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.

Part of an Epitaph at Colinbourne-Kinston in Wiltshire, communicated to the Philosophicall Conventus at the Musæum at Oxford, by Mr. Arthur Charlett, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford:- “Pray for the soule of Constantine Darrel, Esq. who died Anno Dni. 1400, and....... his wife, who died A°.  Dni. 1495.”  See it.  I doe believe the dates in the inscription are in numerical letters. [In this case the former date was probably left unfinished, when the husband placed the inscription to his wife, and after his death it was neglected to be filled up, as in many other instances.  The numerals would be in black letter.- J. B.]

In the chancel at Milsham is an inscription of Isaac Self, a wealthy cloathiers of that place, who died in the 92nd yeare of his age, leaving behind him a numerous offspring; viz. eighty and three in number.

Ella, Countesse of Salisbury, daughter to [William] Longespe, was foundress of Lacock Abbey; where she ended her days, being above a hundred yeares old; she outlived her understanding.  This I found in an old Ms. called Chronicon de Lacock in Bibliotheca Cottoniana. [The chronicle referred to was destroyed by the fire which so seriously injured the Cotton MSS. in 1731.  The extracts preserved from it do not confirm Aubrey’s statements, but place the Countess Ela’s death on the ix kal.  Sept. 1261, in the 74th year of her age.  See Bowles’s History of Lacock, Appendix, p. v. — J. B.]

Dame Olave, a daughter and coheire of Sir [Henry] Sharington of Lacock, being in love with [John] Talbot, a younger brother of the Earle of Shrewsbury, and her father not consenting that she should marry him; discoursing with him one night from the battlements of the Abbey Church, said shee, “I will leap downe to you:”  her sweet heart replied he would catch her then; but he did not believe she would have done it.  She leap’t downe, and the wind, which was then high, came under her coates and did something breake the fall.  Mr. Talbot caught her in his armes, but she struck him dead:  she cried out for help, and he was with great difficulty brought to life again.  Her father told her that since she had made such a leap she should e’en marrie him.  She was my honoured friend Col.  Sharington Talbot’s grandmother, and died at her house at Lacock about 1651, being about an hundred yeares old.  Quaere, Sir Jo.  Talbot?

[This romantic story seems to have escaped the attention of the venerable historian of Lacock, the Rev. Canon Bowles.  The late John Carter mentions a tradition of which he was informed on visiting Lacock in 1801, to the effect that “one of the nuns jumped from a gallery on the top of a turret there into the arms of her lover.”  He observes, as impugning the truth of the story, that the gallery “appears to have been the work of James or Charles the First’s time.”  Aubrey’s anecdote has an appearance of authenticity.  Its heroine, Olave, or Olivia Sherington, married John Talbot, Esq. of Salwarpe, in the county of Worcester, fourth in descent from John, second Earl of Shrews- bury.  She inherited the Lacock estate from her father, and it has ever since^ remained the property of that branch of the Talbot family, now represented by the scientific Henry Fox Talbot, Esq. -J.  B.]

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