Travel Diary: Miss Mary Visits Eaton Hall

June 3 Monday

Went this morning to Eaton Hall (the duke of Westminster’s place) and on the way drove through some very quaint old streets and saw God’s Providence House as when the plague was in the city it was in every house but this one, so the people put up an inscription reading “God’s Providence is my inheritance.”  It was a very queer old house and we also saw the Bishop’s Palace which is an old and small house.

god's providence house
God’s Providence House, c. 1862. Photographer: Francis Bedford.   Image courtesy of http://www.getty.edu

The drive from the entrance gate of Eaton Hall to the house is three miles and is looked lovely it was so fresh and green.  There is a small village around on the duke’s ground where his tenants and servants live.  The house is very large and we went through a little of it.  First we went through a chapel which was very nice and then looked into a pretty grotto and then through some passages and into an entrance room which was large.  Then went into the state dining room which is very large (as all the rooms are) and very grand.  There are three oil paintings by Ruben in the house that we saw.  One in the dining room of a fight between dogs and [] two in a passage near the library, one of which is “The Adoration of the Magi” [Note: The heirs of the 2nd Duke sold the painting in 1959 to help pay off death duties, and the buyer then donated the painting to King’s College.  It is now displayed at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge] and the other of “Fathers of the Church.”  We then went through some beautiful rooms some of which, there was some pieces of Goglin tabestry [sic] in.  The library is one of the grandest and most beautiful room.  There are great book cases filled with handsome books around the room and a very handsome carved mantelpiece.  There is also a table made of Labrador spar which is very changeable and when you walk around it you see all the colors of the rainbow and it is very lovely.

Eaton_Hall_c_1880_-_Waterhouse's_version._Photo_by_Francis_Bedford_(died_1894)
Duke of Westminster’s Eaton Hall, c. 1880. This is the version designed by Alfred Waterhouse. Photograph by Francis Bedford.

We then drove to the garden and saw greenhouses.  One of them is very pretty.  You look through a long arbor all covered with vine, some of which were orange tree trained up to vines and japonica.  There are a great many deer in the place and we saw some of the young ones.  They looked very pretty.  There are some pretty views on the [] of the mountains and river.

We then drove back to the hotel where we had lunch and on the way saw the priory of St. Johns Church which is very old.  Then we took the train to Lemington [sic] and as we passed through Shrewsbury the ruins of an old castle built by one of vassals of William the Conqueror.  The ride was very lovely and some pretty views.  We are stopping at the Manor House Hotel.  After we had dinner here we took a slow walk about the town and saw a few of its stores and Christ Church.

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