The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

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

I shall begin with the river of Wyley-bourn, which gives name to Wilton, the shire town.  The mappe-makers write it Wyley fulvous, and joiner a British and a Saxon word together:  but that is a received error.  I doe believe that the ancient and true name was Twy, as the river Twy in Herefordshire, which signifies vagary:  and so this river Wye, which is fed with the Deverill springs, in its mandrels winding, watering the meadows, gives the name to the village called Wyley, as also Wilton (Wyley-ton); where, meeting with the upper Avon and the river Adder, it runnes to Downtown and Fording bridge, visiting the New Forest, and disembogues into the sea at Christ Church in Hampshire.  On Monday morning, the 20th of September, [1669] was begun a well intended designe for cutting the river [Avon] below Salisbury to make it navigable to carry boats of burthen to and from Christ Church.  This work was principally encouraged by the Right Reverend Father in God, Seth, Lord Bishop of Salisbury, his Lordship digging the first spit of earth, and driving the first wheeled barrow.  Col.  John Wyndham was also a generous benefactor and encourager of this undertaking.  He gave to this designe an hundred pounds.  He tells me that the Bishop of Salisbury gave, he thinks, an hundred and fifty pounds:  he is sure a hundred was the least.  The engineer was one Mr. Far trey, but it seems not his craft’s-master; for through want of skill all this charge and paines came to nothing:  but An° Done 16. . .it was more auspiciously undertaken and perfected; and now boats passe between Salisbury and Christ Church, and carry wood and corne from the New Forest, the cartage whereof was very dearer; but as yet they want a haven at Christ Church, which will require time and charge.

[Of the numerous rivers in Wiltshire only a few are navigable, and those only for a short distance in the county.  This is the consequence of its inland position and comparative elevation; whence it results that the principal streams have little more than their sources within its limits.  The project of rendering the Avon navigable from Salisbury to Christ Church appears to have been first promulgated by John Taylor, the Water Poet, who, in 1625, made an excursion in his own sherry, with five companions, from London to Christ Church, and thence up the Avon to Salisbury.  He published an account of his voyage, under the title of " A Discovery by sea, from London to Salisbury.”  Francis Mathew also suggested the improvement of the navigation of the river in 1655; and an Act of Parliament for that purpose was obtained in 1664.  Bishop Ward was translated to the see of Salisbury in 1667, but the commencement of the works, as described by Aubrey, was probably delayed till 1669, in August of which year the Mayor of Salisbury and others were constituted a Committee “to consult and treat with such persons as will undertake to render the Avon navigable.”  Two other pamphlets urging the importance of the project were published in 1672 and

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