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.

At Chilmarke is a very great quarrie of freestone, whereof the religious houses of the south part of Wiltshire and Dorset were built. [The walls, buttresses, and other substantial parts of Salisbury Cathedral are constructed of the Chilmarke stone. — J. B.]

At Teffont Ewyas is a quarrie of very good white freestone, not long since discovered.

At Compton Basset is a quarrie of soft white stone betwixt chalke and freestone:  it endures fire admirably well, and would be good for reverbatory furnaces:  it is much used for ovens and hearth-stones:  it is as white as chalke.  At my Lord Stowell’s house at Aubury is a chimney piece carved of it in figures; but it doth not endure the weather, and therefore it ought not to be exposed to sun and raine.

At Yatton Keynel, in Longdean, is a freestone quarrie, but it doth not endure the weather well.

In Alderton-field is a freestone quarrie, discovered a little before the civill-warres broke forth.

In Bower Chalke field, in the land that belongs to the farme of Broad Chalke, is a quarrie of freestone of a dirty greenish colour, very soft, but endures the weather well.  The church and houses there are built with it, and the barne of the farme, w{hi}ch is of great antiquity.

The common stone in Malmesbury hundred and thereabout is oftentimes blewish in the inside, and full of very small cockles, as at Easton Piers.  These stones are dampish and sweate, and doe emitt a cold and unwholsome dampe, sc. the vitriolate petrified salt in it exerts itselfe.


I know no where in this county that lime is made, unlesse it be made of Chalke stones:  whereas between Bath and Bristoll all the stone is lime-stone.  If lime were at xs. or xxs. per lib. it would be valued above all other drugges.

At Swindon is a quarrie of stones, excellent for paveing halls, staire-cases, &c; it being pretty white and smooth, and of such a texture as not to be moist or wett in damp weather.  It is used at London in Montagu-house, and in Barkeley-house &c. (and at Cornberry, Oxon.  John Evelyn).  This stone is not inferior to Purbac grubbes, but whiter.  It takes a little polish, and is a dry stone.  It was discovered but about 1640, yet it lies not above four or five foot deep.  It is near the towne, and not above [ten] miles from the river of Thames at Lechlade. [The Wilts and Berks Canal and the Great Western Railway now pass close to the town of Swindon, and afford great faculties for the conveyance of this stone, which is now in consequence very extensively used.- J. B.]

If Chalk may be numbred among stones, we have great plenty of it.  I doe believe that all chalke was once marle; that is, that chalke has undergone subterraneous bakeings, and is become hard:  e. g, as wee make tobacco-pipes.

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