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PRINC. Plinlim owever not
RETURN TO LONDON. to make a formidable appearance, lifting their heads to the sky; they are however not to be compared with Snowdon, Plinlimmon, and similar wonders of the PRINCIPALITY.
I at length reached Pontypool, embosomed in its hills, fatigued by my circuitous journey. An account of this sequestered spot, and a sketch of my return through Bristol, Bath, Reading, Windsor, &c. back to the metropolis, will form the contents of my three next epistles, when both you, my young friend, and my pen, will be relieved, by my subscribing myself
Your affectionate Tutor.
· LETTER VII.*
PONTYPOOL ; ITS ROMANTIC SITUATION; GREAT HOUSE; ITS IN.
TERIOR AND EXTERIOR DECORATIONS; ITS CHURCH; IRON MA. NUFACTORY ; JAPAN MANUFACTORY; CANAL; APPARITIONS AND FAIRIES; SURROUNDING SCENERY; CAERLEON ; ITS ANTIQUITY AND CURIOSITIES ; NEWPORT, A FLOURISHING SEA-PORT; CHRIST CHURCH ; CAERWENT; PIERCEFIELD; ITS BEAUTIES; VALENTINE MORRIS; HIS PROSPERITY AND ADVERSITY.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, HAVING informed you at the close of my last letter, that I reached Ponty pool ; here I rested for a few days beneath my paternal roof. The sight of kind relatives and friends, whom you have not seen for a time, invigorates the feelings, and awakens the best emotions of the heart. Such intercourses are of a delicious kind; they are the result of the social law of our nature, and they constitute a bond of union among the numberless families which are scattered over the surface of the earth.
Pontypool is a small town of Monmouthshire, which has risen up in the course of the last century. It owes its existence to the mineral trea
* Though Monmouthshire be included in the Oxford circuit, and on that account is deemed a part of England, yet the language and manners of the good folks in the country shew that it : still has a just claim on being reckoned a part of the principality of Wales. The author having considered it as such in the present letter, the above reasons form his apology. The History of Monmouthshire by Mr. Coxe, decorated with beautiful engravings, is an entertaining work replete with information.
PONTYPOOL. sures which lie concealed in the surrounding hills.
The quantities of iron ore and of coal, here dug out of the bowels of the earth, are astonishing. The hammer and the pick-axe are heard to resound where used to prevail the profoundest silence; whilst the roaring furnace and the thundering forge shake the valleys through which the brooks were wont to flow with an uninterrupted placidity
Scarce had the genius of our happy isle
Here, in these wilds, in this obscure rétreat,
In approaching the place you have no view of the town till you enter it. The windings thither are romantic, and commence from the TurnpikeHouse, a neat little structure of recent erection, and close to which is a large handsome stone in the high road, which informs you that you are a mile from Pontypool, and one hundred and fortyeight miles from London. After leaving this spot, a variegated scene soon presents itself to view.
277 On the left stands a huge mountain with dark and dreary aspect, possessing none of those tokens of fertility which sooth and tranquillize the heart. On the right lies a hill with a gentle declivity, part of which forms a park, where the deer are seen through the vista of lofty trees, frolicking with gamesome festivity! In full front, at the extremity of the park, and close to the town, a Gentleman's seat rears its head, suggesting the welcome idea of plenty and hospitality. The mansion is called THE GREAT HOUSE, a term peculiarly appropriate; for upon its first erection it must have appeared immensely great to persons in this part of the country, where a few huts for the accommodation of workmen were almost the only architectural exhibitions which ornamented this portion of the principality. It was partly built by Major Hanbury, and partly by his son Capel; but it has undergone several improvements. As to the gardens, a lawn of verdure is seen gradually to slope from the house, thus harmonizing with the native - beauties of the scenery.
The house, however, is large and handsome; it is the property of Capel Hanbury Leigh, Esq. who resides in it, and who, together with Mrs. Leigh, (the late Lady Mackworth,) are beloved for their affability and condescension. His father, John Hanbury, Esq. bore a similar character; and after having served the county of Monmouth in Parliament for several years, died, on the 5th of April, 1784, at Rouen in Normandy. His remains were brought home for interment among his
THE HANBURY FAMILY. ancestors, and the last sad token of respect was paid to his corpse by thousands of spectators, with every degree of solemnity.
It may not be improper here to add, that his widow, (daughter of M. Lewis, Esq. of St. Pierre,) married T. Stoughton, Esq. who lately resided, together with his family, at Pontypool. Both he and Mr. Leigh acted in the capacity of magistrates, and discharged its duties so well, that they are entitled to the thanks of the community. The due administration of law, for the promotion of peace and security, is an unspeakable blessing to any country. · The great house is decorated with family pictures, particularly the portraits of Major Hanbury, of the late John Hanbury, Esq. of his wife, (now Mrs. Stoughton,) and their three infant sons. There is also the head of an old man, though not well painted: it is Mr. Williams, of Caerleon, the friend of Major Hanbury, and the great benefactor of the family. Mrs. Leigh likewise has brought from Gnoll Castle, Glamorganshire, the seat of her late husband, Sir Robert Humphrey Mackworth, Bart. many paintings, with which the connoisseur cannot fail of being gratified. This mansion, together with its decorations, is well worth inspection.
Upon quitting the turnpike-road you leave on the right a large iron gate, which commands the entrance into the park, at the top of which are entwined the initials of the Hanbury family. You then pass over Pontymoil Bridge, a plain structure