Picture of Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes

places mentioned

Epsom, Surrey

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Some account of Epsome in Surrey about ten miles from London. Its on Clay and Gravel, the waters are from Alum. The well is Large without Bason or Pavement, on the bottom it is Covered over with timber and is so darke you Can scarce Look down into it for which Cause I do dislike it. Its not a quick spring and very often is dranke drye, and to make up the defficiency the people do often carry water from Common wells to fill this in a morning; this they have been found out in which makes the water weake and of Little opperation unless you Can have it first from the well before they Can have put in any other. The usual way of drinking them is by turning them with a Little milk. There is a walk of trees by it, but not very pleasant, there is a house built in which the well is and that is paved with brick to walke in in the wet weather. and where people have Carrawayes sweetemeates and tea &, but it Look'd so dark and unpleasant more Like a Dungeon, yt I would not Chuse to drinke it there, and most people drink it at home. There are severall good Buildings in Epsome for Lodgings and good Gardens behind them for walking. There is a good house of the Ld Bartlets in a parke at the End of the town Looks very well. The Greatest pleasure of Emson is Either Banstead Downs where is good aire and good rideing for Coaches and horses, with a pleasant view of ye Country, or Else Box Hill which is 6 or 7 miles off and is the Continuation of the Ridge of hills I mentiond by Maidstone; its a Greate height and shows you a vast precipice down on the farther side, and such a vast vale full of woods Enclosures and Little towns. There is a very good river that runs by a Little town Called Darken just at the foote of this hill, very famous for good troutts and great store of ffish. On this hill the top is Cover'd with box whence its name proceeds, and there is other wood but its all Cutt in Long private walks very shady and pleasant, and this is a great diversion to the Company and would be more ffrequented if nearer Epsom town.

About 4 miles off is Sr Robert Howards house which I went to see, its a Square building, the yards and offices very Convenient about it, and severall Gardens walled in. All the windows are sashes and Large squares of glass; I observ'd they are double sashes to make ye house the warmer, for it Stands pretty bleake. Its a brick building. You Enter a hall which opens to the Garden, thence to two parlours, drawing-roomes and good staires, there are abundance of Pictures, above is a Dineing roome and drawing roome with very good tapistry-hangings of Long standing. There is severall bed Chambers well ffurnish'd, good damaske beds and hangings and window Curtaines of the same, and so neatly kept ffolded up in Clean sheets pinn'd about the beds and hangings. There are severall other good beds and ffurniture, one roome all ye bed and hangings are of a fine damaske made of worsted, it Lookes pretty and with a Gloss Like Camlett, of a Light Ash Coullour. There are good pictures of the family, Sr Robert's Son and Lady, which was a Daughter of the Newport house, with her Children in a very Large Picture. There is fine adorrlements of Glass on the Chimney and fine marble Chimney pieces, some Closets with Inlaid floores, its all very neate and fine with the several Courts at the Entrance-this I thinke was all remarkable at Epsome which is 14 mile to London.

Celia Fiennes, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1888)

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