The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction

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The Mirror of Literature,
Amusement, and Instruction

The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Mirror of Literature, Amusement,
Instruction, Vol. 17, Issue 491, May 28, 1831, by Various
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Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 17,
Issue 491, May 28, 1831
Author: Various
Release Date: November 3, 2004 [eBook #13935]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
VOL. 17, ISSUE 491, MAY 28, 1831***
E-text prepared by Jonathan Ingram, David Garcia, and the Project
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VOL. 17, No. 491.] SATURDAY, MAY 28, 1831. [PRICE 2d.

* * * * *



This is a delightful retreat for the statesman and man of
letters--distinctions which its illustrious occupant enjoys with high
honour to his country and himself.
Ampthill is throughout a never-tiring region of romantic beauties.
These were sung in some lines of great sweetness and poetical feeling,
a few years since by Mr. Luttrell, who appears to have taken his muse
by the arm, and "wandered up and down," describing the natural glories
and olden celebrity of Ampthill. We remember to have read his "Lines"
with unmixed pleasure.
The Engraving is copied from one of a Series of "Select Illustrations of
Bedfordshire;" the letter-press accompaniments being neatly written by
the Rev. I. D. Parry, M. A. author of the "History of Woburn."
Ampthill follows.
Ampthill House, now the seat of the Right Hon. Lord Holland, is a
plain but very neat edifice, built of good stone. It was erected by the
first Lord Ashburnham, then the possessor of the estate, in 1694. It is
situated rather below the summit of a hill, which rises at some little
distance behind, and much less elevated than the site of the old castle,
but has still a commanding situation in front, and is sufficiently
elevated to possess a great share of the fine view over the vale of
Bedford. It is also well sheltered by trees, though the passing traveller
would have no idea of the magnificent lime alley, which is concealed
behind it. The house has a long front, abundantly furnished with
windows, and has two deep and projecting wings. In the centre is a
plain angular pediment, bearing the late Lord Ossory's arms, and over
the door is a small circular one, pierced for an antique bust, and
supported by two three-quarter Ionic pillars. In this house is a small
collection of paintings, &c., principally portraits.
At the foot of the staircase is a large painting, formerly in fresco at

Houghton House, which was taken off the wall, and put on canvass by
an ingenious process of the late Mr. Salmon. It represents a gamekeeper,
or woodman, taking aim with a cross-bow, full front, with some curious
perspective scenery, 6 feet by 9-1/2 feet. We have heard a tradition, that
it is some person of high rank in disguise; some say James I., who was
once on a visit at Houghton. From the propensities of "gentle King
Jamie," this is not unlikely.
The pleasure ground at the back of the house, commands a pleasing,
extensive view; beyond this is the lime walk, which is certainly one of
the finest in England.--It is upwards of a quarter of a mile in length, the
trees in some parts, finely arching; and may be pronounced, upon the
whole, superior to any walk in Oxford or Cambridge.
The park in which this house stands, is well known, from many
descriptions, to be a singularly picturesque and pleasing one. It is, at
the same time, a small one, but the dimensions are concealed by the
numerous and beautiful groups of trees with which it is studded. The
oaks are particularly celebrated for their great size and age, several of
them are supposed to be upwards of 500 years old, and some do not
hesitate to say 1,000 years; the girth of many of them is ten yards, or
considerably more. A survey of this park, by order of the Conventional
Parliament, in 1653, pronounced 287 of these oaks as being hollow,
and too much decayed for the use of the navy. The whole of these
remain to this day, and may, perhaps, continue two or three centuries
longer; some few of them
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