Retford: 27th April

Retford Bread Stone DBTuesday morning, from Carleton to Retford, 12 miles. All this stage the ground is very level and well farmed, still they are at no great distance from the Trent, but stand upon another river well situated. They generally have leases, but at the same time precarious, either depending upon the life of the proprietor or the tenant. Retford is a very neat, clean place, about the size of Hawick, but more open built. Not far from it there are two intermediate inns, where any person may wait and have what he pleases, when the horse feeds on 4d for corn, ad for beans, and 3d for hay. Stay as short as you please, you can have a 4d glass of wine and 1d biscuit, which is very refreshing. For this you have as much civility as in most places in Scotland were you to drink or spend 10s. Their hostlers clean your horse, wash out the fore feet, rub and “redd tail and mane;” for this he expects 2d or 3d; no person can begrudge him. After staying an hour you feel quite refreshed. This is the general practice, the hostlers curse and swear all the time they are rubbing a horse, and always the “blood” ; it is really shocking to hear them, they certainly look upon it as part of their business.

BOSSINGTON BRIDGE

From Retford to Bossington Bridge, 12 miles; 157 miles from London. For some distance the soil is pretty good, after that much of it has been taken off commons, and only partially improved, a kind of shrub willow heath and furze, running by the way, which leads to Bawtry, a pretty village. A little further on is the Red Lion tavern, near Robin Hood’s well. From thence to Doncaster, 5 miles. Here they carry on a great many small factories, chiefly in the woollen way. A great branch of a canal comes very nigh to the town, about 1½  miles on the side of the way. They have the finest race ground I ever saw, and well preserved all the year round. The streets are paved with a very hard, flinty kind of stone, uneasy for a horse to travel upon, or even pedestrians.

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