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.

Whitty-tree, or wayfaring-tree, is rare in this country; some few in Cranbourn Chace, and three or four on the south downe of the farme of Broad Chalke.  In Herefordshire they are not uncommon; and they used, when I was a boy, to make pinnes for the yoakes of their oxen of them, believing it had vertue to preserve them from being forespoken, as they call it; and they use to plant one by their dwelling-house, believing it to preserve from witches and evill eyes.

Mr. Anthony Hinton, one of the officers of the Earle of Pembroke, did inoculate, not long before the late civill warres (ten yeares or more), a bud of Glastonbury Thorne, on a thorne at his farm-house at Wilton, which blossomes at Christmas as the other did.  My mother has had branches of them for a flower-pott severall Christmasses, which I have seen.  Elias Ashmole, Esq., in his notes upon “Theatrum Chymicum”, saies that in the churchyard at Glastonbury grew a wallnutt tree that did putt out young leaves at Christmas, as doth the king’s oake in the New Forest.  In Parham Parke, in Suffolk (Mr. Boutele’s), is a pretty ancient thorne that blossomes like that at Glastonbury; the people flock thither to see it on Christmas-day.  But in the rode that leades from Worcester to Droitwiche is a blackthorne hedge at Clayn, halfe a mile long or more, that blossomes about Christmas-day for a week or more together.  The ground is called Longland.  Dr. Ezerel Tong sayd that about Runnly-marsh, in Kent, [Romney-marsh?] are thornes naturally like that at Glastonbury.  The souldiers did cutt downe that neer Glastonbury:  the stump remaines.

In the parish of Calne, at a pleasant seat of the Blakes, called Pinhill, was a grove of pines, which gives the name to the seate.  About 1656 there were remaining about four or five:  they made fine shew on the hill.

In the old hedges which are the boundes between the lands of Priory St. Marie, juxta Kington St. Michael, and the west field, which belonged to the Lord Abbot of Glastonbury, are yet remaining a great number of berberry-trees, which I suppose the nunnes made use of for confections, and they taught the young ladies that were educated there such arts.  In those days there were not schooles for young ladies as now, but they were educated at religious houses.


[This Chapter, with the three which follow it, on “Fishes”, “Birds”, and “Reptils and Insects”, constitute a principal branch of the work.  On these topics Aubrey was assisted by his friend Sir James Long, of Draycot, Bart., whose letters to him are inserted in the original manuscript.  Besides the passages here given, the chapter on “Beastes” comprises some extracts from Dame Juliana Berners’ famous “Treatyse on Hawkynge, Hunting, and Fisshynge” (1481); together with a minute account of a sculptured representation of hunting the wild boar, over a Norman doorway at Little Langford Church.  This bas-relief is engraved in Hoare’s Modern Wiltshire. — J. B.]

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