The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

Mrs. Fr. Tyndale, of Priorie St. Maries, when a child, voyded a lumbricus biceps.  Mr. Winceslaus Hollar, when he was at Mechlin, saw an amphisbæna, which he did very curiously delineate, and coloured it in water colours, of the very colour:  it was exactly the colour of the inner peele of an onyon:  it was about six inches long, but in its repture it made the figure of a semicircle; both the heads advancing equally.  It was found under a piece of old timber, about 1661; under the jawes it had barbes like a barbel, which did strengthen his motion in running.  This draught, amongst a world of others, Mr. Thorn.  Chiffinch, of Whitehall, hath; for which Mr. Hollar protested to me he had no compensation.  The diameter was about that of a slo-worme; and I guesse it was an amphisbænal slo-worme.

[The serpents called amphisbæna are so designated (from the Greek {Gk:  amphisbaina}) in consequence of their ability to move backwards as well as forwards.  The head and tail of the amphisbæna are very similar in form:  whence the common belief that it possesses a head at each extremity.  It was formerly supposed that cutting off one of its “heads” would fail to destroy this animal; and that its flesh, dried and pulverized, was an infallible remedy for dislocations and broken bones.-J.  B.]

CHAPTER XVI.  OBSERVATIONS ON PARISH REGISTERS,

According to the way prescribed by the honbleSir Wm. Petty, knight.

[This chapter consists merely of memoranda for the further examination of those valuable materials for local and general statistics — the parochial registers.  Aubrey has inserted the number of baptisms, marriages, and burials, recorded in the registers of Broad Chalke, for each year, from 1630 to 1642, and from 1676 to 1684 inclusive; distinguishing the baptisms and burials of males and females in each year.  The like particulars are given for a period of five years from the registers of Dunhead St. Mary.  He adds, “In anno 1686 I made extracts out of the register bookes of half a dozen parishes in South Wiltshire, which I gave to Sir Wm. Petty.”  The following passages will suffice to indicate the nature of his remarks.- J. B.]

Mr. Robert good, M.A., of Bower Chalke, hath a method to calculate the provision that is spent in a yeare in their parish; and does find that one house with another spends six pounds per annum; which comes within an hundred pounds of the parish rate.

Sir “W.  Petty observes, from the account of the people, that not above halfe teeming women are marryed; and that if the Government pleased there might be such a multiplication of mankind as in 1500 yeares would sufficiently plant every habitable acre in the world.
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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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