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.

These bulletts are Dr. Th.  Willises aperitive pills; sc. he putts a barre of iron into the smith’s forge, and gives it a sparkling heat; then thrusts it against a roll of brimstone, and the barre will melt down into these bulletts; of which he made his aperitive pills.  In this region is a great deale of iron, and the Bath waters give sufficient evidence that there is store of sulphur; so that heretofore when the earthquakes were hereabouts, store of such bulletts must necessarily be made and vomited up. [Dr. Willis was one of the most eminent physicians of his age, and author of numerous Latin works on medical subjects.  The above extract is a curious illustration of the state of professional knowledge at the time. — J. B.]

Copperas. — Thunder-stones, as the vulgar call them, are a pyrites; their fibres doe all tend to the centre.  They are found at Broad Chalke frequently, and particularly in the earth pitts belonging to the parsonage shares, below Bury Hill, next Knighton hedge; but wee are too fare from a navigable river to make profit by them; but at the Isle of Wight they are gathered .from the chalkie rocks, and carried by boates to Deptford, to make copperas; where they doe first expose them to the aire

and raine, which makes them slake, and fall to pieces from the centre, and shoot out a pale blewish salt; and then they boile the salt with pieces of old rusty iron.

In the chalkie rocks at Lavington is umber, which painters have used, and Dr. Chr.  Meret hath inserted it in his Pinax. ["Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum, continens Vegetabilia, Animalia, et Fossilia in hac Insula reperta”.  By Christopher Merret, M.D., 1666, 12mo.]

In the parish of Steeple Ashton, at West Ashton, in the grounds of Mr. Tho.  Beech, is found plenty of a very ponderous marchasite, of which Prince Rupert made tryall, but without effect.  It flieth away in sulphur, and the fumes are extreme unwholsom:  it is full of (as it were) brasse, and strikes fire very well.  It is mundick, or mock-oare.  The Earle of Pembroke hath a way to analyse it:  not by fire, but by corroding waters.

Anno Domini, 1685, in Chilmark, was found by digging of a well a
blewish oare, with brasse-like veines in it; it runnes two foot thick. 
I had this oare tryed, and it flew away in sulphur, like that of
Steeple Ashton.

On Flamstone downe (in the parish of Bishopston) neer the Race-way a quarrie of sparre exerts itselfe to the surface of the turfe.  It is the finest sparre that ever I beheld.  I have made as good glasse of this sparre as the Venice glasse.  It is of a bright colour with a very little tincture of yellow; transparent; and runnes in stirias, like nitre; it is extraordinary hard till it is broken, and then it breakes into very minute pieces.

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