Stilton: 25th April

Sunday, left Bugden for Stilton, 14 miles. For the first five miles large fields of drilled beans, peas, and wheat, all drilled across old ridges; the soil a black loam, and fit for any crop, if well prepared. They farm better here than most places I have seen. As we came near to Stilton less fields, and very irregular; here they fold their sheep in the night upon new ploughed fallow, very rough, which may help the land, but is ruinous for the sheep. Wherever I saw this practised, the sheep are poor looking creatures. In this place they may be styled real corn farmers. A great deal of their best old pasture ground in this and many other places I have come past, even on the west road also-the ground is very much hurt by the ants-they raise up the ground in hillocks, about the size of half a cartload of earth. In summer this hill is brown, and the very substance quite eaten up; when you scratch it with a stick it is all in motion, and must be much against the pasture or hay crop when they cut it, but whenever the weather turns wet and cold in autumn, the ants all disappear, and the hillocks turn out to be the very best pasture for sheep in winter, and the low places betwixt the hillocks are the most fertile in spring, from the shelter. Some are for destroying them by tillage, others say they are a benefit; no person will believe the appearance they make who never saw them; in some fine hill pasture one-fourth part of the surface is hillock; they hurt new shorn sheep, hut nothing else.

STAMFORD

Stamford from Burghley Park OC

From Stilton to Stamford, 14 miles. For some miles here the country is all level, and very well farmed, and fences decently kept; the soil of a mixed kind, very unequal. When we come on further, the ground rises; and from one eminence you have a view of all the country In the north, east; and west .for three miles, in some points much more. Further on there is a common of 600 or 700 acres, would be a most desirable farm if broke up and improved, being overgrown with whin, some thorn bushes and ferns; at present it is left to the community. Still the ignorant people would not wish it divided. A few very indifferent sheep, belonging to a great many different people, can pay no real rent; they say the clergy would reap all the profit if it were improved. On coming near Stamford, the situation is very beautiful; it is a large town, seven different parish churches, with very high spires on each. On the south side of the town a little is Hatfield House, commonly called Burleigh Park. This house was built by Queen Elizabeth; it is somewhat singular in its appearance; there is perhaps 30 or 40 kinds of turrets, with small spires on each, which gives it a Gothic appearance, but taking the house outside and inside, the architecture, size, painting, &c, it is thought by many to be the fourth best house in England; the paintings are the very finest . The house may be seen any lawful week-day; it takes four hours at the least to see everything, and costs three or four shillings. The park in which it stands is very noble – deer, ponds, cascades, large trees, and fine gravel walks; it is a most enchanting place; every person may walk in the park. Being Sunday, I went over in the afternoon with my landlord, and walked about the house; hundreds of townspeople were there walking, and although the family were there in the house, no fault was found. We could not get in, it being Sunday. This house and place now belongs to the Earl of Exeter, who is very popular in the place.

Burghley Park lodge OC

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