _Whig_ look sour and whisper at the Sight of a
     _Tory_. These distinctions are laid by with the Winter Suit at
     _London_, and a gayer, easier Habit worn in the Country.

Epsom's credit appears to have been lost through the trickery of a
certain apothecary, who set up "New Wells" with Assembly and
gambling-rooms, which took for a time, till it leaked out how the virtue
of this rival spring was only matter of imagination. That humbug had
bought up the original well, and went so far as to close it by way of
protecting his own dishonest enterprise. Then Epsom fell off as a
resort; and though attempts were made to galvanise its repute, it never
got back those throngs of visitors, while the artificial Epsom salts
came to be a popular remedy. The once famous well is now obscurely
enclosed in the grounds of a private mansion on the Common, to be seen
above a row of cottages beside the railway, just outside the town. Among
the Ashstead oaks, higher up on the Common, there is a still more
neglected spring known as the "Roman Well," the highest point of this
open woodland having apparently been the site of a Roman camp.

The Roman Road is on the other side of the town, beginning at the
south-west corner of the racecourse, to be followed in a nearly straight
line from an inn below the Grand Stand. On the Ordnance Maps it is
marked _Ermyn Street_, but Stone Street is the traditional name, though
it seems anything but stony in our macadamising days. An easy and
pleasant way of striking into it from the town is to turn up left at the
"Spread Eagle," then presently right by a flagged path and a lane
forking to the right, which brings one below Lord Rosebery's seat, the
Durdans, where a road goes straight up-hill to the inn above mentioned.
One might, however, keep another in the same direction as the lane,
presently bending up left round Woodcote Park, and past Ashstead Park on
the right, till at the top of the ascent is struck the Roman Road.

There is no mistaking this deserted highway, here a broad stretch of
turf, on which practical farmers must cast a covetous eye. At a height
of about 400 feet, it makes a delightful walk, crossed by tempting
pathways, on one side to the Dorking road through Ashstead and
Leatherhead, on the other to Headley and Walton, by which one might cut
across to the Reigate road. Pebble Lane is a local name, suggested by
traces of the Roman construction that have been exposed to view; and
there are hints of the old embankment, where to the careless eye nothing
may appear but a swathe of waste land. The Church in Ashstead Park is
believed to occupy the site of a Roman villa, such as often stood a
little way off these roads, like a modern gentleman's house behind its

Among the divagations suggested by guide-posts, one might choose the
mile or so's walk behind Ashstead to the church of Headley-on-the-Hill,
whose spire is a far seen landmark and a focus of several such footways,
another of which would lead back to the Roman Road farther on. If one
keep straight along it, after half an hour's soft walking it grows
narrower, rougher, and shadier, crooking its way through a wood as it
comes upon the yew-dotted and tumulus-swollen slopes of the Downs above
Leatherhead. All this part of Surrey is particularly rich in yews, such
as we saw in the Druid's Grove of Norbury across the Mole, which our
road now approaches. Beneath it, beside the valley high-road, the
grounds of Cherkley Court contain a mass of yews packed together over
some ninety acres, some of the trees very large and beautiful in form.
Dr. John Lowe, in his monograph on the _Yew-trees of Great Britain and
Ireland_, speaks of this as "perhaps the finest collection of yews in

Leatherhead Downs run into the neighbour name of Mickleham Downs, which
in part are still much as they were described by Aubrey, but their
clumps of ancient yews and thorn-trees are relieved by more artificial
parks and woods, below which opens the lovely valley of the Mole, with
Norbury Park on its opposite slope. The Roman Road seems to have dropped
down into the hollow below Juniper Hill before crossing the Mole; but
then its line becomes lost, though fragments of it are said to have been
made out in living memory. Let us be content to take two or three miles
of turnpike by Burford Bridge to Dorking, whose tall spire, reared in
memory of Bishop Wilberforce, marks the traditional course of Stone
Street by its churchyard.

As it left the chalk formation to mount upon the greensand, this old
road must have crossed the central scene of that "Battle of Dorking"
that has escaped mention by grave historians, who might indeed note the
national characteristic which turns such a fable into the form of a
wholesome warning, whereas the prophets of foreign fiction are more in
the way of tickling their readers with glorious victories of
imagination. The name thus used to point a moral and adorn a tale from
_Blackwood_, was suggested by the position of Dorking at the foot of the
steep Downs, making a natural line of defence for the south side of
London. In Domesday the town figures as _Dorkinges_, a name
authentically famed through a breed of fowls said to have been
introduced by the Romans. There can be no doubt about its antiquity, and
its importance in good old days is vouched for by the size and number of
its inns, the "White Horse" and "Red Lion" still flourishing, and others
turned into shops in our own time. The curious stranger searches in vain
for the sign of the "Marquis of Granby," for the tomb of Mrs. S. Weller,
sen., or for the chapel at which Mr. Stiggins ministered; but an actual
coachman named Weller is said to have lived at Dorking in Mr. Pickwick's
time, and his chronicler seems to have had in view the "Old King's
Head," which became the Post Office.

A peculiar custom of Dorking must probably be spoken of in the past
tense, now that staid citizens have been resolute in putting it down, as
happened earlier at Kingston and other towns. Here lasted longest in
Surrey what seems a survival of Carnival roistering, a triple game of
football played through the main streets on Shrove Tuesday, between
sides living east and west of the church. On this afternoon, all shops
being closed, three balls,

[Illustration: THE VALE OF DORKING.]

red, white, and blue, were carried out in procession to the music of a
traditional tune, to be kicked off by the town crier at the Church
passage. The red ball having been first worried by the boys, at 3 P.M.
the blue ball was taken in foot by the men; and at 4 P.M. a grand final
struggle, hundreds strong, began with the white ball, going on till the
chimes rang at 6 P.M. These Saturnalian scrimmages proved as hard to
extinguish as the bonfire-revels at Lewes on Guy Fawkes Day; but this
year a dozen extra policemen appear to have been too many for young
Dorking's half-hearted conservatism; and for an illustration of the old
Shrove Tuesday sports, one must go all the way to St. Colomb in
Cornwall, where the ceremonial Hurling Match between "Town" and
"Country" is still honoured in the observance.

These footballs were inscribed with the legend, "Wind and water is
Dorking's glory." From some winds Dorking is well sheltered; but the
lower part of the town has only too much water in the ponds filled by
the Pipp Brook, at one time an attraction of the place, being stocked
with perch, carp, and tench, that supplied the dish called "water
souchy," a stew of fish in esteem with London citizens. Sanitarians now
shake their heads over this damp and misty flat, and Dorking's recent
growth is rather upon the high ground behind the long, spacious main
street. In point of picturesqueness its situation is most admirable,
shut in among such heights as Ranmore Common, Box Hill, and the broken
swell of parks and woods rising southwards to Leith Hill.

Much of this beautiful country is enclosed in renowned demesnes; most
famous of them Deepdene, lying close behind the town. That paradise of
almost European reputation takes in the adjoining Betchworth and Chart
Parks; and the wood on the opposite face of Box Hill also belongs to the
property, that in a circumference of a dozen miles makes a magnificent
collection of English and exotic timber. The nucleus of it was the deep
hollow or "Long Hope," which Mr. Charles Howard, in Cromwell's time,
laid out as an amphitheatre of garden terraces, an open-air conservatory
of flowers and rare plants, visited with due admiration by his neighbour
John Evelyn, and also by Aubrey, who declared the sight "worthy of
Cowley's Muse." At the beginning of last century the estate was bought
and extended by "Anastasius" Hope, author of a celebrated Eastern
romance, and liberal patron of such artists as Flaxman and Thorwaldsen,
with whose works he stored the mansion begun by him. As a guest here,
Disraeli is understood to have written _Coningsby_. Another owner of
note was Mr. Beresford Hope, the proprietor of the _Saturday Review_. In
the hands of his heirs the estate fell among the Philistines, and after
a succession of tenancies this lordly demesne has been turned into an
_hôtel de luxe_. But if strangers cannot gain the lofty beech terrace,
commanding such a rich woodland prospect, and from a lane outside must
be content with a tantalising peep of the rhododendron show within, they
may take a public path to the Glory Wood behind the town; or, on its
east side, in the valley of the Mole, they find the avenues of
Betchworth Park open as a way to Brockham; while the grounds of Box
Hill, and some of the finest outskirts of Leith Hill, such as the Nower
park-slopes, offer free rambles.

To follow the Roman Road's course southwards from Dorking, one takes the
Horsham Road over Holmwood Common below the eastern flanks of Leith
Hill. On the right hand of this highway, a straight line under the
Redland Woods is marked on the O.S. map as Stone Street, which here,
indeed, needs an antiquary's eye to trace it over private enclosures.
Above it, by lanes winding through the woods, is reached the lofty
village of Coldharbour. This name, often occurring on or near an old
road, is believed to denote an inn, like the caravanserais of the East,
that supplied only bare walls. Evelyn reviles a poor Alpine inn as a
"cold harbour, though the house had a stove in every room." It is not
improbable that a deserted Roman villa or military station would be
turned to account as such a place of more or less imperfect shelter.
Ruskin, in one of his rashest excursions _ultra crepidam_, opined that
the Camberwell Coldharbour Lane might have been called after _coluber_,
from its snake-like windings; but he seems not to know how many
Coldharbours there are in England, and that several of them stand near
Roman roads, whose character was anything but serpentine. Beside this
lofty village is the Camp of Anstiebury, traditional harbour for an
invading force of Danes, who sallied forth to be slaughtered on the
slopes of Leith Hill or on Ockley Green below.

On the south side of Leith Hill, showing such a bold face to the flats
of Ockley, the line of the Roman Road coincides with the modern one,
still known as "Stone Street causeway," that had been ascribed by
country-folk in Aubrey's time to the work of the Devil. This road runs
straight for about three miles, then, beyond its forks, the line of the
old way is marked on maps as leading about as far ahead, across the
Sussex border, into the valley of the Arun. As a practicable path,
however, it seems to have fallen much out of use, overlaid by the woods
and grounds of this generation. In the fork one can see no trace of it
now, but, if one here take the right-hand road crooking up to the hamlet
of Oakwood Hill, below this an inscription, _Shut the Gate_, shows the
bridle-way preserved as drive of a modern mansion. Beside this house it
passes as a green lane to be almost choked as it tunnels the copses that
soon obscure its line for a stranger, though local wayfarers make out a
right-of-way to Rowhook. Mr. Malden, the Surrey historian, who has
patiently explored part of its lost course, finds that some ancient
lanes take no heed of that older track, which he supposes to have been
early abandoned as leading into the Wealden wilds, almost uninhabited at
the date of Domesday.

Ockley itself is one of the pleasantest of Surrey villages, clustered
about a broad green, beside which Stone Street has grown into a lordly
avenue, shadowing what seems a Roman-like massiveness of paving. About
it, within the bounds of Surrey, green byways wind among swelling ridges
and clumps of timber thick-set on the edge of the Weald. Two or three
miles southward, on the right hand of Stone Street's line, woodland
paths lead to the sequestered chapel of Oakwood and on to Oakwood Hill,
whence, half a dozen miles south-west, might be reached in Sussex the
Baynards or the Rudgwick station of a line from Guildford, near the new
quarters of the Bluecoat School converging with that other from Dorking,
on which Warnham, the home of Shelley's youth, has a station about as
far to the south-east of Ockley. Eastward, one can seek the secluded
Wealden villages caught in a network of the Mole's branches, through
which the free foot or wheel can thread a devious way to the Brighton
road, or bend round into the Holmesdale valley. Westward, zigzag roads
under the wooded crests of the sand-hills take one to Ewhurst, to
Cranleigh, and on to Godalming, or by Bramley or Wonersh to Guildford.
To the north rises the stiff ascent of Leith Hill, from which let us
survey its choice surroundings.



The reader is now to be conducted on and about what, to my mind, makes
the bouquet of the county's scenery. Leith Hill is the highest point not
only of Surrey, but in this corner of England, the topmost knoll on its
southern brow being 965 feet above the sea, crowned by a tower that adds
nearly 100 feet to the natural elevation. The tower was built in the
eighteenth century by a local squire named Hull, apparently a
"character," who had himself buried in it, to the scandal of his
neighbours. It has since been restored and opened by the present
proprietors, the Evelyns of Wotton. Till lately it was garrisoned by an
old dame who tramped up daily in tourist weather, and kept a supply of
rudimentary refreshments, grateful to those who had made a hot ascent.
But such a simple _Brockenhaus_ is now supplemented by a small and snug
hotel on the shelf below, which may be reached by wheels; then from it
there is one stiff tug up the steep bank, the approaches from behind
being less arduous.

It is only on the southern side that Leith Hill makes a clear show of
its height. The northern slopes are gentle, falling gradually for three
or four miles into the Holmesdale valley. The broken contours of the
sand show richly clad with woods, parks, commons, heather, bracken,
patched too with quagmires and ragged gravel pits, seamed with lanes and
hedgerows, so that all the most shaggily picturesque features of Surrey
come here mixed together, in contrast with the smoother and barer
outlines of the chalk Downs, like a mastiff lying side by side with a
collie. The native wildness of this hill has been a good deal cut and
polished, indeed; and a thick setting of private grounds, while throwing
its rough facets into relief, has the fault of barring access by certain
enviable nooks. But the upper part is left free; and by right-of-way or
the liberality of owners, several lines of approach are open from
different sides.

What may be termed the standard way up, the plainest and easiest, is the
road from Dorking, a mainly gentle rising of some five miles to the


tower. At the west end of Dorking's High Street, one turns up the
Horsham Road, then at the fork on the right a board beacons the course
to Leith Hill by a line of deep lanes along its east side, after a time
skirting the edge of the Redland Woods, inside of which a footway may be
taken. Had the pedestrian kept further along the Horsham Road, from
Holmwood Common a couple of miles out, he might strike up through those
woods to reach the upper way as it comes near the village of
Coldharbour. Two or three miles of walking would be saved by taking the
train on to Holmwood station, from which pleasant avenues mount through
private grounds to Coldharbour.

This village stands 800 feet high, on a shoulder of the hill, about a
mile from the tower, not yet in sight on its rugged head. Opposite the
inn turns up a sandy lane, on which cyclists will have to push, winding
to the bare knoll crowned by the tower. A better road, edged by the
amenities of a park drive, leads round the southern face to the hotel.
But those who depend on vehicles sit in no need of guidance. Henceforth
I address myself to the amateur or miniature Alpinist, who does not
shirk a walk of some dozen miles or so. To him the road above mentioned
may be suggested as best for coming down, perhaps by failing light and
with stiff limbs.

The way I should choose for walking up Leith Hill from Dorking is by a
valley opening about two miles west of the town, at which end is the
Dorking station of the South-Eastern line. From the Box Hill station of
this railway and the Dorking of the Brighton line, which puzzlingly
adjoin one another beyond the other end, an omnibus plies to Westcott,
by a pretty road past Bury Hill and Milton Heath, above that most
picturesque old mansion, Milton Court.[A] From the Church on Westcott's
sloping Green one holds on pretty straight by a lane joining the
high-road near the gate of the Rookery, a mansion known as the home of
Malthus, that reverend bogey of sentimentalists like Cobbett. His father
before him was also a literary notability, and author of the
"improvements" which made this demesne celebrated. One need not be shy
of turning into the lordly avenue and by the rhododendron walks that
lead up the ornamental waters of the Pipp Brook, for boards show a
permitted way past the house, while, alas! on my last visit a placard at
the gate bore the warning _Mene_, _Mene_, _Tekel_, _Upharsin_, a notice,
to wit, that these choice grounds are destined to go the way of all
eligible building sites within reach of infection by Cobbett's "wen."
Above the house, one gets out of the park over a high bank, beyond which
comes a change both of estate and watershed, for the Pipp Brook flows to
the Mole, whereas the slopes westward drain into the Tillingbourne,
tributary of the Wey.

 [A] Not to confuse the reader with too many routes, I throw a very
 pleasant one into a footnote. Just before he reaches Westcott, from
 the road into it leads off, left, "Milton Street," a charming hybrid
 between park avenue and cottaged lane. Passing through an iron
 turnstile at the top of this, then presently, turning right over a
 plank bridge, he finds a long reach of meadow path which, in the same
 general direction, with a trend left, leads him over two stiles and up
 a slope to a fork of lanes. Across the road here, a stile marks the
 continuation of the path winding on to a lonely farm. Through the yard
 of this, he turns left on a track soon entering the woods, where its
 left branch in half an hour or so leads shadily to Coldharbour, while
 divergences a little to the right might (or might not) bring him in
 view of the tower.

The way thenceforth is not quite so plain; but one cannot go far wrong
by taking a green lane to the left and keeping pretty straight south up
a central ridge-way till a glimpse of the tower is gained in the wood.
Did one hold rather too much to the left, the worst of it would be
wandering into the road at Coldharbour. Holding more to the right, one
comes into a deep hollow above Wotton, where the ponds and cascades of
the Tillingbourne lead up to Broadmoor, a model village among meadows
opening out in the woods. The narrowing hollow takes one straight to
the tower by a beautiful and gradual ascent; but this route is not the
best in wet weather. It properly belongs to the next line to be
indicated, the base of which is Wotton, lying about midway between
Dorking and Gomshall station.

Wotton is famous as the seat of John Evelyn, the diarist, and author of
_Sylva_, who put his knowledge of trees so well in practice, that his
hand is still seen not only about this _Wood town_ but in other garden
grounds of the county. Blackheath was an _alias_ of the parish, which it
perhaps better deserved before he set an example of planting the hill
with his favourite firs; yet the estate must have been already well
timbered, according to the account he gives of its sylvan wealth. On the
high-road, up a stiff ascent beyond the Rookery, comes the inn called
"Wotton Hatch," beside the Park gate. Opposite this a way turns down to
the Church, which lies below the north side of the road, beautifully
embowered on a knoll, with the Deerleap Wood beyond it, and the coombe
of Pickett's Hole as invitation for a steep climb on the Downs.

In the Evelyn chapel of this church, "the dormitory of my ancestors,
near to that of my father and pious mother," is the coffin-shaped tomb
of John Evelyn, of whom his epitaph may tell without falsehood how,
"Living in an age of Events and Revolutions, he learnt (as himself
asserted) this Truth which, pursuant to his Intention, is here
declared--That all is Vanity which is not Honest, and that there is no
solid Wisdom but in real Piety." Of the other family monuments the most
noticeable is Westmacott's memorial to Captain George Evelyn, with an
inscription by Arnold of Rugby. In the churchyard stands the tomb of
William Glanville, on which is still performed a ceremony devised by
this kinsman of the Evelyns, to keep his memory green among successive
rising generations. Dying 1718, by his will he directed forty shillings
apiece to be paid to five poor boys of Wotton, below sixteen, who on the
anniversary of his death should repeat by heart, with their hands laid
on his gravestone, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Decalogue, also
as a further proof of scholarship reading 1 Corinthians xv., and writing
legibly the first two verses. The Church porch in John Evelyn's time was
a school where, he tells us, he himself got the elements of learning,
before _not_ going to Eton, from which he was scared away by fear of the

The Park of Wotton, with "its rising grounds, meadows, woods, and water
in abundance," might well be styled by its best known owner "one of the
most pleasant seats in the nation." The mansion, still belonging to his
descendants, a good deal enlarged and altered since he made it "the
raree-show of the whole neighbourhood," contains part of his
collections, portraits, manuscripts, and other memorials of him, and
such a treasured relic as the prayer-book used by Charles I. on the
scaffold; but there is no admission to strangers, except occasionally in
summer by tickets issued at a Dorking library. One has, however, a
right-of-way through the lodge gate, presently leaving the drive by a
path passing close beside the house and up into the woods for Friday
Street. A little to the east of this line, reached by a lane behind the
inn, is the already mentioned way up the ornamental waters of the
Tillingbourne hollow. But the untired wanderer, who can steer a course
without beacons, will do well to make for Friday Street, a little hamlet
so ancient that it is supposed to have had the Saxon goddess Friga as a
godmother: the name occurs again some nine miles to the south, across
the Sussex border. This group of hermitages lies charmingly in a deep
glen half filled by a sheet of water, from the top of which goes up
another way to the tower; but in case of doubt it would be well to bear
left into the Tillingbourne's course.

The shortest way from Gomshall station to Friday Street, about three
miles, is by Abinger Church, standing above the west side of this
hollow. On the main road, half a mile east of the station, one reaches
Abinger Hammer, a name left by the now extinct iron working. On the
green here, take the right-hand byroad for Felday, then at the top of
its first slight rise, a path to the left running pretty straight over
fields to a solitary farm, behind which a lane leads on to the
churchyard of the high and dry hamlet styled Abinger Hatch. The church
of Abinger has been well restored, but preserves some ancient features.
On the Green beyond are the parish stocks, said to have been used almost
within living memory. The inn here has been smartened and enlarged of
late years, a hint how strangers appreciate the charms of a seclusion
that begins to be broken in on by building. Hence one turns left to
descend into the hollow of Friday Street. The road to the right is for
Felday, whence, on the west side of Leith Hill, mounts one of its most
lovely approaches.

Thus, by one way or other, has been gained the crest, through woods
among which it is often hid till one be close upon it. Standing on that
craggy knoll, one at last has a clear view to the south, and from the
top of the tower can overlook, it is said, a baker's dozen of counties,
spread out all round as on a map, shaded and dotted and streaked with
heights, woods, streams, villages, churches and farms, melting away or
running together in the distance like the smoke from a myriad of English
homes. In the foreground lie the leafy lowlands of the Weald, bounded by
the line of the South Downs, through a gap in which the sea might come
into view, weather permitting. Points that may be made out in the
circular panorama are Ditchling Beacon and other crests of the South
Downs; Crowborough Beacon and Frant Church on the Forest Ridge of
Sussex; the Kentish Downs; the Crystal Palace; the huge ant-hill of
London; the Chiltern Hills in Bucks; Windsor Castle at one end of Berks,
and at the other Inkpen Beacon, highest point of the chalk Downs;
Highclere and Butser Hill in Hants, and Blackdown and Hindhead on the
edge of Surrey. The travelled Evelyn calls this the best prospect he
ever beheld; and if he may be

[Illustration: ABINGER HAMMER.]

suspected of local prejudice, John Dennis, that gibbeted victim of Pope
and Swift, is found breaking out into enthusiasm over a scene which he
declares to surpass the finest in Italy. All the stranger, in Hone's
_Table Book_, reads a complaint of such a scene remaining in obscurity,
"unknown to the very visitors of Epsom and Box Hill." That reproach is
certainly out of date in our active generation. Here one ought to
produce a poetical description; but, so far as I know, the bards who
must have often looked from Leith Hill seem to have been struck dumb by
admiration of a landscape in which are lost so many--

    Happy hamlets crowned in apple-bloom,
    And ivy-muffled churches still with graves.

Should it be the reader's fortune to stand here by the light of the
setting sun, he may presently have to consider how to get off this
eminence. The steep road southwards falls to Ockley, which has a station
two or three miles away; and there is another on the same line about as
far off at Holmwood, the path to which is indicated beside the inn at
Coldharbour. The road by Coldharbour to the more frequent trains of
Dorking is plain. The tracks down the Tillingbourne to the
Gomshall-Dorking valley road were better not be attempted in the dark.
But if a refreshed climber had still half a day before him, good shoe
leather under him, and a stout heart for stiff ups and downs, I would
invite him to follow other crests of the sand ridge westwards; or at
least to visit Leith Hill's neighbour, Holmbury Hill, about two miles in
that direction.

Let us descend, then, into the valley between, bearing a little
northward to strike the choice village that now knows itself as Holmbury
St. Mary, but for country-folk around is more familiar under the old
name of Felday, and part of it on the O.S. map is belittled as Pitland
Street. This out-of-the-way place has raised its head since such a good
judge of scenery as Mr. Louis Jennings could speak of it as a "wretched,
half-deserted spot," a "group of depressing habitations," "very like a
Hindoo village in Bengal," with a "mean sort of house" for church, and
"a melancholy roadside inn called the 'Royal Oak.'" But other eyes took
a more sympathetic view of poor Felday, whose "few scattered cottages"
have come to be lodgings sought after by such æsthetic Londoners as will
pay fancy rents for hovels on Arran or Dartmoor, while the slopes around
this Cinderella of Surrey hamlets have been but too much encroached on
by smart new mansions. Among early settlers here was the architect G. E.
Street, R.A., who, as a shrine for his wife's tomb, replaced that humble
house of prayer by what, at the height of his powers, he put forth as a
model village church, beautifully adorned inside with coloured windows
from his own designs, and with shows of Italian sacred art that do not
please strict Protestantism.

Here opens a new fan of woodland walks. The road southwards leads to
Gomshall station in about three miles. The best way from Felday to the
top of Leith Hill is through a park gate beyond the "Hollybush," then
diverging on the right of the drive as an embowered lane where boards
marked "private" keep one from straying till a road is reached, across
which an open slope leads to the tower. Up the glade behind the village
the footway splits into several tracks, and the middle one, trending
right, passes a lonely umbrella-shaped fir, round which a path, now
bearing left, runs along the ridge to the camp at the end of Holmbury
Hill, that, only a hundred feet lower, has almost as fine a view as
Leith Hill itself.

On the west side of the Holmbury hollow, paths take one over into a
larger valley, through which runs another road from Gomshall. Beyond
this road rise the steep grassy sides of Pitch Hill (844 feet), then the
adjoining height westward is marked by the far-seen and far-seeing
Ewhurst windmill. The village of Ewhurst lies about two miles to the
south, on the Weald edge; and about as far again, south-west, is
Cranleigh, growing round its railway station and its old Church, behind
which a path runs up to the heaths and woods of the ridge. Northwards
one looks across the Tillingbourne valley to the Downs, for once
surpassed in height by that grand group of sand tops to the south of
Gomshall and Dorking.

The tramp who is in no hurry, and has an eye for country, may walk the
ten or twelve miles to Guildford by keeping round the heights of the
sand ridge above Cranleigh, bearing north-west for Wonersh, where a
high-road and a pretty byroad drop into the valley of the Wey. If he
turn down too soon on this side, he will be brought up by the line of
the Guildford-Brighton railway. On the other side--where the
Guildford-Redhill line, the course of the Tillingbourne, and the
high-road below the Downs bound his wanderings to the north--he might
lose himself among the beautifully broken ground of Hurtwood, Farley
Heath, and Blackheath, but with glimpses now and then of St. Martha's
Chapel on its hill as beacon of the straightest route to Guildford, for
which he can hardly go far wrong, when he remembers how it lies in a gap
of the Downs beyond the sand formation. Had the stranger begun his walk
from Leatherhead, following the valley of the Mole to Dorking, and ended
it thus at Guildford, this half-circle would have taken him through the
cream of Surrey in one stride of seven-leagued boots.

But to the unwearied wayfarer, I have yet another hint to give for a
divagation on which a free wheel will serve him better than on the sandy
heaths. Across the Guildford-Brighton line he might turn into what is
called the "Fold country," a corner of the Surrey Weald bordered south
by the north-west edge of Sussex, and west by the L. & S.W. line to
Portsmouth. This is one of the most unsophisticated parts of the county,
in which runs the abandoned Wey and Arun Canal, besides streams unknown
to fame. The affix of its quiet villages, Al_fold_, Duns_fold_,
Chidding_fold_, is said, not without question, to mean _felled_; but
there can be no doubt about the Fern_hurst_, Sidding_hurst_,
Killing_hurst_ and other _hursts_ that mark clearings in the woodland,
with old farmhouses and scattered cottages, which often show quaint
fire-dogs and grate-backs as relics of the iron-working once busily
plied around these quiet nooks. From Cranleigh to Haslemere station will
be nine or ten miles as the crow flies; where one can't be very
confident of not losing one's way a little in the lanes that tack
through the woods from hamlet to hamlet, but may steer towards the long,
dark cliff of Blackdown for Haslemere, lying beneath its west end.
Guide-books and roadbooks are apt to shirk the mazes of this secluded
district, through which, by one help or other, a course can be laid past
many _folds_ and _hursts_ to the Zermatt or Chamouni of Surrey's rival
Alplet, Hindhead.



I have confessed to Leith Hill as the corner of Surrey that smiles for
me above all others; but there are those who will call out on one for
not preferring the severer beauties of Hindhead. This is, of course, a
matter of taste, to some extent of upbringing. I was mainly reared in a
country where stern and wild aspects of nature are cheaper than the lush
charms of the South, that to my countrymen may appeal with a certain
attraction of rarity. One has heard of a Swiss guide whose admiration
was excited by a wide prospect of London chimney pots. A Corsican
gentleman once undertook to show me what he called one of the finest
scenes in his island, which I found too much like a market-garden.
Cobbett, for his part, roundly abused Hindhead as "the most villainous
spot God ever made," by which he seems to mean that the roads were
rough and the soil not suited for growing the "Cobbett corn" or the
acacias which, with different degrees of success, he was trying to
naturalise in his native country, when he carried on the trade of a
nursery-gardener along with that of an uprooting journalist. For once,
he has a laugh against himself in his _Rural Rides_, with the story of
how he tried to get from Liphook--or was it Liss?--to Thursley without
crossing the abhorred moor, yet after all blundered in the dark on to
the top of it, though he had taken a local guide, as Pepys was fain to
do for the passage of that Surrey St. Bernard.

Our age has a new heart for such open heights as border the Portsmouth
road between Thursley and Liphook. At its highest point, about 900 feet,
the road passes along the brow of a wide and deep depression known as
the Devil's Punch Bowl, round which stretches of bracken, gorse and
heath, broken dells, ponds and pine-crested ridges, fall into the
valleys by slopes and hollows rich in green lanes, in tangled coppices,
in old cottages, and in other picturesque "bits," the whole airy swell
making a smaller and drier edition of Dartmoor. This once thinly
populated moorland could not but attract artists and authors, who began
to settle here


in what they hoped to find a congenial wilderness. Mr. Birkett Foster
and Mr. Edmund Evans, the colour-printer, were, so far as I know, the
first colonists who built adjoining houses for themselves beside Witley
station. George Eliot came to live close by them at the "Heights," after
long searching for a home on the Surrey commons. The neighbourhood began
to be so much affected by literary and scientific people, that the
nickname _Mindhead_ was suggested. More than one leading London
consultant made his holiday retreat hereabouts, not keeping to himself
the secret of the dry clear air in which delicate invalids can sit out
of doors under winter sunshine. The merits of Hindhead as a health
resort were advertised by Professor Tyndall building a house near the
top, where he found himself able to spend the winter as well as on the
Bel Alp. Mr. Grant Allen deserted the Riviera for Hindhead, from which
he dated his "Hill-Top" novels, and here found many hints for "Moorland
Idylls." The local colour of one of Sir A. Conan Doyle's romances
betrays how he joined a colony where only successful novelists may now
aspire to find house-room.

Twenty years ago, Hindhead had a loose scattering of villas and cottages
round the Royal Huts Inn at the cross-roads, its post-office being at
Grayshott over the Hants border, which was the only thing like a
village. Now mansions and bungalows are more or less thickly strung upon
those old roads, and on new ones, with shops appearing here and there in
what before long may be spoken of as streets. The "Huts," improved into
an hotel, has half a dozen rivals, from the mansion-like "Beacon" to the
"Fox and Pelican" model public-house; and Glen Lea, oldest of Hindhead
_pensions_, sees fresh competitors springing up every year. Houses are
dear and lodgings hard to find in the fine season. As in the case of
Davos and other health resorts whose merit lay in their untainted air,
the place has been overbuilt from the curative point of view; and it
begins to attract a gayer society than the early Crusoes of this bracing
heath, on which such notable persons have staved off their latter end;
while the works of so many writers show how they have been at least
sojourners hereabouts.

Mrs. Humphry Ward at one time lived near Haslemere; and any one familiar
with its environs can take a good guess at the locality of Robert
Elsmere's Surrey parish, into which its squire's stately mansion may
have been transposed from Loseley or Sutton. Mrs. Oliphant must have
been here, since _The Cuckoo in the Nest_, one of the best of her later
novels, evidently deals with the neighbourhood, making a curious medley
of real and fictitious names, and hardly doing justice to the scenery.
An account of Hindhead a century ago is presented in an older novel
called the _King's Mail_. Then Mr. Baring-Gould's _Broom Squire_ opens
with that grimly authentic romance Hindhead has of its own, the murder
of a luckless sailor, commemorated by a stone at which Dickens makes
Nicholas Nickleby sit down to rest on his weary tramp along the
Portsmouth Road. A tomb in Thursley churchyard shows a rudely-carved
representation of the crime, with this inscription--

                    IN MEMORY OF

          A generous but unfortunate Sailor,
        Who was barbarously murdered on Hindhead,
                  On Sept. 24th 1786,

                  BY THREE VILLAINS

After he had liberally treated them, and promised them his
        further assistance on the road to Portsmouth.

    "When pitying eyes to see my grave shall come,
     And with a generous tear bedew my tomb,
     Here shall they read my melancholy fate,
     With murder and barbarity complete.
     In perfect health, and in the flower of age,
     I fell a victim to the ruffians' rage;
     On bended knees I mercy strove t'obtain,
     Their thirst of blood made all entreaties vain.
     No dear relation or still dearer friend,
     Weeps my sad lot or miserable end.
     Yet o'er my sad remains--my name unknown--
     A generous Publick have inscribed this stone."

The Huts Hotel exhibits a series of quaint pictures illustrating this
tragedy. The murderers were hanged on what is still called Gibbet Hill,
the highest point of the moorland, looking over to Haslemere from the
edge of the Punch Bowl. The gibbet was soon blown down; then on its site
a granite cross with a nobler inscription was erected by Chief Justice
Sir William Erle. This spot, nearly 900 feet high, is the main point for
picnic parties; and it seems time to tell the reader how to reach it.

About nine miles beyond Godalming, the Portsmouth road runs between the
Gibbet Hill and the Punch Bowl, into which hollow leads a humbler
footway from Thursley, lying about half a mile to the right where the
road begins its long steady ascent. On the edge of the Punch Bowl,
Nicholas Nickleby's road has been brought down to a lower level, and the
memorial stone with it; one must scramble up the sandy lane
representing the old road to get the view from the cross. No
description can do justice to this panorama, seen at its best on a still
autumn day; and guide-book editors are here saved much trouble by an
orientation-table, on the top of which, as on a compass face, will be
found indicated the names, direction, and distance of all the chief
points around.

From the Gibbet Hill it is nearly a mile on to the inhabited part of
Hindhead, whose nearest station is Haslemere, three miles off, in the
valley below, to and from which now plies an omnibus. From Haslemere to
Farnham also runs a service of motor-cars that would give a good trip
over this district, but without touching that highest and wildest point.
Half-way up the ascent, near Shottermill Church and its fish-ponds, was
a temporary home of George Eliot, who did some of her best work in this
vicinity. Most of Hindhead's visitors come by way of Haslemere; and in
any case this is a place worth visiting for its own sake.

The picturesque character of the neighbourhood becomes very manifest at
Witley, the station before Haslemere, where one might get out to make a
gradual ascent of Hindhead by lanes on which it is easy to miss the
way, unless by steering for clumps of wood high above the right of the
railway some three miles on. Witley is also the station for
Chiddingfold, a couple of miles south-eastward, whose picturesque old
"Crown" Inn bespeaks former importance; and a factory of walking-sticks
represents the iron and glass making that once flourished in this
well-timbered district.

To the east of Witley station, Hambledon and Hascombe have some fine
hill and wood scenery, rising to the height of 644 feet in the Beech
Telegraph Hill, once a far-seen beacon point. To the north of this is
Hascombe Church, whose lavish interior decoration makes it one of the
sights of the vicinity. Severer features of interest are shown by Witley
Church, standing a mile nearer London than the station. It contains a
memorial of the murdered Duke of Clarence; and in the churchyard lies an
ill-fated financier of our own time, under a costly tomb, with the
inscription, "He loved the poor," which seems suggested by the career of
Robin Hood. On his home at Lea Park, above Witley, this notorious
adventurer lavished so much of other people's money, that there was some
difficulty in disposing of a place which failed to be started as an
hotel, even although baited with a golf course and other attractions of
sport. In a better organised state of society, it should be purchased by
the nation as free lodgings for authors and artists, who might help it
to live down its past by illustrating or advertising a vicinity which
George Eliot hit off as mingling the charms of Scotland with those of
the green heart of England. Luckily, the wilder part of the grounds has
been purchased by subscription, to be thrown into nature's own demesne,
freely available for public enjoyment, while at the same time the
neighbourhood has lately had to complain of other bits of common being
enclosed or stripped of their old trees.

The highway from Godalming to Haslemere comes by Lea Park, avoiding
Witley; but from its station, on the opposite side of the railway line,
one has another road, five miles of up-and-down windings, with lovely
views; and it would be only some couple of miles out of the way to go by
Chiddingfold and along the edge of the Fold country. But, indeed, every
approach to Haslemere, road or path, is charming, and would be more so,
if not so often shut in by new red mansions and cottages "with a double
coach-house." This Surrey border town, which was made a rather rotten
borough in Elizabeth's reign, fell away from such dignity, but in our
time revived as centre of so choice a district, and has a busy station
on the L. & S.W. Portsmouth line. The station lies beyond the roomy
village or townlet, to which Hindhead pilgrims might well turn back for
a glimpse of its broad street, forming a right angle at the modest
Market Hall, junction point of byroads with the highway between
Godalming and Midhurst. Its good old houses have been much overlaid by
châlets and bungalows, for even in the valley here we are some hundreds
of feet above the sea, and Haslemere has its own clientèle of
health-seekers. The Church stands rather out of the way, across the
railway line, but is worth a digression. In the nave, opposite the
porch, a coloured window, the subject taken from Burne-Jones's "Holy
Grail," makes a memorial to Tennyson. In the new part of the churchyard,
near the gate, will be seen a curious mass of gorse and heather, which
is Tyndall's tomb, taking this form, it is understood, by his own
desire, and rather painfully suggesting the remains of that "Screen"
with which he disfigured the slopes of Hindhead in the unphilosophic
design of fencing himself in against a neighbour.

[Illustration: WITLEY CHURCH.]

On the farther side of the town, above the main street, will be found a
remarkable Museum and Library presented to Haslemere by the late Mr.
Jonathan Hutchinson, long its special patron: this institution should
not be overlooked by those who have any interest in geology, as it
excellently displays the natural history of the neighbourhood. The
Recreation Ground on the same height offers a fine view across the
valley to Hindhead, and northwards over the Fold country. Here we are on
the steeper slope of Blackdown, which is rather higher than Hindhead,
and still more wild, not as yet so much invaded by the builder. Past the
Museum goes one of several ways up its sides, where an hour's walk
brings us finely over the border of Surrey; then beyond we gain the
Blackdown plateau, one of the highest points of Sussex, from which
Tennyson's summer home looks to the South Downs, across the view "long
loved by me."

In this neighbourhood, as in the Isle of Wight, amusing tales are told
of the poet's love of seclusion and the manner in which he repelled
unwelcome visitors. But the reader, no doubt above listening to local
gossip, may be waiting to know his way up to Hindhead from Haslemere.
The carriage road from the station is plain, passing under the railway,
skirting the village of Shottermill on the left, then turning up a deep
hollow to reach the top at the "Huts." At the new church on Crichmere
Green, a little way beyond the railway arch, the foot traveller should
take a deep lane that looks as if it had strayed out of Devonshire, and
this will bring him on the heath, over which a track bears left for the
Huts, or he must keep up rather to the right for the Gibbet Hill. The
finest footway to the Gibbet Hill, about three miles, is by the road
mounting behind Haslemere Church, at the top of the ascent reaching a
common, from which the bare ridge of Hindhead appears full in view, to
be gained by a rough road over two intervening hollows, with pine-clad
knolls high to the right, a scene that suggests Bonnie Scotland rather
than Happy England.

From the top, the view over Hindhead itself has been criticised as
somewhat featureless, but for points like the isolated row of sand hills
to the north-west, known as the Devil's Jumps, from such a legend as has
so often arisen about any uncommon shape of scenery. The Devil's Punch
Bowl, _alias_ Haccombe Bottom, is indeed a most imposing basin, that
shelters a larger population of squatters than might be guessed on a
glance at its dark, wide hollow opening down to Thursley and the valley
of the Wey. Beyond it, the villa settlement of Hindhead, with Grayshott
as its nucleus, is marked by a new Water Tower, which has supplied a
felt want, these houses having at first stood dependent on wells that
sometimes failed them. Not that there is any want of water in clay
bottoms below the sand. All around are found tarns and pools, still
perhaps known as Hammer Ponds, beside huge furrows driven through the
earth by old searchers for iron. The marshy ground below Thursley drains
into several ponds like Pudmore, that figures in Mr. Baring-Gould's
story, as does the rock "Thor's Stone," haunted by a mythology older
than legends of that devil who took such athletic jumps. High up on the
heath, to the south of Grayshott, and about a mile to the right of the
Portsmouth road, are the Waggoners' Wells, a chain of lakelets among
dark woods, pronounced by George Eliot an ideal scene for a murder,
admired also by Tennyson, who is said to have written here his "Flower
in the Crannied Wall." On a lower level, to the north-west, beyond the
Devil's Jumps, close to the Wey and the Surrey border, lie the sparkling
sheets of Frensham Great and Little Ponds, either of them able to style
itself a lake. A large pond above Shottermill, beside the high-road from
Haslemere, is used for fish culture. It was by a short tenancy at
Shottermill that George Eliot made the acquaintance of this country,
which she describes as unsurpassable in "its particular style of
beauty--perpetual undulation of heath and copse, and clear views of
hurrying water, with here and there a grand pine-wood, steep
wood-clothed promontories and gleaming pools." If one might take
exception to any words of such a writer, running water in clear view is
not characteristic about Hindhead, unless at the bottom of the Punch
Bowl, or in the case of that branch of the Wey which she had beside her
in the Shottermill valley.

Such are hints of the scenes opening out to explorers on what may at
first sight seem a monotonous stretch of heath and pine-woods, with this
good quality for feeble folks, that, once at the top, they can ramble
some way without any trying ups and downs. "Eyes or no eyes," its
visitors cannot but be sensible of that "ampler ether," those restoring
breezes that blow over Hindhead, untainted by smoky towns or misty
flats. Too soon passes its season of purple glory; but it has other
charms that win on one by familiarity. Its very winter is apt to show a
more cheerful face than on the sodden, muggy lowlands; then always it
lies open to the painting of the sky, from crisp clear mornings, when
"not yet are Christmas garlands sere," till that evening of the year,

    Red o'er the forest peers the setting sun,
    The line of yellow light dies fast away
    That crowned the eastern copse; and chill and dun
    Falls on the moor the brief November day.

Keble, like other writers of our day, means by _moor_ the heathy uplands
that are the chief ornament of Hindhead. But Spenser's "moorish Colne"
hints to us how, in the south of England at least, this name has implied
rather such marshy and rushy flats as, about Thursley, are still
vernacularly called the "moor" _par excellence_. These lowerlying skirts
have beauties of their own, and seldom fail to be at least patched with
the richer material spread out to dry on the heights.

It will soon be found how Hindhead runs into a neighbourhood of swelling
heaths, such as Frensham Common, Headley Common, Ludshott Common, and
Bramshott Common, over which one can expatiate for hours to the west. A
couple of miles south of the Huts, the Portsmouth road crosses a here
very jagged boundary of Surrey, reaching the "Seven Thorns" in
Hampshire, and thence falling to Liphook on the edge of Woolmer Forest,
which straggles on by the new Longmoor Camp to White's Selborne. In the
valley to the left, that is the course of the railway, runs the Sussex
border, across which may be sought out scenes still more beautiful as
more varied. Then on the north side lie another series of broken
moorlands, by which the high ground slopes into the Wey valley--Milford
Heath, Royal Common, Thursley Common, Kettlebury Hill, and Hankley
Common, not to add minor names. Even Cobbett had kind thoughts of
Thursley; and the author of _Robert Elsmere_, with an eye on this
vicinity, if I err not, speaks the mind of our generation about the
waste skirts of her hero's parish:--

     The heaths and woods of some districts of Surrey are scarcely more
     thickly peopled than the fells of Westmoreland; the walker may
     wander for miles, and still enjoy an untamed primitive earth,
     guiltless of boundary or furrow, the undisturbed home of all that
     grows or flies, where the rabbits, the lizards, and the birds live
     their life as they please, either ignorant of intruding man or
     strangely little incommoded by his neighbourhood. And yet there is
     nothing forbidding or austere in these wide solitudes. The patches
     of graceful birch-wood; the miniature lakes nestling among them;
     the brakes of ling, pink, faintly scented, a feast for every sense
     the stretches of purple heather, growing into scarlet under the
     touch of the sun; the scattered farmhouses, so mellow in colour, so
     pleasant in outline; the general softness and lavishness of the
     earth and all it bears, make these Surrey commons not a wilderness
     but a paradise. Nature, indeed, here is like some spoilt petulant
     child. She will bring forth nothing, or almost nothing, for man's
     grosser needs. Ask her to bear corn or pasture flocks, and she will
     be miserly and grudging. But ask her only to be beautiful,
     enticing, capriciously lovely; and she will throw herself into the
     task with all the abandonment, all the energy, the heart could

These quiet heaths and copses "saw another sight" during the Great War,
when about Witley Common sprang up a huge camp, in which 30,000 raw
soldiers could be trained for service at the front. Latterly, it was
much occupied by Canadians, restlessly impatient allies, not altogether
as welcome in the vicinity as in Flanders. Too many of them had nothing
to do with their high pay but to waste it on liquor prohibited them at
home, so the police, if not the publicans of Godalming, were glad to see
the backs of these roisterers, who, once let loose upon the enemy,
turned their high spirit to better purpose.

But, to be sure, tents and warriors are no novelty on Surrey commons, as
will be shown in the next chapter.



Cobbett, so keenly appreciative of some aspects of English scenery, was
only a little old-fashioned in his contempt for Hindhead. We know how
writers of Johnson's and Goldsmith's school looked on such wilds, though
Gray was already clearing the eyes of their generation, to which an
elegant poet and philosopher lectured thus on the repulsive melancholy
of the Highlands: "Long tracts of mountainous country, covered with dark
heath, and often obscured by misty weather; narrow valleys thinly
inhabited and bounded by precipices resounding with the fall of
torrents, a soil so rugged, and a climate so dreary, as in many parts to
admit neither the amenities of pasturage nor the labours of
agriculture"--and the climax is, forsooth, "the grotesque and ghastly
appearance of such a landscape by the light of the moon"--so much for


principles of taste in vogue with our long-skirted and night-capped

Considering that Cobbett had been brought up among some of the finest
commons in Surrey, it seems strange what dislike he shows for heaths, on
which he bestows such epithets as "intolerable," "wretched,"
"blackguardly" and "rascally." Normandy Farm, where he died, is also in
a heathy district; and the name Cobbett Hill here would be taken by him
as no complimentary monument. This grudge may be not only the view of
the practical farmer, but an unconscious mental legacy from his
forbears, who had reason to look on half-savage "heathers" as
undesirable neighbourhood. In old days the "forest" moors as well as the
good greenwood harboured a sort of outlaws, good for nothing but to be
pressed as soldiers, when the sheriff could set on foot a strong
rounding up of the retreats where they lurked, like the Doones on
Exmoor. Almost up to our own day, out-of-the-way parts of the county
were inhabited by rough crews, apt to take a "heave-half-a-brick-at-him"
attitude towards outsiders. Certain villages, even, had long a bad name
as rustic Alsatias. The commons and woods of Surrey often made camps for
gypsies and other Ishmaelites, between whom and the constables of more
civilised parishes there was a natural aloofness. To such prosaic
agencies as the county police and schoolmasters, not to speak of roads
and respectable houses of entertainment, our generation, more than it
may guess, owes its secure enjoyment of "wild nature near London."

The Surrey Commons, as we have seen, are sprinkled all over the county;
but the widest stretch of them, extending also into Berkshire, almost
covers Surrey's western edge. The bed of "Bagshot sands" lying between
the Hog's Back and the Thames valley, Defoe speaks of as a dismal
desert, over which indeed the traveller was once fain to hasten, keeping
a sharp look-out for Bedouins in breeches. But the Sahara itself turns
out to be not everywhere so black as it has been painted; and this
Surrey wilderness has many an oasis of park and farm, gardened villages
like Chobham and Windlesham, pine-crested knolls and tangled dingles,
all the greener in contrast with their environment of dry slopes. The
railway passenger between Weybridge and Woking can see for himself what
grand fir-woods flourish on Defoe's desert. The whole district fell into
the bounds of the royal chase in days when trees made no necessary part
of a forest's character, so Pope has his eye on a wider scene than that
to which the name of Windsor Forest is now restricted:--

    Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display,
    And part admit, and part exclude the day;
    As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
    Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
    There interspers'd in lawns and op'ning glades,
    Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
    Here in full light the russet plains extend:
    There wrapt in clouds the bluish hills ascend.
    Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes;
    And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
    That, crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
    Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.

"Even the wild heath" is lit up by indulgent condescension in a poet of
that periwigged period. Still this corner has large stretches of
obstinate heath, sandy swells, boggy hollows, and sheets of gravel,
which, given up by Ceres in despair, have been taken on easy terms by
Mars. About two generations ago the God of War became a tenant in
Surrey. Ever since standing armies had to be lodged, they would be
quartered from time to time on the wastes near London--Blackheath, dark
with the frowns of Cromwell's veterans when they beheld the fugitive of
Worcester return in triumph; Hounslow Heath, on which the Roman
soldiery were drilled in their day; and Finchley Common, where the
Guards would now find scanty space for a bivouac. It seems to have been
the Prince Consort who started or at least fostered the idea of camps of
training and exercise on Surrey heaths. The first of these was at
Chobham, in the summer before the Crimean War, after which was formed
the more permanent camp at Aldershot. What a delightful novelty to
Londoners was that military picnic may be seen in the faithful pages of
_Punch_, setting forth the hardships of dandy guardsmen cramped in small
room, the indiscreet curiosity of crinolined ladies, and the irreverence
of small boys towards kilts and bearskins. After forty years of peace,
the pomp and circumstance of war was something of a joke, as well as a
sentiment, to that generation, as it was becoming for ours, till South
Africa taught "duke's son and cook's son" what a serious business is the
great game of kings, that may in future be stigmatised rather as the
sport of newspapers.

Chobham, which gave its name to the camp in 1853, is not to be confused
with Cobham in the Mole valley, nor with the Kentish Cobham renowned in
Pickwick. This common takes its name from the village of Chobham lying
to the south of it, about an hour's walk from Woking Junction, still so
far out of the way as to remain much of an old-world Surrey village
straggling round its ancient Church, a little smartened in our time. The
camp was mainly on its north-eastern skirts, with headquarters about the
hamlet of Long Cross, half-way on the road between Chertsey and
Windlesham. The nearest station then was Chertsey, from which cabmen
fixed a sovereign as their fare on field-days. Prominent points were
Flutters Hill, a swell of park-land, and Staple Hill, which to Lord
Seaton, the commanding officer, recalled the ridge of Busaco by its
crest of thin firs, like his regiment's battle-blown ranks on that
bygone day. Farther west, a cross on Ship Hill marks the knoll from
which Queen Victoria reviewed her troops bound for the East. This camp
was pitched for only two or three summer months, and its smoke has gone
into the infinite azure, while overgrown traces of fieldworks on the
heaths may raise sore controversies among future Jonathan Oldbucks.
Controversy at the time with influential residents is said to have stood
in the way of Chobham being permanently occupied by Bellona, always apt
to be complained of as a demoralising companion to the rustic Venus;
but the village has a Russian cannon to show as souvenir of its
flirtation with the War Office.

A more dreadful campaign found its first scenes in this martial
district, though luckily it is airy nothing to which a local habitation
has here been given. The disaster of the _Battle of Dorking_ pales into
a shade before the lurid horrors of that _War of the Worlds_ conceived
by Mr. H. G. Wells's teeming mind. According to his most blood-curdling
history, the inhabitants of Mars find means of shooting huge projectiles
across space, to hit the earth with such force that the heaths and
pine-woods of Surrey take fire from the glowing impact. The first of
these giant missiles half-buries itself in the Horsell sand-pits between
Woking and Chobham, the second falls among the woods of Byfleet, and
others follow in the same vicinity. What strikes one as an improbability
is that the Martian gunners should fire with such precision as to get
all their shots into the bull's-eye of Surrey, but of course something
must be allowed to an imaginative inventor; and one remembers how when a
French romancer took a like daring flight of fancy, in which the world's
history was made to roll backwards as seen from a distant star, it
happened that Paris stood always in the foreground of the picture.

Most ingeniously our author reports those projectiles, at first received
with curiosity as matter for newspaper paragraphs, then with wonder and
terror, growing to frantic panic when it appeared that, like the Trojan
horse, they held hostile beings equipped with supermundane weapons and
means of locomotion. The fate of Troy would be a mere squib beside the
awful conflagration raised by such irresistible invaders, stalking
across the country on their jointed stilts, picking up bank directors
and baker's boys as we gather blackberries, trampling down the British
army like ants, scorching up everything about them by an invisible
heat-ray, and poisoning the landscape by fumes unknown to our chemistry,
while all the artillery that can be hurried up for the defence of London
has little more effect on them than pop-guns. Nervous readers may cry
out at the gruesome incidents of page after page; but no one can deny
the cleverness with which scientific imagination has been infused
through the realistic details of this grim story. Its most marvellously
simple device is that by which the triumphant giants are got off the
stage. When London has been left empty to the flames, when the Thames
is choked up by the monstrous and prolific red vegetation of Mars, when
the whole population of Britain are in mad flight, and civilised
humanity is trembling all over our earth at what seems its inevitable
fate, the most experienced novel-reader cannot for the life of him guess
what is to be the necessary _dénouement_ of deliverance; yet for
overthrowing those Martian giants the author has in reserve means more
ready and common than the pebbles of David's sling. Old poets, in such a
case, had to provide their heroes with flying chariots, clouds of
invisibility, interfering gods and the like; but all such machinery
appears clumsy beside the everyday natural wonders familiar to a
biologist. Of this tale, equally winged by imagination and knowledge, I
will only say further that it were best read on a sunny bank of Surrey,
by no means beside a guttering candle amid the creakings and scratchings
of some lonely moated grange.

At the opening of his chronicle, the narrator's supposed stand-point is
Maybury Hill, looking down on the Woking railway line, which might be
taken as an eastern boundary for the district now in view, if the
commons did not straggle over the line to the edge of the Wey valley.
Here lies,


about Woking Junction, a town that has grown up fast in one generation
to attract some score thousand people scattered roomily over a parish
whose centre of gravity became shifted by the railway. Among its public
buildings is one notable for singularity among Surrey pine-woods, a
Mohammedan mosque at the south end of a row of brick buildings beside
the down line of the railway as it approaches Woking station. This
exotic institution was planted by the late Dr. Leitner as a college for
Oriental students of different creeds; and at the other end the mosque
had or was to have had its _juwab_ in a temple for Hindoo devotions; but
since the death of its eclectically pious founder, the enterprise seems
to have come to nought.

The amplest stretch of what is called Chobham Common lies some miles
away, upon the Berkshire edge. The best way of reaching this from London
is to get out at the border station of Sunningdale; then at once one can
mount to the common, on this side subdued by its inevitable destiny to
be cut up with lines of houses and swept by a fire of golf balls. Due
south one has still a fine open walk by sandy tracks and among ragged
thickets, making what our fathers called a dreary waste; then come the
wooded ridges and peopled hollows of Windlesham, one of Surrey's most
pleasant nooks, that, fortunately for its peacefulness, is not too near
a railway station. There is one at Bagshot, to which a path leads over
the valley of the Windle, striking into the high-road from Egham beside
Bagshot Park, a hunting lodge of former kings, now the seat of H. R. H.
the Duke of Connaught. Bagshot, a noted coach station, twenty-six miles
from London, that fell into some decay when railways overshadowed roads,
has been reviving again in our time. Its chief fame is the nursery
gardens of a well-known firm, with its huge holly hedges, the most
imposing of which may be sought out above the Church.

Beyond, the road rises on Bagshot Heath, at the "Jolly Farmer," a mile
on, forking for Basingstoke and for Winchester by either side of Crawley
Hill. This inn was once known as the "Golden Farmer," a name connected
with Dick Turpin, when the road over Bagshot Heath made a Harley Street
of his profession. The then lonely heath has borne a crop of military
and other institutions, which people the new town of Camberley in the
fork of the roads, its villas also sought as a retreat for "captains and
colonels and knights at arms." The extensive woods on the Berkshire side
are pierced by a Roman road, and by a fan of long, straight ridges that
look like War Office work, nine of them converging at a point called the
Star Post, from which other fine woodland walks go northward to Ascot,
westward to Broadmoor and Wellington College--but one must not be
tempted to expatiate on this trim wilderness where Hants, Berks, and
Surrey meet among the heaths and pine ridges shutting in the Blackwater

The right fork of the high-road soon leads us past the Staff College and
Sandhurst into Hampshire, reached by the left fork at Frimley. To keep
inside of Surrey, and to have one of the finest walks in the county, I
should choose the byroad which at the "Jolly Farmer" turns south along
the Chobham ridges. Here, some miles west of Chobham village, rises a
sandy bank about 400 feet high, beautifully covered with heath, ferny
copses and pine-wood, where one might believe oneself in the Highlands
but for the open prospects on either hand. The sides of late years have
been cut up by the building of various institutions; and towards the
farther end of the four-mile road it is frowned on by War Office notices
that trespassers are within range of stray bullets from the Pirbright
and Bisley ranges lying below the east side. While firing goes on,
there will be a red flag on the bold edge of Windmill Hill, which at the
south end of the ridge drops brokenly to the railway and the Basingstoke
Canal. This long unfortunate waterway, one understands, is now restored,
and to be worked by a new proprietor. But whether full or empty, it
gives a very pleasant walk by its bushy banks, often shaded by firs or
birchwood, its winding reaches, its sedgy bays and lagoons, and its
heathy environment. These features are especially un-canal-like on the
first crooked bend beyond Windmill Hill towards Aldershot.

In the other direction, a couple of miles of it leads to Brookwood
station, past the Pirbright Camp of the Guards on the opposite side.
Behind this lie the ranges of Bisley, where the volunteer camp,
transplanted from Wimbledon, blossoms out so gaily and jollily for a
July fortnight, during which our amateur soldiers bear warlike
hardships, made not too uncomfortable, the worst of it being usually a
thunderstorm or two that put whiskered Pandours of Fleet Street to their
shifts. The nucleus of permanent buildings appears on a low height
north-west of Brookwood station, then, beyond, the ranges run up against
the Chobham ridge, where barren banks display the "Hundred Butts" and
other groups of targets like that nicknamed "Siberia," or the sliding
course of the "Running Deer," so familiar to ambitious marksmen. On the
north side the knolls of the camp look to the no longer secluded village
of Bisley, with its outskirts Donkey Green and West End, growing along
the roads towards Bagshot and Windlesham.

On the other side of the railway spreads a great Camp of the Dead, which
Londoners will style _Woking_ Cemetery, to the indignation of that
lively young town, three or four miles away. The Brookwood
burying-ground, belonging to the London Necropolis Company, is the
largest in the country, and in beauty grows into competition with some
of the elaborate cemeteries of American cities. Laid out half a century
ago, on part of a large estate belonging to the Company, it encloses 500
acres of sandy land, which, among its native turf and heather, has been
planted with flower-beds, clumps of wood, banks of rhododendrons and
other shrubs, that go to disguise the gloomy shadows of the grave. Apart
from the division between those who have and have not the right to sleep
in consecrated earth, certain areas are allotted to London parishes, or
to communities such as the London Bakers, the Foresters' Society, etc.,
so that the associations of life are not lost in death; there is an
"Actors' Acre," as well as an "Oddfellows Acre," also a last common
bivouac for the Chelsea Pensioners and the corps of Commissionaires;
fellow-countrymen, too, can lie side by side, and fellow-believers of
many a creed: a notable feature, for instance, is the Parsees'
resting-place, so far from their Eastern Towers of Silence. The Company
has its own railway station in London, from which special funeral trains
convey their mournful freight into the cemetery, all arrangements being
carried out with as much reverence as is consistent with the conditions
of crowded city life.

About a quarter of a century ago these conditions called forth a
movement which will be remembered with respect by future generations.
This was the founding of the Cremation Society, and the building of the
first British Crematorium near Woking, that, after a delay of doubt and
difficulty as to the law, has been in use since 1885 for carrying out in
an hour or so, with due decency and complete safety to the living, those
chemical processes which, sooner or later, nature will work on us all,
however we seek to hinder her slow operation. The late Mr. J. N. Tata,
that beneficent Parsee millionaire who was not so rich in rupees as in
culture and enlightenment, confessed to me that he looked forward with
horror to the vulture burial of his creed, but that he would not indulge
his own preference for cremation on account of paining his wife's
feelings. After all, she died a few weeks before his useful life ended,
in Europe, and, as it chanced, he came to be buried at Brookwood. Some
of the more enlightened of his community, I hear, are considering the
question of substituting cremation for their repulsive form of
sepulture. Devout Parsees have looked on fire as too sacred for such an
office; but the objection of Christians is merely an ignorant prejudice,
kept warm by the ashes of mediæval eschatology. The sentiment twining
about a quiet country churchyard finds less deep root in a close-packed
metropolitan cemetery, haunted by the hideous vulgarity of the
undertaker's art; yet even here thrives a superstition of half-savage
regard for that part of us that yesterday made the tissues of a pig or
an onion, and to-morrow may be passing into the meanest forms of life. A
more truly Christian doctrine would inspire us to take care that our
farewell to earth might surely do no harm to any fellow-man.

That prejudice has been so far broken down that several other
Crematoriums are now open over the country, two close to London,
welcomed by the Cremation Society as taking away much of its business,
one by no means worked on commercial principles. In the course of twenty
years, over twenty-five hundred bodies were consumed at Woking, many of
them names of eminence: travellers like Sir Samuel Baker and Sir Henry
Layard; physicians like Sir Benjamin Richardson and Sir Spencer Wells;
authors like George Macdonald and W. E. Henley, Eliza Lynn Linton and
"Edna Lyall"; artists like Watts and Burne-Jones; philanthropists like
Sir Isaac Pitman and Dr. Barnardo; clergymen like H. R. Haweis and
Brooke Lambert, all concerned in their last dispositions to set such a
good example. Two dukes have been cremated here, with a due proportion
of duchesses and other members of the peerage; a judge or two can be
counted; and a crowning triumph of the Society would be to get a bishop
among its clients. At the outset of the movement one bishop came forward
to denounce it, but he was put to silence by a reminder how certain
distinguished prelates had been cremated alive, so far back as Queen
Mary's time, with no presumable damage to their souls' welfare.


As an original supporter of an enterprise that never sought to make
money, I need not shrink from giving it bold advertisement. The one
valid objection to cremation, that death by poisoning might be
undetected, is obviated by the precautions all along insisted upon by
the Cremation Society, which, along with its own aims, has advocated
such more stringent examination into the cause of death as itself
requires in every case. The proceedings are facilitated when, in
lifetime, one has expressed a disposition for this kind of funeral. The
cost of cremation has now been reduced to a few pounds, becoming lowered
as the apparatus was more often used. The Golder's Green Crematorium has
almost extinguished the Society's, which stands below the Knap Hill
Barracks, and above the canal bank, a mile or two out of Woking, just
beyond the church of St. John's Hill. The building includes a chapel,
where any religious service desired may be held, this and the final
disposal of the remains being left to the friends of the deceased. The
body, shrivelled up by a blast of hot air, is turned into a small
handful of ashes, which can be preserved in an urn or buried in the
ground, when its life is scattered through this world in the undying
good or evil a man has helped to do. The Crematorium enclosure has a
close-packed show of tiny tombstones and dwarf crosses, that give a
strange effect, as of a dolls' cemetery, so inveterate is the desire for
some visible memorial of our loved ones. For my part, I should wish what
is not my real self to be thrown out on any of the breezy commons about

    That from his ashes may be made
    The _heather_ of his native land.

All this fair country has been used for sepulchres since, above the
heaths trodden by funeral processions and cheerful warriors of our day,
were heaped tumuli where long-forgotten chiefs "quietly rested under the
drums and tramplings of three conquests." The neighbourhood has some
notable recent graves, besides those in the great gathering. Over the
common to the west of Brookwood Cemetery is reached Pirbright, where,
near the east end of the churchyard, Henry Stanley lies at rest beneath
a huge block of rough stone, an appropriate monument for him whom the
natives styled "stone-breaker," in admiration of his masterful dealing
with difficulties. At Frimley, on the Surrey border, is buried Bret
Harte. A little to the south of this, beside Farnborough station, on a
wooded hill rises a far-seen dome, miniature of that which covers the
great Napoleon at Paris, this one crowning a Benedictine Abbey built to
enshrine the tombs of Louis Napoleon and his ill-fated son. On the other
side of the line is the home of the Empress who, one might think, had
little reason to love sights that should sorrowfully remind her how many
a French mother's son may have been spared through her untimely loss.
Yet here this bereaved exile was neighbour to our chief national
manufactory of martial death.

To reach Aldershot Camp, one crosses the Blackwater, the parting of
Surrey and Hants, where the last great English prize-fight was fought
between Sayers and Heenan on a meadow chosen for convenience of dodging
either county's police. The quarters extend for miles about the
high-road running on from Farnborough station to Farnham, the North and
South Camps being divided by the transverse line of the Canal. The bulk
of the Camp is on Hampshire ground, but its ranges shoot into Surrey,
where, on the Fox Hills or the Romping Downs, peaceably-minded strangers
may be challenged by Roderick Dhus in khaki starting from copse and
heath, or find themselves beset by the invisible rattle of skirmishers
practising the game of war. Across a projecting tongue of Hants we come
back into Surrey again; anyhow, it is not straying far from our theme to
take a glance at this great military station.

Aldershot Camp, dating from after the Crimean War, has grown so much in
half a century that it now sends out suckers to spring up on more remote
commons, like those of Longmoor and Borden towards Selborne, where the
soldier is understood to pine, exiled from the joys of Aldershot. His
officers are not always much in love with the main camp, if one may
judge from military novels like Lockhart's _Doubles and Quits_; I have
heard subalterns wofully grumbling that they had nothing to do here but
work, while their seniors profess to be reminded of Aden rather than of
Eden. Of Aldershot as it was in earlier days, we get lively sketches in
Mrs. Ewing's _Story of a Short Life_, this author having been familiar
with the place before lines of barracks had replaced the huts, "like toy
boxes of wooden soldiers," in which it seemed not easy to "put your
pretty soldiers away at night when you had done playing with them, and
get the lid to shut down." In that touching story she tells us at what a
cost _Asholt_ Camp was constructed.

     Take a Highwayman's Heath. Destroy every vestige of life with fire
     and axe, from the pine that has longest been a landmark, to the
     smallest beetle smothered in smoking moss. Burn acres of purple and
     pink heather, and pare away the young bracken that springs verdant
     from its ashes. Let flame consume the perfumed gorse in all its
     glory, and not spare the broom, whose more exquisite yellow atones
     for its lack of fragrance. In this common ruin be every lesser
     flower involved: blue beds of speedwell by the wayfarer's path--the
     daintier milkwort and rougher red rattle--down to the very dodder
     that clasps the heather, let them perish and the face of Dame
     Nature be utterly blackened! Then: shave the heath as bare as the
     back of your hand, and if you have felled every tree, and left not
     so much as a tussock of grass or a scarlet toadstool to break the
     force of the winds; then shall the winds come, from the east and
     from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall raise
     on your shaven heath clouds of sand that would not discredit a
     desert in the heart of Africa. By some such recipe the ground was
     prepared for that Camp of Instruction.... Bare and dusty are the
     Parade Grounds, but they are thick with memories. Here were blessed
     the colours that became a young man's shroud that they might not be
     a nation's shame. Here march and music welcome the coming and speed
     the parting regiments. On this Parade the rising sun is greeted
     with gun-fire and trumpet clarions shriller than the cock, and
     there he sets to a like salute with tuck of drum. Here the young
     recruit drills, the warrior puts on his medal, the old pensioner
     steals back to watch them, and the soldiers' children
     play--sometimes at fighting or flag-wagging, but oftener at

Before the Crimean War, this obscure parish had only a few hundred
people. The little church above Aldershot station betrays what a small
place it originally was that has grown into a large town, its streets
alive and alert with the varied uniforms of Mr. T. Atkins, some dozen or
score thousand of him in ordinary times. The High Street, like certain
more famous thoroughfares, has only one side, facing to the blocks of
building and parade grounds of the South Camp on a ridge above the
canal. The busier side streets bear such appropriate names as _Union_,
_Wellington_, _Victoria_, while the blocks of soldiers' quarters are
inspiringly dubbed _Corunna_, _Talavera_, and so forth; and other names
of military fame mark the Lines stretching over the canal to the North
Camp, which has a station and "bazaar" quarter of its own. On very hot
days, indeed, one might mistake parts of the camp for an Indian
cantonment, till the eye catches ragged firs bordering this dusty
_maidan_. The Cavalry lie to the west, beside the Winchester high-road,
which is a boundary of the permanent barracks, while beyond it summer
brings out mushroom-beds of tents for the volunteers and militia
temporarily under training. On this side, to the south, opens the Long
Valley, haunted by shadows of dust, where the Royal Pavilion makes a
station for the Sovereign reviewing the troops in that "awful Campus
Martius." On a knoll in a hollow hereabouts has been hidden the statue
of the Great Duke that was laughed off its old perch on the arch at Hyde
Park Corner. Farther south, on the right of the high-road, stands out
Hungry Hill, and beyond it the bluff called Cæsar's Camp, from which at
a height of 600 feet there is a wide view northwards. Cæsar has other
doubtful camps in Surrey, whose border is recrossed on these heights.
Hence, by a hedge of public-houses with which Hale tempts the British
Grenadier, or through the quiet shades of the Episcopal park, we come
down to the hop grounds of Farnham, and across the Wey's gault beds may
gain that other series of commons about Hindhead.

All along this western side of the county sand has been mainly in
evidence. Where we cross the chalk, between Aldershot and Farnham, its
ridge is so much narrowed and lowered as not to force itself on the
notice of unspectacled eyes. This is exceptional, for elsewhere in
Surrey nature lays her record open, plain to read, leaf after leaf, only
here and there a little crumpled and dog's-eared at corners by the
careless hands of time. So we can see clearly on our next transverse
section, made nearer the eastern border.



All the main roads running southwards from London would lead with more
or less of a circumbendibus to Brighton; and the ideal way for a
leisurely traveller might be to pass from one to another on short
cross-roads, so as to pick out the best stretches of each. In Paterson's
road-book (1792) the _Brighthelmston_ Road is indicated as going by
Croydon, Godstone Green, East Grinstead and Lewes, fifty-nine miles,
with a short-cut beyond Godstone by Lindfield, saving seven miles; but
it also gives the "New Road" by Sutton, Reigate, and Crawley, fifty-four
miles. A newer road by Croydon and Redhill, joining the Reigate route at
Povey Cross, so as to save a mile or so, came in our time to bear the
name of the Brighton Road _par excellence_, and was preferred by coaches
and cycles, till the crush of Croydon traffic and tramways

[Illustration: THE BOURNE, CHOBHAM.]

drove them back to the Sutton route, even at the cost of facing the
steep windings of Reigate Hill.

This road through Sutton and Reigate seems to have been the standard one
when the Prince Regent's patronage made Brighton's fortune. The
lumbering stages of older days took a whole long day to go all the way
round by Lewes; but early in the century lighter vehicles began to ply
on a shorter route, their wheels soon greased by competition. Among the
many faults Cobbett has to find with George IV.'s reign, one is that
"great parcels of stock jobbers" live at Brighton with their families,
who "skip backwards and forwards on the coaches" to business in the
City. He speaks of at least twenty coaches running daily on three or
four routes, by which the Brighton resident, "leaving not very early in
the morning, reaches London by noon, and starting back two and a half
hours after, reaches Brighton not very late at night." If 7 A.M. would
answer to this matutinal worthy's idea of a not very early start, that
allows five hours for a journey recorded to be done once, under William
IV., in the exceptionally short time of three hours forty minutes. A
more precise writer of Cobbett's date gives six hours as a good rate for
sixteen regular coaches plying all the year--besides eight
"butterflies" in summer--the "Times," the "Regulator," the "Rocket,"
the "Patriot," the "True Blue," and so forth. In our own day of coaching
revival a record run has been a little under eight hours to Brighton and
back, with the disadvantage of more thronged thoroughfares to be
traversed at either end. The cyclists' record seems to be about seven
hours for the double journey, which is only a little more than that of
an amateur Dick Turpin on horseback. The famous Stock Exchange walk to
Brighton was won in nine and a half hours. One can hardly say in what
time the motor-car could devour this way, if it got a fair chance and a
clear road, as the rail has for its rush of an hour or so. One of the
latest appearances on the Brighton road has been a motor omnibus, that
modestly professed to take four hours to Brighton. For some time the
Post Office has been carrying its heavy traffic this way by a motor
vehicle, which once encountered the old-fashioned peril of highway
robbery. There has been talk of a special road from London to Brighton,
reserved as a track on which such careering vehicles may consume their
own dust at their own pace.

The Sutton route is certainly the best in that it soonest brings one out
into something like open country. Once clear of tram lines at Tooting
or Streatham, roads from the west end and the city converge by Figgs
Marsh on the flats of Mitcham. This is a widely straggling sucker of the
metropolis which clings to relics of its rustic character, showing
clumps of cottages, old inns, and patches of open ground not yet
squeezed out of existence, while it has a fame of its own for the
manufacture of tobacco and for the culture of aromatic herbs, that are
distilled at Carshalton not far off. About several villages around,
indeed, the air is perfumed by crops of lavender and peppermint, the
essence of which makes an export to France. This neighbourhood had also
an old name for walnuts, as mentioned by Fuller; and it still has room
for gardens as well as golf ground. Let us trust that only
scandal-mongering jealousy prompted a reproach once current among its

    Sutton for mutton,
    Carshalton for beef;
    Croydon for a pretty girl,
    And Mitcham for a thief!

It may be that Mitcham got this bad reputation through the gypsies that
long hung about it, and other undesirable aliens who gathered to the
revels of Mitcham Fair.

Outside of Mitcham, when the road has passed a very pleasant glimpse of
the Wandle, it becomes truly rural, running for two or three miles by
hedges, trees, and park palings, with as yet few hints of suburban
expansion. Yet, truth to tell, this is but a commonplace prospect of
Surrey; and the cyclist or pedestrian might do well to make a bend by
the left for a more varied route, by Mitcham Common, Hackbridge, and
Carshalton, with its old Church and the pond wept over by Ruskin, who
would have mourned more loudly had he lived to see its well-timbered
park invaded by the builder. Carshalton--spelt _Casehorton_ in Georgian
books, _Cash-Haulton_ by Fuller--is one of those places that has a
wilful pronunciation of its name, this and the spelling perhaps worn
down from _Cross Old Town_; and it is old enough to figure in King
Alfred's will. Eastwards, by Wallington and Beddington, this choice
place of residence almost runs into Croydon, to which a pretty walk may
be taken by the bank of the Wandle opposite Beddington Park, where the
stately Hall of the Carews, that has entertained Queen Elizabeth, is now
an Orphan Asylum, and may be visited on week-day afternoons. In the
gardens here it is said that oranges were acclimatised for a century,
till an unusually severe frost proved too much for them. The spirit of
the nineteenth century turned part of Beddington Park into a sewage
farm; but still this vicinity has some pretty peeps not yet blocked out
by bricks and mortar.

Even in George I.'s time, Defoe tells us, the edge of the Downs
hereabouts, as "the most agreeable spot on all this side of London," was
thickly set with citizens' houses, some "built with such a Profusion of
Expense that they look rather like Seats of the Nobility." In our day,
the merits of a high and dry site have spread building farther on to the
chalk heights. Coming by Carshalton, one strikes Sutton in its centre,
where beside the railway station the road, till not long ago, was
spanned by the sign of the "Cock," that held out longer than the
turnpike gate below it. The high-road runs right through this long
place, for two miles or so, first descending then ascending on the chalk
slopes, where so many Londoners seek healthy homes that this must be the
largest of our scores of _South towns_, one of the commonest place-names
in England. _Newtown_ is still more frequent, and not far behind Sutton
comes _Weston_, whereas _Nortons_ and _Eastons_ appear comparatively

The Sutton of Surrey seems more prosperous than picturesque, its old
features overlaid, and its parish monuments packed away into a handsome
new Church. But a mile to the west, Cheam has more rural features
scattered round a spire below which stands the chancel of the old
Church, enshrining some stately monuments; then from this village one
can walk on through Nonsuch Park to Ewell on the Epsom road. Cheam is
perhaps best known by what seems the oldest private school in England,
now a nursery for Eton, but it has passed through various phases, and
was at one time kept by the Rev. William Gilpin, whose search for the
picturesque came to be caricatured in the tours of _Dr. Syntax_.

Having cleared the Sutton villadom, about the twelfth milestone from
Westminster once more we emerge into the open; yet for a time the green
Downs are cumbered by huge institutions, a lunatic asylum, and other
blocks of building till lately used as Metropolitan Union schools, whose
pupils made an advertisement for Sutton's salubrity; but one hears that
they are now to be devoted to the care of more afflicted wards of our
local government. Beyond, on the right, is seen the outlying place
called Belmont, that hardly justifies its name. The unshackled wayfarer
might bear over the Downs to the left, making for the spire of the
pretty village of Banstead, hidden among fine trees. Those who keep the
high-road must not forget to turn round, near the crossing of the Epsom
Downs line, for a view from the highest point, over 500 feet, looking
across the southern suburbs to the dome of St. Paul's, that may be seen
on a clear day, and sometimes, it is said, the eye catches Windsor
Castle to the west. Closer at hand are scenes that moved an
eighteenth-century poet:--

    ... where low tufted broom
    Or box, or berried junipers arise;
    Or the tall growth of glossy rinded beech;
    And where the burrowing rabbit turns the dust,
    And where the dappled deer delights to bound,
    Such are the downs of Banstead, edged with woods
    And towery villas.

Here we are fairly on Banstead Downs, stretching to the Epsom
racecourse, that seems to have originally come under Banstead's name.
Epsom town lies two or three miles to our right, beyond Nork Park. To
the left, on the north side of the Downs, is the park called the "Oaks,"
seat of that Lord Derby who founded the race so named. On either side
there are alluring byways, like that leading by Banstead along the ridge
to Woodmansterne, at whose little Church guide-posts set us on the way
back to Carshalton, or into the Chipstead valley, where we might turn
down to Purley, or up the valley to regain the high-road at Tadworth by
a very pleasant path through Banstead woods and over Burgh Heath.

At Tadworth, where the Chipstead valley line to Tottenham Corner is
crossed, the high-road forks, its right branch going to Dorking, its
left to Reigate by the spire of Kingswood Church. The Dorking road runs
over Banstead Heath and Walton Heath, where, at the height of nearly 600
feet, stands up Walton-on-the-Hill, so called in distinction from Walton
low-lying on the Thames. Here there is a wide stretch of real stubbly
heath, such as Cobbett would abuse as "villainous," but the Romans had
not such bad taste, who left the remains of a considerable villa to be
unearthed on it. Walton Place is said to have been the retreat of Anne
of Cleves after her lucky separation from the royal Bluebeard. In our
day Walton is perhaps best famed for its excellent golf links. The whole
district is a charming jumble of fields and woods among pitted sandhills
and wrinkled chalk ridges, where a pedestrian will often be tempted to
stray from the open road. A mile or so to the west of Walton,


over a wooded hollow, is reached the conspicuous Church of
Headley-on-the-Hill, already mentioned as goal of so many footpaths.
From this may soon be gained the Roman Road; and southwards, from Walton
or Headley, there are pleasant tracks leading to the edge of the Downs
to strike the Pilgrims' Way as it comes to pass above Reigate.

These heaths are skirted by our Brighton highway, which at Gatton Park,
about three miles beyond the fork at Tadworth, approaches its grandest
point. Through the cutting to lower its level, that gave such strange
offence to Cobbett, it suddenly emerges on the steep brow above Reigate,
passing under the Suspension Bridge of the Pilgrims' Way, whence on the
left a most leafy lane leads down to Redhill, the modern annexe of
Reigate. A footpath runs along the cutting to the end of the Suspension
Bridge, where are seats for enjoying the celebrated view from this brow;
but from the open turf by the roadside the prospect is hardly
diminished, embracing the whole south of the county. The Holmesdale
Valley lies at our feet, with Reigate spread out in the foreground,
backed by the sand ridge; far away to the east stretches the Weald of
Kent; and the towers of East Grinstead stand up to the south-east,
across the Sussex border, with Crowborough Beacon beyond. Chanctonbury
Ring and the Devil's Dyke on the Sussex Downs can sometimes be made out
to the south. To the west, the Holmesdale Valley is continued between
Leith Hill and the Chalk Downs on which we stand; then on that hand the
featureless ridge of Hindhead will close the view in fine weather.

The descent to Reigate requires caution, imposed on prudent wheels by
its steep turns, and on imprudent ones by the fame of the local police,
who have made themselves a terror to scorchers. In the valley, beyond
the railway station, the road pierces into the heart of Reigate by the
unusual feature of a tunnel beneath the hillock on which stand its
Castle ruins and the brand-new block of Municipal Buildings.

Reigate, now so disguised in villas and wooded grounds, and so swollen
by the railway growth of Redhill on its east side, is no mere
mushroom-bed of London homes, but an old chief town of south-eastern
Surrey. Here was built a Norman Castle of the De Warennes, a rival to
that of Bletchingley on the sand ridge beyond Redhill. Till the last
Reform Bill Reigate had a member of its own, and two in olden days.
When membership of Parliament was often felt a burden rather than a
privilege, this neighbourhood was but too well represented, Gatton on
the Downs above being one of the most notorious rotten boroughs, and
Bletchingley another, that made a phosphorescent end with Lord
Palmerston as its member.

The nucleus of the place is marked by a gathering of old inns and shops
about the cross-roads, above which the site of the Castle has been laid
out as a public garden. There is not much of the structure left, the
chief sight being the sandstone caves underneath, which tradition, or
perhaps no better authority than Tupper's novel, _Stephen Langton_,
makes the secret meeting-place of the barons conspiring to bring King
John on his knees for the signing of Magna Charta. Still older legends
haunt these caves, where rude carvings have been attributed to Roman
soldiers quartered in them. Under other houses in or about the town
there are caves or excavations said to be better worth seeing, but not
always open to idle curiosity, one of them, indeed, being used for a
rifle gallery. What will be apparent to the passer-by is a pleasant
mixture of lawns, gardens, and clumps of fine foliage, among which
footpaths lead one in view of these private amenities well displayed on
the swells of the valley.

Reigate, then, may prove a spot to "delay the tourist," certainly for
the charms of its situation between the varied features of chalk and
sand closely facing each other from either side. On the north a steep
ascent leads to the celebrated Beechwood view, from which one may wander
along the timbered Downs to Box Hill. Up the valley runs the road to
Dorking, going out by Reigate Heath, where on a byway to Leigh is found
the curious feature of a windmill turned into a little church. Beyond
the town the sand ridge leads eastward to the broken expanse of
Earlswood Common; on the west side of the road it is crowned by the
clumps and knolls of Reigate Park, open to the public for striking
prospects both north and south; and from this enclosure one may hold on
along the heights to come upon the Mole winding through one of the most
Surreyish corners of Surrey.

The Brighton road mounts straight up the sand hill, deeply cut under the
edge of Reigate Park, below which the old Augustinian Priory has been
transformed into a mansion, whose late owner, Lady Henry Somerset, made
herself a high name both in England and America as a temperance
reformer. By path to Redhill along the top of the ridge, or over
Earlswood Common on its south side, one can now in a couple of miles
strike across to the road through Croydon, soon to converge with that we
have followed through Reigate. From Woodhatch, the latter drops on to
the Weald, in four miles joining the other road at Povey Cross,
twenty-six miles from London. A mile or so more brings us to the edge of
Surrey, guarded by a "White Lion," but no longer marked by the "County
Oak," whose time-seasoned timber has gone to make the screen of Ifield

Henceforth this much travelled road belongs to Sussex. The last stretch
of it in Surrey is not its most attractive part, from which, however,
one could make a fine diversion among the branches of the Mole to the
west, crossing over to the line of Stone Street. But our theme is the
Brighton road, on which let us now skim backwards along the main branch
_viâ_ Croydon, that, more closely accompanying the Brighton rail, might
be chosen by wayfarers bent on business or record-making.

Behind the convergence, this branch leads by the racecourse of Gatwick,
then, across the Mole, by the new growth of Horley, that might be called
the southernmost of London's dependencies, if the same thing were not
to be said of Brighton; but the old yews by the Church, and the
"Chequers" and "Six Bells" inns speak for Horley's unvillaed antiquity.
To carry out the sporting character of the neighbourhood, Horley is
headquarters of the Surrey staghounds, and at Burstow, to the east, are
the kennels of one of three packs of foxhounds that hunt this edge of
the county, where Mr. Jorrocks must have had many a day before he came
to his mastership at Handley Spa. To the east here extends a part of the
Weald little famed in the tourist world, yet containing such points as
Burstow with its monument to Flamsteed, our first Astronomer-Royal;
Thunderfield Castle, taken to have been a Saxon fortress; and the old
mansion of Smallfield Place, by which the free foot or wheel might
wander across to the East Grinstead road.

On the Brighton road itself--where the reader must bear in mind that his
head has been turned Londonwards--he finds not much of interest till it
comes to switchback over Earlswood Common, between an artificial lake
and the palace of the idiot asylum. Thus it mounts the sand ridge,
stretching towards Reigate in boldly broken scars and tangled hollows of
the red sandstone that gives Redhill its name, here crowned by a
circular clump to commemorate the Jubilee of 1897. On the other side
this range invites a fine diversion, by either low or high roads, past
Nutfield and Bletchingley to Godstone, on whose Green can be joined the
road going southwards by Caterham.

Our business-like highway has now nothing for it but a long down and up
through the main street of Redhill, in the central depression passing
the big Junction and St. Ann's Schools on the right, where, on the other
side, the excrescence of Warwick Town has grown along the cross-road
almost into Reigate. When the high-road gets out of Redhill, it is
climbing the Downs, reached at Merstham below Gatton Park, and passed by
a valley making the course of the Bourne, one of those English _wadys_
so common in chalk countries, which, filled by the overflowing of some
subterranean reservoir, may burst out in ravaging floods, as this one
has often done. In the same hollow pass is pent up the railway that was
apt to be choked by the trains of two lines, till the Brighton Company
relieved the pressure by a new conduit from Earlswood to Purley.

The road through Croydon falls into Smitham Bottom, brightened for
Londoners by such names as Stoat's Nest and Hooley Farm, but
overshadowed by the great County Asylum on Cane's Hill, and the
buildings that have sprung up about it. By Cane's Hill opens the
Chipstead valley, running up to Kingswood and Walton Heath. On the other
side rises the smooth swell of the Farthing or Fairdene Downs, which,
with Coulsdon Common beyond, are a pleasure-ground of the City of
London, as seems too little known to Londoners, unless it be the
Guardsmen from Coulsdon Barracks, whose uniforms may appear as showy
dots on the turf slopes, where sometimes hardly a human figure comes in
sight over a mile of open prospect. Yet few finer rambles can be found
so near London than by mounting from Coulsdon station to the bare top of
this ridge, and keeping straight along, to hold on by a woodland lane
for Chaldon and the brow of the Downs, with more than one rough path
dropping off into the hollow on the left to straggle up again to
Coulsdon Common and towards Caterham.

But our road, as Mrs. Gamp philosophically remarks, being born in a
vale, must take the consequences of such a situation. It leads us humbly
on to the violent outbreak of new houses about Purley, looked down on by
the Reedham

[Illustration: FLANCHFORD MILL.]

Orphanage to the right and the Warehousemen's and Clerks' School on
Russell Hill to the left. Guide-books remind us how here Horne Tooke
wrote his _Diversions of Purley_; but contemporary Radicals seem not
much disposed to seek either amusement or instruction from the works of
that philosophic grammarian and agitator. What will interest the present
generation more is an effort to preserve Purley Beeches, a fine woodland
on the Downs, as pleasure-ground for this fast-growing suburb.

On the east, beyond the railway, beside a face of quarried chalk, opens
the Caterham valley, its hollow and its south side much choked up with
streets and mansions, strung together by two railway lines; but the
north slope opens in the steeps of Riddlesdown, where a thousand acres
are preserved as a London park, with tea-gardens and other attractions
much in favour with school-treat parties; and in the background, by a
path to Warlingham, may perhaps be found a strong encampment of gypsies.
The last time I passed that way, on a fine Sunday evening, I came upon a
band of "burly chiels and clever hizzies" from the North, actually
dancing about a piper--"to give them music was his charge," as more
rigid Scots might quote grimly. The waters by which these cheerful
exiles thus forgot the Sabbath songs of their Zion show, in the
reservoirs of Kenley and Purley, a strikingly blue tint one guesses to
be due to some process for softening their chalky impregnation; and this
valley also has a subterranean bourne, to which fond tradition gives a
periodicity of seven years. Again a word to the unshackled wanderer: let
him pass up by the curving face of Riddlesdown and through the lower
part of Caterham, past the Congregational College, then by a track up
the Harestone valley, leading to a high brow of the Downs at the War
Coppice. The Caterham valley itself is some hundreds of feet above the
sea, so no wonder that so many well-to-do Londoners make their nests
about what a local guide styles "its cluster of ambrosial hills."

At Purley begins the long tram line that takes us through Croydon, and
on to Norbury by still open spaces, shrinking like Balzac's _Peau de
chagrin_, where the footpaths that run off to the heights of Norwood may
any year be found hedged by houses. Croydon ought to be well equipped
with trams, for one of the first in the country was made hence to
Wandsworth, the very first, in 1800, belonging to Derbyshire, the
contrivance of Benjamin Outram, from whose name _Outramways_ is said to
have been playfully derived; but the word tram is of course an old one.
There is now only one hiatus, at Streatham, in the electric tram route
from the Chalk Downs to the Thames bridges; and that seems like to be
bridged over, for Croydon is running into London as fast as its own
satellites, Purley, Sanderstead, Thornton Heath, and Beddington are
drawn into the growing mass of Croydon.

Croydon has some right to resent its threatened absorption into the
metropolis, for, as populous as London was three centuries ago, it is by
far the largest independent municipality in Surrey. It was a town of
high antiquity, and a main seat of the Archbishops of Canterbury in days
when those prelates had a dozen palaces in their diocese. The "Colliers
of Croydon" were once well known as burning charcoal in the woods
around. Then the town lay mainly to the west of the present main
thoroughfare, on low ground about the head-waters of the Wandle. This
part has been swept and garnished in our day; and with other old taverns
has gone the "King's Head," kept by Ruskin's grandmother. But Croydon
has still relics of the past among its smart modern features displayed
by electric light round the tower of its Town Hall. At the corner where
the chief street is gained from the Central station stands Whitgift's
Hospital, a "haunt of ancient peace" since it was founded by Elizabeth's
archbishop; but it is now threatened with removal or alteration as
standing too much in the way of the busy tram line, that seems already
to have pushed the Brighton coaches off this road, where Croydon's
"Greyhound" was once a well-known stage. From the crossing at Whitgift's
Hospital, Church Street leads down to Croydon Church, destroyed by fire
forty years ago, but reproduced by Sir Gilbert Scott, and containing
some of the old monuments saved from that disaster. Close to it may be
seen the remains of the Archbishops' Palace, in part preserved and
restored, now, after being turned to base offices, used as an orphanage
school under care of the Kilburn Sisters. It is said to have been
founded by Lanfranc, and was occupied by a long line of prelates up to
George II.'s time.

When this palace was sold in 1780, the proceeds were used to buy
Addington Park, on the heights to the east, which became the
Archbishops' country seat till it in turn came to be sold and replaced
by a mansion at Canterbury in our time. The park, several miles in
circuit, shows a beautiful contrast of fir-woods and heath, recalling
Scotland, with the softer features of an English demesne; so one hoped
for it to escape the fate of being broken up for building lots, as seems
now the doom of its seclusion. But the Addington Hills on the Croydon
side, and the bare brow of Shirley, are open, giving a wide view over
South London, with the Crystal Palace in the foreground upon the edge of
Kent. Into a pretty corner of this county we soon pass by a conspicuous
windmill and the high built spire of Shirley Church, outside which, at
the east end, may be seen the tomb of Ruskin's parents, with a
characteristic inscription. Kent is entered a mile farther on, at West

This is not the only fine point of view about Croydon. Just outside of
the town, to the south-east, above Selsdon Road station, the high wooded
bank called Crohamhurst is now a public park, about which pleasant
footways lead over a country too rapidly being built over. On the other
side, beyond the Duppas Hill Park, the Wandle is our guide to half-rural
scenes of Waddon and Beddington, already mentioned as we passed by

The main road runs Croydon into Purley, passing the aerodrome station
for Paris. A fork of it is the oldest Brighton Road, which leaves the
county below East Grinstead. From Croydon it goes by Caterham, dropping
through a hollow in the Downs to Godstone Green, with its good old inns,
then by Tilburstow Hill, a bold knob of the sand ridge, on to a stretch
of the Weald, from which once more it rises to the Forest Ridge of
Sussex. But we have already crossed this road at its best points; and
fresh scenes will be opened out by taking a more devious line a little
to the east, on which articulate guide-posts and more or less articulate
men may be consulted to keep one in touch with straighter roads to

From the main road, this line diverges by a fork to the left at the "Red
Deer," no longer the south terminus of Croydon trams. Past spreading
suburbs it mounts up to Sanderstead, whose pretty Church stands at a
height of 500 feet upon a sandy patch, from which our road soon passes
on to the chalk tableland. An hour's sharp walk would bring us to
Warlingham above the Caterham valley, where the Church, with its ancient
yews, has among other old features a faded fresco of St. Christopher. A
mile or two farther on, the chalk is broken by gravel pits and traces of
ancient excavation on Worms Heath; then the road rises to 800 feet on
Nore Hill, and still higher as by Botley Hill, the unpretending Mount
Blanc of the Surrey Downs, about seven miles beyond Croydon, it reaches
the sharp drop to Titsey, on the brow where five roads meet, between
Tatsfield to the left and Woldingham to the right. This is the point we
gained in passing along the edge of the Downs by Harden Park, above the
Pilgrims' Way.

On such a descent the cyclist needs no notice boards as warning to
caution. The pedestrian may leave the careful course of the high-road
for the steep chalky lane on the right, plunging straight down beside
the woods of Titsey Park. Either road brings him by Titsey, across the
line of the Pilgrims' Way, to Limpsfield, a scattered village lying
prettily against the farther slope, where the common makes a favourite
golf ground. Village is hardly the word for what seems a roomy suburb,
spreading itself on the broken ground that has given fine sites for such
institutions as the Church Missionary Home and the Caxton Convalescent
Home for printers; but here is well shown that scene so frequent around
London, a quiet roadside Church and core of old houses beginning to be
lost among rows of new ones, even as in many a Surrey graveyard the
heavy, flat, weather-worn slabs, under which "the rude forefathers of
the hamlet sleep," are now thrown into shade by a thickening display of
choicer and fresher memorials that mark the passing of a more æsthetic
generation to its last home.

Here one might turn aside on either hand through fine country. Near the
station, shared by Limpsfield with Oxted, to the west of it stands the
Church of the latter village, looking up to the Downs, which may be
ascended by steep ways. A little beyond this Church is Barrow Green, the
summer home of Jeremy Bentham, where he entertained James Mill and his
well-taught son. By Oxted, an hour or so's walk leads westward to
Godstone, past or not far from Tandridge and Godstone Churches, both
finely restored by Sir Gilbert Scott, who lived here under the brow of
Marden Park. His alabaster monument to his wife in Tandridge churchyard,
and the view from its ancient yew, are worth a slight bend to the south,
bringing one in the latitude of Tilburstow Hill, that rises between
Godstone Green and its far-off station; then along that sand ridge one
might keep on for half a dozen miles to Redhill. There is a still finer
walk to the east of Limpsfield, across


its common, with a windmill and the little Chart Church as landmarks to
the left, then up an avenue-like road to Kent Hatch, where the wooded
heath of Crockham Hill slopes suddenly to the Kentish Weald. A most
beautiful round might be made of this excursion into Kent, by taking the
path through Squerryes Park, behind Crockham Hill, to descend into the
pretty town of Westerham, with its memories of Wolfe, from which some
three miles bring one back over the Surrey border to Limpsfield.

But there still remains to be seen the south-eastern corner of the
Surrey Weald, containing some notable sights. For them, from the
"Plumbers' Arms" cross-roads at Limpsfield, let the traveller trace out
his way along labyrinthine byroads near the straight course of the L.B.
& S.C. rail southward. Three miles on, a little to the west of this
line, soon after it has been intersected by the S.E.R., he will find the
old-world village of Crowhurst standing up among the remains of Wealden
woods. The restored Church has two brasses, and one of the cast-iron
tomb-stones common in this Black Country of old days; but its lion is
the churchyard yew, taken as the oldest and largest in Surrey,
thirty-two feet in girth, its fame sometimes confused with that other
great yew's, that distinguishes likewise the Sussex Crowhurst. The
yew-hedged farm close by was the manor-house of the Angell family, whose
name revives in the highly respectable but commonplace Angell Road,
Brixton. A mile farther south, to the right of the road, lies Crowhurst
Place, one of the old moated granges of Surrey, still a delight to the
artistic and antiquarian eye. A little more to the south, and rather
farther off the road, Moat Farm is another old house to be sought out;
and indeed the whole of this district makes a happy hunting-ground for
the sketcher or photographer.

The road from Crowhurst goes on with the railway to Lingfield. If one
have strayed as far west as the high-road through Godstone, at Blindley
Heath a byroad turns off it for Lingfield, to which a footpath leads
from Moat Farm. Lingfield is a place of varied note, not least for its
quaint timber-fronted houses, and its "Star" inn, a type of hostelry now
rare about London. The noble Church, formerly a collegiate one, is to be
visited for its show of Cobham monuments and brasses, and other old
features. The old College has disappeared; but a modern foundation here
is the "Homestead" colony for the afflicted in mind, body, or estate, a
praiseworthy effort of the Christian Union for Social Service. Then, as
the nettle grows near the dock, Lingfield has its noted racecourse,
which may have ruined such lives as that colony strives to reclaim. What
looks like a small-pox hospital to the south of Lingfield station turns
out to be the Grand Stand and stables that bring noisy crowds to this
else peaceful neighbourhood.

On a height to the south of the racecourse stands the last and latest
village of Surrey, making a strong contrast with its time-weathered
neighbours. This is the group of bungalows originally entitled
Bellaggio, which a generation or so ago was built as a sort of
co-operative country home for Londoners, standing in its own grounds
round the tower of a club-house. The enterprise did not succeed very
well; and the place has sought to gain a fresh start under the name of
Dormans Park, the club being turned into an hotel, that does good
business at the race meetings, and at other times would make a centre
for exploring the skirts of Surrey, Kent, and Sussex, here converging.
Beyond the grounds, ornamented with wood and water, across a dip rises
in Sussex the edge of the Forest sand ridge, where the towers of East
Grinstead beacon us to "fresh woods and pastures new" of a county no
less beautiful than Surrey.

But the reader must not be led farther afield, when space fails me to do
justice to my proper theme. I have said nothing of Farley and Chelsham,
that look so finely over Kent from the high and dry north-east corner of
Surrey. I have barely mentioned the wooded and parked northern edge of
the Downs which, so far back as Defoe's time, could be spoken of as one
line of gentlemen's houses between Guildford and Leatherhead. I have not
said enough of the stretch of broken land between the Wey valley and
Leith Hill, nor of picturesque old villages and "greens" hidden among
its wild commons and copses. Other points may have been unwillingly or
unwittingly passed over, as not readily brought into view from the
various routes by which we have crossed nearly every part of Surrey. But
enough has been said at least to hint what are the varied leaves of
chalk, sand, and clay with which nature makes up such a noble bouquet of
landscapes laid at the feet of London.


Abinger, 175

Addington Park, 244

Addlestone, 31

Albury, 127

Aldershot, 219

Anningsley, 29

Anstiebury Camp, 164

Ashtead, 157

Bagshot Heath, 210

Banstead, 230

Barn Elms, 52

Barnes, 50

Basingstoke Canal, 85

Battersea, 54

Beddington, 228

Bellaggio, 251

Betchworth, 108

Bisley Camp, 212

Blackdown, 193

Blackheath, 84

Bletchingly, 140

_Boating on Thames_, 36

Botley Hill, 141

Box Hill, 108, 134

Bramley, 69

Brighton Road, the, 224

Brockham Green, 108

Brookwood, 213

Burford Bridge, 107

Burstow, 238

Byfleet, 85

Camberley, 210

Camilla Lacey, 104

Cane's Hill, 240

Capel, 110

Carshalton, 228

Caterham, 241

Chaldon, 138

Chalk Downs, the, 5

Chantries Wood, 123

Charlwood, 110

Charterhouse School, 67

Cheam, 230

Chelsham, 252

Chertsey, 28

Chessington, 149

Chiddingfold, 190

Chilworth, 124

Chipstead, 240

Chobham, 204

---- Ridges, 211

Claremont, 94

Cobham, 96

Coldharbour, 164

Compton, 119

Cooper's Hill, 22

Coulsdon, 240

Cowey Stakes, 35

Cranleigh, 180

Crohamhurst, 245

Crooksbury Hill, 64

Crowhurst, 249

Croydon, 242

Deepdene, 162

Denbies, 133

Devil's Jumps, 194

---- Punch-bowl, 184

Dorking, 159

Dormans, 251

Earlswood Common, 236

Eashing, 66

Effingham, 84

Egham, 25

Elstead, 64

Ember River, 89

Englefield Green, 23

Epsom, 149

Esher, 91

Evershed's Rough, 133

Ewell, 147

Ewhurst, 180

Farley, 252

Farnborough, 218

Farnham, 59, 117

Farthing Downs, 240

Felday, 178

"Fold" Country, 181

_Footpaths_, 20

Frensham, 197

Friday Street, 174

Frimley, 218

Gatton, 136

Gatwick, 237

Gibbet Hill, 188

Godalming, 68

Godstone, 248

Gomshall, 139

Grayshott, 195

Great Bookham, 98

Guildford, 71

Ham House, 44

Hampton Court, 38

Haslemere, 193

Headley-on-the Hill, 158

Hersham, 95

High Down Ball, 70

Hindhead, 183

Hogsback, the, 117

Hogsmill River, 148

Holloway College, 15

Holmbury Hill, 178

Holmesdale Valley, 134

Holmwood, 169

Horley, 237

Horsley, 84

Juniper Hill, 105

Kenley, 242

Kent Hatch, 247

Kew, 48

Kingston-on-Thames, 40

Leatherhead, 99

Leigh, 108

Leith Hill, 167

Limpsfield, 247

Lingfield, 250

London suburbs, 29

"Lonesome," 12

Long Ditton, 39

Losely, 121

Magna Charta Island, 25

Marden Park, 140

Merstham, 135

Morton, 146

Mickleham, 101

Milford, 70

Mitcham, 227

Mole, the, 87-110

Molesey, 87

Moor Park, 61

Morden, 147

Mortlake, 50

_Necropolis, the_, 213

Newark Priory, 83

Newdigate, 110

Newlands Corner, 124

Nonsuch Park, 148

Norbury Park, 100

Oakwood, 166

Oatlands Park, 33

Ockham, 83

Ockley, 165

Oxshott, 97

Oxted, 248

Pease Marsh, 70

Peperharow, 66

Petersham, 44

Pilgrims' Way, 111-143

Pirbright, 83

Pirford, 218

Polesden, 103

_Population_, 11

Purley, 240

Putney, 53

Puttenham, 118

Ranmore Common, 133

Redhill, 239

Redland Woods, 169

Reigate, 135, 223

Richmond, 44

Riddlesdown, 241

Ripley, 83

_Rivers of Surrey_, 7, 57

Roman Road, the, 144-166

Rotherhithe, 55

Runnymede, 24

St. Anne's Hill, 29

St. Catherine's Chapel, 122

St. George's Hill, 32

St. Martha's Chapel, 123

Sanderstead, 246

Sandown Park, 90

Seale, 118

Send, 82

Shalford, 122

Shere, 130

Shirley, 245

Shottermill, 189

"Silent Pool," the, 129

Stoke D'Abernon, 97

"Stone Street," 145

Surbiton, 39

Suspension Bridge view, 233

Sutton, 229

Sutton Place, 80

"Swallows" (of the Mole), 100

Tadworth, 232

Tandridge, 248

Tatsfield, 142

Thames, the, 22

Thames Ditton, 39

Thursley, 187

Tilburstow Hill, 248

Tilford, 64

Tillingbourne, the, 127

Titsey, 141

_Towns and villages_, 12

Virginia Water, 24

Waggoner's Wells, 195

Wallington, 228

Walton-on-Thames, 35

Walton-on-the-Hill, 232

Wandle, the, 228, 245

Warlingham, 246

_Watts Gallery, the_, 120

Waverley Abbey, 62

Weald, the, 6

Westcott, 170

Wey River, 58-86

Weybridge, 32

White Hill, 139

Wimbledon, 41

Windlesham, 210

Windsor Park, 24

Wisley, 84

Witley, 189

Witley Common, 199

Woking, 82

Woldingham, 141

"Wolsey's Tower," 90

Wonersh, 74

Woodmansterne, 231

Worcester Park, 148

Wotton, 172

_Printed in Great Britain by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.

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