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Title: Observations upon the Town of Cromer - considered as a Watering Place and the Picturesque Scenery - in its Neighbourhood
Author: Bartell, Edmund
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1800 John Parslee edition by David Price, email

                    [Picture: The sea shore at Cromer]

                             UPON THE TOWN OF
                              CONSIDERED AS
                            A WATERING PLACE,
                                 AND THE
                           Picturesque Scenery
                          IN ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

                                * * * * *

                         BY EDMUND BARTELL, JUN.

                                * * * * *

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                     PRINTED BY AND FOR JOHN PARSLEE,

     _And Sold by T. Hurst_, _No._ 32, _Pater-noster Row_, _London_;
     _J. Freeman_, _London-Lane_, _Norwich_. _and B. Rust_, _Cromer_.



BATHING places being generally resorted to during the summer season, for
the different pursuits either of health or pleasure, I have often
wondered that some little account of such as are not so much esteemed as
Weymouth, Brighthelmstone and Ramsgate, should not be published; and more
particularly where the situation of the place itself, and the scenery of
the country around, are not entirely destitute of beauty.

These considerations, added to a residence on the spot, first induced me,
for my private amusement, to consider Cromer and the scenery in its
neighbourhood in a picturesque point of view.  My profession, that of a
Surgeon, leading me daily to one or other of the scenes here described,
is certainly an advantage, as the features of landscape appear extremely
different accordingly as they are affected by difference of weather, of
lights and shadows, and of morning and evening suns.

In watering places where there are neither public rooms nor assemblies,
walking and riding become the chief sources of amusement; and for
invalids it is more particularly necessary to divert the attention, by
pointing put those things which are esteemed most worthy of observation.
Few people are altogether insensible to the beauties of a fine
country,—few things to a contemplative mind are capable of giving that
satisfaction which the beauties of nature will afford.

By the same rule, also, gentlemen’s seats, which are often the
repositories of the works of art, produce ample speculation for the
artist and virtuoso.

In visiting small, and I may be allowed to say, obscure watering-places,
retirement seems to be the principal object.  Where bathing only is the
inducement, the place and its neighbourhood is of very little
consequence, provided it is convenient and near the sea; but where the
mind and body are capable of being sufficiently active to be amused
abroad, or to those whose aim is pleasure, a country affording that
amusement by its variety, is certainly to be preferred; and to such as
are fond of the study of landscape, variety and some degree of beauty are
absolutely necessary.

As every little excursion will begin and end at Cromer, each will be
formed into a separate section.  I have before said that this undertaking
was at first intended solely for my own amusement, and with that idea I
had sketched several views, but after I had come to a determination to
hazard its entrance into the world, I found it necessary to confine
myself to one only, on account of the additional price they would have
put upon the publication.

After the excellent things which have been produced in this way, by the
Rev. Mr. Gilpin, there is certainly great temerity in attempting, even
for private amusement, any thing which bears the most distant resemblance
to such elegant productions.  From which consideration, I cannot here
omit to solicit the indulgence of the public for the ensuing pages, which
are intended only as humble imitators, not as daring rivals of that
excellent master.


_Section the First_.

THE situation of the town of Cromer.  The parish church a beautiful
specimen of architecture, in the time of Henry the fourth.  The beauty of
its proportions injured by the necessary manner in which it has been
repaired.  Accident of a bay falling from the steeple.  Anecdote of
Robert Bacon.  Free School.  Inns.  The Fishery the chief support of the
lower class of inhabitants,—also, a great source of picturesque
amusement.  Boat upset.  Mercantile trade.  Dearness of Coals,—the reason
of it.  Cromer an eligible situation for retirement.  A description of
the bathing machines, cliffs, and beach.  Sea-shore a constant amusement
to the artist.  Picturesque effects of the storm and the calm compared.
Sea-fowls.  Light-house.  Overstrand.  Cromer Hall.

_Section the Second_.

WALK to Runton.  Cromer seen to advantage in the return from Runton.  The

_Section the Third_.

EXCURSION to Holt—upper road to be preferred.  Description of the country
between Cromer and Holt.  Churches or villages, seen through a valley, a
very common species of landscape.  Fine distance a circumstance of great
beauty.  Heath ground terminated by distance.  Particular effect given to
a distance.  The influence which a distant prospect, under particular
circumstances, has upon the mind.  Holt.  Return from Holt by the lower
road.  Beeston Priory.  Remark of Shenstone’s upon ruinated structures.
Felbrigg beacon.

_Section the Fourth_.

FELBRIGG.  Grounds described.  Oak,—its uses in the picturesque,—improved
by age and decay.  Shenstone’s ideas of trees in general, particularly
the oak.  Felbrigg house, pictures and library.  Beckham old church,—the
loneliness of its situation greatly to be admired.  Such scenes
calculated to excite reflection.

_Section the Fifth_.

CHURCH at Thorp-Market described.  Stained or painted glass in
windows,—its effect.  Gunton Hall, the seat of the Right Honourable Lord
Suffield.  Offices very fine.  Parish Church in the park.  North-Walsham.
Hanworth, the seat of Robert Lee Doughty, Esq.

_Section the Sixth_.

RIDE from Cromer to Mundesley.  Trimmingham beacon.  Mundesley.  The
beach at Mundesley.  View from it particularly affected by the state of
the weather.  Effects of partial lights, called by Mons. du
Piles—“accidents in painting.”

_Section the Seventh_.

THE Cottage at Northrepps,—its romantic situation.  Casual observations
on planting.  Echo at Toll’s hill.

_Section the Eighth_.

BLICKLING, the seat of the Honourable Asheton Harbord.  Description of
the house, pictures, etc.  The park.  Mausoleum.  Parish church.
Aylsham.  Road from Aylsham to Cromer.  Woody lanes frequently very

_Section the Ninth_.

WOOLTERTON, the seat of the Right Honourable Lord Walpole.  Its
situation.  Ruin in the park.

_Section the Tenth_.

SHERRINGHAM, Upper.  Description of the grounds belonging to Cooke
Flower, Esq.  Shepherd’s cottage, rural situation of.  Thatch considered
as the most picturesque covering to a cottage.  Connection of objects
necessary to produce a pleasing effect.  Weybourn.  Sherringham, Lower.
Good situation of the inn.  The beach.  Thompson’s description of a
sun-set at sea.


_Section the First_.

THE town of CROMER is situated on the north-east part of the county of
Norfolk, upon the edge of the british ocean, from which it is defended by
cliffs of considerable height.

It must formerly have been a place of much more consequence than it is at
present, as that which is now called Cromer, was in the survey made by
the Conqueror, accounted for under the town and lordship of Shipdon,
which has long given way to the encroachments of the sea, together with
the parish church dedicated to Saint Peter.

At low water there are many large masses of old wall to be seen, which
appear evidently to have belonged to some of the buildings of the old
town; and at very low tides a piece of building is discoverable, which
the fishermen call the Church Rock, it being generally supposed to have
been a part of the old church of Shipdon, and I think with some
probability of truth; though others have doubted it, supposing it
impossible but that the constant action of the sea for so many ages, must
long ere this have dissolved all traces of it.

The present church, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, was probably
erected in the time of Henry the fourth.  It is a very handsome pile,
built with flint and freestone, consisting of a body and two aisles,
covered with slate; the tower, which is square, with an embattled top, is
an hundred and fifty-nine feet in height.

The entrance at the west end, is a beautiful specimen of gothic
architecture, now in ruins; as is the porch on the north side and the
chancel.  The flinting in many parts of the building, for the beauty of
its execution, is, perhaps, scarcely any where to be excelled.

The inside of the church, which is kept in good repair, is capable of
containing a very great number of persons; it is also tolerably well
pewed; but except the double row of arches which support the roof and
divide the aisles, very little of what it has been remains; these,
however, are of beautiful proportions, and the windows which were
formerly of noble dimensions, and probably ornamented with that most
elegant of church-decorations, painted glass, are now in a great measure
closed up by the hands of the bricklayer.

Amongst the repairs done to the church is one, which though it may be,
and certainly is, in some measure beneficial, yet, as it affects the
beautiful proportions of the middle aisle, the eye of taste must regret—I
mean the flat ceiling, which diminishes the height of the building by
cutting off the roof.  Height when duly proportioned proportioned
certainly adds much to grandeur.  In churches and in most gothic
buildings the roof terminates in a point corresponding with the other
parts, and by the exclusion of which the proportion and beauty of the
building is in a great measure destroyed.

There is something too in the dark and sombre hue of the roofs of
churches, when the timbers are left in their original state, that is very

Monuments there are none of any consequence,—one or two of the Windham
and Ditchell families are all the church contains; but a well-toned organ
has been placed in the gallery within these few years, for which the
church is peculiarly adapted.

At about a third part of the height of the staircase, which leads up the
steeple, is a door which opens upon the lead of a small turret,
communicating with the stairs, from which a few years since, a boy, by
the name of Yaxley, fell into the church yard, between some timbers which
were laid there for the repairs of the church, without receiving any
other hurt than a few slight bruises, and is now on board a ship in his
Majesty’s service.

Robert Bacon, a mariner, of Cromer, (says the History of Norfolk) found
out Iceland, and is said to have taken the Prince of Scotland, James
Stewart, sailing to France for education, in the time of Henry the

By the will of Sir Bartholomew Rede, citizen and goldsmith, also an
alderman of London, made in October, 1505, in the twenty-first of Henry
the seventh, the annual sum of ten pounds was bequeathed for the
foundation of a free grammar-school, which is paid to the master by the
goldsmith’s company.

The houses in general are indifferent and the rents very high; yet
tolerable accommodation is to be found for strangers, from one to three
guineas per week, some of which command a fine view of the sea, and are
extremely desirable.

The want of a large and well-conducted Inn is amongst those few things
which are chiefly to be regretted by those who pay a visit to Cromer.
Parties are frequently formed for an excursion to a watering place by
those who have neither time, nor inclination, to stay sufficiently long
to make it worth their while to engage lodgings; of course they complain
of the want of accommodation.  The consequence is, they become disgusted
with the place, and not unfrequently, I fear, leave it with a
determination of coming no more, but also by describing to others the
inconveniences they have experienced, deter them from making trial of a
place where their neighbours have fared so indifferently.

Unfortunately the trade to an Inn-keeper (in this and I suppose, indeed,
it is the same in most small bathing places) is almost entirely confined
to the summer season; therefore, unless the influx of company at that
time was sufficient to carry him through the expences of the winter also,
I very much fear such an Inn as is necessary for the situation could not
answer.  However, I should think the trial of it, though hazardous, might
probably prove successful: with such an addition, Cromer would, perhaps,
in the course of a few years, stand a chance of rivalling some of the
more celebrated bathing places for the number, as well as consequence of
its visitors; without it, it must to a certainty remain contented with
its present acquisitions.

Lobsters, crabs, whitings, cod-fish and herrings, are all caught here in
the finest perfection; the former are always eagerly sought after by all
who arrive; indeed, coming to Cromer and eating lobsters are things
nearly synonymous.

The lower class of people are chiefly supported by fishing; the herrings
which are caught here are cured in the town, a house within three or four
years having been erected for that purpose, which, I believe, answers
well both to the proprietor and the fishermen, who now find an immediate
market for any quantity they may bring in.

The fishery, independent of the pleasure we receive from the
consideration of the support it brings to a numerous, hardy, and in many
instances, an industrious set of people, is not without its effect in a
picturesque point of view.  The different preparations for a voyage; the
groupes of figures employed in different ways,—some carrying a boat down
to the water’s edge,—some carrying nets, oars, masts and sails; while
others, in a greater state of forwardness are actually pulling through
the breakers, form a scene of the most busy, various and pleasing kind.

The return, also, of the fishermen from this little voyage, frequently
affords a scene truly interesting; particularly in the herring season,
which being in the autumnal equinox, is liable to wind, which sometimes
suddenly bringing a considerable swell upon the beach, renders the coming
in of the boats both difficult and dangerous; a circumstance which
although it cannot fail in a great measure to take from the pleasure we
should experience in being witness to such a scene unconnected with
danger, yet the different attitudes of the boat as it is impelled over
the billows, the exertions of the crew, the agitation of the water, and
the expression marked in the countenances of the surrounding spectators
awaiting their arrival—are all of them incidents so highly picturesque,
that we can but behold them with admiration.

At one moment the little bark followed by a mountain of a sea hanging
over its stern, every instant menacing destruction—the next thrown up
aloft, ready to be precipitated into the gaping gulph below; alternately
keeping the spectators and crew, trembling between fear and hope, till at
last some friendly wave with dreadful force hurls it upon the shore. {9}

Those faces (for upon such occasions the beach is always covered with
beholders) which were but the moment before the most strongly expressive
of the feelings of wife, mother, children or friend, under the most
torturing anxiety for the safety of those who are most nearly allied to
them, by the ties of affection or of interest, are in an instant changed
to smiles and tears of joy, to thanks for their safety, and almost in the
same breath to enquiries about the success of the voyage.

The mercantile trade here is small; the want of a convenient harbour
where ships might ride in safety, will ever be an obstacle; there are,
however, small exports of corn and imports of coal, tiles, oil cake,
London porter, &c.

Perhaps there are few places, even at the distance of twenty miles from
the sea, where coals are dearer than they are here; one principal reason
of which is, the expence and hazard attending the unloading; to effect
which the vessel is laid upon the beach at high water (which can only be
done in fine weather) and when the tide is sufficiently ebbed, the coals
are taken from the vessel by carts, each carrying half a chaldron, which
is as much as four horses can well get up the steep and sandy road cut
through the cliff.

Thus the business is carried on till the returning tide obliges them to
desist till the next ebb.  About two tides generally serve to complete
the ship’s unloading, which is seldom of greater burthen than from sixty
to seventy tons.

From the loading and unloading the vessels arises another source of
picturesque amusement from the combination of horses and carts, men and
boys—these employed in their different departments compose various
groupes, and give a new character to the scene, by connecting maritime
with rural occupations.

There are no places of public amusement, no rooms, balls, nor card
assemblies.  A small circulating library, consisting chiefly of a few
novels, is all that can be obtained; but still for such as make
retirement their aim, it is certainly an eligible situation.

The bathing machines are very commodious, and the bather a careful,
attentive man.  The shore, also, which is a fine firm sand, not only only
renders the bathing agreeable, but when the tide retires, presents such a
surface for many miles as cannot be exceeded.  The sea too is one of
those objects that appears to have the constant power of pleasing.  Other
scenes (though beautiful in themselves) by being seen constantly, either
lose much of their power or become tiresome by their sameness;—it is not
so with the sea—those who live constantly by the side of it, if their
occupation lies within doors, seldom fail at the leisure hour of noon or
eve, to pay their respects to it, even in the most stormy weather.  This
fondness can arise from no other source than the constant variety it
produces.  Its charms are various and incessant—whether its azure surface
is dressed in smiles or irritated into frowns by the surly northern or
eastern blast.

The cliffs in many parts are lofty and well broken, and their feet being
for the most part composed of strong blue clay, are capable of making
considerable resistance to the impetuous attacks of the sea; so that when
the upper parts which are of a looser texture are brought down by
springs, frosts or other accidental circumstances, and are carried away
by the action of the tide, the feet still remain, opposing their bold
projections to the fury of the storm.

It is very rare too, that there is a scarcity of shipping to adorn the
scene; the trade from Newcastle, Sunderland and the Baltic, keeping up a
constant succession.  The different parties of pleasure, also, that
assemble upon the beach in an evening, for walking, riding or reading,
constitute variety and make it a very pleasant resort.  But towards the
close of a fine summer’s evening, when the sun declining in full
splendour, tinting the whole scene with a golding glow, the sea shore
becomes an object truly sublime.  The noble expanse of blue waters on the
one hand, the distant sail catching the last rays of the setting sun,
controlled on the other by the rugged surfaces of the impending cliffs,
the stillness of the scene, interrupted only by the gentle murmurs of the
waves falling at your feet or perhaps by the solemn dashing of oars, or
at intervals, by the hoarse bawling of the seamen;—“music in such full
unison” with the surrounding objects and altogether calculated to inspire
so pleasing a train of thoughts to the contemplative, solitary stroller,
that he does not awake from his reverie till

         “black and deep the night begins to fall.
   A shade immense, sunk in the quenching gloom;
   Magnificent and vast, are Heaven and earth.
   Order confounded lies; all beauty void;
   Distinction lost; and gay variety
   One universal blot; such the fair power
   Of Light, to kindle and create the whole.”

What can give a more adequate idea of the power of the divine Creator
than such a scene?  What can give a fuller comprehension of the compass
of human invention than the intercourse which is maintained between
nations through the medium of navigation?  And to an Englishman can there
be a more pleasing or exulting theme, than the wide extent of the
commerce of Great Britain and the glory of the British Navy?—the bulwark
of this happy land.

   “This royal throne of Kings, this scepter’d Isle,
   This earth of Majesty, this seat of Mars,
   This other Eden, demy Paradise,
   This fortress built by Nature for herself,
   Against infection and the hand of war;
   This happy breed of men, this little world,
   This precious stone set in the silver sea,
   Which serves it in the office of a wall,
   Or as a moat defensive to a house,
   Against the envy of less happier lands.”

To the artist, also, the sea furnishes an almost never-ending source of
amusement; it is a constant moving picture capable of a thousand
modifications, and of being treated on canvass in various ways; it admits
too of the grandest effects of light and shadow, and in the hands of such
a master as Vanderveldt of producing wonderful effect.  But it is in the
storm alone that the grand effects I am speaking of are to be found.

                      “When huge uproar lords it wide”

It wants at such times no adventitious aids to set it off.  The calm on
the contrary without some assistance, as rocks, fortifications or
figures, will hardly be able to support itself.  It is true you may place
a vessel in the fore-ground, but a ship at anchor lying with her whole
broadside to the eye, however noble it may be to contemplate or pleasing
by the goodness of the painting, will always be a formal object.  If you
wish to make it picturesque you must compose your fore-ground of some
projecting rock, or pier-head, a boat or two lying on the shore, and a
few appropriate figures; remove the ship in the fore-ground to the second
distance, with others in the last distance to mark the horizon, and with
these materials, if well managed, a very pleasing picture may be formed.

But a storm at sea has in itself sufficient grandeur to support it; the
vessel labouring with the sea, having all its formal lines broken by the
disposition of its sails, and which being, as is often the case, strongly
illuminated by the sun bursting through the gloom, with the whitening
surges breaking upon the shoals or dashing against the sides of the
vessel, doubly augmenting the blackness of the sea and sky, form a
contrast so noble as to render all other aids superfluous.

Sea fowls as having a peculiar character of their own, and also as
tending to mark that of a sea-coast view more strongly, have always been
considered, and with the greatest propriety, as objects highly
picturesque and amusing whether in natural or in artificial landscape.
Mr. Gilpin has treated of them at large in his Forest Scenery, with that
accuracy and elegance peculiar to himself; nor has another great master
done them less justice.

         “The cormorant on high
   Wheels from the deep and screams along the land;
   Loud shrieks the soaring hern; and with wild wing
   The circling sea fowl cleave the flaky clouds.”


Most strangers pay a visit to the light-house, which stands on an
eminence about three quarters of a mile to the eastward of the town, and
commands an extensive sea-view, the inland prospect is confined by a
range of hills forming an amphitheatre around it.  The tower built of
brick is only three moderate stories high, crowned with a lantern lighted
by fifteen patent lamps, each placed in a large copper reflector three
feet in diameter and finely plated on the inside; these placed round an
upright axis are kept in continual motion by jack-work, wound up every
five hours and a half, by which means a set of five reflectors are
presented to the eye in a full blaze of light every minute, the axis
being three minutes in performing its rotation.

The house was formerly lighted up with coals, which was not only an
uncertain light, but also a fixed one and was frequently mistaken; it was
therefore thought necessary to have it upon a principle differing from
any other upon this part of the coast to prevent such mistakes, the
consequences of which might prove so very fatal.  The lamps all the year
are lighted up at sun-set and extinguished at sun-rise; during the
longest nights in winter, the consumption of the best oil each night is
three gallons.

It is kept by two young women who receive from the Trinity-house an
annual salary of fifty-pounds, besides perquisites, and who constantly
reside on the spot, which for perfect neatness may vie with any place.
From the lantern a door opens to a light iron gallery which surrounds it,
and commands a sea view of many leagues.

Extending the walk a little further you get a pleasing view of the
village of Overstrand.  Shipping, also, is seen to much greater advantage
above than below the cliffs; and those who are fond of looking down
precipices may find amusement, their situation being between three and
four hundred feet perpendicular above the level of the sea.

Cromer Hall, the residence of George Wyndham, Esq. is a respectable old
house; there is nothing in the inside to repay curiosity, but the
sequestered walks in the wood near the house are very delightful.

These plantations make a very pleasing appearance from many places; taken
in front they are too formal and circumscribed, notwithstanding which
they prove the greatest possible ornament to the town of Cromer, and in
autumn are extremely beautiful.

_Section the Second_.

GOING down cliff at low-water the beach to the north of the jetty
presents a very pleasant walk of a mile and a half to the village of
Upper Runton, where ascending by a path cut through cliffs of a very
romantic form, on the edge of which stand some fishermens’ cottages, you
return to Cromer by a foot path close to the sea side; the country on the
right is cultivated and interspersed with hills covered with furze.

Approaching within half a mile, the town with the light-house, and hills
as a background, Mr. G. Wyndham’s woods and the mill make a pretty

A little further on is the Battery, which as it belongs to Cromer should
have been mentioned in the foregoing section.  It occupies a very fine
eminence commanding more than a semicircle and mounts four eighteen
pounders, which are exercised by the Cromer Loyal Volunteer Artillery;
being also well supplied with stores it affords excellent protection to
the shipping upon this part of the coast which bring up under it in cases
of danger.  It is but justice to add, also, in many instances the corps
have proved themselves extremely active in giving every assistance in
their power; and by the liberal allowance of powder and ball, provided by
Government, solely for practice, they are become very expert gunners.

I cannot here omit to mention the almost miraculous escape of Mr. Richard
Cook, a corporal, belonging to the corps, who was blown from the cannon’s
mouth while a salute was firing on the 4th of June, 1799, in honour of
his Majesty’s birth-day.  The gun at which he was stationed having been
badly spunged, the succeeding cartridge took fire and carried him over
the platform to the very edge of the cliff.  This unfortunate accident
happened as he was in the act of withdrawing the rammer, from the head of
which (it being driven into numerous splinters) he received at least
fifty wounds, most of them were very severe; notwithstanding which I am
happy to say, that by the blessing of a fine constitution, he is at this
time perfectly recovered without suffering even the loss of a finger or
being scarcely blemished.

_Section the Third_.

LEAVING Cromer take the Aylmerton or as it called the upper road to Holt,
which is preferable to the lower road running through Runton, Beeston,
and Sherringham, both because it is in itself better, and because the
views of the sea and country are more amusing.

The distance by either is ten miles.  Concluding therefore that the
Aylmerton road is taken, at the distance of about a mile and half from
Cromer are the plantations of the Rt. Hon. Wm. Wyndham, of Felbrigg,
which accompany the traveller on his left for more than half a mile,
during which space the views of the sea on the right are very pleasing.

The fore-ground being high, the eye is carried down a pretty steep
descent towards the shore, and being also a very unequal surface, a
constant variety is produced, the inequalities forming themselves into
vallies, through which is frequently seen, a church, a cottage or a
village to great advantage.

This is a very common species of landscape.  The towns and villages with
their churches situated on the verge of the coast, must consequently
often assume this appearance when seen from situations more inland, but
more particularly, when, as is here the case, the surface of the country
is uneven and sometimes woody.

It is a very happy circumstance in views of this kind when a woody knoll
presents itself as a fore-ground, this with a church or village in the
second distance, having the whole backed by the sea, is a composition
that can scarcely fail to please.

A little beyond the plantations before mentioned, which form a part of
the belt round Felbrigg Park, the sea is lost for about a mile, but ample
compensation is made by the country on the left which is very rich and
fertile.  The Felbrigg woods with the village of Aylmerton and its church
form a noble fore-ground, beyond which the view extends upwards of twenty
miles over a highly cultivated country; amongst the numerous churches,
the cathedral at Norwich is very conspicuous.

I entirely agree with Mr. Gilpin that a country retiring into a remote
distance is amongst the most pleasing circumstances in landscape, but
when it happens, as it does here, to be supported by objects near at hand
it is enchanting.  It is not unfrequent that a dreary heath is terminated
by a very pleasing distance, and it is certainly a very happy
circumstance for the traveller who views a country with a picturesque eye
when it is so, but it loses much for want of a fore-ground to support it;
sometimes here and there how an accidental group of cattle form a
pleasing substitute.

The most beautiful effect given to a distance I ever saw was one evening,
in my return from Holt, in the month of April.  The forepart of the day
had been cold and gloomy with frequent squalls, but towards the evening
the sun broke out at intervals with the utmost brilliancy, lighting up in
succession different parts of the landscape; the fore-ground was
principally in shadow, as was the second distance, but the remote
distance partook of the colour of the horizon which was a bright yellow,
but kept down by the mistiness of the atmosphere;—the utmost keeping was
preserved, producing at once the most sober and yet the most brilliant
picture that can possibly be conceived.  The clouds, except those in the
western hemisphere, floated in large dark masses, intermixed with smaller
light ones of the tenderest blue.

The view towards the sea, though, but faintly illuminated, was no less
pleasing, so that three or four pictures, all completely differing in
circumstance and detail, might have been painted from a scene with little
to recommend it, except where the sea formed a part of the view.

Upon the disposition of the air depends the colouring of the landscape,
of which no part of it partakes so much as the remote distance, and to
this it is that we owe that exquisite obscurity and tenderness which
stamp such value upon a distant prospect.

The study of nature by the rules of painting is capable of bestowing
other benefits besides what acrue to the arts; it leads us to inspect
every object with the minutest care, and by so doing learn to appreciate
its value.  The stump of a decayed old tree, the formation of a tussuck
of grass, or in short, innumerable things which pass unnoticed by the
casual observer, afford to the lover of nature a most delicious repast.
But, perhaps, there is nothing that tends more to harmonise the foul and
render it susceptible of the finer feelings, than a distant view melting
into the horizon, tinged with gold and diffusing its serenity over the
face of nature.

The pleasure of such moments, when the heart is filled with every
sentiment of benevolence, is frequently felt but can never be described:
the imagination following, the eye is naturally carried to that part of
the horizon which invelopes the habitation of those we admire and esteem;
it takes its seat by the social fire-side or its place in the friendly
evening’s ramble, it recalls past scenes of happiness, the amusements and
the friendships of our youth and paints them with a force inimitable: in
short such an unbounded scope is there allowed for the illusions of
fancy, that I am not altogether certain but that such ideal enjoyments
are more than equal to the majority of real ones which are anticipated
with so much ardour.  However if they do not exceed or equal, they must
at least be allowed to approach very near them; and I am inclined to
think that the number of those is not small who will concur with me in
this opinion.

Proceeding forward the sea again makes its appearance upon the right, and
continues a most delightful companion till you come within three miles of
Holt; the remaining part of the way is over a heath rather dreary and

Holt is a neat little town, with a market on Saturdays; there is an
excellent free grammar school, founded by Sir John Gresham, with a salary
paid to the master by the Fishmonger’s Company.

The return from Holt may be agreeably varied by taking the lower road,
and by which a very romantic view is obtained at Sherringham Hill.  About
two miles from hence are the ruins of Beeston Priory, the property of
Cremer Woodrow, Esq. which will afford pleasure both to the antiquarian
and the draftsman.  A small tower and the whole of the west gable wall of
the church are standing, and having its other parts well broken, of which
a great deal remains, form a very antique and handsome ruin.  It also
affords ample materials for an admirable sketch from the west gable,
through which the tower and the internal parts of the church are seen in
excellent perspective.  Its aspect too gives it every advantage it can
possibly receive from the vivid illumination of an evening sun.

This gable, one of the finest and most picturesque parts of the ruin, a
few years since was ornamented with a profusion of the finest ivy,
(probably the growth of a century) till unfortunately a thoughtless
wight, employed on the spot, laid his sacrilegious axe to the root of
this venerable appendage, to the great regret of the proprietor and of
every admirer of the reliques of antiquity.

The house to which it belongs, with the barn, stables and farm yard, have
been injudiciously placed close under the walls of the Priory, in fact
some small part of the ruins are converted into outhouses.  Had they been
suffered to stand by themselves the effect would have been much better—a
ruin can scarcely be too much sequestered or too distant from the haunts
of men. {33}

Beeston Priory was founded by the Lady Isabel de Cressy, in the reign of
King John, for Canons of the Order of Saint Austin and dedicated to Saint

Not far from the Priory, on the right hand, is a house belonging to
Cremer Cremer, Esq. where instead of keeping the direct road to Cromer,
take in at the white gate leading past the house.  The road winds in a
very romantic manner between the hills unto Felbrigg Heath, upon which
are the remains of a beacon;—the view from this spot is not altogether so
extensive as from the beacon at Trimmingham, but it is more diversified.

The foreground is rough and well broken and the dreariness of the heath
removed by the little patches of forest wood with which the vallies are
adorned.  Cromer with its light-house and lofty tower, Runton, Beeston
Priory and Sherringham, and as far as Blackney Harbour, the whole being
backed by the sea, form as fine a coast view as can well be imagined.

The same tract which led to the beacon, about half a mile further on,
opens into the Cromer road, under the plantations which were passed in
going to Holt and from which the whole retrospect is very pleasing.

_Section the Fourth_.

FELBRIGG, the seat of the Right Honourable William Windham, makes a very
pleasant morning’s excursion; it is three short miles from Cromer,
delightfully situated in the bosom of extensive and venerable woods.  The
oak, the beech and the spanish chesnut, seem congenial to the soil; and
the form of the ground, which consists of gently rising hills and vales,
is admirably constituted to shew to the greatest advantage the masses of
light and shade produced by such a combination.

Some of the trees, particularly the oak, bear the marks of great
antiquity, and the venerable state of decay into which they are fallen,
make them truly interesting objects and the ornament of the scene to
which they belong.

The oak stands, indisputably, the unrivalled king of the vegetable
tribe—strength joined to the most perfect beauty are its distinguishing
characteristics; {36} it fills every situation with dignity and equally
adorns the castle or the cottage; but it is when time has placed its
honours on its head, when its

               “boughs are mossed with age,
   And high top bald with dry antiquity,”

and it is approaching by slow but sure gradation to the period of a
glorious existence, that it becomes an object of the greatest beauty,
presenting to the lover of nature an ample scope of amusement.

The house has of late undergone considerable alteration, and when
finished will be both elegant and convenient.  It contains some good
pictures by Rembrandt, Bergham, Vanderveldt, &c.

The dining-room is decorated with good portraits of the Windham family.

In the drawing-room are several pictures; a Usurer by Rembrandt, and the
portrait of an Old Woman by the same master, supposed to be his Mother,
deserve particular attention; the latter is placed over the door by which
you enter the room but hangs too high.  There are, also, some good
representations of Sea-Fights; one in particular a pretty large picture,
by Vanderveldt, Jun. is a very spirited performance; the effect of the
smoke, from the vessels in the foreground, which is made to receive the
light, is very masterly; the subject is the Engagement between the
English and Van Tromp, in which Sir Edward Spragge was killed.  Its
companion by the elder Vanderveldt, is, also, a Sea-Fight, but a confused
and wholly uninteresting performance.  Over each of these pieces, is a
Storm, by Vanderveldt, Jun. in his usual stile of excellence.

At the other end of the room are two very fine Views of the River Thames,
one at Billinsgate Market, the other before the alteration at London
Bridge;—over one of these pictures is a Landscape by Bergham, and over
the other a small but highly coloured picture, the Finding of Achilles at
the Court of Lycomedes, said to be by Reubens.

From the drawing-room you proceed to the cabinet.  The small pictures are
by much the best; two or three Storms, by Vanderveldt, jun. in his best
manner; Cows Stalled, by Sagtleven, Scheveling Market, and a small
Landscape, by Paul Brill, are excellent; the trees of the latter are very
finely touched.

Some of the larger pictures are very good, particularly two Views, by G.
B. H. Busùri,—one of which is the Cascade of Terni.

The rest of the collection in this room is chiefly composed of Italian
Landscapes, and small Views of Italian Ruins in opaque colours.

One of the best pictures in the house is at present set aside; it is an
Italian Sea-Port in a Hazy Morning, every part of which is delicately

The pictures above stairs are of little worth, neither is there much else
to attract the attention, except the library, which is fitted up with
much gothic elegance and admirably corresponding with the old stile of
building of the south front.  The gloom thrown into the room by the
stained-glass windows and the sombre hue of the wainscot, which is of its
natural colour, make it a very proper retirement for study.

Two miles from Felbrigg stand the ruins of Beckham Old Church, which for
its size is one of the most elegant things which fancy can imagine.  The
walls of the middle aisle and the chancel are standing, and, also, the
south porch.  Beautiful fragments of the old gothic windows, in different
states of decay, are seen peeping through the ivy, which mantles in the
most luxuriant manner over almost the whole of its mouldering walls.

It is rendered still more delicious by the sequestered spot in which it
stands; there is but one house near it and that at such a distance as not
to interfere with the loneliness of its situation; and though it must
have been long, very long since its choir has rung responsive to the
notes of the parish clerk, joined by the simple rustic swains, raised to
the praise of their Creator, its little cemetery covered with turf
remains the sacred repository of the dead, many of whose peaceful ashes
lie shaded by the long arms of several venerable oaks.  Here

                “The mopeing owl does to the moon complain.”

Change the elms of Mr. Gray to oaks and his elegant poem exactly applies
to Beckham Church Yard. {41}

   “Beneath these rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
   Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
   Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
   The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.”

To a mind fond of retirement, the lonely ruin covered with ivy, the
cottage or the grove have infinite charms; they seem to be a refuge from
the storms of life and to have the power of soothing the mind, disordered
by discordant passions, to serenity and peace.

The imagination at liberty to enjoy its own reflections, revolves its
misfortunes, draws conclusions and compares the present with the past,
and is inspired by the situation with that kind of pleasing awe that bids
him look forward to brighter prospects.

_Section the Fifth_.

THE Ruins of the parochial Church at Thorp-Market having been lately
taken down and rebuilt in a peculiar stile, by the Right Honourable Lord
Suffield, the impropriator, attracts many spectators from its novelty.

The present structure, which was designed by Mr. Wood, is simple and
elegant; the materials are flint and free-stone, at each of the four
corners is a turret, and the points of the gables are terminated by a
stone cross after the monkish fashion.

The inside, consisting of only a single aisle, is finished with extreme
neatness and in parts with a considerable degree of taste.

The chancel is divided from the body of the church by a light gothic
wainscot screen, and an equal portion of the west end by a similar one.
The upper parts of each are decorated with modern glass paintings; the
subject of those at the chancel end are, in the center, the Dove sent
forth from the Ark, and on each side Moses and Aaron.  In the center of
the corresponding screen are the King’s Arms, well painted upon copper,
and on each side those of his Lordship’s family in painted glass.

The pulpit is placed against the north wall and is entered from a
staircase in the vestry, on each side is a door, over which are painted,
in imitation of bass relief, the symbolical figures of the Saints Mark
and Luke.

The greatest defect in the building is in the disposition of the
stained-glass in the windows, which instead of being concentrated in such
a manner as to throw that devotional gloom into the church which produces
such an evident effect upon the mind, and which appears to me to have
been the original intention of stained or painted glass, is scattered
over the whole window in small pieces, greens, purples, reds and yellows,
regularly intermixed with white, giving to the whole an appearance of too
much gaiety, independent of the unpleasant manner in which, in a day when
the sun is bright, the different colours of the glass are reflected over
the church and upon the persons of the congregation. {45}

There are three family monuments taken from the walls of the old church.
Another small but very elegant one has been added, in memory of Robert
and William Morden, second and fourth sons of the late Sir William Morden
Harbord, Baronet, and brothers to the present Lord Suffield.

This monument was executed by C. Rynart.

As in all human efforts there will be some defects, so it happens that
Thorp Church is not entirely free; but what few there are, are so well
counterbalanced by its beauties, which are numerous, that it cannot fail
to be in a high degree worthy the attention of the curious.

This church, with Gunton Hall, the seat of his Lordship, may be
conveniently inspected in a ride from Cromer to North-Walsham.

The house is by no means equal to the ideas we may be led to form of it
from the plantations which surround it.  It is, however, pleasantly
situated upon an eminence which overlooks an extensive sweep of the park
towards the south.

The description of the house, offices, and Gunton Church, which stand but
a small distance from each other, I shall quote from the History of
Norfolk, having myself never seen more than the outside, it not being, I
believe, publicly shown.

    “Gunton Hall, the seat of Sir Harbord Harbord, is at present a small
    house but is going to be enlarged and has lately been ornamented with
    new offices, under the direction of Mr. Wyatt.  They are by far the
    most complete buildings for the purpose of any thing in this kingdom;
    the new stile of architecture is by its lightness and extreme
    elegance well adapted to offices, and these are particularly worthy
    the attention of strangers, from the studied contrivance for
    conveniency in the apartments, as, also, for the slate covering,
    which consists of small square pieces of slate, each fastened by wood

    “Not far from the house is the parish church which by the late Sir
    William Harbord was taken down and rebuilt, with a magnificent
    portico of the Doric order; this receives an additional degree of
    sanctity from two venerable druidical oaks which grace the front of

North-Walsham is situated about three miles from Gunton, it is a dull,
unpleasant town with a market on Thursdays, a turnpike road has lately
been established from this town to Norwich, from which it is distant
fourteen miles.

Two miles from Gunton is Hanworth, the seat of Robert Lee Doughty, Esq.
an excellent modern house, situated in a small but very pleasant park,
well wooded and laid out with taste; a farm house and the parish church
which stands on an eminence, both in the park, are very pretty objects as
seen from the road.

_Section the Sixth_.

THE ride from Cromer to Mundesley will present the traveller with some
pleasing scenes; the road runs almost entirely along the coast, taking in
its course the villages of Overstrand, Syderstrand and Trimmingham.  On a
hill, about a mile through the latter village, stand the ruins of an old
beacon, which commands a noble prospect both of the sea and land; in very
clear weather Yarmouth is discoverable, and the cathedral spire at
Norwich very plainly to be seen.  Few, who pay a visit to Cromer, omit
seeing this view, which is, perhaps, the most extensive in the county of

About two miles further on is Mundesley, a straggling village, little
worthy of notice.  There is one bathing machine, and some few, though the
number is very small, frequent Mundesley in the bathing season.  The
accommodations are very confined, four or five houses at the utmost
appear at all calculated for the purposes of lodgings, and those are
situated close to the side of a dusty road.

The beach seems to be equally as good for bathing as at Cromer, and the
walking much the same, the tide at low water leaving a fine firm land.

The prospect upon the beach to the southward differs in appearance from
Cromer, by the land at Happisburgh jutting into the sea, forming a
promontory, which with the church and the two light-houses has a good

Every one who has made a study of nature is well aware of the different
appearance of the same spot as it is affected by the times of the day and
the changes of the weather; so much so, indeed, that it not unfrequently
happens that the whole beauty of a view depends upon such accidental
causes.  This was the case with the promontory at my first seeing it; the
clouds at its back were dark and heavy, opposed by a bright sun-shine
from the west, giving it a strong opposition of light and shadow, which
being harmonized by the fine purple tint with which it was overspread,
rendered it a very pleasing object.

In a few moments, the sun declining behind a cloud, the beauty of the
prospect vanished, and a heavy mass of apparently shapeless earth was
left to the view; and even of that the outline was almost obliterated by
the cloud descending over it in a hasty shower.

Excellent effects of light and shadow are sometimes produced even in a
dull gloomy day when the sun makes an attempt to break from his
obscurity; the clouds in that part becoming brilliant, their light is
strongly reflected upon distant objects.

Sea views are particularly adapted, when well adorned with shipping, to
give full effect to such partial lights; you will at such times, perhaps,
see the vessels on the fore-ground in deep shadow, and those in the
second distance strongly illuminated, while those in the last distance
shall be invested with a grey or purple tint.  These are called the
accidents {52} of painting, and the artist cannot be too careful in his
observations upon these effects, as he must entirely depend upon his
memory for producing them on canvass, which from continually changing
will seldom allow him to fix them on the spot.

It is a very common method in sketching a landscape (and where dispatch
is required by much the most ready) to make a mere outline and to
strengthen the memory by written references; and it is certainly an
excellent one when the shadow of objects are in some degree permanent,
but in the present instance they are so momentary and fleeting that
before an outline could be sketched the very shadows which gave a value
to the landscape would be lost.

It frequently happens that a spot without one beauty in itself acquire so
much, under the influence of these partial lights, as to appear the
“thing it is not.”  These appearances however, are often very beautiful,
but it is to be regretted that like all other borrowed ornaments they
only serve when laid aside to render the defects of the wearer the more

_Section the Seventh_.

THE Cottage at Northrepps or as it is some times called the Hermitage,
the country residence of Bartlett Gurney, Esq. might have been included
in the excursion to Mundesley, but as it is within a walk of Cromer,
being only distant about a mile and half, it will be doing no more than
justice to the beauties of the place to give it a section by itself.

The house which is flinted and thatched, with a gothic porch also
thatched, is fitted up with the greatest neatness and simplicity, and the
stained-glass which occupies the upper parts of the arches of the windows
throws a very pleasing light into the apartments.  The parlour which
commands an elegant view of the sea, is decorated with coloured prints,
extremely appropriate to the situation; such as the sailor-boy’s return,
the ship-wrecked sailor-boy telling his tale at a cottage door, &c. on
the chimney-piece are shells and pieces of polished lava.

The situation is very romantic in a deep narrow valley, through which is
seen the little Church of Overstrand, partly in ruins, and beyond it the
sea.  The views from different parts of the estate are many of them
beautiful and even in the present barren state of the hills are well
adapted to the pencil.  Overstrand Church and the sea, as seen from the
Northrepps road, is a view which comes into excellent composition;
fortunately there are in that spot a few trees of sufficient consequence
to divest it of nakedness and give it beauty.  Indeed, time only is
wanting to make this estate as elegant a situation as can be desired.

Planting has been done with a liberal hand and the healthy appearance of
the young trees, when the situation so near the sea is considered,
promises, hereafter, amply to reward the owner for his perseverance.

The difficulty of raising trees where there two such enemies as the
cutting winds from the sea and a numerous breed of rabbits, deters the
proprietors of estates from planning the number of hills which at present
lay waste; there is, also, another unfortunate circumstance that attends
planting, which is the slow growth of timber.  The first expence is
considerable and there is certainly some hazard, particularly where there
are such enemies as before-mentioned, but if it was attended to with
care, there is no doubt, but in time, it would much more than repay the

It is true, that the profits to the present possessor of an estate are
not very great.  He seldom begins to plant till half his life is spent,
but admitting that he begins at the age of thirty or forty, and chuses to
sell his estate at fifty or sixty, the growth of twenty or thirty thirty
years, even if it was little better than underwood, would certainly
considerably augment its value, betides the improvement on the score of
picturesque beauty, which is by no means inconsiderable and not to be

On a hill called Toll’s-Hill, not far from the house, is a very fine
echo.  This spot, literally speaking, is only a small portion of a range
of hills running towards Syderstrand; they command at all points a good
view of the sea, and in particular parts come into very decent
composition.  By descending into the vallies, the hills are brought to
fold over each other, and the land between them and the sea, which forms
the second distance, being interspersed with cottages and a few trees,
(though the latter are scarce articles so near the sea) renders the
situation in many parts very picturesque.

These hills are situated a small distance out of the beaten track, but
the lover of nature in order to see her to the greatest advantage must
often deviate from the high road, where indeed he will seldom see her to
his taste; not but a high road, under some circumstances, has the power
of affording much amusement and of making an excellent picture, but,
generally speaking, beautiful nature like humble modesty, retires from
the general gaze and must be sought for in seclusion.

_Section the Eighth_.

BLICKLING, late the seat of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, but now of the
Honourable Asheton Harbord, must from its external appearance command the
attention of the passing traveller, as also from its having been the
birth place of a Queen of England, Anne Bulleyn wife of Henry the Eighth.
It is a noble old building in the gothic taste, having a square turret at
each corner and one more lofty in the center with a cupola and clock.
The entrance from the court yard (on each side of which are ranged the
offices in the same stile of building with the house) is over a bridge,
of two arches, across the moat, through a gate house and small inner
court, and is very striking in its appearance; from this you enter the
hall 42ft by 33ft and 33ft in height.  The staircase, which is ornamented
with small figures carved in wood, branches off to the right and left
having a gallery of communication at the top, where are full length
statues of Anne Bulleyn and Queen Elizabeth.

From the hall you proceed to the anti-room 22ft square, where are
portraits of Sir John Hobart, Sir Henry Hobart, Sir Robert Rich, Sir
William Lemon, General Cope and Sir John Maynard.  The portrait of Sir
John Hobart is exceedingly fine, that of Sir Henry is striking as it
brings to our memory his unfortunate death, occasioned by a duel with Mr.
Le Neve, upon Cawston Heath, where a square monumental stone marks the
spot where the event took place.

The portrait of Sir Robert Rich is singular by a black patch over one of
the eyes.  From this you proceed to the dining room, over the chimney
piece of which are the arms of the family well carved with this motto

                          _Qua supra Anno Do_. 1627.

Lady Buckingham’s dressing room is adorned with prints; adjoining to it
is Lord Buckingham’s bed room in which is a double size chintz bed with a
curtain falling down in the center.  This bed is placed in an alcove,
supported by four pillars.


33ft by 21ft is a charming room, entirely calculated for comfort, being
furnished with a selection of the best authors, some excellent drawings
and a piano forte; out of this apartment is the


in which is a carved chimney piece rather curious; from this room you
again enter the hall and proceed upstairs to the tapestry room.  The
tapestry from which it takes its name does not appear to be remarkably
fine.  The next apartment is the


on each side the fire-place are portraits at full of the present King and
Queen, by Sir Joshua Reynolds.  The late Lord Townshend, Sir Charles
Brighthead, the Countess of Suffolk, the Earl of Leicester and Sir Robert
Walpole.  In this room is the chair of state, in which James the second
sat when at Dublin, it was given to the late Lord Buckingham when at
Clanbrassil, in 1792.  To look at this chair, which by the bye, certainly
conveys an idea of state in poverty, one can scarcely suppress a smile;
it is made, I believe, of no better materials than wainscot, covered with
a common crimson stuff, and so high that unless James had been possessed
of the legs of an O’Brien, it is utterly impossible they should ever have
reached the floor.  From this room you pass through two dressing rooms
the latter is Lady Caroline’s, adorned with prints, from which you
proceed to the


42ft by 25ft and 22ft in height; it is hung with pink sattin, the ceiling
stucco, richly but lightly ornamented, having the four corner
compartments with that in the middle (from which is suspended a beautiful
glass chandelier) stained with a delicate pink which has good effect; and
harmonizes well with the other parts of the room.  One end of this
charming apartment is adorned with a figure in tapestry, as large as
life, of the Czar Peter, whose attitude with that of the horse is
excessively spirited and fine; the back-ground to this noble performance,
which is said to be needle-work, represents all the confusion of a
battle, which the Czar is supposed to be directing, he is without a hat,
his hair is black and bushy and his eyes which are black and uncommonly
piercing, added to a well-turned head, have given all that fire and
animation to his countenance which his situation would seem to call
forth.  This superb ornament was given to the late Lord Buckingham by the
Empress of Russia.

At the other end, of the same size, is a very fine painting of George the
Second, also, on horse-back.  On each side the fire-place are whole
length portraits, of Lord and Lady Buckingham, by Gainsborough.  The
chimney piece is very fine.  Adjoining this room is the


33ft by 21ft which is fitted-up upon an equal scale of magnificence; the
bed which is of crimson damask, ornamented at the head with the arms of
the royal family, is placed under an alcove, supported by four fluted
pillars of white and gold, corresponding with the other parts of the
room, which is hung with white tabby, the mouldings, cornice, ceiling,
&c. richly ornamented with gilding.

Under a very splendid looking-glass stands a beautiful marble table, on a
gilt frame, and over the chimney-piece (which is unfortunately not in a
good situation) is an exceeding fine portrait of Judge Hobart, in his
robes; this, with the portrait of Sir John Hobart before mentioned, I
think carries every appearance of having been executed by Holbein.

From these two truly beautiful apartments, you are carried to the
library, which does not in my opinion answer the ideas which we are led
to form from its general character.  Its length, which is 125ft, when
compared with its breadth, which is only 22ft, renders it merely a strip;
it is, however, well calculated for a dancing-room, to which purpose, I
believe, it has been chiefly applied.  The ceiling is stucco, divided
into five compartments, which are relieved with emblematical figures of
the five senses.

Having particularized the principal things within, you proceed to the
park, which is very extensive and profusely adorned with wood.  It has
the advantage, also, of a fine piece of water, nearly a mile in length
and in its broadest part four hundred yards; the northern bank is richly
fringed with wood, from which you view the opposite side of the lawn,
which rises gradually for a considerable space, broken at intervals by
large plantations of oak and beach.  A banqueting room, to which is
attached a tower commanding an extensive prospect, terminates the view
very agreeably.

About a mile from the house stands the mausoleum, a freestone building in
the form of a pyramid, in which are deposited the remains of the late
Lord Buckingham and his first lady.  Its situation is very happily chosen
in the midst of a large and venerable wood, whose solitude appears only
to be broken by the prying curiosity of the stranger or the foot-steps of
the nimble deer.

In the church, which stands very near the house and contiguous to the
public road from Aylsham to Holt, are many inscriptions and effigies in
brass, some few monuments and a handsome tomb of the Clere’s and the
Boleyn’s.  In a vault, under the north aisle, are deposited nineteen of
the relations and ancestors of the late Earl of Buckingham, amongst whom
are his father and mother, with the Honourable Henry Hobart before
mentioned; the coffins are placed in upright positions and most of them
covered with black or crimson velvet.  The late Lady Buckingham was
interred in a vault in the chancel, but upon the death of her lord her
remains were taken up and conveyed to the mausoleum.

Blickling is distant but a mile and a half from Aylsham, a neat
market-town, with an excellent neighbourhood; it is situated on the river
Bure, which is navigable to Yarmouth, for boats of thirteen tons burthen;
its distance from Norwich, over a turnpike road, is, eleven miles, and
the same from Cromer and Holt.

The road from Aylsham to Cromer is very pleasing, the country all the way
rich, woody and fertile.  In Erpingham field the views are extremely
pleasing, and within a mile of Cromer the road is highly picturesque, it
winds through a hollow way well ornamented with trees, whose long arms
meeting across the road frequently form themselves into arches, through
which the sea breaks in at intervals with the finest effect.

A lane often presents the painter with admirable studies for foregrounds,
they are, more generally than any other parts of nature, set off with
rugged old pollards, stretching their long arms athwart the road, their
furrowed trunks and twilled branches being enriched with stains and
mosses of all hues, from the light grey and brilliant yellow to the dark
green approaching to black.  The bank it shelters at the same time,
affording a cool retreat to the cow, the sheep and the ass, any of which
are highly picturesque; and the relief given to them, particularly if the
bank is rather steep and broken, by the richness of the soil, which is,
also, sometimes hollowed into little recesses overhung with moss, roots
and trailing plants, is beyond conception.  With materials as simple as
these does Morland produce the most enchanting effect; indeed, we are
always inclined to be pleased with a performance in proportion as it
approaches nature, provided the objects are well selected.  Morland’s
pictures are her very counterpart, they possess so much character and are
handled with such spirit, that it is impossible for the spectator, fond
of rural scenes, to examine them without feeling the most lively interest
in the subject.

The opposition between the foliage of young and old trees, the colouring
of their barks and the ramification of their boughs, are circumstances of
great picturesque effect.  A beautiful young ash, for instance, never
appears to greater advantage than when, tinged with the autumnal frosts,
it is opposed to the dark green foliage of the venerable oak, from whose
robust form it seems to implore protection; heightened by contrast, the
beauties of each are set forth in the strongest point of view, and afford
an instance where the greatest opposition, both in form and colour, are
exhibited in nature, and may be equally so in a picture, without in the
smallest degree violating the principles of harmony.

Figures in a road are another great source of amusement, and whether in
motion or at rest, are equally pleasing; they create an interest in the
mind by being strongly contrasted with inanimate objects.  If at some
distance, we are naturally led to enquire who they may be or what their
employment; and if a single figure happens to be reclining upon the bank
or leaning upon his staff, we probably form in our imagination the
subject of his thoughts.

The devious and irregular windings of a lane, well stored with such
picturesque appendages, keep up a continual expectation; something new
opens at every step, the form of every object is varied, the lights and
shadows, also, are varied in the same proportion; sometimes through a
fortunate opening in the fence a cottage displays its humble roof; at
other times a rich distance bursts upon the view, receiving a double
charm from its unexpected appearance.

Such accidental circumstances give the lane a considerable advantage over
the more extended prospect, to obtain which it is perhaps necessary to
travel over many miles of uninteresting country.

_Section the Ninth_.

WOOLTERTON, the seat of the Right Honourable Lord Walpole, is an elegant,
modern built, mansion, situated in a large park, well ornamented with
wood and water, but too flat to be possessed of very great beauty.  At a
short distance from the house, is a ruin highly picturesque, the tower of
a church, of which no part else remains; it is a beautiful small
fragment, but appears to be too much skreened by the ordinary fir trees
with which it is encompassed, and which seem worse than they really are,
by being every where surrounded with fine timber.

The house is said to be ornamented with a considerable quantity of
tapestry, of superior excellence, particularly some chairs, upon the
seats of which are exhibited the fables of Æsop.

I have never seen the inside of Woolterton, and, indeed, of the park I am
qualified to say but little, having surveyed it in a very casual way; but
from what I have seen and from the report of others, it appears to be a
residence worthy of its noble owner, who generally resides on the spot,
and whose private character is highly estimable.

_Section the Tenth_.

IN returning from Holt to Cromer, the traveller is merely brought through
Upper Sherringham, which is distanced something more than a mile from
that which is denominated Lower Sherringham, situated upon the edge of
the cliff.

So miserable are both these places in themselves, that they could hardly
be supposed to contain any thing worth the attention, but as it
frequently happens that those things which at first so much disgusted,
afterwards upon a familiar acquaintance, put on a more favourable
appearance, and in the end become objects of delight, I flatter myself
that if the villages of Upper and Lower Sherringham are so unfortunate as
to be incapable of claiming attention, their environs, in point of
scenery, will amply make up the deficiency.

Passing through Upper Sherringham from Cromer, leaving the Holt road on
the left, the traveller is carried past the house of Cooke Flower, Esq.
the proprietor of the beautiful estate which affords the materials that
serve to compose this section.  The situation of which is by no means a
letter of recommendation to the scenes he is approaching.  It is not the
house but the grounds about it that demand attention, therefore it is to
be hoped that his disappointment, if symptoms of that kind are excited,
will vanish as he proceeds.

This estate, properly speaking, comes under the denomination of an
adorned farm, by which declaration, I have to request that my readers
will not be alarmed by the fear of being led through a succession of
scenes too frequently disgusting, by an ostentatious display of trifling
puerilities; the nicest taste will not be offended, yet it is adorned,
but it is adorned after nature’s model.

Like the rest of this part of the Norfolk coast, it consists of uneven
ground rising into bold swells, which by the assiduity and perseverance
of the late Mr. Flower are now richly clothed with wood from their
summits to their base, and united by the most elegant slopes to the rich
vallies that divide them.

Some of these woods appear thick and impenetrable, while others more open
discover through their foliage the most luxuriant and inviting turf,
tempting the traveller oppressed with the heat of a summer’s sultry sun,
to exclaim in the language of THOMPSON

   “Still let me pierce into the midnight depth
   Of yonder grove, of wildest largest growth;
   That, forming high in air a wood land quire,
   Nods o’er the mount beneath.  At every step,
   Solemn and flow, the shadows blacker fall,
   And all is awful listening gloom around.”

Among these truly sylvan scenes the sea unfolds its ample bosom; under
every circumstance of variation it is an object of awful grandeur; but,
perhaps, in its more peaceful moments, when its surface is unruffled by
the wind, it is best adapted to scenes like these, where all is harmony
and repose.

Here too, at certain seasons of the year, the flock roams at large; the
wood, the hill, and the valley, are alike subject to the impression of
its wandering feet, and scattered in groupes over the landscape add
greatly to its beauty.

The picturesque figure of the shepherd attended by his dog, the faithful
companion of his solitary hours, in whatever situation we find him,
whether collecting his scattered flock or indolently stretched at ease
upon the verdant turf, are circumstances of the most pleasing kind.

            “Amid his subjects safe,
   Slumbers the monarch-swain, his careless arm
   Thrown round his head, on downy moss sustain’d;
   Here laid his scrip, with wholesome viands fill’d;
   There, lift’ning every noise, his watchful dog.”

Neither must we forget the rural situation of the shepherd’s cottage;
this subject has often been the theme of authors, both in fiction and
reality; here happily it has in reality the very situation we should wish
it to enjoy, sunk in the bosom of its wood crowned hills, it appears
though a lowly cot, the very mansion of peace.

By this description, I do not mean the cottage placed by the hand of art,
and made merely to suit the situation, but the real residence of humble
industry, solely for use, not ornamented, and which time has naturalized
to the soil it occupies.  This gives it double value; its moss-grown
thatch and time-stained walls are both in colour and form in perfect
harmony with the objects that surround it, and, the knowledge that it is
really the habitation of the peasant, though we see not its inhabitants
is congenial with our feelings, and aid the delusions which such scenes
impress upon the senses.  Connexion of objects which ought to be the
prevailing principle in every kind of decoration, is too often the last
circumstance that is attended to; by connexion I mean that objects ought
to be adapted to the situation they are intended to occupy, both in form
and colour; and this principle holds good almost in an equal degree in
the internal parts of a house, as in those decorations which are employed
about the pleasure grounds.

In painting it is a general rule that no invention, drawing or execution,
can make amends for want of harmony; a single predominant colour out of
place destroys the effect of a picture.  It is the same in a real
landscape, any object out of place, or that does not connect with the
scene, or even admitting that it is well situated if its construction be
disagreeable, or what is worse its colour, it becomes offensive, it fixes
the attention to the spot and disgusts in proportion as it has the power
of obtruding itself on the view.

The approach from hence to Weybourn, another village upon the sea coast,
is highly picturesque.  An ancient ruin of part of the monastic church,
adjoining the parish church, from its peculiar stile of building may be
worth the attention of the curious in the researches of antiquity, though
it is capable of affording but little to the sketch book of the artist.

From Weybourn instead of returning to Cromer by the same road, the
traveller will keep along the edge of the sea coast, having on his right
hand the woods which he had before passed between.

By this route he is carried to Lower Sherringham, where there is a good
house of entertainment, with rooms so delightfully situated, that at high
water you may actually conceive yourself at sea; indeed, there is
scarcely a foot path left between the house and the cliff, and no little
care has been taken to exclude it from the rude embrace of that
boisterous element.

Hither parties are frequently formed for the purpose of eating lobsters,
where they are to be had in the same perfection as at Cromer.  A small
share of that variety is also furnished for which human nature pants so

The beach spreads before its wanderers the same inviting surface and the
sea as noble an expanse as at Cromer.  Here, too, they may either invoke
the Nereides or admire the sublime and splendid beauties of a summer’s
sun, setting in the ocean, a circumstance which Thompson has noticed with
exquisite accuracy and equal elegance.

   “Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees
   Just o’er the verge of day; the shifting clouds
   Assembled gay, a richly gorgeous train,
   In all their pomp attend his setting throne.
   Air, earth, and ocean, smile immense.  And now,
   As if his weary chariot fought the bowers
   Of Amphitrite and her tending nymphs;
   (So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orbs;
   Now half immersed; and now a golden curve
   Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.”

  [Picture: Decorative graphic of a tree and tombstone with Finis on it]

ERRATA. {82}

    Page 8  For the autumnal equinox, read _in_ the autumnal,
      — 14  For water, read _waters_.
      — 29  For obsurity read _obscurity_.
      — 37  For massed with age, read _mossed_.
      — 38  For in is read in _his_.
      — 42  For composes, read _compares_.
      — 54  For distance, read _distant_.
      — 68  For set of, read set _off_.
      — 76  For wildest, largest growth, read _of_ wildest, &c.

                                * * * * *

                      PRINTED BY JOHN PARSLEE, HOLT.


{9}  I wish it was in my power to say, that scenes of this nature always
terminated so favourably; but a most fatal instance happened to the
contrary at Cromer, in the afternoon of the 2nd of February, 1799.  About
three o’clock a boat with a number of men was seen making toward the
shore—the surf on the beach was dreadful, and it was the general opinion
that the boat could not live through it—and it was but too just!—for it
no sooner came amongst the breakers than the first sea half filled it,
and another quickly following before it could right, it carried the boat,
in an instant, with its unfortunate crew, to the bottom.  A boat from the
shore had before been launched to give them assistance if possible—but it
was in vain; the hazard was so imminent that the trial was ineffectual;
only two out of twelve souls escaped; the captain and a poor boy—the
latter was taken up to all appearance dead and was with great difficulty
recovered.  These unfortunate men were Danes, their vessel laden with
timber had struck upon a sand the night before this melancholy
catastrophe, and they had taken to their boat as a desperate resource to
save their lives, which were almost exhausted for want of sustenance, not
having been able to come at any food from the state of the ship for the
two preceding days.

{33}  Ruinated structures (says Shenstone) appear to derive their power
of pleasing from the irregularity of surface, which is variety, and the
latitude they afford the imagination to conceive an enlargement of their
dimensions or to recollect any events or circumstances appertaining to
their pristine grandeur.

{36}  All trees have a character analogous to that of men.  Oaks are in
all respects the perfect image of the manly character.  In former times I
should have said, and in present times I think I am authorised to say,
the British one, as a brave man, is not suddenly either elated by
prosperity or depressed by adversity;—so the oak displays not its verdure
on the sun’s first approach nor drops it on his first departure.  Add to
this its majestic appearance, the rough grandeur of its bark and the wide
protection of its branches.

A large branching oak is, perhaps, the most venerable of all inanimate

                                     _See Shenstone’s Essay on Gardening_.

{41}  By this I do not mean to insinuate that Beckham Church Yard has any
claim to the honour of having given birth to that beautiful elegy, but to
infer that its merits as an elegant ruin, joined to its sequestered
solitude, might place it upon the footing of no mean rival to those that
have disputed the pre-eminence.

{45}  Whoever has seen King’s College Chapel or any other building where
there is a profusion of painted glass and where the other parts are
fitted up with Norway oak, the colour of which is dark brown, must have
perceived a visible effect produced by the solemnity of its appearance.
In all churches having any claim to antiquity the light appears to have
been sparingly introduced, and to me it has always a very pleasing

{52}  An accident in painting is an obstruction of the sun’s light by the
interposition of clouds in such a manner that some part of the earth
shall be in light, and others in shade, which, according to the motion of
the clouds, succeed each other, and produce such wonderful effects and
changes of the claro-obscuro as seem to create so many new situations.

This is daily observed in nature and as this newness of situations is
grounded only on the shapes of the clouds, and their motions, which are
very inconstant and unequal, if follows, that these accidents are
arbitrary; and a painter of genius may dispose of them to his own
advantage when he thinks fit to use them.

                                                     _See Mons. du Piles_.

{82}  The errata has been applied to this eBook.—DP.

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