Wanderings in Wessex eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 332 pages of information about Wanderings in Wessex.
font, and an old stone pulpit dating from the fifteenth century.  Close by is a manor house, once the property of the Bishops of Winchester.  Warnford, a mile below West Meon, has a church of great interest.  It is a Norman building on the site of the first sanctuary erected for the converted Meonwaras by Wilfred of York.  Several noteworthy features may be seen, including a Saxon sundial from the original church.  At Corhampton two miles further south, a Saxon church still remains, though it has lost its early apsidal chancel.

[Illustration:  CORHAMPTON.]

The building has apparently been erected on a mound, possibly prehistoric.  Droxford station is within a four-mile walk of Hambledon where, in 1774, modern cricket was first played.  Droxford Church is another fine old building that, with those just enumerated, lends an added interest to this delightful valley, the scenic charm of which would alone be sufficient recompense for the trouble involved in exploring it.  Customs and beliefs are more primitive and the forms of speech more archaic than in the region beyond the New Forest, and the natives have a goodly amount of the old Jutish blood in their veins, possibly more than their relatives of the Isle of Wight.  The swelling hills of that delectable land fill the vista as we descend between Soberton and Wickham, where the valley divides the main portion of the ancient Forest of Bere from the scattered woodlands of Waltham Chase and, at the last-named village, widens into the lowlands that stretch between Tichfield and Fareham and the busy activities of Portsmouth.

We now near the end of our brief exploration of Wessex and, returning to Basingstoke, take the last sixteen miles of our course over the great road, straight and lonely of houses, that runs across the hills to Winchester.  The Romans built up the solid foundations of the greater part of this highway which passes through no villages, though it has several within a short distance of its straight hedges and interminable telegraph posts.  Near the Sun Inn, high on the chalk hills five miles from Basingstoke, a lane turns left to Dummer, worth visiting for the sake of the old unrestored church dating mostly from the early thirteenth century.  The old beams and the large sixteenth-century gallery have escaped “improvement.”  The oak pulpit is said to date from the early fifteenth century.  The most striking feature of the interior is a canopy over the chancel arch, a relic of the rood that once stood beneath it.  Several interesting brasses of the At Moores, and a squint at the back of a recess, or image niche, should be noticed.  George Whitfield’s first ministry was in this church.  Close by is the ancient manor house, partly of the fourteenth century, and on the Basingstoke side of the village is Kempshott Park, a “hunting lodge” of George IV.  The bare rolling Downs reach a height of over 650 feet east of Dummer, in the neighbourhood of Farleigh Wallop and Nutley. 

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Wanderings in Wessex from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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