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John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

Alderton. — Mr. Gore’s well is a hard water, which, when one washes one’s hands will make them dry, as if it were allume water.  I tryed it by præcipitation, and the sediment was the colour of barme, white and yellow, and fell in a kind of flakes, as snow sometimes will fall, whereas all the other sediments were like fine flower or powder.
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In Minety Common in Bradon forest, neer the rode which leadeth to Ashton Caynes, is a boggy place called the Gogges, where is a spring, or springs, rising up out of fuller’s earth.  This puddle in hot and dry weather is candid like a hoar frost; which to the tast seemes nitrous.  I have seen this salt incrustation, even 14th September, four foot round the edges.  With half a pound of this earth I made a lixivium.  Near half a pint did yield upon evaporation a quarter of an ounce wanting two graines.  Of the remainder of the lixivium, which was more than a pint, I evaporated almost all to crystallize in a cellar.  The liquor turned very red, and the crystalls being putt on a red hott iron flew away immediately, like saltpetre, leaving behind a very little quantity of something that look’d like burnt allum.  Now it is certain that salts doe many times mixe; and Mr. Robert Boyle tells me hee believes it is sea-salt mix’t with {nitre}, and there is a way to separate them.  After a shower this spring will smoake.  The mudd or earth cleanses and scowres incomparably.  A pike of eighteen foot long will not reach to the bottome.

My Lady Cocks of Dumbleton told me that ladies did send ten miles and more for water from a spring on Malverne hill in Worcestershire to wash their faces and make ’em faire.  I believe it was such a nitrous spring as this.
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The fuller’s earth which they use at Wilton is brought from Woburne in Bedfordshire; and sold for ten groates a bushell.
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The Baths may have its tinging vertue from the antimonie in Mendip.  Quaere Mr. Kenrick, that when he changed a sixpence holding it in his hand it turned yellow, and a woman refused it for bad silver.  I thinke he had been making crocus of antimonie.  The chymists doe call antimony Proteus, from its various colouring.
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Mr. T. Hanson, of Magd.  Coll.  Oxon, acquaints me in a letter of May 18, 1691, that he observes that almost all the well-waters about the north part of Wiltshire were very brackish.  At High-worth, Mr. Alhnon, apothecary, told him he had often seen a quantity of milke coagulated with it:  and yet the common people brew with it, which gives their beer an ungratefull tast.  At Cricklad their water is so very salt that the whole town are obliged to have recourse to a river hard by for their necessary uses.  At Wootton Basset, at some small distance from the town, they have a medicinall spring, which a neighbouring divine told him Dr. Willis had given his judgment of, viz. that it was the same with that of Astrop.  They have also a petrifying spring.  At the Devizes, about a quarter of a mile from the towne, a petrifying spring shewn me by Dr. Merriweather, a physitian there.  At Bagshot, near Hungerford, is a chalybiate, dranke by some gentlemen with good successe.
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