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Title: Motor Tours in the West Country
Author: Stawell, Rodolph, Mrs.
Language: English
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MOTOR TOURS IN THE WEST COUNTRY


       *       *       *       *       *

THE “MOTOR TOURS” SERIES

BY MRS. RODOLPH STAWELL

Bound in red cloth and boxed, price 6/- net each. Profusely Illustrated.

MOTOR TOURS IN WALES

_With 63 Illustrations from Photographs, and Map._

SECOND EDITION.

Max Pemberton in the _Sphere_:--“… Will be read and reread by all who
have toured Wales a-wheel. Mrs. Stawell is a charming writer; she has a
fine sense of the road, and she adds to it a literary insight that is
always captivating.… I have rarely encountered a book so full of pleasant
literary gossip and yet so very practical.”----_World_:--“This most
artistic book … gives a sympathetic description of all that is worth
seeing in Shropshire, North Wales, the Heart of Wales, South Wales, and
the Wye Valley. I do not think I have ever seen such beautifully-arranged
photographs in any book of travel.”

MOTOR TOURS IN YORKSHIRE

_With 48 Illustrations from Photographs, and Map._

SECOND EDITION.

“This charmingly-written account of motor travels in Yorkshire has
no feature in common with the ordinary dry-as-dust matter of fact
guide-book. The volume is one of the most fascinating books of home
travel, within its own assigned limits, with which we are acquainted.…
Full of exquisitely finished photographs.”--_Standard._----“Motorists
require a new order of guide-book, which shall be as independent of show
places and beaten tracks as the happy possessor of a car. Mrs. Stawell
has gauged by practical experience the new requirements, and has now
done for the county of broad acres what her previous volume did for the
Principality.”--_Outlook._

MOTOR TOURS IN THE WEST COUNTRY

_With 48 Illustrations from Photographs, and Map._

In common with Mrs. Rodolph Stawell’s other books of Motor Tours, this
delightful volume is specially written for those who like to know
something of the history and antiquities of the places through which
they pass, and for lovers of beautiful scenery. At the same time all
the principal roads of Devon and Cornwall are discussed in considerable
detail, and though Somerset is not fully dealt with, there are two
chapters on that county. Each chapter is preceded by a summary of
distances, &c. The book is illustrated by 48 photographs by R. de S.
Stawell, and contains an index and map of the routes.

LONDON: HODDER & STOUGHTON

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: CASTLE ROCK, LYNTON.]


MOTOR TOURS IN THE WEST COUNTRY

by

MRS. RODOLPH STAWELL

Author of “Motor Tours in Wales,” “Motor Tours in
Yorkshire,” etc.

With Photographs by R. De S. Stawell



Hodder and Stoughton
London MCMX

_The photographs in Chapter III. are reproduced by the kind permission of
the Editors of “Country Life” and the “Car Illustrated.”_



CONTENTS


                                               PAGE

                        I

    A RUN ACROSS SOMERSET                         1

                        II

    THE HEART OF DEVON                           31

                       III

    THE SOUTH COAST OF DEVON                     71

                        IV

    SOUTH CORNWALL                              103

                        V

    NORTH CORNWALL                              143

                        VI

    NORTH DEVON                                 177

                       VII

    THROUGH SOMERSET AGAIN                      197



ILLUSTRATIONS


    CASTLE ROCK, LYNTON              _Frontispiece_

                                        FACING PAGE

    CHEDDAR GORGE                                 8

    THE BISHOP’S EYE, WELLS                      12

    WELLS CATHEDRAL                              14

    ST. MARY’S CHAPEL (OFTEN CALLED ST.
      JOSEPH’S), GLASTONBURY                     16

    THE CHOIR, GLASTONBURY                       22

    MARKET PLACE, SOMERTON                       26

    SIDMOUTH                                     36

    GUILDHALL, EXETER                            44

    CLOISTER, EXETER CATHEDRAL                   50

    LUSTLEIGH                                    58

    HOLNE BRIDGE                                 64

    BUTTERWALK, DARTMOUTH                        86

    SLAPTON                                      90

    SOUTH POOL CREEK, SALCOMBE                   92

    FORT CHARLES AND BOLT HEAD                   94

    DRAKE’S ISLAND, FROM THE HOE                 98

    LOOE RIVER                                  106

    LOOE HARBOUR                                108

    STREET OF POLPERRO                          110

    POLPERRO                                    112

    RESTORMEL CASTLE                            114

    BODINNICK FERRY                             118

    PONT PILL, FOWEY                            120

    ARWENACK AVENUE, FALMOUTH                   126

    KING HARRY’S FERRY                          130

    THE LIZARD                                  132

    MULLION COVE                                134

    ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT                         138

    NEWLYN HARBOUR                              140

    THE LAND’S END                              142

    ST. IVES                                    148

    TRERICE                                     150

    GATEHOUSE, LANHYDROCK                       156

    TOWN GATE, LAUNCESTON                       158

    TINTAGEL                                    164

    MORWENSTOW                                  172

    CLOVELLY                                    176

    STREET IN CLOVELLY                          178

    CLOVELLY HARBOUR                            180

    ON THE TAW                                  186

    LYNMOUTH                                    192

    VIEW FROM LYNTON                            194

    RIVER LYN                                   196

    PORLOCK                                     200

    DUNSTER                                     204

    GATEHOUSE, CLEEVE ABBEY                     208

    TAUNTON CASTLE                              214



A RUN ACROSS SOMERSET


SUMMARY OF RUN ACROSS SOMERSET

DISTANCES.

    Clifton Suspension Bridge
    Clevedon                     11½ miles
    Wells                        25⅛   ”
    Ilchester                    17⅝   ”
    Crewkerne                    11    ”
    Devon Border                 12    ”
                                 ---------
                          Total  77¼ miles

ROADS.

No bad gradients except near Chard--1 in 8.

Surface: from Clifton to Ilchester, poor; Ilchester to Crewkerne, fair;
Crewkerne to Border, extremely good.


I

A RUN ACROSS SOMERSET

To most of us the very thought of the West Country is full of
enchantment. In this grey and strenuous island, where a man must move
quickly if he would be warm, this is the nearest approach to a Lotus
Land--a land of green hills and hollows all lapped in an emerald sea,
a land where the breezes are sleepy and scented, and the flowers
grow because they want to see the view, and the sunshine is really
encouraging, and the very rain is soft and kind. Even here the weather
has its moods; but they are all lovable, and in any case cannot touch our
happy memories. We who are but wayfarers, and have chanced to see the sun
shining on the blue distances of Dartmoor, and warming the little sandy
coves of South Devon, and peering into the depths of the wooded valley of
Lynmouth, and lighting up the dark granite of the Land’s End, may keep
the remembrance of it unspoiled for ever. Like the figures on Keats’
Grecian Urn, our vision of sunny hours suffers no change. “For ever shalt
thou love, and she be fair.”

Even in Somerset the spell begins to work. We feel at once there is no
need for haste. We begin to loiter, and stray from the straight path, and
saunter through the orchards of the “Summerland;” though all the time the
thought of the Devon border is never absent from our minds.

Very slowly the car creeps over Clifton Suspension Bridge. The Avon, a
long way below us, flows between its high red-and-white cliffs towards
the Severn Sea, to whose shore we too are bound before we turn southwards
and make our leisurely way to Exeter, through Cheddar, and Glastonbury,
and Chard.

It is a fairly hilly road that takes us by way of Failand to Clevedon.
The surface is a little rough, too, but this is unfortunately a quality
that is shared by many of the roads of Somerset. After passing through
some pleasant scenery--here a dark plantation, and there a wide landscape
bounded by the grey waters of the Bristol Channel, and here on the slope
a pretty village--it leads us into the bright, clean, breezy streets that
have been trodden by Coleridge and Thackeray and the Brookfields, by
Tennyson and the Hallams.

When Coleridge came to Clevedon with his bride, and “only such furniture
as became a philosopher,” there was no more than a village here. There
was no esplanade, nor pier, nor bandstand to try his philosophy, when he
took the one-storied cottage with the jasmine-covered porch and the tall
rose that peeped in at the window, and settled there with the woman whom
he loved “best of all created things” and by whom he was bored at the
end of two months. Except in the matter of the jasmine on the porch, and
the garden that contains--in the words of the sarcastic Cottle--“several
pretty flowers,” there is little likeness between the Coleridge Cottage
in the Old Church Road and the poet’s “Valley of Seclusion.” Local
tradition would have us believe, however, that this red-tiled cottage
with the two sentinel trees is the very one that “possessed everything
that heart could desire”--for two months; the one that was supplied at
the philosopher’s request with a dustpan and a small tin kettle, a Bible
and a keg of porter; the one in which poor Sara sat so often by herself,
uncheered even by Mr. Cottle’s gift of “several pieces of sprightly
wall-paper.”

In those days Clevedon Court, which we passed as we drove into the town,
was really in the country, no doubt. It is still shaded and sheltered
by trees, and its mellow walls, its stately arches and mullions and
terraces, contrive to keep an air of academic calm in defiance of the
highway that passes near them, and of the neat little villas that
make modern Clevedon look so tidy. If we should chance to be here on
Thursday we may see the gardens. The rare beauty of this ancient house is
inevitably tinged with sadness now; but it was not sad, we may be sure,
when boyish Brookfield did his wooing here, and Thackeray paced these
paths, as novelists use, with the visionary Henry Esmond at his elbow,
and Tennyson walked with Arthur Hallam among the flowers, and there was
as yet no tablet “glimmering to the dawn” in the dark church on the cliff.

Quite solitary still, and undisturbed by any sound but the faint murmur
of the sea, is the grey church “by the broad water of the west” where
Arthur Hallam lies. It must always have been a desolate, haunting
spot, even before the song of the sea became a dirge and the old walls
were consecrated anew to the memory of a poet’s sorrow. In those
days, doubtless, the fragments of Saxon work and the moulding of the
chancel-arch received more attention than now, when every eye wanders
instantly to the white tablet on the wall of the south transept, and
every foot is fain to stand where Tennyson stood with his bride, above
the grave of Arthur Hallam and his father.

From Clevedon, turning inland to Wells, we cross a level land of orchards
and meadows on a very poor surface, through Yatton with its curious
church-tower, and Congresbury with its old cross-steps, and Churchill
with its historic name. Before us is the long shoulder of the Mendips,
changing from blue to green as we pass Churchill and climb, on a road
that suddenly becomes good, through a gap in the hills. There are fine
views from these uplands, and here and there a glimpse, far behind us,
of the Severn estuary. Very slowly we drive through the narrow, winding
streets of Axbridge, shadowed by overhanging eaves and gables of every
height and angle; and quickly through the level strawberry fields beyond,
to Cheddar under the hills.

[Illustration: CHEDDAR GORGE.]

Cheddar Gorge is a surprising--almost a startling--place, and we must
leave our highway for a little time to see it. From the village at the
foot of the Mendips a road--and a very good road it is--climbs to the
table-land above through a natural cleft between two mighty cliffs, which
rise sheer from the roadway and stand out against the sky in a mass
of towers and pinnacles. And all this sternness is softened and made
beautiful by hanging draperies of green. Masses of ivy trail from crag
to crag; high overhead the little birch-trees find a precarious footing
on invisible ledges; every tiny cleft and ridge holds a line of grass
and wildflowers across the grey face of the cliff. Gradually, as the road
sweeps higher, the towering sides of the gorge change into steep slopes
of grass and fern, strewn with boulders and broken here and there by
clumps of firs. The slopes become lower and lower, more and more open,
till at last the landscape widens into undulating fields. Then we turn,
and glide down again round curve after curve, while the grandeur grows,
as the huge walls of the gorge close in upon us and reach their climax in
the Pinnacle Rocks.

And deep in the heart of these wild cliffs is a strange, uncanny world.
Surely in these caverns the gnomes ran riot till they were frightened
away by an elaborate system of electric lighting and an exuberance of
advertisement. It is plain that they have left Gough’s Cave, for it is
more than a little artificial; but none the less there is an ethereal
beauty in the myriad stalactites and stalagmites through which the light
gleams so softly on roof and floor. As for the poor prehistoric man who
guards the entrance of the cave that has served him for dwelling-house
and tomb, it is an indignity for him, I think, after his seventy
thousand years or so of rest in the heart of the earth, to be set up thus
in a glass case to grin at tourists.

Between Cheddar and Wells a pretty, winding, undulating road dips in and
out of several red-roofed villages shaded by trees. In the distance the
unmistakable outline of Glastonbury Tor is dark against the sky.

This is not the best way into Wells, for the cathedral is hidden. It is
from the Shepton Mallet road that we may see “the toune of Wells,” as
John Leland saw it nearly four hundred years ago, “sette yn the rootes of
Mendepe hille in a stony soile and ful of springes.” It has not changed
very much: the clergy here being secular, the Dissolution did not affect
them, and Wells has never greatly concerned itself with worldly matters
and has been all the more peaceful on that account. There have been
disturbing moments, of course; as when Perkin Warbeck set up his claim,
so confusing to the minds of quiet folk; and when the Parliament-men
made havoc in the cathedral; and when Prince Maurice and his troops
were billeted on the town, to its great impoverishment; and when King
Monmouth passed this way. But on the whole Wells has suffered little.
Leland, when he visited the cathedral, entered the close by one of these
gates that are standing to-day: came through the Chain Gate, under the
gallery and past the great clock that was made by a monk of Glastonbury,
or through Browne’s Gate from Sadler Street, or on foot through Penniless
Porch in the corner, once the haunt of beggars; and saw Jocelin’s famous
west front rising above the greensward, with the embattled deanery hard
by; and passed from the market-place to the moated palace under the
archway of Beckington’s “right goodly gatehouse,” the Bishop’s Eye.
This fifteenth-century Bishop Beckington did much for the beauty and
benefit of Wells; built, not only three gateways, but also “xij right
exceding fair houses al uniforme of stone, high and fair windoid,” in the
market-place, and set a conduit there, “for the which the burgeses ons a
yere solemply visite his tumbe, and pray for hys sowle.”

We may visit his tomb ourselves. His dust lies in the cathedral at the
entrance to the choir, beyond that ugly inverted arch that was set up
for safety’s sake in the fourteenth century; but in later days his tomb
has been treated less reverently than of yore. Its carved and painted
canopy stands broken and empty in the chapel of St. Calixtus, and in the
south aisle of the choir is the rather ghastly tomb--bishop above and
skeleton below--which the burgesses visited so gratefully. It is a rare
and delightful custom here that allows one to walk alone through the
choir and exquisite lady-chapel; to linger at will by the throne where
William Laud and Thomas Ken have sat; to picture Lord Grey standing
with drawn sword before this altar, to defend it from the rabble that
followed Monmouth; to seek out Bishop Button’s tomb, which cured so many
mediæval toothaches; to mount the long flight of footworn steps to the
chapter-house, and rest beneath its lovely vault in silence. These same
steps lead also to the gallery that was built by Beckington for the use
of the priest-vicars, whose peaceful close is reached by a gateway of its
own, outside the Chain Gate.

[Illustration: THE BISHOP’S EYE, WELLS.]

Beyond the cloisters is the palace: the fortified gatehouse, the towers
and drawbridge that Ralph of Shrewsbury found it wise to set between
himself and the citizens; the moat that is filled every day from St.
Andrew’s Well; the shattered banquet-hall where Edward III. once ate his
Christmas dinner; the great red dwelling-house that has passed for nearly
seven centuries from hand to hand. “Many bisshops hath bene the makers of
it, as it is now,” says Leland. It has had Wolsey for its master though
not its inmate; it has been stolen by Somerset the Protector; it has been
the home of Bishop Laud. Saintly Thomas Ken went from its seclusion for
a little time to join the rest of the Seven Bishops in the wild uproar
of their trial and acquittal, and later on was driven from its doors by
William of Orange. Here is Ken’s summer-house, at the upper corner of
the garden that he loved. Local tradition, whose wish is usually father
to its thought, declares that he wrote his Evening Hymn in this little
summer-house at the end of the terrace; but history, I believe, says
otherwise. It is tradition, too, that accuses Bishop Barlow of stripping
the lead from the roof of the banquet-hall, whose great windows we see so
plainly from this terrace. Barlow’s misdeeds at St. David’s have given
him a well-deserved bad name; but, on this occasion only, he was more
sinned against than sinning, for the palace and many other things were
wrung from him by Protector Somerset, from whom they passed to one Sir
John Gates. This vandal was the destroyer of the banquet-hall, and would
probably have done more mischief than he did, if he had not been most
justifiably beheaded.

It is behind the palace that we find the loveliest spot in Wells. Here,
overlooked by sixteenth-century oriels, are the springs that long ago
gave the city its name--the wells of St. Andrew, whose still surface has
reflected for hundreds of years the beautiful east end of the cathedral.
For hundreds of years, too, its waters have fed the moat. It is only at
certain hours, of course, that strangers may walk in the palace garden;
but the moat that circles it and the towers that guard it are visible to
everyone. So is the swan who rings for his dinner when it is late, with
all the jerky impatience of a man in the same plight.

[Illustration: WELLS CATHEDRAL.]

There is something that takes a hold on the imagination in the very
dulness of the country that lies between Wells and Glastonbury. For the
reason that this road with the rough surface is so level, and has such
uninteresting surroundings, is that all this country was once the swampy
land that lay round the Isle of Avalon. There is Glastonbury Tor before
us, conspicuous for many a mile with its steep sides and crowning tower;
and here on our left is the orchard-clad slope of Avalon itself, where
“golden apples smile in every wood.”

We drive slowly down the long High Street of Glastonbury.

Many, many pilgrims have come this way before us: have passed the great
Tudor-rose and mullioned windows of the old stone court-house on the
right, have stopped before the panelled front, the wreathed vines and
carven beasts, of the “George” Inn, and have entered it beneath the
painted arms of Edward IV. For this inn is the New Guesthouse that Abbot
Selwood built and embattled and made so fine, for such of the pilgrims
as paid for their lodging.[1] It was Selwood’s successor, Abbot Bere, “a
grave, wise, and discreet man, just and upright in all his ways,” who
raised the grey Tribunal that has been in turn an abbot’s court-house, a
boys’ school, and a lawyer’s office. Exactly opposite this house is the
passage that leads to the abbey.

It is not in the stones of Glastonbury that we shall find her history;
not in this soaring broken arch that leads our eyes and our hearts
upwards; nor even in the splendours of arcading and moulding that are the
glory of the _Ealde Chirche_, the chapel usually called St. Joseph’s,
though it is really St. Mary’s. Many centuries before these walls were
raised, many centuries before Norman hands ever laid one English stone
upon another, the soil beneath our feet--this dust that is the dust of
saints and kings--was held sacred by Saxon and Celt. “This place,” says
Camden, “was by our Ancestors call’d the first ground of God, the first
ground of the Saints in England, the rise and fountain of all religion in
England, the burying-place of the Saints, the mother of the Saints.”

[Illustration: ST. MARY’S CHAPEL (OFTEN CALLED ST. JOSEPH’S),
GLASTONBURY.]

The mind loses itself here in a cloud of legend. Dim forms of early saint
and holy grail give place to visions, almost as dim, of St. Patrick and
St. David and St. Bridget. Every holy man and woman came to Glastonbury,
according to the chroniclers, sooner or later, alive or dead; so that the
very floor, says William of Malmesbury, and the sides of the altar, and
even the altar itself above and beneath, were laden with the multitude
of relics. From Northumbria, from Ireland, from Wales, came the bones of
the saints in search of safety: Paulinus and Aidan and Bede, and Hilda
from her wild cliff by the North Sea, and David from his Rosy Valley
in the west. How much of this is true we not know and need not greatly
care, seeing that in any case the fact that gives interest and beauty to
these stories is the fact of Glastonbury’s immense age and sanctity, the
undoubted fact that it was “the first ground of the Saints in England,
the burying-place of Saints, the mother of Saints.” We may even be
informed by some officious person that the real name of the Glastonbury
Thorn is _Cratægus oxycantha præcox_, and that it will blossom at
Christmas elsewhere; yet nothing can rob us of the picture of Henry
VIII.’s lying and thieving commissioner, when he came hither to despoil
and desecrate, carefully wrapping up two sprigs of the sacred thorn
in a piece of white sarcenet, and sending them as a present to Thomas
Cromwell; nor of that other picture of the zealous puritan, solemnly
hacking the thorn-tree to death for the good of his soul.

When St. Dunstan was a boy, living here in the primitive monastery
founded by King Ina, he dreamt that he saw, on this spot where we are
standing among the ruins, a glorious fabric of “fair alleys and comely
cloisters.” The splendours of his vision have come and gone, but we too
may see them in dream: the mighty church with its towering arches, its
many chapels, its marble floors and sapphire altar; the enclosing wall
with the two great entrances; the acres of domestic buildings--cloisters
and dormitories, library and refectory, and the abbot’s stately lodging.
Over there among the trees his kitchen still stands. The steam of much
good cheer rose to its quaint octagonal roof when Henry VII. was here
as the guest of that wise and discreet man, Abbot Bere; and when Leland
visited his “especial friend,” Richard Whiting; and when Henry VIII.’s
commissioner came on his mean errand, and found to his annoyance that the
brethren were “so straight kept that they could not offend.”

It was not the magnificent building of Dunstan’s dream, but the simple
church he knew, that was the burial-place of kings. He himself, as abbot,
laid Edmund the Elder in his grave; and here in the monastery “which he
ever loved beyond all others” lies Edgar the Pacific, “the flower and
pride of all kings, the honour and glory of England,” and near him his
grandson Edmund Ironside, who was merciful and kind, says Matthew of
Westminster, “to the just persons in his kingdom, and terrible to the
unjust.… And all England mourned for him exceedingly.” And somewhere
deep beneath the turf, near the spot where the high altar used to stand,
is the dust of those bones and that golden tress of hair that some
would have us believe were the actual remains of Arthur and Guinevere.
Edward I. and his Eleanor believed it, and came to the great church
here when it was new to gaze, adoring and credulous, at the skulls of
their predecessors. But now our minds--like that of the blameless king
himself--are “clouded with a doubt”: for the historic Arthur, we are
told, died almost certainly in Scotland, and never came to the Island
Valley of Avilion to heal him of his grievous wound.

The first Norman abbot of Glastonbury, Thurstan, set to work at once to
improve the old building, and would have done more if his abbacy had
not suddenly ended in an unseemly skirmish on the very steps of the
altar. “He would have taught the monks amiss,” says the Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle severely. In point of fact he was resolved to abolish the use
of Gregorian chants, to the great scandal of the monks, and, like many
another, thought that the introduction of the soldiery would have a
convincing effect. “Rueful things happened there on that day,” says the
chronicler, “for the French broke into the choir and threw darts towards
the altar where the monks were collected, and some of their servants went
upon the upper floor and shot down arrows towards the chancel, so that
many arrows stuck in the crucifix which stood above the altar, and the
wretched monks lay around the altar, and some crept under it … and they
slew some of the monks and wounded many, so that the blood ran down from
the altar on the steps.” Rueful things indeed!

The dogmatic Thurstan was removed, and a year later the monastery was
burnt to the ground. It was then that this beautiful chapel began to
rise, with all its profusion of ornament; and round it for hundreds
of years the great abbey continued to grow slowly into the perfection
of Dunstan’s dream. How great was the magnificence of it we may judge
from the “dyverse parcells” that were ultimately “delyvered until his
Majestie”--the spoils of many shrines, gold and silver vessels, jewelled
altars, and “the great saphire of Glastonburg.” Poor Abbot Whiting did
his best to save them before he went to his death on Glastonbury Tor.

[Illustration: THE CHOIR, GLASTONBURY.]

There is Glastonbury Tor before us, framed in the piers of the broken
chancel-arch. It was to the summit of that hill that Richard Whiting,
last Abbot of Glastonbury, who had been wont to travel in all the pomp of
a prince, was dragged upon a hurdle to the gallows. Over the great gate
through which his guests had so often crowded--sometimes five hundred in
a day, they say--his head was set up, lest men should forget that the
King loved “parcells of gilte plate” more than justice. For there was
hardly a pretence of justice in the trial of Richard Whiting. Like the
Abbot of Fountains, he hid the treasures of his abbey from the King’s
commissioners, and, since he must be proved a traitor before these riches
could be wrung from him, this act was called high treason. Neither his
immense charities, nor his simple, saintly life, nor even his submission
to the Act of Supremacy could save him. It was with “businesslike
brevity,” says Green the historian, that Thomas Cromwell “ticked off
human lives.” “Item,” he wrote among his memoranda, “the abbot of Glaston
to be tryed at Glaston and also executyd there.” So Richard Whiting was
hanged and quartered at the foot of that tower that still stands upon the
hill, and serves him for a monument.

I am not sure whether the main entrance to the abbey, over which
Whiting’s head was set, was the vanished gateway on the north side, or
the still existing entrance in Magdalen Street. We pass the latter as we
drive out of the town. Its newly restored archway stands on the left,
beside the house that was once the “Red Lion” Inn, and quite close to
the modern market-cross that is so unusually graceful. Our road skirts
the foot of Wearyall Hill, where once the sacred thorn-tree grew--the
miraculous tree that had been, said the monks of Glastonbury, the staff
of Joseph of Arimathea.

After a few minutes of level running we climb the Polden Hills--no very
arduous work--and look down upon the wide green plain of Sedgemoor. It
lies on our right as we glide down the hill, and stretches far away from
us to Bridgwater. It was from some spot in that blue distance that “a
volley of shot and huzzas” rang out into the night, when Monmouth and
his peasant army made their futile attempt to “vindicate their religion,
laws, and rights;” and it was far away across those level fields that
Feversham’s grim line of gibbets rose on the following day. In all this
peaceful country there was not a ditch from which some poor wretch was
not dragged to make sport, later on, for Jeffreys: but the ditch that hid
Monmouth himself was not here, but in Dorset. As we look out upon the
scene of his undoing let us forget that distant ditch, and the weakness
of an exhausted, starving man, and remember only that he made a gallant
end. “I shall die like a lamb,” he said on the scaffold. “I have now no
fear, as you may see by my face; but there is something within me which
does it, for I am sure I shall go to God. I will make no speeches: I
come to die.”

Again the road is level, or nearly so; but, as is rare in level country,
the surface is bad. We pass under the railway-bridge of the new Great
Western line, and soon see Somerton on the crest of a hill. The road to
Ilchester climbs the hill at the outskirts of the town, without actually
passing through it; but it would be a pity to turn our backs on the
ancient capital of the Somersœtas without a glance at its picturesque
streets and old houses, whose mellow walls are so characteristic of
Somerset. In the silent square that was once dominated by the castle,
and is now made beautiful by an arcaded, stone-tiled market-cross, there
is nothing to show that Somerton is a town of varied experiences. It has
seen a vast amount of life, but prefers to say nothing about it.

Here where the “White Hart” stands, without a sign of age, once stood
the palace of King Ina and his pious wife. Ina, King of the West Saxons,
was “a rare example of fortitude,” we are told; “a mirror of prudence,
unequalled in piety”--though he ascended the throne, as the same
chronicler delicately expresses it, “more from the innate activity of his
spirit than any legitimate right of succession.” Active he certainly was:
a conqueror of the British, a builder of monasteries and churches and
castles. We meet the records of his activities at Wells and Glastonbury,
at Taunton, and here in Somerton; and even when his determined Ethelburga
had persuaded him to abdicate, with some reluctance, he continued to
build in Rome. It was on this hill he chiefly lived and made his laws,
I believe, but his castle was burnt by the destroying Danish princes,
Hinguar and Hubba. On its foundations rose the later castle that served
as a prison for King John of France; but even this has left no remnant
but some thick masonry in the modest walls of the “White Hart.” In this
scene of long past revelry and war there is hardly a sign of life.
Somerton is inhabited, apparently, by one man, two children, and a cat.

[Illustration: MARKET PLACE, SOMERTON.]

Through cornfields and orchards and over Kingsdon Hill, on a surface that
is gradually improving, we go on our way to a town that is older still
than Somerton, but by no means so attractive. Indeed, Ilchester has a
very dull air, though it stands on the Fosse Way and has a few relics of
its Roman origin. A little more than two hundred years ago, however, its
sombre streets were lively enough on a certain August day, when gay young
Monmouth rode through them on a carpet of flowers and scented herbs, and
the crowd swept after him along the narrow ways. What schemes for the
future were in his mind we cannot guess, but at this time--during his
father’s life--there was nothing on his lips more treasonable than the
smiles that made the people love him. He had come “into the country to
divert himself,” and for a week or two all these lanes round Ilchester
and Ilminster, Chard and Yeovil, were ringing with cheers. “God bless
King Charles and the protestant Duke,” the people shouted, as he rode
smiling between these hedges. For he, like ourselves, left Ilchester by
the Roman road, which was probably even more badly kept in those days
than in these. It has, of course, the charm--in a motorist’s eyes--of
straightness, but the irregular fringe of grass at the sides gives it
an unkempt air that is unworthy of its origin, and it is only in patches
that the surface is good. The abrupt hill on the left with the tower on
its summit is the “sharp mount” that gave its name to Montacute.

We turn away from the Roman road by a lane that climbs a long hill
between high hedges, and quickly runs down again. Below us, in a fold of
the low hills, lies Crewkerne.

Joshua Sprigge, in his enchanting history, “compiled for the Publique
good, and to be sold at the Parot in Paul’s Churchyard,” describes how
the army of the Parliament came to _Crookhorn_ by “ill and narrow” ways
in a very hot season, “the foot weary with their long and tedious march,
the carriage-horses tyred out;” and how, only an hour later, they left it
again with all their weariness forgotten. “They leapt for joy that they
were like to be engaged.” As they were following the enemy to Petherton
it was probably by this very road that they marched away, probably on
this very road that Fairfax and Cromwell came riding side by side.

We need not stay in Crewkerne even so long as they, for there is nothing
to be seen except the church. There is hardly a church in Somerset that
is not worth seeing, either for its beauty or its interest; but the
church here is more than ordinarily stately. Like all the rest it is
built of the stone whose grey and yellow tints make even the simplest
cottage in Somerset a lovely thing, and add greatly to the beauty of this
elaborate church, with its crockets and statues and niches, its embattled
turrets and parapet, and all its intricate gargoyles. In an angle of the
south transept is a curious recess such as I have never seen elsewhere,
with a canopy and a stone seat. It is said to have been a hermit’s cell;
but a hermit who frequented the outer wall of a large church must have
been very fond of society.

Here we strike the London and Exeter road, and therefore the surface,
which has hitherto been indifferent at best and at worst very bad,
becomes almost perfect. As we climb the long hill of St. Rayne to the
height that is ominously known as Windwhistle, the scenery grows very
lovely: the breezy road passes along a ridge, a wide park skirts the
wayside, and to right and left the landscape sweeps away into the
distance. Indeed, I have heard that at one point near Windwhistle inn--at
the fourth milestone from Chard--it is possible on a clear day to catch
a glimpse of the two seas, to north and south. A run of two miles on an
easy downward gradient takes us to the “prepared” road that leads into
the long, wide, sloping street of Chard; then a steep climb lifts us to
the hilltops again; and a few minutes later we glide down into the soft
green woods of Devon.



THE HEART OF DEVON


SUMMARY OF RUN ACROSS MID-DEVON

DISTANCES.

    Devon Border
    Sidmouth               22 miles
    Exeter                 18   ”
    Moretonhampstead       13½  ”
    Two Bridges            12¼  ”
    Tavistock               8¼  ”
                           --------
                    Total  74 miles

    Exeter to Plymouth _viâ_ Ashburton     44 miles
    Exeter to Launceston _viâ_ Okehampton  42   ”

ROADS.

Hills steep and frequent.

Surface: rather rough on the Moor; between Exeter and Launceston,
variable; between Exeter and Plymouth, good.


II

THE HEART OF DEVON

To hurry in Devonshire is absurd. In the first place, it is contrary to
the spirit of the country: no one does it. In the second place, it is
impossible.

I cannot conscientiously recommend Devon as a motoring field for those
who find great speed essential to their happiness, for to them the
alternate use of the gear lever and the brake is apt to be exasperating.
But to many of us the reduction of our average mileage is a small matter
in comparison with certain important things; such as scarlet poppies in
the corn, and high banks fringed with ferns, and cottages smothered in
flowers, and wide purple moors, and the rippling of emerald seas, and the
complete serenity that fills the heart in Devon.

Here, on the very border, there is a long rise and an extremely sharp
turn, on the hill where Yarcombe stands. After this winding climb we run
down easily through lovely wooded country into the straight, wide street
of Honiton. This is a name that rouses deep emotion in every female
heart, and to the female ear I will confide the fact that Honiton lace,
as made to-day in Honiton, is perhaps more really beautiful than it has
ever been; and there is a certain little upper room, not hard to find,
where the enthusiast may watch swift fingers and flying bobbins. Except
these filmy bramble-leaves and roses there is nothing of interest in
Honiton. Sir William Pole summed it up three centuries ago, and his words
describe it accurately to this day. “This towne is a very prety towne
indifferently well bwilded, and hath his market on the Saterday.”

By the direct road Exeter is only fifteen miles away, but by making
quite a short _détour_ we may see the birthplaces of Coleridge and
Sir Walter Raleigh, and catch a glimpse of the sea. A mile or two of
splendid Roman road, and a shady lane, take us to Ottery St. Mary and
its famous church; the church, says Pole, that John Grandison, Bishop of
Exeter, “bwilded in imitatinge of ye church of St. Peter’s in Exon, with
ye cannons’ howses round about, standinge in a sweete wholsom advanced
ground.” He did not actually “bwild” it, however, but rather enlarged
it and made it collegiate, and left upon it the marks of that taste for
splendour in which he indulged more fully at Exeter. Not only a great
part of the fabric itself is his, but the painted reredos and the stone
screen and the choir-stalls were his gifts. The pulpit is of a much more
modern date; but it is the very same from which Coleridge’s father was
in the habit of addressing his congregation in Hebrew, “the authentic
language of the Holy Ghost.” The grammar-school in which the poet spent
his childhood with his twelve brethren no longer exists; but we may still
see the narrow lanes where little Samuel, a visionary already, curvetted
on an imaginary horse and slew the enemies of Christendom as represented
by the wayside nettle. And here, close at hand, is the little Otter, and
the “marge with willows grey” by which he loved to dream.

Long before Coleridge played his warlike games there were horsemen of a
sterner sort riding hither and thither through these lanes. Fairfax spent
a busy fortnight here, resting his army, “who never stood in more need of
it,” but by no means resting himself: visiting the works at Broad Clyst,
caring for his dying soldiers, and doing his best to make peace between
King and Parliament. “To be general raised him onely to _do_ more, not to
_be_ more than others,” said a man who was with him here. Where he lodged
I do not know, nor the spot where he was presented with a “fair jewel”
in the name of both Houses, in gratitude for the services “he performed
for this kingdome at Naseby Battel.” It is certain, however, that a
deputation brought it to Ottery, and “tyed it in a blue Ribband and put
it about his neck.”

[Illustration: SIDMOUTH.]

Sidmouth is only five miles away from Ottery, and lies so prettily
between its two headlands that it is worth seeing, though the lanes that
lead to it are hilly. It is quite an old place, really. Its prettiness,
however, does not at all depend upon its age, but on the ruddy cliffs
that bound the bay, and the little brown stream that runs down through
the shingle to the sea, and the tiny cascade that glitters in the sun,
and the groups of boats that lie upon the beach. Yet, driving through
the western part of the town, we see that Sidmouth after all is merely a
typical watering-place. Here is the esplanade we know so well, and the
row of bathing-boxes, and the shrill-voiced nursemaid with her shriller
charge, and the dreaded pierrot. Beyond that western end rises the Peak
Hill, and up its steep side lies our way.

It is steep indeed; both steep and very long. Before it is faced the
hill-climbing powers of the car should be carefully considered, for the
gradient at one point is at least one in five, and is extremely steep
for a considerable distance. But from this height the blue bay and red
rocks of Sidmouth look very lovely through the trees, and at the top of
the hill there are colours enough on a sunny day to repay us for much
climbing: pale blue hills and a dark blue sea, and a wide expanse of
varying greens, and to the left a red cliff, and to the right, perhaps,
a patch of brilliant heather. Very carefully--for the lanes are narrow
and steep--we run down the other side of the hill that has just been
laboriously climbed, and reach the pretty street of Otterton, with its
runnel and little bridges, and thatched cottages, and background of
trees. We cross the Otter, and are soon in East Budleigh, the twisting,
straggling village near which Sir Walter Raleigh was born.

In the grey church on the knoll above the street we may see the Raleigh
arms, and with them the three “horsemen’s rests” that figure in so many
shields--the arms of the great Grenvilles. The bench-end that bears them
is the first on the left side of the aisle, and was carved early in the
sixteenth century, when one of the Raleighs married Honor Grenville. Sir
Walter’s mother, we need not doubt, sat in this pew many a time, for the
Raleighs lived only a mile away at Hayes Barton. We can find the house
quite easily, standing beside a little sloping green: a low, gabled,
grey house, with a thatched roof and a gay old-fashioned garden. There
have been many changes here, of course, since that sixteenth-century baby
first blinked at the world he was destined to explore; but even then
this was a humble home for the daughter of the Champernownes, the mother
of two great men. For through this heavy oaken door that swings slowly
open to admit us has passed not only Walter Raleigh in his nurse’s arms,
but also the Eton boy who was his big half-brother, Humphrey Gilbert. Of
the life that was lived and the ideals that were taught under the gables
of Hayes Barton we may perhaps guess something, not over rashly, from
the last words of these two boys when they came to die, each his tragic
death. “This,” said Sir Walter with a smile as he felt the axe, “is a
sharp medicine that will cure all diseases.” “We are so near Heaven at
sea as on land,” said Sir Humphrey as his last storm broke over him.

That Sir Walter loved this house, of which his father was only a tenant,
we have good evidence; for when he was a man he tried in vain to buy
it. Here, in the room on the left side of the doorway, is a copy of the
letter he wrote to Mr. Duke. “I will most willingly give you what so:ever
in your conscience you shall deeme it worthe.… You shall not find mee an
ill neighbore.… For the naturall disposition I have to that place, being
borne in that howse, I had rather seat mysealf ther than any wher else.”

The little room where he was born, the room upstairs with the high
ceiling and the latticed windows, has not been changed, they say. They
say too--and for this one was prepared--that he smoked his first pipe in
England in the room over the porch. Sir Walter’s first pipe had evidently
some of the qualities of the widow’s cruse. Wherever his name is heard
the tradition of the first pipe lingers. He smoked it, we are told, on a
rock in the Dart, and beside a Devon fireplace, and in an Irish garden,
and here at Hayes.

And now, returning first to East Budleigh, we go on our way to the Ever
Faithful City by lovely woods of fir and beech, and wide heaths, and
hills and dales of richest green, with here a glimpse of sea and there
a wealth of heather. Through Woodbury we go; and Clyst St. George,
where the Champernownes lived; and Bishop’s Clyst, which was once Clyst
Sachvill. The last of the Champernownes of Clyst was the unconventional
Elizabeth, who married her first husband three days after her father’s
death, and her second husband two days after her first husband’s death.
“A frolic lady,” says John Prince. As for the Clyst that once belonged
to the Sachvills and afterwards to the bishops, it changed hands in this
manner. Sir Ralph Sachvill, being about to go to France in the service
of Edward I., was in sore need of a large sum of money, and mortgaged
the manor of Clyst to Bishop Branscombe of Exeter. The bishop, prudent
man, forthwith built largely on the land, and made so many improvements
that poor Sachvill, coming home from the wars with empty pockets, could
not redeem his estate. So Clyst Sachvill became Clyst Episcopi, and the
Bishops of Exeter visited it when they needed change of air. The time
came, however, when “as Brounscomb cuningly gott it, soe did Bishop
Voisey wastefully loose it.”

It was by this road that we are travelling on, this very excellent road
from Otterton, that the Duke of Monmouth once came riding into Exeter;
and it was somewhere near Bishop’s Clyst, I think, that a curious
spectacle met his eyes. Twenty thousand people came out to welcome him,
“but that which was more remarkable,” says the historian--and who will
deny it?--“was the appearance of a brave company of stout young men, all
clothed in linen waistcoats and drawers, white and harmless, having not
so much as a stick in their hands.” There were nine hundred or a thousand
of these innocents drawn up on a little hill. The Duke reviewed them
solemnly, riding round each company. Then the stout and harmless youths
marched two by two, hand in hand, before him into the city.

The story of Exeter has no beginning. To Norman and Saxon, Roman and
Celt, it was a fortified stronghold, the Gate of the West. For centuries
it was the desire of kings, the first thought of the invader, the
forlorn hope of the rebel. Yet, as we drive through the dull suburb
of Heavitree--which owes its grim name to the gallows--and pass into
the heart of the town we see no sign of the walls that endured so many
sieges, the walls that were built by Athelstane, that were attacked by
Alfred, that fell before the Conqueror, that withstood Warbeck, that
defended the cause of Charles: no sign of the towered archway that was
once the entrance to Exeter and had Henry VII.’s statue above it: nothing
to show us where poor Perkin, the king of straw, battered in his futile
way upon the gate, “with casting of stones, heaving of iron barres, and
kindling of fire,” nor where William the Conqueror, in ways that were
not futile, battered so successfully--“although the citizens smally
regarded him”--that it was believed “some part of the walls miraculously
of his owne accord fell downe.” Nor is there any sign of the western gate
that once stood at the further end of the High Street, the gate through
which another William, seeking the same crown, came in a later century.
Through this street, which Leland calls the fairest in Exeter, the great
procession of William of Orange swept in all its splendour of bright
armour and banners. Here where we are driving they passed by: the English
gentlemen on Flanders steeds; the two hundred blacks in embroidered
fur-lined caps with white feathers; the two hundred men of Finland in
bearskins and black armour, with broad flaming swords, very terrible
to unaccustomed eyes; the motto of the cause--“God and the Protestant
Religion”--fluttering on fifty banners borne by fifty gentlemen; the
led-horses and the pages and the grooms; and the prince himself, all
glittering in armour upon his milk-white palfry, surrounded by his
running footmen and followed by a mighty host. The billeting of this host
upon the citizens of Exeter, says an eye-witness in a Letter to a Person
of Quality, “was done so much to the content and satisfaction of the
inhabitants, and such just payments made for what the soldiers had, and
such civil behaviour among them, without swearing and damning as is usual
among some armies, that it is admiration to behold.”

[Illustration: GUILDHALL, EXETER.]

Of this brave show that meant so much to England there is no relic left;
but there is still a memorial to be soon of another kingly procession
that once passed down this street. Perkin Warbeck, after “mightily
and tempestuously,” but quite vainly, assaulting the walls of Exeter,
was pursued by Henry VII. to Taunton, and “about midnight departed in
wonderful celerity” to the sanctuary of Beaulieu. Then the King rode into
Exeter in state, and in his gratitude unbuckled the sword that Perkin
had not waited to see, and took the beaver from his head, and gave both
sword and hat to the citizens in acknowledgment of their “lusty hearts
and manly courage.” Here, in this old grey building that projects across
the pavement on our left, we may see them still. In this fairest street
of Exeter there is nothing now so fair as the Guildhall with the granite
pillars and the massive door of oak and the fluted panelling of Tudor
days. In the gallery above the great hall are the two swords that won
the crown of England, so to speak: the simple sword of Edward IV. and
the splendid gilded one of Henry VII.; and with them, cased in rich
embroidery, the black beaver hat in which Henry gained his easy triumph
over Perkin. And among the pictures on the dark walls of the hall itself
are two that have a special meaning in this place: Sir Peter Lely’s
portraits of the young Duchesse d’Orléans and of the Duke of Albemarle.
For it was in Exeter, in a house that has now vanished, that Charles I.’s
daughter Henrietta was born; and when the Articles of Surrender were
drawn up at Poltimore after the long siege, there was special provision
made for the safety of the little princess; so that it was in a “fit and
convenient carriage” that she started on that famous journey to Dover
which she ended, to her great annoyance, in the disguise of a French
peasant-boy. It was in Exeter, too, that young George Monk began his
fighting career by thrashing the under-sheriff of Devon. The exploit
drove him into the army, and when his talent for fighting had made him
Duke of Albemarle the civic authorities let bygones be bygones, and set
up his portrait here. Perhaps they recognised that the under-sheriff had
richly deserved his chastisement.[2]

Unfortunately the same Articles that provided a convenient carriage for
Princess Henrietta also decreed the destruction of Rougemont Castle, and
there is nothing but a tower and a gateway left of the stronghold that
Athelstane founded and William the Conqueror rebuilt. Yet even in this
fragment there is one window, they say, of Saxon date, one window that
has looked out on all the wild scenes that have been acted round the Red
Mount. Exactly how many sieges this scrap of masonry has endured I do
not know, nor how many crowned heads it has helped to shelter. William
the Conqueror and Stephen took possession of it in person; Edward IV.
and Richard III. visited it; and it was probably here that Henry VII.
stayed when he came to Exeter at the time of the Warbeck rebellion, to
try “the chief stirrers and misdoers.” “The commons of this shire of
Devon,” he wrote to the Mayor of Waterford, “come daily before us in
great multitudes in their shirts, the foremost of them having halters
about their necks, and full humbly with lamentable cries for our grace
and remission submit themselves unto us.” In the same vivid letter he
expresses a hope that Perkin’s wife will soon come to Exeter, “as she is
in dole.” It is not from Henry himself that we learn, however, that when
the poor lady actually arrived in this city he “wondered at her beauty
and her attractive behaviour.”

When William of Orange rode into the town with all his retinue of blacks
and Finlanders it was not to Rougemont that he came, for Fairfax had
nearly altogether destroyed it. He slept at the deanery, and on the
following day entered the cathedral in state. It has not altered since
then. He saw the stately Norman towers as we see them, and like ourselves
passed into the building through the vaulted porch and rich mouldings of
the west doorway. Over his head was the splendid tracery that is over
ours, and on each side of him were the clustered pillars that we see.
“And as he came all along the body of the church the organs played very
sweetly, and the quire began to sing _Te Deum_.” Whether that _Te Deum_
rang quite true upon the vaulted roof is open to doubt, for the choir,
apparently, sang it with much reluctance and left the church hurriedly
when their work was done, lest trouble should come of it. Meantime the
prince sat down beneath the towering canopy of the throne that the bishop
had deserted, and Burnet, standing at the foot of the pulpit, read aloud
the declaration that gave England her liberties.

On the base of the throne are the painted effigies of the four bishops
who made Exeter Cathedral what it now is: Warelwast, who built the
towers; Quivil, who designed the Decorated building as it stands;
Stapledon, who set up this carved and pinnacled throne, and the beautiful
sedilia, and the “sylver altare” that has vanished; and Grandison the
magnificent, who made the vaulted roof. Close at hand on the north side
of the choir, with a restored canopy and a figure “very lively cut in
the same stone,” is the tomb where Stapledon’s desecrated dust was laid.
The enthroning of this bishop, says Carew the chronicler, was more than
ordinarily splendid. Canons and vicars-choral in their habits led him to
the throne, while “abundance of gentlemen of place and quality” followed
after. Very splendid, too, was his burial in this choir. There had,
however, been a burial of another sort in London; for, having been made
Keeper of the City by Edward II., he was attacked by the mob who took the
part of Queen Isabel. They dragged him from his refuge in St. Paul’s,
“and having grievously beaten and wounded him, haled him along the
streets to the great cross in Cheap, where those sons of the devil most
barbarously murdered him.” His headless body lay buried in a sand-heap
till the Queen ordered it to be brought hither in great honour.

[Illustration: CLOISTER, EXETER CATHEDRAL.]

The “grave, wise, politic” Grandison, though much addicted to pomp, was
personally simpler than the murdered bishop, who possessed no fewer than
ninety-one rings. Grandison’s splendour was shown in hospitalities and
lavish gifts to his cathedral. It owes much to him: among other things, I
believe, the minstrels’ gallery that we see above us on our right as we
walk down the nave--the gallery that was built, they say, in order that
the Black Prince might be fittingly welcomed with music when he visited
his duchy. The west front is Grandison’s, too. He once defended it and
the dignity of his office with a body of armed men, on an occasion when
the Archbishop of Canterbury came on a visitation. Here at the west door
the angry prelates faced each other. Grandison won the day, and the
archbishop, says Fuller, died of a broken heart.

It was possibly owing to the presence of Fairfax, who reverenced all that
was ancient and beautiful, that the soldiers of the Parliament did so
little harm to the cathedral, beyond destroying the cloisters. How much
else they destroyed in the close I do not know: it is certain that much
has vanished, for in Leland’s day it had four gates, and was “environid
with many fair housis.” There are still several fair houses in Cathedral
Yard that have survived the Civil War, but not all of them have been
admired by Leland. He did not see, for instance, the curious outline and
picturesque bow-windows of “Mol’s Coffee House,” nor the panelled room
that is emblazoned with the shields of heroes and statesmen, of Talbot
and Somerset, of Cecil and Throgmorton, of Drake and Raleigh and Gilbert.
Tradition says that the bearers of these sounding names were wont to
discuss the affairs of the nation in this room.

Before leaving Exeter we have a weighty matter to settle: our choice of
a road. There are four ways of reaching Cornwall. Of these the shortest
is by Okehampton to Launceston, and this has the advantage of passing
through the bewitching village of Sticklepath: the best as regards
surface is by Ashburton and Ivybridge to Plymouth: the most beautiful
is the road that leads across the Moor by Moretonhampstead and Two
Bridges to Tavistock: the most interesting and varied is the long way
round by the coast, by Torquay and Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Modbury.
In the matter of hills the second of these roads is the least severe,
and therefore on the whole I advise those who desire to reach Cornwall
quickly to skirt the Moor upon the south; passing through Buckfastleigh,
which has a new abbey on an old site, and Dean Prior, where Herrick lived
so reluctantly, and Plympton, where old Bishop Warelwast died. There is
no really steep gradient on this road, and though near Exeter there is
a long climb followed by a long descent, there are several surprising
miles, near Plymouth, that are almost level. The surface is usually very
good. The scenery is not so strikingly beautiful as on the other roads,
but in places it is very lovely, and everywhere there are the special
charms of Devonshire: the shadowing trees, the high banks and trailing
ivy, the stone walls green with myriads of tiny ferns, the gardens full
of sunshine and flowers. Dean Prior, where Herrick lived for many quiet
years, singing in sweet measures “how roses first came red and lilies
white,” and dreaming wistfully of “golden Cheapside” and his Julia--and
others--seems at first sight an unlikely place to be hated. Indeed, I
think his hatred of it and its inhabitants was merely a mood. The same
kind of mood that made him hurl the manuscript of his sermon at his
congregation made him describe his neighbours as

    “A people currish, churlish as the seas,
    And rude almost as rudest savages,”

while all the time he was well aware that Robert Herrick was ruder than
either. There were other days when he wrote very affectionately of
his little house and his placid life in this village where he has so
long been lying at rest. There is an ugly modern monument to him in his
church, but his grave and that of his housekeeper Prue are unmarked by
any stone. The beautiful epitaph he wrote himself will serve them well:

      “Here’s the sunset of a tedious day:
    These two asleep are; I’ll but be undressed,
    And so to bed; pray, wish us all good rest.”

The Plympton through which this road passes is not the birthplace of Sir
Joshua Reynolds, but has an interest of its own in being the site of a
monastery that was founded by Warelwast, the bishop who built the towers
of Exeter Cathedral. When he was very old he came hither to die. But
Plympton Earle is not a mile away; and most of us will find time to drive
into the little town and pause for a moment by the old house with the
colonnade, wherein a little boy used long ago to sit studying perspective
“with avidity and pleasure,” or copying his sister’s sketches. Sir Joshua
loved this place where he first held a pencil, and in after years
painted his own portrait for the town. The town sold it.

This road, then, is not without its attractions. Infinitely greater,
however, are the charms of the two other alternative ways from Exeter to
Cornwall--the one that bisects Dartmoor and the one that skirts the coast
more or less closely. Those whose object is a short tour in South Devon
I would advise to combine these two routes by driving from Exeter across
the Moor to Tavistock, thence turning south to Plymouth on a splendid
road through beautiful scenery, and returning to Exeter leisurely by way
of Dartmouth and Torquay.

The traveller who chooses to leave Exeter by the Moretonhampstead road is
likely to feel that he has chosen well.

Like all these roads that run towards the west it begins by crossing
the river Exe, the river that for three centuries was commercially
useless because two men quarrelled about a pot of fish. In the market of
Exeter--so runs the story--three pots of fish were waiting to be sold
one day, more than five hundred years ago. Upon this fish the retainer
of the Earl of Devon cast an appreciative eye at the very moment when
the servant of the Bishop of Exeter had determined to buy it. In the
fourteenth century there could be but one result of this coincidence.
The matter, after a lively quarrel, was laid before the mayor, and he,
with prudence that deserved to be more successful, apportioned one pot to
each customer and the third to the market: whereupon the Earl of Devon
revenged himself upon the corporation, against whom he already had a
grudge or two, “by stopping, filling, and quirting the river with great
trees, timber, and stones, in such sort that no vessel or vessels could
passe or repasse;” and Topsham became the port of Exeter. Now Topsham was
on the Earl of Devon’s land.

We go out of the town on a perfect surface, and although, of the twelve
miles between Exeter and Moretonhampstead, there is only one that is
level and eleven that are steep in varying degrees, the beauty that
surrounds us leaves us with no breath for complaint. Whether we are
climbing slowly to the summit of a ridge, with valleys dipping deeply on
each side and beyond the valleys fold on fold of wooded hills, or gliding
down past Culver into the shade, or running softly through a little green
glen, there is nothing but content in our hearts. Presently we cross the
Teign upon an old stone bridge. Beneath us the river makes slow, soft
music on its mossy stones; on each side the hills rise steeply; here and
there a great red rock pierces the green and purple of the slopes; and
as the road winds up the long hill through the woods we are shadowed
by hazels and larches and birches, and the scarlet tassels of the
mountain-ash hang heavily over our heads. When at last we finish the long
climb Moretonhampstead lies below us. From this height it appears to be
in a hollow, but after running down a steep hill for a mile and a half we
find ourselves unexpectedly looking up to it.

Moreton is the best centre, I think, from which to see the Moor. Chagford
is in a lovelier position, hemmed about with hills, and is larger and
more ambitious, with electricity to light its streets; but it is not
nearly so central as Moreton, which stands at the junction of four
good roads. Gray’s Hotel, though it makes no profession of smartness,
is comfortable and clean, and has a capital new garage. The importance
of staying in this neighbourhood for a day or two lies in the fact that
there are several lovely places within a radius of a few miles which
cannot easily be seen _en route_. Of course, those who prefer more
stately quarters can use Exeter as their centre very comfortably.

It is not to us who move at various speeds from place to place--by
motor-car, or bicycle, or train, or even on foot--that Dartmoor will
reveal itself. Do not let us deceive ourselves. We may have driven on
every road and every tortuous lane between the Teign and Tavistock, yet
we need not dream that we know the Moor. That knowledge comes only with
the slow years, only with the passionate love that begins in childhood
and lasts for life.

[Illustration: LUSTLEIGH.]

That is no reason why we should not see as much of the Moor as we can,
and love it dearly in our own poor fashion. There is much, very much of
its beauty which he who runs--and even he who motors--may read. And the
most beautiful part of it, I think, is this eastern side.

Quite a short run from Moreton is to Bovey Tracey, Hey Tor, and
Manaton. We drive out of the little town, as we drove into it, past the
seventeenth-century almshouses, whose thatched roofs are supported on
a row of granite pillars, and whose features are feebly reproduced on
the opposite side of the street--a case in which imitation is very far
from flattery. A narrow road follows the course of the Bovey through its
pretty valley. At a point where road, rail, and river nearly touch one
another a little by-way crosses a bridge to Lustleigh, which has a great
reputation for beauty, and deserves it; for with its church and modern
cross, its thatched cottages, its stream and little bridge, half hidden
in their setting of woods and orchards, it is a very lovable village. Its
spaces, however, are limited. Drivers of large cars must turn near the
church under the elms, and see Lustleigh on foot, for there is no turning
place further on, and the road beyond the village is impracticable. Its
beauty is very alluring, but its steepness is serious, and such is its
narrowness that even a car of moderate size brushes the hedge on each
side. It is far easier to return to the main road, or rather the main
lane to Bovey, which has a good surface, though it is narrow and winding.

The fine church that stands above the street of Bovey Tracey was founded,
it is said, by the Tracy who was one of Becket’s murderers, to atone
for the deed by the convenient method of the Middle Ages. But all its
splendour of carving and gilding, its painted screen and pulpit, its
porch with the groined roof and grotesque bosses, are of a later century
than the twelfth.

There is nothing here to see except this church and some restored stone
crosses. For no one knows, I believe, where the cavaliers were quartered
on that famous winter evening when Cromwell rode into Bovey with a band
of horse and foot, and brought dismay with him. “The Enemy in Bovey,”
says Joshua Sprigge, “were put to their shifts, yet through the darkness
… most of the men escaped.” The shift the officers made was an ingenious
one. They were playing cards when Cromwell’s men marched up to their
door, and with admirable presence of mind they flung the stakes out of
the window. By the time the soldiers had finished picking up the money
the royalists had escaped by the back door, and were beyond the river.

Almost as soon as we have crossed the same river we find ourselves on
the fringe of the Moor, and begin to rise slowly on a fine curving road,
through a scene that grows in beauty moment by moment. On one side are
the sweeping lines and satisfying colours of the moorland, the heather
and the yellow grass, the greens and browns of the bracken: on the other
are all the graces of a copse of birch-trees. At every turn the view
widens, till on the skyline Hey Tor appears, very sharp and dark. As the
road sweeps round it the Moor is everywhere about us, an endless series
of rounded hills, with the line of their curved shoulders broken here and
there by jagged tors. Everywhere the rim of the landscape is blue beyond
all experience. When green has melted into grey, and grey has deepened
into an indigo so strong that it seems no colour can be bluer, there is
still beyond it a line of hills as purely, piercingly blue as the sky in
June.

We run on between Saddle Tor and Rippon Tor over hill and dale,
till we look down on the famous goal of a certain historic grey
mare--Widdecombe-in-the-Moor; then past Hound Tor and round by the pretty
village-green of Manaton to the woods through which the Becka’s waters
dance and sing. Here by the wayside the car must wait a little time,
while we are carried to fairyland on a magic carpet of moss. Long, long
ago, say the fairies, this was a stony, barren slope. Some wild spirit of
the storm had flung upon it a host of mighty boulders, which lay there
bare and grey beneath the open sky. At last the fairies came, and wove
their wonderful carpet of moss, soft and green, and laid it gently over
the great stones and over the earth, and scattered their enchanted seeds
upon the ground so that the tall trees rose thickly upon the hillside,
and a mysterious, dusky veil of leaves hid the river from the sky. Then
the fairies made their home here; and we may walk with them through the
woods to that strange fall that in summer is no waterfall, but a cascade
of gigantic rounded stones, flung from the height in a confused mass,
through which a thin stream trickles.

As we drive out of the dark and spellbound wood we suddenly find
ourselves on a heathery hillside, all space and colour and light; and by
a winding road we return to Bovey and Moretonhampstead.

Quite near to Moreton is one of those unforgettable places of charm so
rare that they dwell in one’s mind for ever as types of beauty. This is
Fingle Bridge, which crosses the Teign where the valley is narrow and
its sides are high and very steep, and the brown river flows quickly
among woods and beds of fern, and a huge slope, completely carpeted with
heather, towers close at hand. The best road is by Sandy Park, and beyond
that point even this is by no means good. In Drewsteignton, indeed, a
prudent owner of any car that has more than a nine-foot wheel-base will
get out and walk, for between that delightful village and the Teign
there is an extremely steep and narrow lane, with a surface that is
chiefly made of stones both large and loose. There is, moreover, no good
turning-place in the narrow gorge through which the river runs.

A longer run than either of these is through Bovey Tracey and Ashburton,
and across the Moor to Two Bridges by a road whose hills are grimly
described in the contour-book as “all highly dangerous.” The description
is justified, and it cannot even be pleaded that the surface is good; but
the sweeping moorland, and the woods that veil the hurrying Dart near
Charles Kingsley’s birthplace at Holne, and the valley at Dartmeet, will
compensate for much. From Two Bridges the road to Moreton is the same by
which we must cross the Moor on our way to Tavistock.

[Illustration: HOLNE BRIDGE.]

It is no hardship to travel twice upon this road. The run from east to
west, from Moreton to Tavistock, is one to repeat as often as may be,
and to remember whenever life seems dull. It is a glorious run. The road
is hardly ever level, of course, but the surface for the most part is
fairly good, and the hills, if steep, are straight. And from our feet a
wide sea of fern rolls away on every side, billow beyond billow, till
its waves break at last upon the rocks of a hundred tors. There are
certain scenes that remain with one, a possession for ever. One of them
is on the hill where Grimspound lies. A little by-road takes us quickly
to the wild spot where neolithic man built himself this dwelling, with
the object, doubtless, of keeping an eye upon his neighbours rather than
that of enjoying the view. Whatever his motive he chose well. He saw this
splendid panorama--a pageant of green and purple and indescribable blue.
One thing only he did not see: the tragic thing that gleams so suddenly
and whitely in the far distance, when a sunbeam chances to fall upon
it--Dartmoor Prison.

When we have passed the stony stream and pack-horse bridge of Postbridge
the scenery is less interesting for a mile or two, for this is the
more civilised part of the Moor--a fact that has a brighter side in a
comfortable luncheon at Two Bridges. Unless we change our minds and take
the beautiful road to Plymouth, we turn to the right here after crossing
the stream, and leave Princetown and all its heavy hearts behind us on
the left. When the highest point of this road is passed and the long
descent begun, the scenery is again of that well-wearing kind that can be
stored and put away for the winter. And if I pay scant attention to the
vast host of most venerable relics with which Dartmoor is dotted--I had
almost said _crowded_--this is not because neolithic man seems to me a
person of little account, but because the study of his life and times is
not one that can be taken up suddenly on a motor-tour. For one wayfarer
who takes heed of the menhir, and the stone-row, and the pound near
Merivale Bridge, there will always be a hundred to gaze eagerly from the
hilltop at the long line of dark and rugged tors that stretches across
the immense landscape, and at the gleaming Hamoaze on the left, and at
the clear outline of Brent Tor Chapel on its rock, and above all at blue
Cornwall meeting the blue sky. In the middle of this picture Tavistock
lies, and we run down into it on a splendid road.

The abbey that once gave renown to Tavistock has nearly vanished, but
even its fragments--an archway and an ivy-covered tower--are enough to
bring beauty and distinction into these pleasant streets. Ordgar, the
man who founded it, was the father of Elfrida, the wicked Queen who gave
her stepson a stirrup-cup, and had him stabbed while he was drinking
it. It was in Tavistock or near it that she spent her childhood, and
to Tavistock that Ethelwold was sent by the King, to see if her beauty
deserved a crown. Ethelwold, seeing her, forgot all else and married her
himself. “She is in noe wise for feature fitt for a king,” he told King
Edgar. Then the King, whom men did not lightly deceive, came hither to
Tavistock to judge for himself, and Ethelwold at bay told the truth to
his wife, begging her--poor ignorant man!--“to cloath herself in such
attire as might least set forth her lustre.” Elfrida smiled; and when
her lord was gone arrayed herself in all she had that was most rich and
beautiful, so that “the sparkle of her fair look” made the King mad for
love of her. The next day he took Ethelwold out upon the Moor to hunt,
and left him there with an arrow through his heart; and after all Elfrida
became a queen.

The abbey her father founded was famous, not only for its splendour, but
also for its learning. Though nearly all its stones are gone there are
still some of its documents to be seen in the church, and certain ancient
books which were printed, I believe, in the printing-press of these
progressive monks.

It was in the year after the monks were driven from their abbey that
Francis Drake was born to bring fresh glory to Tavistock. At the end of
a long, wide street his statue stands--the familiar figure by Boehm,
all fire and energy, the “Francie Drake” we know. His ardent face is
turned towards the town whose pride he must ever be; behind him is the
ivy-covered gateway of Fitzford House. Through that embattled archway Sir
Richard Grenville--“Skellum Grenville” as he was called--came home with
his bride to her own house; the house in which he afterwards shut her
up, and “excluded her from governing the affaires within dore,” and even,
it is reported, gave her a black eye. This was the Richard Grenville who
was the King’s General in the West, and was described by the Parliament
as “a villain and skellum.”[3] He raised an army in Cornwall “with most
extrem and industrious cruelty” and brought it to this place; and I
believe it was here that young Prince Charles stayed when he came to
Tavistock and complained so bitterly of the weather. The soldiers of the
Parliament afterwards sacked the house, of which nothing is now left but
this gateway.

There may be some who have been led to think that they have but to
drive a few miles from Tavistock to see the house that belonged to the
earlier, and far greater, Sir Richard Grenville, the house of which an
old writer says: “The abbey scite and demesnes was purchased by Sir
Richard Grenvill, whereon hee bwilt a fayre newe howse, and afterward
sold it unto Sir Francis Drake, that famous travailer, wᶜʰ made it his
dwellinge-plaice.” These I must sorrowfully inform that Buckland Abbey is
no longer open to the public.

From the statue of that “famous travailer” we turn to the right upon a
fine road, and presently, crossing the Tamar by a beautiful bridge, climb
into Cornwall on a gradient of one in seven.



THE SOUTH COAST OF DEVON


SUMMARY OF RUN THROUGH SOUTH-DEVON

DISTANCES.

    Exeter
    Newton Abbot             16 miles
    Torquay                   7   ”
    Totnes                    9   ”
    Dartmouth, viâ Brixham   16   ”
    Kingsbridge              15   ”
    Salcombe and back        13   ”
    Plymouth                 20   ”
                            ---------
                      Total  96 miles

ROADS.

Hills steep and frequent.

Surface poor, except from Kingsbridge to the outskirts of Plymouth.


III

THE SOUTH COAST OF DEVON

If our object in choosing to cross Devon by the coast road were simply
to cling to the shore as closely as possible we should, of course, drive
to Torquay by way of Dawlish and Teignmouth. But in that case we should
miss the beautiful views of Exeter and the Moor from the slopes of
Great Haldon, and the gorse and pines on the summit of Telegraph Hill,
which most of us will think more desirable things than the beaches and
lodging-houses of popular watering-places. It is true that no esplanade
nor row of bathing-boxes can altogether spoil a Devon sea. It is also
true that the last words of _Endymion_ were written at Teignmouth; but as
Keats, being unfortunate in the matter of weather, disliked the place
very heartily, we shall be following in his footsteps most truly if we
are faithful to “Nature’s holy face.” Her face is very beautiful on the
summit of Great Haldon.

We glide easily down the wooded slopes, with the wild outline of Dartmoor
against the sky before us and the green valley of the Teign below us,
and after an almost continuous descent of seven miles run into the
uninspiring streets of Newton Abbot. Let us pause for a few minutes in
Wolborough Street, and picture the scene that brought this little town
for a moment into English history: the throng of troops; the crowding
onlookers, half curious, half afraid; in the midst of them the keen face
of the foreigner who had come to be their king; the prince’s chaplain,
here where the stone is set, proclaiming William III.; and over all the
pouring, drenching rain. At the outskirts of the town we may see the
house that sheltered William from the weather that night, and has at
various times sheltered many incongruous guests of note--Charles I. and
“Steenie,” Oliver Cromwell and Fairfax. William was at Ford House without
a host, or the Courtenay who owned it at that time doomed it wiser to be
absent; but when Charles I. was there Sir Richard Reynell’s hospitality
was such that a hundred turkeys figured in a single _menu_.

Only five or six miles of a comparatively level road lie between Newton
Abbot and Torquay. The valley through which we drive bears a familiar
name, for it is in this Vale of Aller that the well-known pottery is not
only made, but designed, in vast quantities. I think it must have been
along this road that part, at least, of William’s wet and motley army
marched through the mud from Brixham. As for the prince himself, his
course must have been truly erratic if he slept at all the places in this
neighbourhood that claim to have sheltered him.

Torquay is one of those rare watering-places that upset all one’s
prejudices. Its houses are many and modern, its streets are populous;
but the harbour under the hill is so snug, the sea so blue and bright,
the boats so gay, the buildings so softly framed in trees and flowers,
that the most churlish heart must be won. And near at hand the little
sheltered coves, and wild paths above the cliffs, and woods almost
dipping into the sea are quite as peaceful as though there were no
crowded little harbour on the other side of the hill. This harbour was
not here, nor any town at all, when the Spanish Armada, as Kingsley says,
“ventured slowly past Berry Head, with Elizabeth’s gallant pack of Devon
captains following fast in its wake.” Only a few fishermen’s cottages
were on the shore, and the empty walls of William Bruere’s abbey, and
below the abbey “a peere and socour for fisshar bootes.” Indeed, even
when the _Bellerophon_ and the _Northumberland_ rode on the blue waters
of this bay together, and Napoleon sailed away to St. Helena, there were
more trees here than houses.

To-day there are so many houses on this shore that there is hardly a gap
between Torquay and Paignton. There is nothing to keep us in Paignton,
for though it has an old church, and a tower that is called the Bible
Tower out of compliment to Miles Coverdale, it has none of the charm of
Torquay. Only a few miles away, however, is a place of very definite
charm. There is a better way than this, certainly, of seeing Totnes, but
this hilly and not always very good road has the advantage of passing
near the castle of Berry Pomeroy, one of the few ruins in Devonshire.

The peculiar spell of Berry Pomeroy lies, not in splendour of masonry
nor grandeur of outline, but in the silence and romance of the deep
woods in which the castle rock is closely wrapped. From the old church
where Pomeroys and Seymours lie in their graves we run down noiselessly
through the green shadows into a strange and dusky world of legend and
far-off history. Through the towered gateway that fronts us generations
of Pomeroys have ridden forth to defend or flout their various kings;
and many a Seymour, coming homeward by this path, has lifted his proud
eyes to the house his fathers built within the Norman wall. For when the
last Pomeroy had “consumed his estate and decayed his howse,” he sold it
to the Protector Somerset; and the Seymours who came after him raised
the dwelling that is now a shell and was never altogether finished,
though very magnificent, according to John Prince, with curiously carved
freestone, and stately pillars of great dimensions, and statues of
alabaster, and rooms “well adorned with mouldings,” and a “chimney-piece
of polished marble, curiously engraven, of great cost and value.” These
splendid Seymours were descended from the Protector’s eldest son. “I
believe,” said William III. to the last of them, “you are of the Duke of
Somerset’s family.” Sir Edward bowed. “The Duke of Somerset, sir,” he
said, “is of my family.”

It was to this very gate, I believe, after Henry de Pomeroy had taken up
arms for Prince John, that Cœur-de-Lion’s sergeant-at-arms came on his
sinister errand. Out of the gate, however, he never rode. He “received
kind entertaynment for certaine days together,” says the historian, “and
at his departure was gratified with a liberal reward; in counterchange
whereof he then, and no sooner, revealing his long-concealed errand,
flatly arrested his hoaste … which unexpected and ill-carryed message the
gent took in such despite as with his dagger he stabbed the messenger to
the heart.” One cannot honestly regret it.

This is the kind of place where legend grows round history as naturally
and quickly as the ivy grows over the stones. The walls themselves, it
is easy to see, were raised by a magician; for the castle, seen from one
side, is standing high upon a rock, while from the other it seems to be
deep in a wooded valley. This is plainly due to a spell, and prepares
the mind for tales of imprisoned ladies, and of wild horsemen leaping
desperately into the chasm when they could no longer defend their castle
from an angry king. It is only on emerging from the dim and haunted wood
that one remembers regretfully how the last of the Pomeroys “decayed his
howse”--so far was he from defending it--and sold it quite peacefully to
the Duke of Somerset.

There was no very exciting rivalry, I suppose, between the castle of
Berry, even at its best, and the castle that stands only about two miles
away on the “high rokky hille” of Totnes; for the stronghold of Judhael
de Totnais and William de Braose, of Zouches and Edgecumbes, was the
citadel of a walled town. If we climb the rocky hill in question--through
the old east gate of the town, and past the fifteenth-century church and
the hidden guildhall that was once a priory--we may see for ourselves how
proudly the tower of Totnes once dominated the valley of the Dart. There
is only a fragment of the keep standing now, and even in Henry VIII.’s
time “the logginges of the castelle” were “clene in ruine.” The story of
their decline and fall seems to be unknown, but I think the place must
have been treated with some indifference by the Edgecumbes, who were,
unless I am mistaken, rebuilding their beautiful house at Cothele when
Totnes Castle came to them. If this were the case we could forgive them,
and indeed be grateful for their absorption in the lovely treasure-house
above the Tamar.

The various signs of age that make these steep streets so attractive must
not make us forget that the antiquity claimed by Totnes is a far more
venerable affair than any such thing of yesterday as a Norman castle. It
was on a certain stone in Fore Street that Brutus of Troy, father of all
Britons, first set his adventurous foot when he discovered this island.
So at least says Geoffrey of Monmouth in his brave, imperturbable way.
Brutus, we must suppose, sailed up the Dart; or perhaps at that early
date Totnes was on the coast. In any case it was the charms of these
woods and waters that attracted the voyagers to land in the new island,
and “made Brutus and his companions very desirous to fix their habitation
in it.” That is easily understood.

We too shall do well to come to Totnes by water. It is the best way, and
can be done by steamer from Dartmouth. As this, however, probably means
the neglect of Berry Pomeroy, which is far more serious than the missing
of Brixham, I advise every motorist whose car can travel without him to
drive from Paignton to Totnes, and to send the car by road to Dartmouth
while he himself goes thither by water. For the banks of the winding Dart
are, in their gentle way, incomparable, with their soft woods hanging
over the stream, and their cornfields streaked with scarlet, and the
little creeks where thatched cottages are clustered on the shore and
white-sailed boats flutter beside the tiny quay. And among the trees of
the left bank are Sandridge, the birthplace of John Davis, and Greenway,
the home of the Gilberts, where Sir Humphrey lived before his widowed
mother married Raleigh.

In the meantime those who drive their own cars must return to Paignton
by road, and follow the railway to Brixham past Goodrington sands,
where Charles Kingsley loved to spend the summer days searching for the
orange-mouthed Actinia and dreaming of the Spanish Armada. There is
not a spot upon this Devon coast but is the stuff that dreams are made
of! Dreams of gallantry and war, of conquest and deliverance and wide
adventure haunt us hour by hour as we pass from haven to haven, from
Torquay to Brixham, and from Brixham to Dartmouth, and from Dartmouth to
the climax of Plymouth Sound; with the great names of Drake and Gilbert
and Hawkins, of Raleigh and Grenville ringing in our hearts as we spin
across the soil that bred them, and, shining below us, the green sea that
carried them to their renown.

The sea was not green, but grey and misty, on the day that “the
Protestant wind” blew William the Deliverer into Torbay. The fleet, says
a letter written “on the first day of this instant December, 1688,” had
met with “horrid storms,” but “was not so damnified as was represented
by the vulgar.” It was here, in this harbour of Brixham--now hemmed in
by busy quays, and crowded with trawlers whose flaming sails might well
be meant to commemorate Orange William--it was here where the statue
stands that the prince first stepped ashore. On his flag, as on the
statue, was the motto of his family: _I will maintain_. The statue is not
flattering--or so, at least, we hope--but its presence, with its calm
promise of liberty, is not without dignity amid all the bustle of the
fishing-fleet. The scene was busy enough that day, when William stood
here with Burnet, and the guns roared, and the drums and hautboys made
music, and from every headland and housetop the people shouted their
welcome; and, as the fog lifted, the fleet, lying out there beyond the
breakwater, which was then unbuilt, “was a sight would have ravished the
most curious eyes of Europe.”

William, and gradually all his regiments of horse and foot, climbed these
narrow streets to the top of the hill. Though we take another road than
theirs we by no means escape the climbing. Two slow miles, on gradients
varying from one in twelve to one in ten, lead us to the point where we
immediately begin to descend, on a rough steep road of sharp turns, which
runs down to the shore of Dartmouth Harbour and the slip of Kingswear
Ferry.

These are classic waters that lap upon the clumsy sides of the
ferry-boat. We move slowly, and that is well, for there is much to see:
much beauty of wooded headlands, of old streets drawing nearer, of boats
and ships upon a blue-green sea. To the left are the two points that
shelter the harbour, and on each its ruined tower, the guardians that did
their work so long and well, and perished in the doing of it: to the
right the river winds away into the land and the old _Britannia_ lies at
rest, and the great buildings of the Naval College crown the hill. It was
from this harbour, more than three hundred years ago, that the _Sunshine_
and _Moonshine_ sailed away to the North West Passage with John Davis and
his “company of goodlie seamen, not easily turned from any good purpose;”
and it was between those two green headlands that Francie Drake came home
from “singeing the King of Spain’s beard” at Cadiz, with the _San Philip_
and all her spoils behind him. Historic fleets have ridden at anchor in
the shelter of these hills: ships for Cœur-de-Lion’s crusade; and for
Edward III.’s siege of Calais no fewer than thirty-one, all furnished by
Dartmouth; and on one grim occasion, at least, an unwelcome fleet from
France, which left the town a ruin. Many years later another French ship
came sailing in unsuspiciously with letters from the Queen, a few days
after Dartmouth Castle had surrendered to Fairfax. The captain, when
he heard the news, flung the precious packet into the sea; “but God
provided a Wave,” says the historian, “to bring it to the Boat that went
out to seek it, and so it was brought unto His Excellency.”

[Illustration: BUTTERWALK, DARTMOUTH.]

Round the quays on the Dartmouth side of the harbour the queer old houses
are huddled into streets that climb and twist and turn in bewildering
irregularity. Crooked gables and overhanging eaves nod at one another
across the way: the carved beams and corbels of the wider streets rouse
memories of departed merchant princes: rows of young trees are planted
by the waterside: and always, behind the trees, behind the gables, is
a glimpse of the turquoise sea. Everywhere are signs of the splendid
past: in the fourteenth-century church, with its magnificent screen and
pulpit, and the tomb of John Hawley, “a riche marchant and noble warrior
again the French men”: in the houses of the Butterwalk, with their
heraldic beasts and granite pillars and mullioned windows, their moulded
ceilings and carved chimney-pieces. It is worth while to climb a rickety
staircase, if only for the sake of hearing the Merry Monarch numbered
among the saints.

A narrow shady lane near the shore of the harbour leads to the castle
and the old church of St. Petrock. The oldest part of the fort, the
round tower whence the chain passed across the mouth of the harbour to
Kingswear Castle, is said to date from the time of Henry VII. There must
have been some kind of fort here earlier than that, I suppose, for when
the lively men of Fowey forfeited their chain of defence, we are told,
Edward IV. presented it to Dartmouth. This castle changed hands twice
during the Civil War. Prince Maurice took it and strengthened it, but
could not save it from Fairfax. “Being Master of all but the Castle,”
wrote the general, “I summoned that. The Governour was willing to listen
unto me.… I can say I find it to be in the hearts of all here, in all
integrity to serve you.”

The road from Dartmouth to Slapton Sands is almost entirely composed
of astonishing hills. Only in Devon could hills so many and so fierce
be compressed within so small a space. But only in Devon, surely, is
the coast at the same time so wild and so luxuriant, so stern and yet
so tender; only in Devon can we look down from the clifftop through so
soft a veil of trees, and see far below us sands so yellow and rocks so
red, and the ripples of so very, very green a sea. This road that rises
steeply out of Dartmouth is characteristically deep in the shade of
rocky banks, and walls built of thin mossy stones. Long hart’s-tongues
hang in clusters by the wayside, and every cranny of the walls is filled
with tiny ferns. Having climbed to Stoke Fleming by a variety of steep
gradients we promptly descend, by two miles of gradients nearly as steep,
to the idyllic cove of Blackpool, whose golden sands once flowed with the
blood of four hundred Frenchmen. They, and many more, had landed here;
but the men of Dartmouth, who had not forgotten the sacking of their
town, came swarming down these cliffs upon them, so that the survivors
were glad to put to sea again. Another steep climb takes us up to Strete,
and another steep descent to Slapton Sands.

Here is a dramatically sudden contrast! From the very foot of the hill
the road runs, for two miles and more, over what is probably the most
level strip of land in Devon. It is no more than a strip. Close beside it
on the left runs the long strip of the sands, and close beside it on the
right an equally long strip of water, the reedy mere called Slapton Ley.
“There is but a barre of sand,” says Leland, “betwixt the se and this
poole. The waite of the fresch water and rage of the se brekith sumtime
this sandy bank.” It is along this bar of sand and shingle that our road
runs. If we turn away from it for a few minutes, on the by-road that
crosses the pool near the hotel, we shall see Slapton itself.

[Illustration: SLAPTON.]

The village has no very striking beauty; but its steep little streets,
its thatch and whitewash and flowers, its air of remoteness, its
maidens with their pretty blue pinners and prettier faces, make it a
very attractive place. Nor is it without distinction. Not only is it
dignified by a thirteenth-century spire of extreme austerity, but it
also has the remains of a collegiate chantry. The chapel tower, with its
graceful arch and fragment of groining, rises alone among the flowers
of a lovely garden, where wild olive and camphor grow as serenely as the
Devon apples that hang above them. It is a private garden, but as it
skirts the road we may drive almost into the shadow of the tower. For
several centuries, from the days of Henry II. to those of Henry IV., this
generous soil belonged to a Guy de Brian. It was Joan Pole, the wife
of the Guy de Brian of Henry III.’s time, who founded Pole Priory upon
this spot: we have it on the word of a Pole. The later Brian who made
it a college was one of the original Knights of the Garter, and a very
versatile person, being Edward III.’s standard-bearer in “that notable
fight he had with the French at Calais,” as well as an ambassador and an
admiral-of-the-fleet. In the reign of Henry IV. this manor of Slapton
became the property of Harry Hotspur’s crafty father; but to many of us
the most stirring memory in this place is that of Sir Richard Hawkins,
the third great sailor of his name. He bought Pole Priory--now corrupted
into Poole--before he set sail on that adventurous voyage that lasted
so much longer than he expected. During the ten years of his absence,
years of imprisonment in the South Seas and elsewhere, this was the home
of his “dearest friend, his second self,” Judith, Lady Hawkins. For
some reason--whether to impress the neighbours or because she suffered
from rheumatism I do not know--this lady was in the habit of walking to
church on three quarters of a mile of red velvet carpet. Possibly life
was not very gay at Slapton at the end of the sixteenth century, and this
mild ceremonial may have been a comfort to her. The time came when she
sought another kind of consolation in her loneliness. The story goes[4]
that when Sir Richard came home at last to Slapton he found a strange
air of festivity astir in these precipitous streets. The red carpet was
laid, we may be sure, from Pole Priory to the church, for when he asked
what matter was afoot he found it was his Judith’s wedding-day. It was
fortunate he came in time, for one cannot quite see Richard Hawkins in
the part of Enoch Arden.

The main road to Kingsbridge pursues its level way between salt water
and fresh till it reaches Torcross, a most desolate-looking village with
a reputation for fishing. Here, sad to say, we must turn inland. The
scenery between this point and Kingsbridge is no great matter, but there
are some pretty villages, and Stokenham Church has a good screen. The
road is fair, and the hills less formidable than usual.

There is no means of seeing, as a whole, this beautiful coast between
Torcross and Plymouth, except on foot or from the sea; but most happily
it is possible for motorists of inquisitive habits to find their way,
here and there, to various little havens of the greatest charm. These,
however, are all beyond Kingsbridge. Kingsbridge itself is a place of no
particular attraction nor interest. It has a few picturesque corners and
old houses, but its real claim on our affections is that the only way to
Salcombe lies through it. Now a road that leads to Salcombe is something
to be grateful for.

[Illustration: SOUTH POOL CREEK, SALCOMBE.]

To those who do not know Salcombe, the six miles that lie between it
and Kingsbridge may be a little depressing. The road leads to no
other place, and is preposterously hilly: the country is treeless and
discouraging. To the uninitiated it may well seem, as they drive between
the imprisoning hedges, that no compensation is likely to be forthcoming.
But some of us know better. We reach the edge of the hill, and suddenly
the sea, brilliant and soft--a sea of liquid jewels--is shining below
us, lapping upon the sands of the little creeks; wooded slopes drop
steeply to the rocks that fringe the shore; red and white sails flit
about the harbour, dapper yachts lie at anchor in the shelter of the
hill, wave-worn barges move heavily towards the land; Salcombe lies at
our feet, clinging to the hillside, a tiny town of steep streets and
shipwrights’ yards and little quays; and Bolt Head stretches out a long
arm to protect it.

There was an evening, not very many years ago, when at the hour of
twilight a yacht put out to sea over the bar of Salcombe Harbour, while
the sound of the evening bell came clearly across the water. Up the
estuary the lights were beginning to shine out one by one through the
dusk, and in the dark shadow of the headland the full tide silently
“turned again home.” Lord Tennyson, who was on board the _Sunbeam_ that
night, has made Salcombe Bar dear to many who have never crossed it.
He had been staying at the pretty house that stands on its own little
promontory, hidden by trees, between the town and the bar. Here for some
years lived Froude the historian among the orange-trees and tamarisks,
and it was here he died.

This peaceful anchorage was very useful to pirates in the good old
days. They hid safely behind Bolt Head and, when any unwary ship passed
by, dashed out and plundered her. Henry VIII., though not above piracy
himself, built a little castle for their undoing, upon a small precarious
rock nearly circled by the sea. Here are its fragments still. Sir Edmund
Fortescue strengthened it and called it Fort Charles, and held it very
valiantly for Charles I.: so valiantly that it withstood Fairfax, and
when it surrendered at last Fortescue was allowed to take the key with
him.

[Illustration: FORT CHARLES AND BOLT HEAD.]

To nearly every motorist, as he sits beside his tea-cup on the terrace
of the Marine Hotel, or leans against the wall that keeps the sea out of
the garden, it will occur at once that this harbour is an ideal place for
motor-boating. This is truer than he knows. For these waters that ripple
round the garden-walls of Salcombe pass on their way inland in various
directions: up South Pool Creek to the thatched farmstead that has its
feet nearly in the water at high tide; past Goodshelter to the old mill
at Waterhead, and to Kingsbridge four miles away. And beyond the bar are
all the little coves and bays of a lovely coast: Hope, where the high
rocks entrap the sunshine and keep out the winds: Thurlestone, whose
worldly ambitions are greater and whose charms are less: Bantham, between
a curve of the Avon estuary and the sea, where the breezes are sweet with
the scent of gorse, and worldly ambition seems altogether dormant. Even
without a motor-boat we may see these little bays, each at the end of its
own little lane; but only such motorists as are staying close at hand
will care to explore lanes so narrow and winding and steep.

On our way back to Kingsbridge, however, to take the road to Plymouth,
we shall see a narrow turn to the left, near West Alvington, which is a
perfectly practicable means of cutting off a mile or two of dull country
and avoiding a bad hill in Kingsbridge. As a whole the main road from
this point to Plymouth is one of the best in South Devon, though there
is a long and very steep descent at Aveton Giffard that is not marked
on Bartholomew’s map, and a sharp rise in Modbury that is considerably
steeper than the contour-book estimates. There is no very striking beauty
of a large sort, but a great deal of the restful, wayside charm that
makes Devonshire so comforting. There is no need to loiter on the road,
for though it played its part in the Civil War--and indeed possibly on
that account--there are few relics of its history to be seen. The bridge
that crosses the sedges of the Avon at Aveton Giffard was once important
enough to have a fort built on the hill for its defence; but none the
less it was taken by the extremely irregular troops whose clubs and
pickaxes and saws were wielded here for the Parliament. Champernowne
of Modbury was one of the builders of the fort, and one of the greatest
sufferers from the “clubmen,” for his house, which stood on the top of
Modbury Hill, was fortified and occupied by the royalists. “This Party
of ours wᶜʰ was at Modbury,” wrote Sir Bevill Grenville to his wife,
“indur’d a cruell assault for 12 howers against many thousand men.” One
result of this cruel assault, which could have but one end, is that only
a very small fragment of Court House is still standing.

We go on our way through Yealmpton and Brixton, on a surface that
gradually becomes very rough, and cross the toll-bridge into Plymouth.

This is a name that stirs the blood of every true child of Britain. In
the days of Elizabeth’s great sailors it was from Plymouth that Britannia
ruled the waves. And to-day there is no end to the interest that this
place holds for those who love the navy and the sea as is the wont of
Englishmen; no end to the modern interests of port and harbour, of
dockyard and battleship, nor to the crowding memories on Plymouth Hoe.

[Illustration: DRAKE’S ISLAND, FROM THE HOE.]

Here on the Hoe, with Drake’s statue beside us, and his island below us,
and behind it those fair woods of Mount Edgecumbe on which Medina Sidonia
cast a covetous eye, we are looking down at the channel through which
all the gallant adventurers of the sixteenth century sailed out to their
distant goals. This statue is the symbol of them.[5] “He was of stature
low,” says John Prince of Francis Drake, “but set and strong grown; a
very religious man towards God and his houses, generally sparing churches
wherever he came; chaste in his life, just in his dealings, true of his
word, merciful to those that were under him, and hating nothing so much
as idleness.” The words fit the statue well. It was here where we are
standing that he and the other captains played their memorable game of
bowls, while the Armada called Invincible swept nearer and nearer. His
ship and her half-fed crew lay down there in the Sound, under the lee of
the island that has borne his name ever since that day, and the flagship,
further out, “danced lustily as the gallantest dancer at Court.” Through
that channel he and the rest sailed out into the gale when their game
was done, to do their thorough work. Many times he had sailed through it
already on various quests of war and adventure--and, it must be owned, of
pillage: and it was from this harbour, afterwards, that he went on the
voyage that “was marred before it was begun, so great preparations being
too big for a cover,” the voyage to Nombre de Dios Bay, where he lies
“dreaming all the time of Plymouth Hoe.”

Very long and very stirring is the visionary pageant that rises before
us here: the Black Prince, triumphant, sailing in with his prisoner, the
King of France; poor Katherine of Aragon, landing here in an outburst
of welcome; John Hawkins, setting forth on those dubious but gallant
undertakings that the Queen called “private enterprise” and Hawkins
called “the Queen’s business.” His son Sir Richard long remembered a
scene that took place when he was a boy, under that green hill that faces
us. A fleet of Spaniards, bound for Flanders to fetch a new bride for
Philip II., dared to sail between the island and the mainland “without
vayling their top-sayles, or taking in of their flags; which my father
Sir John Hawkins perceiving, commanded his gunner to shoot at the flag
of the admiral, that they might thereby see their error.” They saw it
quickly, and the matter ended with feasting.

Sir Richard’s own ship, too, takes part in the ghostly pageant, sailing
close to the land to bid goodbye, for many more years than he suspected,
to the throng that stood here on the Hoe to do him honour. Amid blowing
of trumpets, and music of bands, and roaring of guns he left the harbour,
with his thoughts full of the lady who took pleasure in red carpets. And
it was there, below us, that the brave heart of Blake gave its last throb
as he entered English waters--the heart that is buried, they say, in St.
Andrew’s Church.

The long procession of adventurous ships winds endlessly on, past the
island, and out of the harbour, and away into the world of the past. The
ships of Frobisher and Gilbert, of Grenville and of Raleigh are there,
and the _Mayflower_ with the Pilgrim Fathers, and the ship of Captain
Cook. And at the last I see a little ship sail in alone, and on her deck
a disappointed, disillusioned woman; the woman whom the French have never
forgiven because, when they broke her heart, she omitted to repay them
with smiles--the daughter of Marie Antoinette. The Duchesse d’Angoulême
came hither from Bordeaux, in exile for the second, but not for the last
time, with the marshals’ vows of fidelity and the news of their joining
Napoleon still ringing in her ears together.



SOUTH CORNWALL


SUMMARY OF RUN THROUGH SOUTH CORNWALL

DISTANCES.

    Plymouth
    Looe, viâ Horningtops            23 miles
    Polperro                          5   ”
    Lostwithiel                      12   ”
    Fowey                             7   ”
    Truro                            22   ”
    Falmouth                         11   ”
    Lizard                           19   ”
    Penzance                         28   ”
    Land’s End, viâ St. Buryan       12   ”
                                    ---------
                             Total  139 miles

ROADS.

Hills steep and very frequent.

Surface: on main roads good. By-roads often very narrow and rather rough.


IV

SOUTH CORNWALL

One approaches Cornwall diffidently: one leaves it with a sense of
profound ignorance. There is no county, of course, of which any true
knowledge can be gained in one visit, whether the visitor be a motorist,
or a bicyclist, or that very superior person the pedestrian; but perhaps
this is truer of the Duchy than of any other part of England. The
knowledge of Cornwall is a special study with many branches, familiar
only to Cornwall’s devoted sons. It is easy to love her beautiful face at
first sight, and easy to learn the part of her history that is also the
history of England, but behind and within these superficial things is the
vast hoard of her local legends and traditions, and the bewildering story
of her unnumbered saints. A slight knowledge of tin-mining, too, were
not amiss. One can only admit ignorance, and drive on happily.

Those who elect to approach the coast of Cornwall from Tavistock, through
Callington and Liskeard, will travel on a fine road, which four times
dips down to streams and forthwith climbs up again. On so hilly a road as
this, one may depend on finding beautiful scenery. After passing through
Liskeard the better road to take is the upper one by Morval, as it is
less rough than the road that follows the Looe.

[Illustration: LOOE RIVER.]

On the whole, however, I think the most satisfactory way to enter
Cornwall is by Plymouth and Torpoint Ferry. Indeed, I would even suggest
that those who have crossed the Moor to Tavistock should choose this
route; for the road from Tavistock to Plymouth is magnificent in itself,
and overlooks some of the finest views in Devon. And moreover the park
of Mount Edgecumbe[6] is but a little way from Torpoint. It is true
that beautiful Cothele is but a little way from the Callington road;
but Cothele is not open to the public, though by the kindness of Lord
Mount Edgecumbe its granite walls and historic furniture may sometimes
be seen. But Mount Edgecumbe, says John Prince, is “the most beauteous
gentile seat in all those western parts.” The commander-in-chief of the
Armada, looking at it from the sea, “was so affected with the sight
thereof” that he determined to keep it for his share “in the partage
of this kingdom.” His taste was better than his seamanship. The house
that stands in this lovely park was built by the grandson of the builder
of Cothele--a gentleman, according to Carew, “in whom mildness and
stoutness, diffidence and wisdom, deliberateness of undertaking and
sufficiency of effecting, made a more commendable than blazing mixture of
virtue.” However commendable, he was less attractive, I think, than his
grandsire, whom deliberateness of undertaking would not have saved when
he was pursued by his enemies among the woods of Cothele. He pushed a
large stone into the Tamar, and flinging his cap after it, hid among the
trees. Richard III.’s messengers of death, hearing the splash and seeing
the floating cap, thought he was drowned and went away. “He afterwards
builded in the place of his lurking a chapel.”

The road from Torpoint to Polbathick is excellent, and where it winds
round the creeks of the Lynher estuary there are woods on the river’s
very verge, as is the lovely custom beside these West Country waters.
Across the valley is St. German’s, wherein are some of Cornwall’s most
venerable memories and the home of the famous Eliot who died nobly in the
Tower. At the fork just beyond Polbathick it is advisable to take the
road to the right, for though it is a good deal the longer it is also a
good deal the smoother, and avoids a pair of steep hills at Hessenford.
The direct road is quite practicable, however, and those who choose it
may take the opportunity of running down the wooded valley of the Seaton
to the shore. On the other hand, if we go by the longer road we shall see
more of the Looe estuary, which is far more beautiful.

[Illustration: LOOE HARBOUR.]

To it the Liskeard road runs suddenly down; then turns and follows it
very closely to the sea. Even closer to the water is the little railway,
which clings to the bank under the hanging trees, and at one point
actually goes on its adventurous way in mid-stream. The water, gorgeous
as a peacock’s breast, flows evenly between thickly wooded hills, and as
the valley widens the town appears at the end of it, climbing its steep
sides.

As one approaches a place that is a byword for beauty there is always
a lurking fear of disappointment. But the fishing-towns of Devon and
Cornwall are so disarming, so personal in their charm, that they never
disappoint. Indeed, the trouble is rather that they win the heart too
quickly. Each one in turn appears the ideal spot in which to settle for
life. So is it here. As we cross the bridge that joins East Looe to
West, and look down at the green timbers of the little quays and at the
countless boats, or up at the many-coloured gardens above the road; as
we drive round the point, and find the open sea rippling in upon a rocky
shore, it seems obvious that this, and no other, is the place to live
in. The conviction lasts until we reach Polperro.

This we cannot do by way of the wide road that runs round Hannafore
Point, for this ends abruptly opposite Looe Island. We must return to the
bridge, and without crossing it take the road that rises on the left. As
we mount the steep hill we see below us the meeting of the two rivers and
their two wooded valleys, and behind us among the trees the scattered
houses of the town. At a point about two miles from Looe we turn to the
left, and run down a long and winding hill into a tiny green gorge, with
steep sides rising almost from the roadway. It ends in the narrow street
of Polperro. Here, at the beginning of the street, is the stable-yard
of a little hotel, where standing-room may be found for the car. Beyond
this point it is practically impossible for a large car to turn, for the
twisted alleys of this cramped and cabined village are hardly more than
paths, and owing to their contortions on the hillside are often broken by
steps.

[Illustration: STREET OF POLPERRO.]

Why anyone should want to turn I cannot imagine; for this is certainly
the place to live in! We knew all about it, of course, before we came
here: a thousand artists have painted it. Large numbers are painting
it at this moment; a group at every corner. Since there are so many of
them it is fortunate that artists--even amateurs--are among the few
human beings who are not blots upon a landscape. They may give us lovely
pictures of this place: of the headlands that clip the huddled houses so
closely between them; and the stream that rushes under weed-grown walls
to the sea; and the landlocked harbour with its crowd of little boats;
and the cobbled lanes and whitewashed cottages and flights of footworn
steps; and the flowers that brighten every narrow alley; and, best of
all, the outer haven with its warm red rocks, and white sails reflected
in the sea, and the stately outspread wings of innumerable gulls. Yet
none but a magic picture could give us the magic of Polperro. For no one
could paint this sea but a wizard whose medium was molten jewels, and
no one can feel the spell of the place without the pathetic, haunting,
insistent sound of the seabirds’ cry. Indeed, it is this sound that gives
reality to Polperro. If it were not for this one might think it had been
designed and built for the use of artists. The fisher-folk who live here
could tell a different tale; and the wild cry of the gulls reminds us of
a sea that is not always green and glassy. Moreover, there was once a
time, I believe, when it seemed as though Polperro had been designed and
built for the use of smugglers.

[Illustration: POLPERRO.]

Very reluctantly we climb out of the gorge and take our way to
Lostwithiel by Pelynt and Lanreath, on a road of variable surface and
everlasting hills. In Pelynt church is the restored crozier of Bishop
Trelawny, whose threatened death, as we all know, determined twenty
thousand Cornishmen to “know the reason why.” There are various monuments
here too, some beautiful and all interesting, of Trelawnys and Bullers;
and at Lanreath a lovely screen and a carved wood cover to a Norman font,
and on the south wall a painted copy of Charles I.’s letter of thanks to
the men of Cornwall. From the top of the first steep hill beyond Lanreath
we see the rounded outlines of Braddock Downs before us, and at their
feet the woods of Boconnoc. Over those grassy hills the soldiers of
the Parliament were pursued by the royalists. “They were possest of a
pretty rising ground,” wrote Sir Bevill Grenville to his wife upon the
day of the fight, “… and we planted ourselves upon such another against
them within muskett shott; and we saluted each other with bulletts
about two hours or more.… We chast them diverse miles … and we lost not
a man. So I rest yours ever.” A year later these slopes were stained
again--but not so darkly as the royalist honour--when the infantry of the
Parliament, having surrendered, were shot down as they passed the King’s
army unarmed, and were robbed of clothes and horses. The King himself at
that time was staying at Lord Mohun’s place down there among the trees.
We pass one of the gates presently, and skirt the park where Bevill
Grenville’s men, “upon my lord Mohun’s kind motion,” were quartered by
good fires under the hedge.

This park that we see over the fence has been owned by Mortains and
Courtenays, Mohuns and Pitts. The last Lord Mohun did not, I fancy, spend
much of his time under these trees--preferring those of the Mall and of
Richmond Park. When, after surviving three trials for murder, he died
at last in his famous duel with the Duke of Hamilton, his widow sold
Boconnoc to Thomas Pitt for half the sum, it is said, that he received
from the Regent Orléans for the Pitt Diamond. It was here that the great
Lord Chatham was born.

We run down a long hill into Lostwithiel. This is a place that has seen
better days; for Henry III.’s brother, the Earl of Cornwall and King of
the Romans, made it his headquarters in the rare moments when he was not
trying to make up the quarrels of others nor fighting in his own, and
even in the sixteenth century it was the “shyre towne.” Of the “ruines of
auncyent buyldinges” that Leland saw there are only slight traces; but,
if we cross the pretty old bridge that spans the Fowey and turn to the
right at once, we may see “the little rownd castel of Restormel.” It is
reached by a steep lane, and there is no turning-room at the top except
in a private field.

[Illustration: RESTORMEL CASTLE.]

“Only there remaineth,” says Carew, “an utter defacement.” But indeed
there is something more. This straight avenue of pine-trees with its
carpet of turf, the double entrance across the moat, the heavy, gloomy
ivy, give to Restormel that air of mystery and romance that seizes the
imagination. Like its founder--the prince whose strange exotic name
haunts Cornwall far more persistently than he ever did himself--like
Richard, King of the Romans, this castle was more warlike than domestic.
Only the “fair large dungeon,” or keep, and the “onrofid” chapel are left
standing now on the mound that overlooks the valley so commandingly.
It is a fine position; yet, though it was hastily strengthened for the
Parliament, Sir Richard Grenville[7] took it for the King.

The road from Lostwithiel to Fowey is for the most part winding and
stony, and extremely narrow. In places it is also very steep; and the
hedges are high and comparatively uninteresting. But a road that leads
ultimately to Fowey is entitled to do as it pleases on the way. The last
part of it is quite good.

On a very steep hill we creep slowly into “Troy Town.” We look out, over
the sloping streets and the roofs of the houses and the church, at the
blue harbour and the hill beyond it and all the busy traffic of the port.
Over this hill, hundreds of years ago, the men of Normandy crept into
Fowey in the night and fell to fighting in the streets, with a whole
century of wrongs to avenge--a century of raids and robberies on the part
of the truculent Gallants of Fowey. The spoils of French harbours had
made the townsmen here “unspeakably rich and proud and mischievous.” So
the Frenchmen came to Fowey “without the Foymen’s knowledge or notice,”
and killed everyone they met, and burnt the town. Thomas Treffry--Hals
calls him John--gathered some of the “stoutest men” round him in his new
house of Place, and defended it; while his wife Elizabeth, like a true
help-meet, mounted to the roof and poured molten lead upon the besiegers,
with excellent effect. Place stands there still, below us on the left;
yet not the same that was besieged, since the tall tower is plainly of
Victorian date, and the very beautiful bays that appear above the wall
are Tudor. It was after this exciting experience that Thomas Treffry--or
John--“builded a right fair and stronge embatelid towr in his house: and
embateling al the waulles of the house in a maner made it a castelle: and
onto this day”--and unto this--“it is the glorie of the town building in
Faweye.”

If we stand close below the church tower, and look carefully at the
stones above us, we shall see the familiar badge of the ragged staff, the
cognisance of the Kingmaker. The Foyens, when Warwick allowed them to go
on with their piracies, naïvely put his badge upon their new church in
acknowledgment of his kindness, and persevered in their filibustering
ways. Edward IV., however, subdued them by a most unkingly trick. His
first messenger they returned to him shorn of his ears, “at which affront
the King was so distasted” that he sent a body of men to Lostwithiel,
the shire town, ostensibly to enlist volunteers. The Gallants, who
never asked for anything better than to fight the French, trooped to
Lostwithiel at the summons of their King. They were all arrested; and the
chain that guarded their harbour was given to Dartmouth. I believe there
are two links of the chain still to be seen at Menabilly, behind the hill.

From the windows of the Fowey Hotel we can see, at Polruan, one of
the square grey forts to which the ends of this chain were fastened.
The ruins of the other are opposite to it. These valiant little forts
have seen a good deal of service, and defended their port long after
their chain was forfeited. There was a Dutch ship that came to this
harbour-mouth one day in pursuit of an English fleet, and defied the
forts in the insolence of her seventy guns--“to the great hurt,” says
Hals, “of the Dutch ship … and the no small credit and reputation of
Foy’s little castles.”

[Illustration: BODINNICK FERRY.]

Fowey’s fighting reputation has always been great, since the day when
she owned “sixty tall ships” and sent forty-seven of them to the siege
of Calais. To see the harbour that has done so much for England we
must loiter in a boat beside the jetties and among the creeks; we must
pass the dripping walls of gardens, and the flights of steps where the
seaweed clings, and the houses whose back-doors open on the water; we
must watch the lading of the ships with china-clay--ships from Sweden
and Russia and France--and pause before the picture that Bodinnick makes
on the hillside. It was to this hillside, says the story, that Sir
Reynold de Mohun came to fetch his hawk, when it killed its quarry in the
Fitzwilliams’ garden up there at Hall. Walking in the garden was the fair
Elizabeth Fitzwilliam, and on the moment he lost his heart to her, and as
she thought him “a very handsome personable young gentleman,” they became
the first Mohuns of Hall. Whether they were really introduced by the hawk
is doubtful, but they were certainly married--and that not merely once
but twice: for the bishop divorced them against their will, and it was
only by appealing to the Pope that they won leave to live happily ever
after.[8]

Even if we cannot see all the bends and creeks of the river from Fowey
to Lostwithiel, we must at least take our boat between the woods and
slopes of Pont Pill, where it is only at the water’s very edge that the
ferns and heather yield to rocks and crimson weed. Landing at Pont, we
may climb the steep hillside to Lanteglos Church among the orchards, and
see the old stone cross beside the porch, and the wonderful bench-ends
within, and the elaborately painted shields that bear so many famous
arms. On this little lonely church, buried among the trees, things of
beauty have been lavished, not only long ago but lately; carvings both
old and new, and magnificent embroideries, and pavings of marble. There
is no other church like this, I think: none, so small and simple and
lonely, that has been so generously treated.

[Illustration: PONT PILL, FOWEY.]

Fowey town is a maze of little streets; but when we have climbed out
of them--with heavier hearts than seems reasonable--we drive away past
the lodge of Menabilly on a very fair road. It will add little to the
journey if we go round by Tywardraeth and see the old church, and the
tombstone of the prior whose monastery has so strangely vanished. A few
carved stones in the churchyard are all that remains of the priory that
was founded by William de Mortain, “a person of a malicious and arrogant
spirit from his childhood.” It was well named Tywardraeth, the house on
the sand, for great was the fall thereof; but why it has disappeared so
utterly, and how, is curiously obscure. Gilbert tells the story of the
last prior’s resignation--an edifying tale. Thomas Cromwell wrote to him
a letter full of compliments, praising his virtues as a man and a prior,
and telling him how deeply the King appreciated his services. These had
been so unremitting, added Cromwell, that his Grace, being mindful of his
age, would allow him to resign his post. To this Prior Collyns answered
briskly that he was most grateful for the King’s kind thought, but as
a matter of fact his health was excellent. So my Lord Privy Seal tried
again. This time the astonished prior was informed that “the savour of
his sins, crimes, and iniquities had ascended before the Lord, and that
unless he immediately relinquished an office he had most grossly abused
a commission would inquire into his misdeeds and punish him accordingly.”
This, Collyns understood. Here is his gravestone in the church, in the
wall of the north transept; a slab of slate with a cross incised on it.
Some old bench-ends have been made into a pulpit, and others inserted in
new seats of pitch-pine; but these are not relics of the priory.

Leaving St. Blazey on the right, we run on through some lovely scenery
to St. Austell, where a church-tower of wonderful splendour and richness
rises from the dull streets of stuccoed and slated houses. Our road to
Truro is wide and has an excellent surface, but one hill succeeds another
with exasperating regularity and promptitude. The scenery varies from
dulness to beauty: the villages seem, to eyes that have lately looked
upon those of Devon, a little uninteresting, for we are in the land of
the Celt. Thatched cottages are rare, but in Probus there are several
of them clustered round the churchyard very prettily. This tower of
Probus is the highest in Cornwall, and very rich in sculptured stones:
within the building are the granite pillars that are common to nearly
all Cornish churches, and a screen whose Latin legend alludes to the two
patron-saints St. Probus and St. Grace.

It is only a little way beyond Probus that we cross the head of the
Falmouth estuary. By the rushy banks of this calm stream a little band
of horsemen once settled weighty matters; for it was here, at Tresilian
Bridge, that the royalist general, driven into a _cul-de-sac_ by Fairfax,
made his final surrender by the mouth of his commissioners. They met
Ireton and Lambert at this spot, and the end of their meeting was the
disbandment of the royal troops. The generals of the Parliament rode back
to Fairfax by this road of ours, beside the banks of grass and rushes,
and the mud-flats and the woods, and down the hill to Truro.

Except the cathedral there is little to see in Truro, and even the
cathedral lacks the glamour of age, for, of the masonry, only the south
aisle is part of the old church of St. Mary: the rest is new. The general
effect of the inside of the building is fine, if a little severe. There
is, however, a very gorgeous baptistery in the south transept, whose
coloured pavements and crimson font are in rather startling contrast to
the prevailing austerity. The roof, I believe, came from the old church,
with a few of the monuments. The tomb on which John Robarts and his wife
are lying in such obvious discomfort must be the one, I think, that was
repaired in the eighteenth century by a mason whose bill included these
items: “To putting one new foot to Mr. John Robarts, mending the other,
putting seven new buttons to his coat, and a new string to his breeches
knees. To two new feet to his wife Phillipa, and mending her eyes.”

Those of us who are intending presently to drive through the country of
the Grenvilles may be glad, when they come to Stratton and Kilkhampton,
to have seen Kneller’s picture of Anthony Payne. It is here in Truro, on
the staircase of the museum in Pydar Street: a burly figure in scarlet,
with a face that tries to be fierce but cannot hide its tenderness and
humour. This is Sir Bevill Grenville’s giant henchman, who fought at his
master’s side at Stratton and Lansdowne, and taught the children to ride
and shoot.

A fine road leads from Truro to Falmouth, through hilly but beautiful
country; by pine-woods, and distant views, and the green flats of the
estuary, and a valley full of trees. Near pretty Perranarworthal we see,
crossing a little gorge upon our right, one of the old wooden viaducts
that have so nearly disappeared. In Penryn we cling closely to the
estuary, following it to Falmouth Harbour. A hundred years ago the main
road to Falmouth from London, as it passed through Penryn, “ran up and
then down through streets so steep and narrow,” says a writer of that
time, “as to make the safe passage of the mail-coach a wonder.” To-day,
however, Penryn is one of the few towns in the West Country out of which
we can drive on level ground.

When Sir Walter Raleigh came to stay with the Killigrews in their fine
new house at Arwenack, he suggested to his host that he should make a
town here, on the shore of this splendid harbour. The Killigrews were
men of action, and the town was built; to the acute annoyance of Penryn,
which petitioned in vain against its upstart rival. We make our slow way
through the narrow, crowded streets of the Killigrews’ town, and find
the last remaining fragment of their house still “standing on the brimme
within Falemuth Haven.” Only a crumbling wall is there, and a window, and
on the hill the avenue by which the vanished Killigrews went in and out;
nothing to show that Arwenack was the very source of Falmouth’s existence
and the very core of her history. For with every concern of Smith-ike and
Pen-y-cwm-wick and Falmouth a Killigrew was connected, from the day when
they settled here in the fourteenth century till the day when the last of
the name set up this pyramid that is beside us--not with the justifiable
object of honouring the Killigrews, but for the astonishing reason that
he thought it beautiful. He called it a darling thing. “Hoping it may
remain,” he wrote, “a beautiful Imbellishment to the Harbour, Long, Long,
after my desireing to be forgott.”[9]

[Illustration: ARWENACK AVENUE, FALMOUTH.]

No Killigrew is likely to be forgot. It was a Killigrew who gave the
land on which Henry VIII.’s castle of Pendennis still stands out there
upon the point; a Killigrew who helped to build it and became its first
governor; a Killigrew who made Falmouth and fostered it; and the eagle
of the Killigrews is borne to this day on the shield of the town. The
Killigrews are not forgotten.

It was the round tower of Pendennis that brought Arwenack low. It is
used as barracks now, and to see the old building we must have an order;
but from the pretty shaded road that circles it we can see nearly all
there is to be seen with the bodily eye. Yet if we pass through the grey
stone gateway there are other things that we may see, perhaps: Henrietta
Maria carried in upon her litter, “the most worne and weak pitifull
creature in ye world,” seeking a boat to take her to France; her son a
year later coming on the same errand: the Duke of Hamilton brought hither
“to prevent his doing further mischief,” by order of the King for whom
he lost his head a little later: Fairfax’s messenger summoning Sir John
Arundel to surrender his castle. “Having taken less than two minutes’
resolution,” answered old John-for-the-King, “I resolve that I will here
bury myself before I deliver up this castle to such as fight against his
Majesty, and that nothing you can threaten is formidable to me in respect
of the loss of loyalty and conscience.”[10] Five months the garrison
held out; and when at last the remnant of them filed through the gate--a
pathetic procession of sick and starving men tottering out with flying
colours and beating drums--they left no food behind them but one pickled
horse.

The belief that the little room above the gate was used by Henrietta
Maria is probably due to what might be called the law of local tradition;
the law that masonry attracts picturesque associations in direct
proportion to its own picturesqueness, and in inverse proportion to the
quantity of building that survives. If one room only of an old castle
remains, it is that room, according to local tradition, that was the
scene of every event that ever took place in the castle. A gatehouse is
an improbable shelter for a queen in time of war. As for Prince Charles,
there was once a tiny room in which he was reputed to have hidden. Here
we have another invariable rule. Charles II. never occupied any place
larger than a cupboard; and even in a fortress garrisoned by royalists he
systematically “hid.” In this case even his reputed hiding-place is gone,
and the legend has not as yet been transferred to the gatehouse; but if
we enter the fort itself beneath the sculptured arms of Henry VIII., and
mount the long staircase to the leads, we shall see below us on the shore
the little blockhouse from which he escaped to France. On our left lies
the crowded harbour with St. Mawe’s beyond it, and the round grey tower
that was built at the same time as Pendennis: on our right is the bay
of Gyllyng Vase, named William’s Grave in memory of the prince who was
drowned in the White Ship. Headland stretches beyond headland; and far
away on the horizon the Manacles show their cruel teeth.

During the siege John-for-the-King set fire to Arwenack lest the
Parliament-men should make a battery of it. It is a common saying that
the Killigrews, in their loyalty, put a light to it themselves. But
strangely enough the owner at this time was “ye infamous Lady Jane,”
who had been divorced by Sir John Killigrew but kept possession of his
house for her life--a curious state of things that definitely settles the
question of the firing of Arwenack. It was this Lady Jane who gave the
famous chalice to the town of Penryn, “when they received mee that was
in great miserie.” It was not this lady, however--as is often said--but
Dame Mary of Elizabethan days, who boarded the Spanish ship in a true
Elizabethan spirit and took her cargo home to Arwenack.[11]

[Illustration: KING HARRY’S FERRY.]

Although this harbour “ys a havyng very notable and famose,” it lacks the
charm of Fowey and Dartmouth; and it is only in the upper reaches that
the Fal has the beauty of the Dart. It is wisest to start from Falmouth.
The hills at first are low and the estuary wide; but when Carrick Roads
have narrowed into King Harry’s Reach and the river sweeps past us
between the rolling woods, we remember Hawker singing of his native
Cornwall and “her streams that march in music to the sea.” We take our
winding way past the ferry to which King Harry never came, past many
alluring creeks, past Tregothnan--the home but not the house of Admiral
Boscawen--and round the green banks of Woodbury, till we see Truro’s
white cathedral against the sky.

When we finally drive away from Falmouth our most prudent course is to
go out of the town past the recreation-ground, and take the road that
leads to the Lizard by Constantine; for though the longer road by Helston
is by far the better of the two, there are dark whispers heard in this
neighbourhood, sometimes, of measured distances and other perils. We
see on the left the by-road to Penjerrick, where Caroline Fox wrote
her delightful journal and charmed so many men of mark; pass through
Constantine, a village of solid stone houses, and thatch, and gardens,
and run down into Gweek. It was here that Hereward the Wake twice rescued
the Cornish princess from unpleasant suitors. The high green walls of
oak and ash that Hereward saw are further down the river, but this is
the head of the tide where King Alef’s palace stood, and the champion
of England slew the giant, and where now a brisk trade is carried on in
bone-manure. Whatever may be the truth about Hereward, the last fact
admits of no doubt.

The miles that lead to Lizard Town are of the sort that one remembers
ever after with a thrill. It is rather a complex thrill, with
contributions from the past and from the future and from the exhilarating
present. The Marconi towers, slim fingers pointing skyward, are not
without their influence on our pulses, with their hints of future
conquests, and their message that the fairy-tale of to-day is the science
of to-morrow. The road is broad and smooth and level, and lies between
low hedges, and has the straightness that the motorist loves; beyond the
waving tamarisks a flat land of green and purple stretches away to the
horizon; for the first time in many days the car speeds over the plain
at the pace she loves best; and the sea-wind rushes to meet us with its
story of the Spanish Armada.

[Illustration: THE LIZARD.]

We slow down at last in Lizard Town, where the squalid little houses are
smothered in flowers fit for a palace, blazing draperies of scarlet and
rose--the climbing geraniums that in Cornwall grow, not as a favour, but
because they enjoy it. Here it is perhaps best to leave the car, though
it is perfectly possible to drive to the foot of the lighthouse, where
there is room to turn. The first lighthouse that stood on this spot was
built by one of the Killigrews of Arwenack, to the great displeasure
of the people. He was robbing them of God’s grace, they naïvely
complained--meaning the spoils of the wrecked.

Beyond the lighthouse are grassy slopes where it is good to sit alone
among the sea-pinks. To right and left are long headlands and curving
bays; on every side are masses of grey rock crowned with golden lichen;
and beyond them the sea comes laughing from the South. And on a sudden
we see the mighty crescent of the Armada, seven miles wide, sweep up the
Channel to its doom, with the smoke of many guns flying before the gale,
and with every man upon his knees.

It is a disappointment to learn that the track to Kynance Cove is too
sandy for motors; but only a few miles further along the coast is the
cove of Mullion, which is easily reached on quite a good road. Those
who know Kynance declare it is more attractive than Mullion, but I
think there must be some mistake about this, because it is not possible
to be more attractive than Mullion. From the tiny harbour with its
two sheltering piers a natural tunnel--passable only when the tide is
low--leads through the rock to the sands of a little bay. Here the cliffs
are high and wild, and masses of black rock rise sheer from the ripples
of a blue-green sea, and in the caves the “serpentine” stones are red and
green and pink and full of sparkles, like the stones of Aladdin’s cave.
One can see at a glance that the superstition about Kynance Cove is quite
without foundation.

[Illustration: MULLION COVE.]

From Mullion village we may either return to the Helston road at once,
or drop down into Poldhu Cove, close under the Marconi towers. Hence we
must climb on a good surface the very steep hill to Cury; for Gunwalloe
is a place to avoid, although much treasure, they say, lies hidden under
the sands there, buried by long dead buccaneers. It is an unfortunate
circumstance that the road is liable to be buried under the sands too.

The fine, wide road to Helston passes through dull country, but the
little town itself, with its steep hill and many trees, must wear a brave
air on every eighth of May, when the townsfolk are “up as soon as any
day, O!” and dance off into the fields

    “For to fetch the summer home,
    The summer and the may, O!”

This Furry Day has been corrupted into Flora Day; but Gilbert derives it
very plausibly from _foray_, and declares that it celebrates a defeat of
the Saxons, who attempted a raid on this coast. The original ceremonial
included a foray on the neighbours’ houses.

From Kenneggy Downs we may turn aside on a very bad lane to see
the curving sands of Prah and the grey tower of Pengerswick, the
hiding-place, in Henry VIII.’s time, of a certain homicidal Mr.
Milliton. Some say he built it, but this seems an improbably risky
thing to do. It is more likely that he occupied his enforced leisure in
painting the elaborate pictures and moral verses that are now defaced.
Few travellers will turn away from the fine high-road across Kenneggy
Downs to attempt the deciphering of Mr. Milliton’s reflections; but
it will not delay us to remember that John Wesley, exasperated by the
“huge approbation and absolute unconcern” of the people in these parts,
preached a sermon on the Downs, with a rare touch of humour, on the
resurrection of the dry bones. In a few minutes we run into Marazion,
and from the top of the hill first see, through a gap in the hedge, “the
great vision of the guarded Mount.”

In starting forth upon a tour in Cornwall there are two things, I think,
that one especially sets out to see; and in looking back it is the same
two things that one especially remembers to have seen. One is Tintagel;
but the spell of Tintagel is largely a matter of the imagination. The
other is St. Michael’s Mount; and here, though the imagination has much
to feed upon in calmer moments, it is chiefly as a delight to the eye
that it appeals to one in those first moments that are so far from calm.
Little we care for Edward the Confessor and his monastery, or for any
tale of battle and conspiracy, or for any legend of archangels, while the
Mount shows as a blur of blue upon the pale, hot sky and in the mirror of
the wet sands, and Penzance is veiled in a cloud of gold-dust save for
the tall church-tower that rises from the mist, and the hills beyond the
bay melt one into the other, and the rocks lie in a long red line across
the foreground with a streak of piercing green at their feet. Yet it is
hard to choose a moment and a point of view, and say, “This is the best.”
At high tide or at low, in sunshine or at dusk, from near or far, from
Marazion or from Newlyn, or framed between the red stems of the pines
upon the hill, the Mount is always stately, mysterious, strong--always
the Mount of the Archangel.

[Illustration: ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT.]

It is reached from Marazion by boat at high-water, or on foot by the
causeway when the tide is low. From the little harbour we climb, on a
winding cobbled path among the trees and hydrangeas, the steep hill that
so many have climbed on sterner errands: Henry de la Pomeroi, serving
Prince John while the Lion was still safely caged; Lord Oxford and his
men, disguised as pilgrims, entering the monastery with the help of
pious words and seizing it with the swords they wore under their habits;
the angry adherents of the Old Faith, charging up the hill with great
trusses of hay borne before them, “to blench the defendants’ sight
and deaden their shot.” Unfortunately there have been modern visitors
nearly as turbulent as these; for which reason there is not much that
we are allowed to see here to-day. We may go into the chapel where the
monks once worshipped, and we may stand on the little paved terrace and
look out over the parapet towards the shore, thinking of Lady Katherine
Gordon, who surely stood here sometimes while her husband Perkin Warbeck
was on his mad adventure. What were her thoughts of him as she stood
here? Did she know him to be an impostor? Did she think he was the King?
Or did she only dream, and dream again, of that quick wooing up in
Scotland by the boy of “visage beautiful”? “Lady,” he had said, “… what
I am now you see, and there is no boasting in distress; what I may be, I
must put it to the trial.… If you dare now adventure on the adversity I
swear to make you partaker of the prosperity; yea, lay my crown at your
feet.” To which the lady had made answer: “My Lord, … I think you, for
your gentleness and fair demeanour, worthy of any creature or thing you
could desire.… Therefore, noble Sir, repair, I say, to the master of the
family.”

It was here at St. Michael’s Mount that they found her, when Perkin’s
little fight was over and her own little bubble had burst.

A wide and level road takes us round the bay into Penzance, and up
the hill whence Sir Humphry Davy looks down upon the street where he
was born, and past the spot--now covered by the market-house--where
Sir Francis Godolphin once tried in vain to make a stand against the
Spaniards, and on, beside the sea, to Newlyn. This is a name that is
known wherever pictures are painted or beloved; and no wonder, for there
is nothing in this harbour that an artist might not turn to good account.
Here are fishing-boats reflected in the ripples, and piers hung with
dripping seaweed, and lobster-creels and nets upon the shore; and beyond
them is the high sea-wall with flowers in every cranny, and the steep
street curving round the harbour, and the people whom so many painters
have taught us to know. For all its charm and fame it has changed little
since the sixteenth century. It is still a place with a business in life;
still, as then, mainly a “fischar towne,” with “a key for shippes and
bootes.”

[Illustration: NEWLYN HARBOUR.]

Rejoining the main road to Land’s End, we pass through some pretty but
very hilly country to Lower Hendra. Those who wish to see the Logan Rock
must turn to the left here, and run down to the sea through St. Buryan,
and finally walk for some distance across fields. Most people, I think,
will keep to the high-road; but lovers of old churches will wish to turn
aside to the sanctuary of that “holy woman of Irelond,” St. Buriana.
From this high ground, where the tall tower stands as a landmark visible
for many miles, King Athelstane saw the distant Scilly Isles, and here
he vowed to build a college if he should return safely after making the
islands his own. This Perpendicular building dates, of course, from a far
later century than his; but it was the church of the college he founded,
and there were parts of the college itself still standing in Cromwell’s
day.

St. Buryan is only four miles from Land’s End. They are rather dreary
miles, by undulating fields and stone walls and the intensely melancholy
little town of Sennan; but they end, all the more dramatically for their
dulness, in the granite walls that guard our utmost shore. There is no
dulness here.

Here there is no carpet of sea-pinks, nor splash of flaming lichen as at
the Lizard, nor rocks fretted into fantastic shapes by the sea; but an
imperturbable front of iron, an unyielding bulwark, a stern England that
rules the waves. This is a fitting climax to our coast. On each side of
us cliff curves beyond cliff, and headland stretches beyond headland. To
the right are the blue waters of Whitesand Bay, where Athelstane landed
from the conquered Scilly Isles and John from unconquered Ireland, and
far away Cape Cornwall bounds the view. With swelling hearts we stand
on the cliff and look out over the buried land of Lyonesse, and beyond
the Longships Lighthouse, to the wide seas on which Drake and Raleigh
sailed away to the Spanish Main, and Rodney to victory, and Grenville to
the death that made him deathless, and Blake to Teneriffe, and Nelson to
Trafalgar. The salt wind blows in across those seas and sings in our ears:

    “When shall the watchful Sun,
      England, my England,
    Match the master work you’ve done,
      England, my own?
    When shall he rejoice agen
    Such a breed of mighty men
    As come forward, one to ten,
        To the song on your bugles blown, England--
        Down the years on your bugles blown?”

[Illustration: THE LAND’S END.]



NORTH CORNWALL


SUMMARY OF RUN THROUGH NORTH CORNWALL

DISTANCES.

    Land’s End
    St. Ives                         19 miles
    Newquay                          33   ”
    St. Columb Major                  7   ”
    (Bedruthan Steps and back        14   ”)
    Bodmin                           15   ”
    Liskeard                         14   ”
    Launceston                       20   ”
    Back to Bodmin                   22   ”
    Wadebridge                        7   ”
    Tintagel                         17   ”
    Bude                             19   ”
    Morwenstow                       11   ”
                                    ---------
                             Total  198 miles

ROADS.

Some very steep gradients, but hills on the whole less constant.

Surface: main roads mostly good; lanes rough.


V

NORTH CORNWALL

“I believe I may venture to aver,” wrote Tonkin of Cornwall two hundred
years ago, “that there are not any roads in the whole kingdom worse kept
than ours.” This is not the case now. The main roads of Cornwall are
excellent, and are far better kept than the average road of Somerset,
for instance. No doubt the quickest way from Sennan to St. Ives is by
Penzance and St. Erth Station; for this road, which is in the direct
route from Land’s End to John o’ Groat’s, leaves little to be desired.
But the more interesting way is through St. Just, and Morvah, and Zennor.
We cannot expect so good a surface here, yet from Sennan to Morvah, where
the country is so much disfigured by mines that we are glad to hurry,
the road is capital; and it is only as the scenery becomes beautiful that
the surface grows rough. There is a very steep descent beyond St. Just,
followed at once by a climb of which the stiffest gradient is about one
in five and a half.

It is in St. Just that we pass--on our left as we drive through the Bank
Square--the ancient amphitheatre known as the Plân-an-Guare. Here, in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, miracle-plays were acted on the level
space in the centre, while the six tiers of seats that are replaced by
the grassy bank were crowded with country-folk and miners. The plays were
very popular, says Carew, “for they have therein devils and devices to
delight as well the eye as the ear.”

There are none of these bizarre attractions, nor indeed anything else, to
delight our eyes till we have passed Morvah. But from Morvah to St. Ives
we have a lovely drive through a country of hills and heather, of bracken
slopes and tors of granite--a little pattern cut from Dartmoor. At
Trereen it will be well to leave the car and walk across several fields
to Gurnard’s Head, whence there is a fine view of the jagged coast. The
massive granite steps that here serve the purpose of stiles are luxurious
beyond the dreams of laziness.

The last part of this road is bad, but the wild green slopes remind us
still of Dartmoor till we run down the long, steep hill into the town
of St. Ives. This is quite as good a centre as Penzance from which to
see the western end of Cornwall, for the Tregenna Castle Hotel, with its
park and walled garden and its lovely outlook over the sea, is one of the
most charming in the Duchy; and the place itself is unspoilt. Indeed,
these little fishing towns of Cornwall seem to understand very well that
their face is their fortune, so to speak; that their welfare depends, not
on bandstands and esplanades, but on the beauty of their harbours and
fishing boats and narrow streets. Here at St. Ives are the simple charms
of Newlyn and the rest: the same little piers and clustered masts, the
same contorted streets and the same artists.

It is well that Mr. Knill, when he set up his crooked pyramid, did not
place it too near the town. If we look back as we drive away we shall
see, upon the skyline, the empty mausoleum of this unconventional mayor,
who built his own tomb and arranged to be mourned with music and dancing
at its base, but omitted to be buried in it. Some say he did not mean
it for a tomb at all, but for a landmark to smugglers. This may be so,
since at one time he certainly indulged in privateering--an enterprise
into which, he explained, “he was hurried by the force of circumstances.”
Perhaps the same explanation applies to his burial in London.

[Illustration: ST. IVES.]

We drive on through the pretty, straggling village of Lelant to the port
of Hayle. The rich colouring of the harbour and river here, the red and
green flats, the brown and yellow sands, the crooked posts reflected in
the water, and the flocks of gulls, are the last pleasing sights that we
shall see for many miles; for the country through which we have to pass
cannot have been beautiful in its best days, and is now made hideous by
pit-heads and chimneys. Camborne is big and ugly, with trams: Redruth is
big and ugly, without trams: there is no other visible difference, nor
any gap between them. But the compensation that motorists so often find
in dull country is ours: this is the splendid highway that leads to John
o’ Groat’s. We leave it when it turns towards Truro, but by that time
our surroundings are less depressing. Above Zelah Hill we take the road
that crosses Newlyn Downs, where the close carpet of heather somewhat
restores our spirits, though nowhere till we reach Newquay is there any
hint of the beautiful things that lie hidden in this neighbourhood. After
crossing the railway we should not take the first turn to Newquay, but
should wait for the second, where the signpost stands. We shall thus
avoid two bad hills.

Newquay must have been a glorious place before its shores were black
with people, and its steep red cliffs crowded with lodging-houses, and
its jutting promontory crowned with a huge hotel. Even now, in spite of
these things, its wears something of a queenly air. We have left behind
us the slow ripples of the southern sea: the fierce blue waves sweep in
upon this grand coast with quite a different kind of dignity. But Newquay
is too world-ridden to be really lovable. “How beautiful she must have
been!” is a sad saying, whether applied to town or woman.

[Illustration: TRERICE.]

In its neighbourhood, however, are several noteworthy things. We have
only a few miles to drive, by leafy lanes and frequent splashes, to a
spot that the world has left untouched and that time has only made more
beautiful, the house of the Arundels. The best way to Trerice is the lane
by Kestle Mill. John Arundel of Trerice is a proud name that becomes
monotonous in the annals of Cornwall, and is not unknown in those of
England. It was here they lived, those warlike Arundels--old Jack of
Tilbury the Admiral, and John-for-the-King, who made so gallant a fight
at Pendennis. Though the Arundels owned Trerice even in Edward III.’s
time, I do not think Old Tilbury ever saw this Elizabethan building, for
he was an old man in the days of Henry VIII. It was probably his son who
built this lovely house at the foot of the hill, with the huge mullioned
window and the moulded ceilings, and the oriel that overlooks the walled
garden and its yew hedges. But John-for-the-King, we may suppose, has
warmed himself before these splendid fireplaces, and has looked out
through these windows at the flowers and pines, and has eaten his dinner
at the great oak table now in the drawing-room. Some say he was a hard
man. Possibly: for he lived in hard times. Yet one who knew him well
called him “equally stout and kind.” “Of his enemies,” says Carew, “he
would take no wrong nor on them any revenge. Those who for many years
waited in nearest place about him learned to hate untruth.”

There was another branch of the family who, for their greater
possessions, were known as “the great Arundels.” We may see their house
at St. Mawgan. When approaching, from St. Columb Minor, the deep wooded
hollow in which Lanherne stands close beside the church of St. Mawgan,
one should take the most easterly of the two by-roads that lead to it.
This hill, it is true, is steep enough; but the other is steeper--one
in five. Those who are going on to Bedruthan Steps or elsewhere will do
wisely to climb out of the hollow on this same road, and go round by
St. Columb Major, for the hill on the further side of St. Mawgan is the
steepest of all!

Here in this seclusion, guarded by a triple defence of hills as well as
by the dark woods and by their own high wall, live the nuns of Lanherne
in the house of warriors. Not much of their dwelling is visible, of
course, but the chapel may be seen, and one wing of the old house looks
down, with many mullioned windows, on a gay little garden that all may
enjoy. Below Lanherne is the church, with turreted tower and painted
screen, and brasses and bench-ends, and shields of the Arundels.

As I said before, the shortest way to Bedruthan Steps is the longest way
round--the way, namely, by St. Columb Major. The road by Mawgan Porth has
an alluring look upon the map, but as a matter of fact comes to a sudden
end in the sands; and I have heard a tragic tale of a car that stuck
fast there, and endured the humiliation of being dragged out by horses.
At the junction of roads between the two St. Columbs is a gate into the
woods of Lanherne, of whose loveliness this is the only glimpse we may
have, since motors are not admitted to them. We turn to the left in St.
Columb Major, past the grey church of St. Columba, a maiden who was, says
Hals, “comparatively starved to death” in Gaul. Her church has had a
chequered career. One of the pinnacles of the tower was again and again
destroyed by lightning and rebuilt in vain, till the builders carved on
it the words: “God bless and preserve this work.” I do not know if it
escaped in the seventeenth century, when three schoolboys, by setting
fire to some gunpowder, “made a direful concussion;” but only a few
years later the steeple was again struck by lightning “and the iron bars
therein wreathed and wrested asunder as threads.”

On a by-road that is of course hilly, but by no means bad, we rise on
to Denzell Downs, with a wide view to the left and a glimpse of Mawgan
Porth in the distance. When, having left St. Eval on the right, we come
to an isolated cottage, we must take the track that goes straight on;
for the one that turns to the right has an endless number of gates, some
steep hills, and a very rough surface, and is much the longer of the
two. Even on the track we take there are gates enough to try the temper,
but it soon leads to a field where we may leave the car. We walk down
across the heather to the cliffs. These have not the iron severity of the
Land’s End: the shale they are made of is friable, and has been carved
into a thousand shapes--including a ridiculously life-like figure of
Queen Bess--by the waves that fret and foam even on the stillest day. The
wide bay lies below us with all its decorative arches and pinnacles and
turrets, bounded by Park Head, long and grey; and in the distance Trevose
Head makes the skyline. Two flights of steps are cut in the cliffs: one
leading to the shore and the other to a cave.

And now, after all this pottering in the narrow lanes about Newquay,
there are many who will be craving for a comfortable run on an open road.
These I advise to join the Truro and Bodmin road near St. Columb Road
Station, and drive over a series of breezy heaths, on a good surface with
no serious hills, to Bodmin: thence to follow the Fowey to Liskeard and
run up to Launceston: and from Launceston to return to Bodmin across the
moors. This is a fine run and a real refreshment.

There is no lack of history in Bodmin, the “dwelling-place of monks,”
the burial-place of St. Petrock, once a cathedral city, and more than
once the headquarters of rebellion. Yet, save the great church, there is
little here to see. Very near Bodmin, however, though not on our direct
road, there is a place of wonderful beauty, Lanhydrock. This park is rich
in splendid trees, carpeted with fern, irregular and wild and lovely
beyond the common lot of parks. As we sweep round a curve the gatehouse
comes in view, with its arch and octagonal towers and pinnacles; behind
it is the stately house, the mullioned windows and the battlements; and
between house and gateway, enclosed within a parapeted wall, lies the
formal garden, the rows of tapering cypresses, and urns of flowers, and
blossoming yuccas. When Essex stayed here with Lord Robarts, at the time
that Charles I. was at Boconnoc, the gatehouse was not yet built; but he
saw the north wing of the house as it now stands. After his desertion of
his troops at Fowey, Lanhydrock fell into royalist hands, and for a short
time was owned by Sir Richard Grenville, “the Skellum.”

[Illustration: GATEHOUSE, LANHYDROCK.]

We drive away by a magnificent double avenue of beeches and sycamores,
and through a shady lane join the main road from Bodmin to Liskeard.
This narrow valley of the Fowey is one of the loveliest strips of inland
scenery in Cornwall. On every side of us are trees, close by the wayside,
and hanging overhead, and clothing the high hills; and all the time,
sometimes to left of us and sometimes to right, the brown stream hurries
past us through the bracken. After we have crossed it for the second time
the valley narrows and the woods close in, before we finally run out into
open country. Between Liskeard and Callington, as we have seen before,
there are some fine views, but the hilly road is rather badly kept; and
the same may be said of the country beyond Callington, which has the same
variable scenery, and the same wide but bumpy road. A long rise takes us
into Launceston through the square tower of the south gate.

Age after age this hill has had a fortress on it. First the Celt and
then the Saxon made a stronghold of it, and finally, when William the
Conqueror gave it to his half-brother, Robert de Mortain, there arose the
Norman castle that was called Terrible. Of its terror little is left now,
for one of its three defending walls is gone, and the ruined keep is so
unsteady that no one is allowed to climb its stairs. Yet this tower among
the blazing geraniums has not altogether lost its romance, as is the fate
of most ruins that stand in public gardens; and the Tudor gateway of the
outer ward, with its portcullis-groove and prison-cell, is picturesque
enough. If we peer through these bars we shall see a tiny cell with
mossy floor and weed-grown walls--the “noisesome den” that George Fox
the Quaker named _Doomsdale_, the prison in which he lay for months.
“The commune gayle for all Cornwayle is yn this castel,” says Leland;
and many distinguished prisoners have been here, though not all in this
dark dungeon. Among these was Skellum Grenville, whose imprisonment
had far-reaching results; for the men of Cornwall, as in the case of
Trelawny, resolved “to know the reason why.” This was not because they
liked him, but simply because he was a Cornishman. And a very good reason
too.

In spite of all its strength Castle Terrible was several times taken in
the Civil War. Finally it was seized by Fairfax, and kept. He came to
Launceston at midnight, and many of the enemy escaped “by the darknesse
of the night, and narrownesse and steepnesse of the wayes.” Those who
were taken were amazed in the morning, when they were brought before the
general, and “had twelve pence apeece given them, and passes to goe to
their homes.”

[Illustration: TOWN GATE, LAUNCESTON.]

When the Skellum’s brother Sir Bevill was here his troops were quartered
in the church that is a few minutes’ walk from the castle, the church
that is surely unique in its effect of richness. For every one of its
granite stones bears a device, sacred or profane, and round the base is a
course of shields, with letters carved upon them to form an inscription.
Over the south door are St. George and the Dragon, and St. Martin and the
Beggar; and at the east end is a prostrate figure of the Magdalen, at
which, by a curious disregard of a certain great saying, it is considered
lucky to throw stones. Within the church is a sixteenth-century pulpit, a
Norman font, and a good deal of modern carving. Of the priory that Bishop
Warelwast founded at Launceston hardly anything remains, except the
Norman arch that has been set in the doorway of the “White Hart.”

We have a fine drive back to Bodmin over the moors, where the hills are
many but the road is good. There is no heather here, but a great expanse
of grass and waving fern, and scattered stones, and slopes of gorse, and
now and then, impressive in its loneliness, an ancient Celtic cross of
granite by the wayside. We enter Bodmin by an over-arching avenue, and
pass out of it on the Wadebridge road, at the back of the asylum.

The short run to Wadebridge is through a lovely country of woods and
valleys and rivers, on a road that is well-graded if hilly. There is
little obvious attraction in Wadebridge itself, however, for at low
tide the river winds through mud-flats that are not flat enough to be
picturesque, and the famous bridge--“the longest, strongest, and fairest
that the shire can muster”--is not as striking in fact as it appears
in pictures. Like Bideford Bridge, it is said to be founded on sacks
of wool. Its founder was one Lovibond, the vicar of this old church of
Egloshayle that we see beside the river. We do not cross the bridge,
but turn to the right on the road to Camelford; and a few minutes later
pass near a British camp called Castle Killibury or Kelly Round. We are
entering Arthur’s country--a land of shadowy legend, a land that has
been peopled for us with a host of adorable, improbable figures, a land
of disillusionment, but none the less of unconquerable romance. For
this round encampment by which we drive is thought to be one of the
few authentic relics of the authentic Arthur, the Kelliwic of the Welsh
Triads, a stronghold and court of the British prince who truly lived, and
fought, and died of a grievous wound--but not at Camelford.

We are on our way now to the spot that was long believed, and is still
believed by many, to be the scene of his last battle: Slaughter Bridge.
We turn off to the left in the outskirts of Camelford on rather a rough
road to Camelford Station, and there take a narrow lane on the right
which leads in a moment to the little grey bridge with the grim name.
There is grim truth behind the name, moreover, for if it was not here,
but in Scotland, that Arthur died, there has been slaughter on a large
scale on the rushy banks of this brook that sings so gaily. Here, in the
ninth century, Britons and Saxons fought and died by thousands, and no
one knows to-day who won the battle.

On the left is the old gateway of Worthyvale. A little way within it is
a wooden shed, where we shall find a guide to show us the ancient stone
that does duty alternately as Arthur’s grave and his resting-place when
he was wounded. Its age and position and probable origin are sufficiently
romantic, for it is thought to be the tombstone of some warrior who was
slain in the great battle. It lies now on level grass below the rocky
bank, with the stream close beside it, and tree stems fringed with
hart’s-tongues leaning over it. The path that leads to it is very steep
and very slippery, and as one struggles down it the little barefooted
guide prattles cheerfully of the ladies and old gentlemen who have, from
time to time, fallen headlong into the stream.

From Slaughter Bridge a few miles, a few lanes, a few hills bring us,
with hearts--even middle-aged hearts--beating a little faster than usual,
to the very citadel and stronghold of that Land of Faery of which Arthur
is the King.

Who can tell wherein the enchantment of Tintagel lies? Its crown of
towers is gone; its glory is departed. Only, on the summit of the dark,
steep island a few low walls, a doorway, and a window remain of the
mediæval castle that seems to have no history. Not a stone here speaks of
Arthur. Yet it is of Arthur only that we think.

And if there is no fragment here of the castle where Arthur was born,
neither have we any visions of the Table Round, nor of Guinevere and her
ladies, nor of Launcelot, nor Galahad; for the King’s court was not here.
Only La Beale Isoud we may see sitting in her bower upon this rock, and
Tristram kneeling at her feet, and behind him Mark with the uplifted
sword. This was the stronghold of the ancient Cornish Earls; and if
Arthur was born here it was because his birth was the result of magic,
and not because Uther Pendragon had any rights in this place. But since
we are here in a world of legend we may surely take the legend of our
choice. Let us forget the ugly tale of Uther and Igerne, and remember
only how, after the thunders of the storm upon this shore--

    “There came a day as still as heaven, and then
    They found a naked child upon the sands
    Of dark Tintagel by the Cornish sea;
    And that was Arthur.”

There are the sands below us, the little bay in the curve of the cliff,
the transparent sea that brought the mysterious King to his kingdom.

And because all is mystery here, because behind the veil there is so
little that is solid, so little that we know, it is not in the sunshine
of a summer day that Tintagel has the most meaning. It is when the
mists are trailing on the sea, and the dark rock is wrapped in a cloud
as impenetrable as the legends that shroud Arthur, and for a moment a
passing gleam lightens the fog above our heads and shows the pale ghost
of a castle-wall uplifted against the sky--it is then that Tintagel seems
indeed to be the heart of the world of dreams, the most perfect symbol of
the mingled mystery and truth of the story of Arthur.

[Illustration: TINTAGEL.]

More than three hundred years ago Carew gave his impressions of the
island fortress. “In passing thither,” he says, “you must first descend
with a dangerous declining, and then make a worse ascent by a path as
everywhere narrow so in many places through his stickleness occasioning,
as through his steepness threatening, the ruin of your life with the
failing of your feet. At the top two or three terrifying steps give
you entrance to the hill.” Those who suffer from unsteady heads will
feel this lively description to be most accurate as regards the island;
but the castle on the mainland may be reached by a path which, though
narrow and tortuous enough, does not occasion, nor even threaten, the
ruin of one’s life. And from those crumbling twelfth-century walls we
may walk along the cliff to the little grey church that has stood here,
buffeted by every wind of heaven, since the days of the Saxons. Part of
the Saxon masonry is still here, and an old font green with moss, and
various ancient stones. What this bleak cliff has to bear in the way of
sea-winds may be seen in the churchyard, where all the tombstones--thin
slabs of slate--are strongly buttressed by masonry three times as thick
as themselves. In a corner is the poetical grave of an Italian sailor
drowned on this shore: an ordinary ship’s life-buoy nailed to a rough
wooden cross.

We drive away through the pretty village of Trevena, dip into the wooded
and flowery dell of Bossiney on a steep and rather rough road, and soon
run down into Boscastle among the orchards. The narrow gorge, where the
village lies smothered in trees, ends in a little landlocked harbour,
and high up on the hill to the left stands the church of Forrabury--the
church whose bells, says the legend, are lying at the bottom of the
sea with the bones of the blasphemous skipper who was bringing them
to Boscastle. R. S. Hawker tells the story in “The Silent Tower of
Bottreaux.” We cross the stream and begin a very long climb. This hill
has a bad reputation; but its steepest gradient--one in six--is quickly
past, and above it there is nothing very serious. After three miles of
climbing we find some fine wide views; and as we drive between the high
hedges on the rough road to Bude, catch glimpses of sea and headland on
the left.

The charm of Bude, I imagine--and many people find it very charming--lies
more in its surroundings than itself, more in the splendid coast and
rolling sea than in the rather dull little town. The sands and boats at
the river-mouth are picturesque, and so is the “cross-pool,” where Hawker
in his sealskin coat once masqueraded as a mermaid (of a somewhat full
habit), to the sad confusion of the youth of Bude.

Far more attractive in itself is Stratton, hard by, with the dark
church-tower raised above the street, and half its houses hidden by
the trees. In this church with the fine roof and the granite pillars
is buried, under a black marble slab elaborately inlaid with brasses,
a Sir John Arundel of the sixteenth century; the father, I believe, of
John-for-the-King. And in the north aisle, with no stone to tell the tale
of his brave and faithful service, lies Anthony Payne, the tender-hearted
giant who taught little boys to fish, and fought with the strength of ten
by Bevill Grenville’s side, and wrote a letter for which alone, if for
nothing else, he deserves an epitaph. When Sir Bevill died at Lansdowne
Hill it was Anthony Payne who broke the news to Lady Grenville. “You
know, as we all believe,” he wrote, “that his soul was in heaven before
his bones were cold. He fell, as he did often tell us he wished to die,
in the great Stewart cause, for his country and his King. He delivered
to me his last commands, and with such tender words for you and for his
children as are not to be set down with my poor pen, but must come to
your ears upon my heart’s best breath. Master John, when I mounted him
upon his father’s horse, rode him into the war like a young prince as he
is.… I am coming down with the mournfullest load that ever a poor servant
did bear, to bring the great heart that is cold to Kilkhampton vault. O!
my lady, how shall I ever brook your weeping face?”[12]

Down in the street we may find the house where this servant with the
heart and tongue of gold was born and died. It was once a manor-house of
the Grenvilles, but is now the “Tree” Inn, and shows little sign of age.
Until lately there was a hole still in the ceiling through which Anthony
Payne’s huge body was lowered after his death, since it was impossible
to bring it down the narrow stairs; but now this room has been rebuilt.
Fixed in the outer wall of the inn, however, is a relic of the battle
on Stamford Hill, where “ye army of ye rebells … receiued A signall
ouerthrow by ye Valor of Sir Bevill Granville and ye Cornish army,” and
where Anthony Payne was valiant as his master. Once this stone was on
the battle-field, but the owner of the land was so greatly harassed by
sightseers that in his rage he dug out the memorial and built a house
upon the spot!

Here, as we drive out of Stratton on a fine curving road, is the green
slope on our left where the desperate battle of Stamford Hill, and the
landlord’s desperate act of self-defence, took place. It was on that
hilltop that Sir Bevill’s valour won him a personal letter from the King,
the letter that was found in his pocket when he was dead. “Keep this
safe,” he had written on it; for the Grenvilles were “King’s men,” not
perfunctorily but passionately. It is but a few miles, on rather a rough
road, to Kilkhampton, where Sir Bevill and most of his house are buried.

Indeed, Kilkhampton Church is as it were the shrine of the gallant
Grenvilles, and deserves that high honour. A shady avenue leads from
the modern lych-gate to the porch that was built by a Grenville and
the Norman door through which so many Grenvilles have passed to their
prayers, and so many have been carried to their graves: Roger, who
for his lavish table was called the Great Housekeeper, and John the
privateer, and Richard the Marshal and poet,[13] and Sir Bernard, son of
the greatest of the Grenvilles and father of Sir Bevill. Sir Richard of
the _Revenge_, as we all know, died “with a joyful and quiet mynde” on a
distant sea, leaving behind him “an everlastynge fame of a valyante and
true soldier that has done hys dutie as he was bounde to do.”[14] But Sir
Bevill, thanks to Anthony Payne, lies in the vault of Kilkhampton, and
with him is the wife who could not live long without him, and the boy who
rode into the war like a young prince and became as ardent a royalist as
his father.

Everywhere we see the Grenville arms: the three strange objects that
some call “horsemen’s rests,” and some call rudders, and some clarions.
They are outside the south-east door, and in the chancel, and on one of
the elaborately carved bench-ends, and on the old granite font, and in
much magnificence of paint and gilding on the south wall. And here on
the same wall is the ugly eighteenth-century monument to Sir Bevill,
with its long epitaph. “A brighter courage and a gentler disposition
were never marryed together,” said Lord Clarendon. A better memorial of
his bright courage than this thing of gilt and marble is the well-worn
helmet that hangs beside it; and of his gentle disposition we have proof
enough in his own and his wife’s letters, with their engaging mixture of
romance and domesticity. “Would God but grant you were home,” writes Lady
Grenville, “till when my heart will never be quiett.” “The Plaisters you
sent, I trust in God, hath done me much good.” “I pray you make haste and
come home.… I am and still will be yours ever and only.… PS.--I pray you
let your Coate be well ayr’d and lye abroad awhile before you weare it.
To my dearest and best Frend Mr. Bevill Grenvile, these.” “Beseeching God
to encline yr heart to love her who will in spite of the divill ever be
yrs immoveably.” “If you please to bestowe a plaine black Gownd of any
cheape Stufe on me I will thanke you.”[15]

[Illustration: MORWENSTOW.]

Not far from Kilkhampton is another church that some of us may care to
see, though the long lane that leads to Morwenstow is by no means one
that has no turning. Indeed, it would need some ingenuity to find room
for any more corners in these narrow ways; but if progress is slow the
country is attractive and the sea is before us, with flat-topped Lundy
Island in the distance. We come rather suddenly on the church in its
steep and narrow valley, with the tower darkly outlined against the blue
sea, and a bold sweep of heather for background: the remote romantic glen
where Morwenna the hermit had her cell near the sea, and died with her
eyes fixed upon her native Wales: the glen of which Hawker wrote: “Here
within the ark we hear only the voices of animals and birds, and the
sound of many waters.”

He must have heard the voices of a good many animals; for even when he
went to church he was followed by nine or ten cats, they say, which
wandered, while he was preaching, about this beautiful building with the
Norman arches, and the chancel with the marble floor. Here at the foot
of the pulpit is the grave of his wife, the devoted wife who was older
than his mother. Morwenstow, in its utter loneliness, its wild beauty,
its deep, full colouring, needs nothing to give it charm; but its name,
probably, would be known to few if it had not had, for many years, a
vicar whose eccentric, poetical, heroic nature made his name and his
dwelling-place memorable. We can forgive his errant cats to a man who
wrote verses so sonorous--and above all to a man who fought the wreckers
as Hawker fought them here.[16] His dust is not in the church he loved
and cared for; but his epitaph is on the lips of those who knew him.
“His door was always open to the poor,” they say.

The twisted lanes take us back to the main road, and on a splendid
surface we cross the border into Devon.



NORTH DEVON


SUMMARY OF RUN THROUGH NORTH DEVON

DISTANCES.

    Morwenstow
    Clovelly                                   12  miles
    Bideford                                   12    ”
    Barnstaple, viâ Torridge and Taw Valleys   52½   ”
    Ilfracombe                                 11¾   ”
    Lynmouth, viâ Simonsbath                   28½   ”
    Porlock                                    12    ”
                                              ----------
                                       Total  128¾ miles

ROADS.

Surface variable; steep gradients invariable.


VI

NORTH DEVON

After a few miles of brisk running over the breezy heights of Welsford
Moor we return to the steep, winding, narrow lanes that have grown so
familiar, and pass slowly down the long hill to the woods of Clovelly. To
the left is Clovelly Court, where the Careys lived, and the church where
they were buried, and to the right is the turn towards the entrance of
the Hobby Drive, and the garage where the car must be left.

[Illustration: CLOVELLY.]

There are two ways into the village. The shortest way is by the path that
drops almost from our feet, as we stand by the gate of the beautiful
Drive that motorists may not enter. Very soon this path that winds down
the face of the cliff merges into the village street, the famous street
that we know so well, even if we have never seen it. For that very
reason, because it is so well known, I would advise those who are here
for the first time to follow the road to the left, and after a short
walk that is almost painful--so steep is the way and so loose are the
stones--to enter Clovelly at the bottom of the hill, near the quay. Here
there is an unfamiliar and beautiful picture for one’s first impression
of the loveliest village in England. Overhead are the trees that clothe
all this hillside in sweeping draperies of green; the picture is framed
in stems and ivy-grown rocks; clustered under the cliff are the irregular
roofs of a group of cottages; a large boat is drawn up by the wayside;
and towering in the distance is the soft mass of trees through which the
Hobby Drive winds unseen. Almost at once we reach the little pier, and
Clovelly, hanging between sky and sea, is facing us.

[Illustration: STREET IN CLOVELLY.]

For some of its beauty one is prepared. The little white houses
clambering up the precipitous hillside, the long, winding street of
cobbled stairs, the curving pier with its nets and poles and nights of
steps, the jerseyed fishermen and pretty Devon faces, the boats that
fill the harbour and the donkeys that climb the street, are all things
that one has been taught to expect. But neither pen nor brush can give,
in a single picture as we have it here, the extraordinary variety
and brilliancy of their setting: the clematis that trails about the
verandahs, the fuchsias and hydrangeas, pink and blue, that guard the
doors, the crimson valerian that runs riot on the walls, the brown cliffs
and ruddy rocks, the woods that roll from the skyline to the shore, and
at their feet the little shining pools and many-coloured seaweed, and
beyond them the long curve of Bideford Bay and the sea, unutterably blue.

“Now that you have seen Clovelly,” said Kingsley to his wife, “you know
what was the inspiration of my life before I met you.” Here on the
little quay he heard his father, the rector, many a time read prayers
for the fishermen before they put to sea; and it was the sad teaching
of Clovelly, where he saw so many men work and so many women weep,
that gave its pathos to the song of the Three Fishers. When his health
was failing, it was the air of Clovelly that he pined for. He came to
lodgings at the top of this winding street that we climb so laboriously,
“the narrow, paved cranny of a street,” as he called it, and stayed there
happily for weeks.

It would be easy to be happy here for weeks; but in the summer there
is some difficulty in finding shelter even for one night. Fortunately
Bideford is not far off, and when we have made our way slowly back to the
high road there are only ten miles of a good surface between us and a
comfortable hotel.

[Illustration: CLOVELLY HARBOUR.]

To reach it we must cross the famous bridge. This “very stately piece,”
as an old writer calls it, has played a very prominent part in the
history of the town. “A poore preste” began it, we are told, being
“animatid so to do by a vision. Then al the cuntery about sette their
handes onto the performing of it.” Sir Theobald Grenville, Lord of
Bideford and Kilkhampton, a young ruffler who had lately been in trouble
with the Church, made common cause with the bishop who had ordered
his excommunication, and after being duly absolved became “an especial
furtherer” of the work. Grandison’s contribution took the form of
indulgences; the rich gave their lands and the poor gave their time; and
so the pride of Bideford arose on its foundation of woolsacks, and to
this day gives distinction to a town that is otherwise rather in need
of it. For wherever it was possible old things have been made new here.
The old part of the Royal Hotel, once the house of a merchant prince,
has been so carefully hidden that no one would guess it was there: the
splendid panelling of the room where Kingsley wrote much of “Westward
Ho!” has been painted: the church was rebuilt in the nineteenth century:
even the tombstones have been tidied up and marshalled in rows round the
churchyard wall. Within the church a few relics have survived: the Norman
font, the remains of two screens, and the canopied altar-tomb of Sir
Thomas Grenville, called the Venerable, who fought against Richard III.
and was esquire of the body to Henry VII. The tombstone of the Indian who
was brought home by the great Sir Richard seems to have been lost or
obscured by the redistribution of graves in the churchyard; but there is
a modern brass on the south wall to Sir Richard himself, who lived here
when he was not upon the high seas.

This is the only memorial, in his birthplace, to the greatest of the “men
of Bideford in Devon;” but Charles Kingsley has a full-length statue at
the end of the promenade. Kingsley, I imagine, would have preferred a
different arrangement.

Two miles away to the west is Westward Ho! We shall see it under the hill
if we drive out to Appledore, where the sands are very yellow and the sea
is very blue. We shall also see a spot called Bloody Corner, which is
said to be the burial-place of the scourge of Saxon England, Hubba the
Dane, the devastator of Yorkshire, the marauder of our coasts, the rifler
of monasteries. A slab of slate has been fixed in the wall on the right
side of the road, and an inscription engraved on it by someone who was a
lover of history, but no poet.

The shortest, but not the most direct way to Barnstaple from Bideford is
by the coast road, whence we see, across the brown and yellow sands, the
river-mouth from which seven ships of Bideford sailed out to fight the
Armada. This road is level, but extremely dusty in dry weather except
near Barnstaple, where it has a “prepared” surface. The direct road over
the hills is so steep in places that its directness is merely nominal;
but here the scenery is lovely.

There is a third alternative: to drive up the Torridge valley, cross
over by Winkleigh to the valley of the Taw, and follow that river to
Barnstaple. This is a course greatly to be commended.

Especially on a hot afternoon this is one of the most desirable runs in
Devon. From Bideford to Torrington the road is shaded nearly continuously
by high banks of trees rising from the wayside: on the left the cool
stream winds beside us. Torrington, on its abrupt hill above the river,
must have been a place of dignity when its castle dominated the valley.
Through these streets where we are driving Fairfax chased the royalists
one night in the dark, after a long resistance “with push of Pike and
butt end of Musket”--chased them clean through the town and out of it to
the bridges. This engagement, wrote the general, was “a hotter service
than any storme this Army hath before been upon.” The royalists meantime
had bribed “a desperate villain” to fire their store of powder in the
church, lest the army of the Parliament should benefit by it; with the
unexpected result that when “the Lead, Stones, Timber, and Ironwork of
the Church were blowne up into the Ayre” two hundred royalist prisoners
were blown up too. Hardly any of the Parliament-men were injured, though
Fairfax himself had a narrow escape, and was obliged to return to “Master
Rolls his house” for the night, “in regard the Quarter at Torrington was
inconvenient, the Windowes broken in pieces, and the houses so shattered
with the great blast that they could not performe a convenient shelter
from the raine.” This church on our right among the trees replaced the
one that was blown into the air so completely that hardly a fragment of
the old building remains; and this street by which we pass through the
town is the one by which Fairfax rode back that night to Master Rolls
his house. He went straight on to Stephenstone, but we turn away to
the right on the road that skirts the castle hill and passes near the
Waterloo obelisk.

We see little more of the Torridge; but this splendid Exeter road takes
us through very lovely scenery; by woods, and beds of fern, and level
heaths, and fields of meadowsweet, and rows of shady beeches, while for
the last time our view is bounded by the beloved hills of Dartmoor. It
is a curiously lonely road: hardly a village, and indeed for some miles
hardly a cottage, breaks the solitude. Between the two valleys, as we
pass through Winkleigh and bear round to the left to cross the Taw, the
country is less beautiful and the surface rougher; but after the sharp
turn at Morchard Road Station we have a splendid run to Barnstaple.

This is the most level road in Devon. This fact alone commends it to
us, but there are many other facts to make it memorable: woods of oak,
and larch, and mountain-ash, and chestnut-trees, not only shadowing us
but filling all the landscape: tall red fir-stems, and ferns beside the
road, and wildflowers everywhere. All the way we follow the railroad,
swinging past station after station, Eggesford and South Molton and
Portsmouth Arms and Umberleigh, while the valley widens and narrows and
opens out again; and all the time the Taw is close at hand, growing from
a tiny stream between low banks of red earth and grass to a strong river
rippling over the shingle, with trees dipping into its sunny waters.

Somewhere in Bishop’s Tawton lies the dust of the first Bishop of Devon.
It was here that the see was originally fixed; but when the second bishop
was murdered it was thought wise to move to a more central position
at Crediton. Beyond the pretty village the estuary widens, and we see
Barnstaple before us through the trees.

[Illustration: ON THE TAW.]

Barnstaple, says Mr. Warner of the eighteenth century, “is by far the
most genteel town in North Devon.” This is a very happy word; though why
a town whose history includes the days of Athelstane, a town that has had
a castle and a priory and a life by no moans dull, should be “genteel”
when all is said, is hard to understand. The nice public gardens and open
spaces, the air of clean prosperity, and the colonnade with the fluted
pillars give it an eighteenth-century air, at latest. Yet, if we look
behind the church with the crooked spire we shall find the brown stone
grammar-school where Bishop Jewell and the poet Gay learnt their lessons;
and in the narrow street near the Imperial Hotel are some almshouses
whose granite pillars and beautiful moulded gutters date from 1627; and
spanning the river is the “right great and sumptuus bridge of stone” that
was “made long sins by a merchaunt of London caullid Stamford.” Nothing
is left of the priory where Sir Theobald de Grenville was excommunicated
with bell, book, and candle; nor of the castle that belonged at various
times to Judhael of Totnes, and the Tracy who murdered Becket, and
Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. Even at the beginning of the
Civil War it was “a place of small strength,” and during the struggle
it led a hard life. The Colonel Basset who defended it while it was in
royalist hands figures among John Prince’s Worthies. “This gentleman as
to his stature was somewhat short, but of an high crest and noble mind.
As to his religion he did not boast great matters, but lived them … he
being as plain in his soul as he was in his garb, which he resolved
should be proud of him rather than he of it.”

The road that crosses the hill between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe leaves
the town by the suburb of Pilton, whose white houses and gaily painted
shutters and high walls have rather a foreign air. There is a long but
well-graded hill before us, and a surface that is not very good. Each
flowery village is followed by another as gay, and each green valley
leads into another as green, and still we climb higher and higher till we
come to the heather. For a little time the scenery is dull; then the road
winds down a deep valley, and we see Ilfracombe in a gorge below.

Ilfracombe, like everyone’s grandmother, was lovely when it was young.
That, however, was some time ago, and at present its charms are a matter
of taste. That thousands love its piers and pierrots is evident at a
glance, but some of us can only look sadly at its bluffs and sparkling
sea, and long for the days that are no more. The change must have come
very quickly, for only fifty years ago George Eliot thought Ilfracombe
the loveliest sea place she ever saw, and found Tenby tame and vulgar
after it. “But it would not do,” she adds, “for those who can’t climb
rocks and mount perpetual hills; for the peculiarity of this country is
that it is all hill and no valley.”

There are hills, and valleys, too, in astonishing numbers along this
coast. The contour of the road between Ilfracombe and Porlock makes a
sinister picture. But those thirty miles include some of the finest
scenery in England; and by making them more than thirty, one may avoid
some of the worst gradients without missing any of the beauty.

For the first few miles the road clings to the brow of the cliff,
twisting round curve after curve, and mounting and falling and mounting
again. All the colours of the rainbow are in the landscape. There are
headlands of every shade of purple and red, foliage of every tint of
green, shadows that are intensely blue, sands that are really golden,
and a sea of a colour that has no name. We swing round a curve and see
the white houses of Combe Martin wedged between the brown cliffs, and a
few minutes later we turn away from the sea and mount the long village
street. Combe Martin may be defined as length without breadth; for though
it is a mile and a half long it is in no place wider than two little
houses. It has contributed in its day to the honour of its country, for
Edward III. and Henry V., it is said, made use of the silver-mines of
Combe Martin during their wars with France. Elizabeth gave cups of the
same silver to her friends; but Charles I., though ingenious in the art
of extracting the precious metals, sought here in vain.

The road, as it climbs up to Exmoor, grows rather rough. From Blackmoor
Gate the direct way to Lynton is of course through Parracombe, where
there are two hills of some renown, a descent and a climb. The
inconvenience here is in the fact that the change from the downward
to the upward gradient is in the middle of the village, and a run is
out of the question. None the less this hill, though steep, is quite
practicable; but the still more famous hill between Lynton and Lynmouth
thoroughly deserves its reputation, and, after personal experience,
I strongly advise motorists to avoid it unless they have absolute
confidence in the staunchness of their car, the power of their brakes,
and the scope of their steering-locks. Its difficulty lies, not only in
the gradient--though at one point that is steeper than one in four--but
in the extremely acute angle that occurs at the steepest spot and makes
it impossible, if there should chance to be so much as a wheelbarrow by
the wayside, for a car of any size to turn without pausing. An added
difficulty is the looseness of the surface, for the constant use of drags
has ploughed the road into a mass of stones and sand. It is possible now
to take cars on the “lift,” or funicular railway that runs up and down
the cliff; but it seems to me that the simplest plan is to drive round
by Simonsbath to Lynmouth. There is shelter there for both man and car;
but those who prefer to stay at Lynton--and they are many--may leave
their cars at the bottom of the hill, and mount it themselves, with their
luggage, in the cliff railway.

At Blackmoor Gate, then, instead of taking the road to Parracombe, we
must go straight on till we turn to the left at Challacombe. The country
is not inspiring. Technically, I suppose, this is part of Exmoor; but
there is nothing in these undulating fields and hedgerows to suggest
the hunting of the red deer by Saxon kings, or the jealous guarding of
forest-rights by the Conqueror. For William, though he gave away these
lands, was very strict about the hunting. “He loved the tall deer as
though he had been their father,” says the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. His
love was like that of the little boy who was so fond of animals that he
always went to see the pigs killed.

[Illustration: LYNMOUTH.]

At Simonsbath there is a sudden outburst of beauty. The tiny village
lies in a hollow among the fir-clad hills, and makes an idyllic picture
with its stream and bridge; and here the road turns and winds up to a
fine expanse of true moorland. It is sterner than Dartmoor. There is no
luxuriance of bracken here, nor acres of purple, but mile beyond grassy
mile of stately, rolling hills, very austere at noonday, but in the light
of a summer sunset transfigured into splendour. The new road to Lynmouth
turns abruptly back upon the hillside, and on it we plunge into the green
depths.[17]

If Nature is austere upon these hills, in the valley she is riotous. We
seem to be dropping down and down into her generous heart, and, like the
poet, we bless ourselves with silence. Far above us, as we wind beside
the river, the tall sides of the valley are clear-cut against the sky;
but just below the line of rock and heather the rich woods rise up and
take triumphant possession of the hills, and fill every curve and hollow,
and clothe the steep heights, and hang over the stream, and rustle by the
wayside. We have dropped so suddenly and deeply into these green waves
that we almost expect them to close over our heads. And as the road winds
on we think at every corner that all this beauty must come to a sudden
end. Surely we have passed the climax: surely the next curve will take
us out of this enchanted valley into the world we know. But the beauty
does not end. It grows; and only finds its climax in the red and green
headlands, and in the lovely village that lies between the hills where
the valley ends in the sea.

Lynmouth below and Lynton above, when one recalls them, seem, like
Clovelly, too good to be true. All the charms of Devon are here.
Charms that elsewhere seem incongruous are here in accord; grandeur
and homeliness agree together; the lion lies down with the lamb. Boats
and heather are in the same picture; the cliffs are clothed with woods
almost to the water’s edge. The two places cannot be compared; they are
so different that neither is complete without the other. Some love best
the boats and shallow pools and shaded river of Lynmouth; and to some the
wide view from Lynton hill seems the fairest thing in England.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM LYNTON.]

Wherever we stay ourselves, there is little to be gained by taking the
car up the cliff. The only roads that lead away from Lynton are the
Parracombe road and the road to Hunter’s Inn, which is not open to
motors--that wonderful road that runs through the wild Valley of Rocks,
and past the Castle Rock with its fine views of the coast, and past Lee
Abbey on its grassy plateau, and then for miles along the face of the
cliff, with dense woods closing round it on every side, and, through the
trees, hints of a blue sea very far below. This narrow way that is hung
so high in air, and has so many sharp corners and steep pitches, is truly
not a motoring road. It turns inland where a gap comes in the cliffs, and
ends at Hunter’s Inn, in a narrow gorge that is sheltered from every wind.

From Lynton we look over the roofs of Lynmouth to Countisbury Hill and
the red road that climbs it--apparently quite perpendicularly. Into the
mind there steals a hope that this is not our road. But it is.

We may avoid it, of course, by going back to Simonsbath and taking the
road through Exford and Whiddon Cross to Dunster--a road that is fairly
good, if dull. But most of us will think the loss of all the beauty of
the moors and woods is too heavy a price to pay for ease of travelling.
The lower part of Countisbury Hill, it is true, is quite as rough and
nearly as precipitous as the hill to Lynton, but as we rise the surface
becomes quite good, and the gradient is nowhere so steep as at the
bottom. And from the top of the cliff we look away across the heather to
the high uplands of Exmoor, and see below us on the right the green cleft
in the hills that is the Doone Valley.

[Illustration: RIVER LYN.]



THROUGH SOMERSET AGAIN


SUMMARY OF SECOND RUN THROUGH SOMERSET

DISTANCES.

    Porlock
    Taunton                  30 miles
    Ilminster                12¼  ”
    Yeovil                   13¾  ”
                             --------
                      Total  56 miles

ROADS.

No steep hills.

Surface on the whole very good.


VII

THROUGH SOMERSET AGAIN

Porlock is a word of dread significance to those who are interested in
the roads of England. A precipitous hill nearly three miles long, with a
surface of sand and stones and several sharp corners--such is the vision
that this name invokes. There is, however, not the least necessity to
lower ourselves into Porlock on these alarming gradients. Near the top of
the hill there is a private road that turns off to the left, and may be
used for the sum of one shilling. It is narrow, and has a poor surface
and two “hairpin” turns, but it is nowhere steep, and the woods through
which it runs are entrancing. The car slips gently down among the birches
and rowan-trees, and soon we see the bay below us with its dark grey
beach, and Porlock under the hill.

[Illustration: PORLOCK.]

The two roads join, and run into the village together, at the corner
where the “Ship” Inn and the cottages round it, with their thatched roofs
and porches and gay creepers, make a pretty picture with the green hill
for background. Indeed, all Porlock is made of pretty pictures: an inland
village could hardly be more decorative. There was a time when it was not
an inland village, but a favourite landing-place for visitors of various
nations but of one marauding aim. It does not to-day appear a promising
field for a robber of any ambition, but time was, I believe, when it was
quite a stirring place, with a royal palace and much prosperity. When the
Danes landed here in the night they were routed to their ships with empty
hands: but when, a hundred and fifty years later, no less a man than
Harold Godwinson sailed in from his exile in Ireland, he was not content
with plundering and burning Porlock itself, but made it a centre for
expeditions. He built himself a fort here, whence he could comfortably
raid the country that was afterwards his own kingdom. The French invasion
of the seventeenth century turned out to be a false alarm, but none
the less the inhabitants arose as one man, armed themselves valiantly
with scythes and pikes, and hurried away to Exeter to join William of
Orange--which seems an original way of repelling invasion.

There is an interesting church here. The alabaster figures of a knight
and his lady in elaborate headdresses represent Lord Harington of
Aldingham and his wife, afterwards Lady Bonville; whose finely carved
garments and faces have been thickly covered with deep-cut initials by
those who love antiquities as the Conqueror loved the tall deer.

Those whose love of antiquities is of another kind will find it worth
their while to run to the “Anchor” Inn at Porlock Weir, where every room
is rich in ancient furniture and vessels of copper and brass. The road
that leads to it is excellent, and so is the one that takes us on to
Dunster, though the redness of its surface adds a new terror to dust. We
pass through Allerford with a fine view of the hills and a glimpse of
the old pack-horse bridge; but when we reach the by-way to Selworthy we
shall do well to turn aside. For this pretty lane, which is roofed with
foliage as completely as a pergola, leads not only to an interesting
church and a tithe-barn, but to a group of almshouses that is unequalled
in its simple way: half a dozen thatched and gabled cottages ranged, not
in a stiff row, but round a sloping green, with wild woods to shelter
them, and walnut-trees to shade them, and hollyhocks and fuchsias to make
them gay. Between them and the woods a tiny stream trickles through the
moss, and over it a rough tree-stem has been flung to serve as bridge.

After a few more miles on the fine red road, with Dunkerry Hill
conspicuous on the right, we see, first Minehead lying by the sea and
spreading up the hill, and then the watch-tower of Dunster. A minute
later we drive into the Middle Ages.

This street of Dunster makes one half in love with the feudalism that
could produce so perfect a picture. On one side are the porch and archway
of the “Luttrell Arms”; on the other the octagonal yarn-market, gabled
and tiled and mossy, with a little mullioned window in each gable;
between them lies the straight, wide street; and in the background,
dominating and protective, the castle towers are lifted high upon
their wooded hill. Through all the centuries between the Conquest and
to-day this castle has had no masters but the Mohuns and the Luttrells,
and there is nothing in Dunster that is not connected, directly or
indirectly, with one of these two ancient names. These buildings to right
and left of us, for instance--this inn with the mediæval porch and the
beautiful north wing, and this market-house that used to be the scene of
“a very celebrate market at Dunstorre ons a wekes”--were both built by
George Luttrell of the sixteenth century and repaired by George Luttrell
of the seventeenth. And if we walk down the wide street and turn to the
left we shall find the church of the Mohuns’ priory, the Benedictine
priory that the first Mohun of Dunster founded, “pricked by the fear of
God.”

[Illustration: DUNSTER.]

It is a very notable church. “The late priory of blake monkes,” says
Leland, “stoode yn the rootes of the north-west side of the castelle,
and was a celle to Bathe. The hole chirch of the late priory servith
now for the paroche chirch. Afore tymes the monkes had the est parte
closid up to their use.” Of late years the church has been restored
to the form it had aforetimes, with the seats of the prior and monks,
and the monastic choir. The very beautiful rood-screen with the canopy
of fan-tracery, which was set up in the fifteenth century, forms the
entrance to the parish choir: the choir of the monks is reached through
the curious arch that is wider below than above--an arrangement made by
the brothers themselves to allow room for their processions. Round about
the high altar of the priory are monuments of the Luttrells. Thomas
Luttrell, whose great Elizabethan memorial is in the south-east chapel,
was the father of the man who rebuilt the castle and did so much for
Dunster--George Luttrell, who kneels here in effigy; and the slab that
now lies under the window of the south aisle once covered the grave of
the Lady Elizabeth who, as a widow, bought the manor of Dunster from
the widow of Sir John de Mohun. On the north side of the altar is the
alabaster figure, though probably not the tomb, of her son Sir Hugh,
first Luttrell of Dunster, Great Seneschal of Normandy, Steward of the
Household to Queen Joan, a warrior who won much renown in fighting the
French and the great Glyndwr and the little Perkin Warbeck. Most of the
Mohuns were buried at their abbey of Bruton, but here in the monks’
choir, under a canopy, is the figure of Dame Hawise, wife of the second
Sir Reynold de Mohun.

Near the church are some remains of the monastic buildings: the
refectory, the prior’s apparently impregnable barn, a couple of archways,
and, in the vicarage garden, a lovely thirteenth-century dovecot with a
tiled roof and hanging creepers.

Although the “glory of this toun rose by the Moions,” and though the
memory of them is everywhere, it is so many centuries since they went
away to Cornwall--to Hall near Fowey, and later to Boconnoc--that there
are few actual relics of them left. Of the three castles that they built
successively upon the hill there remains little more than a gateway
of the third, the gateway with the massive door and the mighty knocker
of iron. It is just within the main entrance, and strangely enough
was built by the husband of Dame Hawise, whose tomb is the only Mohun
monument in the church. The castellated gatehouse itself is the work of
the first Luttrell of Dunster. His descendants still live in the great
red dwelling-house with the martlets of the Luttrells over the door,
but by their kindness we are allowed, with a guide, to climb the steep
path under the yew-hedge that is sixty feet high; and to see the strange
half-tropical plants of the gardens, the cork-tree and the lemon-tree
upon the wall; and then to climb still higher to the bowling-green and
look out upon the park and the Severn Sea.

This was not always a bowling-green. It was here that the keep stood
till great Robert Blake, as formidable on shore as at sea, brought all
his batteries against it, and the Parliament finally dismantled it. The
whole castle, indeed, would have been ruined if it had not been wanted
as a prison for poor Mr. Prynne. Some years earlier, while there was a
royalist garrison in the castle, young Prince Charles was sent hither for
safety; and here, as elsewhere, tradition has assigned a certain Red Room
to him, for no other reason than that it contained a hiding-hole.[18]

There is a real delight, after all our experiences on the rough
precipitous hills of Devon, in swinging away from Dunster on a good
and level road--the road that is on the whole the best in Somerset. So
pleasant is it that some, no doubt, will stoutly refuse to pause or turn
aside for many a mile. For others, however, the lure of ancient stones
is very strong; and these will leave the highway more than once between
Dunster and Taunton. In Washford, for instance, there is a turn to the
right that leads in a moment to the Abbey of Cleeve. Here in a rough
field stands the gatehouse with the genial motto, _Patens porta esto,
ulli claudaris honesto_, and the statue of the abbey’s patron-saint, and
upon the inner side the crucifix and the tablet with the builder’s name,
Dovel. Poor William Dovel, last abbot of Cleeve, had a sore heart when
he passed out under these pointed arches that he had raised for others,
not himself, to use, and saw his own name overhead upon the masonry,
and remembered all his loving, futile work upon the walls of his abbey.
It was a poor Cistercian house, with a small income and no jewels nor
golden chalices to tempt a king; but even trifling sums were acceptable
to Henry, and though a thousand marks were offered for “his grasious
goodnes,” the abbey was doomed. So William Dovel went forth of this gate,
and with him “XVII prystes off very honest lyffe and conversation,” who
“kept alwayes grett hospytalyte to the relyffe off the countre.” There is
much of Dovel’s work in the buildings of the monastery. As we enter the
garth the western cloister is on our left, with Perpendicular windows and
mossy roof; facing us are the little pointed windows of the dormitory,
and below them the Early English doorway of the vaulted chapter-house.
Dovel’s refectory, with timbered roof and carved finials, is reached by
a staircase on the southern side of the quadrangle, and behind it in a
little garden is a pavement of heraldic tiles, bearing the arms of many
benefactors. Of the church hardly anything remains.

[Illustration: GATEHOUSE, CLEEVE ABBEY.]

Our good road takes us on, through Williton, to the foot of the
Quantocks, with the sea and the distant Welsh shore upon the left.
Beyond the railway we bear round to the right and drive below the green
and purple slopes of the hills that were loved and often trodden by
Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Hazlitt, the hills on which the writing
of the _Ancient Mariner_ was planned. At Crowcombe among the trees there
is a tall cross in the village, and a beautiful one in the churchyard,
and a porch with fan-tracery. About three miles beyond this we may turn
aside for a moment to Combe Florey, and see the old red manor-house of
the Floreys with their three flowers over the gateway, and the village
where Sydney Smith’s blue pills were a doubtful blessing, and the church
where he preached, and the vicarage on the hill, where he tried to impose
upon his London visitors by fastening antlers to his donkeys’ heads. It
was here that Henry Luttrell spent a day with him. “He had not his usual
soup-and-pattie look,” wrote Sydney Smith, “but a sort of apple-pie
depression, as if he had been staying with a clergyman.… He was very
agreeable, but spoke too lightly, I thought, of veal soup.”[19]

At Bishop’s Lydeard is a church that is fine enough in itself to wile us
from the highway. The bishop who gave it its name was the learned and
literary Asser, who has told us himself how King Alfred asked for his
friendship, which indeed seems to have been worth having. “He asked me
eagerly to devote myself to his service and become his friend, to leave
everything I possessed … and he promised he would give me more than an
equivalent for it in his own dominions.” This manor of Bishop’s Lydeard
was part of the equivalent he gave, when Asser, after some hesitation,
left St. David’s and came to be Bishop of Sherborne. Having forsaken
the main road to see the splendid tower of this church, and the painted
screen and bench-ends, and the tall cross in the churchyard, we may as
well drive on a little further to the very foot of the wooded Quantocks,
to the church and manor-house of Cothelstone. For many centuries this
land was owned by the Stawells, who have left their cross-lozengy above
the house-door and in the church; and in later years it became the home
of Shelley’s blue-eyed daughter, Ianthe. As we pass the outer gateway,
on which two of Jeffreys’ victims swung in Lord Stawell’s despite, we
can catch a glimpse of the inner gatehouse and of the red-tiled roof and
Jacobean doorway beyond. This is but a fragment of the old manor-house,
for when that “loftie proud man,” Sir John, raised four troops for
Charles I. he was sent to prison for it, and his house was brought low by
Blake.

There is a letter still existing, yellow now with age and very fragile at
the folds, in which Sir John’s bailiff writes to him piteously concerning
this disaster. “The cruell and base dealyng,” he says, “wch is now acted
at Cothelstone doth astonish and amaze all people wch do either see it or
heare of it; for they have now taken downe all the Leads of the house …
and have already taken downe that part of the house wch is over against
my Ladye’s garden.… I am very sorry that ther is occasion gyven me to
make soe sadd a relation unto you.… I beseech God to send us better
tymes.” It was in the eighteenth century that this restored wing of the
old house passed to the Esdailes, ancestors of that Edward Esdaile who
married Shelley’s daughter.

Behind the house is the church that was once the private chapel. It has
some carved bench-ends and some old glass, but its special features are
the two beautiful tombs in the south chapel: the finely carved figures
of a fourteenth-century Stawell and his wife, with their painted shields
below them, and the still more beautiful Elizabethan tomb with the
effigies of marble. In a corner of the churchyard is a white stone “in
sweet memory of Ianthe.”

Again we return to our high-road, and this time do not pause till
we drive into the market-place of Taunton, the quiet centre of a
country-town, where cabbages are bought and sold, and loitering cabmen
smoke their pipes without a thought of Monmouth or of Jeffreys. Yet some
of these very houses were wreathed with flowers at the coming of the
foolish duke: here where the fountain is he stood and smiled while the
pious maids of Taunton, made rebels by his handsome face, gave him a
Bible, and a fine banner of their own working, “One would have thought
the people’s wits were flown away in the flights of their joy.” Here
he was proclaimed King James and called King Monmouth, and here his
followers paid for their ill-placed devotion in torrents of blood. Into
this market-place came Kirke and his Lambs with their victims in chains;
and over there at the corner of Fore Street and High Street stood the
“White Hart,” whose signpost was the gibbet. Hither came Jeffreys of the
sinister face. “He breathed death like a destroying angel,” says Toulmin,
“and ensanguined his very ermines with blood. The victims remained
unburied; the houses and steeples were covered with their heads, and
the trees laden almost as thick with quarters as with leaves.” He went
in to his monstrous work through that arch with the embattled towers;
and passed on through the inner entrance of yellow stone, where Henry
VII.’s shield and Bishop Langton’s are above the door. Within it is
the great hall, with the timbered roof and the whitewashed walls that
were hung with scarlet while Jeffreys, “mostly drunk,” stormed at his
victims of the Bloody Assizes. The little girl--she was hardly more than
a child--who had won Monmouth’s easy smiles by her speech among the June
flowers in the market-place was ransomed with her schoolfellows; but her
sister had seen the Judge’s face, and died of the terror of it.

[Illustration: TAUNTON CASTLE.]

Such are some of the memories of quiet, prosperous Taunton. Nor is the
rest of its long history much more placid. The eighth-century castle
of wood to which King Ina of the West Saxons called his “fatherhood,
aldermen, and wisest commons, with the godly men of his kingdom, to
consult of great and weighty matters,” only survived for twenty-one
years. In the twelfth century the Bishop of Winchester built another,
which was improved and enlarged by his successors, and has partly
weathered the many storms and stresses of its long experience: Wars of
the Roses, invasion by Perkin, and the siege of the Civil War. Taunton
held for the Parliament, consistently, but at the first not very stoutly.
No sooner did the royalists come near the town, says Clarendon, than
two “substantial inhabitants” were sent out to treat with the general;
while the garrison settled the matter by departing, like Perkin on a
former occasion from the same castle, “with wonderful celerity.” A year
later, however, the Parliament took Taunton again, and making Blake its
defender, kept it. For Blake, who afterwards summed up a sailor’s duty
in memorable words--“It is not for us to mind state affairs, but to
keep the foreigners from fooling us”--knew the duty of a soldier too.
“As we neither fear your menaces nor accept your proffers,” he answered
the summons to surrender, “so we wish you for time to come to desist
from all overtures of the like nature unto us.” Wyndham, Goring, Hopton,
Grenville, all did their utmost in vain. It remained for Charles II.’s
spite to ruin Taunton’s defences. The castle that defied the King was
dismantled, and the town-walls utterly wiped away.

Of the Augustinian Priory that was founded by Bishop Giffard of
Winchester and supported by so many noteworthy people--by Henry de Blois
and the Mohuns, Montacutes and Arundels, William of Wykeham and Jasper
Tudor--there is nothing left but a barn, the priory church of St. James,
and the splendid chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, now the parish church. The
graceful tower from which Macaulay looked out over a land flowing with
milk and honey was shortly afterwards taken down, but the present one,
with its three tiers of Decorated windows and its pinnacles and parapet,
is exactly copied, it is said, from the original.

From Taunton we pass, through pretty undulating country, by way of Hatch
Beauchamp to Ilminster. After the wild scenery of Devon this quiet land
is not exciting; but there are pleasant woods here and there, and the
villages of Somerset need fear no comparisons with any in England. The
towns are less attractive, except in the matter of churches. Ilminster,
for instance, is clean and old-fashioned, but has no real beauty save
the church of yellow stone with the fine tower. When Monmouth made his
successful progress through this country in his youth, from hospitable
house to flower-strewn town, he came to this church one Sunday morning
from White Lackington. He saw the tower with the triple windows and Sir
William Wadham’s fifteenth-century transepts; but the nave has been
rebuilt since then, and betrays the fact. In the northern transept is the
enormous tomb of the builder, inlaid with brasses; and near it is the
ponderous but unlovely monument of Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham, founders
of Wadham College. They “lie both interr’d under a stately monument,”
says Prince, “now much defaced, the greater is the pity, by the rude
hands of children and time.”

At the outskirts of the town is Dillington House, where Mr. Speke
entertained the popular duke when he came to Ilminster. We pass the
entrance to the park as we drive out upon the road to Yeovil--the park
whose palings were broken down by the crowd that surged about Monmouth,
when he rode in with his self-constituted bodyguard of two thousand
horsemen. Our progress, if greeted with less enthusiasm than his, is
quicker. We spin through dull scenery upon a splendid road till the bluff
outline of Hamdon Hill comes into sight. For a moment we touch the Fosse
Way, then swing slowly round the base of the hill through Stoke, and see
St. Michael’s Tower above us on the right.

It was this sugar-loaf hill that prompted William de Mortain the
swashbuckler to name his castle Montacute, when he built it where the
tower now stands. His father Robert de Mortain, who had come successfully
through many battles with the standard of St. Michael borne before him,
regarded that saint as the particular patron of his family. It was he
who dedicated “the guarded Mount” in Cornwall and gave the monastery to
its namesake in Normandy, “for the health of his soul.” His son, whose
piety was peculiarly spasmodic, not only built his castle here, but
founded the Cluniac priory whose lovely fifteenth-century gatehouse still
stands at the foot of the hill. Everything at Montacute is lovely: this
gatehouse with the oriel windows and the towers and creepers: the church
with its many styles of architecture, from Norman to Decorated: the
village square with its houses of warm yellow stone, and all its windows
made beautiful with drip-stones and mullions: above all, the splendid
Tudor front of Montacute House, and its formal, parapeted garden.

The Summer-land, as we leave it, is not beautiful, nor is Yeovil an
interesting town. But the road is very good; the engine is singing
softly; and as for us--we are remembering.



FOOTNOTES


[1] See “Wells and Glastonbury,” by T. S. Holmes.

[2] See Prince’s “Worthies of Devon.”

[3] German _schelm_.

[4] See “Plymouth Armada Heroes,” by M. W. S. Hawkins.

[5] It is a _repliqua_ of the one at Tavistock.

[6] Open to the public on one afternoon a week, but not always on the
same day.

[7] The King’s General in the West--more often called Granville: but as
his family is so often mentioned in these pages I thought it best to keep
to one form.

[8] “History of Dunster,” by Sir H. Maxwell-Lyte.

[9] “Old Falmouth,” by Miss S. E. Gay.

[10] “Pendennis and St. Mawe’s,” by Captain Oliver.

[11] “Old Falmouth,” by Miss S. E. Gay.

[12] “History of the Granville Family,” by Roger Granville.

[13] “History of the Granville Family.”

[14] “Copyed from oone accounte in Maisster Alston’s Seamanshyppe Booke.”

[15] From “History of the Granville Family.”

[16] See “The Vicar of Morwenstow,” by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould.

[17] Do not take the road to the left, marked _Lynton_ on the signpost,
for it goes down the notorious “Beggar’s Roost” hill, roughly one in
three.

[18] Most of the facts relating to the history of Dunster are derived
from Sir H. Maxwell-Lyte’s “History of Dunster.”

[19] “The Holland House Circle,” by Lloyd Sandars.



INDEX


    Act of Supremacy, 23

    Albemarle, Duke of, 46

    Alfred the Great, 43, 210

    Alef, King, 132

    Allerford, 201

    Aller Vale, 75

    _Ancient Mariner_, 209

    Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 20, 192

    Angoulême, Duchesse d’, 101

    Appledore, 182

    Arthur, King, 20, 160, 161-164

    Arundel, Family of, 150, 151, 152, 216

    Arundel, Sir John (father of John-for-the-King), 167

    Arundel, Sir John (John-for-the-King), 128, 129, 150, 151

    Arundel, Sir John (Old Tilbury), 150

    Arwenack, 125-127, 129, 130

    Ashburton, 52, 64

    Asser, Bishop, 210

    Athelstane, King, 43, 47, 141, 142

    Avalon, Isle of, 15, 20

    Aveton Giffard, 96

    Avon, River, 4

    Avon, River, Devon, 95, 96

    Axbridge, 8


    Bantham, 95

    Barlow, Bishop, 14

    Barnstaple, 182, 183, 185, 186-188

    Basset, Colonel, 187, 188

    Beaufort, Margaret, Countess of Richmond, 187

    Beaulieu, 45

    Becka Woods, 62

    Becket, Thomas à, 60

    Beckington, Bishop, 11, 12

    Bede, 17

    Bedruthan Steps, 152, 153, 154

    _Bellerophon_, H.M.S., 76

    Bere, Abbot, 16, 19

    Berry Pomeroy, 77-79, 81

    Bideford, 160, 180-183

    Bideford Bay, 179

    Bishop’s Clyst, 41, 42

    Bishop’s Lydeard, 210

    Bishop’s Tawton, 186

    Blackmoor Gate, 190, 192

    Blackpool, 88

    Blake, Robert, 100, 142, 206, 211, 215

    Blois, Henry de, 216

    Bloody Assizes, 213, 214

    Bloody Corner, 182

    Boconnoc, 112-114, 156, 205

    Bodinnick, 119

    Bodmin, 155, 156, 159

    Bolt Head, 94

    Bonville, Lady, Tomb of, 201

    Boscastle, 166

    Boscawen, Admiral, 131

    Bossiney, 166

    Bovey Tracey, 59-61, 63, 64

    Braddock Downs, 112, 113

    Branscombe, Bishop, 41, 42

    Braose, William de, 79

    Brent Tor, 66

    Brian, Family of de, 90

    Bridgwater, 24

    Bristol Channel, 5

    _Britannia_, H.M.S., 85

    Brixham, 75, 81, 82-84

    Brixton, 97

    Broad Clyst, 36

    Brookfield, Charles, 5, 6

    Bruere, William de, 76

    Bruton Abbey, 205

    Brutus of Troy, 81

    Buckfastleigh, 52

    Buckingham, 1st Duke of, 74

    Buckland Abbey, 70

    Bude, 166, 167

    Buller, Family of, 112

    Burnet, Bishop, 49, 83

    Button, Bishop, 12


    Callington, 106, 157

    Camborne, 148

    Camden, 16

    Camelford, 160, 161

    Carew the Antiquarian, 49, 107, 114, 146, 151, 164, 165

    Carey, Family of, 177

    Carrick Roads, 130

    Castle Rock, 195

    Cecil, Arms of, 51

    Chagford, 57

    Challacombe, 192

    Champernowne, Family of, 39, 41, 97

    Chard, 4, 27, 30

    Charles I., 43, 74, 75, 112, 113, 156, 169, 190, 211

    Charles II., 69, 87, 127, 129, 207, 216

    Chatham, Lord, 114

    Cheddar, 4, 8-10

    Churchill, 7, 8

    Civil War, 28, 36, 46, 51, 60, 61, 69, 85, 87, 94, 96, 97, 112, 113,
        123, 127-130, 156, 158, 167-170, 183-185, 187, 206, 207, 211,
        212, 215, 216

    Clarendon, Lord, 171, 215

    Cleeve Abbey, 207-209

    Clevedon, 4-7

    Clifton Bridge, 4

    Clovelly, 177-180, 194

    Clyst St. George, 41

    Coleridge, Sara, 5, 6

    Coleridge, S. T., 5, 6, 34-36, 209

    Collyns, Prior, 121, 122

    Combe Florey, 209, 210

    Combe Martin, 190

    Congresbury, 7

    Constantine, 131

    Cook, Captain, 100

    Cornwall, 52, 55, 66, 69, 70, 105, 106

    Cornwall, Cape, 142

    Cornwall, Earls of, 114, 163

    Cornwall, North, 144-174

    Cornwall, South, 105-142

    Cothele, 80, 106-108

    Cothelstone, 211, 212

    Cottle, Joseph, 5, 6

    Countisbury Hill, 195, 196

    Courtenay, Family of, 113

    Coverdale, Miles, 76

    Crediton, 186

    Crewkerne, 28, 29

    Cromwell, Oliver, 28, 60, 74

    Cromwell, Thomas, 18, 23, 121

    Crowcombe, 209

    Culver, 57

    Cury, 134


    Dartmeet, 64

    Dartmoor, 3, 52, 55, 57, 58, 61-66, 73, 74, 106, 146, 147, 185

    Dartmoor Prison, 65, 66

    Dartmouth, 52, 55, 81, 82, 84-87, 88, 130

    Dart, River, 64, 80, 81, 82, 130

    Davis, John, 82, 85

    Davy, Sir Humphry, 139

    Dawlish, 73

    Dean Prior, 52-54

    Denzell Downs, 153

    Devon, Earl of, 56

    Devon, Mid, 32-70

    Devon, North, 176-196

    Devon, South, 4, 55, 72-101

    Dillington House, 217-218

    Dissolution of Monasteries, 10, 18, 19, 22, 68, 121, 208

    Doone Valley, 196

    Dovel, Abbot, 208, 209

    Dover, 46

    Drake, Arms of, 51

    Drake, Sir Francis, 68, 69, 70, 82, 85, 98, 99, 112

    Drewsteignton, 63, 64

    Dunkerry Hill, 202

    Dunster, 195, 201, 202-207


    East Budleigh, 38, 40

    Edgar, King, 19, 67, 68

    Edgecumbe, Family of, 80, 107, 108

    Edmund the Elder, 19

    Edmund Ironside, 19

    Edward the Confessor, 137

    Edward I., 20, 41

    Edward II., 50

    Edward III., 13, 85, 90, 190

    Edward IV., 15, 45, 47, 87, 117, 118

    Edward the Black Prince, 50, 99

    Eggesford, 186

    Egloshayle, 160

    Eleanor, Queen, 20

    Elfrida, Queen, 67, 68

    Eliot, George, 189

    Eliot, Sir John, 108

    Elizabeth, Queen, 97, 99, 190

    _Endymion_, 73

    Esdaile, Edward, 212

    Essex, Earl of, 156

    Ethelburga, Queen, 25, 26

    Ethelwold, 67, 68

    Exe, River, 55

    Exeter, 4, 35, 40, 42-52, 54-56, 58, 73, 201

    Exford, 195

    Exmoor, 190, 192, 193, 196


    Failand, 4

    Fairfax, Sir Thomas, 28, 36, 48, 51, 74, 85, 87, 94, 123, 127,
        158, 183-185

    Falmouth, 125-131

    Fal, River, 123, 130, 131

    Feversham, 24

    Fingle Bridge, 63

    Fitzford House, 68, 69

    Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, 119

    Floreys, Arms of, 209

    Ford House, 74, 75

    Fortescue, Sir Edmund, 94

    Fosse Way, 27, 218

    Fountains, Abbot of, 22

    Fowey, 115-120, 130, 156

    Fowey, Gallants of, 87, 116-118

    Fowey, River, 114, 120, 155, 156

    Fox, Caroline, 131

    Fox, George, 158, 159

    Frobisher, Sir Martin, 100

    Froude, J. A., 94

    Furry Day, 135


    Gates, Sir John, 14

    Gay, John, 187

    Geoffrey of Monmouth, 81

    Giffard, Bishop, 216

    Gilbert the Antiquarian, 121

    Gilbert, Arms of, 51

    Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 39, 82, 100

    Glastonbury, 4, 15-23, 26

    Glastonbury Tor, 15, 22

    Glyndwr, Owain, 205

    Godolphin, Sir Francis, 139

    Goodrington Sands, 82

    Goodshelter, 95

    Gordon, Lady Katherine, 48, 138, 139

    Goring, Lord, 216

    Grandison, Bishop, 35, 49-51, 181

    Greenway, 82

    Grenville, Arms of, 38, 170, 171

    Grenville, Sir Bevill, 97, 113, 124, 158, 167-172

    Grenville, Family of, 124, 170

    Grenville, Grace, Lady, 97, 113, 167, 168, 171, 172

    Grenville, Honor, 38

    Grenville, John, Earl of Bath, 168, 170

    Grenville, Sir Richard, of the _Revenge_, 69, 82, 100, 142, 170, 182

    Grenville, Sir Richard, the “Skellum,” 68, 69, 115, 156, 158, 216

    Grenville, Sir Theobald, 180, 181, 187

    Grenville, Sir Thomas, 181

    Grey, Lord, 12

    Grimspound, 65

    Guinevere, 20

    Gunwalloe, 135

    Gurnard’s Head, 147

    Gweek, 131, 132

    Gyllyng Vase Bay, 129


    Haldon, Great, 73, 74

    Hall, 119, 205

    Hallam, Arthur, 7

    Hallam, Family of, 5

    Hals, 118, 153

    Hamdon Hill, 218

    Hamilton, 1st Duke of, 127

    Hamilton, 5th Duke of, 114

    Hamoaze, 66

    Harington, Tomb of Lord, 201

    Harold, King, 200

    Hatch Beauchamp, 216

    Hawker, R. S., 131, 166, 167, 172-174

    Hawkins, Lady, 91, 100

    Hawkins, Sir John, 82, 99, 100

    Hawkins, Sir Richard, 90, 91, 99, 100

    Hayes Barton, 38-40

    Hayle, 148

    Hazlitt, William, 209

    Heavitree, 43

    Helston, 131, 135

    Henrietta, Duchesse d’Orléans, 46, 47

    Henrietta Maria, Queen, 85, 127, 128

    Henry V., 190

    Henry VII., 19, 43, 45-48, 181, 187, 214

    Henry VIII., 18, 19, 22, 94, 121, 127, 129, 131, 208

    Hereward the Wake, 131, 132

    Herrick, Robert, 52-54

    Hessenford, 108

    Hey Tor, 59, 61

    Hinguar, 26

    Hobby Drive, 177, 178

    Holne, 64

    Honiton, 34

    Hope, 95

    Hopton, Lord, 216

    Hound Tor, 62

    Hubba, 26, 182

    Hunter’s Inn, 195


    Igerne, 163

    Ilchester, 25, 27

    Ilfracombe, 188, 189

    Ilminster, 27, 216, 217, 218

    Ina, King of the West Saxons, 25, 214

    Ireland, 17, 142, 200

    Ireton, General, 123

    Isabel, Queen, 50

    Isoud, La Beale, 163

    Ivybridge, 52


    Jeffreys, Judge, 24, 211, 213, 214

    Jewell, Bishop, 187

    John, King, 78, 138, 142

    John, King of France, 26, 99

    Jocelin, Bishop, 11

    Judhael of Totnes, 79, 187


    Katherine of Aragon, 9

    Keats, John, 3, 73, 74

    Kelly Rounds, 160, 161

    Ken, Bishop, 12, 13

    Kenneggy Downs, 135, 136

    Kilkhampton, 124, 169-172

    Killigrew, Dame Mary, 130

    Killigrew, Family of, 125-127, 130, 133

    Killigrew, Lady Jane, 130

    Killigrew, Sir John, 130

    King Harry’s Reach, 130, 131

    Kingsbridge, 52, 92, 95, 96

    Kingsdon Hill, 26

    Kingsley, Charles, 64, 76, 82, 179, 181, 182

    Kingswear, 84, 87

    Kirke, Colonel, 213

    Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 124

    Knill, Mr., 147, 148

    Kynance Cove, 134


    Lambert, General, 123

    Land’s End, 4, 140, 141, 142, 154

    Land’s End to John o’ Groat’s, Road from, 145, 149

    Langton, Bishop, Arms of, 214

    Lanherne, 151-153

    Lanhydrock, 155, 156

    Lanreath, 112

    Lansdowne Hill, 167

    Lanteglos, 120

    Laud, Archbishop, 12, 13

    Launceston, 52, 155, 157-159

    Lee Abbey, 195

    Leland, John, 10, 11, 13, 19, 43, 51, 89, 114, 117, 158, 213

    Lelant, 148

    Lely, Sir Peter, 46

    Liskeard, 106, 108, 155, 156, 157

    Lizard, 131, 133, 141

    Lizard Town, 132, 133

    Logan Rock, 140

    Longships Lighthouse, 142

    Looe, 109, 110

    Looe Island, 110

    Looe, River, 106, 108, 109, 110

    Lostwithiel, 112, 114, 115, 117, 118, 120

    Lower Hendra, 140

    Lundy Island, 172

    Lustleigh, 59

    Luttrell, Arms of, 206

    Luttrell, Family of, 203-206

    Luttrell, Henry, 210

    Luttrell, Lady Elizabeth, 204

    Luttrell, Sir Hugh, 205, 206

    Lynher, River, 108

    Lynmouth, 4, 191, 193-195

    Lynton, 190, 191, 194-196

    Lyonesse, 142


    Macaulay, Lord, 217

    Malmesbury, William of, 17

    Manacle Rocks, 129

    Manaton, 59, 62

    Marazion, 136, 137

    Marconi Towers, 132, 134

    Mark, King, 163

    Maurice, Prince, 10, 87

    Mawgan Porth, 152, 153, 154

    _Mayflower_, 100

    Medina Sidonia, Duke of, 98, 107

    Mendip Hills, 8, 10

    Merivale Bridge, 66

    Milliton, Mr., 136

    Minehead, 202

    Modbury, 52, 96, 97

    Mohun, Dame Hawise de, 205, 206

    Mohun, Family of, 113, 114, 203, 205, 206, 216

    Mohun, Lord, 113, 114

    Mohun, Sir Reynold de, of Dunster, 205, 206

    Mohun, Sir Reynold de, of Hall, 119

    Monmouth, Duke of, 11, 12, 24, 27, 42, 213, 214, 217, 218

    Montacute, 28, 218, 219

    Montacute, Family of, 216

    Morchard Road, 185

    Moretonhampstead, 52, 55, 56, 57-59, 63, 64

    Mortain, Family of, 113

    Mortain, Robert de, 157, 218

    Mortain, William de, 121, 218, 219

    Morvah, 145, 146

    Morval, 106

    Morwenna, St., 172

    Morwenstow, 172-174

    Mount Edgecumbe, 98, 106, 107

    Mullion Cove, 134


    Napoleon, 76, 101

    Nelson, Lord, 142

    Newlyn, 137, 140, 147

    Newlyn Downs, 149

    Newquay, 149, 150, 155

    Newton Abbot, 74, 75

    Nombre de Dios Bay, 99

    Northumberland, Earl of, 90

    _Northumberland_, H.M.S., 76

    Northumbria, 17


    Okehampton, 52

    Ordgar, 67

    Otter, River, 36, 38

    Otterton, 38, 42

    Ottery St. Mary, 35, 36

    Oxford, Lord, 138


    Paignton, 76, 81, 82

    Park Head, 154

    Parracombe, 190, 192, 195

    Paulinus, 17

    Payne, Anthony, 124, 125, 167-169

    Peak Hill, 37

    Pelynt, 112

    Pendennis Castle, 127-129, 150

    Pengerswick, 135, 136

    Penjerrick, 131

    Penryn, 125, 130

    Penzance, 137, 139, 145

    Perkin Warbeck, 10, 43, 45-48, 138, 139, 205, 215

    Perranarworthal, 125

    Petherton, 28

    Philip II. of Spain, 99

    Pilgrim Fathers, 100

    Pilton, 188

    Pitt Diamond, 114

    Pitt, Family of, 113, 114

    Place, 116, 117

    Plân-an-Guare, 146

    Plymouth, 52, 55, 66, 96, 97-101, 106

    Plymouth Sound, 82, 98

    Plympton Earle, 54

    Plympton St. Mary, 52, 54

    Polbathick, 108

    Polden Hills, 24

    Poldhu Cove, 134

    Pole, Sir William, 34, 35

    Polperro, 110-112

    Polruan, 118

    Poltimore, 46

    Pomeroy, Family of, 77, 79

    Pomeroy, Henry de, 78, 138

    Pont Pill, 120

    Poole Priory, 90

    Porlock, 189, 199-201

    Porlock Weir, 201

    Portsmouth Arms Station, 186

    Postbridge, 65

    Prah, 135

    Prince, John, 41, 78, 98, 107, 188, 217

    Princetown, 66

    Prynne, William, 207


    Quantock Hills, 209, 211

    Quivil, Bishop, 49


    Raleigh, Arms of, 38, 51

    Raleigh, Sir Walter, 34, 38-40, 82, 100, 125, 142

    Ralph of Shrewsbury, 13

    Redruth, 149

    Restormel, 114, 115

    Reynell, Sir Richard, 75

    Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 54, 55

    Rippon Tor, 62

    Richard I., 78, 85, 138

    Richard III., 47, 107, 181

    Richard, King of the Romans, 114, 115

    Robarts, Lord, 156

    Rodney, Lord, 142

    Rolls, Mr., of Stephenstone, 184, 185

    Rougemont Castle, 47, 48


    Sachvill, Sir Ralph, 41

    Saddle Tor, 62

    St. Aidan, 17

    St. Austell, 122

    St. Blazey, 122

    St. Bridget, 17

    St. Buryan, 140, 141

    St. Columba, 153

    St. Columb Major, 152, 153

    St. Columb Minor, 151

    St. David, 17

    St. David’s, 14, 210

    St. Dunstan, 18, 19, 21

    St. Erth Station, 145

    St. Eval, 154

    St. German’s, 108

    St. Grace, 123

    St. Hilda, 17

    St. Ives, 145, 146-148

    St. Just, 145, 146

    St. Mawe’s, 129

    St. Mawgan, 151, 152

    St. Michael’s Mount, 136-139, 218

    St. Michael’s Tower, 218

    St. Patrick, 17

    St. Petrock, 155

    St. Probus, 123

    St. Rayne’s Hill, 29

    Salcombe, 92-95

    Sandridge, 82

    Sandy Park, 63

    Scilly Isles, 141, 142

    Scotland, Arthur’s death in, 20, 161

    Seaton, River, 108

    Sedgemoor, 24

    Selwood, Abbot, 16

    Selworthy, 202

    Sennan, 141, 145

    Severn, 4, 8, 206

    Seymour, Family of, 77, 78

    Seymour, Sir Edward, 78

    Shelley, Ianthe, 211, 212

    Sidmouth, 36, 37

    Simonsbath, 191, 192, 195

    Stapledon, Bishop, 49, 50

    Slapton, 89-91

    Slapton Ley, 89

    Slapton Sands, 87, 88

    Slaughter Bridge, 161, 162

    Somerset, 2-30, 198-219

    Somerset, Arms of, 51

    Somerset, Protector, 13, 14, 77, 79

    Somerton, 25, 26

    South Molton, 186

    South Pool Creek, 95

    Spanish Armada, 76, 82, 98, 107, 132, 133

    Speke, Mr., 217

    Sprigge, Joshua, 28, 60

    Stamford Hill, 169

    Stawell, Arms of, 211

    Stawell, Lord, 211

    Stawell, Sir John, 211

    Stephen, King, 47

    Sticklepath, 52

    Stoke, 218

    Stoke Fleming, 88

    Stokenham, 92

    Stratton, 124, 167-169

    Strete, 88

    Sydney Smith, 209


    Talbot, Arms of, 51

    Tamar, River, 70, 80, 107, 108

    Taunton, 26, 45, 207, 213-216

    Tavistock, 52, 55, 58, 64, 66-70, 106

    Taw, River, 183, 185, 186

    Teignmouth, 73

    Teign, River, 57, 58, 63, 64, 74

    Telegraph Hill, 73

    Tenby, 189

    Teneriffe, 142

    Tennyson, Lord, 5, 7, 94

    Thackeray, W. M., 5, 6

    Throgmorton, Arms of, 51

    Thurlestone, 95

    Thurstan, Abbot, 20, 21

    Tintagel, 136, 162-165

    Tonkin the Antiquarian, 145

    Topsham, 56

    Torbay, 83

    Torcross, 92

    Torpoint, 106, 108

    Torquay, 52, 55, 73, 75, 76, 82

    Torridge, River, 183, 185

    Torrington, 183-185

    Totnes, 77, 79-81

    Tracy, 60, 187

    Trafalgar, 142

    Treffry, Dame Elizabeth, 116

    Treffry, Sir Thomas, 116, 117

    Tregenna Castle Hotel, 147

    Tregothnan, 131

    Trelawny, Bishop, 112, 158

    Trelawny, Family of, 112

    Trerice, 150, 151

    Tresilian Bridge, 123

    Trevena, 166

    Trevose Head, 154

    Truro, 123-125, 131, 149, 155

    Tristram, 163

    Tudor, Jasper, 216

    Two Bridges, 52, 64, 65

    Tywardraeth, 120-122


    Umberleigh, 186

    Uther Pendragon, 163


    Valley of Rocks, 195

    Voisey, Bishop, 42


    Wadebridge, 160

    Wadham, Nicholas and Dorothy, Tomb of, 217

    Wadham, Sir William, 217

    Wales, 17, 172, 209

    Warelwast, Bishop, 49, 52, 54, 159

    Warwick the Kingmaker, 117

    Washford, 207

    Waterhead, 95

    Wells, 7, 10-15, 26

    Welsford Moor, 177

    Wesley, John, 136

    West Alvington, 96

    Westminster, Matthew of, 19

    _Westward Ho!_, 181

    Westward Ho!, 182

    Whiddon Cross, 195

    White Lackington, 217

    Whitesand Bay, 142

    Whiting, Abbot, 19, 22, 23

    Widdecombe-in-the-Moor, 62

    William I., 43, 47, 157, 192

    William III., 13, 43, 44, 48, 49, 74, 75, 78, 83, 84, 201

    William the Ætheling, 129

    Williton, 209

    Winkleigh, 183, 185

    Windwhistle, 29, 30

    Wolsey, Cardinal, 13

    Woodbury, 131

    Wordsworth, William, 209

    Worthyvale, 161

    Wykeham, William of, 216

    Wyndham, Colonel, 216


    Yatton, 7

    Yarcombe, 34

    Yealmpton, 97

    Yeovil, 27, 218, 219


    Zelah Hill, 149

    Zennor, 145

    Zouche, Family of, 80

UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, PRINTERS, WOKING AND LONDON.

[Illustration: THE ROUTE MAP OF THE WEST COUNTRY.]





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