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derwent a thorough repair, and a considerable addition was made on the north-west side; but the improvement has been disadvantageous to the appearance of the fabric, in consequence of the plaister with which the flints and rough stones, that formed the outside walls, have been covered, to the destruction of its picturesque beauty.
The benefice is a vicarage, the rectory being a lay ima propriation, and was part of the possessions of Bermondsey Abbey, by grant from William de Millicent, earl of Glocester, in the year 1154.
Dr. Lettsoin, in his “ Village Society,” has described the situation and advantages of Camberwell in a very lively manner. He says, “that in this village there are few poor inhabitants, and not many overgrown fortunes. Among those who may be deemed of the superior class, a general cquality prevails, both as to exterior appearance and mental cultivation. They chiefly consist of respectable merchants and tradesmen, and of those holding eligible situations in the public offices.”
Having mentioned this highly respectable, humane, and liberal character, we are necessarily induced to visit his beautiful house and classic grounds at GROVE HILL.
The gradual ascent to the summit of Grove Hill is nearly a mile, through a lofty and shady avenue of trees, from which originated the name of this beautiful bill.
On the left side of the Grove, a neat lodge opens the road, that leads to the residence of the proprietor.
Although Grove Hill afford a kind of insulated emi. nence, yet, looking from its summit, it seems to be placed in the centre of an amphitheatre of surrounding and loftier hills, which naturally shelter it from the severity of cold, and the violence of storms; and thus render it eligible for a winter, as well as for a summer residence. On the north it is protected by the Hampstead and Highgate nills; and on the south, by those of Forest and Sydenham hills, not un. aptly answering the sketch of a spot, delineated by the au. thor of “ The Faerie Queene*.”
* Spenser, Vol. II. ch. vi. $ 12. VOL. V. No. 103.
As this picturesque hill commands the most gratifying views, in which the whole of the metropolis, and the shipping in the Thames are conspicuous, it may be agreeable to see delineated the more striking circumstances of a place, occasionally visited by persons of taste and curiosity.
The garden is an oblong square of about an acre, situated on the south side of the dwelling house, and enclosed by a wall, well covered with fruit-trees, and the extremities ornamented with shrubberies. In the upper part is a statue of Urania, supporting a globe, and a dial, with this inscription,
Post est occasio calva. [“ Time is bald behind," or, “ Take Time by the Forelock.”]
Near this is a group in statuary, representing the Fates; Lartho holding the spindle, and pulling the thread, which Lachesis winds up. Atropos in a kneeling posture extends the right hand, holding an open scissars, intent upon immediately dividing the thread, figurative of human life: on the back ground appears Hygeia, the priestess of health, near a column encircled by a serpent, the emblem of medicine and of renovated life, and laying hold of the hand of Atropos, prevents the fatal division of the thread.
At the lower extremity of the garden is a figure of Contemplation, standing on a stone pedestal; bearing this inscription from the Psalmist:
How full is the earth of Thy riches ! ] Adjoining to the east wall is the kitchen garden, of about half an acre in extent. Over the entrance from the pleasure garden is a figure of Flora, standing on a pedestal.
Above the kitchen garden are the wash-house, laundry, brewhouse, and other offices. The left or eastern wall
of this garden opens into the succession garden, enriched also with wall and other fruit trees, and enclosing the melonary, and gardener's apartments. The lower extremity opens into the arbustum, through which a walk of nearly a mile in extent is carried under the shade of upwards of one hundred fruit trees. On the borders of this walk grow about four hundred European plants, placed in successiou agreeably to the Linnean classification, and lettered in legible characters, a catalogue of which is preserved. The walk is continued to an open portico, supported by eight small columns; in the centre is a piece of marble statuary, representing Cupid Hermaphrodite asleep. From the portico the arbustum tends northward to a circular temple or observatory; whence a view of the surrounding country is presented, combined with that of London, and its neighbouring villages: as well as of the Thames, and its floating forest of ships.
The temple is supported by the trunks of eighteen oak trees; round each, ivy, virgin's bower, honey-suckles, or other climbing shrubs entwine their foliage, and meet at their summits in the style of festoous. The outside of the base is ornamented with busts in statuary marble, of Ceres, Pomona, Cleopatra, Marc Antony, Alexander, and various others. Within is contained the mechanical instruments of the late Mr. Ferguson, and models in cork, by Dubourg, representing the Temple of Fortune in Rome; the Sybils temple (or of Vesta) near Tivoli; the triumpbal arch of Titus in Rome; Virgil's tomb at Pausilippo near Naples; sepulchres of Plautius near Tivoli ; of the Scipio family in Rome; and of the Horatii and Curiati in Rome; the Temple of Health, in Rome; and. Stone Henge, on Salisbury Plain.
Hence is seen the apiary, consisting of sixty-four hives, each of which is distinguished in legible chasacters, by the name of some kingdom, or independent nation, commencing with the north of Europe, afterwards including Asia, Africa, and America, and concluding with the great Euro
From the temple, the arbustum winds towards the front of the dwelling house, and leads to the cold bath, formed in a natural excavation of the ground; and flowing incessantly, is conveyed into a bason ; near which the arbustum passes, through the serpentine, into Shakspeare's walk, where a statue of the poet is placed, under a thatched shed, supported by the trunks of eight oak trees, with the branches cropped, and bearing evergreen climbing shrubs. Facing this statue is a reservoir of water, well stored with fish, and its banks are embellished with shrubbery, which is continued along the walk, till the cottage opens to view, supported by the trunks of eighteen trees, entwined with climbing evergreens to their summits, and there meeting in festoons.
Within this range of oak columns, is the sitting room, which in consequence of its less dimensions, admits of a walk between it and the oak trunks, and exhibits the form of a colonnade. Fronting these are the figures of two dragons, the supporters of the city arms, which were removed hither when the Guildhall of London was new fronted in the year 1790. Facing the cottage is a statue of Venus rifing from the water, by Locatelli, and over the door a representation in alto-relievo of the history of Acis and Galatea in statuary marble,
The fountain which fronts the cottage is supplied by pipes under ground, from an ample spring issuing from the summit, and collecting in a sheet of water, or canal, and rising through the centre of an elegant composition in PortJand stone, forms the jet d'eau, or fountain, already noticed, which afterwards falling into this reservoir, preserves it in continual agitation.
From this scenery, a walk leads to the canal or sheet of water just mentioned, which is surrounded with cedars, pines, laurels, and other evergreens. The spring, supplying this canal, through a vase on which reclines a naiad in ornamental stone, gives the name of Camberwell to the village so called.
The Dwelling House, is a plain structure, consisting of six rooms on the ground floor, and of four on each above; the front contains three emblematical figures, in alto-relievo, cast in artificial stone, representing Liberality on the east end of the house, and Plenty on the west; the centre exhibits Flora, holding in cach hand a festoon of flowers, the right resting on a pedestal.
The windows on the second story are faced with an open screen of iron balustrades; the top of the front and each wing are capped with balustrades of artificial stone, and the extremities of the wings ornamented with sphinxes.
The entrance of the dwelling house, on the extremity of the wing facing the east, opens into the hall, which is thirty feet in length, by twenty-six feet in breadth; it is ornamented with Chinese figures, and tables in Chiola. There is also an original painting of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, which, since the conflagration of Coudry House, is supposed to be the only one of that interesting event.
The Library and MUSEUM occupy the western wing. The former is thirty-nine feet in length, and twenty in breadth, divided into sixteen compartments, with a bust over cach, of some distinguished personage, characteristic of the particular science.
At each end of the library is a chimney-piece, finished in artificial stone: that at the east end has the entablature
sup. ported by the figures of Faith and Hope, in alto-relievo; the tablet, Charity; the friezes, wheat-ears in flutes; the block, doves, (Holy Spirit) on a Glory. The entablature at the west end is supported by FLORA and POMONA; the tablet, a Grecian wedding; the friezes, wheat-ears in flutes; blocks, bow and quiver on a myrtle wreath.
The library contains about six thousand volumes of books: cabinets of shells, insects, and various subjects of natural history; the specimens of woods and of ambers are extensive and valuable, as well as the collection of engravings, catalogues of which are preserved for infpe&ion; the hortus siccus, or collection of dried plants, occupy