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Title: Some of our East Coast Towns
Author: Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing)
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Some of our East Coast Towns" ***

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Transcribed from the 1893 Edmund Durrant & Co. edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                                 Some of
                          Our East Coast Towns.

                                * * * * *

                             J. EWING RITCHIE
                          (CHRISTOPHER CRAYON.)
                    _Author of_ “_East Anglia_” _&c._

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                           EDMUND DURRANT & CO.



                                * * * * *

 _NOTE_.  _With one exception and some few additions these articles have
                  appeared in the_ “_Christian World_.”

                                * * * * *


CHAPTER.                                                  PAGE.
II.        IN AN ANCIENT CITY (COLCHESTER)                    6
III.       A QUIET SUFFOLK TOWN (HADLEIGH)                   15
V.         IPSWICH: THE PRIDE OF THE ORWELL                  28
VI.        LIVING NORWICH                                    36
VII.       A DAY AT LYNN                                     42
VIII.      FRAMLINGHAM AND ITS CASTLE                        48
IX.        SUDBURY                                           52
X.         INTERNATIONAL HAVERHILL                           58
XI.        THE OLDEST ESSEX BOROUGH (MALDON)                 63


CHELMSFORD, one of the youngest of the Essex Boroughs, and almost a
suburb of Greater London by means of the Great Eastern Railway, was, when
I first knew it, a dignified county town, the leading people of which
considered a second post from London as a daily nuisance, and had no
taste for what is practically too near the rush and roar of modern life.
The old stage-coaches stopped and changed horses at quaint old hotels,
which have long disappeared.  Now, as you drop down from the railway
station, past the Quakers’ chapel on one side, and the big brewery on the
other, all is modern, and except the church which stands on your left,
there is little left to recall the past.  In the square, opposite the
Shire Hall, there is a modern statue which recalls to memory Chief
Justice Tindal, who, born in 1776, at a house called Coval Hall, was
educated at the Chelmsford Grammar School, and died at Folkestone, in
1846.  The statue is erected on the site of an ancient conduit, which
stood long upon the spot, with a Latin inscription which few Essex people
cared to read.  Not far off is the Corn Exchange, which, what time corn
was a commodity worth dealing in, was on Fridays as busy as Mark Lane

But on the whole the town is modern, and all of the modern time.  It is
respectable, thoroughly so, quite as much as any London square or street.
Its great industry is a modern one—the manufacture of Electric apparatus,
by the firm of Crompton and Co., Ltd., a firm which has for some time
occupied a leading place in connection with the installation of Electric
light, and has been the means of lighting not only Chelmsford, but many
of the principal buildings in London.  If you want to see antiquity in
Chelmsford, you must pay a visit to the Museum, now incorporated with the
Essex Field Club, which is a very good one of its kind.  One of the best
antiquarian magazines of the day is the _Essex Review_, published in High
street, which is really a credit to the town.  But Chelmsford is of the
present rather than the past.  Its men and women move with the times,
perhaps in consequence of their nearness to the great metropolis.  It has
literary and scientific tastes, of which the sette of Odde Volumes is an
illustration; and it is further known to fame as the head-quarters of the
Essex Bee-keeping Association, established in 1880, which has done much
to develop the taste for, and the growth of, honey—an article not unknown
to the ancients, and an industry by means of which many a careful
cottager may pay his rent.  Of that association Mr. Edmund Durrant is the
life and soul, and in all parts of the land he has lifted up his voice,
on behalf of this new and desirable source of wealth in our country towns
and village homes.  As to its Beef Steak Club, which was founded in
Chelmsford in the time of the Georges—it was second to none.

“The position of the town at the junction of the rivers Chelmer and Cann
probably” writes Mr. Christy, “led to its being inhabited in very early
days.”  As Roman remains have been discovered there, there is reason to
suppose that it was known to those enterprising people.

In the good old times, as some people call them, there was a Priory here
(of which no trace now remains), where in the reign of Edward II. resided
Thomas Langford, an author, of whose works I know little, save that a
local historian describes them as curious.  A greater man, I apprehend,
was Philemon Holland, a physician and translator of Livy, Pliny, and
other classic authors.  He has better claims on us as having first
translated Camden’s Britannia into English.  He was born in Chelmsford,
in 1551, and educated at the Grammar School, a school which still exists,
but in a recent building, the older one having passed into the hands of
the County Council Technical Instruction Committee.  One of the old
houses still remaining, “Springfield Mill,” is that in which Strutt wrote
his Sports and Pastimes.

Chelmsford fell into Church hands at an early date: It owes indeed much
of its prosperity to Maurice, Bishop of London, who, about the year 1100,
built a bridge over the Cann, which brought the main stream of traffic
through Chelmsford instead of Writtle.

The Church has been once at any rate in danger, that is in 1800, when a
great part of the building fell down.  Hence arose a well-known local

    Chelmsford Church, and Writtle steeple,
    Both fell down, but killed no people.

Chelmsford seems early to have struggled after a Reformed Church.  Strype
tells us of one, William Maldon, who learned to read in order that he
might study the Bible for himself, and there discovered how idolatrous it
was to kneel to the crucifix, much to the anger of his father, who beat
him till he was almost dead.  A little later we hear of George Eagles,
who, for preaching, was hanged, drawn and quartered at Chelmsford, in
Queen Mary’s reign, and whose head was set up in the market-place on a
long pole.  Archbishop Laud found many victims in Essex.  One was Thomas
Hooker, Fellow of Emanuel College, Cambridge, and lecturer at Chelmsford,
where by his preaching he wrought a great reformation, not only in the
town but in all the country round.  Happily for himself, Hooker escaped
to America, where he died.  When the Quakers appeared, they were sorely
handled by those who ought to have known better; for instance, in July
1655, there was a day of general fasting, prayer, and public collection
of money for the poor persecuted Protestants of Piedmont.  John Parnell,
the Quaker, embraced that opportunity for disturbing the people, and for
this he was tried at Chelmsford, and sent to Colchester Castle where he
died.  One of the ejected ministers at Chelmsford, Mark Mott, is
described as an able preacher.  The congregational cause in Chelmsford,
dates from the time of John Reeve, who took out a license for a
Presbyterian Meeting-house, in 1692.  Edward Rogers, an ejected minister,
succeeded him.  Before the year 1716, a meeting-house had been erected,
and at that time a separation took place, which led to the erection of
another meeting-house.  In 1716, the pastor at the old meeting was
Nathaniel Hickford.  The congregation then consisted of seven hundred
hearers, of whom twenty are described as having votes for the county, and
eighteen as gentlemen.  The first pastor at the new meeting was Richard,
the father of the well-known Nathaniel Lardner.  In 1763, the two
churches united, but not long after they separated again.  The new
meeting, which is still in the London road, was for some time under the
pastoral care of the Rev. George Wilkinson, but lately resigned, and his
place is filled by the Rev. MacDougal Mundle, whose popularity argues
well for the cause with which he is connected, and the church over which
he presides.

For another thing the Chelmsford of the past was distinguished, and that
was by a mock election, a very proper thing, when election was a farce,
and not as now, the opportunity of the free and independent democracy to
utter their political opinions, and to send the wisest of the wise and
the purest of patriots to Westminster as Members of Parliament.  An
election is no farce now when the eyes of all England are on the
electors, and orators from every corner of the land come to call on the
electors to do their duty.  In old times men were merry, and made fun
even of an election; at any rate they did this in Chelmsford, where at
every county election, a mock contest was held on a small island between
the two rivers known as Mesopotamia, (that blessed word, as the old woman
said when she heard it in the course of her favourite parson’s sermon).
At this mock election, we are told, after the successful candidate was
chaired with every mark of honour, he was ducked in the stream.
Sometimes one wishes that old customs were revived, I know at any rate
more than one candidate, who if he were ducked in the stream, and left
there, would be little missed by an enlightened public such as we have in
this present age.


ABOUT fifty miles away from London—you can run down in an hour by the
Great Eastern—stands an ancient, if not the most ancient, city in
England, where the mother of Constantine is said to have lived, where, at
any rate, she founded a chapel, which still remains, and where
Constantine the Great is said to have been born, and where old King Cole,
that merry old soul, is reported to have reigned in all his glory.  It
was built by the Roman Claudius, A.D., 44.  It boasts an old castle,
which was terribly damaged by Cromwell’s soldiers when they took it after
a severe siege, in which the inhabitants suffered terrible privations.
It has an ancient priory in ruins, but which is deeply interesting to
antiquarians; and it contains old houses and winding streets, which are
ever a delight and wonder to the intelligent of the rising generation.
Colchester, of which I write, is a busy place, and moves with the times.
As you look at it from the Great Eastern Railway, which sweeps around its
base, it seems a city set upon a hill; and in the old coaching days, when
we drove along its High street, now handsomer than ever, it was a great
relief in the summer time, when we stopped there to change horses, after
a long and dusty ride, to buy some of the fruits and flowers offered for
sale, and for the production of which the country round is famous.  The
Colchester people have a fine appreciation of their ancient and
prosperous town, the streets of which are alive with military.  There is
a large camp here, the gallant men of which seem to have a due
appreciation of the fine complexion and healthy figures of the Essex
servant girls.  It has its park and its promenades, a river which is rich
in commerce and famed for its oysters, and if not quite up to the
standard of Dr. W. B. Richardson, I must give its municipal authorities
credit for doing the best they can, to bring it up to our modern ideas of
sanitary excellence.  It has lately taken to making shoes in the swiftest
manner possible, and threatens to be a formidable rival to Northampton,
and assuredly, when I hear of the money made by many of its citizens,
who, starting with the proverbial half-crown, have now accumulated
handsome fortunes, I feel justified in asserting that grass does not grow
in its streets.

The religious history of Colchester is deeply interesting.  That
unfortunate Puritan, Bastwicke lived at the Red House, Red Lane.  Matthew
Newcomen, one of the Puritan divines who took part in the Smectymnian
Controversy, was the son of a rector of Trinity.  His brother Thomas, a
Royalist, lived to be a Prebendary at Lincoln at the Restoration.
Colchester has done much for Nonconformity.  It was one of the earliest
cities to do battle for religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
As far back as 1428 we find the keeper of Colchester Castle empowered to
search out and imprison persons suspected of “heresie or Lollardie.”  In
Queen Mary’s days fourteen men and eight women were brought from
Colchester to London like a flock of sheep, but bound or chained
together, to appear before Bonner, on account of religion; but several
were burnt there at different times.  The first certain account of the
Baptists of Colchester is that of Thomas Lamb, about the year 1630, who
was one of the victims of Archbishop Laud.  For some time Baptists and
Pædo-Baptists seem to have worshipped together here; they in time
separated, and the present flourishing cause, under Rev. E. Spurrier,
celebrated its bi-centenary last year.  From a MS. account in Dr.
Williams’s library, we learn that in 1715 there were three Non-conformist
congregations in Colchester—one Independant, one Presbyterian (with a
total of 1,500 hearers), and one Baptist (with 200).  In the schoolroom
of the Baptist church at Eld-street is a fine portrait of the Captain
Murrell whose noble rescue of a shipwrecked crew in a stormy sea was the
admiration of the whole civilised world a year or two since.  And it
rightly hangs there, for as a boy he was brought up in its Sunday-school.
Close to the Baptist church in Eld-lane is the well-known Congregational
church, a new and handsome structure, of which Rev. T. Robinson is the

Let me now take the reader to another Congregational church—that of
Stockwell, of which the Rev. Thomas Batty is the present pastor.  It
looks uncommonly well, considering how often it has been altered and
enlarged.  Like all the other Nonconformist places of worship in
Colchester, it is situated in an out-of-the-way part of the town.  The
old Noncons were too much given to set their light under a bushel, but
there were reasons for that which happily do not exist now.  But it is
worth while looking at the place if only for the sake of seeing the
monument to Mr. Herrick, the famous Independent parson, who preached
there for fifty years.  It is said of him that whilst his preaching
_regaled the highest_ intellect, the common people heard him gladly.  The
present occupier of the pulpit, who has been there twenty-five years,
seems destined to achieve fame in many ways.  One of his latest
inventions is a fire-globe, for warming rooms.

There were, to me, two specially interesting ecclesiastical edifices in
Colchester.  One now utilised for industrial purposes, almost side by
side with Mr. Batty’s chapel, was erected in 1691 for Nonconformist
worship.  It was there Isaac Taylor preached, and there his celebrated
daughters attended.  Their dwelling-house is close by, and there they
wrote those charming poems and tales for infants’ minds which are popular
in the nursery still.  It was there Isaac Taylor, of Ongar, learned to
think, so as to become one of the foremost essayists of his age.  As you
stand outside and look at the roof of the old tabernacle you will see
that some part of it is more modern than the rest.  It appears there was
an orthodox minister whose preaching was not acceptable to the Unitarian
part of the congregation.  He would not go, and they resolved to make
him, and to compel him to move they took off part of the roof.  The
preacher, however, remained, and the small endowment with him, which has
been transferred to Mr. Batty’s church over the way.  The other
ecclesiastical edifice to which I allude is a small Episcopalian church
of ancient date, which contains the tomb of the celebrated Dr. Gilberd.
But the great lion of Colchester is, of course, its castle, now utilised
as a museum, full of interesting Roman remains found in the
neighbourhood, and to which they are constantly being brought, as almost
every excavation in the city disinters something or other left by those
rulers of the ancient world.  In the castle is an interesting library,
left to the city by Bishop Harsnett, a Colchester lad who became a great
man—Archbishop of York, if I remember aright—but who in his old age was
sadly worried by the Puritans.  Some of the books are in excellent
preservation, and are marvels of typography.  I was especially struck
with one, “Meditationes Vite Jesu Christi,” printed at Strasbourg in
1483.  No printer in our day could surpass such work.  We have gained
much, but our old masters are our old masters still.  It is interesting
to note that the library is used by Mr. Round, one of the Essex M.P.’s,
for a Bible-class on Sunday afternoons.

Of the many distinguished natives of Colchester, I have already mentioned
the Newcomens.  Another famous name connected with the town is that of
Daniel Whittle Harvey, a great man in London on the Liberal side, and,
perhaps, still remembered by the joke in _Punch_, where, when a cabman
asks another what the V.R. on his badge implied, replied, “It’s Vittle
Harvey to be sure.”  He commenced his career as articled clerk to a
Colchester solicitor, and very early developed a considerable talent for
public speaking.  He became a somewhat ardent Radical, and was so zealous
at public meetings in favour of Reform that he was induced in 1812 to
contest the borough, but was defeated by the Conservatives.  “His
determination and perseverance,” writes Mr. Charles Benham in his
_Colchester Worthies_, “urged him not to abandon his attempts, which were
afterwards more successful, and he was several times returned at the head
of the poll.”  He was subsequently appointed by the Corporation of
London, Chief Commissioner of the City Police.  He held that office
simultaneously with his seat in Parliament until the passing of the new
Police Act, when he was no longer eligible for his seat in Parliament,
which he relinquished in 1834, maintaining his official appointment till
his death, which was about 1864.  Colchester has supplied London with two
Lord Mayors—one of them, Sir Thomas White, was Lord Mayor of London in
1553.  He received the honour of Knighthood for preserving the peace of
the city in Wyatt’s Rebellion.  He made various benefactions in different
towns, including Colchester, in 1566.  The second was David Williams
Wire, who was in D. W. Harvey’s office in his youth, and was one of the
first Dissenters to become Lord Mayor.  He died in 1860, and was buried
at Lewisham.

Science owes not a little to natives of Colchester.  One of the most
distinguished of them was Dr. William Gilbert, born in 1540.  The house
in Colchester where he received Queen Elizabeth as a guest remains to
this day, and a very attractive old house it is.  He was chief physician
to the Queen, who valued him highly, and wonderful to say, allowed him an
annual sum to encourage him in his studies.  He was also chief physician
to James I.  In 1600 he published his famous book, “De Magnete,” the
first work ever written on electricity.  It indicates great sagacity on
the part of the writer.  The word electric was first given to the world
in it.  He also wrote a learned work about the world, which was published
at Amsterdam after his death.  In all English-American and Continental
Pharmacopœias we have Dr. Griffiths’ mixture reproduced under the title
of _Mixtura ferri composita_.  It was in a work published at Colchester
by Dr. Moses Griffiths that that prescription originally appeared.  It is
still frequently used.  Only the other day, as it were, a celebrated,
fashionable and wealthy surgeon died at the West end of London.  I refer
to Sir William Gull, the son of a Colchester mariner, who ultimately
moved to Thorpe, near Clacton, where the son was brought up at a village
school.  He chose to be a schoolmaster, and assisted for a time at a
Colchester seminary.  He then went to be usher in a school at Lewes,
where he developed great scientific tastes, which gained for him a post
at Guy’s Hospital in connection with cataloguing the Museum.  This led
him to devote his attention to medicine, and having commenced practice,
he soon rose to distinction.  He attended the Prince of Wales, in
conjunction with Sir William Jenner, throughout a dangerous attack of
typhus fever, and was rewarded with a baronetcy.  He died in 1890, and
was buried at Thorpe, where there is a handsome monument to his memory.
Nor in this catalogue of Colchester natives would we fail to omit the
ladies.  Let us give the first place to the far-famed Margaret, Duchess
of Newcastle, daughter of Charles Lucas, and born at Colchester.  There
were highly educated and gifted women then as now, and the fair Margaret
early exhibited a taste for literature.  She became the second wife of
William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, to whom she was married in 1645.
Two years previously she visited the Court of Charles I., then at Oxford.
She was appointed one of the Maids of Honour to the Queen Henrietta
Maria, and accompanied her Majesty to France.  She published ten volumes
of letters—plays, poems, philosophical discourse, and the life of her
husband the Duke.  Her town residence was in Clerkenwell, a more
fashionable locality at that time than it is to-day.  The lady was
certainly eccentric, but she is said to have been distinguished by pious
and charitable works, and for them, perhaps as much as for her literary
talent, deserves her tomb in Westminster Abbey, where she was buried in

Colchester contains a population of 34,549, and is connected by railway
with most of the towns of the district.  By means of its river Colne it
is also a port, and has fine oyster beds, where the “Colchester Natives”
are reared, which are celebrated all the world over.  Its oyster feast is
one of the most famous institutions of the place, though who was the
Mayor who founded the feast is lost in the mists of antiquity.  After the
oyster-spatting season is over, that is about the middle of September,
the Corporation holds a meeting on board a boat in the river, and
proclaims the fishery to be open.  The fishing is a source of profit to
the Corporation.  In the warm seasons—that was before 1870 (immense
numbers of oysters were produced in 1865)—they realised as much as
£18,318, the price being £4 a bushel.  Since then, from the greater
scarcity of oysters, and the enlarged market for them due to railway
facilities, prices have been £12 and £14 for the same quantity, and it is
at that price, I believe, they are now sold.  The Colne fishery is about
four miles and a half in extent; it contains the best fattening grounds
in the kingdom, and the River Colne itself is one of the best spatting
grounds in the district producing native oysters.  We call them native,
because so many oysters come from Holland and elsewhere, and are merely
fattened in English waters.  In London, when you buy a native, you are
not sure that you get the genuine article.  At the Colchester feast the
Mayor treats you to the native in all its primitive beauty and
simplicity.  I own the oyster is not lovely to look at, and the sight of
a hall filled with rows of tables, on which were placed plates containing
a dozen for each guest, with glasses of stout or bottles of Chablis or
Sauterne, lacks somewhat of the warmth of colour to which we are more or
less accustomed in our civic feasts in town.  It must also be remembered
that these entertainments take place by night, when the gas sparkles in a
hundred chandeliers.  At Colchester the hour of the feast is 2 p.m., and
oysters and stout, place them how you will, cannot be made to look
picturesque.  At one time these Colchester feasts were confined to the
members of the Corporation and the officials.  That custom has been
changed for a better one, and many of the principal citizens and others
are bidden to the feast.  Strangers are also invited, and I have to thank
more than one worthy Mayor for favouring me with an invitation.  It is
the privilege of the Mayor of Colchester for the time being to provide
for all the expenses of the feast except a portion of the oysters, which
are found by the Fishery Board, and the Mayor sends out all the
invitations.  The feast always takes place about October 22nd.  Those who
do not care for oysters had better stop away, as little else besides
oysters and brown bread and butter is provided.  Only a few ham
sandwiches were added, but the oyster was, as it deserved to be, the
staple of the feast; and I fancy most of us managed to consume about a
couple of dozen each.  It may be that others exceeded that moderate
allowance, but in neither eating nor drinking was there any sign of
excess.  There was a time when oysters and stout were connected with
Bacchanalian orgies.  That time, happily, has long passed, and instead we
listened to oratory as we smoked the meditative cigar or the Lilliputian
cigarette, or gazed with an admiring eye on the tasteful way in which the
hall had been prepared for the occasion.  Music also lent its charms.
Colchester is a garrison town, and at present the Royal Munster Fusiliers
hold the fort.  It was their band that played on the occasion, with great
applause.  It was not pleasant to turn out of the hall, which had begun
to grow additionally cheerful in consequence of the gas, and to make
one’s way along the wet and deserted streets of the ancient town.  I need
not add that I was all the better for what I had eaten and heard.  There
are delicate questions, worthy of any abler intellect than mine to
settle, as to the proper way of eating an oyster.  According to some
theories, you should take the Great Eastern to Burnham, get on board a
fishing-smack, and gulp down the delicious bivalve as he comes fresh and
juicy from his watery bed.  Others there are who contend for the same
operation on the River Colne; and I have met with low-minded people who
say that no oyster eats so pleasantly as that purchased at a common
street stall, as the vendor has less capital than the regular dealer, and
thus lays in a fresher stock as he requires them.  If I consult my old
friend Sir Henry Thompson, the great authority in such matters, I read,
“Oysters are in fact the first dish of dinner and not its precursor; the
preface and not the possibly obtrusive advertisement.”  “It is,” he
remarks, “a single service of exquisite quality served with attendant
graces.”  Sir Henry evidently has never been to a Colchester oyster
feast, or he would have had a word to say in its favour.  “It is not
worth going to,” said a gentleman to me one day.  Yet when I entered the
hall shortly after he was the first to come and shake hands with me, and
on that dull, rainy day he had travelled many miles to be at the oyster
feast.  The fact is, in dull days one is glad of any excuse for going out
and having a chat with one’s friends, and it does one good to hear
bishops and Dissenting ministers, as they did at Colchester, talk in
favour of Christian unity, or the local M.P.’s talk of national ditto, or
the mayors of the leading Essex towns vindicate that local
self-government which we all hold to be an important element in the
preservation and expansion of our national life.


ONE of the oldest towns in Suffolk is Hadleigh.  You take the train at
Liverpool-street; at Bentley change on to a branch line, and in twenty
minutes you are there.  If we are to believe the annalist Asser, its
origin is to be traced as far back as Alfred the Great’s time, or the
latter half of the ninth century.  Asser relates that the Danish Chief
Guthrum, after having been defeated by King Alfred, embraced
Christianity, was appointed governor of East Anglia; that he divided,
cultivated, and inhabited the district, and that when he died he was
buried in the royal town called Headlega.  Be that as it may, in the
ancient church of Hadleigh, according to popular belief, there still
remains his tomb.  The principal event in connection with Hadleigh is
that there Dr. Taylor was burnt to death by the Roman Catholics.  The
little town, says Fox, first heard of the pure Gospel of Christ from the
lips of the Rev. Thomas Bilney, who preached there with great
earnestness, and whose work was greatly blessed, numbers of men and women
becoming convinced of the errors and idolatries of Popery, and gladly
embracing the Christian faith.  After the martyrdom of Bilney, Dr.
Rowland Taylor was appointed vicar.  He possessed the friendship of
Cranmer, and it was through him that he obtained his living.  In Queen
Mary’s time the Church was no place for such as he.  He was hauled up
before Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.  The Bishop, with other bishops,
sent him back to Hadleigh to burn to death.  “On his way Dr. Taylor was
very joyful; he spoke many things to the sheriff and yeomen of the guard
that conducted him, and often moved them to weep by his earnest calling
upon them to repent and turn to the true religion.”  At Hadleigh he was
burnt, much to the sorrow of his flock, who revered and loved him.  A
very modest monument marks the site of the scene of the martyrdom and the
triumph, as it then seemed, of Popery and arbitrary power.  On the
monument, which stands on a grass plot guarded by rails, is an
inscription to the memory of Dr. Taylor, ending as follows:

    Triumphant Saint, he braved and kissed the rod,
    And soared on seraph wing to meet his God.

The lines were the composition of Dr. Nathan Drake, a doctor of medicine,
much given to literature, and the author of many books—now rarely seen
and never read—who lived and died at Hadleigh.  In the church also, the
great ornament to the town is a memorial of Dr. Taylor, and in the vestry
of the Congregational chapel, just opposite the church, is a rude
engraving of the martyrdom, which ought to be reproduced.

Dissent does not fare badly in the town.  The Congregational body
rejoices in two ministers, and the chapel, a very handsome one, is well
attended.  It will seat a thousand hearers.  The Salvation Army have just
commenced preaching in the town, and, as usual, they have drawn some of
the people away.  The Primitive Methodists and the Baptists have also
places of worship at Hadleigh.  The parish church can hold 1,200 people,
but I do not hear that it is better attended than the Congregational
chapel.  Congregationalism has a long history in Hadleigh.  One of its
most successful preachers was the Rev. Isaac Toms, who held his ministry
there for fifty-seven years.  “His memory,” writes the Rev. Hugh Pigot,
formerly curate of Hadleigh, “is mentioned with respect as that of a kind
and gentlemanly old man, who, while maintaining his own views, did yet
regularly attend the week-day services at the Church.”  He was born in
London, 1710, and his first engagement is said to have been with a city
knight, of Hackney, with whom be continued as chaplain and tutor till
1742.  He refused, from conscientious scruples, to accept preferment in
the Established Church when offered him by his patron.  He is said to
have been eminent for his attainments as a scholar, and to have enjoyed
the friendship of such men as Dr. Doddridge and Dr. Watts.  In the vestry
there is preserved a letter written by him to Washington’s private
secretary during the American War.  Dissent has grown in the place since
his day.  In a return made to Bishop Secker by Dr. Tanner, and preserved
in the Rectory, there is to be found the following:—About 100
Presbyterians of no note; Robert Randall, a wool-comber, and his three
children, and Birch, shopkeeper, Anabaptist; no Anabaptist teacher, no
Methodist, no Moravian; one Presbyterian Meeting-house, one Presbyterian
teacher—viz., Isaac Toms; the said house and teacher generally thought to
be duly licensed and qualified according to law.  Their number not
increased at all of late years.  The parish remarkably happy in regard to
Dissenters, their number very trifling in proportion to the whole number
of inhabitants, which, A.D. 1754, was computed in the town, 2,092; in the
hamlet, 168—2,260.  As we have seen, Popery had done to death vicar and
curate, yet in 1754 we find Dr. Tanner thus writes concerning it: “Eight
poor Papists—James Nowland (a taylor) and his daughter, Widow Rand and
her daughter, Widow Hoggar, the wife of Ralph Adams, a sadler, and Barry,
a taylor, all quiet people.  No person lately perverted to Popery; no
Popish place of worship; no Popish priest doth reside in or resort to
this parish; no Popish school; no confirmation or visitation hath been
lately held by a Popish bishop.”  Queen Mary, and Bonner, and Gardiner,
had all laboured in vain.  Compulsory establishment of religion never
succeeds in the long run.

In the churchyard of Hadleigh there are no monuments which require
description.  There is, however a curious inscription on a headstone on
the south-east side leading to the market-place regarding the name and
fame of one John Turner, a blacksmith, who died 1715.

    My sledge and hammer lie declined,
    My bellows have quite lost their wind;
    My fire’s extinct, my forge decayed,
    My vice is in the dust all laid;
    My coal is spent, my iron gone,
    My nails are drove, my work is done;
    My fire-dried corpse lies here at rest,
    My soul smoke-like is soaring to be blest.

Hadleigh has seen better days.  At one time it flourished by reason of
its cloth trade; then it took to making silk, and up to recent times it
did a great trade in malt.

I would not live in Hadleigh all my life, but it is certainly a quiet
corner into which to creep, and houses are to be had a bargain,
considering, after all, how near it is to town.  I can’t find that
Hadleigh has given birth to any great men.  It may be that they may come
in time.  One distinguished personage born there, Bishop Overall, was one
of the translators of the Bible, and wrote that part of the Church
Catechism which treats of the Sacraments.  Another, William Alabaster,
wrote a play called _Roxana_, which was so pathetic when acted at Trinity
College, Cambridge, that it drove a young woman quite out of her wits.
No wonder our Puritan forefathers had a horror of the stage.

One of the most eminent men born in Hadleigh, was Dr. Reeve, whose
monument is in the Octagon chapel, Norwich, written by the earliest of
English German scholars.  William Taylor still records his worth and
fame, a student at the University of Edinburgh, he became intimate with
Francis Horner, and helped to write in the early numbers of the
_Edinburgh Review_.  In 1802, he was elected a member of the far famed
Speculative Society.  In London, where he went to continue his
professional studies, he frequently met Coleridge, and the elder Disraeli
at dinner.  In the spring of 1805, while travelling on the continent—a
place then rarely visited by the English, he saw Napoleon on the morrow
of Austerlitz—was introduced to Haydn—was present when Beethoven
conducted Fidelio—heard Humboldt relate his travels—and Fichte explain
his philosophy.  Thus, as life opened around with him, with the most
brilliant prospects, he died at his father’s house Hadleigh, in
September, 1814.  It was his son, who for a while was the editor of the

In modern history, Hadleigh may claim to have made its mark.  It was
there that the Oxford movement commenced, when in 1833 the Rev. James
Rose, the rector, assembled at the parsonage (the present handsome
building evidently has been built since then) the men who were to become
famous as Tractarians.  They had met there to consider how to save the
Church.  Lord Grey had bidden the Bishops to put their houses in
order—ten Irish Bishoprics had been suppressed—a mob at Bristol had burnt
the Bishop’s palace.  The Church seemed powerless and effete.  The
friends who met at the Hadleigh Rectory resolved to commence the Oxford
Tracts.  Mr. Rose was the person of most authority.  As Dean Church
writes: “As far as could be seen at the time, he was the most
accomplished divine and teacher in the English Church.  He was a really
learned man.  He had intellect and energy, and literary skill to use his
learning.  He was a man of singularly elevated and religious character;
he had something of the eye and temper of a statesman.”  “The Oxford
movement owed to him,” again writes Dean Church, “not only its first
impulse, but all that was best and most hopeful in it, and when it lost
him it lost its wisest and ablest guide and inspirer.”  He and Mr.
Palmer, and Mr. A. Perceval, formed, as it were, the right wing of the
little council.  Their Oxford allies were Mr. Froude, Mr. Keble, and Mr.
Newman.  From this meeting resulted the _Tracts for the Times_, and the
agitation connected with them.  Now that the tumult of the strife is
over, it is evident that they gave new life to the Church; that they
saved it—for a time.

The world of art also is indebted to Hadleigh.  It was the birthplace of
Thomas Woolner, the great sculptor.  “There is” wrote a critic in _The
Century_, “no living artist, whose work a man of letters approaches with
more instructive interest than that of Mr. Woolner, himself, almost as
eminent as a poet as a sculptor.  His place in literature as the author
of _My Beautiful Lady_, and _Pygmalion_, has long been decided, and needs
no re-illustration.  But after all the profession of Mr. Woolner’s life
has been sculpture.  Thomas Woolner, was born at Hadleigh, on the 17th
December, 1825.  At the age of thirteen he began life as the pupil of Mr.
Behmes, sculptor in ordinary to the Queen.  There may be persons living
at Hadleigh, who remember the boy sculptor, and who could possibly give
interesting facts respecting his early proclivities.”  Alas, Hadleigh
seems to have preserved no memory of him whatever.  A lady resident in
the town writes me, “I have heard that my grandfather, of Shelley Hall,
once lent money to Thomas Woolner’s father.  I have asked several of the
inhabitants if they remember Thomas Woolner, but I have not been
successful in getting information at present.”


ON one of the hottest of our summer days I chanced to fall into
conversation with an elderly decayed tradesman, living in a house erected
for such as he.  “Are you comfortable?” I said.

“Well,” was the reply, “we do our best to make ourselves as comfortable
as we can.”

I was struck with the good sense of his answer.  Ah, thought I, as we
parted, how much happier we would all be if we did as the decayed
tradesman did.  The conversation took place opposite the grand Abbey-gate
of the ancient town of Bury St. Edmunds.  No Englishman should wander off
to the Continent until he has first visited Bury St. Edmunds, a town full
of busy life, peopled with more than 16,000 inhabitants, which rejoices
in a rich historic past, and which, especially if you are there on a
market-day, strikes the stranger as a place of immense activity and
bustle.  It is eighty-three miles from Liverpool-street, and you can see
all its lions—and they are very numerous—in a day.  On the eastern ridge
of it—as Carlyle wrote in _Past and Present_—still runs, long, black, and
massive, a range of monastic ruins.  Its chief claim to fame is that it
was the burial place of the young Saxon king known as Edmund, who, in
870, was cruelly murdered by the Danes at Hoxne, not far off.  After the
lapse of many years, the body was brought to Bury, where it was placed in
the renowned Abbey, which owes much of its greatness to Edward the
Confessor, and which for more than six hundred years remained one of the
chief ecclesiastical centres of mediæval England.  Piety, wealth, and
superstition did much for the place.  Its churchyard is one of the most
picturesque in all the land.  Its churches are marvels of beauty, and one
of them contains the tomb of Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and third
daughter of Henry VII. of England.  Bury is famous as being the spot
where the Barons met before enforcing the signature of Magna Charta by
King John, who, on his return from France in 1214, met the nobles at
Bury, and confirmed on oath a charter restoring the laws enacted by
Edward the Confessor, and abolishing the arbitrary Norman code.  You have
to pay sixpence to visit the Abbey grounds, which are left in good order,
and which ought to be thrown open to the public; but many people will not
grudge the money when they come to the spot where is an inscription
denoting that Cardinal Langton and the Barons swore at the altar that
they would obtain from King John the satisfaction of Magna Charta, and
another, close by, giving the names and titles of the twenty-five Barons
who thus met.  A few yards off are the ruins of the refectory where was
held the Parliament which decided on the impeachment of Humphrey, Duke of
Gloucester.  Many Parliaments were held at Bury; many kings and queens
and mighty personages came there.  It had its martyrs—like Coping, who
was hanged for not believing the Prayer-book, and Lawes, an innocent
clergyman, who, with forty others, was condemned and executed for
witchcraft.  The Jews, also, were very badly treated when, as usual, they
were charged with the murder of a Christian child.  The house where the
chief Jew lived is still to be seen near the Market Place.  It is now
utilised by the police, who will shortly be removed to a finer building
which is being erected in the neighbourhood.

According to Carlyle, Bury St. Edmunds “is still a prosperous, rising
town; beautifully diversifying with its clean brick houses, ancient clean
streets, the general grassy face of Suffolk looking out right pleasantly
from its hill-slope towards the rising sun.”  The earliest reliable
records tell of its foundation about 631 by Siegbert, King of the East
Anglians.  Many of the monks of the Abbey did good service to
literature,—such as John Lydgate, who conducted a school of rhetoric
there.  In its Grammar School many distinguished men were educated,—such
as Archbishop Sancroft, John Gauden (Bishop of Worcester), John Warren
(Bishop of Bangor), Thomas Thurlow (Bishop of Durham), Tomline (Bishop of
Winchester), Blomfield (Bishop of London), Lord Cranworth, Lord Keeper
Guildford, Sir Thomas Hanmer (Speaker of the House of Commons and the
first editor of Shakespeare), Baron Alderson, and Chief Baron Reynolds.
One of its masters, the late Dr. Donaldson, was referred to on one
occasion as one of the most learned men in Europe.  There are many
scholastic establishments in the town.  One of the most successful in our
time is the East Anglian School, founded by the Wesleyans, and carried on
by them in a handsome block of buildings occupying a commanding site.

As was to be expected, the town is Churchy, and its politics are
Conservative.  The Salvationists, I am told, are doing well, and I have
boyish memories of a fat man of the name of Elven, who was rather a
leading man among the Suffolk Baptists; but what I was chiefly impressed
with was his size.  The family of the late Crabbe Robinson, one of the
first of “our foreign correspondents,” was long distinguished in Bury St.
Edmunds.  One of his brothers was Mayor several times.  They were all
connected with the Presbyterian church in the place; one of Lady
Howley’s, kept alive by a scanty endowment—not much matter as things are.
The present worthy minister is a vegetarian, and has a large garden in
which he grows his vegetables.  If he is succeeded by a flesh-eating
parson, I fear at the present price of butcher’s meat the latter will
have rather a hard time of it.  It is interesting to note that the
celebrated Ouida was born in Bury St. Edmunds, and that Robertson, of
Brighton, commenced his career here as an articled clerk to a local

Blomfield, grandfather of the Bishop of London, kept a school here, and
Crabbe Robinson was one of his pupils.  The preacher at that time at the
Independent chapel was Mr. Waldegrave.  Crabbe Robinson describes him as
“an ignorant, noisy, ranting preacher; he bawled loud, thumped the
cushion, and sometimes cried; he was, however, a kind man, and of course
he was a favourite of mine.”  As an illustration of the state of religion
among the Independents a hundred years ago, it is curious to notice
Robinson’s mother’s experience, which he quotes.  “There was no allusion
to the Trinity,” he writes, “in it, or any other disputed doctrine.
Indeed, the word belief scarcely occurs.  The one sentiment which runs
throughout is a consciousness of personal unworthiness, with which are
combined a desire to be united to the Church, and a reliance on the
merits of Christ.”  One of the great men who lived later on at Bury was
Capel Lofft, a gentleman of good family, an author also on an infinity of
subjects.  Capel Lofft is chiefly remembered now as the earliest patron
of the poet Blomfield.  He was acting as Magistrate at Bury, and was a
leader among the Liberals of the place.  Another distinguished East
Anglian, who lived near Bury at that time was the celebrated agricultural
writer, Arthur Young.  It was to Bury Madame de Genlis fled for safety on
the outbreak of the French Revolution.  The celebrated Pamela escaped
with her.  Another French refugee who found temporary shelter at Bury was
the Duke de Liancourt.  It was he who brought the news of the capture of
the Bastille to the unfortunate Louis, who exclaimed, “Why, that is a
revolt.”  “Sire,” answered Liancourt, “it is not a revolt—it is a
revolution.”  A Miss Bude, of Bury, who afterwards became the wife of
Clarkson, the philanthropist, Mr. Robinson mentions as “the most eloquent
woman I have ever known, with the exception of Madame de Staël.”  It was
at Bury that Robinson, who had been called to the bar, made his _debut_.
At his first dinner with the barristers at the Angel Inn, among the
company was Hart, one of the most remarkable men of the circuit.  He was
originally a preacher among the Calvinistic Methodists.  It was said to
him once, “Mr. Hart, when I hear you in the pulpit I wish you were never
out of it; when I see you out of it, I wish you were never in it.”  Bury
Gaol had acquired some celebrity for the superior way in which its
criminal population were looked after.

Bury St. Edmunds may claim to have given shelter to the immortal Daniel
Defoe.  He had been in the pillory before the Royal Exchange, in London,
near the Conduit at Cheapside, and the third day at Temple Bar.  He was
the hero of the people, who garlanded him with flowers, repeating as they
did so, with special gusto, the lines:—

    Tell them the men that placed him here
       Are scandals to the times,
    Are at a loss to find his guilt,
       And can’t commit his crimes.

But his imprisonment ruined him financially, his brick works at Tilbury
failing through his absence.  On the intercession of Harley, he was
released early in August, 1704, and at once retired to Bury St. Edmunds
to avoid the public gaze, and to recruit his health.  He was not idle
there, for he issued pamphlets within a month, besides his reviews.  The
chapel where he attended yet remains.  The old Presbyterian Chapel in
Churchgate Street must have been erected when he was there.  It is a fine
old-fashioned red-brick building, where Rev. Mr. Kennard at present
preaches to a rather scanty congregation.

But the modern inhabitants of Bury do not come up to the high literary
standard of their predecessors, such as Richard D’Aunger Vyle, tutor to
Edward III.; Jocelin of Brakeland, whose chronicle of the monastery is
referred to as vividly personifying the religious life of the middle
ages; and John Lydgate, who took charge of the School of Rhetoric in the
town, and wrote numerous poems, such as the _Storie of Thebes_, _The
__Troy Book_, and _London Lickpenny_, one of our earliest satires.  Nor
must we forget Richard Byfield, one of Tyndal’s friends, who was formerly
Chamberlain for the Monastery.  Richard de Bury, Chancellor to Edward
III., and author of the _Philobiblion_, deserves honourable mention here
as a native of the town.  Fielding, in his _Amelia_, sends one of his
characters to Bury for recovery of health, and describes it as a gay and
busy town.  Mrs. Inchbald, whose history reads like a romance, was born
in a small farm-house at Standingfield, close by Bury St. Edmunds.  The
mother, Mrs. Simpson, had a strong taste for the theatre, and her family
loved acting quite as much as she did.  They all diligently attended the
Bury Theatre—even the rehearsals.  The actors and actresses were looked
up to, almost worshipped, and when the theatre was closed the chief
amusement of the family consisted in reading aloud the scenes which had
been enjoyed so heartily.  The unmarried son left the farm for the stage,
and Elizabeth longed to do the same.  Before reaching the age of
thirteen, she frequently declared that she would rather die than live any
longer without seeing the world.  When a few years older, and ripe in
maiden charms, she made her way to London, married an actor, and became
an actress; wrote her simple story which yet finds readers, and died in
the sixty-eighth year of her age, after she had burnt her memoirs, which
would have been well worth reading, and for which she had been offered a
thousand guineas.  Another well-known name connected with Bury was that
of Calamy, the elder, a rigid Presbyterian, who, about 1630, was one of
the town lecturers at Bury.  Subsequently he became Rector of
Aldersmanbury, London, and one of the Assembly of Divines, and frequently
preached before Parliament.  He lived to see London in ashes, the sight
of which broke his heart.  His son Edmund was born at Bury, became a
distinguished preacher, was ejected, and formed a congregation in
Currier’s Hall, near Cripplegate, London.  His son, who was likewise a
leading London preacher, was the editor of the Abridgement of Mr.
Baxter’s _History of His Life and Times_, and left behind him _An
Historical Account of My Own Life_, a valuable contribution to the annals
of his times published in 1829.

There is an anecdote of Rowland Hill, the eccentric preacher, in
connection with Bury, too good to be omitted.  He had come to preach at
the Congregational Chapel, and, there being no railway then, had
travelled in his own carriage, and with his own horses.  Very properly he
was anxious about the accommodation provided for the latter.  The
minister, Mr. Dewhirst, told him that he need be under no apprehension on
that score, as he had a horse-dealer, a member of his church, who would
look after them.  “What!” said Rowland Hill, in astonishment, “a
horse-dealer a member of a Christian Church! who ever heard of such a
thing?”  Evidently at that time horse-dealers had a somewhat doubtful
reputation.  Is it not delightful to think how much honester they are

Politically Bury St. Edmunds is extinct.  It returned two members since
1292.  Formerly the constituency consisted only of the Corporation.  In
1832 it was enlarged so as to embrace the resident Freemen and the
ten-pound householders, and it was the custom for the Duke of Grafton and
the Marquis of Bristol each to return a member.  Field-Marshal Conway,
the friend of Horace Walpole, was the most distinguished man Bury St.
Edmunds ever returned to Parliament.  It is an anomaly that gives Bury
the right to return the one member left it by recent legislation.  But we
rejoice in anomalies.  For instance, look at Ireland.  Ireland is
inferior to the great metropolis, either in regard to population or
property, but Ireland rejoices in nearly double the number of legislators
it sends to the Imperial Parliament.


LYING in a valley surrounded by hills, up which the town is gradually
climbing, and watered by the picturesque Orwell, which elevates the town
to the dignity of a port, and within little more than an hour and a
half’s run from London by the Great Eastern Railway, Ipswich may claim to
be a place well worth visiting, while to the trader it is known and
appreciated as a busy and thriving town.  When I first knew it—at a time
a little antecedent to the advent of the illustrious Mr. Pickwick—it was
not much of a place to look at.  With the exception of the space opposite
the Town Hall, a handsome building all of the modern time, the people
seemed sadly hampered for want of room.  In this respect the place has
been wonderfully improved of late, as much as any town in Her Majesty’s
dominions; not even Birmingham more.  It was one of the first places to
have an Arboretum, which is well kept up for the health and comfort of
its people.  Then by the river a pleasant promenade has been formed,
where, when the tide comes up from Harwich, bringing with it a faint
touch of the briny, you may fancy that you are by the side of the sea
itself.  That River Orwell is a sight in itself, and is utilised by the
young and vigorous as regards boating and bathing in a way conducive to
the development of health and muscle alike.  The corn market at Ipswich
is one of the most important in the kingdom, and the public buildings are
numerous, and boast not a little of architectural skill, as, for
instance, the Grammar School, the theatre, Tacket Street Chapel—one of
the oldest representatives of Nonconformity in the place—the pile of
buildings forming the offices of _The East Anglian Daily Times_—the most
successful of the East Anglian dailies, which would be a credit even to
the metropolis.  One of the handsomest piles of buildings in the town is
that occupied by the Museum, the Schools of Art and Science, and the
Victorin Free Library.  Since their completion in 1881, the whole of the
valuable books and archælogical treasures belonging to the Corporation
have been classified and attractively arranged for inspection by
visitors.  The old Judge’s chambers have now been turned into a club,
which supplies a want felt in such a place.  I think Ipswich was one of
the first towns to start a Mechanics’ Institute, still in vigorous
existence; while all over Europe you may meet with agricultural machines
that had their birth in the great works of Ransomes, Sims, and
Jefferies—names dear to the farmer all the land over.  Ipswich is now
also becoming celebrated for its boots and shoes, while its tasteful
shops indicate a considerable amount of intelligence and wealth as
existing among its people to the present day.

Ipswich contains no less than thirteen churches, built, for the most
part, in the Perpendicular style of architecture.  Portions of some,
however, are of earlier date.  The oak door at St. Mary at the Elms, for
instance, is in the Norman style, but slightly enriched, and therefore
probably of the older or primary Norman.  The Town Hall stands upon the
Cornhill, upon the site of St. Mildred’s Church, many centuries disused.
There also stood an ancient Hall of Pleas; and a Sociary or Seating Room
of the Corpus Christi Guilds was erected there in Henry VIII.’s time.
The mansions of Ipswich merchants in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, still to be found ornamenting the parish of St. Clement’s, are
worthy of close inspection, as they attest the wealth and importance of
those who once inhabited them.  Very many of the houses bear dates, and
have fine ornamental exteriors.  Many of the fine carved corner posts of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries still remain.  A gateway, an
interesting relic of the great Cardinal Wolsey, who was a native of
Ipswich, stands abutting upon College Street, and near the East end of
St. Peter’s Church.  It is of brick and small, and was probably not the
chief place of egress attached to the building, which was undoubtedly
built in a style of magnificence, and in accordance with the fine taste
in architecture which the Cardinal was known to have possessed.  Over the
doorway are the arms of Henry VIII., and on each side of the Royal coat
is a trefoil-headed niche, though now containing no figures.  The place
was erected in 1528.  In the early part of the present century Ipswich
was evidently a declining town.  In 1813 its population was only 13,670,
when Windham, the great statesman, who visited the place, speaks of it in
very favourable terms as a town, picturesque and pleasant.  At this
present time the town has a population of 57,260.  One of the most
eminent men born in Ipswich was Firmin, the London draper, who was a
philanthropist of the noblest character, and who did much for the poor
both at Ipswich and in London.  He was a Unitarian when to be anything
but orthodox was considered in all circles as a matter of serious
censure, and yet he was a friend of a Liberal Bishop.  He is buried in
Christ Church, Newgate Street, close to the great school for which he did
so much, and to the funds of which he was such a liberal contributor.  In
every way he is to be considered a credit to his native town, and as one
of the foremost men of the age in which he lived, and which he so greatly
adorned.  He set a good example that many of our merchant princes have
not been slow to imitate.  Had he been orthodox his fame would have been
greater still.

One of the oldest houses in Ipswich is that known as Christ Church, the
dwelling place of the Fonnereaus for many generations.  It is one of the
oldest houses in England, and has been inhabited for 350 years.  There is
not a better example of Elizabethan building to be met with anywhere.
More than once has Royalty been hospitably entertained there.  The most
celebrated Royal visitor was Queen Elizabeth, who made a tour of the
Eastern Counties in 1589, and rode through Essex and Suffolk with a crowd
of attendant cavaliers.  Her Majesty reached Ipswich in August, and was
entertained there four days.  Local tradition says that the bed Her
Majesty slept in may be seen to this day in the haunted chamber of the
old mansion.  Long before the house was built, there was on the spot the
convent and priory of Christ Church, tenanted by monks, known as Black
Canons of St. Augustine, who took an active part in the business of the
town, and to whom King John granted a charter for a market, which became
a very popular one.  As regards the park, the legend is that the
bowling-green on the summit, now surrounded by a double avenue of
magnificent limes, was one of those places selected by the Druids for
purposes of worship.  It is certain that the Danes, who were much given
to sailing up and down the Orwell, on plunder bent, chose this very spot
as the site of what may be called a hall of justice.  There is reason to
believe that on this very green Charles II. played bowls.  There was a
celebrated Lord Rochester who visited the house, and found the
park-keeper driving two donkeys for the purpose of keeping the turf in
good order.  Further tradition says that in order not to hurt the turf
the donkeys wore boots, which induced the facetious Earl to observe that
Ipswich was “a town without people, that there was a river without water,
and that asses wore boots.”  Christ Church is now on sale.  Ultimately it
is to be hoped it will be purchased by the Corporation for a people’s
palace and park.

In the old times Ipswich must have been a much more picturesque place
than it is to-day.  All its old records are religiously preserved by a
worthy townsman, Mr. John Glyde, in his _Illustrations of Old Ipswich_, a
handsome work, which is a credit to the town, and which ought to find a
place in the library of East Anglians wealthy enough to purchase it.  He
writes lovingly of its gates and walls indicating the lamentable state of
insecurity by which our forefathers were embarrassed in those good old
times, when the Curfew Bell tolled every evening at eight o’clock.
“There is, perhaps,” says an antiquarian writer, “no house in the kingdom
which, for its size, is more curiously or quaintly ornamented than the
ancient house still standing in the Butter Market.”  The tradition is
that Charles II. was hidden for awhile in that house after his defeat at
Worcester.  Be that as it may, the Ipswich traders, like John Gilpin,
were men of credit and renown, and Fuller, in the seventeenth century,
spoke of the number of wealthy merchant houses in Ipswich.  It was in the
reign of Elizabeth, remarks Mr. Glyde, that Ipswich seems to have
attained the zenith of its fame.  There is scarcely a branch of foreign
commerce carried on at the present time, with the exception of trade with
China, that was not prosecuted with more or less entirety in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth.  At that time Ipswich was much richer in shipping than
Yarmouth, Southampton, or Lynn.  Foreign weavers discovered the advantage
of using English wool, and the gold of Flanders found its way into the
pockets of English traders.  The town still boasts a memorial of Cardinal
Wolsey’s munificent liberality.  One of its representatives was no less a
distinguished person than Bacon—

                  The wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind.

Cavendish, the explorer of the world, was one of the personages at one
time often to be seen in its streets—streets along which had ridden in
triumph Queens Mary and Elizabeth, to say nothing of the Saxon Queen, who
at one time resided in the town.  But if Ipswich knows no longer the
grandeur and pageantry of the past, if its Black Friars are vanished, it
is still the abiding place of that new and better spirit to which
Cromwell appealed, and not in vain, when he sought to make this England
of ours great and free.

“I knew of no town to be compared to Ipswich,” wrote old Cobbett, “except
it be Nottingham, and there is this difference that Nottingham stands
high and on one side looks over a fine country whereas Ipswich is in a
dell, meadows running up above it and a beautiful arm of the sea below
it.  From the town itself you can see nothing, but you can in no
direction go from it a charter of a mile without finding views that a
painter might crave, and then the country round is so well cultivated.”
A good deal has been done for Ipswich since Cobbett’s day.  It has its
public promenades and in the neighbourhood of the river there still
lingers somewhat of the scenery Gainsborough loved to paint.  There is
also a good deal of literary association connected with Ipswich.  The
White Horse Inn still remains in much the same state as it was in the
times of Mr. Pickwick, “famous,” wrote Dickens, “in the neighbourhood, in
the same degree as a prize ox, or county paper chronicled turnip or
unwieldy pig for its enormous size.”  Any one who has sojourned there
will find it easy to understand how the illustrious Pickwick came to
mistake a lady’s bed-chamber for his own.  Why should not the Great White
Horse be as dear to the admirers of Dickens as the Leather Bottle at
Cobham?  If the admirers of Pickwick rush as they do by hundreds to
Cobham to view the room where Pickwick slept, why, it may be asked,
should not a similar patronage be extended to the Great White Horse at

Curious people besides Pickwick and his friends have favoured Ipswich.
There lived there in the reign of William III., a family known as the
“odd family,” a most appropriate name, as the following facts clearly
prove.  Every event, good, bad, or indifferent, came to that family in an
odd year, or on an odd day of the month, and every member of it was odd
in person, manner, or behaviour.  Even the letters of their christian
names always amounted to an odd number.  The father and mother were Peter
and Rahab; their seven children (all boys) bore the names of Solomon,
Roger, James, Matthew, Jonas, David, and Ezekiel.  The husband possessed
only one leg, and his wife only one arm; Solomon was blind in his left
eye, and Roger lost his right optic by an accident.  James had his left
ear pulled off in a quarrel; Matthew’s left hand had but three fingers;
Jonas had a stump foot; David was humpbacked; and Ezekiel was 6ft. 2in at
the age of 19.  Every one of the children had red hair, notwithstanding
the fact that the father’s hair was jet black and the mother’s white.
Strange at birth all died as strange.  The father fell into a deep sawpit
and was killed; the wife died five years after of starvation.  Ezekiel
enlisted, was afterwards wounded in 23 places, but recovered.  Roger,
James, Matthew, Jonas, and David died in 1713, in different places on the
same day; Solomon and Ezekiel were drowned in the Thames in 1723.

Thomas Colson, known to Ipswich people as Robinson Crusoe, died in the
year 1811.  He was originally a wool-comber, then a weaver, but the
failure of that employment induced him to enter the Suffolk Militia, and
while quartered in Leicester with his Regiment, he learned the trade of
stocking weaving, which he afterwards followed in Suffolk.  But this
occupation he shortly exchanged for that of fisherman on the Orwell.  His
little craft, which he made himself, was a curiosity in its way, and
seemed too crazy to live in bad weather, and yet in it he toiled day and
night, in calm or storm.  Subject to violent chronic complaints, with a
mind somewhat disordered, in person tall and thin, with meagre
countenance and piercing blue eyes, he was thus described by a
contemporary poet—

    With squalid garments round him flung,
    And o’er his bending shoulders hung,
    A string of perforated stones,
    With knots of elm and horses bones.
    He dreams that wizards leagued with hell,
    Have o’er him cast their deadly spell;
    Though pinching pains his limbs endure,
    He holds his life by charms secure,
    And, while he feels the torturing ban,
    No wave can drown the spell-bound man.

—But this security was the means of his death.  In October, 1811, there
was a great storm on the Orwell, and he was driven in his boat on the
mud.  He refused to leave his vessel, though advised and implored to do
so.  The ebb of the tide drew his boat into deep water, and he was

Amongst the charitable women of Ipswich must be mentioned Miss Parish, a
maiden lady, who died there in 1810.  She seems to have relieved everyone
who was in distress.  At the time of her death she had actually twenty
pensioners living in her house, besides children supported at different
schools, while numbers were cheered by her occasional donations.  She was
a good Samaritan indeed.  It is to be hoped there are to be found many
such in the Ipswich of to-day.


WE have heard a good deal of Norwich.  When the summer comes, some
enterprising journalist manages to find his way there, and if he has a
copy of Evelyn, waxes eloquent over its gardens, and market-place, and
ancient castle, and its memories of Sir Thomas Browne.  I write of the
Norwich of to-day—of living Norwich—a city with a population of more than
a hundred thousand—that has renewed its youth—that is marching on like
John Brown’s soul; a Norwich that was, as I first remember it, a seat of
Parliamentary and political corruption, of vice and ignorance, of apathy
and sloth.  It is a grand old city, none grander anywhere in England.  It
is a place to me of pleasant memories, and the stranger within its gates
must admit the charm of its grey towers and churches, its cathedral, its
well-wooded suburbs extending over a wide range of hills.  In that
respect some claim for Norwich that it resembles Jerusalem.  From all I
can make out I should be inclined to give Norwich the preference.  It has
fewer Jews and not so many fleas.

And first let me speak of living Norwich religiously.  One of our wise
kings said that the spire of Harrow was an outward and visible sign of
the Church.  Norwich rejoices in many such signs.  Perhaps one of the
most prominent at this time is the new Roman Catholic Cathedral at the
end of St. Giles’s, which has been nine years in building, which is being
erected regardless of expense, and which is far from completed yet.  I
heard Cardinal Manning, who was the most complete exemplification of the
union of the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove I
ever saw, in one of his sermons compare the Church of Rome to a lamb in
the midst of wolves.  At Norwich, as in most parts of England, the lamb
is by no means a little one, and it may be in time it will develop into a
ram, and a ram can do not a little mischief.  What sign of life does the
State Church give?  Norwich is full of parsons; are any of them men of
note?  It had one it borrowed from dissent, Dr. Cunningham Geikie, but he
could not stand the climate, and now lives at Bournemouth.  What sign of
life, again I ask, does the Norwich State Church exhibit?  Alas, the
reply is not satisfactory.  With the exception of its new Dean, there is
no clergyman of note among them.  Dean Lefroy is able, earnest, active, a
worker in many ways, social as well as religious, and on Sunday evening
fills the nave of the Cathedral, where he conducts a service minus the
Church prayers, and plus Moody and Sankey hymns.  He is Evangelical, and
is making that influence felt.  He is an Irishman, and as a matter of
coarse fervid and eloquent.  When he came to Norwich, I am told, he
expressed his hope that he should soon empty some of its many chapels.
At present he has not succeeded in the attempt.  I don’t think his church
understands the way to go to work aright in that respect.  When I was
last in Norwich the Primitive Methodists were in full conference.  All
the religious bodies in Norwich gave them hearty greeting except the
Church, and the intolerance of its attitude naturally occasioned
considerable unfriendly comment.  Wesleyan Methodism in Norwich and
throughout Norfolk is making great headway.  Still true to its old
policy, which has been defined as a penny a week, a shilling a quarter,
and justification by faith, it has gone in heartily for the Forward
Movement, and the evidences are to be met with everywhere.
Congregationalism is also preparing to commence a new cause in a hitherto
neglected district, and it is time it did, as it is nearly forty years
since the new Chapel-in-the-Field, now under the ministerial care of the
Rev. J. P. Perkins, started on its successful career.  It already has two
prosperous mission stations as centres of religious activity and life.
It is needless to say that Princes Street Chapel flourishes and prospers
as it has ever done since Rev. George Barrett—one of the most winning of
men in the Congregational ministry—has occupied its pulpit.  The
establishment of the Pleasant Sunday Afternoons during the past two years
has been attended with great success and blessing.  The large
congregations which crowd the Church Sunday by Sunday prove that this
class meets a need.  It is a pleasing feature of this work that it has
called into active service some members of the church who in the past had
engaged in no recognised form of Christian work.  I was interested to
find that at the old aristocratic Unitarian Chapel, known as the Octagon,
they have Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Services and that Rev. J. P. Perkins
has conducted a service there.  In Norwich, as elsewhere, all the
churches of all religious bodies suffer more or less by the tendency of
people successful in business to live as much out of the city as
possible.  Christian young men and women seem well looked after.  The
Church young men have a good institution in a street leading into Orford
Hill, while the others meet in one of the old mansions in St. Giles’s
Street.  Education prospers in the old city.  I found a junior institute
in connection with the Church where the classes are well attended; and
the Board School educates 12,000 children, while the denominational
schools between them muster but 6,000.  The School Board has established
one of a higher grade, which is a great success, while the great Norwich
publishers, Jarrold and Son, by their publications have done much to
supply the people with healthy and popular literature.

To commercial Norwich I can devote but little space.  The city has
flourished by reason of its being placed on two rivers—the Wensum and the
Yare.  The Great Eastern Railway gave it a tremendous lift, and, next to
Mr. Colman, is perhaps the largest employer of labour in the district.
The celebrated Carrow Works of Messrs. J. and J. Colman, manufacturers of
mustard, starch, corm-flour, and laundry-blue, are known all the world
over.  Next in importance is the manufactory of Norwich ales, as the
county of Norfolk has long been celebrated for its growth of the finest
malting barley, and Norwich is, unfortunately, overdone with
public-houses.  I find that Messrs. Colman have established extensive
Sunday and week-day schools for the children of their workpeople, and
employ two Bible-women to visit them in their homes.  I cannot find that
the Norwich brewers have distinguished themselves much in this way,
though it is to be feared that the need of such agencies among their
workpeople must be greater than it is amongst those employed by Messrs.
Colman.  Norwich is a great place for clothing and the manufacture of
boots and shoes.  I suppose Harmer and Co. are at the head of the great
clothing factories.  Their new factory in St. Andrew’s is an ornament to
the city, and is perhaps one of the finest in the world.  It boasts a
marvellous system of ventilation introduced by an American company, which
has never before been tried in this country, and which every one
interested in such matters ought to study.  Mr. Harmer, who in 1888 was
Mayor of Norwich, takes a deep interest in its welfare, and is certainly
a man whose opinions deserve consideration.  He thinks that the
contemplated legislation, which has for its ultimate object the doing
away with outdoor work, will press very hardly upon the working classes
of the city, and will be more injurious to them than their employers.
The practice of the firm has been to take into their employ young girls
leaving school, who soon acquire much dexterity in their work, and who,
when they marry, can be—and many of them are supplied with sewing
machines to use at home.  Be that as it may, he has done more than any
one in the great work of showing how a factory can be rendered healthy,
and is to be held in reverence as one of our greatest practical sanitary
reformers.  One word more.  Norwich is the centre of a great agricultural
district, and its cattle market may be described as the largest of the
kind in all England.  In one year alone as many as 95,000 beasts, 137,000
sheep, and 14,000 pigs were received for the market.  Till we all become
vegetarians, Norwich will, by reason of its cattle market alone, flourish
as a living city famed for its flesh pots, and beloved of John Bull.

Norwich has been a famous city ever since, at any rate, the time when Sir
Thomas Browne wrote his famed _Religio de Medici_ there.  It was to the
house of Mrs. Taylor, wife of a Norwich tradesman, that Sir James
Mackintosh and the other leading Liberals of the day used to repair to
hold high discourse on the origin of society and the rights of man.
Windham, one of the greatest statesmen of his day, the friend of Johnson
and Burke, represented Norwich.  There lived William Taylor, the friend
and correspondent of Southey, who was the first to open up to the public
the vast treasury of German thought.  Harriet Martineau was born there,
as was likewise her more celebrated brother James, who still lives to
illustrate the mental and religious speculation of our day.  A grand old
city is Norwich, with its castle, now a museum, looking over it all, with
its St. Andrew’s Hall, now utilised for concerts and public meetings,
with its great markets, with its Colman’s Mustard Mills, with its old
houses and narrow streets.  The workman, with his strikes, has driven
away from Northampton a good deal of its boot and shoe manufacture.  What
Northampton has lost Ipswich, Colchester, and especially Norwich, have
gained.  There is beautiful country round Norwich; and Norwich ought to
be eminently holy, for there are forty churches there, many of them very
ancient.  We hear a good deal of the piety of our forefathers.  In
Norwich we realise that fact as well as anywhere.  Norwich, consequently,
is the home of bell-ringers.  Mr. Suffling tells us, “I suppose no other
place in England can boast of so many bell-ringers, or such good ones, as
Norwich.”  On certain occasions you are deafened by the clamour of its

Away from Ipswich, and Colchester, and Norwich there is a delicious
sleepiness about the old East Anglian towns, as if they feel they have
done their duty in their day and are out of the world.  They are all in a
declining way.  They have all seen better days.  They have not quite died
out, because the Great Eastern Railway has connected them all together
and insists on their sharing in the labours and triumphs of the present
day.  But they had rather not.  They would rather live on their past
glories—Bungay, with its renowned castle, Framlingham with its castle
still more renowned, Bury with its memories of its martyr king,
Woodbridge mildly illuminated by the fame of Bernard Barton, the Quaker
poet, Beccles with its fine church, Halesworth where Archbishop Whateley
was for many years the rector.  They are all places to live in happily if
you have had enough of excitement and would shun the wicked world and its


ONE of the most curious corners of old England is known, and has been
known to the community for many years, as King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on the
borders of the Wash.  It was a great place for traders.  By means of it
in the olden time many a tun of good red wine came into the country, and
it is still a great place for trade, as it has fine docks, available to
steamers with a tonnage of 2,000 tons.  Thus Lynn is a great port for the
landing of foreign sugar (which ought to be made at home) from Hamburg.
A hundred years ago its annual shipping revenue was only exceeded by the
ports of London, Liverpool, Bristol and Hull.  It is also easily
available by means of railway communication, which renders it accessible
from all quarters—the Great Northern, the Midland, and the Great Eastern
all find their way to Lynn.  The population has rather declined since the
last census; but still the town is a large one—upwards of 18,000 in
population—and one wonders how all the people hidden away in its shops
and narrow streets can manage to find a living.  The fact is, it is the
centre of an enormous agricultural district, and thus twice a week has a
large extra population, drawn thither by the attractions of its Saturday
and Tuesday markets.  There seems to be no great manufacturing industry,
the chief being that of Mr. Savage, who employs about three hundred
people, all engaged in the manufacture of various kinds of roundabouts
and steam velocipedes, such as are seen at our country fairs.  It is the
most important business of the kind in the Eastern Counties, and of it
the people of the Town of Lynn are justly proud.  Nevertheless, to most
of us the charm of Lynn is chiefly antiquarian.  Its wonderful old
churches are well worth visiting.  In the good old times Lynn was a
fortified town, and there are still abundant remains of the old walls, as
well as a handsome Gothic structure, known as the South-gate.
Unfortunately the East-gate, an equally fine specimen of ancient
architecture, was demolished in the first year of the present century.
In the centre of one of the public walks, well shaded by trees, which in
summer cast a grateful shade, stands an ancient chapel, known as the Red
Mount, a great resort for pilgrims.  Stowe tells us it was in the reign
of King John that Lynn was fortified.  The cup used by the Mayor on the
occasion of municipal festivities is said to have been the gift of that
monarch, as is likewise the sword usually borne before the Mayor.  In the
Museum is preserved one of the old ducking stools, which have gone out of
fashion in consequence of the increasing good temper of the ladies in
these latter days.  There is an immense deal to see in Lynn.  I would
gladly have tarried there longer, especially as I obtained good quarters
at the Temperance Hotel, which seemed to be much patronised by commercial
men.  I found many of them there after the day’s work was over, reading
one or other of the good books provided for them by the Christian
Commercial Travellers’ Society, a society which does much good in many
ways.  Lynn has a good hospital and a fine library.

Lynn has given birth to some notabilities, at any rate.  In 1752 Fanny
Burney was born there, who wrote novels which still find readers.  The
fair Fanny lived to be the friend of Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, and, as
Madame D’Arblay, left us diaries and letters which give us a vivid idea
of life when George III. was king.  As is the case generally, nothing in
her childhood indicated that she would, while still a young woman have
secured for herself an honourable and permanent place among English
writers.  Then there is the great African explorer and artist, Thomas
Baines, whose name, says a writer in _The Cape Monthly Magazine_, must
ever be associated with the explorers of the country north of the Cape
Colony, in the same rank with Livingstone, Chapman, Anderson, and Green—a
man to whom the wilderness brought gladness and the mountains peace.  He
was a native of that nursery of the Anglo-Saxon race whose energy he so
truly inherited—Norfolk.  He was born at Lynn in 1822.  “His father,”
writes his biographer, “also a man of considerable energy, was the master
of a small vessel belonging to that port, and no doubt his marine life,
as well as the striking scenery of the Norfolk coast, gave a tinge to the
early artistic tendencies of his son.”  As was the case with our great
painter of cattle, it was while he was learning coach painting that he
became an artist.  He landed at the Cape, where he managed to obtain a
scanty living by painting African landscape, and teaching drawing.  And
then, when there was war with the natives, he won reputation by painting
the leading incidents of the engagements.  It is to the credit of Lynn
that on his return to his native town, in 1857, he was presented with the
Freedom of the Borough.  Alas! his career as an explorer and discoverer
was cut short by African fever, and he now sleeps in Durban Cathedral,
where a monument records his memory.  Eugene Aram was an usher in the
Lynn Grammar School; Sawtree, a Wycliffe priest, burnt at Smithfield in
1400, came from Lynn; and Bishop Goodwin, just deceased, was born at Lynn
in 1818.  John Copegrave, a Provincial of the Austin Friars, and author
of the _Chronicle of England_, and Geoffry, a great grammarian, and
author of a Latin-English Dictionary, were natives of Lynn.

Politically, Lynn has rather a celebrated history.  Formerly it was a
close borough, belonging to the Walpole family.  The great Whig Minister
represented it in Parliament, as did also his equally celebrated son.
Lord George Bentinck, it may be remembered, sat for Lynn, also the great
diplomatist Sir Stratford Canning, known and feared in Turkey.  But Lynn
has opened its eyes and burst its old traditions.  For the first time in
its history it has a Liberal majority on its Town Council; of course the
Noncons. in the place have had much to do with this.  I find that no less
than six of the members of the Congregational church, under the care of
Rev. A. Furner, are members of the Corporation.  Congregationalism in
such a city of churches and antiquity as Lynn is, has not been much of a
success.  Baptists and Independents were both at a low ebb, but they are
reviving greatly, and the night I was there I attended a meeting in the
mission-hall, where I found a clergyman and his Dissenting brethren
standing side by side.  The Baptists, who are now doing well since Rev.
Thomas Perry has been amongst them, have an interesting history.  In
1687, Mr. Thomas Grantham, a General Baptist Minister, well-known in
Lincolnshire, and related to some of the first families in that county,
came to Lynn at the period referred to, and obtained permission to preach
in the town-hall.  He died at Norwich in 1692.  In 1690, a persecution
broke out against the Baptists at Lynn, and James Markam, their minister,
was proceeded against under the Conventicle Act, for attempting to
establish “a new religion,” on the deposition of two informers, and a
fine of £20 was levied on the house in which they met, £20 on the
preacher, and 5s. on each hearer.  In 1818, there were many high
Calvinists among the Lynn Baptists, and some of the most devoted friends
of the cause, believing such sentiments to be an unfair view of the
Gospel and injurious, withdrew, and went to the Independent Chapel.  In
1839, the veteran preacher, Thomas Wigner, came to Lynn, little
anticipating, he tells us, that in the then state of his health he would
be there long, but he was there many years.  Lynn has a Union chapel, and
it must be remembered, to its credit, that its pulpit was occupied by
Rev. William Hull, a very superior preacher indeed, of whom the late Dean
Stanley declared that he was the Robertson of the Nonconformist Church.

One of the most celebrated of Lynn residents was, perhaps, the Rev.
William Richards, M.D., who was for twenty years pastor of the General
Baptist Church in that town.  He commenced his career in Wales, not many
miles from Haverford West.  In 1773, at the age of 24, he entered the
Bristol “Academy.”  Two years later he became co-pastor at Pershore, with
the late Dr. John Ash, author of the English Dictionary.  Perhaps it was
through contact with Dr. Ash that he first conceived the idea of writing
his very popular Welsh-English Dictionary.  In 1776, he settled at Lynn,
and during his residence there wrote, besides many other works, a
“History of Lynn” in two octavo volumes, printed in 1812, at Lynn, by W.
G. Whittingham.  He willed his library to the Brown University, Rhode
Island, from which university he received his doctor’s degree.  He died
in 1818, in Wales, where for supposed unsoundness in the faith—a
groundless charge, however—he suffered a good deal.  Dr. Richards was a
man of exemplary life, of much learning and of downright independence of
judgment, and from all I can learn of him he deserved to be remembered at
Lynn and throughout the country.  Since his time, there has been advance
in politics in Lynn, as well as elsewhere.  When the judicious Dod
published his _Electoral Facts_, the town had one newspaper—Conservative,
of course—with a circulation of 654 copies; now it has a Liberal
newspaper as well, and both papers enjoy a large circulation; and owing
to the facilities afforded by the Great Eastern Railway, Lynn has its
London morning papers down by nine o’clock.  At the period of the passing
of the Reform Act, Lynn had a voting force of 660.  One of the best
things I saw in Lynn, as I was groping my way in the uncertain light, was
the fine schoolroom of the Congregational Church, filled with a cluster
of clean, happy looking girls, all hard at work sewing.  I knew no living
soul.  I felt I was an intruder, and popped out as speedily as I popped
in; but I have the picture before me as I write, of happy girls under the
sanction of the Christian Church, preserved from the contagion of the
streets, learning to work.  Christianity has been dogmatic long enough, a
little mild and benevolent socialism will not do it much harm.  This old
world town may be described as a city of churches, and one of its most
characteristic remains is Road Mount Chapel, a curious octangular
structure containing a beautiful but tiny perpendicular apartment, that
once contained the rood of our lady of Lynn.  Every schoolboy knows how
unwarily, King John nearly lost his life in crossing Lynn Wash, and did
lose all his baggage, devoured by the unexpected flood.


“I OFTEN wonder,” said a local tradesman to me the other day as I was
contemplating the majestic ruins of Framlingham Castle and the seat of
power in the Eastern Counties, “that the Great Eastern Railway does not
run excursion trains here.”  I must own that I shared in that feeling.  I
am sure thousands would rush from town to see the place if they had a day
excursion there.  The railway in question has done a good deal for
Framlingham.  When I knew it as a lad it was out of the world altogether.
It laid quite off the turnpike road.  To get to London a Framlingham
resident had to make his way to Wickham Market.  Now it has a railway to
itself, and that railway takes you to London, and thus makes Framlingham
a living part of the British Empire of to-day.  In one respect this has
been a great gain for the town, as it led to the establishment, in 1864,
of the Albert Memorial College, a handsome pile of buildings adapted for
the accommodation of 500 boys.  The object of the institution is to
provide for the middle classes, at a moderate cost, a practical training,
which shall prepare the pupils for the active duties of agricultural,
manufacturing, and commercial life, and qualification for the Civil
Service and other competitive examinations.  The religious instruction is
in accordance with the doctrines and practice of the Church of England.
But I am glad to find that there is a conscience clause for the sons of
Dissenters who are exempted from Church of England teaching and from
Sunday attendance at the parish church or college chapel.  It speaks well
for the school that, though at one time it was in a declining state, for
the last few years it has been in a very prosperous condition.  It is
interesting, as you stand on the lawn in front of the college and look at
the decaying ruins of Framlingham Castle, to note how we have swept into
a younger day.  Ages have passed away since Hugh Bigod lived there;
indeed, the origin of the castle is somewhat obscure.  Its last royal
occupant was Queen Mary.  Thence she proceeded in state to take
possession of her crown, amidst crowds of misguided men, who had rallied
round her standard in the hope that she would respect the work of
Reformation begun by her father, and continued by her brother.  When the
castle was built, brute force ruled the land.  When the new college was
erected, it had come to be understood that knowledge was power.  The
college flourishes; the old castle is a ruin.  The world moves, after

I find Framlingham itself but little changed.  There was a barber who, in
my youth, had a picture of Absalom caught by his hair in the wood, while
David cries—

    Oh, Absalom, my son, my son,
    Thou wouldst not have died,
    Hadst thou a periwig on!

—That barber is no more, and I know not what has become of his sign.  As
an object lesson in history, undying interest attaches to Framlingham
Castle and its adjacent church.  The castle must have been one of the
largest in England.  As our Quaker poet, Bernard Barton, wrote—

    Still stand thy battlemented towers,
       Firm as in bygone years;
    As if within yet ruled the powers
       Of England’s haughtiest peers.

When I first knew the castle it was used as a poor-house.  The home of
the Bigods and the Howards is utilised in this way no longer.  The castle
hall is now devoted to the recovery of small debts and other equally
local matters.  In the good old times the nobles settled debts, small or
great, in a much easier way.

The church was erected by one of the Mowbrays, and the tower, which is a
handsome one, and from the top of which, on a clear day, you get a view
as far as Aldeburgh, contains a clock presented by Sir Henry Thompson,
our great surgeon, in memory of his father, a highly-respected inhabitant
of Framlingham, who did much for the Congregational cause in that town.
“Sir Henry Thompson was my Sunday School teacher,” said an intelligent
tradesman to me, “and I have the book in which he signed his name as
having taken the Temperance Pledge.”  Framlingham—let me state by way of
parenthesis—early gave in her adhesion to the Temperance movement.  In
the cemetery there is a monument to a worthy inhabitant of the name of
Larner.  He was the great Apostle of Temperance in the Eastern Counties.
“He was for years,” Mr. Thomas Whittaker writes, in his _Life’s Battles
in Temperance Armour_, “the man of Suffolk, the moving power, the
undaunted spirit, the unwearied defender; and when it is remembered how
special were the difficulties and how numerous the foes, the way in which
he brought the whole district under his influence, and even to treat him
with loving respect, it is the more remarkable.  When he died the heart
pulsation seemed to stop.”  Out of the world as Framlingham is, and
old-fashioned as is the town even to this day, there is a good deal of
life in it, and especially so in religious matters.  Including the
college chapel, there are nine places of worship in it, for a population
not much over two thousand.  As far as I can make out, the Salvation Army
here, as elsewhere, has helped to thin the attendance at most of the
existing places of worship.  If they can show a more excellent way it is
rather a reflection upon the existing pulpits of the place.  In spite of
the Salvation Army, I met a man in the street who complained to me that
Framlingham was dull.  “You see, sir,” said he, “we are in an
agriculturists’ district, and the farmers ha’n’t got any money.”  It
seems to me that they ought to have—at any rate, the public has to pay
quite enough for its beef and mutton, and such farming produce as butter,
and milk, and eggs.  One odd thing in Framlingham is a tomb in a garden,
which you pass on your way from the station, which preserves the memory
of one Thomas Mills, a native, who seems to have made money, which he
bequeathed to charitable purposes.  Normans and Saxons seem to have had
between them a good deal to do with Framlingham Castle and Church.  At
one time or other one of the parsons connected with the place was
Catholic and Protestant, and thus went with the times.  At a later period
one had a more sensitive conscience, and was one of the ejected.
Framlingham, like most English towns, seems to have been inhabited by all
sorts and conditions of men.  But its castle ought to be a rare place for
excursionists to visit, and the country round is rich in rural charms.
In the world, Framlingham, now that its castle is a ruin, and the power
of the feudal lords gone, does not seem to have done much.  It has had
its day, and that day with its lords and ladies, and fighting men, must
have been a grand one.  Perhaps it’s as well that they

    Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking,
    Morn of toil, nor night of waiting.


IN the year 1727 there was born in Sudbury, and baptized in the
Independent Meeting there, Thomas Gainsborough, one of the earliest and
the greatest of English painters.  The family were Dissenters, and in the
meeting-house, now under the care of the Rev. Ira Bosely, who seems very
happy and successful in his new sphere of labour, are the memorials of
two of them who were buried in the graveyard attached.  There are two
bequests of the Gainsborough family for the support of the minister for
the time being, of which the present incumbent made favourable mention
when I saw him the other day, in the comfortable manse attached to the
meeting-house.  One of the items in the ancient account-book seemed to be
curious.  It was as follows: “Four shillings for tobacco.”  I have only
to assume in the good old times our pious ancestors had an idea of
Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Services, and for that purpose possibly the
tobacco had been acquired.  Be that as it may, we may be sure the
Gainsborough family were as remarkable as any that then attended on the
means of grace.  In person, Mr. Gainsborough’s father is represented as a
fine old man, who wore his hair carefully parted, and was remarkable for
the whiteness and regularity of his teeth.  According to the custom of
the last century he always wore a sword and was an adroit fencer,
possessing the fatal facility of using the weapon in either hand.  He
introduced into Sudbury the straw trade from Coventry, and he managed to
keep it in his own hands.  He had a large family of five sons and four
daughters.  One of the latter married a Dissenting Minister at Bath.  One
son, John, was a great mechanical genius, and invented wings, by means of
which he essayed to fly, but, to the amusement of the spectators, found
himself, instead of soaring into the air, dropped in a ditch by the way.
Humphrey Gainsborough, the painter’s second brother, settled as a
Dissenting Minister at Henley-on-Thames.  Of him, the celebrated
Edgeworth, the father of the equally celebrated daughter, says he had
never known a man of a more inventive mind.  Thomas, the artist, must
have inherited something of his artistic skill from his mother, for she
herself loved to paint fruit and flowers, but with the boy, painting
became the one great object of his life, and he was always at it, even
when he should have been studying at the ancient grammar school where he
was a pupil; and thus it is Sudbury has two great men to boast of—Thomas
Gainsborough, the artist, and Simon de Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury,
who was beheaded by the populace in Wat Tyler’s rebellion, and whose
skull is still shown you in St. Gregory’s Church.  I have known many
thick skulls in East Anglia, but surely that of the martyred Archbishop
must have been one of the thickest to have lasted all this time.

Sudbury was the painter’s studio.  It is now a clean, well-built, and
slightly uninteresting provincial town, with a population of about eight
thousand.  But, said a commercial traveller to me, as I was deploring the
barrenness of the land, “It is a good place for business.”  It lies in
the flat country of the valley of the Stour, a river which expands into a
lake when the waters are out.  When Gainsborough was a boy it was ancient
and picturesque—and dirty.  At any rate it is thus described in a poem
written by Daniel Herbert, one of the old Noncons., a bunting
manufacturer, and occasional preacher in the old meeting-house, who tells

    I live at Sudbury, that dirty place,
    Where are a few poor sinners saved by grace.

—Well, the dirt is gone; but when as late as the disfranchisement of the
burgh, for bribery and corruption, which took place early in the reign of
Queen Victoria, when the free and independent returned to Parliament a
gentleman of colour, renowned for his vanity and wealth, it was evident
that a good many poor sinners remained who had not been saved by grace.

Allan Cunningham treats the marriage of Gainsborough as all conventional
writers do.  The lady—her name was Margaret Burr, and she had £200 a year
of her own—made Gainsborough “a prudent, a kind, and a submissive wife.”
As the lady was but sixteen, and her husband was eighteen, at the time of
their wedding, one cannot be surprised to find at a later period
Gainsborough looking upon his wife as a somewhat unsuitable companion.
Cunningham writes, “The courtship was short.  The young pair left
Sudbury, leased a small house at a rent of £24 a year in Ipswich, and,
making themselves happy in mutual love, conceived they were settled for

Sudbury was the birth-place of Enfield, whose _Speaker_ was a well-known
text book in the past generation.  Then our William Durbyn, author of the
well-known _Commentary on the Epistle of Jude_, was also born there.  He
died a martyr for the truth’s sake in Newgate in 1685.  The Grammar
School of Sudbury dates as far back as 1591.  Protestant as the town was,
the Sudbury burghers marched to Framlingham to defend Mary’s rights
against the attempted usurpation of Northumberland and his faction, she
assuring them of her protection in the observance of their religion—a
promise she shamefully failed to keep.  It seems that Wilson, the Sudbury
lecturer and preacher, was so harassed by the Bishop and Archbishop, that
with Winthrop, afterwards Governor of Massachusetts, he went over with a
large band of the later Pilgrim Fathers to New England.  Sudbury itself
at one time seems to have rejoiced in a Christian toleration as
refreshing as it was rare.  In 1670, or thereabouts, it was the practice
of the Nonconformists to preach in All Saints Church, while one of the
early pastors of the Congregational Church lived with his family in All
Saints Vicarage for eleven years.  It appears from the town records that
this church was without a regular incumbent for a long time, and that
after the Dutch war, the church was used as a prison for the Dutch
prisoners, there being at one time 500 of them quartered in the town.

The country round the old town—the town of Gainsborough’s boyhood—must
have been singularly picturesque.  The boy painter saw in it a beauty
which he never forget; he told Thicknesse, his first patron, that “there
was not a picturesque clump of trees, nor even a single tree of any
beauty; no, nor hedge-row, stem or root,” in or around his native town,
which was not from his earliest years treasured in his memory.  It is
interesting to note the painter’s progress.  As you walk from the railway
you come to Friar Street, where the painter married and took a house for
a short while.  A few steps further on bring you to Sepulchre Street, and
you see the site of the house where he was born, opposite which is now
the Christopher Inn.  There was a large garden behind the house; and it
was there the young artist sketched the face of the culprit whom he
watched steal his father’s pears.  That was his first attempt at
portrait-painting, and a very successful one, as it led to the conviction
of the culprit.  The Pear Tree is still shown.  Apparently Sudbury is
famous for its pears.  I saw many of them in the gardens belonging to
some of the better houses.  It was a pleasure for me to attempt to follow
in the artist’s steps.  For instance, I made my way to Brandon Wood,
where the poet loved to go sketching.  If the town is improved so as to
be almost unrecognisable, the features of the country remain the same;
nature builds more enduringly than man.  There are trees in Brandon Wood
that might have been there in Gainsborough’s time.  Over the Essex
border, a couple of miles off, is a landscape which still remains as it
is drawn in our National Gallery.  His paintings of a view near Sudbury
and a neighbouring church are more or less still true to life.

Modern Sudbury seems to know but little of her most distinguished son.
It is true that he left it at the age of eighteen to take up his
residence at Ipswich, then at Bath, and afterwards in London, where he
was somewhat of a rival to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and where he achieved
fame and fortune as one of the founders of the Royal Academy.  It is true
that he sleeps not on the banks of the Stour, but on those of the Royal
Thames at Kew, the village dear to his patron, George III.  But Sudbury
is singularly careless of the artist’s memory.  As I passed the Liberal
Club I accosted a respectable individual—I assume he was such, as he was
evidently a member of the club—and in answer to my enquiries (he was an
elderly man) he said, “I have lived in Sudbury all my life, and have no
idea where Gainsborough was born,” but he did point me out the residence
of Mr. Duport, a relative of the artist’s, and where some of his family
portraits were preserved; but I am unable to state whether they are there
now, as the house was shut up.  There ought to be a good many of
Gainsborough’s early attempts to be found in Sudbury, as he was very
liberal in giving them to his friends.  It is not too late for Sudbury to
wipe off the reproach of her neglect.  It is not too late to mark the
sites illustrated by his genius; or to do honour to the memory of her
greatest glory; or to show to the lads of the Grammar School there what
one of its alumni did, and how he did it, and what he became.  In these
days culture and education are supposed to work wonders.  In the career
of Gainsborough, we note the success of one who had little of either, but
who did wonders, nevertheless, by his industry and genius alone.  We may
note that after Gainsborough left his native town he rarely seems to have
visited the place, only occasionally to give his vote on the Tory side.

There may yet be letters of Gainsborough to appear, to interest the
reading public.  The latest published is that which Mr. Redgrave has
reprinted.  It bears the date of 1776.  It was written to his sister in
what Mr. Redgrave describes as a clear, graceful hand.  It throws a
little light on his character.

    “What will become of me, time must show; I can only say that my
    present position with regard to encouragement is all that heart can
    wish; but as all worldly success is precarious, I don’t build
    happiness or the expectation of it upon present appearances.  I have
    built upon sandy foundations all my life long.  All I know is that I
    live at a full thousand a year’s expense, and will work hard and do
    my best to get through withal; and if that will not do let them take
    their lot of blame and suffering that fall short of their duty both
    towards me and themselves.  Had I been blessed with your penetration
    and blind eyes towards foolish pleasures, I had steered my course
    better; but we are born with different passions and gifts, and I have
    only to hope that the great Giver of all will make better allowances
    for us than we make for one another.”

So far it is clear Gainsborough feels the helpless and unsatisfactory
character of his past life.  We then have an insight—not very
pleasant—into his family relationships.  He speaks of his wife as “weak
and good, and never much forward to humour his happiness.”  His eldest
daughter, Peggy, “is a sensible good girl, but insolent and proud in her
behaviour to me at times.”  Then his second daughter, Molly, he detects
apparently writing letters to a Mr. Fischer, against whom the painter had
long been on his guard.  “I have never suffered that worthy gentleman
ever to be in their company since I came to London, and behold, while I
had my eye upon Peggy, the other slyboots has, I suppose, been the object
all along.”  And Molly wins the day and marries Mr. Fischer after all.
Of domestic felicity the great artist seems to have had but a small
share.  Perhaps that was his own fault.

Sudbury ought to be more patronised than it is.  Its river affords ample
opportunities for boating; and it has a Temperance Hotel—perhaps the best
in all Suffolk—where the tourist may rest and be thankful.


    As tenants of uncertain stay,
    So may we live our little day
    That only grateful hearts shall fill
    The homes we leave in Haverhill.

THUS writes the poet Whittier, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of
the City of Haverhill in America.  Most of us know there is a Haverhill
in England, where resided Mr. D. Gurteen, who died recently in his
eighty-fourth year, one of the grand old men—occasionally met with—who
have spent all their lives in promoting the best interests, moral and
pecuniary, of the community amongst whom they live.  He was born when
Haverhill was in a state of decay, its chief manufacture, that of silk,
having dwindled all to nothing.  He has almost rebuilt the place, and
made it one of the most prosperous of our East Anglian towns.  Haverhill,
in a remote corner of East Anglia, is intimately connected with the
American Haverhill.  That was founded by the grandson of a well-known
Haverhill clergyman—Rev. John Ward—one of the early Puritans who suffered
for conscience sake, and against whom Romanising archbishops like Laud—in
whose seat the present Archbishop of London tells us he is proud to be
placed—made constant war.  John Ward, whose monument is still to be seen
in Haverhill Church, had a descendant named Nathaniel, who was educated
at Cambridge, and went out into the wilderness of New England rather than
remain the victim of persecution in the old country.  He was a ripe
scholar, and a man of great practical ability, a Puritan of the Puritans,
who helped to mould the character and make the laws of the people of whom
he became the minister.  The hardy settlers, who had hitherto toiled in
hope, overjoyed at Ward’s coming, insisted on naming their
plantation—hitherto called Pentucket, after the Indian tribe who had
lived there till bought out by the whites—Haverhill, from the birthplace
of their honoured minister.  In the recent celebration Haverhill in
England was not forgotten.  Mr. Alderman Gurteen and the rector were
invited.  The rector could not go.  Mr. Alderman Gurteen could, and he
crossed the Atlantic, bearing with him an address, handsomely got up, to
the New England Haverhill.  He was received with open arms, and on his
return was honoured with a dinner in the Town Hall, presided over by his
respected father, Mr. D. Gurteen, J.P., and there he delivered himself of
his American experiences, and was listened to eagerly by a sympathetic
audience, among whom I had the good luck to be one.

New Haverhill stands on the banks of the Merrimack, at a distance of some
sixteen miles from the sea.  The Merrimack deserves a line as the most
noted water-power stream in the world.  Haverhill lies on the north edge
of Essex county, itself the north-eastern corner of Massachusetts.  In
the Haverhill of to-day there are over 250 firms engaged in the
manufacture of shoes, and giving employment to 18,000 operatives, and
distributing annually over 2,225,000 dollars in wages, and shipping
300,000 cases of completed boots and shoes.  It is a big city,
thirty-three miles off Boston by rail.  The situation is picturesque,
with an undulating surface, watered by lovely lakes and the glorious
river.  Haverhill rejoices in a Town Hall, one of the handsomest of its
kind in New England, and twenty-four church organisations divided among
eleven different denominations.  No city in the commonwealth has grown so
fast within the last ten years.  I learn from a local paper that its
population is “energetic, prosperous, and cultivated.”  One of the things
which seem to have struck Mr. Alderman Gurteen, as indeed it would some
of us, was a handsome and commodious building known as the Old Ladies’
Home, intended to provide for such women as need it, a home in their
declining years.  Again, there is a Children’s Aid Society, formed and
managed by women, to furnish a real home for destitute children.
Haverhill has also a noble hospital, where almost every religious society
in the city supports free beds.  Such is the Haverhill of to-day.  It has
suffered from fire; from Indians, who rushed through it with their
murderous tomahawks: (one of the things Mr. Alderman Gurteen was taken to
see at the exhibition in connection with the anniversary, was the basket
of grass in which Hannah Duston, one of Haverhill’s ancient heroines,
carried the scalps of the Indians in the course of an unnatural conflict
with the English).  It was, too, a little Haverhill girl, saved in a
cellar from massacre of the Indians by a negro girl, that was the
ancestress of John Lothrop Motley.  The whole world owes Haverhill much.

Of course, Mr. Alderman Gurteen was taken to see Whittier, the poet, who
lived in a house with his three cousins and a little niece at Haverhill,
where they yet show you the photograph of the cottage in which he was
born, and the barn-like school in which he was educated.  The poet, he
has passed away since this was written, at the ripe age of eighty-two,
enjoyed life; took an interest in all that passes, and, tall and thin,
certainly did not look his age.  He had written for the celebration a
poem from which I have quoted above.  Haverhill is proud of her shoes—but
of her poet more.  His way of life is familiar to them all—his early
hours, his simple habits, his pet squirrels, who come to be fed, his
plain living, and high thinking.  He is a Quaker in speech, and talks to
Englishmen of Henry Vincent, whom he knew, and George Thompson, with whom
he fought for the anti-slavery cause.  He is a charming old man, says Mr.
Gurteen, and upright as a dart.  He was much interested in the address
from the English Haverhill.  In fact, all whom Mr. Gurteen met with in
his international trip acted as friends.  They were, he says, a downright
good lot of men and women, and what pleased him most was their devotion
to the old country.  He was delighted with everything he saw, “They are a
right noble people, and our sort to a T.”  It was the same everywhere.
For instance, at Albany Mr. Gurteen and his daughter (who I should have
said, accompanied him, and was as much charmed with America as he was)
put their heads into a chapel, which happened to be open, and were
accosted by a gentleman, with the remark that there was “no service
to-night.”  He told him in return that he was a stranger, and had only
looked in from curiosity.  “Where from”? he asked, and when the reply was
“England,” the gentleman put out both hands, and said, “Welcome, welcome;
I am glad to shake hands with any one from the old country,” and lit up
the whole place in the twinkling of an eye.

Am I not right in calling such a visit an international one?  Such visits
are the true peacemakers, and strengthen the bonds of unity between
nations better than can be done in any other way.  Mr. Alderman Gurteen
is a fair representative of what is best in a social and commercial and
political and religious life.  Old Haverhill could not have sent the new
Haverhill a better specimen of the English citizen of to-day.  The more
we send such men to America on international visits, and the more America
sends such men to us—whatever politicians on both sides the Atlantic may
say or do to create bad feeling—the stronger and more lasting will be the
tie that makes England and America—mother and daughter—one in heart and
aim.  Haverhill is deeply associated with Puritan History and the Pilgrim
Fathers.  Its greatest preacher was the Rev. John Ward, who is still
commemorated by a tomb in Haverhill Church.  One of his sons, Samuel, was
a town preacher to the Corporation of Ipswich for thirty years.  Another
celebrated preacher was the saintly Samuel Fairclough, who was born at
Haverhill in 1594, and passed from Cambridge University to become
successively Lecturer at Lynn and Clare, which latter post he vacated to
become Rector of Kedington, until he was ejected thence in 1692 by the
iniquitous Act of Uniformity.

Our Essex Haverhill may be quoted as a remarkable illustration of what a
man can do for his native town.  The late Mr. Gurteen was often called
the King of Haverhill, this title being based upon the fact that he was
practically the maker of that flourishing town.  The firm of which he was
the head employ three thousand hands in the manufacture of drabbets and
other fabrics, both linen and cotton, and in the making-up of clothes for
the home and export trade.  Mr. Gurteen’s liberality was commensurate
with his business success.  He presented the inhabitants with a Town
Hall, costing £5,000, as a thank-offering on the jubilee of his
wedding-day; built a Congregational Church at something like the same
expenditure, and was the originator and principal supporter of many other
improvements for the benefit of his native town.


ONE of the famous books of the last generation was that of _Dr. Syntax in
Search of the Picturesque_.  If the Doctor had extended his journey as
far as Maldon, in Essex, he would have been well rewarded for his pains.
Essex can boast of two towns set upon a hill.  One is Colchester, the
other is Maldon; but as regards picturesqueness, Maldon bears away the
palm.  Everywhere you have a fine view of the country—on one side the
Chelmer reaching away to Chelmsford, on the other the Blackwater making
its winding way to the German Ocean.  At one time this Blackwater was a
source of trouble, as by means of it the Danes used to sail up, as it
were, into the very bowels of the land, murdering, and plundering, and
ravishing, and pillaging everywhere.  There is no fear of that now; it is
a thing of the past.  Said a friend of mine the other day, as we stood
admiring the peaceful prospect lying at our feet, “from my bedroom window
I can see eight churches,” and, strict Noncon. as he is, I fancy the
sight is pleasanter to him than that of Danish pirates landing from their
ships to carry terror and devastation all over the land.  Maldon claims
to be the oldest borough in Essex, and to have a history, if rather a
dull one.  Up to the time of the last Reform Bill it returned two
members, and as a matter of fact, the candidate who bribed most freely
was the winning man.  Now-a-days it is only at an election that the
passions of the people are aroused.  There is a rector who preaches in an
ancient church, there is a Congregational chapel, which I am told is in a
flourishing condition; there are Baptists and Wesleyans, and all work
together pleasantly excepting when an election ensues.  Then the people
are aroused, and bad passions come into play, and friends quarrel never
to be friendly again, although the cynical observer might exclaim—

    Strange such difference there should be
    ’Twixt tweedledum and tweedledee.

There was a time when it was otherwise.  For instance, in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, we find the Maldon electors petitioning their
representatives on their sufferings from Prelatic parsons.  “They are
crueller,” so they affirm, “than the ostriches of the wilderness, and
more unkind than the dragons.”  They ask to be relieved of the teaching
of ungodly men such as have been “Popish priests, taylors, fletchers,
serving-men, wheelwrights, and many of these alehouse haunters, dicers,
quarrellers, whoremongers, and full of gross sins.”  Moved by this and
similar appeals, the friends of the Puritans in the House of Commons
endeavoured to obtain them some relief, but in vain—the Queen and her
Bishops were of quite another way of thinking.  For taking their part the
Maldon M.P. was committed to the Tower.  Matters became worse rather than
better under James I., and it was not till the Civil War that a
Commission was formed by Parliament for the purpose of investigating
complaints against the existing ministry; and of that Commission Sir
Henry Mildmay, M.P., for Maldon, was one.  Essex was full of Puritan
divines.  One of these was Thomas Horrocks, the rector of Maldon, where,
says Calamy, he was “a diligent and powerful preacher twelve years
together, and was an instrument for converting many souls.”  After his
ejectment he continued to preach, and was at length cast into the dungeon
of the town, where he lay ten days.  A court being held in the town, he
was accused of all sorts of crimes, and called by some of the aldermen
heretic, schismatic, and traitor; and when he was pleading for himself,
one of them rose from the bench and gave him a box on the ear, and beat
off his satin cap.  At the time of the Revolution Mr. Joseph Billio came
to Maldon to gather together under his ministry those whom Mr. Horrocks
had prepared for separation.  On the site of the present meeting-house,
one was erected to hold four hundred persons.  When Mr. Billio was
succeeded by a minister of Unitarian sentiments, there was a split in the
congregation, and a small place of worship was erected elsewhere.  In
1778 the congregation returned to their old place of worship.  In 1801 a
new place of worship was erected on the site of the old one, which had
now become insufficient.  It is there the present minister, the Rev. H.
H. Carlisle, preaches.  The place will hold eight hundred hearers, and is
well attended.  Attached to it is a fine modern lecture-hall and
day-schools, which are well filled.  I was particularly struck with the
bright and happy appearance of the boys and girls being trained there to
become men and women.  With such training the old joke about Essex calves
undoubtedly will lose a good deal of its point and power.

A very quiet place is Maldon—at one time a great centre of the corn
trade, which, in consequence of railways, has shifted elsewhere—and which
the Great Eastern Railway has brought within an hour and a half’s ride of
London.  The population is about six thousand, and, by the last census,
it seems slightly to have declined.  In the Town Hall are portraits of
Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne, Charles II. and George III., and Dr.
Plume, a Maldon celebrity, of whose career I have no particulars, save
that he was a clergyman, and presented a library of over 6,000 volumes to
the town.  It is open daily from 10 till 12.  The great artist, J. R.
Herbert, R.A., was a native of the place, and Landseer studied there in
his early days.  Its chief claim to fame seems to have been that it was
the birthplace of Edward Bright, a shopkeeper in the town, who died in
1750, and was so enormously fat that he weighed about 616 lbs. and seven
men were on one occasion buttoned in his waistcoat without breaking a
stitch or straining a button.

Remains around Maldon testify to the antiquity of the place.  On the west
side are the remains of a camp formed by Edward the Elder as far back as
920.  Near the town are the remains of a Lepers’ Hospital, which makes
one note with thankfulness that, thanks to sanitary science in England,
we have no need of such buildings now, and we rejoice that the good old
times are gone.  By the side of the river, about a mile from the town,
are the remains of Beeleigh Abbey, founded for monks of the
Premonstratensian order in 1180; considerable remains still exist, but
have been much altered in the process of converting the building into a
farmhouse, still there is a good deal remaining well worthy the attention
of the antiquary, though at one time the chapter-house, which has a fine
groined roof, was used as a pig-sty.  In the Abbey was buried Henry
Bourchier, Earl of Essex, in 1483.  One of the Maldon churches has a
triangular tower.  It is said that only in Italy is there another tower
of the same kind.  I may also state, as one of the peculiarities of
Maldon, that the custom of Borough English, by means of which the
youngest son succeeds to the copyhold estates of his father, still
prevails there.  Thus altogether a pleasant ancient flavour attaches to
the place, in spite of its Reform Club, which dates from 1874.  One might
do worse than live at Maldon, where good houses are to be had at a
bargain, and where in the summer-time, far from the wicked world, there
is a good deal of boating, and where in the winter time, in the coming
glacial era, which Sir Robert Ball confidently predicts as reserved for
the people of England, you may skate as far as Chelmsford, a consummation
by no means devoutly to be wished.  For bicycles Maldon is by no means
favourable, incredible as it may seem to those who will persist in
believing that Essex is a flat country.  There are two hills in the town,
one of which is pronounced to be the most dangerous hill in all Essex for



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                            J. EWING RITCHIE.

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                    A NEW LIGHT ON AN ANCIENT SUBJECT.
                        S. RUSSELL FORBES, Ph. D.,

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author gives simple solutions to the difficulties that have sometimes
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