Wanderings in Wessex eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Wanderings in Wessex.

Winding lanes, solitary also of human kind and delightful to wander in for the sake of their treasures of flower and insect life, meander across White Hill and its sister ridge.  One of them passes within a short distance of the “Grey Mare” and her children and, farther on, another group of mysterious stones.  This way would take us to Little Bredy, a village which, of no interest in itself, has been made a scene of much beauty by the artificial widening of the little Bride just below its source as it passes through the grounds of Bridehead.  The last resting places of our Neolithic ancestors are scattered in great numbers about the heights that enfold the narrow cleft of the infant stream.

[Illustration:  THE CHARMOUTH ROAD.]

CHAPTER VI

WEST DORSET

The branch line of the Great Western from Maiden Newton makes a wide detour northwards to reach Bridport, passing through a very charming and unspoilt countryside where old “Do’set” ways still hold out against that drab uniformity that seems to be creeping over rustic England.  In this out-of-the-way region are small old stone-built villages lying forgotten between the folds of the hills and rejoicing in names that makes one want to visit them if only for the sake of their quaint nomenclature.

The first station is laconically called Toller.  It serves the two villages Toller Fratrum and Toller Porcorum.  The Toller of the Brothers is charmingly situated on the side of a low hill.  It once belonged to the Knights of St. John, whence its name.  The Early English church has an old font sculptured with the heads of what may be saints, a possible relic of Saxon times; some antiquaries have declared the work to be British of the later days of the Roman occupation.  In the church wall is a curious tablet representing Mary Magdalene wiping our Lord’s feet.  The manor house was built by Sir James Fulford, the great opponent of the Puritans.  It is a delightful house in an equally delightful situation and the beautiful tints of the old walls will be admired as well as the admirable setting of the mansion.

Toller of the Pigs may only mean the place where hogs were kept in herds.  The village is of little interest and has not the fine site of the other.  In the church is a font that is supposed to have once served as a Roman altar.

Over the hills to the south-east is the little village of Wynford Eagle, so called from the fact that it once belonged to that powerful Norman family, the de Aquila, who held Pevensey Castle in Sussex after the Conquest.  The church is an exceedingly poor erection of 1842, but preserves a Norman tympanum from the former building.  The carving represents two griffins or wyverns facing each other in an attitude of defiance.  Wynford Manor House is a beautiful building of the early seventeenth century.  Under the stone eagle that surmounts the centre gable is

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Wanderings in Wessex from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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