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in the midst of a large concourse of spectators. Formerly the figure was cased in a coat of armour, and a sum of money was advanced by the court towards defraying the expence of the effigy. A traditional account of the origin of this now absurd custom, states that Thomas Asheton, in the time of Edward the Third, was particularly distinguished in the battle of Neville's Cross”, and bore away the royal standard from the Scotch king's tent. For this act, king Edward, on his return from France, where he had obtained a great victory, conferred on Asheton the honour of knighthood, who, on his return to his manor, instituted the custom already described.
Ashton has a large old church, part of which appears to have been built by the lords of the manor, as their arms, impaling those of Stealy, are affixed in a shield on the south side of the steeple. In the church are some old carvings on the pews, or seats; and in the windows are some figures painted on the glass. Many of the Asheton family lie interred here, and their names were inscribed on the windows. Near the church is a curious ancient mansion, called the Old-Hall, the oldest parts of which are said to have been built in 1483. Adjoining this, is a pile resembling a prison, and was formerly used for that purpose. Its walls are thick, and at the extremities are two small round towers.
Connected with the town of Ashton are two hamlets, called Charlestown and Boston, from having been begun in the time of ihe deplorable American war. Manufactures of different kinds, a canal to Manchester, and an abundance of coal contiguous to the town, have conspired to render Ashton and its vicinage extremely populous and flourishing. On the western side of the town is Ashton-Moss, which supplies the poor with peat-turf. This being dug away to about ten feet in depth, lays open a fine loam-soil, which, under cultivation, becomes good pasture. The diggers find many fir and oak-trees among the peat. In the year 1775, the town of Ashton was estimated to contain 553 houses and 2859 inhabitants;
* See Beauties, &c. Vol. I. p. 228, and Vol. V. p. 199, for some parti
culars of this battle.
and the parish is stated in the population report to contain in 1800, 3,018 houses, and 15,632 persons. About two miles east of Ashton is Staley-Bridge, a large populous hamlet, seated on the banks of the Tame river, over which is a substantial bridge. On an eminence is an octagon chapel, belonging to the church establishment. This place has long been noted for its woollen-cloth dyers, pressers, and weavers; but these branches of trade are more pursued in Yorkshire, and the cotton business is now more prevalent here. Near Ashton is DUKINFIELD-Lo DGE, the seat and property of Francis Dukinfield Astley, Esq.” The house is a large irregular pile of building, occupying a broad terrace, near the top of a steep hill, which rises almost perpendicularly from the river Tame. The latter, being a mountain stream, forms in its progress several cascades; and immediately in front of the house, though not seen from it, sweeps round the base of the hill, and, with the overhanging woods, prese.it some highly picturesque scenes. The views from the house and gardens are particularly romantic and grand. It has been already remarked in Vol. II. of this work, that Dukinfield contains several pictures; but one or two not there mentioned are entitled to notice, and to distinguished praise. These are, Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery, by TITIAN ; a landscape by Both ; and another by BARRET, are works of acknowledged merit. Between Ashton and Manchester is FAIR FIELD, a place of particular note, as a settlement, or sort of colony, of a class of religious persons called Moravians f. These have congregated themselves here within the last thirty years, and during that time have erected a large chapel, with an organ, &c. and raised several houses, which now assume the appearance of a town. The chief U 2 of
* This gentleman has lately published a compendious little volume, entitled “ Hints to Planters,” &c.
† For some account of this singular sect, see an interesting work, improperly denominated a Novel, entitled “Wanley Penson.”
of these form a square mass, round which is a broad paved street, and this again neatly surrounded with a series of respectable dwellings. Most of these persons are engaged in some manufacture, or useful employment; and whilst the men prosecute the spinning, weaving, and other branches of the cotton business, the women are
usefully and laudibly executing tambour and fine needle work. The Moravians, I believe, are not a numerous class. Their chief settlement is at Fulneck, in Yorkshire, and there is a small one at Tytherton, in Wiltshire.
INCE-BLUNDEL, the seat of Henry Blundel, Esq. is situated in the parish of Sefton, within the Hundred of West Derby", at the distance of nine miles north from Liverpool. This estate and manor appear to have been possessed by the Blundel family from a very remote period; and in the time of Henry the Third, a William Blundel was seated here. From him it descended to Robert Blundel, an eminent lawyer and bencher of Gray’s-Inn, and it has continued to the present possessor in regular succession. The mansion, a large handsome building t, is richly stored with works of art, and contains a collection of ancient statuary, which may safely be pronounced of unrivelled merit and value in this country. Attached to this house is a new building, called the Pantheon, exactly resembling the edifice of that name in Rome, though one third less in size. This was erected on purpose to contain, and display the choicest specimens of the sculpture. The assemblage of statues, busts, bass-relieves, cinerary-urns, and other ancient marbles, is not only very numerous,
* The author was prevented from inserting this account in its proper place, from the circumstance of a gentleman to whom the MS. was sent for correction, having detained it at Liverpool, till the sheet was obliged to be worked offin which the account ought to have been printed.
* The annexed print represents the front of the mansion, with the Pantheon, &c.
merous, but many of them are esteemed the finest productions of those unrivalled Grecian artists whose works are rare, but whose praises have been often repeated in the writings of the historian, the critic, and the poet. In amassing this collection, Mr. Blundel has expended immense sums of money, and devoted a long and active life. Possessing a laudible zeal for the subject, and being much abroad, he had favourable opportunities of collecting and selecting many subjects, the real value of which was not known at the time, but which is now well understood, and therefore properly apprecialed. Though it will be impossible to furnish the reader with any thing like a satisfactory account of the whole collection in the present work, yet he may form some idea of its extent by knowing that it consists of about one hundred statues, one hundred and fifty busts, one hundred and ten bass-relieves, ninety sarcophagi and cinerary-urns, forty ancient fragments, besides marble pillars, tables, and other antiquities; also about two hundred pictures”. w Of this immense collection, a few of the best in each class are here specified. Among the most excellent of the STATUEs, are those of Minerva and Diana, both of which now stand in the Entrance Hall. —These rank with the very finest works of the ancient artists, and are in good preservation.—The Minerva is remarkable for the graceful ease of the figure, and simple, yet dignified expression of character. The head, extremely fine, has never been broken off. It came from the Duke of Lanté's palace at Rome. It was found at Ostia. The Diana is admired for its sweet, yet firm and spirited attitude, curious dress, and rich buskins. The legs and feet of this statue are admirably executed, and claim particular attention. In this hall is a lovely figure, of modern sculpture, the work of the celebrated Canova, who is by birth a Venetian. This statue repreSents
* A catalogue Raisonné of this collection, with numerous prints, is now printing by the worthy proprietor, who, by such a publication, will confer an essential favour on every lover of the arts; and will thereby set a laudable example to others who possess valuable collections.
sents Psyche, gently and gracefully bending over a butterfly, (an emblem of the human soul,) which rests on the open palm of one hand, while with the other she holds its wings. The statue of Joniter Paciftcus finely expresses the attributes belonging to the God of Peace. The countenance is majestic, and unites grandeur and sublimity with mildness and benevolence. It is executed in the same broad style of sculpture which is visible in some of the most valuable statues on the Continent, and the chisel marks are discernable all over it.—The Theseus, who was King of Athens, and one of the most celebrated heroes of antiquity, is a remarkably fine statue, nearly seven feet high. This statue was found in Adrian's villa, and was bought by Mr. Blundel from the Duke of Modena. Nothing can exceed the beauty and symmetry of this admirable figure; nor is it possible to describe, in language, the easy dignity, and careless grace of the attitude. It is altogether a perfect work, and cannot fail of particularly interesting every spectator.—The AEsculapius, six feet eleven inches in height, is in fine preservation, and was for many years much noted in the villa Mattei.-The figure of the muse Urania is remarkable for its beautiful drapery, and elegant form.—The Juno veiled, and holding a poniegranate—The statue of a Roman Senator in his robes—The Bacchus, Apollo, Anchyrhoe, and several different fine statues of Minerva, Apollo, Venus, Mercury, Hygeia, Isis, &c. are entitled to particular attention, as do some rare and curious anlique Egyptian-idols, among which is one in Basalte.-There are also two groups of statuary, placed in the conservatory, one of which is esteemed, by connoisseurs, to be the finest specimen of ancient sculpture extant. The artist who executed it was a Greek,
and his name is inscribed in Grecian characters on the plinth. Among the BUSTs, the most conspicuous, in point of merit, both as acknowledged portraits and good specimens of sculpture, are those of Adrian, Septimius Severus, Salvius Otho, Cicero, Claudius Albinus, Cato, Claudius Drusus, Augustus Caesar, Julius Cæsar, Didia Clara, Marciana, Julia, and a Colossal bust of Vespasian, a true portrait, which stands on a pillar of Cippoline