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Hampstead.)

HIGHGATE PONDS.

443

Among the trees mentioned above are four fine House, out of tubs placed on the roadside. Mr. cedars, planted in the reign of George II. ; they William Wetherell, also, who attended the family, are now upwards of a hundred feet in height. happened to be on the spot, and, with great reso

Mr. Thorne, in his “ Handbook of the Environs lution and presence of mind, addressed the mob, of London,” says that among the treasures that and induced many to adjourn to the 'Spaniards' are preserved here, are "the charred and stained for a short period. The liquors, the excitement, relics saved from the fire made of Lord Mansfield's and the infatuation soon overcame the exhausted books, by the Gordon rioters, in 1780."

condition of the rabble, who, in proportion to the Coleridge, in one of his letters to Mr. H. C. time thus gained by the troops, had become doubly Robinson, speaks of being "driven in Mr. Gillman's disqualified for concerted mischief; for, great as gig to Caen Wood, and its delicious groves and were their numbers, their daring was not equal to valleys—the finest in England; in fact, a cathedral the comparatively small display of military, which, aisle of giant lime-trees, and Pope's favourite com- the leading rioters felt, would show them no mercy; position walk when staying with the Earl of Mans- they instantly abandoned their intentions, and field.” As, however, Pope died at Twickenham, returned to the metropolis in as much disorder as in 1744, and Lord Mansfield did not come into they quitted it." possession of Caen Wood until ten or eleven years In 1835, King William IV., accompanied by after Pope's death, it is clear that there must be several members of the royal family, the Duke of some discrepancy here.

Wellington, and many of the leading nobility, paid Although born in Scotland, Lord Mansfield seems a visit to Caen Wood.

a visit to Caen Wood. A grand entertainment to have turned his back upon his native country was given by Lord Mansfield on the occasion, and at a very early age ; indeed, Dr. Johnson, if we a triumphal arch was erected

erected on Hampstead may believe Boswell, "would not allow Scotland Heath, under which the king received an address to derive any credit from Lord Mansfield, for he from his loyal subjects. was educated in England; much,” he would say, In the lower part of Lord Mansfield's grounds “may be made of a Scotchman, if he be caught are several large ponds, of which we have spoken young."

in our account of Highgate; four of these are In our account of Bloomsbury Square, * we have within the demesne of Caen Wood, and the other spoken of the burning of Lord Mansfield's house, three are in the fields lying in the hollow below and of the escape of his lordship and Lady Mans- Fitzroy Park and Millfield Lane, as we have field. Maddened by this and many other un- stated previously. The three outside Caen Wood checked excesses, the word of command was given are known as the Highgate Ponds. The stream "to Ken Wood,” the rioters evidently intending which feeds the seven extensive and well-known that this mansion should share a similar fate. ponds, and gave its origin to the Hampstead “The routes of the rabble," writes Mr. Prickett, in Waterworks, takes its rise in a meadow on the his work above quoted, "were through Highgate Manor Farm at Highgate, and forms a spacious and Hampstead, to the Spaniards' Tavern,' kept lake in Caen Wood Park, whence it approaches at the time by a person named Giles Thomas. He Hampstead, and so flows on to Camden Town and quickly learnt their object, and with a coolness London. Its waters are of a chalybeate character, and promptitude which did him great credit, per- as has been ascertained from the circumstance of suaded the rioters to refresh themselves thoroughly a large variety of petrifactions having been met before commencing the work of devastation ; he with in its channel, more especially in the immethrew his house open, and even his cellars for their diate vicinity of its source. The mineral properties entertainment, but secretly dispatched a messenger of this streamlet are of a ferruginous nature, its to the barracks for a detachment of the Horse medicinal virtues are of a tonic character, and are Guards, which, arriving through Millfield Farm said to be efficacious in cases of nervous debility. Lane, intercepted the approach northward, and In the summer season these ponds are the resort opportunely presented a bold front to the rebels, of thousands of Londoners, more especially the who by that time had congregated in the road possessors of aquariums, for the sake of waterwhich then passed within a few paces of the man- beetles and other interesting abominations," whilst sion. Whilst some of the rioters were being regaled the boys fish in them for tadpoles and sticklebats, at the Spaniards, others were liberally supplied or sail miniature boats on their surface. with strong ale from the cellars of Ken Wood Half a mile farther to the south-west are the to the visitors to the heath. These ponds, we need Westminster was authorised to search for springs scarcely add, are familiar to the readers of “Pick on the heath, and conveyed water from them to wick," the origin of the “ tittlebats” or “stickle- his manor of Hendon. From some cause or other, backs” in them being among the subjects on which as Mr. Lysons tells us, the water company and the at least one learned paper had been read before people of Hampstead fell into disputes about what the Pickwick Club. It is a matter of interest to the Americans call their "water privileges," and the record that the originator of these ponds was no inhabitants amongst themselves even proceeded to other person than Paterson, the founder of the law about the year 1700. Park found that the Bank of England.

other large sheets of water, known as the Hamp• See Vol. IV., p. 530.

stead Ponds, which form great centres of attraction

present ponds existed in the seventeenth century,

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The Fleet River, or the River of Wells, of which being mentioned amongst the copyholds - the we have spoken in a previous chapter,* had its upper pond on the heath stated to contain three rise in this locality. This river, we are told, was roods, thirty perches; the lower pond one acre, the same as the Langbourne, which flowed through one rood, thirty-four perches. The pond in the London and gave its name to a ward of the City. Vale of Health was added in 1777. “The ponds," It was called the Fleet River down to the com- he adds, “have been fatal to many incautious mencement of the present century.

bathers, owing to the sudden shelving of their The authorities of the City of London, remarks sides.” In the Vale of Health are visible, or were Mr. Howitt, in his “ Northern Heights,” were pro- till recently, two rows of wooden posts, which, it hibited by their Act of Henry VIII. from interfering has been suggested, might be the remains of a with the spring at the foot of the hill of Hamp- bridge either leading across the water, or to some stead Heath, which, he says, “was closed in with aquatic pleasure-house built upon it. brick for the use and convenience of the inhabitants On the north side of Hampstead Lane, facing of Hampstead.” At the same time the Bishop of the entrance to Caen Wood House, is Bishop's

Wood. This wood, with one farther to the north + See ante, p. 328.

called Mutton Wood, and another to the west

Hampstead. )

THE “SPANIARDS.”

445

known as Wiid Wood, was, as we have already valleys, and sand-pits, hath now made pleasant shown, a portion of the great wood attached to the grass and gravel walks, with a mount, from the estate and castle of the Bishop of London, at High. elevation whereof the beholder hath a prospect gate.* In 1755 it was purchased by Lord Mans of Hanslope steeple, in Northamptonshire, within field, and left as a wild copse ; it has since been eight miles of Northampton; of Langdon Hills, in strictly preserved as a cover for game.

Essex, full sixty miles east; of Banstead Downs, The “Spaniards," a well-known tavern by the in Surrey, south; of Shooter's Hill, Kent, southroadside, just as it emerges upon Hampstead east; Red Hill, Surrey, south-west ; and of Windsor Heath, stands on the site of a small lodge once Castle, Berkshire, to the west. These walks and

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occupied by the keeper of the park gate—the toll plats this gentleman hath embellished with a great gate at the Hampstead entrance to the Bishop of many curious figures, depicted with pebble-stones London's lands, of which we have already spoken. of various colours.” Such is the description of It is said by some writers to have derived its name the “Spaniards” in a MS. account of the place, from the fact of its having been once inhabited quoted by Park, in “History of Hampstead," by a family connected with the Spanish embassy, and by Prickett, in his “ History of Highgate ;" and by others from its having been taken by a but the statement must be received with caution, Spaniard, and converted into a house of entertain- for certainly no resident of Hampstead, so far as ment. The Spanish Ambassador to King James I. we can learn, has ever been able to descry the wrote whilst residing here, complaining that he and steeple of Hanslope, or of any other church, in his suite had not seen very much of the sun in Northamptonshire. “The 'Spaniards,'” says Mr. England. Later on, its gardens were “improved and Thorne, “still has its garden and its bowlingbeautifully ornamented” by a Mr. William Staples, green; but the curious figures are gone, and so has who, “out of a wild and thorny wood full of hills, (is) the mound, and with it the larger part of the

prospect, partly, perhaps, owing to the growth of • Sec ant?, p. 387.

the neighbouring trees, and the erection of two or three large houses between it and the Heath." did view over Caen Wood and some part of HighIt was the brave landlord of this inn who, as we gate. Yet this was the house inhabited by Thomas have said before, saved Caen Wood House from Lord Erskine, contemporary with both the law lords, being wrecked by the mob during the Gordon riots. his neighbours, Mansfield and Loughborough. Here As we have stated above, he detained the mob he converted the place from a spot of no account here by a ruse till the military arrived. Curiously into a very charming residence, laying out, with enough, the "Spaniards ” is not mentioned in Mr. great enthusiasm, its grounds, and so planting it Larwood's otherwise exhaustive “History of Sign- with bays and laurels, that he called it Evergreen boards,” in connection, at all events, with Hamp- Hill. He is said also to have planted with his stead.

own hand the extraordinary broad holly hedge Another place of entertainment in this neighbour- separating his kitchen-garden from the Heath, oppohood in former times, though now quite forgotten, site to the Fir-tree Avenue.” The garden on the was a cottage, with gardens attached to it, which opposite side of the road was connected with the rejoiced in the name of New Georgia. It has house by a subterranean passage. This garden, been identified with Turner's Wood, now enclosed however, has long been taken into Lord Mansfield's in Lord Mansfield's grounds, opposite the western estate. lodge of Caen Wood. From the same MS. from Lord Erskine's account of his residence, where which the above description of the “Spaniards” Edmund Burke was a frequent visitor, is too was taken, we learn that “here the owner showeth amusing to be omitted here. It is told by Mr. you several little rooms, and numerous contrivances Rush, in his “Court of London : "_"When we of his own to divert the beholder; and here, the got to Mr. Trotter's, Lord Erskine kept up his gentleman is put in the pillory, and the ladies are sprightly vein at table. 'I believe,' said our host, obliged to kiss him, with such other oddities; the 'the soil is not the best in that part of Hampstead building is irregular and low, of wood, and the where your seat is.' 'No; very bad, he replied, ground and wilderness is laid out in a romantic 'for although my grandfather was buried there as taste.” Among the “ numerous contrivances” was an earl near a hundred years ago, what has sprouted a chair which sank into the ground on a person up from it since but a mere baron?' He alluded, of sitting in it. In 1748, these singular grounds, like course, to his own title. He mentioned, however, “Spring Gardens,"* were interspersed with repre- a fact which went to show that although the soil sentations of various reptiles, so connected with yielded no increase in titles of nobility, it did in mechanism, as to make efforts of attack upon other things; for in his description he referred to parties who unsuspectingly trod upon a board or a chestnut-tree upon it, which, when he first went to spring. It is not improbable that the consequences live there, was bought by his gardener for sixpence, of those frights to the ladies caused the disuse and but now yielded him thirty pounds a year.' decay of New Georgia, for about the year 1770 “Here," says Mr. Howitt,“ during the intervals this species of mechanism seems to have been of his arduous professional labour, Lord Erskine entirely discontinued.

was zealously engaged in planning and carrying out The house next to the “Spaniards,” and close his improvements. With his old gardener, John by the entrance of Hampstead Heath, is called Barnett, he took his spade, and schemed and dug, Erskine House, as having been the residence of and planted and transplanted; and no one who the famous advocate, but less famous chancellor, has not tried it can tell the immense refreshment Thomas Lord Erskine. The building is a plain derived from such an active diversion of otherwise white house, with a long portico opening upon the exhausting trains of thought. To men compelled roadway. Of the house itself but little is seen from to spend long days in crowded, ill-ventilated courts, the road, excepting one end; a high wall shuts in the health and spirits given by such tastes is what little garden it has on that side, and another incalculable. No doubt, from these occupations high wall shuts out from observation the spacious Erskine returned with tenfold vigour of body and gardens and grounds formerly belonging to it on mind to his pleadings, and to his parliamentary the opposite side of the road. The house itself, conflicts.” Lord Erskine, at one time, contemsays Mr. Howitt, is "simply a bald, square mass, plated cutting down a renowned group of elmshouldered up again by another house at its back. trees, nine in number, which flourished in all their We see, however, the tall windows of its large draw- picturesque beauty near his mansion ; but the great ing-room on the second floor, commanding a splen- lawyer thought better of his purpose, and the trees

were spared. Cowper commemorated their escape, * See Vol. IV., p. 77.

in a poem, in which we find that the Muses (sym

Hampstead.]

THE WITTY LORD ERSKINE.

447

pathising, perhaps, with the number nine) inter- him whenever he walked about his grounds; a fered:

favourite macaw ; and other dumb favourites with“ Erskine (they cried) at our command

out number. He told us now, that he had two Disarms his sacrilegious hand;

favourite leeches. He had been blooded by them Whilst yonder castle [Windsor) towers sublime, when he was dangerously ill at Portsmouth ; they These elms shall brave the threats of Time.”

had saved his life, and he had brought them with In the same poem the poet of the “Task” refers him to town—had ever since kept them in a glass to another performance of the Muses in the same —had himself every day given them fresh water, locality, in relation to another great lawyer, the and formed a friendship for them. He said he was first Earl of Mansfield :

sure they knew him, and were grateful to him. “ When Murray deign'd to rove

He had given them the names of Howe and Clive, Beneath Caen Wood's sequester'd grove,

the celebrated surgeons, their dispositions being They wander'd oft, when all was still,

quite different. He went and fetched them for us With him and Pope, on Hampstead Hill.”

to see; but without the vivacity, the tones, the Lord Erskine's first rise in his profession, as he details and gestures of Lord Erskine, it would be himself told Samuel Rogers, was due to an acci- impossible to give an idea of this singular scene." dent—the fact that he was suddenly called upon to Apropos of Lord Erskine's consideration for dumb defend Captain Baillie, in a matter of contention animals, Twiss in his “Life of Eldon," tells the between himself and the authorities of Greenwich following anecdote concerning his lordship :-“On Hospital. His astonishing eloquence and energy, one occasion, in the neighbourhood of Hampstead joined to the right being on his side, gained the day; Heath, a ruffianly driver was pummelling a miserand the all but briefless barrister went home that able bare-boned hack horse. Lord Erskine's night with sixty-seven retaining fees in his pocket. sympathy provoked him to a smart remonstrance.

From an account by Sir Samuel Romilly, quoted Why,' said the fellow, it's my own; mayn't I by Mr. Howitt, we see not only what sort of men use it as I please?' and as he spoke, he discharged frequented his house in those days, but also the a fresh shower of blows on the raw back of the nature of Erskine's curious hobbies :-"Here he beast. Lord Erskine, excessively irritated, laid his gave gay parties, of which he was the life, by his walking-stick sharply over the shoulders of the good humour and whimsicalities. I dined there offender, who, crouching and grumbling, asked one day, at what might be called a great Oppo- what business he had to touch him with his stick. sition dinner. The party consisted of the Duke Why,' replied Erskine, to whom the opportunity of Norfolk, Lord Grenville, Lord Grey, Lord of a joke was irresistible, “it is my own; mayn't Holland, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Lauderdale, I use it as I please ?'Lord Henry Petty, Thomas Grenville, Pigot, Adam, His lordship's witty sallies, indeed, rendered his Edward Morris, Lord Erskine's son-in-law, and society particularly enjoyable, and doubtless would myself. If the most malignant enemies of Erskine have filled a volume of Punch. Of those which had been present, they would have admitted that are on record, we cannot do more than quote one nothing could be more innocent than the conver- or two. sation which passed. Politics were hardly men- On one occasion, when Captain Parry remarked tioned. Amid the light and trifling topics of that “when frozen up in the Arctic regions they conversation after dinner, it may be worth while lived much on seals,” “Yes," observed the exto mention one, as it strongly characterises Lord chancellor, “and very good living too, if you kcep Erskine. He had always felt and expressed a them long enough!Being invited to attend the great sympathy for animals. He has talked for ministerial fish dinner at Greenwich when he was years of a bill he was to bring into Parliament to chancellor, “ To be sure,” he replied, “what would prevent cruelty to them. He has always had your dinner be without the Great Seal ?several favourite animals to which he has been Mr. Howitt, in his notice of this place, says : much attached, and of whom all his acquaintances “On the staircase of the house possessed by Lord have number of anecdotes to relate. He had a Erskine, and the copyhold of which he transferred favourite dog, which he used to bring, when he was to Lord Mansfield, there is a window of stained at the bar, to all his consultations; another favourite glass, in which are emblazoned Lord Erskine's dog, which, at the time he was Lord Chancellor, arms, with the baron's coronet, and the motto he himself rescued in the street' from some boys which he assumed, “Trial by Jury. The tunnel who were about to kill it, under pretence of its under the road, which connected the premises with being mad.

A favourite goose, which followed the pleasure-grounds on the other side, is now

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