November 4th 1851
We arrived here safely last saturday evening, after a most pleasant journey, which we all enjoyed extremely, having had very fine weather all the time especially the last days.
We had always time to run out every morning before starting and to see all the curious things in each place we slept at, so we passed our time extremely pleasantly, and are all very well after having been so much in the open air, especially Mamie <1> who is much better than when we started.
We were all very much delighted with Chester and its beautiful cathedral and we walked along the ramparts in the evening when it was growing dark.
Of all the things we saw we
the thought Ludlow Castle one of the most interesting. The sun was shining brightly and a strong north wind whistled through the ruined windows and holes in the walls. The castle is very la extensive and must have been extremely strong in the days of its prosperity for our guide told us that the walls are from six to eight feet thick. The round Norman chapel inside is very pretty, and we were told it was considered a very great curiosity as there are only two others in the kingdom like it, at Oxford and London.
We went up to the tower by a long winding staircase and from the top had a very extensive view of the surrounding country; we did not find it half so cold there as below.
We were not able to make any drawings there because it was too cold and we had not time, so we left Ludlow and went to Hereford. Next day we visited Hereford cathedral which is certainly not so imposing nor so ancient as that of Chester but much more ornamented.
The thick plaster which co
nvered all the interior is being scraped off, and quantitites of the most beautiful architecture has been discovered in perfect preservation which was completely filled up W with rubbish. It will be very fine when quite restored but it was strange to see it in that state all full of workmen’s tools, stones, planks etc just as if it was in process of building.
One part has been spoilt by a brightly painted ceiling which does not at all suit the rest of the building.
Passing by Gloucester and Malmesbury we arrived here at half past seven by a most beautiful moon light, having travelled almost forty miles that day.
M. Vardon <2> is delighted with Lacock and he is already making a painting of the house and the Tudor Arch.
The plants from Grasmere <3> have not been settled yet but I suppose they will be planted today.
The leaves are very late indeed this year for the elms are still quite green and even the virginia creeper has not lost all its leaves.
The weather has been beautiful since our arrival, so now we are going to profit by it and take a walk.
Goodbye, dear Papa,
Your affectionate & dutiful daughter,
2. Alfred Thomas Vardon (1811-1892), artist & teacher, Grasmere, later Bath.
3. Grasmere, Westmoreland: popular summer venue; Wordsworth is buried there.