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.

“An Interpretation of the Number 666; wherein not only the manner how this Number ought to be interpreted is clearly proved and demonstrated; but it is also shewed that this Number is an exquisite and perfect character, truly, exactly, and essentially describing that state of government to which all other notes of Antichrist do agree; with all knowne objections solidly and fully answered that can be materially made against it”. (Oxford, 1642, 4to.) So general were studies of this nature at the time, that Potter’s volume was translated into French, Dutch, and Latin.  The author, though somewhat visionary, was a profound mathematician, and invented several ingenious mechanical instruments.  In Aubrey’s “Lives”, appended to the Letters from the Bodleian, 8vo. 1813, will be found an interesting biographical notice of him.-J.  B.]


[In its etymological sense the term fossil signifies that which may be dug out of the earth.  It is strictly applicable therefore, not only to mineral bodies, and the petrified forms of plants and animals found in the substance of the earth, but even to antiquities and works of art, discovered in a similar situation.  The chapter of Aubrey’s work now under consideration mentions only mineralogical subjects; whence it would appear that he employed the term “mineralls” instead of “metals”, including such mineral substances as were not metals under the general term “fossills”.

At present the term fossil is restricted to antediluvian organic remains; which are considered by Aubrey, in Chapter vii. under the name of “Formed Stones".-J.  B.]

This county cannot boast much of mineralls:  it is more celebrated for superficiall treasure.

At Dracot Cerne and at Easton Piers doe appeare at the surface of the earth frequently a kind of bastard iron oare, which seems to be a vancourier of iron oare, but it is in small quantity and course.

At Send, vulgarly called Seen, the hill whereon it stands is iron-oare, and the richest that ever I saw. (See Chap.  II.)

About Hedington fields, Whetham, Bromham, Bowdon Parke, &c. are still ploughed-up cindres; sc. the scoria of melted iron, which must have been smelted by the Romans (for the Saxons were no artists), who used only foot-blasts, and so left the best part of the metall behind.  These cinders would be of great use for the fluxing of the iron-oare at Send.

At Redhill, in the parish of..... (I thinke Calne) they digge plenty
of ruddle; which is a bolus, and with which they drench their sheep
and cattle for ......... and poor people use it with good successe for
......     This is a red sandy hill, tinged by {iron}, and is a soile that
bears very good carrets.

Mr. John Power of Kington St. Michael (an emperick) told me heretofore that in Pewsham Forest is vitriol; which information he had from his uncle Mr. ....  Perm, who was an ingeniose and learned man in those daies, and a chymist, which was then rare.

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