Tuesday 28 February 2012

In the Footsteps of Celia Fiennes

Got Soil? (Deb) and Celia near the spot where Holywell House once stood
Now here is a blog to keep an eye on.  Got Soil? (Deb) is beginning a pilgrimage to follow in the footsteps (or hoofprints) of Celia Feinnes (1662-1741.)  For those who do not know her, Celia was an intrepid and unorthodox lady who travelled around England on horseback between 1684 and about 1703 in order 'to regain (her) health by variety and change of aire and exercise'.  

Such traveling for the pleasure of it was something you just did not do back then, which is exactly what make the accounts of her 'journeys' so interesting and revealing. In 1702 Celia wrote up her notes into a memoir intended for private, family reading.  However, it was eventually published in 1888 as Through England on a Side Saddle and in 1947 a scholarly edition entitled The Journeys of Celia Fiennes was published by Christopher Morris. 

Celia's writing provides a vivid portrait of a still largely unenclosed countryside before Enclosure with few and primitive roads. The text is also a wealth of information about the country houses and the gardens of the time.   And now Deb has set off to follow in her footsteps, her aim, ' to track down each and every great house that Celia mentions'.  Let us wish her well and enjoy her account as it appears on her blog. 

And if you wish to discover where Celia ventured, Visions of Britain offers a very useful version of her original text organised into her different 'journeys'.

1 comment:

  1. Toby, grateful thanks for the nod and well wishes! I'm sure it will be an exciting journey of garden history discovery!