When a boy I caught many of these fish in the pond
at Kington St. Michael, both by angling and by baiting
three or four hooks at the end of a piece of string
and leaving them in the water all night. In the
morning I have found two, and sometimes three, large
fish captured. On one occasion “Squire
White”, the proprietor of the estate, discharged
his gun, apparently at me, to deter me from this act
of poaching and trespassing. — J. B.]
As for ponds, we cannot boast much of them; the biggest
is that in Bradon Forest. There is a fair pond
at West Lavington which was made by Sir John Danvers.
At Draycot Cerne the ponds are not great, but the
carpes very good, and free from muddinesse. In
Wardour Parke is a stately pond; at Wilton and Longleat
two noble canals and severall small ponds; and in
the parke at Kington St. Michael are several ponds
in traine. [The latter ponds are supplied by two springs
in the immediate vicinity, forming one of the tributaries
of the Avon. The stream abounds with trout, many
of which I have caught at the end of the summer season,
by laving out the water from the deeper holes. - J.
Tenches are common. Loches are in the Upper Avon
at Amesbury. Very good perches in the North Avon,
but none in the Upper Avon. Salmons are sometimes
taken in the Upper Avon, rarely, at Harnham Bridge
juxta Sarum. [On the authority of this passage, Dr.
Maton includes the salmon among the Wiltshire fish;
but he adds, “I know no person now living who
has ascertained its having ascended the Avon so far
as Salisbury.” Hatcher’s Hist, of
Salisbury, p. 689.-J. B.]
Good pikes, roches, and daces in both the Avons. In the river Avon at Malmesbury are lamprills (resembling lampreis) in knotts: they are but..... inches long. They use them for baytes; and they squeeze these knotts together and make little kind of cheeses of them for eating.
We have great plenty of larkes, and very good ones, especially in Golem-fields and those parts adjoyning to Coteswold. They take them by alluring them with a dareing-glasse,* which is whirled about in a sun-shining day, and the larkes are pleased at it, and strike at it, as at a sheepe’s eye, and at that time the nett is drawn over them. While he playes with his glasse he whistles with his larke-call of silver, a tympanum of about the diameter of a threepence. In the south part of Wiltshire they doe not use dareing-glasses but catch these pretty ætheriall birds with trammolls.
* ["Let his grace go forward, and dare us with his cap like larks.” - Shakspere, Henry viii. Act iii. sc. 2.]
The buntings doe accompany the larkes. Linnets on the downes. Woodpeckers severall sorts: many in North Wilts.