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Document number: 6502
Date: 04 Nov 1851
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Ela Theresa
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA51-73
Last updated: 16th February 2012

Lacock Abbey
4th November 1851

Dear Papa,

We all arrived safely here on Saturday evening, the moon was shining brightly without a cloud, so we had no need of lights to the carriage.

As I believe Mamie wrote to you from Warrington, I suppose you would rather know what we did afterwards; we had a short journey to Chester, where we arrived about two oclock on Sunday 26th October, In the afternoon we went to the Cathedral which is built of a deep red stone, and struck us as being a much more imposing edifice than either that of Gloucester or Hereford which we saw afterwards; it is said that the foundations are of roman construction; the music was beautiful & the organ is the largest but one, in the kingdom; the wood work of the interior of the Choir is very rich and handsome. We walked round the ramparts of the town in the dusk; which had a very strange appearance, the river Dee flowing on one side where it has been turned into an artificial cascade, but a number of houses are now built upon the very walls which rather spoil their appearance. The beautiful old houses are unfortunately scarcer than formerly, for they are being replaced by modern ones, those that remain, delighted Mr Vardon,<1> and we all made sketches of them. I wish you had been with us, for though I suppose you have seen all these places before, yet we had such fine weather that I am sure you could not have had a pleasanter journey. Next day we went to Llangollen where the two carriages parted, taking by mistake different roads but we arrived nearly at the same time, A welsh harper played us a number of national airs on his harp with a triple row of strings. We saw Plas Newyd and walked about the valley, the trees were still quite green and fresh. They have constructed a beautiful viaduct over the river Dee, for the Shrewsbury railway, the arches are very high indeed and are seen to great advantage from the road. From Llangollen we went to Shrewsbury where there are whole rows of old houses exceedingly pretty in black wood & white plaster, some of them are curiosly [sic] carved yet the town is not nearly so pretty curious as Chester, owing to those covered passages in the latter town; certainly that was the place we liked the best of any we saw, perhaps however with the exception of Ludlow & Llangollen <.> from Shrewsbury we proceeded to Ludlow & Hereford as Rosamond has described, after which we followed the banks of the Wye Wye to Ross; we had meant to visit Charles, but we found that Ashleworth was several miles out of the way so we gave it up, but & went on straight to Gloucester. From Gloucester we went through the beautiful valley of Rodborough to Malmesbury where we visited the old Abbey where one sees perfectly that if it had not been destroyed by violence it would still be in perfect preservation as is seen from the sculpture on one of the doorways. We met Mr Jennings who says he has been very well ever since he settled there.

All the Elms at Lacock are still quite green and the garden is gay with scarlet geraniums, verbenas &c.

Good bye dear Papa, we hope you will return soon,

Yr affectionate & dutiful daughter Ela.

The reason we did not write to you on the road, was, that there were so many things to see that we had not time; having to write our journals, and to make a few sketches besides.


1. Alfred Thomas Vardon (1811-1892), artist & teacher, Grasmere, later Bath.

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