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“When the sweet-breathing spring unfolds the buds,
Love flies the dusty town for shady woods;
And Hampstead halls the City virgins warm."-Gay.
Dufferin Lodge-Origin of the Name of Caen (or Ken) Wood-Thomas Venner and the Fifth Monarchy Men-Caen Wood House and Grounds -Lord Mansfield - The House saved from a Riotous Attack by a Clever Ruse-Visit of William IV.-Highgate and Hampstead Ponds-The Fleet River-Bishop's Wood-The “Spaniards"-New Georgia - Erskine House-The Great Lord Erskine-Heath House - The FirsNorth End-Lord Chatham's Gloomy Retirement-Wildwood House-Jackson, the Highwayman-Akenside-William Blake, the Artist and Poet - Coventry Patmore-Miss Meteyard-Sir T. Fowell Buxton- The “ Bull and Bush."
In commencing this chapter we may observe that stead, of which, together with the charming spot there are two ways by which the pedestrian can close by, called the Vale of Health, we shall have reach Hampstead from Highgate--namely, by the more to say presently. For our part, we shall road branching off at the “Gate House” and take the first-named route ; but before setting out running along the brow of the hill past the on our perambulation, it will be well, perhaps, to “Spaniards," and so on to the Heath; and also say a few words about Hampstead in general. by the pleasant footpath which skirts the grounds Starting, then, with the name, we may observe of Caen Wood on its southern side. This pathway that the etymology of Hampstead is evidently debranches off from Millfield Lane, nearly opposite rived from the Saxon “ham" or home, and “stede” the grounds of Lady Burdett-Coutts, and passing or place. The modern form of the word "homeby the well-known Highgate Ponds, winds its stead” is still in common use for the family resicourse over the gently undulating meadows and dence, or more generally for a farmhouse, suruplands which extend westward to the slope of the rounded by barns and other out-buildings. “Homehill leading up to Hampstead Heath ; the pathway stead,” too, according to the ingenious Mr. Lysons, itself terminating close by the ponds of Hamp- is the true etymology of the name. “Hame” is
the well-known Scotch form for “home;" and the king to Sir Thomas Wroth, Knt, from whose family syllable “ham” is preserved in "hamlet,” and, they passed, about seventy years later, by purchase, as a termination, in innumerable names of places to Sir Baptist Hickes, afterwards Viscount Campden, in this country. West Ham, Birming-ham, Old- whose descendant Baptist, third Earl of Gainsham, and many others immediately suggest them- borough, alienated them to Sir W. Langhorne, selves; and we can easily reckon a dozen Hamp- Bart., in 1707. They passed from the Langhornes tons, in which the first syllable has a similar origin by descent through the hands of three females, to to that of Hampstead; while, under the modern the family of the present patron, Sir Spencer German form, heim, we meet with it in Blenheim. Maryon-Wilson, Bart., of Charlton House, Kent. There are two Hampsteads in Berkshire, besides At the time of the dissolution, Hampstead, it Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. The name, appears, was a very small village, inhabited chiefly then, of the solitary Saxon farm was applied in the by washerwomen, and for the next 150 years its course of years to the village or town which history is almost a blank. In the Puritan times gradually surrounded it and at length took its the “Hot Gospellers," as they were nicknamed, place. Who the hardy Saxon was who first made often preached under the shade of an enormous a clearing in this elevated part of the thick Middle- elm, which was certainly a great curiosity, its sex forest, we know not; but we have record that trunk having been occupied by some virtuoso this wood afforded pannage or pasturage for a unrecorded in local history, who constructed a hundred head of swine, which fed on the chestnuts, winding staircase of forty-two steps within the beech-nuts, and acorns. In 986 King Ethelred hollow, and built an octagonal tower on the granted the manor of Hamstede to the Abbot of summit, thirty-four feet in circumference, and Westminster; and this grant was confirmed by capable of holding twenty persons. The height Edward the Confessor, with additional privileges. from the ground to the base of the turret was We are told by Mr. Park, in his “History of thirty-three feet, and there were sixteen side lights. Hampstead,” that in early times it was a little There is a curious etching, by Hollar, of this chapelry, dependent on the mother church of “ Hollow Tree at Hampstead.” The exact locality Hendon, which was itself an incumbency in the of this tree is a matter of doubt. The copy of gift of the abbot and monks of the convent of St. the etching in the royal collection at Windsor Peter in Westminster. To this day the Dean and forms part of a “broadside" at the foot of which Chapter of Westminster own a considerable quan- is printed “To be given or sold on the hollow tity of land in the parish, whence they draw a tree at Hampstead.” One Robert Codrington, considerable income, owing to the increased and a poetical student, and afterwards a Puritan, inincreasing value of property. Before the Reforma- spired by the tree, wrote an elaborate poem, in tion, it is clear that the Rector of Hendon was which he says, himself responsible for the cost of the keep of “a
“In less room, I find, separate capellane," or chaplain to serve "the
With all his trusty knights, King Arthur dined." chapell of the Blessed Virgin at Hamsted;" this, Hampstead is now nearly joined to London by however, was not a very heavy cost, for the stipend rows of villas and terraces; but within the memory of an assistant curate at that day was only from of the present generation it was separated from six to eight marks a year; and in the reign of town by a broad belt of pleasant fields. Eighty or Edward VI., the curacy of Hampstead itself, as a hundred years ago it was a rural village, adorned we learn casually from a Chancery roll, was valued with many fine mansions, whither retired, in search at £10 per annum. It is not at all clear when of health or recreation, some of the most eminent the benefice of Hampstead was separated from men of the age. The beauty of its fields is celethat of Hendon, but the ties of the one must have brated by the author of "Suburban Sonnets” in been separated from those of the other before the Hone's “ Table Book :" year 1598, when the churchwardens of Hampstead
“ Hampstead, I doubly venerate thy name," were for the first time summoned to the Bishop of London's visitation, a fact which looks like the for it seems it was here that the writer first became commencement of a parochial settlement. It is imbued with the feeling of love and with the spirit probable that the correct date is 1560, as the of poetry. register of baptisms, marriages, and burials com- It is the fashion to undervalue the suburbs of mences in that year.
London; and several clever writers, proud of their In the reign of Edward VI. the manor and mountains and their lakes, have a smile of contempt advowson of Hampstead were granted by the young ready for us when we talk of our“ upland hamlets,"
THE FIFTH MONARCHY MEN.
our fertile valleys, and our broad river. The fact is Edward Brooke, the patentee of the magenta and that the suburbs of London are beautiful as com- other dyes. The building occupies part of the site pared with the suburbs of other great cities. But of Dufferin Lodge, formerly the seat of Lord so long as the breezy heath, and its smooth velvet Dufferin, which was pulled down in 1869. The turf, sloping away to the north and east, remain present house, which was completed in 1872, from unbuilt upon, Hampstead will never cease to be the designs of Messrs. Salomons and Jones, is built the favourite haunt and home of poets, painters, of red brick with stone dressings; and with its bay and artists, which it has been for the last century or windows, gables, and massive towers, stands out more. There still attaches to the older part of the prominently amid the surrounding trees. town a certain stately air of dignified respectability, Pursuing our course along the Hampstead road, in the red-brick spacious mansions; and the parish we reach the principal entrance to the estate of church, though really not old as churches count age, Caen (or Ken) Wood, the seat of the Earl of with its spacious churchyard, bears record of many Mansfield. Though generally regarded as part whose names are familiar to us all.
and parcel of Hampstead, the estate lies just within Hampstead, it has been observed, is in every the boundary of the parish of St. Pancras, and was respect a watering-place-except in there being part of the manor of Cantelows. It is said by no sea there. With that important drawback, it antiquaries to form a part of the remains of the possesses all the necessary attributes : it has its ancient forest of Middlesex. Lysons is of opinion donkeys, its bath-chairs, its fashionable esplanade, that the wood and the neighbouring hamlet of its sand and sandpits, its chalybeate spring, its Kentish Town (anciently Kentestoune) were both “ eligible” houses “to be let furnished,” its more named after some very remote possessor. There humble "apartments,” its “Vale of Health," where was, he says, a Dean of St. Paul's named Reginald "parties” can be supplied with “hot water for tea," de “Kentewode,” and “the alteration from Kentat various prices, from twopence to fourpence per wode to Kenwood is by no means unlikely to head; its fancy stationers' shop, with the proper happen." Mr. Howitt looks for the origin of the supply of dolls, novels, and illustrated note paper; syllable in the word “Ken," a view. As, however, its old church and its new church ; its chapel of we have stated in previous chapters,* the word ease; its flagstaff-ready to “dip” its colours to Caen may, perhaps, be an equivalent to “Kaen” steamers, which, from the nature of the case, can or Ken, which lies at the root of Kentish Town, never appear in the offing ; its photographic Kensington, &c. pavilion, with portraits “in this style" (a style. The earliest mention of the place, remarks Mr. which would effectually prevent any sensible person Prickett, in his “ History of Highgate," appears in from entering the place of execution); its country Neale's “ History of the Puritans," where it is walks and rides; its residents, so exclusive; its spoken of as affording shelter for a short time to troops of visitors; its boys, fishing for tadpoles Venner and his associates—the “Fifth monarchy, with crooked pins in the (freshwater) ponds; its men.” In the outbreak of the “Fifth monarchy tribes of healthy children with their nurses and men," under Thomas Venner, the cooper of Colenursemaids ;-in fact, it has all that can make the man Street, in January, 1661, these fanatics having heart glad, and place Hampstead on the list of sea- fought one engagement with the “ Train-bands," bathing places, with the trifling omission mentioned and expecting another struggle next day, took above.
shelter for a night in Caen Wood, where some of With these remarks, we will once more take up them were taken prisoners next morning, and the our staff and proceed.
| rest were dispersed. As probably few or none of Leaving Highgate by the turning westward close them were killed, the spot where the encounter by the “Gate House," and passing by the Grove, took place cannot now be identified by any diswe make our way along the high road which covery of bodies hastily buried, as is commonly the connects the village with Hampstead. The old case in the neighbourhood of battle-fields. way being narrow, and nearly impassable, a new From the first volume of “Selected Views in and more direct road was made, affording a splen- London and its Environs,” published in 1804, we did panoramic view of vast extent. In the forma- glean the following particulars of this demesne :tion of the new road, too, its course in one or “ Caen Wood, the beautiful seat of the Earl of two parts was slightly altered. On the slope of Mansfield, is situated on a fine eminence between the hill to the left, and standing on ground which Hampstead and Highgate, and its extensive originally formed a portion of Fitzroy Park, is Caen Wood Towers, till lately the residence of Mr.
* See ante, pp. 118, 317.
eign of Go very fashionch Deanshtroduces
grounds contribute in no small degree to enrich Every morning, when the night-watchman goes off the neighbouring scenery. These, with the wood duty, at six o'clock, he fires a gun, and immediately which gives name to them, contain about forty three long winds are given on a horn to call the acres, and are laid out with great taste. On the servants, gardeners, and labourers to their employright of the garden front of the house (which is a ment. The horn is blown again at breakfast and very noble mansion) is a hanging wood of tall dinner hours, and at six in the evening for their spreading trees, mostly beeches; and on the left | dismissal. the rising hills are planted with trees, that produce “This charming place had been in the hands of a pleasing effect. These, with a sweet shrubbery a succession of proprietors. In 1661 it was the immediately before the front, and a serpentine property of a Mr. John Bill, who married a Lady piece of water, render the whole a very enlivening Pelham, supposed to be the widow of Sir Thomas (sic) scene. The enclosed fields adjoining to the Pelham, and a daughter of Sir Henry Vane. It pleasure-grounds contain about thirty acres more. must afterwards have belonged to one Dale, an Hornsey great woods, held by the Earl of Mansfield upholsterer, who, as Mackay, in his ‘Tour through under the Bishop of London, join this estate on the England,' says, ' had bought it out of the í Bubbles' north, and have lately been added to the enclosure.” -i.e., the South Sea affair. This was in 1720.
Mr. Howitt, in his “Northern Heights,” gives This Mr. Dale, unlike the majority of speculators, the following interesting particulars about Caen must have been a fortunate one. It then became Wood and House :-“Caen House,” he writes, “is the property of the Dukes of Argyll ; and the a large and massive building of yellow stone, great and good Duke John, whom Sir Walter impressive from its bulk and its commanding Scott introduces so nobly in the scene with Jeanie situation, rather than from its architecture, which Deans and Queen Caroline in ‘The Heart of Midis that of Robert Adam, who was very fashionable lothian,' who had lived in the reigns of Anne and in the early part of the reign of George III. Caen Georges I. and II., and who had fought bravely at Wood House has two fronts, one facing the north, Ramillies, Malplaquet, and Oudenarde, and who with projecting wings; the other facing the south, afterwards beat the rebel Earl of Mar and drove extending along a noble terrace, and has its façade the Pretender from Scotland, resided here when elongated by a one-storeyed wing at each side. The called to London. The property was then devised basement storey of the main body of the house is by the Duke of Argyll to his nephew John, third of rustic work, surmounted by a pediment sup- Earl of Bute, who is only too well remembered in ported by Ionic pilasters, the columns of the wings the opening of the reign of George III. for his being of the same order. Within, Adam, as was unpopularity as a minister* of the Crown. usual with him, was more successful than without. “Lord Bute married the only daughter of the The rooms are spacious, lofty, and finely pro- celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who, of portioned. They contain a few good paintings, course, resided much here as Countess of Bute. among which are some of Claude's; a portrait of It is observed that in Lady Mary's letters to her Pope, the poet, with whom the first earl was very daughter, she always spells the name of the place intimate ; and a full-length one of the great law Caen.' The earlier possessors spelt it 'Ken,' and lord himself, as well as a bust of him by Nollekens. it is curious, too, that though in the patent of the The park in front, of fifty acres, is arranged to earldom granted to Lord Mansfield it is spelt give a feeling of seclusion in a spot so near to 'Caen,' Lord Mansfield himself, in his letters, to London. The ground descends to some sheets of the end of his life spelt it 'Ken.' water forming a continuation of the Highgate “The Earl of Bute sold Caen Wood, in 1755, Ponds, lying amid trees; and a belt of fine, well- to Lord Mansfield, who, on his death, devised it, grown wood cuts off the broad open view of the as an appendage of the title, to his nephew (and metropolis. Here you have all the sylvan seclu- successor in the earldom of Mansfield), Lord sion of a remote country mansion ; and charming Stormont, whose descendants now possess it. Lady walks, said to be nearly two miles in extent, con- Mary Wortley Montagu's daughter brought Lord duct you round the park, and through the woods, Bute seven sons and six daughters, so at that time where stand some trees of huge growth and the house and grounds of Caen Wood resounded grandeur, especially cedars of Lebanon and beeches. with life enough. It is now very little occupied, A good deal of this planting, especially some fine its proprietor being much fonder of Scone Palace, cedars yet near the house, was done under the his Scotch residence.” direction of the first lord himself. A custom is kept up here which smacks of the old feudal times. I
* Sce Vol. IV., p. 88
athin, Adam, as was unpopularity as a