« ПредишнаНапред »
this part of the Heathe " In 1674 WaHampstead,"
built up, Lord Mansfield having resumed the possible ; and even in the boards of the floor the grounds on his side. Baron (Chief Justice) Tindal marks caused by his lordship's wheeled chair are at one time lived in this house."
well preserved. In this house, in more recent times, Heath House, the residence next to that of Lord lived Mr. Tagart, the minister of Little Portland Erskine, and overlooking the Heath, was suc- Street Unitarian Chapel, and author of “Locke's cessively the abode of Mr. Edward Cox, the author Writings and Philosoply,” “Sketches of the of some poems, published at the beginning of this Reformers,” &c. century; and of Sir Edward Parry, the Arctic On the opposite side of the road towards voyager.
Hendon, over against the summer-house menThe next house, called The Firs, was built by tioned above, an elm-tree marks the spot where a Mr. Turner, a tobacconist of Fleet Street, who formerly stood a gibbet, on which was suspended planted the avenue of Scotch firs, which so largely the body of Jackson, a highwayman, for murdering contribute to the beauty of this part of the Heath. Henry Miller on or near this spot, in May, 1673. Mr. Turner also made the roadway across the “In 1674 was published,” says Park, in his Heath, from The Firs to the pleasant hamlet of “History of Hampstead," “ Jackson's RecantaNorth End and Golder's Green, on the slope of tion; or, the Life and Death of the notorious Highthe hill looking towards Hendon, whither we now wayman now hanging in chains at Hampstead," &c. proceed.
Park adds that he was told that the post of this A large house on the eastern slope of the hill gibbet was in his time (1818) remaining as a leading from Hampstead to North End and mantel-tree over the fire-place in the kitchen of Hendon, is that in which the great Lord Chatham the “Castle" public-house on the Heath. One of lived for some time in gloomy retirement in 1767. the two trees between which the gibbet stood was It is now called Wildwood House, but formerly blown down not many years ago. Hampstead, we bore the name of North End House. The grounds may add, was a well-known place for highwaymen, extend up the hill, as far as the clump of Scotch who waylaid persons returning from the Wells as firs, where the roads divide ; and in the highest they rode or drove down Haverstock Hill, or across part of the gardens is a summer-house surmounted the Heath, and towards Finchley. We are told in by a dome. Recently the house has undergone the “Cabinet of Curiosities," published by Limbird considerable alteration, having been raised a storey, in 1822, that Lord Kenyon referred to a case in besides having had other additions made to it; which a highwayman had the audacity to file a bill but some part at least of its interior remains un- before a Court of Equity to compel his partner to altered. Mr. Howitt, in his “Northern Heights,” account to him for a half-share of his plunder, in says :—“The small room, or rather closet, in which which it was expressly stated that the plaintiff and Chatham shut himself up during his singular affilic- his partner, one Joseph Williams, continued their tion-on the third storey—still remains in the same joint dealings together in several places-viz., at condition. Its position from the outside may be “Bagshot, in Surrey; at Salisbury, in Wiltshire; at known by an oriel window looking towards Finchley. Hampstead, in Middlesex, and elsewhere, to the The opening in the wall from the staircase to the amount of £2,000 and upwards." It is satisfactory room still remains, through which the unhappy to learn that the insolent plaintiff was afterwards man received his meals or anything else conveyed executed, and one of his solicitors transported for to him. It is an opening of, perhaps, eighteen | being concerned in a robbery. inches square, having a door on each side of the Golder's Hill, at North End, was the residence wall. The door within had a padlock which still of Mark Akenside, the author of “Pleasures of the hangs upon it. When anything was conveyed to Imagination.” The son of a butcher at Newcastlehim, a knock was made on the outer door, and the on-Tyne, he was born at that place in 1721, and articles placed in the recess. When he heard the was educated at the grammar-school of that town. outer door again closed, the invalid opened the He afterwards went to Edinburgh, in order to inner door, took what was there, again closed and qualify himself for the ministry; but preferring the locked it. When the dishes or other articles were study of physic, he took his degree of M.D. in 1744, returned, the same process was observed, so that by royal mandate from the University of Camno one could possibly catch a glimpse of him, nor bridge. In that same year he produced the poem need there be any exchange of words.” It may above mentioned, and it was well received. In be added that in making the alterations above the following year he published his first collection mentioned, the condition of the room occupied of odes. His life was uneventful. He practised by Lord Chatham was as little interfered with as as a physician with but indifferent success, first at
Northampton, afterwards in Hampstead, and finally Wedgwood” and other antiquarian works. Collins' in London. At length, just as bright prospects Farm, at North End, has often been painted. It were opening upon him, he was carried off by an is the subject of a picture by Stuart, exhibited in attack of fever, in 1770. He was a man of great 1830. The large house on the right of the avenue, learning, and of high character and morality; he 'descending from the Heath, was for some time the lies buried, as we have seen,* in the Church of St. residence of Sir T. Fowell Buxton, whose name James, Piccadilly. His house stood on the site of became associated with those of Clarkson, Wilberthat now occupied by Sir Spencer Wells.
force, and other kindred spirits, in effecting the At a farmhouse close by, just on the edge of abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the the Heath, William Blake, the artist and poet, used slaves throughout the colonial possessions of the to lodge. Linnell, the painter, frequently occupied British empire. the house during the summer months. Mr. The “Bull and Bush," a well-known public-house Coventry Patmore, too, lived for some time at in North End, was, it is said, the frequent resort North End; Mrs. Craik, the novelist (formerly of Addison and his friends. The house has attached Miss Dinah Muloch), likewise formerly resided to it some pleasant tea-gardens, in which some of here, in the house afterwards occupied by Miss the curiously constructed bowers and arbours are Meteyard, the authoress of the “Life of Joshua still to be seen.
" It is a goodly sight through the clear air,
From Hampstead's healthy height, to see at once
---Purchase of the Heath by the Metropolitan Board of Works as a Public Recreation-ground - The Donkeys and Donkey-drivers-Historic Memorabilia-Mr. Hoare's House, and Crabbe's Visits there—The Hampstead Coaches in Former Times-Dickens' Partiality for Hampstead Heath-Jack Straw's Castle The Race-course-Suicide of John Sadlcir, M.P.-The Vale of Health-John Keats, Leigh Hunt, and Shelley-Hampstead Heath a Favourite Resort for Artists-Judge's Walk, or King's Bench Avenue-The "Upper Flask"-Sir Richard
Steele and the Kit-Kat Club—“ Clarissa Harlowe.” The great attractions of Hampstead, as we have donkeys along the steep ridge which reaches toendeavoured to show at the commencement of the wards Caen Wood. It is probably Hampstead preceding chapter, are its breezy heath, which has Heath to which Thompson alludes when he writes long been a favourite resort not only of cockney in his “Seasons : "holiday folk, but also of artists and poets, and its
“Or I ascend choice beauties of scenery, to which no mere de
Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains, scription can do justice. Standing upon the broad
And see the country far diffused around,
One boundless bush." roadway which crosses the Heath, in continuation of the road by the “Spaniards,” and leading to the Indeed, few, if any, places in the neighbourhood upper part of the town, the visitor will be at a loss of the metropolis can compare with its range of whether to admire most the pleasing undulations scenery, or show an equally “boundless bush." of the sandy soil, scooped out into a thousand | As Richardson puts into the mouth of Clarissa cavities and pits, or the long avenues of limes, or Harlowe : “Now, I own that Hampstead Heath the dark fir-trees and beeches which fringe it on the affords very pretty and very extensive prospects; north-of which we have already spoken—or the but it is not the wide world neither.” gay and careless laughter of the merry crowds who In addition to the charming landscape immediare gambolling on the velvet-like turf, or riding ately around us, teeming with varied and picturesque
- attractions, the view is more extensive, perhaps, * See Vol. IV., p. 256.
| than that commanded by any other spot of only
equal elevation in the kingdom ; for from the broad the Tower, and the walls ranging from Bishopsgate roadway where we are now standing, which, by the to Cripplegate, Aldersgate, and Ludgate. Outside way, seems to be artificially raised along the ridge the City gates, however, all is open country, except of the hill—we get a fine view of St. Paul's, with a group of cottages round the Priory, at Kilburn." the long line of Surrey Hills in the background And then he describes how London stands on a extending to Leith Hill, the grand stand on Epsom group of smaller hills, intersected by brooks and race-course, and St. Martha's Hill, near Guildford. water-courses, as we have already seen in detail.* Standing nearly on a level with the top of its cross, The northern side of the Heath is particularly we have the whole of the eastern metropolis spread wild and charming; and the groups of elms and fir
out at our feet, and the eye follows the line of the trees, combined with the broken nature of the sandy river Thames, as it winds its way onwards, nearly and gravelly soil, add greatly to the picturesque down to Gravesend. Dr. Preston, in a lecture beauty of the foreground. Looking in this direcon Hampstead, very graphically describes how, tion, or somewhat to the north-west, the backthrowing himself mentally back five hundred years, ground of the view is formed by the dark sides of he commands from its high ground a distant view Harrow hill ; nor is water altogether wanting to of London :-“I am alone in the midst of a wood lend its aid to the picture, for from certain points or forest, and I cannot see around me for the the lake at Kingsbury at times gleams out like a thickness of the wood. Neither roads nor bridle- sheet of burnished silver in the mid-distance. paths are to be seen; so I climb one of the tallest from this description it is obvious that a of the oaks, and survey the landscape at leisure. stranger climbing to the top of Hampstead Hill on
The City of London rises clear and distinct before a bright summer morning, before the air is darkened me to the south, for I am at least three hundred with the smoke of a single fire, and looking down feet above the level of its river banks, and no on the vast expanse of London to his left and to coal is burnt within its walls to thicken and blacken the atmosphere. I can just distinguish
* See Vol. I., p. 434 : Vol. II., P. 416.
his right, stretching away for miles along the bosom are fêtes, and people go up there to amuse themselves, they of the Thames valley from Greenwich and Wool-pay an acknowledgment.
Have you not treated pedestrians as trespassers !-No; I wich up to Kew and even Richmond, with its
do not know that I have. It is unenclosed land, and I could towers, spires, and roofs all crowded before him only bring an action for trespass, and should probably get as in a panorama, they, with pride and enthusiasm, one penny for damages. may well exclaim, with the essayist, “Yonder is You have never treated the public as trespassers ?-Some the metropolis of the empire, the abode of the arts people imagine that they go to Hampstead Heath to play
games, but it could not be done. Part of the heath is a bog, and of science, as well as the emporium of trade
and there are cases of horses and cows having been smothered and commerce; the glory of England, and the there. wonder of the world.”
| But people go there and amuse themselves ?--Just as they Turning from poetry to prose, however, we may do in Greenwich Park, but they have no right in Greenwich observe that the Heath, “the region of all suburban Park.
| You have never treated people as trespassers ?-No. Are ruralities," as it has been called, originally covered
they treated as trespassers in Greenwich Park? a space of ground about five hundred acres in
Do you claim the right of enclosing the whole of the Heath, extent; but by the gradual growth of the neigh- leaving no part for public games ?—If I were to enclose the bouring town of Hampstead and of the surrounding whole of it, it would be for those only who are injured to hamlets, and also by occasional enclosures which find lault with me.
Would you sell Hampstead Heath ?-I have never dreamt have been made by the lord of the manor, and by
of anything of the kind; but if the public chose to prevent the occupiers of villas on its frontiers, it has been me, or to make any bargain that I am not to enclose it, they shorn of nearly half its dimensions. These encroach- must pay the value of what they take from me. ments, though unlawful at the time when made, have Do you consider Hampstead Heath private property
open | Yes. become legalised by lapse of years. As an “open space" or common for the free use of the Lon
To Le paid for at the same rate as private land adjoining?
-Yes. doners, its fate was for some time very uncertain.
Do you concede that the inhabitants in the neighbourhood About the year 1831 an attempt was made by the have rights on the Heath ?—There are presentments in the lord of the manor, Sir Thomas Wilson, to build on Court Rolls to show that they have none. the Heath, near the Vale of Health ; but he was Sir Thomas Wilson valued the Heath at two and forced to desist. A new road and a bridge, and a a half millions of money for building purposes; range of villas was designed and commenced, traces and such might, perhaps, have been its market of which are still to be seen on the side of the value if actually laid out for building. But the law hill rising from the Vale of Health towards the restricted his rights, and his successor was glad to south front of Lord Mansfield's park. Sir Thomas sell them for less than a twentieth part of the sum. Wilson made another attempt at enclosing the The Metropolitan Commons Act, procured in Heath, near “ Jack Straw's Castle,” in more recent | 1866 by the Right Hon. William Cowper, then years, but was forced again to desist by a decree Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works, of the Court of Chancery, to which the residents secured the Heath from further enclosure; and appealed. Indeed, numerous attempts were made in 1870, the manor having passed to a new lord, by successive lords of the manor to beguile Parlia
the Metropolitan Board of Works were enabled to ment into sanctioning their natural desire for purchase the manorial rights for the sum of power of enclosure; but, fortunately, so great was £45,000, and thus to secure the Heath in perthe outcry raised by the general voice of the people, petuity for public use. Prior to this exchange of through the press, that all further encroachment ownership, the surface of the Heath had for several was stayed.
years been largely denuded of the sand and gravel How far Sir Thomas Wilson considered himself of which it was composed, the result being that justified in his attempted enclosures of the Heath, several of the hillocks and lesser elevations had and the consequent shutting out of the holiday been partially levelled, deep pits had been scooped folk from their ancient recreation-ground, may be out, trees in some parts undermined, and their gathered from his answers before the “Select Com
gnarled roots left exposed above the surface of the mittee appointed to inquire into the Open Spaces ground to the action of the wind and rain. But of the Metropolis.” The extract is from the Report since the Board of Works has taken the Heath of the Select Committee; the catechised is Sir
under its fostering care, the barren sand has Thomas Wilson :
become in many places re-clothed with verdure, Are you aware that many thousands of people frequent and the wild tract of land is again resuming its Hampstead Heath on holidays ?—They go there on holidays. original appearance, gay and bright with purple
Have you ever treated them as trespassers ?—When there heather and golden furze blossom.
folk from consequent shutting losures of the Heatht of which it wisely denuded of the