SURREY LANDSCAPES

ORIGINAL ETCHINGS

BY

PERCY ROBERTSON
A.R.E.

Works by Percy Robertson
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Click here to view a larger image. Godalming

It is hay-time, and the well watered Lammas lands beside the river are unwontedly busy with haymakers. The big wains stand in the foreground, clearing away the crop before the meadows revert at Lammas-tide to their winter condition of common land. Steep wooded hills ring in this meeting place of many valleys ; at its southern end are seen the spire and roofs of Godalming, which from the hills on this side would appear backed by the far-off blue outlines of Hindhead. The ancient Gudhelm, who has left his name to this fertile mead, or 'Ing,' must have deemed himself happy in possessing so choice a spot, surrounded by sheltering hills covered with valuable copse-wood, albeit he had not developed the modern love of varied scenery, passing so rapidly from hanging woods and green meadows to high hills and desolate heaths.

The recent revival of Godalming dates from the coming of Charterhouse in 1872, when the school exchanged the air of Smithfield, salubrious enough in 1611, for the breezy heights to the north of the little town. But it boasts a respectable antiquity. A market town in 1300, its mills have long been driven, and its tanyards watered, by the river Wey. The "Deanery" farm and Road recall its ancient dependence on Salisbury, severed by Henry VIII., while for nearly three centuries the lordship of the manor has been held by collaterals of Sir Thomas More, owners of the beautiful Tudor mansion, Loseley. The Elizabethan Warden, indeed, has given way to a full-blown Mayor and Corporation, but though the tide of villadom spreads ever farther over the surrounding hills, the old High Street remains picturesque, and nature on every side is still unspoilt. The High Street begins with a fine block of Queen Anne buildings, containing the King's Arms Inn, only to do better a little higher up with a most interesting and rarer form of architecture bearing a date of just after the Restoration. Higher up again the Angel is a beautiful specimen of an old inn, with a staircase and panelled rooms well worth a visit. And though many of the new houses about are no better than builders' erections, yet a word of gratitude must be given to Mr. Gosling, of Busbridge Park, for the cottages he put up on the outskirts of the town under the skilful direction of Mr. Neville, the great authority on Surrey cottages. The park itself, with its secluded lakes, is open to the public ; the woods of Unstead are not likely to fall before the builder's axe ; the beauty of the river valley above the town is still safe from the hand of the speculator.


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