The travel Journal of Francis Godolphin


Basingstoke, 5 July, 1690
From Francis Godolphin
To John Evelyn
f.Xt Ch: JE Incoming Letters G - J; No. 848
 

    Dear Grand Papa

In Obedience to your Commands and my own inclenations to endeavour whatever you desire of me I write this to give a short account of our long journey which is now so near a conclusion that I think the Greek Grammar a more proper exercise for me at this time; but if you are diverted with it for a few moments as I have been for 6 weeks I shall not Grudge my pains. I set out munday the 26 of may from Eaton with a merry heart and chearfull Countenance for Cranborn where I met the rest of the Travellers; we lay there that night which was wett and part of the next day which made our Journey the more pleasant: after dinner we sett out and called at Bagshott and were much intreated to stay there all night, however we proceeded on our Journey and Arived soon at my Lord Ball's Chappell of which we had a full view , and it is remarkable for this it is made of one entire stone which perhaps may be the reason of it's being so famous throughout England, there being few other curiosities observable in it: we lay that night at Basingstoke near unto which is Basing House belonging to the Duke of Boulton and burnt in the late Civil war: next day we dined at Stockbridge where there is good fresh water Fish and were entertained the whole Journey with the best provisions places could afford: that night we lay at Salisbury which town did not answer my expectation but the Church indeed is very pretty and the Spire amazing when one considers the vast height and neat proportion, but of this Fabrick there are so many excellent descriptions extant that I will not amuse my self to do it much worse. next morning in our journey we visited Wilton the seat of the Earl of Pembrook upon a fine river which runs through the Garden in which there is a very Pleasant Grotto; we viewed all the Curiosities of the House but it would take up many hours for me to discribe it ill and I will not do so much injury to a place that pleased me infinitely: we lay at Wincaunton that night and next day dined at Yarlington with an Aunt of my Papa's; tis a strong free:stone house not large but very commodious the seat of my great Grandfather Sir Harry Berkley by whome it was given to my Uncle Sir William. we stay'd there 2 or 3 days and visited Bruton a good old house of my Lord Fitzharding's. Munday in our way to Axminster we passed by George-Hinton a very fine seat of my Lord Paulet's this town is upon a great river. Tuesday we dined at Exeter and I went to see the Church and great Tom and the Choir which was in great order. I also went over the famous walk of Norney: that night we lay at Crediton and the next night at Launceston after we had passed Polston Bridge which is over a river that parts Devonshire and Cornwall; this towne stands upon the topp of a hill and it is all about it so steep that in some places it is dangerous passing; there is an old strong Castle which apears very formidable and it is the County Goal. from thence we went to St Colombe in the way to it we went over War- bridge which is the finest I ever saw except London . it is built of Stone and has 17 Arches. it crosses an Arm of the North Sea which we see for many miles together. in that and the next days Journey that brought us to Godolphin where I for 3 weeks was very much delighted  otwithstanding a great deal of Company that came every day and filled up all the lower Roomes; for all that I went a Hunting and to the Hurlings which were new to me though very pleasant however. I must not forget to tell you how it is situated it stands on the side of a Hill but low and is a very old seat tis a large old house built of stone the front upon Pillers with flat Arches both within and without, there are above 40 Chimneys in it and near a 100 Romes of all sorts belonging to it, abundance of Trees about it and a great deal of Garden not walled but fenced in with Hedges; within a Mile is the Ball Which formerly was of great advantage but now the price of Tin is so low and the Mines so deep that the charge eats up much of the profitt. I was several times at Breag Church where I was shewed my Mama's grave which is not remarkable having never a Marble Stone upon it as those of my Grandfathers and Grandmothers just by it, Godolphin is not above 3 Miles from the South and North Sea where there is a Church almost wholly lost in the sand so that they did not officiate in it for many years but the sand is now wonderfully blown off from one end of it so that they say prayers in the Belfry. the Mount 4 Miles distant is an odd situation it is a most mighty rock in the sea with a house and Church with 4 Bells in it on the top of it.in the house there are many very tollerable Romes. in it there is a very large dining Rome and 4 or 5 good Chambers a very pretty Kitchin and a good Pantry Larder and Cellar, two Dungeons in this house and very deep ones too: at full sea there is no coming to it but with Boats. one may ride to it many hours together or walk upon a Causey and the sand every day when the sea is out; it is about a quarter of a Mile from the Shoar. I was likewise to visit the lands end which is reckoned to be 12 Cornish Miles from this place. tis a long Range of Rocks steep and craggie but with help I got down pretty near the sea: from this I was shewed the Islands of Scilly which in a clear day may be seen much more perfectly. in this remote part of the Country is full of Stones and Rocks the ways narrow and not passable for a Coach but a few miles distance there is a very good Lane  And the finest Prospect for Variety that can be seen any where. I was likewise carried to see the Harbour of Falmouth shut in by the two Castles of Pendennis and St Maus which I had a View of from Triffusis a Gentlemans seat of that name and at the same time of the Towns of Falmouth and Penrin of Arweneck and several other fine seats and of all the harbour, from which place two days before were to be seen the French Fleet lying very near it which caused some consternation in the minds of the People. I was likewise to see Tregorthnan Mr Boscawen's it lyes over a very fine River 5 or 6 Miles above the Harbour. tis a good seat stands high has a very good house upon it newer built that  (sic) any else I have seen in that Country. Tehidee [?] a ancient seat belonging to Mr Basset a very good family I was at, it stands near the North sea upon the edge of the finest down I ever saw. There is a race of four Miles long as level as a Bowling green. Thursday the 26 of June we parted from Godolphin and returned the same road as before to St Colombe and Launceston and from thence went to the North of Devonshire to visit my Aunt Northcote at Kings-nimpton which is a fine seat a delicate Park and a very convenient old house. it stands between Hills which are so steep and thick that the ways are hardly passable for a Coach so that when we were within 2 Miles of it we were fain to go 6 or 7 before we could come at it: we lay there 3 nights and on Tuesday the 1 of July through Tiverton a Town in Devonshire we came to Wellington a town upon the Borders of Somersetshire; between that and Taunton where we stopp'd the next day is the finest and richest country I ever saw; we went over a Moor for five Miles together upon which the Duke of Monmouth fought which is perectly levell, the greatest part of the year it is covered with water but at this time dry and full of all sorts of Cattle. we passed through Lamport and Somerton and lay at Castle Cary famous for a Minerall-water that is near it, unto which is much resort and 2 Miles from Bruton. the next day we reached Salisbury and the day after Basingstoke where this account was began but I had not time to finish it. Saturday the 5th we called at Bagshot and came to Cranborn after nere 6 weeks absence here I met with so much diversion at first and so much business afterwards at Eaton as I hope will obtain your pardon for being so slow in performing your Commands which I beseech you to believe could only prevail with me to trespass thus long upon your time and patience and having that apologie for my impertinence I will offer at no other but


                remain Sir your most obedient and affectionate servant

                                                                                                    Francis Godolphin