THE Great Northern Railway Company have made special arrangements for visitors, particularly from Yorkshire towns in the West Riding, who desire to drive round the Dukeries from Retford, at an inclusive fare for the railway journey, the drive, and a couple of meals. For a full day there are seven routes mapped out, any one of which may be chosen, and for half a day there are three. The visitors are relieved of all care: the conveyance (four in-hand, landau, victoria or dogcart, &c., according to requirements) meets the party at the railway-station, and brings them back. [For full information see the Company's handbills; or apply to Mr. Hope, G. N. Ry. Agent, 141, Briggate, Leeds.] Generally the public days in the Dukeries are Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, when the private drives are open. Portions of Welbeck are accessible also on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The solitudes of Sherwood Forest as well as the mansions of the noble owners are private. The posting proprietors of Retford, being duly authorized, are in possession of all information, and visitors will be safe in their hands. A letter, however, to Mr. A. C. Dennett, White Hart Hotel, Retford, Notts., would make assurance doubly sure.

Attention, almost at the very outset of the journey, is directed to the beauties of the drive. By a gentle incline we pass into the fair demesne of Babworth. At the foot of the declivity, Babworth Hall, the church, the rectory and the lake, wherein shrub and tree are shadowed, naturally catch the eye. At the tiny post office, we leave the Retford and Worksop road for a great detour: we shall regain this identical spot in the evening. Wheeling westward, on the left, is Great Morton farm, to the right, a few yards further, Little Morton. And now, for a minute or two, we are on the Old Great North Road, abreast of Rushy Inn. You can see it running north and south—little used, grassgrown, to the north, but well made and carefully kept under the trees up the hill to the south, for it leads to Morton Grange, Upper Morton, Jockey House, Elksley, and to London. The cottages here, close by the roadway, stand on the site of the old Rushy Inn, where kings and queens, soldiers and civilians, arriving on foot and horseback, by stage wagon, coach and royal mail, quaffed many a tankard of "nutbrown ale," and occasionally stayed the night, safely sheltered from storm and tempest, or the polite attentions of the gallant highwayman. The story of the old inn is scarcely told ere we are away from this ancient thoroughfare, passing over the level crossing of the Great Central railway. Straight before us lies the road, white and glistening, for a couple of miles, up hill and down, by hedges and bushes, through smiling cornfields to the shady woods in the distance. These woods line the road on either side.

Presently we reach Apleyhead, at the junction of four roads. Woods and trees give to the spot a quiet dignity. In front are the stately entrance gates to "The Duke's Drive," which points the way to Clumber House, the seat of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle. The vista as seen through the opening is bold and striking. The gates are upon a slight eminence; beyond, the road dips, and rising again in the near distance, is well seen.

CLUMBER HOUSE. The seat of the Duke of Newcastle, and one of the great mansions of the Dukeries.
CLUMBER HOUSE. The seat of the Duke of Newcastle, and one of the great mansions of the Dukeries.

"The Duke's Drive" hence to Clumber Park, three miles in length, is a delightful run, and we traverse its whole extent. Skirting it on either side, far as the eye can see, is a double row of lime trees: when in blossom their fragrance is delicious. We pass under the archway. To the left is a footpath. That is for the pedestrian: it leads for a couple of miles or more through the woods to the village of Hardwick, by the side of Clumber lake. Steady into the little valley, then up the hill between these straight well-grown limes, round the curves we swing until we enter Clumber Park, about eleven miles in circumference and having an area of nearly 4,000 acres. The scene is full of charm, the undergrowth luxuriant, the wild flowers abundant, the turf verdant and restful, the ground undulating.

Clumber Church. An exquisitely pretty modern church built by the Duke of Newcastle.
CLUMBER CHURCH. An exquisitely pretty modern church built by the Duke of Newcastle.

Naturally we halt for a moment to view Clumber Church. This exquisitely pretty church, dedicated to the Holy Virgin, a cathedral in miniature, was erected by the present Duke of Newcastle soon after his accession to the estates, at a cost of about £40,000. It is fourteenth century Gothic, built of white Steetley and red Runcorn stone. It consists of choir with lady chapel and sacristy, north and south transepts, nave (45 feet high), and central tower and spire of an altitude of 175 feet. From east to west the church is 107 feet in length. The choir is elaborately beautiful. The altar, which is raised on five steps of black and white marble, is of alabaster sumptuously wrought. The central figures are those of the Virgin and Child with angels. The symbols of the Passion are delicately carved, and include the scourge, the pillar to which our Lord was bound, the cord, the dice with which lots were cast for His vesture, the spear and the sponge, the crown of thorns, the ladder, hammer and nails, and the coat. The tabernacle for the reception of the elements contains the words "ecce panis angelorum." The east window, (Kempe) is descriptive of the Crucifixion, the Temptation and the Redemption, with figures of the Saviour, St. John, St. Paul, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter, St. Hugh, St. Joseph of Arimathea, etc; and on either side are figures of angels in canopied niches of carved stone. The choir is divided from the lady chapel on the south and the sacristy on the north by three bays of carved oak embellished with statues of the evangelists, and grouped figures of (1) St. Thomas-a-Becket, the Venerable Bede, and St. Swithin; (2) St. Hugh, St. Chad, and St. Dunstan. There are also statues of St. Matthew and St. Gregory carved in walnut, surmounted by angels with stretched wings carved in cedar; and, of similar design, St. Mark and St. Augustine, St. Luke and St Ambrose, St. John and St. Jerome. Within the sanctuary are massive candlesticks, crucifix, processional cross, sanctus bell, and other essentials. Above the screen of carved oak is a rood with figures of the crucified Saviour, St. Mary, and St. John. In the lady chapel the altar contains the carved figures of the Virgin and Child, and of the Annunciation; the tabernacle of burnished copper and solid silver, and a very beautiful Russian icon. The roof is decorated with the Magnificat in Latin in gold letters. The stained windows here, which are descriptive of the Nativity, the Annunciation, and the Epiphany; and the window in the south transept which represents the nine orders of angels (by Kempe, as are all the windows), are inscribed, 'To the honour of God and for the advancement of this Church, and in commemoration of the marriage of Henry, Duke of Newcastle, founder of the same, and Kathleen his wife, the tenants of this estate dedicate the windows in this chapel, and the south transept, 1889." The west is a Jesse window, showing the genealogy of our Lord from the father of King David. There is a painting of The Holy Family by Tintoretto, and of The Madonna and Child by Battoni. The pulpit of Runcorn stone bears the inscription "To the glory of God, and in commemoration of the marriage of Henry, seventh Duke of Newcastle, the inhabitants of Worksop dedicate this pulpit, 1889." In the nave is a triforium, along which passage is gained through the openings in the pillars. Groined chambers extending to one bay of the nave give access from the nave to the transepts. That on the north forms the baptistery, contains a font of Runcorn Stone and a statue of St. John, and has a stained window representing St. Vincent and St. Leonard. The similar chamber on the south contains a carved figure of St. George and the Dragon, and a stained window representing St. Cuthbert and St. Chad. The organ, which is placed over the sacristy, is a three-manual, by of oak, walnut or maple, the ceilings richly decorated. They contain many works of art. The chimney-piece in the library is a representation in Birkland oak of a scene in Sherwood Forest. There are also several chimney-pieces of white marble elaborately and beautifully sculptured.

PERLETHORPE CHURCH. A beautiful modern building in the heart of the Dukeries.
PERLETHORPE CHURCH. A beautiful modern building in the heart of the Dukeries.

From the park we obtain a most excellent view of Perlethorpe Church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, situated near Perlethorpe village, about half a mile from Thoresby Hall, and erected by the late Earl Manvers in the year 1876. It has a fine western tower with crocketed pinnacles, and a beautiful spire rising to 128 feet, containing six bells. Its walls are embellished with buttresses, gargoyles, and carved figures, and its roofs surmounted with pinnacles like those of the tower. Its interior consists of nave, aisles, and chancel. The nave is divided from the aisles by six arches on clustered pillars of Steetley stone, with foliated capitals, supporting a clerestory lighted by eight windows. The open benches, the clergy and choir stalls, and the pulpit are all of Sherwood Forest oak, grown on the estate, elaborately and beautifully carved. The altar is exquisitely wrought in stone, and contains several figures, of which the centre is Christ as the Good Shepherd. In the chancel is a memorial "To the glory of God, and in memory of Sidney William Herbert Pierrepont, third Earl Manvers, born 12th March, 1825, died 16th January, 1900. This brass is placed in the church he built, and in which he worshipped, by those whose privilege it was to serve and work for him on his various estates. The kindest of friends, and most just of masters." In the chancel is a painting of St. Peter's Denial.

Interesting though we find the church we may not linger. Once more, therefore, we forge ahead, by way of scenes fresh and sweet such as no other land save England can produce. Broad acres of flower-decked swelling greensward stretch away to the surrounding woodlands, with groups of antlered deer browsing under the trees, or bounding away free as the air they breathe.