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.

At Everly is another race.  Quære, if the Earle of Abington hath not set up another?

Stobball-play is peculiar to North Wilts, North Gloucestershire, and a little part of Somerset near Bath.  They smite a ball, stuffed very hard with quills and covered with soale leather, with a staffe, commonly made of withy, about 3 [feet] and a halfe long.  Colerne-downe is the place so famous and so frequented for stobball-playing.  The turfe is very fine, and the rock (freestone) is within an inch and a halfe of the surface, which gives the ball so quick a rebound.  A stobball-ball is of about four inches diameter, and as hard as a stone.  I doe not heare that this game is used anywhere in England but in this part of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire adjoining.


        Ofthe number of ATTORNIES in this countie now and heretofore.

[A statute was passed in the reign of Edward I. which gave the first authority to suitors in the courts of law to prosecute or defend by attorney; and the number of attorneys afterwards increased so rapidly that several statutes were passed in the reigns of Henry iv.  Henry vi. and Elizabeth, for limiting their number.  One of these (33 Hen.  VI. c. 7) states that not long before there were only six or eight attorneys in Norfolk and Suffolk, and that their increase to twenty-four was to the vexation and prejudice of those counties; and it therefore enacts that for the future there shall be only six in Norfolk, six in Suffolk, and two in Norwich. (Penny Cycle, art.  Attorney.) Aubrey adopts the inference that strife and dissension were promoted by the increase of attorneys; which he accordingly laments as a serious evil.  He quotes at some length from a treatise “About Actions for Slander and Arbitrements, what words are actionable in the law, and what not”, &c. by John March, of Gray’s Inn, Barrister (London, 1674, 8vo.); wherein the great increase of actions for slander is shewn, by reference to old law books.  The author urges the propriety of checking such actions as much as possible, and quaintly observes, “as I cannot balk that observation of that learned Chief Justice (Wray), who sayes that in our old bookes actions for scandal are very rare; so I will here close with this one word:  though the tongues of men be set on fire, I know no reason wherefore the law should be used as bellows”.  Aubrey remarks upon this:- “The true and intrinsic reason why actions of the case were so rare in those times above mentioned, was by reason that men’s consciences were kept cleane and in awe by confession”; and he concludes the chapter with an extract from “Europæ Speculum”, by Sir Edwin Sandys, Knight, (1637,) in which the advantages and disadvantages of auricular confession are discussed. - J. B.]

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