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Or, IRON ROAD-BOOKS,
IN WHICH ARE NOTED
THE TOWNS, VILLAGES, CHURCHES, MANSIONS, PARKS, STATIONS, BRIDGES,
VIADUCTS, TUNNELS, CUTTINGS, GRADIENTS, &c. The Scenery and its Natural History, the Antiquities and their Historical
Associations, doc. passed by the Line of Railway,
WITH HUNDREDS OF ILLUSTRATIONS,
CONSTITUTING A NOVEL AND COMPLETE COMPANION FOR THE RAILWAY CARRIAGE.
LONDON TO KINGSTON AND HAMPTON COURT, price ld. LONDON TO WOKING AND GUILDFORD, in cover, price 4d.
Also publishing, PLEASURE EXCURSIONS,
Being Guides for DAY'S EXCURSIONS to
KINGSTON AND HAMPTON COURT,
SILCHESTER, PORCHESTER, &c.
REPRINTED FROM THE
Railway Chronicle, Which is published every Saturday, in time for the Morning Mails, price 6d. stamped
to go free by post.
CHARTS and PLEASURE EXCURSIONS
And the EASTERN COUNTIES,
ON THE SOUTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.
[From the Railway Chronicle.]
A whole day is not too long to make this Excursion completely. We therefore advise the tourist to start by one of the earliest trains and breakfast at Guildford. Those who are indisposed to take a loitering walk of three miles, which is involved in adopting the course suggested in this paper, may in that case make a very pleasant acquaintance with the town of Guildford on an afternoon.
For a day's excursion, a week's visit, or a year's residence, Guildford is a perfect spot. Pondering over its merits, after lengthened acquaintance, we are unable to qualify them by a single drawback, except that its river does not flow quite vivaciously enough to satisfy us. Comparing Guildford with any other market town in England, we know of none which has superior attractions to it. Extreme beauty of sitehills, valleys, leas and foliage, and all the infinite variety of vegetation from its diversity of soil-chalk, sand and clay; a running stream, though its current is sluggish; picturesque buildings; a history respectable in an old age of many centuries, and veritably illustrated with antiquities; a ruined fortress, ruined chapels (fighting and prayers, types of
pital, old grammar-school, old guildhall, clean streets, with a thoroughly country aspect about them; sufficient bustle to prevent dulness, and not too much to bring back recollections of London; capital inns, and a railway uniting the town with the metropolis—all invest Guildford with attractions which the most fastidious tourist must acknowledge.
The visitor should betake himself to the banks of the river on the north of the town before he ascends into it, for the sake of this view, and he will find himself well repaid.
Nearly facing the street which leads from the station into the town is St. Nicholas Church, certainly not calculated to sustain the good character for picturesqueness which we have attributed to the place. To change the laudatory words of the Guildford Guide-book'guide-books must be laudatory-it is a “ distasteful and inelegant fabric, constructed on the impurest extant models of the worst era of church architecture.” The windows, buttresses and pinnacles, nondescript turrets at the east end, span of the roof with its cast-iron supporters -all are so bad, that we indulge in the hope that some flood of the neighbouring river will, in very scorn, wash it all away at one sweep, as the waters are said to have done, in a series of years, its Norman predecessor. There is nothing tolerable in this church but the old Losely Chapel, into which have been collected all the monuments of the old church. It is the cenotaph of the More and Molyneux families, who were the possessors of the neighbouring Losely. Hall. The chapel is worth inspecting when there is plenty of spare time.
Before crossing the bridge, opposite the two turretted pinnacles of the church, is the brewery of Messrs. Crooke. In the yard may be seen a low, double-gabled wooden house (figured in Russell's 'Guildford'), which tradition says was the birth-place, on the 29th of October 1562, of George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury and one of the illustrissimi of Guildford, the founder of Abbot's Hospital at the east of the town.
We should rest awhile on the south side of the bridge to make acquaintance with one of the most characteristic views of the town-a view the features of which will for all time insure Guildford a place among the stores of our memory, and mark it from all other towns.
The High-street of Guildford with its very diversified outline at both sides, ascends steeply and directly before us. Its town-hall and glittering projecting clock are a stamping feature of the scene. On the south we see the grey and picturesque gables of St. Mary's Church, and the square keep of the Castle rising above. The combination is very striking.
We shall at once pursue the walk up the High-street with no divergence. Our course is eastward. On the south we pause at the corner of Quarry-street (the first on the right) to glance at the northern aisle of St. Mary's Church, with its singular rounded apse, reserving a more detailed notice of it until we reach this point again. The old plaster inn, dated 1688, preserving in all probability its contemporary cognomen of the “ Jolly Butcher," will not be overlooked. It is well worth a survey inside, and particularly its cellars. On the opposite side is the postoffice, not deficient in picturesque antiquity. Near to it is a rather ostentatious and misplaced, though not inelegant, modern Italian house, which used to be a bank, until its proprietor was found one day a bankrupt suicide in the river. Next to it is the Angel Inn-a modern flatfronted house-belying its antiquity, which is great. It preserves a
crypt (figured in Russell's Guildford'). The groining, supported by rude circular columns without capitals, does not indicate a date anterior to the thirteenth century. What its purposes were—whether for prayers or connected with the fortress—is an enigma yet unriddled by antiquaries. Facing the Angel stood the “Fyshe Crosse," which was removed in Queen Elizabeth's days. Passing upwards, we must not overlook the picturesque dwellings of Masters Cooke the brazier, or Clarke the hatter, or the large-windowed house of Crosskey, a hatter also, and the high-gabled residence of Lyon the butcher farther eastward. Their wares look doubly attractive in their interesting old houses. On the opposite side we should explore the back yard of the Red Lion Inn, where Pepys, at his coming to Guildford in 1688, as he notes in his Diary, was unable to get a bed, the house being so full of people and a wedding; and we may remark with admiration the double gables of the Bull's Head, which form the fore ground of our sketch. The town is, indeed, very picturesque at this point. The broad-faced, gabled town-hall is, with its campanile, by far the best thing in the corporation, and the projecting clock is beyond price. Yet we grieve to record that some people, blind and senseless to its great artistic merits, actually proposed a short time back to remove it. Nothing half so typical of the place and so manifest a token of its genuine respectability could be substituted for this town hall and its gilded dial. No modern gimcrack, cost what it might, would have half the virtue. We may imagine the big-wigged corporation of the “merry" monarch's days, actually marching out of it on their high red-heeled shoes. If the Queen were to offer to substitute the marble archway of Buckingham Palace, which cost nearly 80,0001., we would not exchange it for this ancient timber house of 1683. Let the burgesses prize and preserve it with religious care. It is part of their historical importance. The visitor should penetrate between the sacks of corn, which block the entrance, into the interior. The massive forms of the woodwork throw deep picturesque shadows. The lower room is fitted up for assizes, and some indifferent paintings are hung about the walls. We may ascend into the council room; it is an oak-panelled apartment, with an elaborate sculptured chimney-piece, transferred from Stoughton House, illustrating four species of the genus homo, the Sanguineus, Phlegmaticus, Cholericus and Melancholicus, in emblematical
Opposite the Town Hall is the Corn Market, a plain Tuscan temple, just as unapt a form for a granary as could well be taken. The dealers and the corn itself are exposed to as much cold and wet as is possible in any covered building. Our modern architects seem to see a peculiar aptitude in Tuscan and Doric porticoes for corn markets, for we find them everywhere. Here the market is like a great heavy impertinence. Adjoining the market is the White Hart Inn, and opposite is the Crown. The first we can commend from personal experience, and we report on hearsay a good character of the latter. The White Hart is an old inn; the rooms spacious, with well-worn, comfortable furniture. Dapper spick-span new furniture does not assimilate with our æsthetics of inns. It creates an instant prejudice that there is no experience in the place ; and inn-keeping is a business that only reaches perfection by years of experience. It takes two hundred years to make a good chop-house. The best in London, Dolly's, Will's, Tom's, Dick's, all can boast of the green old age