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on Sunday, Sept. 17, 1620, under the name of Jesus' chapel. In the instrument which was presented to the bishop, stating the reasons for erecting the chapel, it is alleged, that the inhabitants of the village of Weston, and the hamlets of Itchen, Woolston, Ridgeway, and part of Bittern manor, (all in the parish of St. Mary,) not only dwell far from their parish-church, "but are also divided from the same by the great river of Itchen, where the passage is very broad, and often dangerous; and very many times, on the days appointed for common prayer, &c. so tempestuous, as the river cannot be passed. Besides, in the fairest weather, at their return from church, they press so thick into the boat for haste home, that it often proves dangerous, and ever fearful, especially to old, impotent, sickly people, and young children. Many times also they are forced to baptize their children in private houses, the water not being passable: and when they lie sick, they are without comfort to their souls, and die without any ghostly advice or counsel; their own minister not being able to visit them, by reason of the roughness of the water," &c.*
These statements of the danger of crossing the Itchen, are scarcely to be reconciled with the present state of the ferry. Indeed, so seldom is there any risk in passing it, that there are not six successive hours in a twelvemonth, in which the passage is not perfectly safe.
'Pear-tree chapel has nothing very remarkable in its construction. Some of the Mylles family are buried in
See bishop Andrews's Form of Consecration, printed at the end of Sparrow's Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer, 12mo.
it. There is a neat mural tablet, with a Latin inscription, dictated by the conjugal affection of the Rev. L. G. Halton. Affixed to the wall at the east end is a curious copy of verses, written on parchment, by Richard Smith. They are entitled "Smith's mournfull peale of bells, on the late decease of his most vertuous and piouslie disposed mother-in-law, Mrs. Sarah Smith of Pear-tree." The performance consists of fifty lines, quite destitute of merit, and full of quaint conceits. Having exhausted his own tears, the poet calls on Neptune for a supply, exclaiming :
"Teach me to pen a sigh at every line,
May pickle up a mourner in the brine."
Above Pear-tree Green, is RIDGEWAY CASTLE, an agreeable situation, with a fine wood on the bank of the Itchen. From this place there is a good road to Northam bridge, by which the return may be made, by the distance of about three miles. SIDNEY FARM, and a neat cottage, once the residence of the Misses Minifies, are on the right of this road; and LITTLE CHESSEL is on the left.
An excursion to Netley Abbey will complete our survey of the neighbourhood of Southampton. This excursion is most frequently made by water, either from Itchen ferry, or Southampton quay. But they who prefer crossing the ferry and walling thither, will find the road extremely pleasant, and the distance about three miles.
In the walk, we see WOOLSTON HOUSE: though finely situated, it is seldom made use of by the family. The
beautiful marine villa of William Chamberlayne, esq. M.P. occupies a delightful situation. We next pass through WESTON, a small village, peopled by fishermen. Adjoining it is the cottage of Miss Short.
After crossing some fields, we enter a delightful coppice, which leads us to NETLEY ABBEY. The approach to this ruin, either by this way or from the shore, is very striking. The situation is low, and beautifully sequestered. The quiet sea views, and the fine wood scenery, greatly add to the solemnly pleasing effect of the ruins.
The scenes of Netley have more than once been favourable to the muse. Mr. Keate's elegy is well known.* Mr. Sotheby has written a midnight ode on Netley. The following effusion of the "plaintive lyre" of Bowles, shall speak for itself:
"Fall'n pile! I ask not what has been thy fate,
But when the weak winds, wafted from the main,
On this world's passing pageant, and the lot
Of those who once might proudly in their prime
They might have sunk, like thee: tho' thus forlorn,
Of mortal vanities and short-lived cares :
* A new edition of this poem has lately been published, annexed to a more detailed account of the abbey than the limits of the present work will allow, with an inside view of the abbey church.
Little is known of the history of this abbey. It seems most probable that it was founded by Henry III. in 1239; who (according to Tanner) brought hither a certain number of monks* from Beaulieu; and dedicated the monastery to the virgin Mary and St. Edward. At the time of the dissolution, they consisted of an abbot and twelve monks; whose possessions were then valued, according to Dugdale, at £100 12s. 8d. according to Speed, £160 2s. 9d.
The site of the abbey was granted, by Henry VIII. to Sir W. Paulet, afterwards marquis of Winchester. About the middle of the sixteenth century, it was the seat of one of the earls of Hertford; and, since that, it is said to have been fitted up and inhabited by an earl of Huntingdon, who converted part of the chapel into a kitchen and other offices, still reserving the eastern end for the purposes of worship. It seems afterwards, that a Mr. Taylor, of Southampton, agreed with this nobleman, (though some say with Sir Bartlet Lucy,) for the purchase of so much of its materials as he could carry away in a certain space of time; a contract, which, we are informed, ended in the death of Taylor, and left the building in its present state.
The most authentic particulars of this story seem to be the following. After Mr. Taylor had made the contract, he dreamed one night that the arch key-stone of one of the windows fell from its situation, and fractured his, scull. Communicating the dream to some of his friends,
* These monks were Cistertians, so called from Cistertium, or Citeaux, in France, where their order was first instituted. Their rules were very austere; and, had they been strictly complied with, they must have debarred these monastics from all the comforts of life.
they advised him against being personally concerned in the demolition of the abbey. But neither the dream nor their advice had sufficient weight to deter him from assisting in the work; and in removing some boards from the window of which he had dreamed, he is said to have loosened the key-stone, and fulfilled his dream. The fracture was not at first thought mortal, but the surgeon's instrument slipping, in the operation of extracting a splinter, entered the brain, and caused immediate death. The ruins are at present the property of Lady Holland.
In visiting the ruins, the first part which we enter was formerly called the Fountain Court. It is a large square area, and has some trees in it. The only apartments that remain, are those on the right of this court. One of these was, probably, the refectory, or dining hall, of the monastery. Adjoining it, on the right, are the pantry and the kitchen. The latter is a large vaulted room, with a curious fire-place. The hole on the right hand, pointed out as a subterraneous passage to the neighbouring castle, was most probably a vault or drain to the abbey.
Hence we return through the refectory, and, crossing a passage, enter the chapter-house, a well proportioned room, adorned, on each side, by three arches, which, when perfect, united at the top in ribs, and supported a vaulted roof. Adjoining this, are two smaller rooms, from which there is an entrance to the abbey church, by the cross aile.
Part of the church still remains: it was built in the form of a cross, and, though greatly defaced, it still