« НазадПродовжити »
ASHTED, near which the Epsom spring rises, is two miles from Epsom on the road to Dorking. It is one of the sweetest situations in England. Here is an elegant seat and park of Richard Bagot Howard, Esq. brother to lord Bagot, who took the name of Howard, on his marriage with the honourable Miss Howard, daughter of William viscount Andover, and sister of Henry the twelfth earl of Suffolk. In the church, which stands on the side of the park, are some good monuments. Here king Charles II. was entertained, and the table at which the company dined is still preserved.
Two miles from Ashted is LETHERHEAD, LEDERED, or LEDERIDE. The first account we meet with concerning this town is in Domesday Book, where we are informed that the church of Leret, with forty acres of land, to the value of 40s. was held by Osteo de Eu. In the reign of Richard I. Eustachius de Eya held lands in the town of Leddred, to the value of ten shillings, being a gift of the king; but we are not given to understand by what service the lands were held. Again, in the reign of king John, Richard Lewer held in the same town sixty shillings; a gift from the king, upon paying to him for one hostler. In the reign of Henry III. John de Shelesburg held half a knights fee in Leddrede, of the honor of Clare.
The next account we have of Letherhead, is in the reign of Edward III. when, by an inquisition taken in the thirtyeighth year of that reign, it was found that the priory of Ledes, in Kent, founded in 1119 by Robert Crevecoeur, and dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas, held Ledred in Com. Surr. Next year, by another inquisition, it was also found that the prioress of Kelborne did homage for a tenement in Ledred. In the thirty-fifth of the same reign there was an elemosynary collected for the reparation of Letherhead Bridge.
Nothing more occurs of this place till the ninth of Henry IV. when Merton Priory did homage for lands in Ledred, Mickelham, Dorking, Pollesden, and Fetcham.
In 4 Edw. IV. an inquisition was taken of the tenements and lands held by the rector; but no account occurs of their value.
Thus Letherhead continued till the thirty-third of Henry VIII. when it was bestowed by that king, at the dissolution of monasteries, on the dean and chapter of Rochester, who at this day present to the living.
In the town was antiently a market, which has long since been discontinued; the market house was remaining in the seventeenth century. A fair is held on our Lady's Day, in three weeks before Michaelmas, but otherwise the town possesses no trade or privilege than what its being a great thoroughfare produces.
The only remarkables are the church and the bridge, which is a very neat structure over the river Mole, built of brick, and consisting of fourteen arches.
The roads to Guildford and Brighton lay through the town; but for delightfulness of situation, prospect, and healthfulness, very few places can vie with Letherhead;' besides the genteel neighbourhood which surround the parish, enliven and enhance the pleasure of its situation. The fishery also in the river Mole causes much resort to the town from London, from whence it is distant nineteen miles, which cannot be deemed considerable, when so many charms attract the attention. The approximity of Box Hill, at only three miles, is equally an inducement to the traveller into the neighbourhood. The prospects from this hill are so extensive, and its situation so romantic, that not to see and walk down it would be an error of judgment scarcely pardonable. Opposite to this hill are the heights of Norbury Park, where art vies with nature to make the prospect enchanting. Mr. Lock, whose elegant house meets the eye of the beholder on the brow of the park, much enlivens the scene; but it is not here alone the curious must be satisfied. Mr. Lock's saloon exceeds description; the whole is an admirable painting on stucco, by Barret, imitating the majestic scenery of the lakes and mountains of
Cumberland and Westmoreland; and so contrived as not to interrupt the real landscape of the adjoining hills. Indeed there are so many allurements in this neighbourhood that cannot be described, but in the elegant manner in which Mr. Toland has pictured the vicinity of Epsom *.
Since Mr. Toland's time Epsom, however, has lost many of its charms, which seem to have been transferred to Letherhead.
The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas, has all the appearance of the architecture of the fourteenth century; its situation is in the highest part of the town, in the road leading to Dorking.
It is said to have been built in 1319, by John de Rumerwick, abbot of Chertsey.
There is nothing striking to denote any of the entrances into the church, excepting at the west end, and this is nearly blocked up by a wall belonging to the adjoining house; and much of the external appearance of the building is offended by the injudicious blocking up some of the principal windows. However the beholder is compensated upon visiting the inside, which possesses all the constituent qualities of convenience and neatness. A very handsome Gothic screen separates the body from the chancel, in which is placed over the altar a masterly painting of the Last Supper, but in very bad condition from the dampness
* - You have resolved (as you do every thing) to purchase a summer retreat, cost what it will, somewhere in this neighbourhood. But whether you gently step over my favourite meadows, planted on all sides quite to Woodcot seat, in whose long grove I oftenest converse with myself; or that you walk further on to Ashted House and park, the sweetest spot of ground in our British world; or ride still farther, the enchanted prospect of Box Hill, that temple of nature no where else to be equalled for affording so surprising and magnificent an idea both of heaven and earth ; whether you lose yourself in the aged yew groves of Mickleham as the river Mole does hide itself in the shallows beneath, or that you had rather try your patience in angling for trouts about Leatherhead; whether you go to some cricket match, or other prizes of contending villagers, or chuse to breathe your horse at a race, and to follow a pack of hounds in the proper weather; whether I say you delight in any or every one of these, Epsom is the place you must like before all others.” Vol. V. No. 115.