Tour the First


May 15 to July 4, 1812

On Friday morning I left London from the Angel, St. Clement's, on the Portsmouth Coach; & travelled over London Bridge, & through Vauxhall, Wandsworth and Putney heath, which presented to the eye a diversity of objects interesting to the contemplative and more particularly to a stranger who had been confined within the busy scenes of the Metropolis. The hills at a distance studded with rural cots about the verdant slopes formed an interesting sight. A little to right appeared the noble Mansion of Lord Dordwell.

Continued through Marshes until entered the Market St of Kingston, which appeared clean and wide. The houses are well built. The Market house is to the right as you enter; it is not very large, but neat. Almost opposite as you enter the town is a noble Insurance Office which adds to the beauty of the Market St.

From Kingston proceeded over extensive marshes having good views of the Surry hills.

About 6 miles from Cobham is a windmill, behind which the noble mansion of Col- Ellis is situated, buried deep among trees.

Travelling on through Cobham and over its heath arrived at Ripley a small village neat and clean. About one farther on to the left passed the seat of Lord Comford and a little farther on the seat of the Earl of Uxbridge adorned with a magnificent waterfall from whence entered on a range of marshes the property of the Duke of York called fair mile, being about six mules long; from whence we arrived at Guilford, situated on a hill, 30 m from London. The river Wey is nabvigable from this town to the Thames. The high street through which the coach went is a fine one.

From Guilford proceeded over a barren country till arrived at the seven stars when a most tremendous declivity presented itself, called the Devils punch bowl; it gradually slopes down for 1/4 of a mile; in the centre are a few small cottages and gardens which have a peculiar appearance.

The circumference of the Bowl is about six miles. Its sides produce an immense quantity of Bilberries.

Passed on through Godliman & Liphook without having any views till arrived at a considerable hill obtained for the first time a fine view of the sea and vessiles floating on its glassy surface.

After passing through Petersfield (the birthplace of my wife) and Horsedean arrived at that celebrated hill of Post down from which was presented a commanding view of the surrounding country and upon which is held an annual fair.

Near the Portsmouth road which goes over the hill is a telegraph to the right & from this spot the view is beautiful and enchanting, The fertile country behind for miles & in front the view is sublime. The eye wanders over St. Helen's, the hills of the Isle of Wight, the ships at Spithead, Portsmouth, Farneham & Forton.

In fact the view is so grand from this hill that a traveller could rest his weary limbs here in preference to any where else to view & contemplate the various scenery that opens to eye on both sides of the hill.

The fair begins on the 29 July & continues three days. All the neighborhood for miles go, some in coaches & others in chaises, wagons canopied over with green boughs, & provided with their own provisions.

At the foot of this hill towards Farnham is a noble monument to the memory of Lord Nelson erected by subscription among those Officers who were at the Hero's death.

Arrived at Portsmouth about 1/2 past 7. 17 M- took boat at point & proceeded to Gosport & took up residence in Cold Harbour, of my native town.

From London to Portsmouth 79 m. 5-

Gosport is a town of Hants situated on the west side of Portsmouth & of considerable size; the houses are good and well built. The streets are wide & clean. The people are handsome (females) and polite. The principal streets are South, North & Middle St, with cold Harbor on Square. At the bottom of Middle St there has been built a new Market house in 1811. It is a building of considerable size with large cellering & being now surrounded with iron railings. At the top of South St there has been a new goal erected on the site of the old one in the year 1809.

The Rev. Bingham is the Magistrate.

The Workhouse belonging to Gosport is situated on outside of the lines in New town. It is a noble building finished in 1802. The entrance is by a folding gate. At the right hand side as you enter the court yard is a small building for sick men and another similar to the left for women.

As you enter the hall of the building observed a flight of cast Iron stairs. The wards are of considerable size and hold 20 beds.

The Workhouse is under the care of a visitant and two guardians.

The Matron is Mrs Gregory.

The Master Mr Stone, having 30 pounds a year each with good Apartments. Mr Shute is Surgeon to Poor & has 80---

Gosport is in the Parish of Alvestoke. The Chapel of Gosport is of considerable size & very handsome; particularly over the communion table.

The Minister is Mr Bingham with an income of 800 per Annum. It is a Chapel of Ease to Stoke Church.

The Chief Surgeons are Mssr Harper, Shute & Lynch. Mr Shute is the chief Operator.

There are six Meeting houses in Gosport. The principal one is Mr Bogues.

In Middle St is a noble Inn built in 1811 called the Star. The front is Stucco. In the same street is a small miserable theatre.

The barracks are situated at West end of the town; they are of considerable size and hold 450 men. Behind the barracks is a considerable cooperage. There is also a brewhouse, it employs 300 men to supply part of the Navy with beer.

Gosport is fortified, surrounded by En Barbette extending round the town toward the land side for 1 mile & a half with a parapet in advance; with scarpe-counterscarpe with glacis. There are 32 pairs of ordnance carrying 20 pounders mounted upon wooden carriages & 16 18 pounders upon swivels.

Each cannon independant of the carriage is 49, 3- 25- all marked with the Kings Mark. The magazines of gunpowder are considerable.

From the end of the lines to the west is a fine view of the country.

About half a mile from Gosport is situated Hastar being south, washed with a lake of its own name, over which is a regular ferry.

A Royal Hospital is here established.

The Hospital was begun in 1746 opened 1755 & finished in 1762 by J. Turner Esq Architect. It is wholly built of brick & surrounded with a wall of the same materials. The ground within is appropriated for the use of convalescents from 6 in the morning till sunset. It contains 114 wards 60 feet long, 24 wide & 12 in height, besides other apartments.

Each ward can conveniently take 20 patients so that independant of Surgeons etc it will contain 2280 men. The interior of the range of Buildings contains arcades for the use of the sick.

Detached from the Hospital at the extremity on south side nice houses stand for the residence of Governour & other Officers. They are very neat & command a view of Isle of Wight from St Helens point and Cows on one side & the new forest with Luttrels folly, Drummonds cottage & Lymington on the other.

The bedsteads in the Hospital are Iron.

Establishment of Hospital 1812

Charles Craven Esq Governor
Thos Edwards First Lieutenant
Mr Maston Second "
Mr Symmonds Third "
Dr Whirigld First Physician
Dr Grey Second "
Dr Stevenson Second Surgeon
Dr Denmark Third "
Dr. Dodds First "
Mr Fox Steward
Mr Moteley Agent
Mr Ward Dispenser
Rev Dr Lloyd Chaplin

Each Physician has two, each Surgeon two and the Dispenser ten assistants besides two visiting Apothecaries. Formerly there were three Physicians.

In the east of the front of the Building is the residence of the first Physician and first Surgeon. To the west that of the Steward & Agent.

In the centre between Governours house & Hospital is a chapel; it is small, but very neat; over the door is a small organ.

There is a gallery building for the use of patients, but it will darken & spoil the chapel.

The pulpit stands nearly at end before the table. It is a neat one in imitation of Mahogany. By the side of communion table is a private entrance for Governor etc.

Gosport May 24, 1812

On Friday proceded through centre gate of Gosport to New Town; which is a neat & healthy spot; built only of late. One of the houses now building is of curious structure. The floors doors etc are all of cast iron. It has been seven years a building & was on the eve of being finished in the summer of 1811 when one of the side walls gave way. It will be finished this summer.

Further on to the left is a noble gravil walk leading to the Poorhouse.

At the corner of a lane leading to Stoke stands a very neat & commodious house inhabited by Widow Hatfield. The walk to Stoke through this lane is interesting & shady.

Having entered Stoke the first house that presents itself to view is one lately occupied by M Clifton. It is a noble Mansion, walled & surrounded with trees; opposite to it stands The Church composed of brick & the steeple of stone. It is very old, but clean.

The Churchyeard of Stoke is of considerable size filled with the usual devices & inscriptions such as

A loving husband & father dear,
A faithful friend lies buried here
To see corruption in the dust
In hopes that Christ will raise the Just.

Stoke is a small place; some of the houses are good and some bad.

A little to the left of the village stands a landmark, called Cricker Gill; formerly there were two; the other called Gill Cricker. They are as marks for Shipping to guide them through the Needles. They are falling to decay. Built in 1209.

Leaving Stoke travelled through a pleasant & enchanting lane, with trees bending their lofty tops, forming a beautiful shady walk to the farm of Grange situated in a pleasant and retired spot inhabited by M Maitland. From this romantic spot turned to the left and arrived at Stoke Bay which afforded a full view of the Isle of Wight & Needles point; after gazing some time on the various shipping at Spithead continued along the sea shore breathing the air of purity arrived at Manston fort.

It is situated on Haslar beach at its extreme end forming one of the guards to the entrance of Portsmouth Harbour. It is of considerable size & strength. As you enter the gate, to the right is a very extensive Magazine of Gunpowder covered with copper & having a conductor to the ground.

The fort also commands the bay of Spithead. Many of the cannon are 3c & some 2tonscarrying 32 pounders. In the whole are 50 pieces of Ordnance.

From the fort returned to view Haslar barracks situated behind the Hospital; they are well built & of considerable size containing accomodations for 500 men. The barracks were occasionaly under water in very high tides, to prevent which a high stone wall has been erected.

In Dec 1811 one of the barrack roofs was carried off by a cannon ball fired from a ship just come to Spithead with a pri-- fortunately no lives were lost.

Continuing to traverse the beach for some time inhaling the sea breezes arrived at Block house fort. It is a place of considerable size & strength. It guards the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour & situated opposite to the platform on the Portsmouth entrance. It mounts 20 pieces of heavy ordnance.

The port is under considerable alteration.

Returning to Haslar had a fine view of Hospital, Haslar, South Sea castle &&

Near the front of the Hospital stands the Guard house, a small compact building; adjoining it is the Jettie for landing the sick etc.

Gosport May 31, 1812

Proceeded again to Stokes Bay & continued advancing along the sea shore the contrary was as before till arrived at some considerable brick kiln belonging to Government. The bricks made here are of a fine red colour.

Adjoining the field is an extensive water tub, from which the Navy at Spithead are supplied. The water is conveyed down to this tub in pipes derived from a well 1/4 miles distant. The water is particularly fine. Continued on over high & craggy cliffs with fine views of Isle of Wight for about 4 miles when arrived at Gibbets cot, situated on a hill inhabited by a poor man named Dankins. After going over more rough cliffs arrived at Hill Head house inhabited by J. Leach Esq. steward of the Manor.

Returning arrived at the before mentioned cot from which a path leads through delightful garden lanes, on the sides of which sat sweet warbling birds, which enhanced the walk to Stubbington. The first house that presented itself to view was the seat of Mr. Goodiff, Banker of Gosport. It is of considerable size & has a handsome lawn before it. Farther on is another occupied by M Payne.

The village is neat, but small. it is occupied by clean & healthy people. Leaving the village traversed over the barren common of Chasrt, then over fields leaving Brockhurst to the left through Forton & to Gosport.

Gosport June 1, 1812

On Tuesday proceeded through the West gate of Gosport towards Spring gardens. The gardens of the New Inn are particularly worth seeing. The vareigated & tasty manner in which they are laid out is very handsome & have a showy appearance.

Between Spring gardens & Forten are very extensive Barracks, having a large piece of ground inclosed for exercise. Every night the band plays for a hour at nine o clock.

The North Devon are quartered here.

At a short distance beyond is Foston prison. It is not a place of any consequence in point of respectability, but for the famous depot for french prisoners.

On entering the prison you have exposed to view a scene of bustle & confusion. The prisoners are allowed to make small articles for sale & on certain days they lay out stalls with their variegated toys which create bustle & merriment & is a slight resemblance to a fair.

There are now in the prison 3,000.

Opposite the end of the Prison is the termination of a considerable lake that derives its source from Portsmouth Harbor by which the French prisoners are conveyed to Forton.

At the end of Forton to the right is a small house called Nelson place & farther on to the left is a noble Mansion with a small lawn, to let.

One mile beyond Forton to the right an elegant row of houses have been lately built, which commands a very fine view.

Facing the road as you turn down to Brockhouse is a capital Brick house, with a large garden etc. attached to it, inhabited by Mr. Marsh.

Brockhurst is a place of some size situated along the road for half a mile. A little beyond is Hardway from which I had a fine view of about 30 Rupean ships, delieved to our keeping. They are actually falling to pieces. There are a few prison ships.

Hardway is a small place, chiefly inhabited by fishermen.

Returned to Gosport over pleasant fields.

Gosport June 14, 1812

Crossed over on Thursday to Portsmouth & proceeded from thence in the Cowes packer and after enjoying a rapid sail along the green ocean arrived at Cowes Harbor about three oclock.

Cowes is a seaport town in the Isle of Wight 8 miles from Portsmouth. East Cowes is of considerable size. The Inns are very good. particularly the Fountain. The streets are wide and mostly paved.

After partaking of refreshments proceeded along a pleasant road that commands a fine view of the opposite side of the river, more particularly of a noble mansion in the form of a castle, situated upon a gentle declivity. The property is inhabited by Mr. Nash the Architect.

Continued on through Shambarch a neat & small village, one mile beyond which is the Parsonage house, till arrived at Hinny hill. At the foot of which is a house of industy & at the top is a considerable depot for training German soldiers, after a short time arrived at Newport -- The principle town in the Isle of Wight. The houses are large & commodious. The Church stands to the right as you enter. It is low & very ancient. The principal streets are St. James & Wight. The pavements are clean & wide & look like London ones.

About one mile from Newport is Carisbrook castle. The ascent is up a steep hill. The entrance is by a bridge on the west side; passing over another bridge arrived at the inner gate, so worn by age that it can scarcely be kept together. The castle entrance is fortified by two round towers & under the towers are two Prison rooms.

On the right as you enter is the Chapel for the Military erected on the site of an old one 1738 behind which are extensive gardens.

Divine service is only performed once in the year which the Mayor is chosen.

On the left are the ruins where Charles the first was confined. The iron window is still remaining through which it is said he endeavored to escape.

Opposite is the Governors house with the barracks, the latter are very much damag'd. The house has lately been repaired.

Attached to the Barracks is a considerable well, covered over with a stone building. As you enter the well stands in the centre, in the left hand side is a windlass wheel for drawing water. An ass is trained to run round the wheel. The present one was training three years & has now run round it 14 years.

The water is good.

The noise produced by thowing some of the water down was astonishing after a lapse of five seconds.

I saw a lamp put down with a compound pulley. Whilst it was going down a rumbling noise was heard.

When the lamp is on the surface of the water could see the sides of the well.

The first fifteen feet of well is composed of stone, but the remaining part is dug out of the solid rock. The water rises often to within 20 feet of top. The depth is 300 feet.

On the left behind the Governors house is the Keep a place high & to which you ascend 72 steps. The Keep is much decayed. From the top there is a most enchanting view of the surrounding country. On the right hand corner are the remains of Mount Joy Castle.

The castle ought to have a guard.

Leaving Castle proceeded to the village of Carisbrook which is situated at the foot of the hill. It is small but neat. The church is a handsome stone building & was lately repaired. It is a gothic structure with 8 pinnacles. At the entrance is a fine spring. The Church yard is of considerable size. On one of the tomb stones I observed the following lines.

Let faith and love contrive
To guard your valued Breast,
The plate be righteous divine im-- and impressed.

To the Memory of L. J. Fleming 90 R--

Passed through Golden, Idlecomb & Shorwell all small places to Brixton a small miserable village where I was oblig'd to sleep & found accomodations bad.

On Friday morning I left Brixton & proceeded over interesting fields to Motteston. A little to the right before you enter the village is the Mansion house in which Sir J. Cherk tutor to King Edward 6 was born & one of the first introducers of the Greek languages into this Country.

From this spot is a fine view of water cliff.

A little distance on is the small village of Brook. The first house that presents itself to view is Brook house the seat of Mr. How, Lord of the Manor. The Church is at some distance from the village situated upon a high hill. After passing through Compton arrived at Fresh water gate Inn. It is a small house for the convenience of travellors. There is a kind of harbor mostly surrounded by fishermens huts. There is a small line of fortifications mounting one piece of ordnance. There are several along the coast. In this harbour is a cave of considerable depth which can be entered at low water.

Pursuing the path over the cliff arrived at the signal house situated upon a high cliff.

At some distance off upon the descent of a hill arrived at the Needles light house, beyond which are the Needles, consisting of three points scarcely visible at high water.

In the summer of 1811 the Pommona was lost here. All the crew saved.

From the light houe had a fine view of New Forest & Third Castle. Some signal cannons are placed here for signals.

The light house is of considerable size & a little to the left is Allum Bay, the rock of which is particularly variegated.

From this spot proceeded across pleasant corn fields to Freshwater village of considerable size & its Church is in the centre.

After leaving the village continued over delightful fertile country till arrived at the Borough Yarmouth. It is a place of considerable size. The houses are well built, streets clean & wide.

From Yarmouth continued on Shaftflect. It is a small clean village. The Church is ancient; but its steeple has been lately repaired.

Upon one of the tomb stones observed the following

Here lies the mortal part of a beloved wife
Prudent in all her conduct here in life
A tender Mother & a faithful Consort
Lamented by her Spouse & Children dear.

After passing through Newton, a place of some size & continuing over interesting fields arrived again at Cowes, where I took up my abode for the Night.

On the following morning June 13 I proceeded from the Fountain Inn Cowes to Southampton. The sail was considerable. The wind fair & the day fine. After enjoying the fine breezes arrived at Southampton.

Southampton is a particular handsome place. The Market house is well built & conveniently laid out. The principal Inn is the Star. It is a stucco front. The Church is of considerable size. The principal st is High St. The houses are all well built and clean. It is of considerable length & width.

The entrance to Southampton from London is particularly elegant. It is under a noble stone arch. In front & attached to it are two noble paintings of Men; before which supported upon a stone column are two carved lions bearing the arms of the town.

From Southampton turned down the first road to the right overNortham bridge, situated across a lake running up the country for miles. About one on the road arrived at another bridge from the centre of which commanded a fine view of a noble Mansion situated upon the adjoining verdant plains; continued on over an interesting country & past the seat of Col Debellingham arrived at Hounds common and from the Windmill obtained a fine view of the New Forest, Isle of Wight & Cowes Harbour.

Arrived at
busseldon bridge to the right of which is a boat builder. He has got on the stocks one 14-- a sloop.

To the left is the small village of Busseldon. After walking arrived at Titchfield common. The road is one continued hill & valley upon the summit of each hill obtained fine views of the surrounding country.

At the end of common is a turnpike from which is a most sublime view of the sea & Island. After going on for some time arrived at Titchfield. It is small, the houses are well built. The Church stands at the end of village by the road to Gosport.

Leaving Titchfield took the road to Gosport by Fareham. At the end of Titchfield is a nobel mansion occupied by Mr. Dadds school master.

Titchfield lies in a recess, after ascending a considerable hill on the other side of the village arrived at the Cross roads from which spot there is a fine view of Postdown hill, & a stone monument erected to the memory of lord nelson.

Passed Fareham a small place, Brockhurst, Foston & to Gosport.

Robert Davies

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