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Though of unequal depth, the harbour and the bay together form a capacious roadstead for the largest ships of war, one hundred of which were assembled here during the war with Holland, in the reign of Charles the Second, in addition to their attendant vessels, and three or four hundred colliers. To make the entrance into the harbour by night more easy and less dangerous, two lighthouses were erected, under letters patent of Charles II., and furnished with patent lamps, prior to building which that object was curiously effected by burning a blazing fire of coal and six one pound candles in a room with a glazed front over the principal gate at the south entrance into the town. These friendly beacons guide vessels off from a treacherous sand-bank called “The Andrews,” forming a bar across the entrance to the harbour from Landguard Fort to the “Rolling Grounds,” from which the passage leading into good anchorage is safe.
The esplanade and the stone quay, near the lighthouses, at the eastern end of the town, are both favourite promenades. A fine spring of clear water formerly issued from the cliff between the beacon and the town; it was much esteemed for its medicinal property, and possessed a petrifying quality, turning the blue clay which fell from the cliff into, stone sufficiently hard for paving and building: it is noticed at some length in the “ Philosophical Transactions” for the year 1669.
Immediately opposite Harwich is Landguard Fort, a very strong fortification, erected in the reign of James I. for the better security and defence of the harbour. The fort is built upon a point of land united to Walton-Colness, but it is so surrounded by the sea at high water as to become an island nearly a mile from the shore. An excursion from Harwich up the river Orwell to Ipswich is one of the most delightful aquatic trips that can be imagined. The banks of the river present throughout the richest sylvan scenery, and the sublimity of the old forest trees, and the beauty of the occasional landscapes seen through openings in the foliage, are such as to render a comparison with a miniature Rhine by no means so hyperbolical as some might conceive in the fulness of their contempt for English streams. Ipswich, with its odd angular streets, planned apparently after the model of Rosamond's Labyrinth, is also, to those who have yet to become acquainted with this old-fashioned Saxon town, a place well worthy of being the point of destination to an excursion affording such varied elements of attraction.
Quantities of amber, and, according to some, ambergris, are occasionally found on the shore, and in the vicinity of Landguard Fort transparent pebbles are easily obtained, which were formerly set in rings by the inhabitants. Fossils, too, are abundantly to be met with in Harwich cliff, and those who delight in gathering shells, and other marine treasures, as memorials of a visit to the coast, may here gratify their pleasant propensity to their heart's content. The air is considered highly salubrious, and though much exposed to easterly winds, Harwich has some excellent sheltered situations, which to the invalid afford even a genial retreat, especially to those anxious to inhale the breezes of the coast without being too much inconvenienced by the boisterous turbulence of the elements. The inns and hotels are for the most part reasonable in their charges, and the market is well supplied with comestibles. The letters from London are delivered at 7 30 a.m.; box closes 6 p.m. The annual fairs take place on the 1st of May and the 18th of October. According to local tradition the outlets of the Stour and the Orwell were anciently on the north side, through Walton Marshes, in Suffolk, and the place called the Fleets was a part of the original channel. This is not improbable, as the strength of the land floods have effected great changes along the coast.
Dover Court, about a mile to the south-west of Harwich, was for several centuries greatly celebrated for a miraculons rood or crucifix attached to the church, which, from its supposed sanctity, attracted many visitors and pilgrims. Its power was thought to be so great, that the vulgar imagined any attempt to close the church-doors upon it would be attended with sudden death; they were therefore left open night and day. This fancied security proved fatal to three misjudging but well-meaning men, who, together with a fourth companion who escaped, entered the church by night in the year 1532, and removed the rood to the distance of a quarter of a mile, where they burnt it, being prompted to this action by a wish to prevent the idolatrous worship paid to it by the Catholics. For this act, denominated felony and sacrilege, they were condemned to die, and were hanged at different places in this part of the county.
the picturesque to be easily forsaken when once a tourist has exposed himself to the powers of their fascination. For convenience of description we shall commence with the principal of the three and then proceed to describe the quieter features of Cromer and Lowestoft, either of which will form a pleasant excursion from the ancient fishing town which first engages our attention.
Originally occupying ground covered by the sea, a bank of sand was once the site of the present thriving sea-port, whereon a few straggling fishermen one day settled, and the first of whom, denominated Fuller, has left his name inseparably associated with the higher portion, still known as Fuller's Hill. The bank—from the deposits of that sea which had originally run upon it, and caused it to give a check to navigation-waxed larger with every tide; and as it increased in density and extent, so increased the population upon it. At last, in 1040, the channel of the northern branch of the Yare, on which the first settlers fixed their habitations, became choked with sand, and they then removed further to the south. Thirty years after this it was mentioned in the royal statutebook as a king's demesne, having seventy burgesses, and from that period the river bestowed its name permanently on the town, and Yarmouth was a recognised borough.
Henry the Third, at the special request of the inhabitants, granted them a charter, and allowed them to enclose the town on the land side with a wall and moat; the former was 2,240 yards in length, and had sixteen towers and ten gates. A castle, having four watch-towers, and upon which a firebeacon was placed in 1588, was also built about this time in the centre of the town; in the last-named year a mound, called South Mound, was thrown up, and crowned with