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a Free-school, founded by James the First; another, by Lady Periam; and an Alms-house, by Longland, Bishop of Lincoln. The principal trade of the place is in meal, malt, and corn.
The principal ornament of this place is its bridge. It is built of stone, consisting of five arches, and is an object of uncommon simplicity and elegance. This beautiful structure is enriched with sculpture from the chisel of Mrs. Damer. The masks of the Tame and the Isis, which decorate the consoles of the central arch, are the works of that accomplished lady. This bridge was finished in the year 1787; but the architect, Mr. Hayward of Shropshire, died before the work was begun; and his remains are interred in Henley church, where a monument is erected to his memory.
(SEEN FROM HENLEY BRIDGE.)
FAWLEY COURT, the seat of Strickland Freeman, Esq. is seen to the greatest advantage from Henley Bridge; from whence it appears to give a kind of dignity to the northern bank of the Thames, as well as to the scene around it. It is situated in Buckinghamshire, and on the very verge of it; as the line which marks the boundary between that county and Oxfordshire, passes across the lawn on which the house stands.
This place was formerly the property of the Whitelocke family, who obtained possession of it in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Sir James Whitelocke, the celebrated Judge, died here, in the year 1632, and left the estate to his son, Bulstrode Whitelocke, an eminent Lawyer and Statesman, during the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell; and author of the Memorials, which form an interesting part of the history of that period. That memorable person died in 1676, and his son, James Whitelocke, sold it, in the year 1680, to Colonel William Freeman, an ancestor of the gentleman who, at present, possesses it.
The old manor-house received great, and indeed almost irreparable, damage, from a body of cavalry, in the service of Charles the First, which took up its quarters there, in the latter end of the year 1642. They are represented to have acted with the most hostile disposition to it, and, though their officers had commanded the utmost care to be taken of the property, the soldiers acted as if they had been commanded not only to disturb, but to destroy. divers writings of consequence, and books which were found in the study, some they tore in pieces, and others they employed to light their tobacco, and others they carried away. They littered their horses with sheaves of wheat,
and gave them all sorts of corn, in the straw. They also broke down the park pales, killed most of the deer, carried off, or destroyed, the furniture, and rendered the place unfit for future residence. The title deeds of the estate, many valuable manuscripts, and some very ancient courtrolls, relating to the manor, were among the papers wantonly destroyed at this period."
The present house is a large, square, handsome, brick structure, erected in the latter end of the seventeenth century, and supposed to be after a design of Inigo Jones, though so many years subsequent to the death of that great architect. It contains a succession of spacious and commodious apartments. With the marbles, &c. which furnish the hall, is a fine cast of Mr. Locke's Discobolus. The saloon is adorned with pictures by Cuyp, G. Poussin, Titian, Rembrandt, &c. among which there is a head of an old man, by Elmer, so well known for his excellence as a painter of dead game, &c. It is a very finely painted picture, and maintains its situation among some very good specimens of the old masters.
The lawns, which surround the house, are deficient in variety of surface; but a judicious and gentle sinking of a part of it, between the house and the river, gives the former an appearance of elevation, which greatly relieves the actual level of its situation. The surrounding hills, however, make ample amends for the flatness of the bottom. The ground rises rather boldly from the meads, beyond the river, on the Berkshire side of it; some parts being richly cloathed, and others only fringed with wood; while the opposite part of the picture consists of the uplands of Fawley, clad with beeches, in clumps and groves; and the more distant woods of Hambledon. The view up the river embraces Henley-Bridge, one of the most pleasing structures of its kind on the Thames, and adorned with the sculpture of the Honourable Mrs. Damer; with the rich brow of Park Place, the seat of the Earl of Malmsbury, and its varied plantations, rising above it; while the stately