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Title: Reminiscences of Epping Forest
Author: Green, J. D. (Jacob D.)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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Transcribed from the 1873 edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                              REMINISCENCES
                                    OF
                              EPPING FOREST.


                                * * * * *

                                ISSUED BY
                                J. GREEN,
                              “THE ROEBUCK,”
                             BUCKHURST HILL.

                                * * * * *

                                  1873.



EPPING FOREST REMINISCENCES.


It is most desirable that the above charming locality should be better
known to the inhabitants of London; but, to be fully appreciated, it must
be visited and explored from time to time, but especially during the fine
months of the year.

The popularity of this place was enhanced considerably by the formation
of the Loughton, Woodford, and Ongar branch of the Eastern Counties
Railway, although, prior to that, the prejudices against Essex scenery
had kept many persons, who now wander about its sunny slopes with unmixed
delight, from seeking air and exercise North-east of the Metropolis;
indeed, when we take into consideration the “barr’d up” and comparatively
exclusive character of the approaches to London in Kent, Surrey, and
Middlesex, it is a matter of surprise and wonderment that there can be
found people who prefer dusty roads (which are only enlivened by notices
to trespassers of prosecutions with all the rigour of the law) to the
jolly freedom connected with rambling in pure air only ten miles from
London wherever their inclinations may lead them.

THE ROEBUCK GARDENS AND GROUNDS have always been historically associated
with the adjacent Forest, and the quaint old edifice has been referred to
chiefly as the Foresters’ and Keeper’s Home for more than two centuries,
so much so, that it was under the consideration of the late proprietors,
Messrs. Green Brothers, at the suggestion of their neighbours and
visitors to name it THE LORD WARDEN’S ROEBUCK HOTEL!

The situation (on the brow of a lofty hill), with two deep valleys on
either side of it, watered by the rivers Lea and Roding, is scarcely to
be rivalled, as to scenery, even by the far-famed contiguous eminence of
High Beech.

In the extreme distance is the ancient town of Epping, from which the
Forest takes its name, and “ye wodes of Waltham,” referred to in
“Doomsday Book,” are on the opposite heights.  To the North-west is the
cave of the renowned Turpin; and this haunt of the Essex freebooter may
be seen from hence, and easily reached by descending a ravine and
climbing the high hill beyond it.

To the lovers of poetry this place will be interesting, inasmuch as at
Fair Mead Bottom the author of the “Pleasures of Hope” lived in sedation,
but so great was his love for the retreat we are now describing, that he
(Thomas Campbell) half cut a way to it with a knife, and although this
vista was relinquished through his death, it was finished by a gentleman
of the same name, who resided at the Hotel for years, he remarking, with
emphasis, that “A Campbell began it, and a Campbell completed it.”
Another great author, the late Charles Dickens, no later than about seven
years since, in a conversation that he had with the proprietors, Messrs.
Green Brothers, stated that it have him great pleasure to visit this
house, inasmuch as he had always considered it as the central rendezvous
for all Foresters from time immemorial.

During a great part of the last century, the ragged and romantic vicinage
of the “ROEBUCK,” whose ferny brakes screened and protected the red and
fallow deer which trooped on its verdant swards and grassy walks, was the
hunting ground where the Earls of Tilney and the famous “rideing
forester, Baron Suasso” hunted the stag for upwards of fifty years.
Although these sylvan pursuits have partially fallen into disuse, and the
woods no longer re-echo the sound of the horn, the London visitor will
shortly hear the wild notes of the cuckoo and nightingale, and his senses
be regaled by the fragrance of the flowers and the waving masses of
verdant foliage around him.

There is one material fact which must be here mentioned respecting the
probable fate of Epping Forest, and which ought to be known to the
public, viz.: there are still 3,500 acres left, the greater part of which
are adjacent to or plainly be seen from the “ROEBUCK;” and although
(pending the Chancery Suit, which is now being proceeded with, viz.: The
Corporation of the City of London _versus_ the Lords of the different
Manors) nothing in the way of improvement by Government can be expected,
yet the people have a right to anticipate a proper drainage and good
paths through these vast solitudes, and a restoration of the antlerred
denizens of the woods.

At present the “ROEBUCK” is the only hotel near which these improvements
will take place, and will, no doubt, be the head quarters of the public
functionaries, surveyors, contractors, &c., under Her Majesty’s
Commissioners, since the present proprietor and remaining partner of the
firm, late Green Brothers, has, at a heavy outlay, made every arrangement
for their comfort and convenience, as well as for that of the public at
large.

Looking forward to the proximity of summer, and the near advent of
thousands from Town, a short description of this establishment may not be
uninteresting to the reader.  This antique edifice, the HOTEL, which is
detached from the high road to Cambridge about a furlong, is approached
by a semi-circular carriage way which diverges from the above road on the
summit of Buckhurst Hill, re-entering the same further down towards
Loughton.  It is provided with an ample bar and airy and well ventilated
apartments, overlooking prospects principally of immense tracts of
forest, relieved by corn fields and undulating meads.  Adjoining the
hotel a Ball or Banquetting Hall has been erected, capable of dining 500
persons; indeed the proprietors found it necessary, to meet the
continually increasing demands for large Annual Dinners, Masonic
Banquets, Fetes, &c.

When it is borne in mind that these Grounds cover over 22 acres, and that
the greater part of this area is laid out in Gardens, Terraces, Bowling
Greens, &c., with a profusion of Flowers, some idea may be formed of the
whole, but it must be visited and inspected, since no description can
possibly convey an adequate idea of the place.

There is every accommodation for Horses, Carriages, &c., and the
Buckhurst Hill Railway Station is little more than ten minutes’ walk from
this ancient hostelry.





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