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.

["Marlborough has often suffered by fire; particularly in the year 1690.  Soon afterwards the town obtained an act of Parliament to prohibit the covering of houses with thatch.”  Beauties of Wiltshire, vol. ii. p. 177.  A pamphlet was published in 1653 (12mo.) with the following title:- “Take heed in time; or, a briefe relation of many harmes that have of late been done by fire in Marlborough and other places.  Written by L. P.” — J. B.]

In the gallery at Wilton hangs, under the picture of the first William Earl of Pembroke, the picture of a little reddish picked-nose dog (none of the prettiest) that his lordship loved.  The dog starved himself after his master’s death.

Dr. Ralph Bathurst, Dean of Wells, and one of the chaplains to King Charles 1st, who is no superstitious man, protested to me that the curing of the King’s evill by the touch of the King doth puzzle his philosophie:  for whether they were of the house of Yorke or Lancaster it did.  ’Tis true indeed there are prayers read at the touching, but neither the King minds them nor the chaplains.  Some confidently report that James Duke of Monmouth did it.

Imposture. — Richard Heydock, M.D., quondam fellow of New College in Oxford, was an ingenious and a learned person, but much against the hierarchie of the Church of England.  He had a device to gaine proselytes, by preaching in his dreame; which was much noised abroad, and talked of as a miracle.  But King James 1st being at Salisbury went to heare him.  He observed that his harrangue was very methodicall, and that he did but counterfeit a sleep.  He surprised the doctor by drawing his sword, and swearing, “God’s waunes, I will cut off his head”; at which the doctor startled and pretended to awake; and so the cheat was detected.

One M{istress} Katharine Waldron, a gentlewoman of good family, waited on Sir Francis Seymor’s lady, of Marleborough.  Shee pretended to be bewitched by a certain woman, and had acquired such a strange habit that she would endure exquisite torments, as to have pinnes thrust into her flesh, nay under her nailes.  These tricks of hers were about the time when King James wrote his Demonologie.  His Majesty being in these parts, went to see her in one of her fitts.  Shee lay on a bed, and the King saw her endure the torments aforesayd.  The room, as it is easily to be believed, was full of company.  His Majesty gave a sodain pluck to her coates, and tos’t them over her head; which surprise made her immediately start, and detected the cheate.

[Speaking of the trial of Aim Bodenham, who was executed at Salisbury as a witch in 1653, Aubrey says:-] Mr. Anthony Ettrick, of the Middle Temple, a very judicious gentleman, was a curious observer of the whole triall, and was not satisfied.  The crowd of spectators made such a noise that the judge [Chief Baron Wild] could not heare the prisoner, nor the prisoner the judge; but the words were handed from one to the other by Mr. R. Chandler, and sometimes not truly reported.  This memorable triall was printed about 165-. 4to. [See full particulars in Hatcher’s History of Salisbury, p. 418. — J. B.]

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