The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

When King James the First was in these parts he lay at Sir Edw.  Baynton’s at Bromham.  Mr. Ferraby then entertained his Majesty at the Bush, in Cotefield, with bucoliques of his own making and composing, of four parts; which were sung by his parishioners, who wore frocks and whippes like carters.  Whilst his majesty was thus diverted, the eight bells (of which he was the cause) did ring, and the organ was played on for state; and after this musicall entertainment he entertained his Majesty with a foot-ball match of his own parishioners.  This parish in those dayes would have challenged all England for musique, foot-ball, and ringing.  For this entertainment his Majesty made him one of his chaplains in ordinary.

When Queen Anne† returned from Bathe, he made an entertainment for her Majesty on Canning’s-down, sc. at Shepherds-shard,‡ at Wensditch, with a pastorall performed by himself and his parishioners in shepherds’ weeds.  A copie of his song was printed within a compartment excellently well engraved and designed, with goates, pipes, sheep hooks, cornucopias, &c. [Aubrey has transcribed it into his manuscript.  It appears that it was sung as above mentioned on the llth of June 1613; being “voyc’t in four parts compleatly musicall”; and we are told that “it was by her Highnesse not only most gratiously accepted and approved, but also bounteously rewarded; and by the right honourable, worshipfull, and the rest of the generall hearers and beholders, worthily applauded”.  See this also noticed in Wood’s “Fasti Oxonienses”, under “Ferebe”, and in Nichols’s Progresses, &c. of King James the First, ii. 668.  In this curious chapter, Aubrey has further transcribed “A Dialogue between two Shepherds uttered in a Pastorall shew at Wilton”, and written by Sir Philip Sidney.  See the Life of Sidney, prefixed to an edition of his Works in three volumes, 8vo, 1725.-J.  B.]

†[Anne of Denmark, Queen of James I. was married to that monarch in 1589, and died in 1619.-J.  B.]

‡[Shard is a word used in Wiltshire to indicate a gap in a hedge.  Ponshard signifies a broken piece of earthenware.-J.  B.]



[The author appears to have merely commenced this chapter; which, as it now stands in the manuscript, contains little more than is here printed.  The three succeeding chapters are connected in their subjects with the present. — J. B.]

This nation is the most famous for the great quantity of wooll of any in the world; and this county hath the most sheep and wooll of any other.  The down-wooll is not of the finest of England, but of about the second rate.  That of the common-field is the finest.

Quaere, if Castle Comb was not a staple for wooll, or else a very great wooll-market?

Mr. Ludlowe, of the Devises, and his predecessours have been wooll-breakers [brokers] 80 or 90 yeares, and hath promised to assist me.

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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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