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to take refuge in the house. The Bishop of Gloucester, at this time the good Robert Frampton, was not the man to let a scandal of these dimensions pass unnoticed. Under threat of excommunication he summoned the offenders to meet him at Stow, where they made due submission and handed over “a handsome fine," which was devoted to the work then in progress at Stow Church. Among the Carte Papers preserved in the Bodleian is a touching letter from the Bishop to Thomas Wharton, written in the following November, in which he reminds him of the contrition he had expressed at Stow, admonishes him of the evils which follow from the sin of drunkenness, and expresses his earnest hope that his promises of amendment will be fulfilled. Readers of Macaulay are aware that the good Bishop's aspirations were not destined to be realised.
In Barrington Church everything is now decent and in order, but, except for its sepulchral monuments and a large Norman chancel arch, the building is not particularly interesting. It is with reluctance that we quit this peaceful valley in order to gain the high-road that takes us back to Northleach and our inn at Fossbridge. We may either retrace our steps through Little Barrington, and there ascend the southern slopes, or, if time allows, we can ride round through Taynton and Burford. Burford, of course, we shall see again, but we may not have another opportunity of visiting Taynton-one of the most charming villages on this side of the Cotswold. Soon after leaving Great Barrington the road enters Oxfordshire, and presently the picturesque roofs of Taynton are seen bosomed in umbrageous elms and sycamores. It is a place not wholly made of small cottages and farmhouses. The many pleasant dwellings which lie somewhere indefinitely between these two classes, and the well-kept gardens now bright with all the glories of September, are suggestive of a village population of the good old catholic sort, a place, in fact, that might catch the fancy of a Jane Austen, and tempt her to make it the scene of some unambitious tale
TAYNTON STONE QUARRIES
of rural life. With its famous building stone close at hand, no wonder that the houses of Taynton look strong and solid. Blenheim Palace was built of Taynton stone—and Blenheim looks as though it would last for ever—and so, says tradition, was old St. Paul's. But it is a long and hilly road to the nearest railway station, and the quarries are no longer worked
The great highway which brought us home yesterday from the Windrush Valley is as fine a cycling road as any in England. The devious lane which takes us down the valley of the Coln this morning calls for wary steering and a moderate pace. This, however, need not be regretted, for this is not a journey to be taken by express. It is this solitary valley which has found its vates sacer in Arthur Gibbs, and my pen shall refrain from lingering over scenes which he has depicted with such intimate sympathy in the pleasant pages of A Cotswold Village. . Following the windings of the stream through the sunny Arcadias of Coln St. Denis, Coln Rogers, and Winson, each a study for the painter or the poet, you come to Ablington and the Tudor manor-house which he loved so well, and where some of the happiest years of his too brief life were spent. He will tell you of the strange charm the place had for him at first sight; how he looked up and read, cut in stone over the porch :
and how another legend over the solid oak door
PORTA PATENS ESTO, NULLI CLAUDARIS HONESTO encouraged him to enter; and then of the ancient furnishing thereof, the grim portraits, the latticed windows of the oldfashioned passage, and, above all, the terrace and the quaint old garden. These I pass in silence and press onwards to the “Swan” at Bibury, where, luncheon over, I may sit awhile in the garden by the rippling Coln, and realise that I have reached Bibury at last.
Ten years ago Bibury was a name unknown to the majority of Oxford men, though the hero of the following tale, which I quote from a local guide-book, hails from the university :
“ An Oxford scholar, more full of fun than money, proposed to a Bibury landlord to teach him, for a noble, how to draw mild ale and strong beer from the same cask. The offer was accepted ; and, proceeding to the cellar, the scholar bored a hole in a full cask of ale and desired the landlord to stop it with his finger. Then boring another where the strong beer was to run, the landlord was to stop that with his other hand. The wag then left on pretence of fetching some pegs; and, mounting his horse, off he went, leaving the landlord a prisoner in his own cellar. The joke was certainly at the landlord's expense ; but so many called to have the laugh, that it turned at length in his favour by the increasing demand.”
The “Oxford scholar” of our own day, if a fisherman, might have driven over to Burford “when the May-fly is up”; but that was the limit of his excursion. The ten lonely miles, still ten of the most untrodden on any high-road in England, that lay between him and Bibury were beyond his horizon : Bibury was still unknown and untalked of. Yet already there was one circle of friends to whom the whole land from Cotswold to Thames had come to be a household word, and to whose hearts the old villages by the Coln had not appealed in vain. In 1871 William Morris came to live at Kelmscott, some dozen miles away, and he soon made the whole countryside his own—“his daily walks and ancient neighbourhood.” Among the many villages to which he would take his friends, Bibury must surely have
THE FISHERMAN'S PARADISE
been one of the first, for does not Mr. Mackail record that he described it "lying down in the winding valley beside the clear Colne" as "surely the most beautiful village in England”?1 Then in 1898 came Mr. Gibbs, and in the same year Leslie's picture of Arlington Row at the Academy. Bibury was no longer unheard of: visitors to Fairford and Cirencester would drive over and lunch at the Swan, and the question “Have you been to Bibury?” began to be heard at Oxford when the talk was of the country and the roads. Eight and twenty miles out and eight and twenty miles home, however, needs a long summer's day and no lectures-and I suspect that many a hard worked lover of the open road has discovered that the little local line to Fairford simplifies matters considerably.
Here, in the garden of the Swan Inn, or further on down the village street which skirts the river, you may banish every doubt, if you still nourish any, that Bibury is the fisherman's paradise. You have but to look warily over the low wall to mark the big fish lying with their noses up stream on the watch for any delicate morsel that may come floating down, or the circling eddy which tells you that they are “on the rise." Hard by the garden is the bridge, a favourite lounge at all hours when fish are to be seen, and in the garden itself is the spring, said to supply at least two million gallons a day: this spring swells the current of the river, and makes it so cold that cattle, which formerly had to ford it, heated by long journeyings, were often chilled, until at length, though not till the middle of the eighteenth century, the ford gave place to the bridge.
Further down at the foot of a wooded cliff, where the Coln takes a sweep to the east, is Bibury Court, a splendid Jacobean house, built by one Sir Thomas Sackville in 1623.
1 Morris was, however, not the first poet who had been struck with the beauty of Bibury. Pope had been there in company with Swift when on a visit to Lord Bathurst, and in August, 1726, he writes to the Dean : “I shall never more think of Lord Cobham's, the woods of Ciceter, or the pleasing prospect of Bibury, but your idea must be joined with them.”