[The reader will find many observations of this nature,
and on analogous subjects, in the manuscript, which
it has not been thought desirable to print. Among
the rest are several pages from John Norden’s
“Surveyor’s Dialogue”, containing
advice and directions respecting agriculture, of which
Aubrey says, “though they are not of Wiltshire,
they will do no hurt here; and, if my countrymen know
it not, I wish they might learn”. — J.
The wheate and bread of this county, especially South
Wilts, is but indifferent; that of the Vale of White
Horse is excellent. King Charles ii. when
he lay at Salisbury, in his progresse, complained
that he found there neither good bread nor good beer.
But for the latter, ’twas the fault of the brewer
not to boil it well; for the water and the mault there
are as good as any in England.
The improvement by cinque-foile, which now spreads much in the stone-brash lands, was first used at North Wraxhall by Nicholas Hall, who came from Dundery in Somersetshire, about the yeare 1650.
George Johnson, Esq. counsellour-at-law, did improve
some of his estate at Bowdon-parke, by marling, from
6d. an acre to 25sh. He did lay three hundred
loades of blew marle upon an acre.
Sir William Basset, of Claverdoun, hath made the best
vinyard that I have heard of in England. He sayes
that the Navarre grape is the best for our climate,
and that the eastern sunn does most comfort the vine,
by putting off the cold. Mr. Jo. Ash, of
Teffont Ewyas, has a pretty vineyard of about six
acres, made anno 1665. Sir Walter Erneley, Baronet,
told me, a little before he died, that he was making
one at Stert, I thinke, neer the Devizes.
The improvement of watering meadows began at Wyley,
about 1635, about which time, I remember, we began
to use them at Chalke. Watering of meadows about
Marleburgh and so to Hungerford was, I remember, about
1646, and Mr. John Bayly, of Bishop’s Down, near
Salisbury, about the same time made his great improvements
by watering there by St. Thomas’s Bridge.
This is as old as the Romans; e.g. Virgil,
“Claudite jam rivos, pueri, sat prata biberunt”.
Mr. Jo. Evelyn told me that out of Varro, Cato,
and Columella are to be extracted all good rules of
husbandry; and he wishes that a good collection or
extraction were made out of them.