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ture was of precisely the same character as Hampton Court; during the period of the Commonwealth this building was almost wholly destroyed.
At the Restoration, the Queen-mother was again put in possession of Oatlands; at her death it was leased out for different terms to persons enjoying the favour of the Crown; among these were the Duke of St. Albans and Sir Edward Herbert, Justice of the King's Bench in the reign of James the Second, whose measures he supported; being excepted from the pardon granted by King William, he followed his master into Ireland and France, where he died.
His son, a naval officer of distinction, whose opposite principles led him into the service of King William, recovered the fee simple of this estate, but dying without issue, devised by will all his property to the Earl of Lincoln.
The house was built, and gardens laid out, by George Holles, Duke of Newcastle, about the year 1725.
. His nephew, Duke Henry, resided at Oatlands in the house built on the terrace, enlarged the park, and made great plantations. His Royal Highness the late Duke of York purchased the estate of Oatlands from the Duke of Newcastle, and having bought several adjoining estates, including a thousand acres of waste lands, commenced the consolidation of the present magnificent demesne.
The house was consumed by fire during the absence of the Duke with his army in Flanders; a new mansion, every way unworthy the princely demesne, was soon after completed from the designs of Holland. At the foot of the terrace is a piece of water of considerable extent, supplied by springs.
The river Thames is not seen, and Walton Bridge, which terminates the view that way, seems to span this river ; near some springs which rise on the side of the hill, between the house and kitchen garden, and which have been formed into a small lake, is a magnificent grotto, said to have cost the sum of four thousand pounds. It consists of several apartments, and a winding passage, in which is a small bath, supplied by a spring dripping through the rocks; the sides and roof are incrusted with shells, ores, and petrifactions. On the side of the park towards Walton, is an arch or gateway, with this incription :-"Henricus Comes de Lincoln, hunc Arcum opus Ignatii Jones, vetustate corruptum, restituit."
The park and surrounding grounds are nearly six miles in circumference, containing about three thousand acres.
BYFLEET adjoins Weybridge to the north, and was long a royal demesne. Edward the Second is supposed to have resided here at intervals; from this place he dated his order for the arrest of the Knights Templars. King James the First settled the manor upon his son, Prince Henry, and after his decease upon the Queen ; “who began,” says Aubrey, a
“who began,” says Aubrey, a “noble house of brick," which was afterwards completed by Sir James Fullerton, one of the King's favourites.
Byfleet has been the residence of two men differently distinguished in the world of letters,—Stephen Duck, the poetical thresher, and the Reverend Joseph Spence, an excellent scholar, and most amiable man. Stephen Duck was originally an agricultural labourer, but having attracted some notice by his pursuit of the Muses under difficulties, was patronised by Queen Caroline, who bestowed upon him a small place, that of keeper of a temple erected in Richmond Gardens.
An edition of his Poems in quarto was published in 1736, with a preparatory memoir by Mr. Spence, without any pretensions to poetical merit ; the distinguished patronage of the Queen procured for Duck greater attention than he merited, or had any right to expect.
Having taken orders, he was instituted to the rectory of Byfleet, a promotion that would seem to have turned his brain, as he soon after destroyed himself in a fit of melancholy insanity.
Spence first distinguished himself in literature by an Essay on Pope's Odyssey, which is characterised by Warton as a work of the truest taste. He was patronised by the then Duke of Newcastle, who gave him the use of a pleasant house and grounds here. Spence was Fellow of New College, Oxford, and Professor of Poetry there; he held also the appointment of Regius Professor of History at Oxford. His principal contribution to literature was his “Polymetis, or an inquiry concerning the agreement between the works of the Roman poets, and the remains of the ancient artists; being an attempt to illustrate them mutually from each other ;” a happy idea, carried out very happily by the learned and ingenious author. In this work occurs a pleasing moral poem, called “The Choice of Hercules,” which is generally read and admired.
Mr. Spence was drowned in a canal in his garden, here, into which he was supposed to have fallen in a fit of apoplexy.
Ham House, in this parish, often confounded with the mansion of the same name near Petersham, was a royal gift to Catharine Sedley, mistress of James the Second, and Countess of Dorchester.
This woman had a pension of four thousand pounds a year : she died at Bath, twenty-seven years after the expulsion of her royal and religious protector.
Still pursuing the windings of the stream, we reach Shepperton, a pleasant retired village in Middlesex, distant four and a half miles from Staines, and seventeen from London.
The parish is bounded by Sunbury, Walton, Littleton, and Weybridge. The Saxon etymology signifies the Abiding-place of Shepherds.
A little distance to the west of Walton Bridge, are the celebrated Coway Stakes, which have excited so much controversy among antiquaries; Camden contending that Cæsar crossed the Thames at this point, encamping his army upon St. George's Hill, near Chertsey, where traces of one of those earth-works, popularly called Roman camps, are still distinctly visible. Other distinguished antiquaries, among whom are Daines Barrington, are of opinion that Cæsar never did cross the Thames. Mr. Lysons inclines to their opinion, observing, “that it appears much more probable that these stakes, supposed to have been placed in the bed of the river to oppose the advance of the Romans, are neither more nor less than the remains of a fishing weir.”
The parish church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, consists of a chancel, nave, and two transepts, with, at the west end, a small square tower, embattled. The Reverend Lewis Atterbury, brother of the celebrated bishop of Rochester, rector of the parish, rebuilt the church, chiefly at his own expense, in 1710. There are no monuments in the church of any general interest.
In the churchyard are the following singular inscriptions in Latin, now much effaced, of which a translation may be acceptable to some of our readers
Here, in a foreign land, quietly repose the bones of Benjamin Blake ; scatter a little earth upon his grave, thou who hast nothing else to do, and if a tear steals adown thy cheek be not ashamed of it; for below reposes a servant than Davus quicker, than Sancho himself more humorous, than Argus more watchful.
“From the island of Columbo, voyaging across the pathless ocean, he followed his master to these shores, where, unlike most men, he found only
change of soil and climate ; preserving here, as elsewhere, the same honest principles, the same devoted attachment to his master, the same prompt obedience. Go to Mauritania, reader, learn duty of an Ethiop, and know that virtue inhabiteth skins of other colours than thine own.”
“Not far from the remains of her husband, whom she tenderly loved, his partner Cotto Blake, from the same far-distant land carried into Britain, and serving the same master, desired her ashes to repose.
“Skilled was she in the arts in which Pallas was skilful, and more ingenious than the ingenious Arachne; whether plying deftly the needle or the shears, you could have sworn that her ready fingers had been guided by Minerva. Her husband taken prematurely from her side, she languished until a charitable fever soon after consigned her to his grave.
“To the honest memory of this faithful pair, Sir Patrick Blake, of Langham, in the county of Suffolk, Baronet, a friend to virtue, wheresoever or in whomsoever he may find it, raised this memorial.”
At Shepperton lived William Grocyn, vicar of the parish, the correspondent
and friend of Erasmus, who is said to have resided here, for a time, before removing to the hospitable mansion of his generous patron, Sir Thomas More.
Shepperton is one of the favourite resorts of London anglers; the deeps are proverbial among the “gentle craft” for piscatorial triumphs; in truth, the quantities of the finny tribe said to have been captured in Hadley’s-hole, where our brother anglers now appear busily engaged, surpass all bounds of calculation.
From Shepperton, by land or water, we are easily enabled to gain
a market town in Surrey, twenty miles south-south-west from London. The parish is situated on the south-western side of the river Thames, and is bounded to the north by this river and Egham; by the same river and Weybridge parish on the east; by Chobham and Byfleet on the south; and by Thorpe and Chobham on the west. The country immediately adjoining the river is low and level, and is protected from inundations by an artificial mound or causeway, extending from Egham to Staines.
The town consists principally of two long and tolerably wide streets, intersecting at right angles; the houses, many of which are excellent, are chiefly of brick.
The manor of Chertsey was originally part and parcel of the endowment of the monastery ; at the dissolution, in 1536, of the conventual establishments, the manor was seized by the Crown, and retained until a recent period, as part of the crown lands.
King James the First settled it on his eldest son, Prince Harry, and after his death granted it in trust, to Sir Francis Bacon and others, with other estates, for a term of ninety-nine years, for the use and benefit of his second son Charles, then Prince of Wales. Charles, soon after he succeeded to the crown, becoming distressed for money, it was proposed to the copyholders of this manor, that for the present payment of a given sum, their fines should be made certain, and they should be exempted in future from the payment of heriots.
Charles the Second settled this manor on his queen, Catherine of Braganza, who granted a lease of it to John Sayer, her Vice Chamberlain. The lease was for many years vested in the Bridgewater family, and the late Duke of Bridgewater enjoyed a lease of the manors of Chertsey and Hardwick, with the site of the same, and the demesne lands, for thirty-one years, expiring in 1810.