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.

The garden at Lavington in this county, and that at Chelsey in Middlesex, as likewise the house there, doe remaine monuments of his ingenuity.  The garden at Lavington is full of irregularities, both naturall and artificiall, sc. elevations and depressions.  Through the length of it there runneth a fine cleare trowt stream; walled with brick on each side, to hinder the earth from mouldring down.  In this stream are placed severall statues.  At the west end is an admirable place for a grotto, where the great arch is, over which now is the market roade.  Among severall others, there is a very pleasant elevation on the south side of the garden, which steales, arising almost insensibly, that is, before one is aware, and gives you a view over the spatious corn-fields there, and so to East Lavington:  where, being landed on a fine levell, letteth you descend again with the like easinesse; each side is flanqued with laurells.  It is almost impossible to describe this garden, it is so full of variety and unevenesse; nay, it would be a difficult matter for a good artist to make a draught of it.  About An┬░. 1686, the right honourable James Earle of Abingdon [who had become possessed of the estate in right of his wife], built a noble portico, full of water workes, which is on the north side of the garden, and faceth the south.  It is both portico and grott, and was designed by Mr. Rose, of ...... in Oxfordshire.

Wilton Garden was the third garden after these two of the Italian mode; but in the time of King Charles the Second gardening was much improved and became common.  I doe believe I may modestly affirme that there is now, 1691, ten times as much gardening about London as there was Anno 1660 ; and wee have been, since that time, much improved in forreign plants, especially since about 1683, there have been exotick plants brought into England no lesse than seven thousand. (From Mr. Watts, gardener of the Apothecary’s garden at Chelsey, and other botanists.)

As for Longleate Garden it was lately made.  I have not seen it, but they say ’tis noble.


Till the breaking out of the civill warres, Tom ô Bedlam’s did travell about the countrey.  They had been poore distracted men that had been putt into Bedlam, where recovering to some sobernesse they were licentiated to goe a begging:  e. g. they had on their left arm an armilla of tinn, printed in some workes, about four inches long; they could not gett it off.  They wore about their necks a great horn of an oxe in a string or bawdrie, which, when they came to an house for almes, they did wind:  and they did putt the drink given them into this horn, whereto they did putt a stopple.  Since the warres I doe not remember to have seen any one of them. (I have seen them in Worcestershire within these thirty years, 1756.  Ms. Note, anonymous.)

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