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mains of King Richard the Third, the day after the battle at Bosworth Field. Part of the stone coffin in which King Richard was laid, is now over the west door of the Abbey leading to the private garden, and in passing in, I laid my hand on it at the instance of the lady who accompanied me through the ancient pile, who thought I was of the antiquarian order.
While seated in the room in which Cardinal Wolsey breathed his last sigh, my mind reflected back to the days of Henry the Eighth, when the Cardinal guided the helm of State, having no rival in the Cabinet. His pomp in those days was equal to his mighty power when he celebrated Mass with more magnificence than the Roman Pontiff himself. Cardinal Wolsey was served in those days by Bishops! The then purse-proud and haughty nobility of England vied with each other at Court, as to whom should belong the honour of presenting the Cardinal with the golden bowl wherein to wash, and the towel to wipe his hands. His dress was superb to an extreme. He wore at times regal vestments, his shoes were of silver gilt and enriched with costly pearls and precious stones. When the Cardinal went abroad, two large crosses of massive silver were carried before him, together with two pole-axes, two pillars of massive silver, golden cushions, and a train of stately horses. Yet, all the power and wealth he enjoyed in England, could not satisfy him, while there was one ecclesiastical dignity to which he had not attained. He aspired to the Papal Throne. The Cardinal was the son of a poor butcher at Ipswich. His arrest by the Dnke of Northumberland, in the midst of all the magnificence which surrounded him, was too much for his pride. His nature gave way under the mortification, and he died in a cell, far away from his splendid palace at Hampton Court, without one friend to close his eyes upon a world that paid homage to his name for a season.
While roaming through the numerous cells of the old Abbey, a glass vase was shown me, containing human bones, and thought to be those of some Roman of note. The vase had been found in the cloisters some few days before, while making some repairs.
On leaving this ancient pile, I called at the grocery store of Mr. Mathers, corner of Jewry Street and Friar's Causeway, to examine the remains of a Roman pavement, discovered while digging the cellar for the store, and supposed to be the floor of a Roman Chapel. As it is seen by candlelight beneath the store, it resembles painted floor-cloth, and is composed of square pieces of variegated marble, the size of dice: the figures are indeed rich and beautiful, and worthy an hour's examination. On leaving, •Mr. Mathers, learning 1 was an American, presented me with a specimen from the tessellated pavement, to take as a relic to America.
From this store, I walked to the corner of South Gate Street,
opposite the old Prison, to view the ruins of the house in which King Richard the Third made his head-quarters, and slept the night previous to the battle on Bosworth Field. Shakspeare makes Richard sleep on the battle-field. The stone carriage-step on which Richard stood when about mounting his charger, to go out and meet the Earl of Richmond at Bosworth, on the morning of the battle, yet remains, kept there as a relic by the authorities.
The house was demolished by a mob, about a century after the death of King Richard, on account of a murder committed in it. The story runs thus: Richard always took with him a bedstead of curious workmanship; the posts and side pieces were hollow, and filled with gold pieces to pay his expenses, or for any emergency on the march. It being very heavy, all who resided in the house from time to time, let it remain in the same place, until a widow and her daughter hired the house, and as the daughter was soon to be married, all the house was to be put in neat order for the occasion; in attempting to remove the old bedstead, it fell to pieces, and to their astonishment out rolled the shower of gold; on further examination a large amount more was discovered. Both promised to keep the secret until after the wedding; but the second day had not elapsed when the daughter mentioned it as a great secret to her intended, and where the treasure was hid. The villain at once formed his plan to gain possession of the treasure, and to leave the country. A few nights after, under some pretext to remain all night in the house, he accomplished his bloody purpose of murdering both mother and daughter, and securing the treasure. He was soon after taken and executed in front of the very house, confessing his guilt on the gallows.
On entering Leicester by Bellgrave-Gate Street, the tourist will see a Roman mile-stone, which was found on the Old Foss Road, while digging for gravel in 1771, and removed to its present position in 1783. The stone is three feet six inches high, and five feet seven inches in circumference. The inscription on the stone, in Latin, is as follows, viz:
“Imperator Cæsar. Divi Traiani Parthier Filius Divus. Traianis Hadrianus Augustus. Potestate IV. Consulate III. A Raltes."
Translated thus :
“ Hadrian Traganus Augustus, Emperor and Cesar. The Son of the Most Illustrious Trajan Parthecus. In the fourth year of his reign, and the third Consulate. From Ralae (Leicester) three
Leicester was besieged by Cromwell and his army for thrée weeks before it surrendered, and is the city in which King Lear and his three daughters resided. Where his palace stood was pointed out to me by the polite host of the “ Three Crowns," and I
strolled through what was once its extensive gardens and park, to ruminate on past ages, and ask, what, after all, are power and wealth, in life's span, compared with eternity?
Leicestershire is celebrated for its large black horses, and horned cattle, as well as for its sheep, and for having bred each species to the utmost perfection of form and size. It appeared, in travelling through the county, that the manufacture of stockings is the principal business. Beans are raised in immense quantities. Corn will not grow in England, and the wholesome Indian Johnny cake of New England, therefore, will be missed by the American tourist. Leicester contains about sixty thousand souls, and is a thriving, handsome city, its streets spacious and clean; a canal and the railway running through it, makes it a place of business and great resort; it being also very healthy and cheap as a residence, with a people characteristic for their hospitality and attention to strangers.
Bosworth Field is twelve miles from Leicester, over a stone road, and through a delightful, highly cultivated country. I was furnished with a barouche, pair of noble blood horses, and coachman, by the friendly host of the “ Three Crowns,” free of charge, to whom I had letters from Quarndon. Ambrian Cottage stands on the noted field-its owner, Samuel Abell, a veteran of four score, and well informed in history. With him as a guide, and Miss Marriott as company, of Ambrian Hall, I strolled over Bosworth Field, visited “King Dick's” well, so called, and drank of its limpid water. It was at this well King Richard the Third was killed by the Earl of Richmond, afterwards Henry the Seventh. Its water is even with the surface of the ground, and during the battle Richard and Richmond accidentally met at this well to quench their thirst, and fought. Richard was the best swordsman in England, and was sure of conquering his opponent; but being too confident in his skill, and very thirsty, took his silver cup from his side with his left hand, and parrying the quick thrusts of Richmond, (who was maddened for want of a drink of water,) with his right he attempted to dip up the water; but his foot slipping, he feil on one knee; at that moment Richmond followed up his advantage, and closing, run the King through the heart, who fell and expired on the spot. The well was walled round and roofed one year after the battle, and an inscription placed, by order of Richmond, then Henry the Seventh, which is as follows, in Latin, but translated, reads thus:
“ With water drawn from this well, Richard the Third, King of England, allayed his thirst, while fiercely and with deadly hatred he was waging battle with Henry, Earl of Richmond, and when he was doomed before night to lose his sceptre and his life, August 22d, 1485.”
While standing at the well, I intimated a wish for a bottle of its water, to take with me to America, when Miss Mariott went to the house, procured a wine bottle and wax, and filled, sealed, and presented it to me, with a wish to remember “King Dick’s” well, when in the happy land of liberty. The veteran Abell cut me several neat canes from a tree near the well, to remember “ Ambrian Cottage.” Miss M. also presented me with a table mat, the straw of which grew on the field of Bosworth, as a keepsake.
To the lasting disgrace of the memory of Richmond, he allowed the body of the king to be thrown over the back of a mule, like a sack of corn, taken to Leicester, and paraded through the streets; —the body would have been burnt by the mob, had not the monks in the abbey begged or bought it from them, who, placing it in a stone coffin, deposited the remains of their king in the abbey vaults, with sepulchral rights. Bosworth and Waterloo seemed to have been intended by nature, fields on which to decide two such bloody battles for crown and kingdom, and I doubt not those who have visited both will coincide with me in the comparison. After leaving Bosworth, I rode to Stogolden, two miles distant, to visit its ancient church and paintings; from there to Sutton for the same object; thence to Wentworth Hall, owned by Viscount Wentworth, with whose nephew I had the pleasure of being on the most intimate and visiting terms, when in America, residing at Little Harbour, near Portsmouth, N. H., who subsequently returned to England, to inherit a great fortune, where he died. The family were in London, to my disappointment. I, however, had a fine treat in examining the numerous paintings, statuary, &c.; and leaving a card, left for Leicester, where I arrived in time for the evening train for Quarndon, after a two days' excursion, which for pleasure and information will long be remembered.
Quarndon ; Old Nottingham; Its factories; Sir John Hobhouse ; Lord
Radcliffe ; The procession; Election speech ; Nottingham Castle ; The view ; Subterranean passage: or, Mortimer's Hole; Explana. tion; Queen Isabella ; Earl of March; Execution ; Newstead Abbey; Robin Hood's bow; Lord Byron's chamber; Plain furniture; View of the lake, &c.; The pen; Impromptu ; Paintings; Library; Sa. loons; Shooting gallery ; The chapel; Its organ; The cloisters ; Monk's chapel; Thunder-gust; Dog Neptune; Gardens; The yew tree; Initials; Sherwood Forest; Robin Hood; The cliff; Dinner; Return; The party; Belvoir Castle ; Its magnificence; Sir Isaac Newton; London coach; Arrival, &c.
The day after my return from visiting Leicester and Bosworth field, I was invited by Mrs. C—, while at dinner, to take a jaunt with her into Nottinghamshire, to visit her relations, and have a ramble through the romantic forest of Sherwood, so noted in the times of Robin Hood and his cross-bowmen, and while there to take a peep through Newstead Abbey, and to set off by the next morning's train for old Nottingham. As “no” would not be taken for an answer, and as that cold monosyllable is not spoken by a gentleman when a favour is asked by an accomplished lady, the next morning found us roving through the beautiful green lane bordering on the romantic banks of the Soar, which led to the Station House in Barrow village, and the train coming up, we were soon on our way for Nottingham, distance twenty miles, fare two shillings, at which place we arrived in thirty minutes.
Nottingham is an ancient town, containing about fifty thousand inhabitants, and its principal trade is in lace, hose, and gloves; in fact, it appeared to me as if almost every house had a factory attached to it. I went through many of them, and saw the whole process of making lace and packing it for the American, English, and Belgium markets. The lace called Brussels lace, is made to order in Nottingham, sent to Brussels, and there repacked and shipped to England and America ! This is a fact which can