Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/307

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year; that the groves had been cut down, the walks neglected, and all the elegancies of the place destroyed. Its natural beauties, however, still remained; and to these, and the neighbouring ruin of Finchale-Abbey, we proceeded in silent sadness, accompanied by an hind, who promised to point out what features the place had lost since the desolating angel had commenced his career there. The grand object of Cocken, and from which almost all its beauties arise, is the river Wear, which leads its serpentine course over a rocky bed, through banks of uncommon picturesque beauty, immediately under the grounds belonging to the house. Beneath the lofty perpendicular face of rock which rises most sublimely over the water, was the principal walk, varied by infinitely diversified combinations of wood and rocks to the left; and opposed, on the other side of the river, by a soft pastoral scene of gentle slope and wooded meads.

Amid this pleasing tranquil rural picture, on a little plot pushing into a sweep of the river formed by the receding rocks on the other side, are seen the venerable ruins of Finchale-Abbey, the retreat of pious Godric in the twelfth century, who spent sixty-six years within its walls, in a series of mortifications and penances that astonish the lukewarmness of present religionists. It was given by