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§§ 150 HOME SCENES, OR

Near the ravine in the wood was once a poor fisherman's hut, scarcely to be distinguished from the mound of turf against which it was built; where he led, in solitude, the life of a hermit. In a valley below the entrance to Roborough down is the populous hamlet of Horrabridge. Here a woollen manufactory has been carried on, affording employment to the inhabitants of the place. On the hill behind Horrabridge, is Grimstone, the country residence of J. Collier, Esq., late M. P. for Plymouth. Once on Roborough down, we are led to exclaim at every step, on the beauty of the varying scene. The valleys of the Walkham and Meavy, appear embosomed in rising hills, amongst which, the rounded summit of Sheepstor is conspicuous. The village churches are seen, surrounded by their few cottages: that of Meavy well repays a nearer inspection, being of very ancient date. It is famous also for its gigantic oak, which immediately faces the church-yard. This magnificent tree, whose heart is withered and hollowed by the destroying hand of time, still unfolds its leaves every spring, upon the lower branches. The higher boughs are bare and leaf. less, standing out like a stern monument of ages gone by. “The hollow trunk” it is said “once accommodated nine persons at a dinner party; it is now used as a turf house.”* The basement of a cross is to be seen at a short distance from the church. Not far off, is an old manor house, which was the family seat of the Heywoods, afterwards of Marystow. But time urges us onwards to the object of our search. After traversing a part of the down, observing at a short distance, the bold rock of Ullestor or Roborough, which rises in solitary grandeur on the waste; admiring

* South Devon Museum.

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too the leafy groves, and noble grounds of Bickham, belonging to John Hornbrook Gill, Esq., we turn off on the road which leads to Buckland, and crossing many deep ruts in the way, which a friend sapiently observes “ought to be filled up,” at length reach one of the principal entrances to the Abbey. Pursuing a steep descent, we are led to the garden gates, and must sound a loud alarm before the guardians of the place can be made to notice our approach. The last time I was at Buckland, we got tired of our ill success, and straying in search of other ingress, were led by chance into the farm-yard. We did not regret our wanderings, as they induced us to observe the magnificent old barn, with its out-buildings, probably the same as when used by the monks in olden time. The arched doorway, projecting entrance and strong butresses of the barn are really noble. Such a specimen of a spacious granary attached to a private dwelling, I should suppose, is scarcely again existing. From the farm-yard we proceeded, between high garden walls, to a subterraneous passage of some length, which leads to the kitchen. The porteress here made her appearance, and ushered us into her ample domain. An epicure might have been charmed by the numerous stoves arranged around to prepare the costly viands in prime order for his table. However, the attractions of the kitchen were not quite so powerful for ourselves, and we moved onward, by various servants' apartments, towards the hall. A stranger is disappointed in the proportions of this room; it is long enough certainly, for all moderate expectation, but it is wanting in height. I remarked the same highly ornamented ceiling as in the hall of Cullocombe, which gives us leave to suppose, that both homes were newly decorated at about the same time, probably in the reign of Elizabeth. The wainscoted walls are hung with a few family § portraits. The sword and shield of Sir Francis Drake

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152 HOME SCENES, OR

hang over the screen beneath the gallery, at one end of the room. Above the doors which lead to the cellars at the opposite end, is engraven the arms of the family.* The drum and banner of the great Sir Francis are seen by the deeply-seated windows. A flight of steps leads from the hall to the apartments above. The staircase is lighted by an oriel window of painted glass. Here is hung a full length portrait of Sir Francis Drake. Along the corridor are ancient engravings, exhibiting the various positions of the Spanish Armada. A learned friend discovered an inscription on one of these engravings, which has, I believe, generally escaped the curious eye: it was to the following effect;-“Upon the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a pasquinade was found on a column at Rome, signifying that the Pope would grant indulgences for a thousand years to any one that would indicate, to a certainty, what was become of the Spanish fleet; whether it was taken up into heaven, or thrust down into Tartarus; suspended in the air; or floating in the sea.” The corridor conducts to a suite of apartments, including the dining, breakfast and drawing-rooms: the last is decorated with some curious drawings and engravings; and with one or two cabinets; but the furniture in general is ancient and time-worn. From the drawing-room are to be observed some sweet views in the park, near the Tavy. The windows have all double frames, to protect the inhabitants from the inclemencies of the weather. The house was modernized by the late Lord Heathfield, about forty years since. Almost the only apartment preserved from the hand of innovation, is a small chapel, which, to our surprize, we discovered in the upper story of the tower; joined to the roof, were rafters for a screen, and around the fire-place, evidently

* Sable a few wavy, between two pole-stars.--ARGENT

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used as a domestic altar, was a railing; there were also two small resting places for holy water. Above the chimney-piece was a shield, with the arms and crest of the great navigator, finely sculptured on the wall. The crest given to him by Queen Elizabeth, is appropriate and interesting. It represents a ship under reef, drawn round a globe with a cable rope, by a hand out of the clouds—with his motto over it “Auxilio divino,” and this under it, “Sic partis magna.” But with regard to the chapel;-is it possible that Sir Francis secretly practised the rites of the Catholic religion, under the reign of the Protestant Queen? We think it not improbable, as he travelled much in Catholic countries, and was besides a sailor;-belonging to a class of men proverbially superstitious.* In a loft above the chapel, is a large clumsy clock without a frame, which probably belonged to the monastic inhabitants of the place. Few other relics remain of the times when the monks held dominion here: the most perfect is what I have denomimated “The Belfry,” which consists of a small square tower in the court-yard, with a pointed roof, surmounted by a conical ornament; under the roof at equal distances, are square holes, either to admit light, or emit sound. Tradition relates that a subterranean passage is carried from this belfry to the neighboring down. The exterior of the Abbey is not particularly striking. A large square tower in the centre contains four arches, belonging to the original edifice; one of these arches commenced in the interior is brought through the wall, and thus forms a kind of quadrant on the outside. The garden front is decidedly the most picturesque. The pleasaunce, or garden ground is not extensive, but its manner of laying out is interesting, as being in keeping with the place.

* In this chapel four arches meet, which belonged to the original edifice.

*** {& Ço: X

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154 HoME SCENES, OR

The cedars surpass in growth any I have elsewhere seen. They are so well formed, with graceful boughs tapering towards the top, in the true pyramidical form. A row of these trees, at one time probably cut into grotesque shape, bounds the garden wall. Beneath is a shady walk continued amongst the shrubberies. In the recesses of the paths are ancient figures, carved in wood, some of them are wholly defaced, and lie like senseless blocks; others can be discovered through the overgrowing moss and lichen, to be designed for representations of Neptunes and Tritons, intended, we suppose, to honor the great mariner, to whom the place formerly belonged. The Abbey of Buckland was founded in the year 1278, by Amicia, Countess of Devon. Letters patent of King Edward the First remain, (a copy of which I have seen) “confirming to Amicia, Countess of Devon, the manors of Buckland, Bykeley, and Walkhampton, to hold according to the deeds which she had of the gift of Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Abermarl, her daughter, empowering her to found and endow a religious house.” Also a deed of Amicia, Countess of Devon, “granting to the Abbot of Quarre, the said manors, according to their metes and bounds.” This abbot with his brother monks, of the Cistercian order, came from Quarrer, in the Isle of Wight. At the dissolution of the monasteries, the scite of Buckland Abbey “was first granted 33. Henry 8th to Richard Greynfeld, and four years after it was conveyed to Richard Crymes, of London. In the time of Queen Elizabeth, it was purchased by Sir Francis Drake, in a descendant of whose family it still continues.” The housekeeper at Buckland relates many wonderful stories connected with the “famous waryer,” as he is vulgarly called. Amongst others, it is said that Sir Francis by miraculous means, brought a rivulet of water into Plymouth for the supply of the inhabitants. According to the tradition, the stream followed his horses heels

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