Tour through the Eastern Counties of England, 1722
Daniel Defoe

Part 1 out of 3

Transcribed by David Price, email

Tour through the Eastern Counties of England, 1722

I began my travels where I purpose to end them, viz., at the City
of London, and therefore my account of the city itself will come
last, that is to say, at the latter end of my southern progress;
and as in the course of this journey I shall have many occasions to
call it a circuit, if not a circle, so I chose to give it the title
of circuits in the plural, because I do not pretend to have
travelled it all in one journey, but in many, and some of them many
times over; the better to inform myself of everything I could find
worth taking notice of.

I hope it will appear that I am not the less, but the more capable
of giving a full account of things, by how much the more
deliberation I have taken in the view of them, and by how much the
oftener I have had opportunity to see them.

I set out the 3rd of April, 1722, going first eastward, and took
what I think I may very honestly call a circuit in the very letter
of it; for I went down by the coast of the Thames through the
Marshes or Hundreds on the south side of the county of Essex, till
I came to Malden, Colchester, and Harwich, thence continuing on the
coast of Suffolk to Yarmouth; thence round by the edge of the sea,
on the north and west side of Norfolk, to Lynn, Wisbech, and the
Wash; thence back again, on the north side of Suffolk and Essex, to
the west, ending it in Middlesex, near the place where I began it,
reserving the middle or centre of the several counties to some
little excursions, which I made by themselves.

Passing Bow Bridge, where the county of Essex begins, the first
observation I made was, that all the villages which may be called
the neighbourhood of the city of London on this, as well as on the
other sides thereof, which I shall speak to in their order; I say,
all those villages are increased in buildings to a strange degree,
within the compass of about twenty or thirty years past at the

The village of Stratford, the first in this county from London, is
not only increased, but, I believe, more than doubled in that time;
every vacancy filled up with new houses, and two little towns or
hamlets, as they may be called, on the forest side of the town
entirely new, namely Maryland Point and the Gravel Pits, one facing
the road to Woodford and Epping, and the other facing the road to
Ilford; and as for the hither part, it is almost joined to Bow, in
spite of rivers, canals, marshy grounds, &c. Nor is this increase
of building the case only in this and all the other villages round
London; but the increase of the value and rent of the houses
formerly standing has, in that compass of years above-mentioned,
advanced to a very great degree, and I may venture to say at least
the fifth part; some think a third part, above what they were

This is indeed most visible, speaking of Stratford in Essex; but it
is the same thing in proportion in other villages adjacent,
especially on the forest side; as at Low Leyton, Leytonstone,
Walthamstow, Woodford, Wanstead, and the towns of West Ham,
Plaistow, Upton, etc. In all which places, or near them (as the
inhabitants say), above a thousand new foundations have been
erected, besides old houses repaired, all since the Revolution; and
this is not to be forgotten too, that this increase is, generally
speaking, of handsome, large houses, from 20 pounds a year to 60
pounds, very few under 20 pounds a year; being chiefly for the
habitations of the richest citizens, such as either are able to
keep two houses, one in the country and one in the city; or for
such citizens as being rich, and having left off trade, live
altogether in these neighbouring villages, for the pleasure and
health of the latter part of their days.

The truth of this may at least appear, in that they tell me there
are no less than two hundred coaches kept by the inhabitants within
the circumference of these few villages named above, besides such
as are kept by accidental lodgers.

This increase of the inhabitants, and the cause of it, I shall
enlarge upon when I come to speak of the like in the counties of
Middlesex, Surrey, &c, where it is the same, only in a much greater
degree. But this I must take notice of here, that this increase
causes those villages to be much pleasanter and more sociable than
formerly, for now people go to them, not for retirement into the
country, but for good company; of which, that I may speak to the
ladies as well as other authors do, there are in these villages,
nay, in all, three or four excepted, excellent conversation, and a
great deal of it, and that without the mixture of assemblies,
gaming-houses, and public foundations of vice and debauchery; and
particularly I find none of those incentives kept up on this side
the country.

Mr. Camden, and his learned continuator, Bishop Gibson, have
ransacked this country for its antiquities, and have left little
unsearched; and as it is not my present design to say much of what
has been said already, I shall touch very lightly where two such
excellent antiquaries have gone before me; except it be to add what
may have been since discovered, which as to these parts is only
this: That there seems to be lately found out in the bottom of the
Marshes (generally called Hackney Marsh, and beginning near about
the place now called the Wick, between Old Ford and the said Wick),
the remains of a great stone causeway, which, as it is supposed,
was the highway, or great road from London into Essex, and the same
which goes now over the great bridge between Bow and Stratford.

That the great road lay this way, and that the great causeway
landed again just over the river, where now the Temple Mills stand,
and passed by Sir Thomas Hickes's house at Ruckolls, all this is
not doubted; and that it was one of those famous highways made by
the Romans there is undoubted proof, by the several marks of Roman
work, and by Roman coins and other antiquities found there, some of
which are said to be deposited in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Strype,
vicar of the parish of Low Leyton.

From hence the great road passed up to Leytonstone, a place by some
known now as much by the sign of the "Green Man," formerly a lodge
upon the edge of the forest; and crossing by Wanstead House,
formerly the dwelling of Sir Josiah Child, now of his son the Lord
Castlemain (of which hereafter), went over the same river which we
now pass at Ilford; and passing that part of the great forest which
we now call Hainault Forest, came into that which is now the great
road, a little on this side the Whalebone, a place on the road so
called because the rib-bone of a great whale, which was taken in
the River Thames the same year that Oliver Cromwell died, 1658, was
fixed there for a monument of that monstrous creature, it being at
first about eight-and-twenty feet long.

According to my first intention of effectually viewing the sea-
coast of these three counties, I went from Stratford to Barking, a
large market-town, but chiefly inhabited by fishermen, whose smacks
ride in the Thames, at the mouth of their river, from whence their
fish is sent up to London to the market at Billingsgate by small
boats, of which I shall speak by itself in my description of

One thing I cannot omit in the mention of these Barking fisher-
smacks, viz., that one of those fishermen, a very substantial and
experienced man, convinced me that all the pretences to bringing
fish alive to London market from the North Seas, and other remote
places on the coast of Great Britain, by the new-built sloops
called fish-pools, have not been able to do anything but what their
fishing-smacks are able on the same occasion to perform. These
fishing-smacks are very useful vessels to the public upon many
occasions; as particularly, in time of war they are used as press-
smacks, running to all the northern and western coasts to pick up
seamen to man the navy, when any expedition is at hand that
requires a sudden equipment; at other times, being excellent
sailors, they are tenders to particular men of war; and on an
expedition they have been made use of as machines for the blowing
up of fortified ports and havens; as at Calais, St. Malo, and other

This parish of Barking is very large, and by the improvement of
lands taken in out of the Thames, and out of the river which runs
by the town, the tithes, as the townsmen assured me, are worth
above 600 pounds per annum, including, small tithes. Note.--This
parish has two or three chapels of ease, viz., one at Ilford, and
one on the side of Hainault Forest, called New Chapel.

Sir Thomas Fanshaw, of an ancient Roman Catholic family, has a very
good estate in this parish. A little beyond the town, on the road
to Dagenham, stood a great house, ancient, and now almost fallen
down, where tradition says the Gunpowder Treason Plot was at first
contrived, and that all the first consultations about it were held

This side of the county is rather rich in land than in inhabitants,
occasioned chiefly by the unhealthiness of the air; for these low
marsh grounds, which, with all the south side of the county, have
been saved out of the River Thames, and out of the sea, where the
river is wide enough to be called so, begin here, or rather begin
at West Ham, by Stratford, and continue to extend themselves, from
hence eastward, growing wider and wider till we come beyond
Tilbury, when the flat country lies six, seven, or eight miles
broad, and is justly said to be both unhealthy and unpleasant.

However, the lands are rich, and, as is observable, it is very good
farming in the marshes, because the landlords let good pennyworths,
for it being a place where everybody cannot live, those that
venture it will have encouragement and indeed it is but reasonable
they should.

Several little observations I made in this part of the county of

1. We saw, passing from Barking to Dagenham, the famous breach,
made by an inundation of the Thames, which was so great as that it
laid near 5,000 acres of land under water, but which after near ten
years lying under water, and being several times blown up, has been
at last effectually stopped by the application of Captain Perry,
the gentleman who, for several years, had been employed in the Czar
of Muscovy's works, at Veronitza, on the River Don. This breach
appeared now effectually made up, and they assured us that the new
work, where the breach was, is by much esteemed the strongest of
all the sea walls in that level.

2. It was observable that great part of the lands in these levels,
especially those on this side East Tilbury, are held by the
farmers, cow-keepers, and grazing butchers who live in and near
London, and that they are generally stocked (all the winter half
year) with large fat sheep, viz., Lincolnshire and Leicestershire
wethers, which they buy in Smithfield in September and October,
when the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire graziers sell off their
stock, and are kept here till Christmas, or Candlemas, or
thereabouts; and though they are not made at all fatter here than
they were when bought in, yet the farmer or butcher finds very good
advantage in it, by the difference of the price of mutton between
Michaelmas, when it is cheapest, and Candlemas, when it is dearest;
this is what the butchers value themselves upon, when they tell us
at the market that it is right marsh-mutton.

3. In the bottom of these Marshes, and close to the edge of the
river, stands the strong fortress of Tilbury, called Tilbury Fort,
which may justly be looked upon as the key of the River Thames, and
consequently the key of the City of London. It is a regular
fortification. The design of it was a pentagon, but the water
bastion, as it would have been called, was never built. The plan
was laid out by Sir Martin Beckman, chief engineer to King Charles
II., who also designed the works at Sheerness. The esplanade of
the fort is very large, and the bastions the largest of any in
England, the foundation is laid so deep, and piles under that,
driven down two an end of one another, so far, till they were
assured they were below the channel of the river, and that the
piles, which were shed with iron, entered into the solid chalk rock
adjoining to, or reaching from, the chalk hills on the other side.
These bastions settled considerably at first, as did also part of
the curtain, the great quantity of earth that was brought to fill
them up, necessarily, requiring to be made solid by time; but they
are now firm as the rocks of chalk which they came from, and the
filling up one of these bastions, as I have been told by good
hands, cost the Government 6,000 pounds, being filled with chalk
rubbish fetched from the chalk pits at Northfleet, just above

The work to the land side is complete; the bastions are faced with
brick. There is a double ditch, or moat, the innermost part of
which is 180 feet broad; there is a good counterscarp, and a
covered way marked out with ravelins and tenailles, but they are
not raised a second time after their first settling.

On the land side there are also two small redoubts of brick, but of
very little strength, for the chief strength of this fort on the
land side consists in this, that they are able to lay the whole
level under water, and so to make it impossible for an enemy to
make any approaches to the fort that way.

On the side next the river there is a very strong curtain, with a
noble gate called the Water Gate in the middle, and the ditch is
palisadoed. At the place where the water bastion was designed to
be built, and which by the plan should run wholly out into the
river, so to flank the two curtains of each side; I say, in the
place where it should have been, stands a high tower, which they
tell us was built in Queen Elizabeth's time, and was called the
Block House; the side next the water is vacant.

Before this curtain, above and below the said vacancy, is a
platform in the place of a counterscarp, on which are planted 106
pieces of cannon, generally all of them carrying from twenty-four
to forty-six pound ball; a battery so terrible as well imports the
consequence of that place; besides which, there are smaller pieces
planted between, and the bastions and curtain also are planted with
guns; so that they must be bold fellows who will venture in the
biggest ships the world has heard of to pass such a battery, if the
men appointed to serve the guns do their duty like stout fellows,
as becomes them.

The present government of this important place is under the prudent
administration of the Right Honourable the Lord Newbrugh.

From hence there is nothing for many miles together remarkable but
a continued level of unhealthy marshes, called the Three Hundreds,
till we come before Leigh, and to the mouth of the River Chelmer,
and Blackwater. These rivers united make a large firth, or inlet
of the sea, which by Mr. Camden is called Idumanum Fluvium; but by
our fishermen and seamen, who use it as a port, it is called Malden

In this inlet of the sea is Osey, or Osyth Island, commonly called
Oosy Island, so well known by our London men of pleasure for the
infinite number of wild fowl, that is to say, duck, mallard, teal,
and widgeon, of which there are such vast flights, that they tell
us the island, namely the creek, seems covered with them at certain
times of the year, and they go from London on purpose for the
pleasure of shooting; and, indeed, often come home very well laden
with game. But it must be remembered too that those gentlemen who
are such lovers of the sport, and go so far for it, often return
with an Essex ague on their backs, which they find a heavier load
than the fowls they have shot.

It is on this shore, and near this creek, that the greatest
quantity of fresh fish is caught which supplies not this country
only, but London markets also. On the shore, beginning a little
below Candy Island, or rather below Leigh Road, there lies a great
shoal or sand called the Black Tail, which runs out near three
leagues into the sea due east; at the end of it stands a pole or
mast, set up by the Trinity House men of London, whose business is
to lay buoys and set up sea marks for the direction of the sailors;
this is called Shoe Beacon, from the point of land where this sand
begins, which is called Shoeburyness, and that from the town of
Shoebury, which stands by it. From this sand, and on the edge of
Shoebury, before it, or south west of it, all along, to the mouth
of Colchester water, the shore is full of shoals and sands, with
some deep channels between; all which are so full of fish, that not
only the Barking fishing-smacks come hither to fish, but the whole
shore is full of small fisher-boats in very great numbers,
belonging to the villages and towns on the coast, who come in every
tide with what they take; and selling the smaller fish in the
country, send the best and largest away upon horses, which go night
and day to London market.

N.B.--I am the more particular in my remarks on this place, because
in the course of my travels the reader will meet with the like in
almost every place of note through the whole island, where it will
be seen how this whole kingdom, as well the people as the land, and
even the sea, in every part of it, are employed to furnish
something, and I may add, the best of everything, to supply the
City of London with provisions; I mean by provisions, corn, flesh,
fish, butter, cheese, salt, fuel, timber, etc., and clothes also;
with everything necessary for building, and furniture for their own
use or for trade; of all which in their order.

On this shore also are taken the best and nicest, though not the
largest, oysters in England; the spot from whence they have their
common appellation is a little bank called Woelfleet, scarce to be
called an island, in the mouth of the River Crouch, now called
Crooksea Water; but the chief place where the said oysters are now
had is from Wyvenhoe and the shores adjacent, whither they are
brought by the fishermen, who take them at the mouth of that they
call Colchester water and about the sand they call the Spits, and
carry them up to Wyvenhoe, where they are laid in beds or pits on
the shore to feed, as they call it; and then being barrelled up and
carried to Colchester, which is but three miles off, they are sent
to London by land, and are from thence called Colchester oysters.

The chief sort of other fish which they carry from this part of the
shore to London are soles, which they take sometimes exceeding
large, and yield a very good price at London market. Also
sometimes middling turbot, with whiting, codling and large
flounders; the small fish, as above, they sell in the country.

In the several creeks and openings, as above, on this shore there
are also other islands, but of no particular note, except Mersey,
which lies in the middle of the two openings between Malden Water
and Colchester Water; being of the most difficult access, so that
it is thought a thousand men well provided might keep possession of
it against a great force, whether by land or sea. On this account,
and because if possessed by an enemy it would shut up all the
navigation and fishery on that side, the Government formerly built
a fort on the south-east point of it; and generally in case of
Dutch war, there is a strong body of troops kept there to defend

At this place may be said to end what we call the Hundreds of
Essex--that is to say, the three Hundreds or divisions which
include the marshy country, viz., Barnstable Hundred, Rochford
Hundred, and Dengy Hundred.

I have one remark more before I leave this damp part of the world,
and which I cannot omit on the women's account, namely, that I took
notice of a strange decay of the sex here; insomuch that all along
this country it was very frequent to meet with men that had had
from five or six to fourteen or fifteen wives; nay, and some more.
And I was informed that in the marshes on the other side of the
river over against Candy Island there was a farmer who was then
living with the five-and-twentieth wife, and that his son, who was
but about thirty-five years old, had already had about fourteen.
Indeed, this part of the story I only had by report, though from
good hands too; but the other is well known and easy to be inquired
into about Fobbing, Curringham, Thundersly, Benfleet, Prittlewell,
Wakering, Great Stambridge, Cricksea, Burnham, Dengy, and other
towns of the like situation. The reason, as a merry fellow told
me, who said he had had about a dozen and a half of wives (though I
found afterwards he fibbed a little) was this: That they being
bred in the marshes themselves and seasoned to the place, did
pretty well with it; but that they always went up into the hilly
country, or, to speak their own language, into the uplands for a
wife. That when they took the young lasses out of the wholesome
and fresh air they were healthy, fresh, and clear, and well; but
when they came out of their native air into the marshes among the
fogs and damps, there they presently changed their complexion, got
an ague or two, and seldom held it above half a year, or a year at
most; "And then," said he, "we go to the uplands again and fetch
another;" so that marrying of wives was reckoned a kind of good
farm to them. It is true the fellow told this in a kind of
drollery and mirth; but the fact, for all that, is certainly true;
and that they have abundance of wives by that very means. Nor is
it less true that the inhabitants in these places do not hold it
out, as in other countries, and as first you seldom meet with very
ancient people among the poor, as in other places we do, so, take
it one with another, not one-half of the inhabitants are natives of
the place; but such as from other countries or in other parts of
this country settle here for the advantage of good farms; for which
I appeal to any impartial inquiry, having myself examined into it
critically in several places.

From the marshes and low grounds being not able to travel without
many windings and indentures by reason of the creeks and waters, I
came up to the town of Malden, a noted market town situate at the
conflux or joining of two principal rivers in this county, the
Chelm or Chelmer, and the Blackwater, and where they enter into the
sea. The channel, as I have noted, is called by the sailors Malden
Water, and is navigable up to the town, where by that means is a
great trade for carrying corn by water to London; the county of
Essex being (especially on all that side) a great corn county.

When I have said this I think I have done Malden justice, and said
all of it that there is to be said, unless I should run into the
old story of its antiquity, and tell you it was a Roman colony in
the time of Vespasian, and that it was called Camolodunum. How the
Britons, under Queen Boadicea, in revenge for the Romans' ill-usage
of her--for indeed they used her majesty ill--they stripped her
naked and whipped her publicly through their streets for some
affront she had given them. I say how for this she raised the
Britons round the country, overpowered, and cut in pieces the Tenth
Legion, killed above eighty thousand Romans, and destroyed the
colony; but was afterwards overthrown in a great battle, and sixty
thousand Britons slain. I say, unless I should enter into this
story, I have nothing more to say of Malden, and, as for that
story, it is so fully related by Mr. Camden in his history of the
Romans in Britain at the beginning of his "Britannia," that I need
only refer the reader to it, and go on with my journey.

Being obliged to come thus far into the uplands, as above, I made
it my road to pass through Witham, a pleasant, well-situated market
town, in which, and in its neighbourhood, there are as many
gentlemen of good fortunes and families as I believe can be met
with in so narrow a compass in any of the three counties of which I
make this circuit.

In the town of Witham dwells the Lord Pasely, oldest son of the
Earl of Abercorn of Ireland (a branch of the noble family of
Hamilton, in Scotland). His lordship has a small, but a neat,
well-built new house, and is finishing his gardens in such a manner
as few in that part of England will exceed them.

Nearer Chelmsford, hard by Boreham, lives the Lord Viscount
Barrington, who, though not born to the title, or estate, or name
which he now possesses, had the honour to be twice made heir to the
estates of gentlemen not at all related to him, at least, one of
them, as is very much to his honour, mentioned in his patent of
creation. His name was Shute, his father a linendraper in London,
and served sheriff of the said city in very troublesome times. He
changed the name of Shute for that of Barrington by an Act of
Parliament obtained for that purpose, and had the dignity of a
baron of the kingdom conferred on him by the favour of King George.
His lordship is a Dissenter, and seems to love retirement. He was
a member of Parliament for the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

On the other side of Witham, at Fauburn, an ancient mansion house,
built by the Romans, lives Mr. Bullock, whose father married the
daughter of that eminent citizen, Sir Josiah Child, of Wanstead, by
whom she had three sons; the eldest enjoys the estate, which is

It is observable, that in this part of the country there are
several very considerable estates, purchased and now enjoyed by
citizens of London, merchants, and tradesmen, as Mr. Western, an
iron merchant, near Kelendon; Mr. Cresnor, a wholesale grocer, who
was, a little before he died, named for sheriff at Earl's Coln; Mr.
Olemus, a merchant at Braintree; Mr. Westcomb, near Malden; Sir
Thomas Webster at Copthall, near Waltham; and several others.

I mention this to observe how the present increase of wealth in the
City of London spreads itself into the country, and plants families
and fortunes, who in another age will equal the families of the
ancient gentry, who perhaps were brought out. I shall take notice
of this in a general head, and when I have run through all the
counties, collect a list of the families of citizens and tradesmen
thus established in the several counties, especially round London.

The product of all this part of the country is corn, as that of the
marshy feeding grounds mentioned above is grass, where their chief
business is breeding of calves, which I need not say are the best
and fattest, and the largest veal in England, if not in the world;
and, as an instance, I ate part of a veal or calf, fed by the late
Sir Josiah Child at Wanstead, the loin of which weighed above
thirty pounds, and the flesh exceeding white and fat.

From hence I went on to Colchester. The story of Kill-Dane, which
is told of the town of Kelvedon, three miles from Witham, namely,
that this is the place where the massacre of the Danes was begun by
the women, and that therefore it was called Kill-Dane; I say of it,
as we generally say of improbable news, it wants confirmation. The
true name of the town is Kelvedon, and has been so for many hundred
years. Neither does Mr. Camden, or any other writer I meet with
worth naming, insist on this piece of empty tradition. The town is
commonly called Keldon.

Colchester is an ancient corporation. The town is large, very
populous, the streets fair and beautiful, and though it may not
said to be finely built, yet there are abundance of very good and
well-built houses in it. It still mourns in the ruins of a civil
war; during which, or rather after the heat of the war was over, it
suffered a severe siege, which, the garrison making a resolute
defence, was turned into a blockade, in which the garrison and
inhabitants also suffered the utmost extremity of hunger, and were
at last obliged to surrender at discretion, when their two chief
officers, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, were shot to
death under the castle wall. The inhabitants had a tradition that
no grass would grow upon the spot where the blood of those two
gallant gentlemen was spilt, and they showed the place bare of
grass for many years; but whether for this reason I will not
affirm. The story is now dropped, and the grass, I suppose, grows
there, as in other places.

However, the battered walls, the breaches in the turrets, and the
ruined churches, still remain, except that the church of St. Mary
(where they had the royal fort) is rebuilt; but the steeple, which
was two-thirds battered down, because the besieged had a large
culverin upon it that did much execution, remains still in that

There is another church which bears the marks of those times,
namely, on the south side of the town, in the way to the Hythe, of
which more hereafter.

The lines of contravallation, with the forts built by the
besiegers, and which surrounded the whole town, remain very visible
in many places; but the chief of them are demolished.

The River Colne, which passes through this town, compasses it on
the north and east sides, and served in those times for a complete
defence on those sides. They have three bridges over it, one
called North Bridge, at the north gate, by which the road leads
into Suffolk; one called East Bridge, at the foot of the High
Street, over which lies the road to Harwich, and one at the Hythe,
as above.

The river is navigable within three miles of the town for ships of
large burthen; a little lower it may receive even a royal navy; and
up to that part called the Hythe, close to the houses, it is
navigable for hoys and small barques. This Hythe is a long street,
passing from west to east, on the south side of the town. At the
west end of it, there is a small intermission of the buildings, but
not much; and towards the river it is very populous (it may be
called the Wapping of Colchester). There is one church in that
part of the town, a large quay by the river, and a good custom-

The town may be said chiefly to subsist by the trade of making
bays, which is known over most of the trading parts of Europe by
the name of Colchester Bays, though indeed all the towns round
carry on the same trade--namely, Kelvedon, Witham, Coggeshall,
Braintree, Bocking, &c., and the whole county, large as it is, may
be said to be employed, and in part maintained, by the spinning of
wool for the bay trade of Colchester and its adjacent towns. The
account of the siege, A.D. 1648, with a diary of the most
remarkable passages, are as follows, which I had from so good a
hand as that I have no reason to question its being a true

A Diary: Or, An Account Of The Siege And Blockade Of Colchester,
A.D. 1648.

On the 4th of June, we were alarmed in the town of Colchester that
the Lord Goring, the Lord Capel, and a body of two thousand of the
loyal party, who had been in arms in Kent, having left a great body
of an army in possession of Rochester Bridge, where they resolved
to fight the Lord Fairfax and the Parliament army, had given the
said General Fairfax the slip, and having passed the Thames at
Greenwich, were come to Stratford, and were advancing this way;
upon which news, Sir Charles Lucas, Sir George Lisle, Colonel Cook,
and several gentlemen of the loyal army, and all that had
commissions from the king, with a gallant appearance of gentlemen
volunteers, drew together from all parts of the country to join
with them.

The 8th, we were further informed that they were advanced to
Chelmsford, to New Hall House, and to Witham; and the 9th some of
the horse arrived in the town, taking possession of the gates, and
having engineers with them, told us that General Goring had
resolved to make this town his headquarters, and would cause it to
be well fortified. They also caused the drums to beat for
volunteers; and a good number of the poor bay-weavers, and such-
like people, wanting employment, enlisted; so that they completed
Sir Charles Lucas's regiment, which was but thin, to near eight
hundred men.

On the 10th we had news that the Lord Fairfax, having beaten the
Royalists at Maidstone, and retaken Rochester, had passed the
Thames at Gravesend, though with great difficulty, and with some
loss, and was come to Horndon-on-the-Hill, in order to gain
Colchester before the Royalists; but that hearing Sir Charles Lucas
had prevented him, had ordered his rendezvous at Billerecay, and
intended to possess the pass at Malden on the 11th, where Sir
Thomas Honnywood, with the county-trained bands, was to be the same

The same evening the Lord Goring, with all his forces, making about
five thousand six hundred men, horse and foot, came to Colchester,
and encamping without the suburbs, under command of the cannon of
St. Mary's fort, made disposition to fight the Parliament forces if
they came up.

The 12th, the Lord Goring came into Colchester, viewed the fort in
St. Mary's churchyard, ordered more cannon to be planted upon it,
posted two regiments in the suburbs without the head gate, let the
town know he would take them into his Majesty's protection, and
that he would fight the enemy in that situation. The same evening
the Lord Fairfax, with a strong party of one thousand horse, came
to Lexden, at two small miles' distance, expecting the rest of his
army there the same night.

The Lord Goring brought in prisoners the same day, Sir William
Masham, and several other gentlemen of the county, who were secured
under a strong guard; which the Parliament hearing, ordered twenty
prisoners of the royal party to be singled out, declaring, that
they should be used in the same manner as the Lord Goring used Sir
William Masham, and the gentlemen prisoners with him.

On the 13th, early in the morning, our spies brought intelligence
that the Lord Fairfax, all his forces being come up to him, was
making dispositions for a march, resolving to attack the Royalists
in their camp; upon which, the Lord Goring drew all his forces
together, resolving to fight. The engineers had offered the night
before to entrench his camp, and to draw a line round it in one
night's time, but his lordship declined it, and now there was no
time for it; whereupon the general, Lord Goring, drew up his army
in order of battle on both sides the road, the horse in the open
fields on the wings; the foot were drawn up, one regiment in the
road, one regiment on each side, and two regiments for reserve in
the suburb, just at the entrance of the town, with a regiment of
volunteers advanced as a forlorn hope, and a regiment of horse at
the head-gate, ready to support the reserve, as occasion should

About nine in the morning we heard the enemy's drums beat a march,
and in half an hour more their first troops appeared on the higher
grounds towards Lexden. Immediately the cannon from St. Mary's
fired upon them, and put some troops of horse into confusion, doing
great execution, which, they not being able to shun it, made them
quicken their pace, fall on, when our cannon were obliged to cease
firing, lest we should hurt our own troops as well as the enemy.
Soon after, their foot appeared, and our cannon saluted them in
like manner, and killed them a great many men.

Their first line of foot was led up by Colonel Barkstead, and
consisted of three regiments of foot, making about 1,700 men, and
these charged our regiment in the lane, commanded by Sir George
Lisle and Sir William Campion. They fell on with great fury, and
were received with as much gallantry, and three times repulsed; nor
could they break in here, though the Lord Fairfax sent fresh men to
support them, till the Royalists' horse, oppressed with numbers on
the left, were obliged to retire, and at last to come full gallop
into the street, and so on into the town. Nay, still the foot
stood firm, and the volunteers, being all gentlemen, kept their
ground with the greatest resolution; but the left wing being
routed, as above, Sir William Campion was obliged to make a front
to the left, and lining the hedge with his musketeers, made a stand
with a body of pikes against the enemy's horse, and prevented them
entering the lane. Here that gallant gentleman was killed with a
carabine shot; and after a very gallant resistance, the horse on
the right being also overpowered, the word was given to retreat,
which, however, was done in such good order, the regiments of
reserve standing drawn up at the end of the street, ready to
receive the enemy's horse upon the points of their pikes, that the
royal troops came on in the openings between the regiments, and
entered the town with very little loss, and in very good order.

By this, however, those regiments of reserve were brought at last
to sustain the efforts of the enemy's whole army, till being
overpowered by numbers they were put into disorder, and forced to
get into the town in the best manner they could; by which means
near two hundred men were killed or made prisoners.

Encouraged by this success the enemy pushed on, supposing they
should enter the town pell-mell with the rest; nor did the
Royalists hinder them, but let good part of Barkstead's own
regiment enter the head-gate; but then sallying from St. Mary's
with a choice body of foot on their left, and the horse rallying in
the High Street, and charging them again in the front, they were
driven back quite into the street of the suburb, and most of those
that had so rashly entered were cut in pieces.

Thus they were repulsed at the south entrance into the town; and
though they attempted to storm three times after that with great
resolution, yet they were as often beaten back, and that with great
havoc of their men; and the cannon from the fort all the while did
execution upon those who stood drawn up to support them; so that at
last, seeing no good to be done, they retreated, having small joy
of their pretended victory.

They lost in this action Colonel Needham, who commanded a regiment
called the Tower Guards, and who fought very desperately; Captain
Cox, an old experienced horse officer, and several other officers
of note, with a great many private men, though, as they had the
field, they concealed their number, giving out that they lost but a
hundred, when we were assured they lost near a thousand men besides
the wounded.

They took some of our men prisoners, occasioned by the regiment of
Colonel Farr, and two more sustaining the shock of their whole
army, to secure the retreat of the main body, as above.

The 14th, the Lord Fairfax finding he was not able to carry the
town by storm, without the formality of a siege, took his
headquarters at Lexden, and sent to London and to Suffolk for more
forces; also he ordered the trained bands to be raised and posted
on the roads to prevent succours. Notwithstanding which, divers
gentlemen, with some assistance of men and arms, found means to get
into the town.

The very same night they began to break ground, and particularly to
raise a fort between Colchester and Lexden, to cover the general's
quarter from the sallies from the town; for the Royalists having a
good body of horse, gave them no rest, but scoured the fields every
day, and falling all that were found straggling from their posts,
and by this means killed a great many.

The 17th, Sir Charles Lucas having been out with 1,200 horse, and
detaching parties toward the seaside, and towards Harwich, they
brought in a very great quantity of provisions, and abundance of
sheep and black cattle sufficient for the supply of the town for a
considerable time; and had not the Suffolk forces advanced over
Cataway Bridge to prevent it, a larger supply had been brought in
that way; for now it appeared plainly that the Lord Fairfax finding
the garrison strong and resolute, and that he was not in a
condition to reduce them by force, at least without the loss of
much blood, had resolved to turn his siege into a blockade, and
reduce them by hunger; their troops being also wanted to oppose
several other parties, who had, in several parts of the kingdom,
taken arms for the king's cause.

This same day General Fairfax sent in a trumpet to propose
exchanging prisoners, which the Lord Goring rejected, expecting a
reinforcement of troops, which were actually coming to him, and
were to be at Linton in Cambridgeshire as the next day.

The same day two ships brought in a quantity of corn and provisions
and fifty-six men from the shore of Kent with several gentlemen,
who all landed and came up to the town, and the greatest part of
the corn was with the utmost application unloaded the same night
into some hoys, which brought it up to the Hythe, being
apprehensive of the Parliament's ships which lay at Harwich, who
having intelligence of the said ships, came the next day into the
mouth of the river, and took the said two ships and what corn was
left in them. The besieged sent out a party to help the ships, but
having no boats they could not assist them.

18th. Sir Charles Lucas sent an answer about exchange of
prisoners, accepting the conditions offered, but the Parliament's
general returned that he would not treat with Sir Charles, for that
he (Sir Charles) being his prisoner upon his parole of honour, and
having appeared in arms contrary to the rules of war, had forfeited
his honour and faith, and was not capable of command or trust in
martial affairs. To this Sir Charles sent back an answer, and his
excuse for his breach of his parole, but it was not accepted, nor
would the Lord Fairfax enter upon any treaty with him.

Upon this second message Sir William Masham and the Parliament
Committee and other gentlemen, who were prisoners in the town, sent
a message in writing under their hands to the Lord Fairfax,
entreating him to enter into a treaty for peace; but the Lord
Fairfax returned, he could take no notice of their request, as
supposing it forced from them under restraint; but that if the Lord
Goring desired peace, he might write to the Parliament, and he
would cause his messenger to have a safe conduct to carry his
letter. There was a paper sent enclosed in this paper, signed
Capel, Norwich, Charles Lucas, but to that the general would return
no answer, because it was signed by Sir Charles for the reasons

All this while the Lord Goring, finding the enemy strengthening
themselves, gave order for fortifying the town, and drawing lines
in several places to secure the entrance, as particularly without
the east bridge, and without the north gate and bridge, and to
plant more cannon upon the works; to which end some great guns were
brought in from some ships at Wivenhoe.

The same day, our men sallied out in three places, and attacked the
besiegers, first at their port, called Essex, then at their new
works, on the south of the town; a third party sallying at the east
bridge, brought in some booty from the Suffolk troops, having
killed several of their stragglers on the Harwich road. They also
took a lieutenant of horse prisoner, and brought him into the town.

19th. This day we had the unwelcome news that our friends at
Linton were defeated by the enemy, and Major Muschamp, a loyal
gentleman, killed.

The same night, our men gave the enemy alarm at their new Essex
fort, and thereby drew them out as if they would fight, till they
brought them within reach of the cannon of St. Mary's, and then our
men retiring, the great guns let fly among them, and made them run.
Our men shouted after them. Several of them were killed on this
occasion, one shot having killed three horsemen in our fight.

20th. We now found the enemy, in order to a perfect blockade,
resolved to draw a line of circumvallation round the town; having
received a train of forty pieces of heavy cannon from the Tower of

This day the Parliament sent a messenger to their prisoners to know
how they fared, and how they were used; who returned word, that
they fared indifferent well, and were very civilly used, but that
provisions were scarce, and therefore dear.

This day a party of horse, with 300 foot, sallied out, and marched
as far as the fort on the Isle of Mersey, which they made a show of
attacking, to keep in the garrison. Meanwhile the rest took a good
number of cattle from the country, which they brought safe into the
town, with five waggons laden with corn. This was the last they
could bring in that way, the lines being soon finished on that

This day the Lord Fairfax sent in a trumpet to the Earl of Norwich
and the Lord Goring, offering honourable conditions to them all,
allowing all the gentlemen their lives and arms, exemption from
plunder, and passes, if they desired to go beyond sea, and all the
private men pardon, and leave to go peaceably to their own
dwellings. But the Lord Goring and the rest of the gentlemen
rejected it, and laughed at them, upon which the Lord Fairfax made
proclamation, that his men should give the private soldiers in
Colchester free leave to pass through their camp, and go where they
pleased without molestation, only leaving their arms, but that the
gentlemen should have no quarter. This was a great loss to the
Royalists, for now the men foreseeing the great hardships they were
like to suffer, began to slip away, and the Lord Goring was obliged
to forbid any to desert on pain of present death, and to keep
parties of horse continually patrolling to prevent them;
notwithstanding which many got away.

21st. The town desired the Lord Goring to give them leave to send
a message to Lord Fairfax, to desire they might have liberty to
carry on their trade and sell their bays and says, which Lord
Goring granted; but the enemy's general returned, that they should
have considered that before they let the Royalists into the town;
that to desire a free trade from a town besieged was never heard
of, or at least, was such a motion, as was never yet granted; that,
however, he would give the bay-makers leave to bring their bays and
says, and other goods, once a week, or oftener, if they desire it,
to Lexden Heath, where they should have a free market, and might
sell them or carry them back again, if not sold, as they found

22nd. The besieged sallied out in the night with a strong party,
and disturbed the enemy in their works, and partly ruined one of
their forts, called Ewer's Fort, where the besiegers were laying a
bridge over the River Colne. Also they sallied again at east
bridge, and faced the Suffolk troops, who were now declared
enemies. These brought in six-and-fifty good bullocks, and some
cows, and they took and killed several of the enemy.

23rd. The besiegers began to fire with their cannon from Essex
Fort, and from Barkstead's Fort, which was built upon the Malden
road; and finding that the besieged had a party in Sir Harbottle
Grimston's house, called, "The Fryery," they fired at it with their
cannon, and battered it almost down, and then the soldiers set it
on fire.

This day upon the townsmen's treaty for the freedom of the bay
trade, the Lord Fairfax sent a second offer of conditions to the
besieged, being the same as before, only excepting Lord Goring,
Lord Capel, Sir George Lisle, and Sir Charles Lucas.

This day we had news in the town that the Suffolk forces were
advanced to assist the besiegers, and that they began a fort called
Fort Suffolk, on the north side of the town, to shut up the Suffolk
road towards Stratford. This day the besieged sallied out at north
bridge, attacked the out-guards of the Suffolk men on Mile End
Heath, and drove them into their fort in the woods.

This day the Lord Fairfax sent a trumpet, complaining of chewed and
poisoned bullets being shot from the town, and threatening to give
no quarter if that practice was allowed; but Lord Goring returned
answer, with a protestation, that no such thing was done by his
order or consent.

24th. They fired hard from their cannon against St. Mary's
steeple, on which was planted a large culverin, which annoyed them
even in the general's headquarters at Lexden. One of the best
gunners the garrison had was killed with a cannon bullet. This
night the besieged sallied towards Audly, on the Suffolk road, and
brought in some cattle.

25th. Lord Capel sent a trumpet to the Parliament-General, but the
rogue ran away, and came not back, nor sent any answer; whether
they received his message or not, was not known.

26th. This day having finished their new bridge, a party of their
troops passed that bridge, and took post on the hill over against
Mile End Church, where they built a fort, called Fothergall's Fort,
and another on the east side of the road, called Rainsbro's Fort,
so that the town was entirely shut in, on that side, and the
Royalists had no place free but over east bridge, which was
afterwards cut off by the enemy's bringing their line from the
Hythe within the river to the stone causeway leading to the east

July 1st. From the 26th to the 1st, the besiegers continued
finishing their works, and by the 2nd the whole town was shut in;
at which the besiegers gave a general salvo from their cannon at
all their forts; but the besieged gave them a return, for they
sallied out in the night, attacked Barkstead's fort, scarce
finished, with such fury, that they twice entered the work sword in
hand, killed most part of the defendants, and spoiled part of the
forts cast up; but fresh forces coming up, they retired with little
loss, bringing eight prisoners, and having slain, as they reported,
above 100.

On the second, Lord Fairfax offered exchange for Sir William Masham
in particular, and afterwards for other prisoners, but the Lord
Goring refused.

5th. The besieged sallied with two regiments, supported by some
horse, at midnight; they were commanded by Sir George Lisle. They
fell on with such fury, that the enemy were put into confusion,
their works at east bridge ruined, and two pieces of cannon taken,
Lieutenant Colonel Sambrook, and several other officers, were
killed, and our men retired into the town, bringing the captain,
two lieutenants, and about fifty men with them prisoners into the
town; but having no horse, we could not bring off the cannon, but
they spiked them, and made them unfit for service.

From this time to the 11th, the besieged sallied almost every
night, being encouraged by their successes, and they constantly cut
off some of the enemy, but not without loss also on their own side.

About this time we received by a spy the bad news of defeating the
king's friends almost in all parts of England, and particularly
several parties which had good wishes to our gentlemen, and
intended to relieve them.

Our batteries from St. Mary's Fort and steeple, and from the north
bridge, greatly annoyed them, and killed most of their gunners and
firemen. One of the messengers who brought news to Lord Fairfax of
the defeat of one of the parties, in Kent, and the taking of Weymer
Castle, slipped into the town, and brought a letter to the Lord
Goring, and listed in the regiment of the Lord Capel's horse.

14th. The besiegers attacked and took the Hythe Church, with a
small work the besieged had there, but the defenders retired in
time; some were taken prisoners in the church, but not in the fort;
Sir Charles Lucas's horse was attacked by a great body of the
besiegers; the besieged defended themselves with good resolution
for some time, but a hand-grenade thrown in by the assailants,
having fired the magazine, the house was blown up, and most of the
gallant defenders buried in the ruins. This was a great blow to
the Royalists, for it was a very strong pass, and always well

15th. The Lord Fairfax sent offers of honourable conditions to the
soldiers of the garrison if they would surrender, or quit the
service; upon which the Lords Goring and Capel, and Sir Charles
Lucas, returned an answer signed by their hands, that it was not
honourable or agreeable to the usage of war to offer conditions
separately to the soldiers, exclusive of their officers, and
therefore civilly desired his lordship to send no more such
messages or proposals, or if he did, that he would not take it ill
if they hanged up the messenger.

This evening all the gentlemen volunteers, with all the horse of
the garrison, with Sir Charles Lucas, Sir George Lisle, and Sir
Bernard Gascoigne at the head of them, resolved to break through
the enemy, and forcing a pass to advance into Suffolk by Nayland
Bridge. To this purpose they passed the river near Middle Mill;
but their guides having misled them the enemy took the alarm; upon
which their guides, and some pioneers which they had with them to
open the hedges and level the banks, for their passing to Boxted,
all ran away, so the horse were obliged to retreat, the enemy
pretending to pursue, but thinking they had retreated by the north
bridge, they missed them; upon which being enraged, they fired the
suburbs without the bridge, and burned them quite down.

18th. Some of the horse attempted to escape the same way, and had
the whole body been there as before, they had effected it; but
there being but two troops, they were obliged to retire. Now the
town began to be greatly distressed, provisions failing, and the
townspeople, which were numerous, being very uneasy, and no way of
breaking through being found practicable, the gentlemen would have
joined in any attempt wherein they might die gallantly with their
swords in their hands, but nothing presented; they often sallied
and cut off many of the enemy, but their numbers were continually
supplied, and the besieged diminished; their horse also sunk and
became unfit for service, having very little hay, and no corn, and
at length they were forced to kill them for food; so that they
began to be in a very miserable condition, and the soldiers
deserted every day in great numbers, not being able to bear the
want of food, as being almost starved with hunger.

22nd. The Lord Fairfax offered again an exchange of prisoners, but
the Lord Goring rejected it, because they refused conditions to the
chief gentlemen of the garrison.

During this time, two troops of the Royal Horse sallied out in the
night, resolving to break out or die: the first rode up full
gallop to the enemy's horse guards on the side of Malden road, and
exchanged their pistols with the advanced troops, and wheeling made
as if they would retire to the town; but finding they were not
immediately pursued, they wheeled about to the right, and passing
another guard at a distance, without being perfectly discovered,
they went clean off, and passing towards Tiptree Heath, and having
good guides, they made their escape towards Cambridgeshire, in
which length of way they found means to disperse without being
attacked, and went every man his own way as fate directed; nor did
we hear that many of them were taken: they were led, as we are
informed, by Sir Bernard Gascoigne.

Upon these attempts of the horse to break out, the enemy built a
small fort in the meadow right against the ford in the river at the
Middle Mill, and once set that mill on fire, but it was
extinguished without much damage; however, the fort prevented any
more attempts that way.

22nd. The Parliament-General sent in a trumpet, to propose again
the exchange of prisoners, offering the Lord Capel's son for one,
and Mr. Ashburnham for Sir William Masham; but the Lord Capel, Lord
Goring, and the rest of the loyal gentlemen rejected it; and Lord
Capel, in particular, sent the Lord Fairfax word it was inhuman to
surprise his son, who was not in arms, and offer him to insult a
father's affection, but that he might murder his son if he pleased,
he would leave his blood to be revenged as Heaven should give
opportunity; and the Lord Goring sent word, that as they had
reduced the king's servants to eat horseflesh, the prisoners should
feed as they fed.

The enemy sent again to complain of the Royalists shooting poisoned
bullets, and sent two affidavits of it made by two deserters,
swearing it was done by the Lord Norwich's direction; the generals
in the town returned under all their hands that they never gave any
such command or direction; that they disowned the practice; and
that the fellows who swore it were perjured before in running from
their colours and the service of their king, and ought not to be
credited again; but they added, that for shooting rough-cast slugs
they must excuse them, as things stood with them at that time.

About this time, a porter in a soldier's habit got through the
enemy's leaguer, and passing their out-guards in the dark, got into
the town, and brought letters from London, assuring the Royalists
that there were so many strong parties up in arms for the king, and
in so many places, that they would be very suddenly relieved. This
they caused to be read to the soldiers to encourage them; and
particularly it related to the rising of the Earl of Holland, and
the Duke of Buckingham, who with 500 horse were gotten together in
arms about Kingston in Surrey; but we had notice in a few days
after that they were defeated, and the Earl of Holland taken, who
was afterwards beheaded.

26th. The enemy now began to batter the walls, and especially on
the west side, from St. Mary's towards the north gate; and we were
assured they intended a storm; on which the engineers were directed
to make trenches behind the walls where the breaches should be
made, that in case of a storm they might meet with a warm
reception. Upon this, they gave over the design of storming. The
Lord Goring finding that the enemy had set the suburbs on fire
right against the Hythe, ordered the remaining houses, which were
empty of inhabitants, from whence their musketeer fired against the
town, to be burned also.

31st. A body of foot sallied out at midnight, to discover what the
enemy were doing at a place where they thought a new fort raising;
they fell in among the workmen, and put them to flight, cut in
pieces several of the guard, and brought in the officer who
commanded them prisoner.

August 2nd. The town was now in a miserable condition: the
soldiers searched and rifled the houses of the inhabitants for
victuals; they had lived on horseflesh several weeks, and most of
that also was as lean as carrion, which not being well salted bred
wens; and this want of diet made the soldiers sickly, and many died
of fluxes, yet they boldly rejected all offers of surrender, unless
with safety to their offices. However, several hundreds got out,
and either passed the enemy's guards, or surrendered to them and
took passes.

7th. The townspeople became very uneasy to the soldiers, and the
mayor of the town, with the aldermen, waited upon the general,
desiring leave to send to the Lord Fairfax for leave to all the
inhabitants to come out of the town, that they might not perish, to
which the Lord Goring consented, but the Lord Fairfax refused them.

12th. The rabble got together in a vast crowd about the Lord
Goring's quarters, clamouring for a surrender, and they did this
every evening, bringing women and children, who lay howling and
crying on the ground for bread; the soldiers beat off the men, but
the women and children would not stir, bidding the soldiers kill
them, saying they had rather be shot than be starved.

16th. The general, moved by the cries and distress of the poor
inhabitants, sent out a trumpet to the Parliament-General,
demanding leave to send to the Prince, who was with a fleet of
nineteen men of war in the mouth of the Thames, offering to
surrender, if they were not relieved in twenty days. The Lord
Fairfax refused it, and sent them word he would be in the town in
person, and visit them in less than twenty days, intimating that
they were preparing for a storm. Some tart messages and answers
were exchanged on this occasion. The Lord Goring sent word they
were willing, in compassion to the poor townspeople, and to save
that effusion of blood, to surrender upon honourable terms, but
that as for the storming them, which was threatened, they might
come on when they thought fit, for that they (the Royalists) were
ready for them. This held to the 19th.

20th. The Lord Fairfax returned what he said was his last answer,
and should be the last offer of mercy. The conditions offered
were, that upon a peaceable surrender, all soldiers and officers
under the degree of a captain in commission should have their
lives, be exempted from plunder, and have passes to go to their
respective dwellings. All the captains and superior officers, with
all the lords and gentlemen, as well in commission as volunteers,
to surrender prisoners at discretion, only that they should not be
plundered by the soldiers.

21st. The generals rejected those offers; and when the people came
about them again for bread, set open one of the gates, and bid them
go out to the enemy, which a great many did willingly; upon which
the Lord Goring ordered all the rest that came about his door to be
turned out after them. But when the people came to the Lord
Fairfax's camp the out-guards were ordered to fire at them and
drive them all back again to the gate, which the Lord Goring
seeing, he ordered them to be received in again. And now, although
the generals and soldiers also were resolute to die with their
swords in their hands rather than yield, and had maturely resolved
to abide a storm, yet the Mayor and Aldermen having petitioned them
as well as the inhabitants, being wearied with the importunities of
the distressed people, and pitying the deplorable condition they
were reduced to, they agreed to enter upon a treaty, and
accordingly sent out some officers to the Lord Fairfax, the
Parliament-General, to treat, and with them was sent two gentlemen
of the prisoners upon their parole to return.

Upon the return of the said messengers with the Lord Fairfax's
terms, the Lord Goring, &c., sent out a letter declaring they would
die with their swords in their hands rather than yield without
quarter for life, and sent a paper of articles on which they were
willing to surrender. But in the very interim of this treaty news
came that the Scots army, under Duke Hamilton, which was entered
into Lancashire, and was joined by the Royalists in that country,
making 21,000 men, were entirely defeated. After this the Lord
Fairfax would not grant any abatement of articles--viz., to have
all above lieutenants surrender at mercy.

Upon this the Lord Goring and the General refused to submit again,
and proposed a general sally, and to break through or die, but
found upon preparing for it that the soldiers, who had their lives
offered them, declined it, fearing the gentlemen would escape, and
they should be left to the mercy of the Parliament soldiers; and
that upon this they began to mutiny and talk of surrendering the
town and their officers too. Things being brought to this pass,
the Lords and General laid aside that design, and found themselves
obliged to submit; and so the town was surrendered the 28th of
August, 1648, upon conditions as follows:-

The Lords and gentlemen all prisoners at mercy.

The common soldiers had passes to go home to their several
dwellings, but without arms, and an oath not to serve against the

The town to be preserved from pillage, paying 14,000 pounds ready

The same day a council of war being called about the prisoners of
war, it was resolved that the Lords should be left to the disposal
of the Parliament. That Sir Charles Lucas, Sir George Lisle, and
Sir Marmaduke Gascoigne should be shot to death, and the other
officers prisoners to remain in custody till further order.

The two first of the three gentlemen were shot to death, and the
third respited. Thus ended the siege of Colchester.

N.B.--Notwithstanding the number killed in the siege, and dead of
the flux, and other distempers occasioned by bad diet, which were
very many, and notwithstanding the number which deserted and
escaped in the time of their hardships, yet there remained at the
time of the surrender:

Earl of Norwich (Goring).
Lord Capell.
Lord Loughbro'.
11 Knights.
9 Colonels.
8 Lieut.-Colonels.
9 Majors.
30 Captains.
72 Lieutenants.
69 Ensigns.
183 Serjeants and Corporals.
3,067 Private Soldiers.
65 Servants to the Lords and General Officers and Gentlemen.
3,526 in all.

The town of Colchester has been supposed to contain about 40,000
people, including the out-villages which are within its liberty, of
which there are a great many--the liberty of the town being of a
great extent. One sad testimony of the town being so populous is
that they buried upwards of 5,259 people in the plague year, 1665.
But the town was severely visited indeed, even more in proportion
than any of its neighbours, or than the City of London.

The government of the town is by a mayor, high steward, a recorder
or his deputy, eleven aldermen, a chamberlain, a town clerk,
assistants, and eighteen common councilmen. Their high steward
(this year, 1722) is Sir Isaac Rebow, a gentleman of a good family
and known character, who has generally for above thirty years been
one of their representatives in Parliament. He has a very good
house at the entrance in at the south, or head gate of the town,
where he has had the honour several times to lodge and entertain
the late King William of glorious memory in his returning from
Holland by way of Harwich to London. Their recorder is Earl
Cowper, who has been twice Lord High Chancellor of England. But
his lordship not residing in those parts has put in for his
deputy,--Price, Esq., barrister-at-law, and who dwells in the town.
There are in Colchester eight churches besides those which are
damaged, and five meeting-houses, whereof two for Quakers, besides
a Dutch church and a French church.

Public Edifices are -

1. Bay Hall, an ancient society kept up for ascertaining the
manufacture of bays, which are, or ought to be, all brought to this
hall to be viewed and sealed according to their goodness by the
masters; and to this practice has been owing the great reputation
of the Colchester bays in foreign markets, where to open the side
of a bale and show the seal has been enough to give the buyer a
character of the value of the goods without any further search; and
so far as they abate the integrity and exactness of their method,
which I am told of late is much omitted; I say, so far, that
reputation will certainly abate in the markets they go to, which
are principally in Portugal and Italy. This corporation is
governed by a particular set of men who are called governors of the
Dutch Bay Hall. And in the same building is the Dutch church.

2. The guildhall of the town, called by them the moot hall, to
which is annexed the town gaol.

3. The workhouse, being lately enlarged, and to which belongs a
corporation or a body of the inhabitants, consisting of sixty
persons incorporated by Act of Parliament Anno 1698 for taking care
of the poor. They are incorporated by the name and title of the
governor, deputy governor, assistants, and guardians of the poor of
the town of Colchester. They are in number eight-and-forty, to
whom are added the mayor and aldermen for the time being, who are
always guardians by the same charter. These make the number of
sixty, as above. There is also a grammar free-school, with a good
allowance to the master, who is chosen by the town.

4. The castle of Colchester is now become only a monument showing
the antiquity of the place, it being built as the walls of the town
also are, with Roman bricks, and the Roman coins dug up here, and
ploughed up in the fields adjoining, confirm it. The inhabitants
boast much that Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, first
Christian Emperor of the Romans, was born there, and it may be so
for aught we know. I only observe what Mr. Camden says of the
Castle of Colchester, viz.: In the middle of this city stands a
castle ready to fall with age.

Though this castle has stood one hundred and twenty years from the
time Mr. Camden wrote that account, and it is not fallen yet, nor
will another hundred and twenty years, I believe, make it look one
jot the older. And it was observable that in the late siege of
this town, a common shot, which the besiegers made at this old
castle, were so far from making it fall, that they made little or
no impression upon it; for which reason, it seems, and because the
garrison made no great use of it against the besiegers, they fired
no more at it.

There are two charity schools set up here, and carried on by a
generous subscription, with very good success.

The title of Colchester is in the family of Earl Rivers, and the
eldest son of that family is called Lord Colchester, though as I
understand, the title is not settled by the creation to the eldest
son till he enjoys the title of earl with it, but that the other is
by the courtesy of England; however, this I take ad referendum.

From Colchester I took another step down to the coast; the land
running out a great way into the sea, south and south-east makes
that promontory of land called the Naze, and well known to seamen
using the northern trade. Here one sees a sea open as an ocean
without any opposite shore, though it be no more than the mouth of
the Thames. This point called the Naze, and the north-east point
of Kent, near Margate, called the North Foreland, making what they
call the mouth of the river and the port of London, though it be
here above sixty miles over.

At Walton-under-the-Naze they find on the shore copperas-stone in
great quantities; and there are several large works called copperas
houses, where they make it with great expense.

On this promontory is a new mark erected by the Trinity House men,
and at the public expense, being a round brick tower, near eighty
feet high. The sea gains so much upon the land here by the
continual winds at south-west, that within the memory of some of
the inhabitants there they have lost above thirty acres of land in
one place.

From hence we go back into the county about four miles, because of
the creeks which lie between; and then turning east again come to
Harwich, on the utmost eastern point of this large country.

Harwich is a town so well known and so perfectly described by many
writers, I need say little of it. It is strong by situation, and
may be made more so by art. But it is many years since the
Government of England have had any occasion to fortify towns to the
landward; it is enough that the harbour or road, which is one of
the best and securest in England, is covered at the entrance by a
strong fort and a battery of guns to the seaward, just as at
Tilbury, and which sufficiently defend the mouth of the river. And
there is a particular felicity in this fortification, viz., that
though the entrance or opening of the river into the sea is very
wide, especially at high-water, at least two miles, if not three
over; yet the Channel, which is deep, and in which the ships must
keep and come to the harbour, is narrow, and lies only on the side
of the fort, so that all the ships which come in or go out must
come close under the guns of the fort--that is to say, under the
command of their shot.

The fort is on the Suffolk side of the bay or entrance, but stands
so far into the sea upon the point of a sand or shoal, which runs
out toward the Essex side, as it were, laps over the mouth of that
haven like a blind to it; and our surveyors of the country affirm
it to be in the county of Essex. The making this place, which was
formerly no other than a sand in the sea, solid enough for the
foundation of so good a fortification, has not been done but by
many years' labour, often repairs, and an infinite expense of
money, but it is now so firm that nothing of storms and high tides,
or such things as make the sea dangerous to these kind of works,
can affect it.

The harbour is of a vast extent; for, as two rivers empty
themselves here, viz., Stour from Manningtree and the Orwell from
Ipswich, the channels of both are large and deep; and safe for all
weathers; so where they join they make a large bay or road able to
receive the biggest ships, and the greatest number that ever the
world saw together; I mean ships of war. In the old Dutch war
great use has been made of this harbour; and I have known that
there has been one hundred sail of men-of-war and their attendants
and between three and four hundred sail of collier ships all in
this harbour at a time, and yet none of them crowding or riding in
danger of one another.

Harwich is known for being the port where the packet boats, between
England and Holland, go out and come in. The inhabitants are far
from being famed for good usage to strangers, but, on the contrary,
are blamed for being extravagant in their reckonings in the public-
houses, which has not a little encouraged the setting up of sloops,
which they now call passage boats, to Holland, to go directly from
the River Thames; this, though it may be something the longer
passage, yet as they are said to be more obliging to passengers and
more reasonable in the expense, and, as some say, also, the vessels
are better sea boats, has been the reason why so many passengers do
not go or come by the way of Harwich as formerly were wont to do;
insomuch that the stage coaches between this place and London,
which ordinarily went twice or three times a week, are now entirely
laid down, and the passengers are left to hire coaches on purpose,
take post-horses, or hire horses to Colchester, as they find most

The account of a petrifying quality in the earth here, though some
will have it to be in the water of a spring hard by, is very
strange. They boast that their town is walled and their streets
paved with clay, and yet that one is as strong and the other as
clean as those that are built or paved with stone. The fact is
indeed true, for there is a sort of clay in the cliff, between the
town and the Beacon Hill adjoining, which, when it falls down into
the sea, where it is beaten with the waves and the weather, turns
gradually into stone. But the chief reason assigned is from the
water of a certain spring or well, which, rising in the said cliff,
runs down into the sea among those pieces of clay, and petrifies
them as it runs; and the force of the sea often stirring, and
perhaps turning, the lumps of clay, when storms of wind may give
force enough to the water, causes them to harden everywhere alike;
otherwise those which were not quite sunk in the water of the
spring would be petrified but in part. These stones are gathered
up to pave the streets and build the houses, and are indeed very
hard. It is also remarkable that some of them taken up before they
are thoroughly petrified will, upon breaking them, appear to be
hard as a stone without and soft as clay in the middle; whereas
others that have lain a due time shall be thorough stone to the
centre, and as exceeding hard within as without. The same spring
is said to turn wood into iron. But this I take to be no more or
less than the quality, which, as I mentioned of the shore at the
Naze, is found to be in much of the stone all along this shore,
viz., of the copperas kind; and it is certain that the copperas
stone (so called) is found in all that cliff, and even where the
water of this spring has run; and I presume that those who call the
hardened pieces of wood, which they take out of this well by the
name of iron, never tried the quality of it with the fire or
hammer; if they had, perhaps they would have given some other
account of it.

On the promontory of land which they call Beacon Hill and which
lies beyond or behind the town towards the sea, there is a
lighthouse to give the ships directions in their sailing by as well
as their coming into the harbour in the night. I shall take notice
of these again all together when I come to speak of the Society of
Trinity House, as they are called, by whom they are all directed
upon this coast.

This town was erected into a marquisate in honour of the truly
glorious family of Schomberg, the eldest son of Duke Schomberg, who
landed with King William, being styled Marquis of Harwich; but that
family (in England, at least) being extinct the title dies also.

Harwich is a town of hurry and business, not much of gaiety and
pleasure; yet the inhabitants seem warm in their nests, and some of
them are very wealthy. There are not many (if any) gentlemen or
families of note either in the town or very near it. They send two
members to Parliament; the present are Sir Peter Parker and
Humphrey Parsons, Esq.

And now being at the extremity of the county of Essex, of which I
have given you some view as to that side next the sea only, I shall
break off this part of my letter by telling you that I will take
the towns which lie more towards the centre of the county, in my
return by the north and west part only, that I may give you a few
hints of some towns which were near me in my route this way, and of
which being so well known there is but little to say.

On the road from London to Colchester, before I came into it at
Witham, lie four good market towns at equal distance from one
another, namely, Romford, noted for two markets, viz., one for
calves and hogs, the other for corn and other provisions, most, if
not all, bought up for London market. At the farther end of the
town, in the middle of a stately park, stood Guldy Hall, vulgarly
Giddy Hall, an ancient seat of one Coke, sometime Lord Mayor of
London, but forfeited on some occasion to the Crown. It is since
pulled down to the ground, and there now stands a noble stately
fabric or mansion house, built upon the spot by Sir John Eyles, a
wealthy merchant of London, and chosen Sub-Governor of the South
Sea Company immediately after the ruin of the former Sub-Governor
and Directors, whose overthrow makes the history of these times

Brentwood and Ingatestone, and even Chelmsford itself, have very
little to be said of them, but that they are large thoroughfare
towns, full of good inns, and chiefly maintained by the excessive
multitude of carriers and passengers which are constantly passing
this way to London with droves of cattle, provisions, and
manufactures for London.

The last of these towns is indeed the county town, where the county
gaol is kept, and where the assizes are very often held; it stands
on the conflux of two rivers--the Chelmer, whence the town is
called, and the Cann.

At Lees, or Lee's Priory, as some call it, is to be seen an ancient
house in the middle of a beautiful park, formerly the seat of the
late Duke of Manchester, but since the death of the duke it is sold
to the Duchess Dowager of Buckinghamshire, the present Duke of
Manchester retiring to his ancient family seat at Kimbolton in
Huntingdonshire, it being a much finer residence. His grace is
lately married to a daughter of the Duke of Montagu by a branch of
the house of Marlborough.

Four market towns fill up the rest of this part of the country--
Dunmow, Braintree, Thaxted, and Coggeshall--all noted for the
manufacture of bays, as above, and for very little else, except I
shall make the ladies laugh at the famous old story of the Flitch
of Bacon at Dunmow, which is this:

One Robert Fitzwalter, a powerful baron in this county in the time
of Henry III., on some merry occasion, which is not preserved in
the rest of the story, instituted a custom in the priory here:
That whatever married man did not repent of his being married, or
quarrel or differ and dispute with his wife within a year and a day
after his marriage, and would swear to the truth of it, kneeling
upon two hard pointed stones in the churchyard, which stones he
caused to be set up in the Priory churchyard for that purpose, the
prior and convent, and as many of the town as would, to be present,
such person should have a flitch of bacon.

I do not remember to have read that any one ever came to demand it;
nor do the people of the place pretend to say, of their own
knowledge, that they remember any that did so. A long time ago
several did demand it, as they say, but they know not who; neither
is there any record of it, nor do they tell us, if it were now to
be demanded, who is obliged to deliver the flitch of bacon, the
priory being dissolved and gone.

The forest of Epping and Hainault spreads a great part of this
country still. I shall speak again of the former in my return from
this circuit. Formerly, it is thought, these two forests took up
all the west and south part of the county; but particularly we are
assured, that it reached to the River Chelmer, and into Dengy
Hundred, and from thence again west to Epping and Waltham, where it
continues to be a forest still.

Probably this forest of Epping has been a wild or forest ever since
this island was inhabited, and may show us, in some parts of it,
where enclosures and tillage has not broken in upon it, what the
face of this island was before the Romans' time; that is to say,
before their landing in Britain.

The constitution of this forest is best seen, I mean as to the
antiquity of it, by the merry grant of it from Edward the Confessor
before the Norman Conquest to Randolph Peperking, one of his
favourites, who was after called Peverell, and whose name remains
still in several villages in this county; as particularly that of
Hatfield Peverell, in the road from Chelmsford to Witham, which is
supposed to be originally a park, which they called a field in
those days; and Hartfield may be as much as to say a park for doer;
for the stags were in those days called harts, so that this was
neither more nor less than Randolph Peperking's Hartfield--that is
to say, Ralph Peverell's deer-park.

N.B.--This Ralph Randolph, or Ralph Peverell (call him as you
please), had, it seems, a most beautiful lady to his wife, who was
daughter of Ingelrick, one of Edward the Confessor's noblemen. He
had two sons by her--William Peverell, a famed soldier, and lord or
governor of Dover Castle, which he surrendered to William the
Conqueror, after the battle in Sussex, and Pain Peverell, his
youngest, who was lord of Cambridge. When the eldest son delivered
up the castle, the lady, his mother, above named, who was the
celebrated beauty of the age, was it seems there, and the Conqueror
fell in love with her, and whether by force or by consent, took her
away, and she became his mistress, or what else you please to call
it. By her he had a son, who was called William, after the
Conqueror's Christian name, but retained the name of Peverell, and
was afterwards created by the Conqueror lord of Nottingham.

This lady afterwards, as is supposed, by way of penance for her
yielding to the Conqueror, founded a nunnery at the village of
Hatfield Peverell, mentioned above, and there she lies buried in
the chapel of it, which is now the parish church, where her memory
is preserved by a tombstone under one of the windows.

Thus we have several towns, where any ancient parks have been
placed, called by the name of Hatfield on that very account. As
Hatfield Broad Oak in this county, Bishop's Hatfield in
Hertfordshire, and several others.

But I return to King Edward's merry way, as I call it, of granting
this forest to this Ralph Peperking, which I find in the ancient
records, in the very words it was passed in, as follows. Take my
explanations with it for the sake of those that are not used to the
ancient English:

The Grant in Old English.

IChe EDWARD Koning,
Have given of my Forrest the kepen of the Hundred of Chelmer and
And to his kindling.
With Heorte and Hind, Doe and Bocke,
Hare and Fox, Cat and Brock,
Wild Fowle with his Flock;
Patrich, Pheasant Hen, and Pheasant Cock,
With green and wild Stub and Stock,
To kepen and to yemen with all her might.
Both by Day, and eke by Night;
And Hounds for to hold,
Good and Swift and Bold:
Four Greyhound and six Raches,
For Hare and Fox, and Wild Cattes,
And therefore Iche made him my Book.
Witness the Bishop of Wolston.
And Booke ylrede many on,
And Sweyne of Essex, our Brother,
And taken him many other
And our steward Howlein,
That By sought me for him.

The Explanation in Modern English

I Edward the king,
Have made ranger of my forest of Chelmsford hundred and Deering
Ralph Peverell, for him and his heirs for ever;
With both the red and fallow deer.
Hare and fox, otter and badger;
Wild fowl of all sorts,
Partridges and pheasants,
Timber and underwood roots and tops;
With power to preserve the forest,
And watch it against deer-stealers and others:
With a right to keep hounds of all sorts,
Four greyhounds and six terriers,
Harriers and foxhounds, and other hounds.
And to this end I have registered this my grant in the crown rolls
or books;
To which the bishop has set his hand as a witness for any one to
Also signed by the king's brother (or, as some think, the
Chancellor Sweyn, then Earl or Count of Essex).
He might call such other witnesses to sign as he thought fit.
Also the king's high steward was a witness, at whose request this
grant was obtained of the king.

There are many gentlemen's seats on this side the country, and a
great assembly set up at New Hall, near this town, much resorted to
by the neighbouring gentry. I shall next proceed to the county of
Suffolk, as my first design directed me to do.

From Harwich, therefore, having a mind to view the harbour, I sent
my horses round by Manningtree, where there is a timber bridge over
the Stour, called Cataway Bridge, and took a boat up the River
Orwell for Ipswich. A traveller will hardly understand me,
especially a seaman, when I speak of the River Stour and the River
Orwell at Harwich, for they know them by no other names than those
of Manningtree water and Ipswich water; so while I am on salt
water, I must speak as those who use the sea may understand me, and
when I am up in the country among the inland towns again, I shall
call them out of their names no more.

It is twelve miles from Harwich up the water to Ipswich. Before I
come to the town, I must say something of it, because speaking of
the river requires it. In former times, that is to say, since the
writer of this remembers the place very well, and particularly just
before the late Dutch wars, Ipswich was a town of very good
business; particularly it was the greatest town in England for
large colliers or coal-ships employed between Newcastle and London.
Also they built the biggest ships and the best, for the said
fetching of coals of any that were employed in that trade. They
built, also, there so prodigious strong, that it was an ordinary
thing for an Ipswich collier, if no disaster happened to him, to
reign (as seamen call it) forty or fifty years, and more.

In the town of Ipswich the masters of these ships generally dwelt,
and there were, as they then told me, above a hundred sail of them,
belonging to the town at one time, the least of which carried
fifteen score, as they compute it, that is, 300 chaldron of coals;
this was about the year 1668 (when I first knew the place). This
made the town be at that time so populous, for those masters, as
they had good ships at sea, so they had large families who lived
plentifully, and in very good houses in the town, and several
streets were chiefly inhabited by such.

The loss or decay of this trade accounts for the present pretended
decay of the town of Ipswich, of which I shall speak more
presently. The ships wore out, the masters died off, the trade
took a new turn; Dutch flyboats taken in the war, and made free
ships by Act of Parliament, thrust themselves into the coal-trade
for the interest of the captors, such as the Yarmouth and London
merchants, and others; and the Ipswich men dropped gradually out of
it, being discouraged by those Dutch flyboats. These Dutch
vessels, which cost nothing but the caption, were bought cheap,
carried great burthens, and the Ipswich building fell off for want
of price, and so the trade decayed, and the town with it. I
believe this will be owned for the true beginning of their decay,
if I must allow it to be called a decay.

But to return to my passage up the river. In the winter-time those
great collier ships, above-mentioned, are always laid up, as they
call it; that is to say, the coal trade abates at London, the
citizens are generally furnished, their stores taken in, and the
demand is over; so that the great ships, the northern seas and
coast being also dangerous, the nights long, and the voyage
hazardous, go to sea no more, but lie by, the ships are unrigged,
the sails, etc., carried ashore, the top-masts struck, and they
ride moored in the river, under the advantages and security of
sound ground, and a high woody shore, where they lie as safe as in
a wet dock; and it was a very agreeable sight to see, perhaps two
hundred sail of ships, of all sizes, lie in that posture every
winter. All this while, which was usually from Michaelmas to Lady
Day, the masters lived calm and secure with their families in
Ipswich; and enjoying plentifully, what in the summer they got
laboriously at sea, and this made the town of Ipswich very populous
in the winter; for as the masters, so most of the men, especially
their mates, boatswains, carpenters, etc., were of the same place,
and lived in their proportions, just as the masters did; so that in
the winter there might be perhaps a thousand men in the town more
than in the summer, and perhaps a greater number.

To justify what I advance here, that this town was formerly very
full of people, I ask leave to refer to the account of Mr. Camden,
and what it was in his time. His words are these:- "Ipswich has a
commodious harbour, has been fortified with a ditch and rampart,
has a great trade, and is very populous, being adorned with
fourteen churches, and large private buildings." This confirms
what I have mentioned of the former state of this town; but the
present state is my proper work; I therefore return to my voyage up
the river.

The sight of these ships thus laid up in the river, as I have said,
was very agreeable to me in my passage from Harwich, about five and
thirty years before the present journey; and it was in its
proportion equally melancholy to hear that there were now scarce
forty sail of good colliers that belonged to the whole town.

In a creek in this river, called Lavington Creek, we saw at low
water such shoals, or hills rather, of mussels, that great boats
might have loaded with them, and no miss have been made of them.
Near this creek, Sir Samuel Barnadiston had a very fine seat, as,
also, a decoy for wild ducks, and a very noble estate; but it is
divided into many branches since the death of the ancient
possessor. But I proceed to the town, which is the first in the
county of Suffolk of any note this way.

Ipswich is seated, at the distance of twelve miles from Harwich,
upon the edge of the river, which, taking a short turn to the west,
the town forms, there, a kind of semicircle, or half moon, upon the
bank of the river. It is very remarkable, that though ships of 500
ton may, upon a spring tide, come up very near this town, and many
ships of that burthen have been built there, yet the river is not
navigable any farther than the town itself, or but very little; no,
not for the smallest beats; nor does the tide, which rises
sometimes thirteen or fourteen feet, and gives them twenty-four
feet water very near the town, flow much farther up the river than
the town, or not so much as to make it worth speaking of.

He took little notice of the town, or at least of that part of
Ipswich, who published in his wild observations on it that ships of
200 ton are built there. I affirm, that I have seen a ship of 400
ton launched at the building-yard, close to the town; and I appeal
to the Ipswich colliers (those few that remain) belonging to this
town, if several of them carrying seventeen score of coals, which
must be upward of 400 ton, have not formerly been built here; but
superficial observers must be superficial writers, if they write at
all; and to this day, at John's Ness, within a mile and a half of
the town itself, ships of any burthen may be built and launched
even at neap tides.

I am much mistaken, too, if since the Revolution some very good
ships have not been built at this town, and particularly the
Melford or Milford galley, a ship of forty guns; as the Greyhound
frigate, a man-of-war of thirty-six to forty guns, was at John's
Ness. But what is this towards lessening the town of Ipswich, any
more than it would be to say, they do not build men-of-war, or East
India ships, or ships of five hundred ton burden at St. Catherines,
or at Battle Bridge in the Thames? when we know that a mile or two
lower, viz., at Radcliffe, Limehouse, or Deptford, they build ships
of a thousand ton, and might build first-rate men-of-war too, if
there was occasion; and the like might be done in this river of
Ipswich, within about two or three miles of the town; so that it
would not be at all an out-of-the-way speaking to say, such a ship
was built at Ipswich, any more than it is to say, as they do, that
the Royal Prince, the great ship lately built for the South Sea
Company, was London built, because she was built at Limehouse.

And why then is not Ipswich capable of building and receiving the
greatest ships in the navy, seeing they may be built and brought up
again laden, within a mile and half of the town?

But the neighbourhood of London, which sucks the vitals of trade in
this island to itself, is the chief reason of any decay of business
in this place; and I shall, in the course of these observations,
hint at it, where many good seaports and large towns, though
farther off than Ipswich, and as well fitted for commerce, are yet
swallowed up by the immense indraft of trade to the City of London;
and more decayed beyond all comparison than Ipswich is supposed to
be: as Southampton, Weymouth, Dartmouth, and several others which
I shall speak to in their order; and if it be otherwise at this
time, with some other towns, which are lately increased in trade
and navigation, wealth, and people, while their neighbours decay,
it is because they have some particular trade, or accident to
trade, which is a kind of nostrum to them, inseparable to the
place, and which fixes there by the nature of the thing; as the
herring-fishery to Yarmouth; the coal trade to Newcastle; the Leeds
clothing trade; the export of butter and lead, and the great corn
trade for Holland, is to Hull; the Virginia and West India trade at
Liverpool; the Irish trade at Bristol, and the like. Thus the war
has brought a flux of business and people, and consequently of
wealth, to several places, as well as to Portsmouth, Chatham,
Plymouth, Falmouth, and others; and were any wars like those, to
continue twenty years with the Dutch, or any nation whose fleets
lay that way, as the Dutch do, it would be the like perhaps at
Ipswich in a few years, and at other places on the same coast.

But at this present time an occasion offers to speak in favour of
this port; namely, the Greenland fishery, lately proposed to be
carried on by the South Sea Company. On which account I may freely
advance this, without any compliment to the town of Ipswich, no
place in Britain is equally qualified like Ipswich; whether we
respect the cheapness of building and fitting out their ships and
shallops; also furnishing, victualling, and providing them with all
kinds of stores; convenience for laying up the ships after the
voyage, room for erecting their magazines, warehouses, rope walks,
cooperages, etc., on the easiest terms; and especially for the
noisome cookery, which attends the boiling their blubber, which may
be on this river (as it ought to be) remote from any places of
resort. Then their nearness to the market for the oil when it is
made, and which, above all, ought to be the chief thing considered
in that trade, the easiness of their putting out to sea when they
begin their voyage, in which the same wind that carries them from
the mouth of the haven, is fair to the very seas of Greenland.

I could say much more to this point if it were needful, and in few
words could easily prove, that Ipswich must have the preference of
all the port towns of Britain, for being the best centre of the
Greenland trade, if ever that trade fall into the management of
such a people as perfectly understand, and have a due honest regard
to its being managed with the best husbandry, and to the prosperity
of the undertaking in general. But whether we shall ever arrive at
so happy a time as to recover so useful a trade to our country,
which our ancestors had the honour to be the first undertakers of,
and which has been lost only through the indolence of others, and
the increasing vigilance of our neighbours, that is not my business
here to dispute.

What I have said is only to let the world see what improvement this
town and port is capable of; I cannot think but that Providence,
which made nothing in vain, cannot have reserved so useful, so
convenient a port to lie vacant in the world, but that the time
will some time or other come (especially considering the improving
temper of the present age) when some peculiar beneficial business
may be found out, to make the port of Ipswich as useful to the
world, and the town as flourishing, as Nature has made it proper
and capable to be.

As for the town, it is true, it is but thinly inhabited, in
comparison of the extent of it; but to say there are hardly any
people to be seen there, is far from being true in fact; and
whoever thinks fit to look into the churches and meeting-houses on
a Sunday, or other public days, will find there are very great
numbers of people there. Or if he thinks fit to view the market,
and see how the large shambles, called Cardinal Wolsey's Butchery,
are furnished with meat, and the rest of the market stocked with
other provisions, must acknowledge that it is not for a few people
that all those things are provided. A person very curious, and on
whose veracity I think I may depend, going through the market in
this town, told me, that he reckoned upwards of six hundred country
people on horseback and on foot, with baskets and other carriage,
who had all of them brought something or other to town to sell,
besides the butchers, and what came in carts and waggons.

It happened to be my lot to be once at this town at the time when a
very fine new ship, which was built there for some merchants of
London, was to be launched; and if I may give my guess at the
numbers of people which appeared on the shore, in the houses, and
on the river, I believe I am much within compass if I say there
were 20,000 people to see it; but this is only a guess, or they
might come a great way to see the sight, or the town may be
declined farther since that. But a view of the town is one of the
surest rules for a gross estimate.

It is true here is no settled manufacture. The French refugees
when they first came over to England began a little to take to this
place, and some merchants attempted to set up a linen manufacture
in their favour; but it has not met with so much success as was
expected, and at present I find very little of it. The poor people
are, however, employed, as they are all over these counties, in
spinning wool for other towns where manufactures are settled.

The country round Ipswich, as are all the counties so near the
coast, is applied chiefly to corn, of which a very great quantity
is continually shipped off for London; and sometimes they load corn
here for Holland, especially if the market abroad is encouraging.
They have twelve parish churches in this town, with three or four
meetings; but there are not so many Quakers here as at Colchester,
and no Anabaptists or Antipoedo Baptists, that I could hear of--at
least, there is no meeting-house of that denomination. There is
one meeting-house for the Presbyterians, one for the Independents
and one for the Quakers; the first is as large and as fine a
building of that kind as most on this side of England, and the
inside the best finished of any I have seen, London not excepted;
that for the Independents is a handsome new-built building, but not
so gay or so large as the other.

There is a great deal of very good company in this town, and though
there are not so many of the gentry here as at Bury, yet there are
more here than in any other town in the county; and I observed
particularly that the company you meet with here are generally
persons well informed of the world, and who have something very
solid and entertaining in their society. This may happen, perhaps,
by their frequent conversing with those who have been abroad, and
by their having a remnant of gentlemen and masters of ships among
them who have seen more of the world than the people of an inland
town are likely to have seen. I take this town to be one of the
most agreeable places in England for families who have lived well,
but may have suffered in our late calamities of stocks and bubbles,
to retreat to, where they may live within their own compass; and
several things indeed recommend it to such:-

1. Good houses at very easy rents.

2. An airy, clean, and well-governed town.

3. Very agreeable and improving company almost of every kind.

4. A wonderful plenty of all manner of provisions, whether flesh
or fish, and very good of the kind.

5. Those provisions very cheap, so that a family may live cheaper
here than in any town in England of its bigness within such a small
distance from London.

6. Easy passage to London, either by land or water, the coach
going through to London in a day.

The Lord Viscount Hereford has a very fine seat and park in this
town; the house indeed is old built, but very commodious; it is
called Christ Church, having been, as it is said, a priory or
religious house in former times. The green and park is a great
addition to the pleasantness of this town, the inhabitants being
allowed to divert themselves there with walking, bowling, etc.

The large spire steeple, which formerly stood upon that they call
the tower church, was blown down by a great storm of wind many
years ago, and in its a fall did much damage to the church.

The government of this town is by two bailiffs, as at Yarmouth.
Mr. Camden says they are chosen out of twelve burgesses called
portmen, and two justices out of twenty-four more. There has been
lately a very great struggle between the two parties for the choice
of these two magistrates, which had this amicable conclusion--
namely, that they chose one of either side; so that neither party
having the victory, it is to be hoped it may be a means to allay
the heats and unneighbourly feuds which such things breed in towns
so large as this is. They send two members to Parliament, whereof
those at this time are Sir William Thompson, Recorder of London,
and Colonel Negus, Deputy Master of the Horse to the king.

There are some things very curious to be seen here, however some
superficial writers have been ignorant of them. Dr. Beeston, an
eminent physician, began a few years ago a physic garden adjoining
to his house in this town; and as he is particularly curious, and,
as I was told, exquisitely skilled in botanic knowledge, so he has
been not only very diligent, but successful too, in making a
collection of rare and exotic plants, such as are scarce to be
equalled in England.

One Mr. White, a surgeon, resides also in this town. But before I
speak of this gentleman, I must observe that I say nothing from
personal knowledge; though if I did, I have too good an opinion of
his sense to believe he would be pleased with being flattered or
complimented in print. But I must be true to matter of fact. This
gentleman has begun a collection or chamber of rarities, and with
good success too. I acknowledge I had not the opportunity of
seeing them; but I was told there are some things very curious in
it, as particularly a sea-horse carefully preserved, and perfect in
all its parts; two Roman urns full of ashes of human bodies, and
supposed to be above 1,700 years old; besides a great many valuable
medals and ancient coins. My friend who gave me this account, and
of whom I think I may say he speaks without bias, mentions this
gentleman, Mr. White, with some warmth as a very valuable person in
his particular employ of a surgeon. I only repeat his words. "Mr.
White," says he, "to whom the whole town and country are greatly
indebted and obliged to pray for his life, is our most skilful
surgeon." These, I say, are his own words, and I add nothing to
them but this, that it is happy for a town to have such a surgeon,
as it is for a surgeon to have such a character.

The country round Ipswich, as if qualified on purpose to
accommodate the town for building of ships, is an inexhaustible
store-house of timber, of which, now their trade of building ships
is abated, they send very great quantities to the king's building-
yards at Chatham, which by water is so little a way that they often
run to it from the mouth of the river at Harwich in one tide.

From Ipswich I took a turn into the country to Hadleigh,
principally to satisfy my curiosity and see the place where that
famous martyr and pattern of charity and religious zeal in Queen
Mary's time, Dr. Rowland Taylor, was put to death. The
inhabitants, who have a wonderful veneration for his memory, show
the very place where the stake which he was bound to was set up,
and they have put a stone upon it which nobody will remove; but it
is a more lasting monument to him that he lives in the hearts of
the people--I say more lasting than a tomb of marble would be, for
the memory of that good man will certainly never be out of the poor
people's minds as long as this island shall retain the Protestant
religion among them. How long that may be, as things are going,
and if the detestable conspiracy of the Papists now on foot should
succeed, I will not pretend to say.

A little to the left is Sudbury, which stands upon the River Stour,
mentioned above--a river which parts the counties of Suffolk and
Essex, and which is within these few years made navigable to this
town, though the navigation does not, it seems, answer the charge,
at least not to advantage.

I know nothing for which this town is remarkable, except for being
very populous and very poor. They have a great manufacture of says
and perpetuanas, and multitudes of poor people are employed in
working them; but the number of the poor is almost ready to eat up
the rich. However, this town sends two members to Parliament,
though it is under no form of government particularly to itself
other than as a village, the head magistrate whereof is a

Near adjoining to it is a village called Long Melfort, and a very
long one it is, from which I suppose it had that addition to its
name; it is full of very good houses, and, as they told me, is
richer, and has more wealthy masters of the manufacture in it, than
in Sudbury itself.

Here and in the neighbourhood are some ancient families of good
note; particularly here is a fine dwelling, the ancient seat of the
Cordells, whereof Sir William Cordell was Master of the Rolls in
the time of Queen Elizabeth; but the family is now extinct, the
last heir, Sir John Cordell, being killed by a fall from his horse,
died unmarried, leaving three sisters co-heiresses to a very noble
estate, most of which, if not all, is now centred on the only
surviving sister, and with her in marriage is given to Mr.
Firebrass, eldest son of Sir Basil Firebrass, formerly a
flourishing merchant in London, but reduced by many disasters. His
family now rises by the good fortune of his son, who proves to be a


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