Tour through the Eastern Counties of England by Daniel Defoe

[Continued from Essex - see that page for publication details.]


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 constable.

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 gentleman of very agreeable parts, and well esteemed in the country.

Abbey of Bury St Edmunds 1771From this part of the country, I returned north-west by Lenham, to visit St. Edmund's Bury [Bury St. Edmund's], a town of which other writers have talked very largely, and perhaps a little too much. It is a town famed for its pleasant situation and wholesome air, the Montpelier of Suffolk, and perhaps of England. This must be attributed to the skill of the monks of those times, who chose so beautiful a situation for the seat of their retirement; and who built here the greatest and, in its time, the most flourishing monastery in all these parts of England, I mean the monastery of St. Edmund the Martyr. It was, if we believe antiquity, a house of pleasure in more ancient times, or to speak more properly, a court of some of the Saxon or East Angle kings; and, as Mr. Camden says, was even then called a royal village, though it much better merits that name now; it being the town of all this part of England, in proportion to its bigness, most thronged with gentry, people of the best fashion, and the most polite conversation. This beauty and healthiness of its situation was no doubt the occasion which drew the clergy to settle here, for they always chose the best places in the country to build in, either for richness of soil, or for health and pleasure in the situation of their religious houses.

For the like reason, I doubt not, they translated the bones of the martyred king St. Edmund to this place; for it is a vulgar error to say he was murdered here. His martyrdom, it is plain, was at Hoxon or Henilsdon, near Harlston, on the Waveney, in the farthest northern verge of the county; but Segebert, king of the East Angles, had built a religions house in this pleasant rich part of the county; and as the monks began to taste the pleasure of the place, they procured the body of this saint to be removed hither, which soon increased the wealth and revenues of their house, by the zeal of that day, in going on pilgrimage to the shrine of the blessed St. Edmund.

We read, however, that after this the Danes, under King Sweno, over-running this part of the country, destroyed this monastery and burnt it to the ground, with the church and town. But see the turn religion gives to things in the world; his son, King Canutus, at first a Pagan and a tyrant, and the most cruel ravager of all that crew, coming to turn Christian, and being touched in conscience for the soul of his father, in having robbed God and his holy martyr St. Edmund, sacrilegiously destroying the church, and plundering the monastery; I say, touched with remorse, and, as the monks pretend, terrified with a vision of St. Edmund appearing to him, he rebuilt the house, the church, and the town also, and very much added to the wealth of the abbot and his fraternity, offering his crown at the feet of St. Edmund, giving the house to the monks, town and all; so that they were absolute lords of the town, and governed it by their steward for many ages. He also gave them a great many good lordships, which they enjoyed till the general suppression of abbeys, in the time of Henry VIII.

But I am neither writing the history or searching the antiquity of the abbey, or town; my business is the present state of the place.

The abbey is demolished; its ruins are all that is to be seen of its glory: out of the old building, two very beautiful churches are built, and serve the two parishes, into which the town is divided, and they stand both in one churchyard. Here it was, in the path- way between these two churches, that a tragical and almost unheard- of act of barbarity was committed, which made the place less pleasant for some time than it used to be, when Arundel Coke, Esq., a barrister-at-law, of a very ancient family, attempted, with the assistance of a barbarous assassin, to murder in cold blood, and in the arms of hospitality, Edward Crisp, Esq., his brother-in-law, leading him out from his own house, where he had invited him, his wife and children, to supper; I say, leading him out in the night, on pretence of going to see some friend that was known to them both; but in this churchyard, giving a signal to the assassin he had hired, he attacked him with a hedge-bill, and cut him, as one might say, almost in pieces; and when they did not doubt of his being dead, they left him. His head and face was so mangled, that it may be said to be next to a miracle that he was not quite killed: yet so Providence directed for the exemplary punishment of the assassins, that the gentleman recovered to detect them, who (though he outlived the assault) were both executed as they deserved, and Mr. Crisp is yet alive. They were condemned on the statute for defacing and dismembering, called the Coventry Act.

But this accident does not at all lessen the pleasure and agreeable delightful show of the town of Bury; it is crowded with nobility and gentry, and all sorts of the most agreeable company; and as the company invites, so there is the appearance of pleasure upon the very situation; and they that live at Bury are supposed to live there for the sake of it.

The Lord Jermin, afterwards Lord Dover, and, since his lordship's decease, Sir Robert Davers, enjoyed the most delicious seat of Rushbrook, near this town.

The present members of Parliament for this place are Jermyn Davers and James Reynolds, Esquires.

Mr. Harvey, afterwards created Lord Harvey, by King William, and since that made Earl of Bristol by King George, lived many years in this town, leaving a noble and pleasantly situated house in Lincolnshire, for the more agreeable living on a spot so completely qualified for a life of delight as this of Bury.

The Duke of Grafton, now Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, has also a stately house at Euston, near this town, which he enjoys in right of his mother, daughter to the Earl of Arlington, one of the chief ministers of State in the reign of King Charles II., and who made the second letter in the word "cabal," a word formed by that famous satirist Andrew Marvell, to represent the five heads of the politics of that time, as the word "smectymnus" was on a former occasion.

I shall believe nothing so scandalous of the ladies of this town and the country round it as a late writer insinuates. That the ladies round the country appear mighty gay and agreeable at the time of the fair in this town I acknowledge; one hardly sees such a show in any part of the world; but to suggest they come hither, as to a market, is so coarse a jest, that the gentlemen that wait on them hither (for they rarely come but in good company) ought to resent and correct him for it.

It is true, Bury Fair, like Bartholomew Fair, is a fair for diversion, more than for trade; and it may be a fair for toys and for trinkets, which the ladies may think fit to lay out some of their money in, as they see occasion. But to judge from thence that the knights' daughters of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Suffolk - that is to say, for it cannot be understood any otherwise, the daughters of all the gentry of the three counties - come hither to be picked up, is a way of speaking I never before heard any author have the assurance to make use of in print.

The assembly he justly commends for the bright appearance of the beauties; but with a sting in the tail of this compliment, where he says they seldom end without some considerable match or intrigue; and yet he owns that during the fair these assemblies are held every night. Now that these fine ladies go intriguing every night, and that too after the comedy is done, which is after the fair and raffling is over for the day, so that it must be very late. This is a terrible character for the ladies of Bury, and intimates, in short, that most of them are loose women, which is a horrid abuse upon the whole country.

Now, though I like not the assemblies at all, and shall in another place give them something of their due, yet having the opportunity to see the fair at Bury, and to see that there were, indeed, abundance of the finest ladies, or as fine as any in Britain, yet I must own the number of the ladies at the comedy, or at the assembly, is no way equal to the number that are seen in the town, much less are they equal to the whole body of the ladies in the three counties; and I must also add, that though it is far from true that all that appear at the assembly are there for matches or intrigues, yet I will venture to say that they are not the worst of the ladies who stay away, neither are they the fewest in number or the meanest in beauty, but just the contrary; and I do not at all doubt, but that the scandalous liberty some take at those assemblies will in time bring them out of credit with the virtuous part of the sex here, as it has done already in Kent and other places, and that those ladies who most value their reputation will be seen less there than they have been; for though the institution of them has been innocent and virtuous, the ill use of them, and the scandalous behaviour of some people at them, will in time arm virtue against them, and they will be laid down as they have been set up without much satisfaction.

But the beauty of this town consists in the number of gentry who dwell in and near it, the polite conversation among them, the affluence and plenty they live in, the sweet air they breathe in, and the pleasant country they have to go abroad in.

Here is no manufacturing in this town, or but very little, except spinning, the chief trade of the place depending upon the gentry who live there, or near it, and who cannot fail to cause trade enough by the expense of their families and equipages among the people of a county town. They have but a very small river, or rather but a very small branch of a small river, at this town, which runs from hence to Milden Hall, on the edge of the fens. However, the town and gentlemen about have been at the charge, or have so encouraged the engineer who was at the charge, that they have made this river navigable to the said Milden Hall, from whence there is a navigable dyke, called Milden Hall Drain, which goes into the River Ouse, and so to Lynn; so that all their coal and wine, iron, lead, and other heavy goods, are brought by water from Lynn, or from London, by the way of Lynn, to the great ease of the tradesmen.

This town is famous for two great events. One was that in the year 1447, in the 25th year of Henry VI., a Parliament was held here.

The other was, that at the meeting of this Parliament, the great Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, regent of the kingdom during the absence of King Henry V. and the minority of Henry VI., and to his last hour the safeguard of the whole nation, and darling of the people, was basely murdered here; by whose death the gate was opened to that dreadful war between the houses of Lancaster and York, which ended in the confusion of that very race who are supposed to have contrived that murder.

From St. Edmund's Bury I returned by Stowmarket and Needham to Ipswich, that I might keep as near the coast as was proper to my designed circuit or journey; and from Ipswich, to visit the sea again, I went to Woodbridge, and from thence to Orford, on the sea side.

Woodbridge has nothing remarkable, but that it is a considerable market for butter and corn to be exported to London; for now begins that part which is ordinarily called High Suffolk, which, being a rich soil, is for a long tract of ground wholly employed in dairies, and they again famous for the best butter, and perhaps the worst cheese, in England. The butter is barrelled, or often pickled up in small casks, and sold, not in London only, but I have known a firkin of Suffolk butter sent to the West Indies, and brought back to England again, and has been perfectly good and sweet, as at first.

The port for the shipping off their Suffolk butter is chiefly Woodbridge, which for that reason is full of corn factors and butter factors, some of whom are very considerable merchants.

From hence, turning down to the shore, we see Orfordness, a noted point of land for the guide of the colliers and coasters, and a good shelter for them to ride under when a strong north-east wind blows and makes a foul shore on the coast.

South of the Ness is Orford Haven, being the mouth of two little rivers meeting together. It is a very good harbour for small vessels, but not capable of receiving a ship of burden.

Orford was once a good town, but is decayed, and as it stands on the land side of the river the sea daily throws up more land to it, and falls off itself from it, as if it was resolved to disown the place, and that it should be a seaport no longer.

A little farther lies Aldborough, as thriving, though without a port, as the other is decaying, with a good river in the front of it.

There are some gentlemen's seats up farther from the sea, but very few upon the coast.

From Aldborough to Dunwich there are no towns of note; even this town seems to be in danger of being swallowed up, for fame reports that once they had fifty churches in the town; I saw but one left, and that not half full of people.

This town is a testimony of the decay of public things, things of the most durable nature; and as the old poet expresses it,

"By numerous examples we may see,
That towns and cities die as well as we."

The ruins of Carthage, of the great city of Jerusalem, or of ancient Rome, are not at all wonderful to me. The ruins of Nineveh, which are so entirety sunk as that it is doubtful where the city stood; the ruins of Babylon, or the great Persepolis, and many capital cities, which time and the change of monarchies have overthrown, these, I say, are not at all wonderful, because being the capitals of great and flourishing kingdoms, where those kingdoms were overthrown, the capital cities necessarily fell with them; but for a private town, a seaport, and a town of commerce, to decay, as it were, of itself (for we never read of Dunwich being plundered or ruined by any disaster, at least, not of late years); this, I must confess, seems owing to nothing but to the fate of things, by which we see that towns, kings, countries, families, and persons, have all their elevation, their medium, their declination, and even their destruction in the womb of time, and the course of nature. It is true, this town is manifestly decayed by the invasion of the waters, and as other towns seem sufferers by the sea, or the tide withdrawing from their ports, such as Orford, just now named, Winchelsea in Kent, and the like, so this town is, as it were, eaten up by the sea, as above; and the still encroaching ocean seems to threaten it with a fatal immersion in a few years more.

Yet Dunwich, however ruined, retains some share of trade, as particularly for the shipping of butter, cheese, and corn, which is so great a business in this county, that it employs a great many people and ships also; and this port lies right against the particular part of the county for butter, as Framlingham, Halstead, etc. Also a very great quantity of corn is bought up hereabout for the London market; for I shall still touch that point how all the counties in England contribute something towards the subsistence of the great city of London, of which the butter here is a very considerable article; as also coarse cheese, which I mentioned before, used chiefly for the king's ships.

Hereabouts they begin to talk of herrings and the fishery; and we find in the ancient records that this town, which was then equal to a large city, paid, among other tribute to the government, fifty thousand of herrings. Here also, and at Swole, or Southole, the next seaport, they cure sprats in the same manner as they do herrings at Yarmouth; that is to say, speaking in their own language, they make red sprats; or to speak good English, they make sprats red.

It is remarkable that this town is now so much washed away by the sea, that what little trade they have is carried on by Walderswick, a little town near Swole, the vessels coming in there, because the ruins of Dunwich make the shore there unsafe and uneasy to the boats; from whence the northern coasting seamen a rude verse of their own using, and I suppose of their own making, as follows,

Swoul and Dunwich, and Walderswick,
All go in at one lousie creek.

This lousie creek, in short, is a little river at Swoul, which our late famous atlas-maker calls a good harbour for ships, and rendezvous of the royal navy; but that by-the-bye; the author, it seems, knew no better.

From Dunwich we came to Southwold, the town above-named: this is a small port town upon the coast, at the mouth of a little river called the Blith. I found no business the people here were employed in but the fishery, as above, for herrings and sprats, which they cure by the help of smoke, as they do at Yarmouth.

There is but one church in this town, but it is a very large one and well built, as most of the churches in this county are, and of impenetrable flint; indeed, there is no occasion for its being so large, for staying there one Sabbath day, I was surprised to see an extraordinary large church, capable of receiving five or six thousand people, and but twenty-seven in it besides the parson and the clerk; but at the same time the meeting-house of the Dissenters was full to the very doors, having, as I guessed, from six to eight hundred people in it.

This town is made famous for a very great engagement at sea, in the year 1672, between the English and Dutch fleets, in the bay opposite to the town, in which, not to be partial to ourselves, the English fleet was worsted; and the brave Montague, Earl of Sandwich, Admiral under the Duke of York, lost his life. The ship Royal Prince, carrying one hundred guns, in which he was, and which was under him, commanded by Sir Edward Spragg, was burnt, and several other ships lost, and about six hundred seamen; part of those killed in the fight were, as I was told, brought on shore here and buried in the churchyard of this town, as others also were at Ipswich.

At this town in particular, and so at all the towns on this coast, from Orfordness to Yarmouth, is the ordinary place where our summer friends the swallows first land when they come to visit us; and here they may be said to embark for their return, when they go back into warmer climates; and as I think the following remark, though of so trifling a circumstance, may be both instructing as well as diverting, it may be very proper in this place. The case is this; I was some years before at this place, at the latter end of the year, viz., about the beginning of October, and lodging in a house that looked into the churchyard, I observed in the evening, an unusual multitude of birds sitting on the leads of the church. Curiosity led me to go nearer to see what they were, and I found they were all swallows; that there was such an infinite number that they covered the whole roof of the church, and of several houses near, and perhaps might of more houses which I did not see. This led me to inquire of a grave gentleman whom I saw near me, what the meaning was of such a prodigious multitude of swallows sitting there. Oh, sir, says he, turning towards the sea, you may see the reason; the wind is off sea. I did not seem fully informed by that expression, so he goes on, I perceive, sir, says he, you are a stranger to it; you must then understand first, that this is the season of the year when the swallows, their food here failing, begin to leave us, and return to the country, wherever it be, from whence I suppose they came; and this being the nearest to the coast of Holland, they come here to embark (this he said smiling a little); and now, sir, says he, the weather being too calm or the wind contrary, they are waiting for a gale, for they are all wind-bound.

This was more evident to me, when in the morning I found the wind had come about to the north-west in the night, and there was not one swallow to be seen of near a million, which I believe was there the night before.

How those creatures know that this part of the Island of Great Britain is the way to their home, or the way that they are to go; that this very point is the nearest cut over, or even that the nearest cut is best for them, that we must leave to the naturalists to determine, who insist upon it that brutes cannot think.

Certain it is that the swallows neither come hither for warm weather nor retire from cold; the thing is of quite another nature. They, like the shoals of fish in the sea, pursue their prey; they are a voracious creature, they feed flying; their food is found in the air, viz., the insects, of which in our summer evenings, in damp and moist places, the air is full. They come hither in the summer because our air is fuller of fogs and damps than in other countries, and for that reason feeds great quantities of insects. If the air be hot and dry the gnats die of themselves, and even the swallows will be found famished for want, and fall down dead out of the air, their food being taken from them. In like manner, when cold weather comes in the insects all die, and then of necessity the swallows quit us, and follow their food wherever they go. This they do in the manner I have mentioned above, for sometimes they are seen to go off in vast flights like a cloud. And sometimes again, when the wind grows fair, they go away a few and a few as they come, not staying at all upon the coast.

Note. - This passing and re-passing of the swallows is observed nowhere so much, that I have heard of, or in but few other places, except on this eastern coast, namely, from above Harwich to the east point of Norfolk, called Winterton Ness, North, which is all right against Holland. We know nothing of them any farther north, the passage of the sea being, as I suppose, too broad from Flamborough Head and the shore of Holderness in Yorkshire, etc.

I find very little remarkable on this side of Suffolk, but what is on the sea-shore as above. The inland country is that which they properly call High Suffolk, and is full of rich feeding grounds and large farms, mostly employed in dairies for making the Suffolk butter and cheese, of which I have spoken already. Among these rich grounds stand some market towns, though not of very considerable note; such as Framlingham, where was once a royal castle, to which Queen Mary retired when the Northumberland faction, in behalf of the Lady Jane, endeavoured to supplant her. And it was this part of Suffolk where the Gospellers, as they were then called, preferred their loyalty to their religion, and complimented the Popish line at expense of their share of the Reformation. But they paid dear for it, and their successors have learned better politics since.

In these parts are also several good market towns, some in this county and some in the other, as Beccles, Bungay, Harlston, etc., all on the edge of the River Waveney, which parts here the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. And here in a bye-place, and out of common remark, lies the ancient town of Hoxon, famous for being the place where St. Edmund was martyred, for whom so many cells and shrines have been set up and monasteries built, and in honour of whom the famous monastery of St. Edmundsbury, above mentioned, was founded, which most people erroneously think was the place where the said murder was committed.

Besides the towns mentioned above, there are Halesworth, Saxmundham, Debenham, Aye, or Eye, all standing in this eastern side of Suffolk, in which, as I have said, the whole country is employed in dairies or in feeding of cattle.

This part of England is also remarkable for being the first where the feeding and fattening of cattle, both sheep as well as black cattle, with turnips, was first practised in England, which is made a very great part of the improvement of their lands to this day, and from whence the practice is spread over most of the east and south parts of England to the great enriching of the farmers and increase of fat cattle. And though some have objected against the goodness of the flesh thus fed with turnips, and have fancied it would taste of the root, yet upon experience it is found that at market there is no difference, nor can they that buy single out one joint of mutton from another by the taste. So that the complaint which our nice palates at first made begins to cease of itself, and a very great quantity of beef and mutton also is brought every year and every week to London from this side of England, and much more than was formerly known to be fed there.

I cannot omit, however little it may seem, that this county of Suffolk is particularly famous for furnishing the City of London and all the counties round with turkeys, and that it is thought there are more turkeys bred in this county and the part of Norfolk that adjoins to it than in all the rest of England, especially for sale, though this may be reckoned, as I say above, but a trifling thing to take notice of in these remarks; yet, as I have hinted, that I shall observe how London is in general supplied with all its provisions from the whole body of the nation, and how every part of the island is engaged in some degree or other of that supply. On this account I could not omit it, nor will it be found so inconsiderable an article as some may imagine, if this be true, which I received an account of from a person living on the place, viz., that they have counted three hundred droves of turkeys (for they drive them all in droves on foot) pass in one season over Stratford Bridge on the River Stour, which parts Suffolk from Essex, about six miles from Colchester, on the road from Ipswich to London. These droves, as they say, generally contain from three hundred to a thousand each drove; so that one may suppose them to contain five hundred one with another, which is one hundred and fifty thousand in all; and yet this is one of the least passages, the numbers which travel by Newmarket Heath and the open country and the forest, and also the numbers that come by Sudbury and Clare being many more.

For the further supplies of the markets of London with poultry, of which these countries particularly abound, they have within these few years found it practicable to make the geese travel on foot too, as well as the turkeys, and a prodigious number are brought up to London in droves from the farthest parts of Norfolk; even from the fen country about Lynn, Downham, Wisbech, and the Washes; as also from all the east side of Norfolk and Suffolk, of whom it is very frequent now to meet droves with a thousand, sometimes two thousand in a drove. They begin to drive them generally in August, by which time the harvest is almost over, and the geese may feed in the stubbles as they go. Thus they hold on to the end of October, when the roads begin to be too stiff and deep for their broad feet and short legs to march in.

Besides these methods of driving these creatures on foot, they have of late also invented a new method of carriage, being carts formed on purpose, with four stories or stages to put the creatures in one above another, by which invention one cart will carry a very great number; and for the smoother going they drive with two horses abreast, like a coach, so quartering the road for the ease of the gentry that thus ride. Changing horses, they travel night and day, so that they bring the fowls seventy, eighty, or, one hundred miles in two days and one night. The horses in this new-fashioned voiture go two abreast, as above, but no perch below, as in a coach, but they are fastened together by a piece of wood lying crosswise upon their necks, by which they are kept even and together, and the driver sits on the top of the cart like as in the public carriages for the army, etc.

In this manner they hurry away the creatures alive, and infinite numbers are thus carried to London every year. This method is also particular for the carrying young turkeys or turkey poults in their season, which are valuable, and yield a good price at market; as also for live chickens in the dear seasons, of all which a very great number are brought in this manner to London, and more prodigiously out of this country than any other part of England, which is the reason of my speaking of it here.

In this part, which we call High Suffolk, there are not so many families of gentry or nobility placed as in the other side of the country. But it is observed that though their seats are not so frequent here, their estates are; and the pleasure of West Suffolk is much of it supported by the wealth of High Suffolk, for the richness of the lands and application of the people to all kinds of improvement is scarce credible; also the farmers are so very considerable and their farms and dairies so large that it is very frequent for a farmer to have 1,000 pounds stock upon his farm in cows only.

[Continues to Norfolk, but returns briefly later to Suffolk.]