The Piercefield Estate Auction 1833
From The Times 10 June 1833 (http://archive.timesonline.co.uk/tol/archive/)
"Mr George Robins has the gratification to announce that it has been his good fortune to be selected to SELL by AUCTION, at the Mart, in London, on Thursday June 10 & 12, in 1 lot, the renowned and far-famed PIERCEFIELD ESTATE. The only alloy to the pleasure with which he is impressed grows out of the knowledge that his powers may be found inadequate to pourtray in suitable terms the infinite variety of contending beauties that have long been conceded as the exclusive inheritance of Piercefield.
There is, however, one solace, which he greets with no small delight: it is the simple fact that historians have for a lengthened period given to it such unqualified approbation that the humble portraiture which is to follow will, at least, be free from any supposition that Mr Robins has in the smallest degree drawn upon "fancy's sketch".
If this announcement were intended alone for those who have seen "this envied place" enough has already been said; but, as there are multitudes who have not had this good fortune, the attending observations are especially directed for their more immediate attention; and first, it may be observed, the mansion is in the centre of a finely-wooded park; It is substantially erected of stone, and so ingeniously constructed that the views are in no way interrupted. It declines irregularly to the bank of the Wye, and from a variety of situations the confluence of the two great rivers, the Severn and the Wye, is brought into view.
A beautiful lawn falls precipitately every way into a deep vale. The declivities are diversified with groves and clumps of trees scattered in pleasing negligence, and leading to the terrace-walk, through woods and walks which open beyond it upon those romantic scenes which surround the park, and are aptly termed "the glory of Piercefield".
The accommodation within this elegant domicile of comfort is in proportion to all the just expectations of a nobleman's family. An East Indian, weary of the attendant tolls in accumulating wealth, and with a constitution necessarily impaired, will find here all the agromens(?) which the professors learned in the mystery of physic would suggest for his early restoration to health. The Hot Wells at Bristol (although not far off) cannot claim superior pretensions.
There is a terrace walk of 3 miles, approximating upon the river, and from this elysium the views everywhere are beauteous and varied. The white rocks of Lancaut here lose their rugged form, and harmonize with the scenery beneath the town and Chepstow castle. From the alcove woods o'erhanging the steep bank of the Golden Wye the scene appears one of enchantment rather than reality. The green freshness of all around, the meandering of the rapid stream below, the opposite ampitheatre of cliffs and Banegar rocks, with Windcliff in its termination, towering one above the other, contrasted with the quietude of the luxuriant vale below, where the meadows, green as emerald, each contend for the prize.
The sublimity here imparted, the never-ending variety, the gigantic efforts of nature, and the pictorial effects, must be seen to be adequately felt; and, to add to the variety and interest of the scene, Peter and the other Apostles are adroitly carved in the rocks, to which the passing sailor never fails to pay his homage to traversing this interesting spot along the extended walks and luxuriant plantations the mind is filled, ever and anon, with wonder and admiration. The hollow glens below, the fearful precipices, the Giant's Cave, where for many a long year and wintry night he has presided over this solemn scene, until an avalanche rudely disturbed the stone from which he used to overawe his fearful auditory.
Druid's Cave, the cold bath, and grotto, terminating with the Lover's Leap, extend through a thick mantle of forests: indeed the scenic beauties that press on the enraptured sight surpass the possibility of narration without encountering the false notion that too much has been said. The river murmuring over strong beds of stone, thickly clothed ravines, where the hawthorns and the hazel mingle with the dark green holly, and, proudly surmounted by the monarch of the forest, present to the eye a beautifully varied surface of undulated foliage; the gracefully waving fern, scattered over the foreground, impart just such an air of tempered wildness as must gratify the correct eye of the lover of scenery, without offence to those who are inclined to look rather for evidences of the superintending hand of care and cultivation.
After lingering awhile upon the stupendous cliffs and Windcliff rocks, the littleness of human art, it will be seen, was never placed in a more humiliating point of view. The castle of Chepstow (once a noble fortress), as compared with these natural bulwarks, sinks into absolute nothingness. There is an enormous pile of ruins which seem to be the remains of a city, while the smaller ones appear to be fainter traces of the former extent, and strengthen the similitude; it stretches along the brow which terminates the forest of Dean, and, in an opposite direction, the venerable ruins of the fames Tintern Abbey add an interesting feature to the scene.
The view from the mansion is soft, rich, and beautifully picturable. The rocks not being distinguishable here, all is quiet and repose. From the upper lawn the cultivated hills and rich valleys of Monmouthshire, backed by the Mendip hills, are seen with great interest; but Mr Robins feels that he is exceeding the usual limit of an advertisement, and therefore reluctantly quits this most imperfect sketch by adding that the domain exceeds 2000 acres, divided into convenient farms, from which a large revenue is derived. He may, however, be permitted to add, that he trusts this fairy land will be transferred into hands who will think with him that an income of £2,500 a-year is a great auxiliary, but will appreciate infinitely beyond it the splendid scenery with which it is encompassed.
The whole is freehold. It can only be viewed with particulars. A drawing and plan will accompany it, for which 2s 6d will be charged; and to prevent idle curiosity (and with this view alone) no one can be admitted without. They may be had one month before the sale at the Beaufort Arms, Chepstow; the Bush, Bristol, the York House, Bath; Robert Evans, solicitor, Chepstow; and at each of the lodge entrances; also in London, at the Auction Mart; of Messr Woodroffe and Lewin, solicitors, Linclon's inn; and at Mr George Robin's offices, London."