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The River Gippin has its source at a small village in the centre of the county, near Stowmarket; to which it gives its name. Running in a south-east direction, it waters Ipswich; and assuming below that town the name of Orwell, proceeds to meet the Stour opposite Harwich.
It was made navigable from Stowmarket to Ipswich in 1793. It is sixteen miles in length, and has fifteen locks, each sixty feet long, and fourteen wide; three built with timber, and twelve with brick and stone. The total expence incurred in the undertaking was £26,380. The charges for the conveyance of goods upon it are one penny per ton per mile, from Stow to Ipswich, and half as much from the latter town to Stowmarket. Some idea may be formed of the beneficial effects of this navigation, from the statement, that soon after its completion, it had reduced the price of land-carriage more than one half, and the carriage only upon coals four shillings per chaldron, and consequently raised the rent of land considerably.
MEANDERING Gippin, loveliest stream,
These lines were occasioned by reading a paragraph in the Ipswich Journal, that the inhabitants of Yoxford intended to petition parliament for a charter to hold a weekly market, whether such a petition were presented I know not.
I owe thee much; thy gentle tide
As sweetly as thy waters flow.
O! had I those fame-giving powers,
Oft, when above the eastern clouds
I have wander'd by thy willowy side,
And, while the linnet and the thrush
Have warbled sweet their wood-notes wild, Indulg'd the scene that fancy ting'd,
And many a fragrant hour beguil'd.
Oft, in the fervid blaze of noon,
Plung'd-and, while sporting in thy waves,
And with the vile and stagnant bath
Oft, too, in summer's evening mild
Or speeded by the dashing oars:
Till winding by some craggy steep,
While not a murmur hath disturb'd
Farewell, lorn stream, a long farewell!
BY ROBERT BLOOMFIELD.
Barnham Water is a small rivulet, which crosses the road from Euston to Thetford; it is in the midst of a "bleak, unwooded scene," and justifies the poet's lamentation in its full extent. In this neighbourhood, is a row of ten or eleven tumuli of various size, which mark the scene of a most sanguinary engagement in 871, in which the Danes under Inguar, their leader defeated and afterwards put to death Edmund, the last of the East Anglian kings, destroyed the town of Thetford, and massacred its inhabitants. The bodies of those, who were slain in this dreadful and decisive conflict, were interred in these tumuli.
• A favourite little boat of the authors.
+ In the year 1793 the Gippin was converted into a navigable canal.
Castle Hill and its appurtenances which Bloomfield calls the "Danish mounds," are supposed by some to have been raised by the Danes, previously to the battle, as an annoyance to the town, and by others to have been the work of the East Anglian kings. Here was a camp of extraordinary strength, with this prodigious mount in the middle: on its summit is a deep cavity, in which a number of men may stand entirely concealed. It is judged to be the largest artificial mount in this kingdom, and is surrounded by three ramparts, which were formerly divided by ditches: the ramparts are still in good preservation. The mount is about 100 feet in height, and the circumference at the base 984; its diameter measures 338 feet at its base, and 81 on the summit. The enclosing ramparts are still nearly 20 feet high, and their ditches at bottom 60 to 70 feet wide. The ditch round the mount measures 42 feet wide at the bottom. The whole of these works is a mixture of clay and masses of clunch.
FRESH from the Hall of Bounty sprung,*
The backward valley painted gay;
Mine was a road without a flower,
Where one small streamlet cross'd the way.
What was it rous'd my soul to love?
What made the simple brook so dear?
It glided like the weary dove,
And never brook seem'd half so clear.
*On a sultry afternoon, late in the summer of 1802, Euston-Hall lay in my way to Thetford, which place I did not reach until the evening, on a visit to my sister: the lines lose much of their interest exeept they could be read on the spot, or at least at a corresponding. season of the year.
Cool pass'd the current o'er my feet,
For Barnham Water wants a shade.
There, faint beneath the fervid sun,
And snatch no feast of mental food?
Long and delightful was the dream,
A waking dream that fancy yields,
And plung'd across the barren fields;
Near, on a slope of burning sand,
The shepherd boys had met to play,
And mark the trav'ller's leafless way.
Thetford was formerly the metropolis of the kingdom of the East Angles; and in the twelfth century the See of a Bishop, and a place of considerable note, with twenty churches, (two of which now only remain) six religious houses, and five hospitals. It stands in an open country upon the Little Ouse, which divides the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk; and formerly had a mint, which has produced a great number of Anglo Saxon and English coins from the time of Athelstan to John. On approaching the town, the traveller must be sensibly struck with the vestiges of antiquity, which invite his attention on every side, and which indicate its ancient splendor, and its once flourishing condition.