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Bradshaw’s Guide

Netley Abbey

Interior, Netley Abbey, England. Taken between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900. Original: Library of Congress

Founded in 1240, by Roger de Clare. Remains of the church, chapter-house, refectory, &c., exist, all picturesquely wound with ivy or overshadowed with ash and other trees. Sir Horace Walpole gives the following graphic description:– The ruins are vast, and contain fragments of beautiful fretted roofs, pendant in the air, with all variety of Gothic patterns of windows, topped round and round with ivy. Many trees have sprouted up among the walls, and only want to be increased by cypresses. A hill rises above the abbey, enriched with wood. The fort, in which we would build a tower for habitation, remains, with two small platforms. This little castle is buried from the abbey in wood, in the very centre, on the edge of a hill. On each side breaks in a view of the Southampton sea, deep blue, glistening with silver and vessels; 011 one side terminated by Southampton, on the other by Calshot Castle; and the Isle of Wight rises above the opposite hills. In short, they are not the ruins of Netley, but of Paradise. Oh, the purpled abbots! What a spot they had chosen to slumber in! The scene is so beautifully tranquil, yet so lively, that they seem only to have retired into the world.

Those disposed to enjoy an extensive pedestrian excursion may, after leaving the Abbey, return to Southampton by a circuit through the country, by Hound and Hamble, which will reveal for them some very pretty features of pure pastoral scenery. Across the Hamble’s mouth is Hook, a pretty place, near some low cliffs.

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