Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate

1. CHAPTER I (continued)

In among the hills, somewhat off the high road from Minehead to Taunton, and about five miles from the sea, stands the little town, or village, of Belton, and the modern house of Mr Amedroz, which is called Belton Castle. The village for it is in truth no more, though it still maintains a charter for a market, and there still exists on Tuesdays some pretence of an open sale of grain and butcher's meat in the square before the church-gate contains about two thousand persons. That and the whole parish of Belton did once and that not long ago belong to the Amedroz family. They had inherited it from the Beltons of old, an Amedroz having married the heiress of the family. And as the parish is large, stretching away to Exmoor on one side and almost to the sea on the other, containing the hamlet of Redicote, lying on the Taunton high road Redicote, where the post-office is placed, a town almost in itself, and one which is now much more prosperous than Belton as the property when it came to the first Amedroz had limits such as these, the family had been considerable in the county. But these limits had been straitened in the days of the grandfather and the father of Bernard Amedroz; and he, when he married a Miss Winterfield of Taunton, was thought to have done very well, in that mortgages were paid off the property with his wife's money to such an extent as to leave him in clear possession of an estate that gave him two thousand a year. As Mr Amedroz had no grand neighbours near him, as the place is remote and the living therefore cheap, and as with this income there was no question of annual visits to London, Mr and Mrs Amedroz might have done very well with such of the good things of the world as had fallen to their lot. And had the wife lived, such would probably have been the case; for the Winterfields were known to be prudent people. But Mrs Amedroz had died young, and things with Bernard Amedroz had gone badly.

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