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berland about four years before on his nephew lord Henry Clifford, became vested in his, the earl of Cumberland's family ; an acquisition which, comprehending all the western part, or nearly one-half of Craven, gave to the Cliffords, in conjunction with their own fee in the same district, and the estates which they shortly afterwards acquired by the dissolution of Bolton Abbey, an almost entire command over this division of Yorkshire. The surrender of Bolton Abbey into the hands of the king, which had been contemplated more than two years before, took place on January the 29th, 1540, Richard Moone, the prior, and fourteen canons being then resident; and on April the 3d, 1542, his majesty granted to the earl of Cumberland, as a reward of his loyalty, not only the dissolved house of Bolton, with its immediate site and grounds, but all the estates belonging to its endowment in Skipton and elsewhere, equalling altogether in value the whole of the Cliffords' fee. As it is probable that Bolton Abbey, like almost every other religious house, fell into decay very speedily on its dissolution, it being customary to unroof immediately, and otherwise destroy, the habitable parts of such foundations; and as there is reason to suppose, when after a desertion of more than two years, it became the property of the first earl of Cumberland, that it even then exhibited much of the picturesque effect of a ruin, it will in this place, without doubt, be gratifying to learn what are the peculiar beauties of its situation, and what is the state of its remains; a desideratum which cannot better be supplied than in the rich and glowing language of Dr. Whitaker. “Bolton Priory,” says this eloquent topographer, “stands upon a beautiful curvature of the Wharf, on a level sufficiently elevated to protect it from inundations, and low enough for every purpose of picturesque effect. In the latter respect, it has no equal among the northern houses, perhaps not in the kingdom. “Opposite to the east window of the Priory Church, the river washes the foot of a rock nearly perpendicular, and of the richest purple, where several of the mineral beds, which break out, instead of maintaining their usual inclination to the horizon, are twisted, by some inconceivable process, into undulating and spiral lines. To the south, all is soft and delicious; the eye reposes upon a few rich pastures, a moderate reach of the river, suf
ficiently tranquil to form a mirror to the sun, and the bounding fells beyond, neither too near nor too lofty to exclude, even in winter, any considerable portion of his rays.
“But, after all, the - glories of Bolton are on the north. For there, whatever the most fastidious taste could require to constitute a perfect landscape is not only found, but in its proper place. In front, and immediately under the eye, lies a smooth expanse of park-like enclosure, spotted with native elm, ash, &c. of the finest growth; on the right an oak wood, with jutting points of grey rock; on the left, a rising copse. Still forward, are seen the aged groves of Bolton Park, the growth of centuries; and farther yet, the barren and rocky distances of Simon-seat and Barden Fell, contrasted with the warmth, fertility, and luxuriant foliage of the valley below.
“About half a mile above Bolton the valley closes, and either side of the Wharf is overhung by solemn woods, from which huge perpendicular masses of grey rock jut out at intervals.
“This sequestered scene was almost inaccessible
till of late, that ridings have been cut on both sides of the river, and the most interesting points laid open by judicious thinnings in the woods. Here a tributary stream rushes from a waterfall, and bursts through a woody glen to mingle its waters with the Wharf: there the Wharf itself is nearly lost in a deep cleft in the rock, and next becomes a horned flood, enclosing a woody island—sometimes it reposes for a moment, and then resumes its native character, lively, regular, and impetuous. “The cleft mentioned above is the tremendous STRID. This chasm, being incapable of receiving the winter floods, has formed, on either side, abroad strand of naked grit-stone full of rock-basons, or ‘pots of the Linn, which bear witness to the restless impetuosity of so many northern torrents. But, if here the Wharf is lost to the eye, it amply repays another sense by its deep and solemn roar, like ‘the voice of the angry spirit of the waters,’ heard far above and beneath, amidst the silence of the surrounding woods. “The terminating object of the landscape is the remains of Barden Tower, interesting from their form and situation, and still more so from the recollections which they excite.
“On the whole, this is one of the few and privileged spots, where, within the compass of a walk, and almost of a single glance, the admiring visitant
may exclaim, with a true painter and poet:
- — Some Lancastrian baron bold,
“Of Bolton Priory, the whole cloister quadrangle has been destroyed. In the centre of it is remembered the stump of a vast yew-tree, such as were usually planted in that situation; not merely for shade and ornament, but probably with a religious allusion.—
“The shell of the church is nearly entire. The nave, having been reserved at the dissolution for the use of the Saxon cure *, is still a parochial chapel +.
* Embsay Kirk, where the priory itself was originally planted.
+ “Here are a silver chalice and cover, which appear to have been given by the first grantee immediately after the priory fell into his hands, as the former has, beneath an earl's coronet, the arms and quarterings of the family down only to his mother, a St. John.”
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