The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Fonthill Abbey

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AUG. 28.-Hindon.-The occasional glimpses caught of Fonthill from the high parts of the open downs, surrounded by woods, and without a single human habitation, a fence, or a made road appearing in the landscape, convey to a stranger a correct impression of the character of the place; viz., that of a monastic building in a wild, hilly, and thinly inhabited country, such as we may imagine to have existed three or four centuries ago. On arriving at the miserable little town of Hindon, its appearance serves rather to heighten than to lessen this impression; without trade or manufacture, and with no main road passing through it, it contains only a few houses, the largest of which assume the character of inns; but of these inns the best does not even take in a newspaper. Till the passing of the Reform Bill, Hindon derived its support chiefly from the return of members to parliament; but this resource being gone, the inhabitants are now in the greatest misery. Before Mr. Beckford sold Fonthill, he generously gave 20 acres to the poorest inhabitants for ever as garden ground; observing, as it is said, that they had need of a friend. [The main tower of William Beckford's house collapsed in 1825 and the rest y was later demolished. Only a gatehouse and a remnant of the north wing survive (2005)]..