Up pretty betimes, though not so soon as we intended, by reason of Murford’s not rising, and then not knowing how to open our door, which, and some other pleasant simplicities of the fellow, did give occasion to us to call him Sir Martin Marrall, and W. Hewer being his helper and counsellor, we did call him, all this journey, Mr. Warner, which did give us good occasion of mirth now and then. At last, rose, and up, and broke our fast, and then took coach, and away, and at Newport did call on Mr. Lowther, and he and his friend, and the master of the house, their friend, where they were, a gentleman, did presently get a-horseback and overtook us, and went with us to Audley-End, and did go along with us all over the house and garden: and mighty merry we were. The house indeed do appear very fine, but not so fine as it hath heretofore to me; particularly the ceilings are not so good as I always took them to be, being nothing so well wrought as my Lord Chancellor’s are; and though the figure of the house without be very extraordinary good, yet the stayre- case is exceeding poor; and a great many pictures, and not one good one in the house but one of Harry the Eighth, done by Holben; and not one good suit of hangings in all the house, but all most ancient things, such as I would not give the hanging-up of in my house; and the other furniture, beds and other things, accordingly.1 Only the gallery is good, and, above all things, the cellars, where we went down and drank of much good liquor; and indeed the cellars are fine: and here my wife and I did sing to my great content. And then to the garden, and there eat many grapes, and took some with us and so away thence, exceeding well satisfied, though not to that degree that, by my old esteem of the house, I ought and did expect to have done, the situation of it not pleasing me. Here we parted with Lowther and his friends, and away to Cambridge, it being foul, rainy weather, and there did take up at the Rose, for the sake of Mrs. Dorothy Drawwater, the vintner’s daughter, which is mentioned in the play of Sir Martin Marrall. Here we had a good chamber, and bespoke a good supper; and then I took my wife, and W. Hewer, and Willet, it holding up a little, and shewed them Trinity College and St. John’s Library, and went to King’s College Chapel, to see the outside of it only; and so to our inne, and with much pleasure did this, they walking in their pretty morning gowns, very handsome, and I proud to find myself in condition to do this; and so home to our lodging, and there by and by, to supper, with much good sport, talking with the Drawers concerning matters of the town, and persons whom I remember, and so, after supper, to cards; and then to bed, lying, I in one bed, and my wife and girl in another, in the same room, and very merry talking together, and mightily pleased both of us with the girl. Saunders, the only violin in my time, is, I hear, dead of the plague in the late plague there.
- Mr. George T. Robinson, F.S.A., in a paper on “Decorative Plaster Work,” read before the Society of Arts in April, 1891, refers to the ceilings at Audley End as presenting an excellent idea of the state of the stuccoer’s art in the middle of James I.’s reign, and adds, “Few houses in England can show so fine a series of the same date … The great hall has medallions in the square portions of the ceiling formed by its dividing timber beams. The large saloon on the principal floor-a room about 66 feet long by 30 feet wide-has a very remarkable ceiling of the pendentive type, which presents many peculiarities, the most notable of which, that these not only depend from the ceiling, but the outside ones spring from the walls in a natural and structural manner. This is a most unusual circumstance in the stucco work of the time, the reason for the omission of this reasonable treatment evidently being the unwillingness of the stuccoer to omit his elaborate frieze in which he took such delight” (“Journal Soc. of Arts,” vol. xxxix., p. 449) ↩