Phantomes. — Though I myselfe never saw any such things, yet I will not conclude that there is no truth at all in these reports. I believe that extraordinarily there have been such apparitions; but where one is true a hundred are figments. There is a lecherie in lyeing and imposeing on the credulous; and the imagination of fearfull people is to admiration: e.g. Not long after the cave at Bathford was discovered (where the opus tessellatum was found), one of Mr. Skreen’s ploughboyes lyeing asleep near to the mouth of the cave, a gentleman in a boate on the river Avon, which runnes hard by, played on his flajolet. The boy apprehended the musique to be in the cave, and ran away in a lamentable fright, and his fearfull phancy made him believe he saw spirits in the cave. This Mr. Skreen told me, and that the neighbourhood are so confident of the truth of this, that there is no undeceiving of them.
[This chapter comprises only a few scattered notes; of which the following are specimens. -J. B.]
I take Merton to be the best seated for healthy aire, &c., and sports, of any place in this county. The soile is gravelly and pebbly.
Ivy Church, adjoining to Clarendon Parke, a grove of elms, and prospect over the city of Salisbury and the adjacent parts. The right honorable Mary, Countess of Pembroke, much delighted in this place.
At Longford is a noble house that was built by Lord Georges, who married a Swedish lady. [See before, p. 102. Sir Thomas Gorges was the second husband of Helena dowager Marchioness of Northampton, daughter of Wolfgang Snachenburg, of Sweden: see Hoare’s Modern Wiltshire, Hundred of Cawden, p. 31.-J. B.]
Little-coat, in the parish of Rammysbury, is a very great house. It was Sir Thomas Dayrell’s, who was tryed for his life for burning a child, being accessory. It is now Sir Jo. Popham’s, Lord Chief Justice. [The murder here alluded to is said to have been committed in Littlecot-house. The strange and mysterious story connected with it is recorded in a note to Scott’s poem of “Rokeby,” and also in the account of Wiltshire, in the Beauties of England. — J. B.]
Longleat, the dwelling place of the Thynnes, a very fair, neat, elegant house, in a foul soile. It is true Roman architecture, adorned on the outside with three orders of pillars, Dorique, Ionique, and Corinthian.
Tocknam [Tottenham] Parke, a seate of the Duke of Somerset, is a most parkely ground, and a romancey place. Severall walkes of trees planted of great length. Here is a new complete pile of good architecture. It is in the parish of Great Bedwin. [The domain comprises the whole extent of Savernake Forest. — J. B.]
Wardour Castle, the seate of the Lord Arundell, was kept by Col. Ludlow: a part of it was blown up by Sir F. Dodington in 1644 or 1645. Here was a red-deer parke and a fallow-deer parke. [Some of the ruins of the old castle still remain. The present mansion, belonging to the Arundell family of Wardour, was erected about seventy years ago. - J. B.]