The village of Clifton is universally allowed to be one of the most agreeable, healthy and pleasant spots in the kingdom; the air is so remarkably pure and salubrious as to occasion its being stiled the English Montpelier. It lies in the hundred of Kings-Burton; it is situated on the south and west of a cliff or hill( whence its name) one mile westward of the city of Bristol, over great part of which it commands a very pleasing prospect ,as also of the ships and vessels that , on the flood and ebb tide, sail up and down the Avon. On the opposite shore the well-cultivated lands of Somersetshire, present themselves in a very beautiful landscape, rising gradually four of five miles from the verge of the river to the top of Dundry Hill, whereon a high tower, esteemed the Proteus of the weather as being continually enveloped with mist so as scarcely to be visible, against the rain; but on the contrary, if it is seen clear and distinct, it denotes it will be a fine day. The delightful situation of Clifton has long since tempted several persons of large fortune to make it their principal residence and others continuing to follow their example, has occasioned the hill to be almost everywhere covered with respectable mansions, most of them built with free-stone in a very elegant stile; and a noble crescent on a plan superior to anything of the kind. Here are also a great number of handsome houses, built purposely for letting lodgings; some nearly adjoining the Hot-Wells.

At a small distance is Doury-square, the Parade, and for those who choose a gentle elevation there is Albermarle-row, and above that are others still higher rising in every gradation to the top of Clifton-hill where many airy lodging houses that command a fine prospect of the country abound.

The general price paid for lodgings, either at the Hot-Wells or Clifton is 10 shillings a week for each room from the 25th March to the 29th September, from which time to the 25th March again is only 5 shillings each room : servants room half price: and for those who choose to board, the usual price is 16 shillings a week each person, over and above what is paid for lodging: this for any time of the year: servants are boarded at half price.

Text: A Topographical and Statistical Survey of Gloucestershire ( circa 1810) by George Alexander Cooke.

Map: Clifton and the Hot Wells from A Guide to all the Watering and Sea Bathing Places etc (1803) by John Feltham

Jane Austen References

Jane Austen Mrs Austen and Cassandra Austen visited Clifton in the summer of 1806, prior to visiting Adlestrop in Gloucestershire, Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire and Hamstall Ridware in Staffordshire.

The Letters

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 30th June 1808

Letter to Francis Austen dated 3rd July 1813

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 23rd June 1814

Letter to Martha Lloyd dated 2nd September 1814

The Novels

Emma : Chapter 36

Persuasion : Chapter 6

Northanger Abbey : Chapters 11, 14 and 15