Persistent identifier:
image: of 194
1770, and under its provisions a great improvement was made in the thoroughfares. The streets rose a little higher and the doors of the old Norman vaults thus became a little lower down. This Act contained provisions for lighting the streets as well as repairing them, and is evidence of the revival to some extent of business in it, as well as the desire to make the town attractive to visitors. The commercial affairs of the town were conducted then chiefly on the quay outside the Watergate, and the chief surviving evidence of the commerce of the mid-Georgian Age is the great warehouse, formerly known as the Sugar House, the access to which was in Sugar House Lane. This was built in 1740, on the site of the old chapel of the Franciscan friars.
When the royal princes began to pay occasional visits to Southampton in the Georgian period there were plenty of people of all ranks who followed them.
Among those who came here and mingled with the visitors of fashion in the High Street and elsewhere, was a Dr. Cosens, a doctor of divinity, and minister at Teddington. He was a native of this neighbourhood, and apparently one of the fashionable preachers of the time. Certainly he was a writer of poetry on subjects adapted to the taste of the age. His work on " The Economy of Beauty," written about 1770 is dedicated to one of the royal princesses. One of his Cantos is entitled " The Enchantress," by which he meant this town. He wrote with an evident admiration of her, and among much more in the same strain, says :—•
" Thy walls, Southampton, and thy moss grown towers Where echo hold her solitary reign,
Thy rural sports and medicinal nood,
Thy plains around and deep embowered shades,
Who can behold and not attempt to sing ? "
Certainly the reverend doctor could not. He knew the town well and all the roads around. He found out all the romantic spots, and roads and lanes leading to them. Let us follow him down Hound-well Lane, or along St. Mary's Street to Love Lane, now St. Mary's Road, and turn off by a path (now Onslow Road), across fields to Bevois Mount. He says of it
What if we climb the gently rising Rock Whose arched brow frowns o'er the subject main.
Here let us take a pleasing dreadful view of IN ature.
The wild wave tumbles, a stupendous world Of wonders in itself, august and vast.
He must have gone to the bottom of Rockstone lane, where in olden time there was a gate that marked the beginning of the estate of the Priory of St. Denys, and which was the beginning of the jurisdiction of the Alderman of Portswood, and was called Rock-stone-gate. Another gate on the left led the visitor into the enclosure, where the serpentine paths led up to and round the mount, laid out by Lord Peterborough as a kind of wilderness. Bevois Mount was on the top of a natural rock, consisting of sand and
Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg RSS