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· fu the adjoining parish of Sanderstead, is PURLEY, which will be rendered remarkable by the residence of John Horne Tooke, Esq. whilst he wrote his curious work, denominated “ The Diversions of Purley.” · Hence in a western direction, we come to THE OAKS, the villa of the earl of Derby, on Bansted Downs; it was built by a society of gentlemen, called the Hunters Club, to whom the land was leased by Mr. Lambert, whence it took the name of Lambert's Oaks. Mr. Simmons was the first occupier of the house, which was intended as a place of festivity in the hunting season.
General Burgoyne purchased the lease, and built a dining room forty-two feet by twenty-one, with an arched roof, elegantly finished; twenty-eight small cased pillars of fine workmanship, and a concave mirror at each end. The dining table is of plain deal boards, in conformity to the style of a hunting seat. The red hall entrance is small, but elegant: it contains two landscapes, and a few other pictures. The drawing room, on the first floor, is an octagon, ornamented with a variety of small pictures. It commands a prospect of Norwood, Shooter's Hill, many churches in London and its environs, Hampstead, Highgate, &c. The carl baving acquired a fee simple in the estate from general Burgoyne, added, at the west end, a large brick building, with four towers at each corner; and there is a similar erection at the cast end, which renders the structure uniform, and gives it an elegant Gothic appearance. In the pleasure grounds are a number of antient beeches. In one tree, in parti. cular, it is said, there is a spring; because it always con. tains water, although the well at the house is three hun. dred feet deep. His lordship can accommodate his guests with upwards of fifty bed chambers. It was here that the celebrated Fete Champetre, in commemoration of the earl's marriage with his first countess, was given; whence originated a musical entertainment, called “ The Maid of the Oaks," written by general Burgoyne.
BANSTEAD, not far from Epsom, is a village noted for abundance of walnut-trees, but more for its neighbouring
downs, one of the most delightful spots in England, by reason of its fine carpet ground, covered with a short herbage, perfumed with thyme and juniper, which makes the mutton of this tract though small very sweet. The plough, however, bas made such incroachments, that the pastures and focks are much diminished. Dyer, in his Golden Fleece, after praising the beauties of its situation, thus exclaims : « Such are the downs of Banstead, edg'd with woods and
towery villas!” The pleasant prospects of several counties on both sides of the Thames, includes a view of the royal palaces of Windsor and Hampton Court, and also of London, from the Tower to Westminster, it being a tract of no less than thirty miles, extending from Croydon to Farnham, though under different appellations. The soil, being for the most part a sort of chalk mixed with flints and sand, is dry soon after rain. There is a four mile course on them, which, in the season of horse races, is much frequented, as all the downs are, throughout the whole summer, for their wholesome air.
To the north-west of Banstead is Ewel, a market town fourteen miles from London.
Here a spring breaks out in different spots, and becomes the head of a fine stream, called Hog's Mill River, that falls into the Thames at Kingston. Here is the elegant mansion and pleasure grounds of Sir George Glyn, Bart.
The market day is Thursday, and here are two fairs on May 12, and October 29. The town has a very romantic appearance, but nothing else very particular; it is situated in the road from London into Sussex.
This place is however famous for being the birth place of RICHARD CORBET, whose father was a farmer here. He was born in the latter part of the reign of queen Elizabeth, and was sent very young to Westminster School; thence to Christchurch, Oxford. In 1605, he took the degree of M. A. and eatering into holy orders, became one
of the most popular preachers of his time, and was ad. mired for his brillant abilities and deep erudition, which recommended him to James I. who appointed him one of his chaplains; and, in 1620, promoted him to the deanery of Christchurch, where he bad so successfully studied. He came out in this university, D.D. as grand compounder. In 1629, he was appointed bishop of Oxford, whence he was translated to Norwich, where he died in 1635, and was interred in the chancel of that cathedral. Bishop Corbet, was remarkable for private and public virtue, in his different stations of life; and the acuteness of his wit is sufficiently displayed in a volume of elegant poems, of which he was author,
EBBESHAM, vulgarly called EPSOM, was so denominated from EBBA, a relation of Alfred the Great, who retired here to perform works of piety; and among others built a nunnery, the remains of which were converted into a farm house, called Epsom Court, in Hudson's Lane.
This town has been long famous for its mineral waters, tinctured with allum, which come from a spring near Ashted, and which were discovered in 1618; though they are not in such repute as formerly, yet they are not impaired in virtue, and the salt made froin them is famous throughout Europe, for their gently cleansing, cooling, and purifying quality. The hall, galleries, and other public apartments for the company who formerly used this watering place, are now quite in decay; and there remains only one house on the spot, which is inhabited by a countryman and his wife, who carry the waters in bottles to the adjacent places, and supply the demands of dealers in London. The reason the waters are in less repute than formerly is possibly owing, more than any thing else, to the place being too near London. The town, however, for the very reason that the waters are in less repute, is resorted to in the summer, especially during the time of the races, three days before the Whitsun week, by people of fortune; and may, perhaps, in the revolutions of fashion, be, once more, a place of amusement.
In the middle of the town is a clock at one end of the pond, railed in by the generosity of a gentleman, who provided for the public service what was greatly wanted, common water being scarce, especially in dry summers, when many of the inhabitants are forced to buy it of persons who get a livelihood by carrying it about for sale. The inns, shops, and bowling-greens, are not near so much frequented as formerly; but the market is on Friday; and the fair, July 25. The town is about one mile and a half in semicircle from the church to Durdans. Here are so many fields, meadows, orchards, gardens, &c. that a stranger would be at a loss to know whether this was a town built in a wood or a wood surrounded by a town.
The Church is a very irregular building, with a low turret and spire; it is neat in the interior, and contains respectable memorials of the dead.
The seat called DURDANS, was originally built by George, first earl of Berkeley, with the materials brought from Nonsuch, when that celebrated royal residence was demolished. The first structure being destroyed by fire, was afterwards rebuilt by Mr. Dalbiac, and is the seat of Mrs. Kenworthy. It was once inhabited by Frederick, prince of Wales, his present majesty's father,
There are many other fine seats in the neighbourhood: Pit PLACE, so called from its situation, being in a chalk pit, was built by the late Mr. Belcher, and is a very whimsical but elegant retirement. The late proprietor, Thomas Fitzherbert, Esq. made several singular alterations and improvements in it: the drawing room, conservatory, and aviary, in particular, are supposed to be the most beautiful in Surrey. The present proprietor of Pit Place is Mr. Jewdine.
The road between Guildford and Epsom is, perhaps, the most beautiful piece of inland road in the kingdom. The country through which it passes is beautifully adorned with woods, sheep walks, parks, gardens, and the seats of the nobility and gentry, in a most pleasing and delightful suc. cession. 2