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.

In the court of my honoured friend Edm.  Wyld Esq., at Houghton in Bedfordshire, in twenty-four yeares, viz. from 1656 to 1680, the ground increased nine inches, only by rotting grasse upon grasse.  ’Tis a rich soile, and reddish; worth xxs. per acre.

The spring after the conflagration at London all the ruines were overgrown with an herbe or two; but especially one with a yellow flower:  and on the south side of St. Paul’s Church it grew as thick as could be; nay, on the very top of the tower.  The herbalists call it Ericolevis Neapolitana, small bank cresses of Naples; which plant Tho.  Willis told me he knew before but in one place* about the towne; and that was at Battle Bridge by the Pindar of Wakefield, and that in no great quantity. [The Pindar of Wakefield is still a public-house, under the same sign, in Gray’s Inn Road, in the parish of St. Pancras, London.- J. B.]

It growes abundantly by ye waysides between London and Kensington.- [J.  RAY.]


Sir John Danvers, of Chelsey, did assure me to his knowledge that my Lord Chancellor Bacon was wont to compound severall sorts of earths, digged up very deep, to produce severall sorts of plants.  This he did in the garden at Yorke House, where he lived when he was Lord Chancellor. (See Sir Ken.  Digby, concerning his composition of earth of severall places.)

Edmund Wyld, Esq.  R.S.S. hath had a pott of composition in his garden these seven yeares that beares nothing at all, not so much as grasse or mosse.  He makes his challenge, if any man will give him xx li. he will give him an hundred if it doth not beare wheate spontaneously; and the party shall keep the key, and he shall sift the earth composition through a fine sieve, so that he may be sure there are no graines of wheat in it He hath also a composition for pease; but that he will not warrant, not having yet tryed it,

Pico’s [Peaks.] — In this county are Clay-hill, near Warminster; the Castle-hill at Mere, and Knoll-hill, near Kilmanton, which is half in Wilts, and half in Somersetshire; all which seem to have been raised (like great blisters) by earthquakes. [Bishop tanner adds in a note, “Suthbury hill, neer Collingburn, which I take to be the highest hill hi Wiltshire".] That great vertuoso, Mr. Francis Potter, author of the “Interpretation of 666,"† Rector of Kilmanton, took great delight in this Knoll-hill.  It gives an admirable prospect every way; from hence one may see the foss-way between Cyrencester and Glocester, which is fourty miles from this place.  You may see the Isle of Wight, Salisbury steeple, the Severne sea, &c.  It would be an admirable station for him that shall make a geographical description of Wilts, Somersett, &c.

†[The full title of the work referred to is a curiosity in literature.  It exemplifies forcibly the abstruse and mystical researches in which the literati of the seventeenth century indulged.

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