Зображення сторінки


very small portion of this and the adjoining counties of of Buckingham and Bedford, and Wilts, coming under our inspection, we shall not be diffuse in our general description of those districts. Consequently we shall observe that the south-eastern side of Berkshire, was occupied by the autient BIBROCI. In the Saxon Chronicle it assumed the name of BERROCKSHIRE, from Boxwood; and has ultimately been denominated Barkshire, or Berkshire.

That part we are about to describe partakes mostly of woodland and forest; and towards the county of Surrey it is composed of heath and desart. The soil, however, is generally fruitful, though the eastern part, occupied by Windsor Forest, contains much uncultivated ground. “The forest of Windsor, Maidenhead Thicket, and the numerous commons in all directions, in their present wild and uncultivated state, are of little benefit to the community." Berkshire possesses very few manufactures, except cloth. ing; agriculture seems to prevail

. It is watered by the rivers Thames, Kennet, Lamborn, Ock, and Loddor: The county is in the diocese of Salisbury, and the Oxford circuit; it sends nine members to parliament, pays eleven parts of the land-tax, and supplies the national militia with five hundred' and sixty men. Berkshire may, however, be justly accounted one of the most pleasant counties in England,

We enter Berkshire from the county of Surrey, and have no particular attractions of curiosity, till we arrive at

NEW WINDSOR *. This town is pleasantly situated at the distance of twentytwo miles from London; and gained the name of WINDSOR


So called to distinguish it from Old Windsor, a village at two miles. distance, “ which, in Domesday Book, is said to have consisted of one hundred houses, twenty-two of which were exempted from taxes. Previously to the Conquest, this place is reported to have formed a strong pass, and to have been the residence of several Saxon kings; but from the


[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

from its winding shore on the south banks of the Thames. Windsor was granted by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey; but the abbot exchanged it with William the Conqueror for Battersea and Wandsworth, in Surrey, and lands in Essex. This town having been chartered as a borough 5 Edward I. began to return members to parliament in the thirtieth year of the same reign, and continued to send until the 14th Edward III. when it ceased sending until the 25th Henry VI. Since this time it has regularly been represented. The corporation, according to its present charter, granted by James II. 1685, consists of a mayor, high steward, two bailiffs, twenty-eight burgesses, who are chosen out of the principal inhabitants, thirteen of whom are called fellows or benchers of the guildhall; of these, ten from among them, beside the mayor and bailiffs, are chosen, and are stiled aldermen.

The town ball in the High Street, is a very handsome structure, erected in 1686, and is supported by arches and columns of Portland stone. The hall room is spacious, and contains the portraits of James I. Charles I. Charles II. William III. and Mary II. queen Anne, and her consort George, prince of Denmark; archbishop Laud, and Theodore Randue, Esq. a considerable benefactor to the town. In the year 1707, the corporation, out of a dutiful regard to queen Anne, (who constantly made Windsor her summer residence,) erected at the north side of the town hall the statue of that princess, vested in her royal robes, with the globe and other ensigns of regalia. The Latin inscription may be thus translated : “ Erected in the sixth year of her reign

Sculptor, thy art is vain. It cannot trace
The semblance of the matchless Anna's grace.
Thou may'st as soon to high Olympus fly,
And carve the model of some Deity.

S. Chapman, mayor." period when William I. fixed his mansion on the neighbouring hill, it gradually decayed; the new town, which sprung up under the protection of the fortress, having superior attractions."


On the south side is the statue of prince George of Dena mark, in a Roman military babit, erected by Sir Christopher Wren, in 1713, who had been member for the town; under which is also an inscription, stiling the prince “ a hero whom future ages may revere.” The inscription has much of Pope's manner; and though the compliment paid to both the royal personages may appear flattering, much is to be considered from the gratitude of the town for the residence of a beloved queen, and her family, among a portion of a loyal and generous people.

In the area, underneath the town hall, is kept a weekly market on Saturday, which is plentifully supplied with corn, meat, fish, and all other provisions. The fairs are Easter Tuesday, the 5th of July, and 24th of October.

The parish CHURCH, dedicated to St. John Baptist, is an antient and stately fabric, in the tower of which are eight fine bells. The interior contains many memorials of respectable families, and the organ which stood in the collegiate chapel of St. George, presented to the parish by his majesty George III. The donations for the use of the poor have been very numerous; and the funds being assisted by grants from the crown, have occasioned the rates for their support to be less burthensome in Windsor, than in other places.

In 1706, a neat free school was erected on the north side of the church, for the clothing and education of thirty boys and twenty girls, which is in a flourishing condition.

A piece of ground was presented in 1784 to his majesty, by the corporation, for the building of an hospital for sick soldiers; it is commodious, and sufficiently spacious for the

purposes intended.

Mr. Thornton, in 1793, erected an elegant small theatre; the seasons of representations are by the lord chamberlain's licence, restricted to the vacations at Eton college; but the company have since obtained permission from the magistrates to perform during Ascot races.

The system lately adopted by government for concentrating the military force, was adopted at Windsor in 1795,


« НазадПродовжити »