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Wanderings in Wessex by Edric Holmes

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Author of "Seaward Sussex," etc.

With 12 full-page drawings by


and over one hundred illustrations in the text by the author.

Map and Plans

Dear hills do lift their heads aloft
From whence sweet springes doe flow
Whose moistvr good both firtil make
The valleis covchte belowe
Dear goodly orchards planted are
In frvite which doo abovnde
Thine ey wolde make thy hart rejoice
To see so pleasant grovnde

(_Anon. 16th Century_)


The obvious limitations imposed by the size of this volume upon its
contents, and the brief character of the reference to localities that
require separate treatment to do them justice, would call for an
apology if it were not made clear that the object of the book is but
to introduce the would-be traveller in one of the fairest quarters of
England to some of its glories, both of natural beauty and of those
due to the skill and labour of man.

The grateful thanks of the author are due to those of his predecessors
on the high roads and in the by-ways of Wessex who, in time past,
have chronicled their researches into the history and lore of the
country-side. In one way only can he claim an equality with them--in
a deep and undying affection for this beautiful and gracious province
of the Motherland.

















Winchester Cathedral _Frontispiece_
St. Cross
Bargate, Southampton
Corfe Castle
Cerne Abbey Gatehouse
Weymouth Harbour
The Charmouth Road
Ottery Church
Salisbury Cathedral


The Dorset Coast--Mupe Bay
Font, Winchester Cathedral
Plan, Winchester Cathedral
Steps from North Transept, Winchester
Gateway, Winchester Close
Winchester College
Statue of Alfred
City Cross, Winchester
West Gate, Winchester
The Church, St. Cross
Romsey Abbey
The Arcades, Southampton
Netley Ruins
On the Hamble
Gate House, Titchfield
The Knightwood Oak in Winter
Lymington Church
Norman Turret, Christchurch
Sand and Pines. Bournemouth
Wimborne Minster
Julian's Bridge, Wimborne
Cranborne Manor
St. Martin's, Wareham
The Frome at Wareham
Plan of Corfe Castle
Corfe Village
St. Aldhelm's
Old Swanage
Tilly Whim
The Ballard Cliffs
Arish Mel
Lulworth Cove from above Stair Hole
Durdle Door
Napper's Mite
Maiden Castle
Wyke Regis
Old Weymouth
On the way to Church Ope
Bow and Arrow Castle
St. Catherine's Chapel
Eggardon Hill
Lyme from the Charmouth Footpath
Lyme Bay
Axmouth from the Railway
Seaton Hole
The Way to the Sea, Beer
Branscombe Church
Ford Abbey
Tower, Ilminster
Yeovil Church
Sherborne Castle
Bruton Bow
Milton Abbey
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury
Wardour Castle
Wilton House, Holbein Front
Bemerton Church
Old Sarum
Salisbury Market Place
High Street Gate
Plan of Salisbury Cathedral
Gate, South Choir Aisle
The Poultry Cross, Salisbury
Longford Castle
Downton Cross
Ludgershall Church
Gatehouse, Amesbury Abbey
Amesbury Church
Plan of Stonehenge (restored)
Stonehenge Detail
Boyton Manor
Frome Church
Westbury White Horse
Porch House, Potterne
St. John's, Devizes
Bishop's Cannings
Silbury Hill
Devil's Den
Garden Front, Marlborough College
Cloth Hall, Newbury
The Inkpen Country
Holy Ghost Chapel, Basingstoke
Map of Wessex


_The following brief notes will assist the traveller who is not an
expert in arriving at the approximate date of ecclesiastical

SAXON 600-1066. Simple and heavy structure. Very small wall openings.
Narrow bands of stone in exterior walls.

NORMAN 1066-1150. Round arches. Heavy round or square pillars. Cushion
capitals. Elaborate recessed doorways. Zig-zag ornament.

TRANSITION 1150-1200. Round arched windows combined with pointed
structural arch. Round pillars sometimes with slender columns
attached. Foliage ornament on capitals.

EARLY ENGLISH 1200-1280 (including Geometrical) Pointed arches.
Pillars with detached shafts. Moulded or carved capitals. Narrow and
high pointed windows. Later period--Geometrical trefoil and circular
tracery in windows.

DECORATED 1280-1380. High and graceful arches. Deep moulding to
pillars. Convex moulding to capitals with natural foliage. "Ball
flowers" ornament. Elaborate and flamboyant window tracery.

PERPENDICULAR 1380-1550. Arches lower and flattened. Clustered
pillars. Windows and doors square-headed with perpendicular lines.
Grotesque ornament. (The last fifty years of the sixteenth century
were characterized by a debased Gothic style with Italian details in
the churches and a beauty and magnificence in domestic architecture
which has never since been surpassed.)

JACOBEAN and GEORGIAN 1600-1800 are adaptations of the classical
style. The "Gothic Revival" dates from 1835.


The kingdom of Wessex; the realm of the great Alfred; that state of
the Heptarchy which more than any other gave the impress of its
character to the England to be, is to-day the most interesting, and
perhaps the most beautiful, of the pre-conquest divisions of the

As a geographical term Wessex is capable of several interpretations
and some misunderstandings. Early Wessex was a comparatively small
portion of Alfred's political state, but by the end of the ninth
century, through the genius of the West Saxon chiefs, crowned by
Alfred's statesmanship, the kingdom included the greater portion of
southern England and such alien districts as Essex, Kent, and the
distinct territory of the South Saxons.

The boundaries of Wessex in Alfred's younger days and before this
expansion took place followed approximately those of the modern
counties of Hants, Berks, Wilts and Dorset, with overlappings into
Somerset and East Devon.

The true nucleus of this principality, which might, without great call
upon the imagination, be called the nucleus of the future Britain, is
that wide and fertile valley that extends from the shores of the
Solent to Winchester and was colonized by two kindred races. Those
invaders known to us as the Jutes took possession of Vectis--the Isle
of Wight--and of the coast of the adjacent mainland. The second band,
of West Saxons, penetrated into the heart of modern Hampshire and
presently claimed the allegiance of their forerunners.

That seems to have been given, to a large extent in an amicable and
friendly spirit, to the mutual advantage of the allied races.

It would appear that these settlers--Jutes and Saxons--were either
more civilized than their contemporaries, or had a better idea of
human rights than had their cousins who invaded the country between
Regnum and Anderida to such purpose "that not one Briton remained." Or
it may be that the majority of the inhabitants of south central
Britain, left derelict by their Roman guardians, showed little
opposition. It is difficult for a brave and warlike race to massacre
in cold blood a people who make no resistance and are therefore not
adversaries but simply chattels to be used or ignored as policy, or
need, dictates. In 520 at Badbury Hill, however, a good fight seems to
have been made by a party of Britons led, according to legend, by the
great Arthur in person. The victory was with the defenders and had the
effect of holding up Cerdic's conquest for a short time. Again some
sort of resistance would seem to have been made before those
mysterious sanctuaries around Avebury and Stonehenge fell to the
Saxon. It is possible that the old holy places of a half-forgotten
faith were again resorted to during the distracting years which
followed the withdrawal of the Roman peace that, during its later
period, had been combined with Christianity. Whatever the cause, it is
certain that something prevented an immediate Saxon advance across the
remote country which eventually became Wiltshire and Dorset. But the
end came with the fall of the great strongholds around Durnovaria
(Dorchester) which took place soon after the Saxon victory at Deorham
in 577, twenty-five years after Old Sarum had capitulated, thus
cutting off from their brothers of the west and north those of the
British who still remained in possession of the coast country between
the inland waters and savage heathlands of East Dorset and the still
wilder country of Exmoor, Dartmoor and Cornwall.

So, by the end of the sixth century, the Kingdom of Wessex was made
more or less an entity, and the dark-haired, dark-eyed race who once
held the country were in the position of a conquered and vassal
people; for the times and the manners of those times well used by
their conquerors, especially in the country of the Dorsaetas, where at
the worst they were treated as useful slaves, and at the best the
masters were but rustic imitators of their forerunners, the Romans. To
the most careless observer a good proportion of the country people of
Dorset are unusually swarthy and "Welsh" in appearance, though of the
handsomer of the two or three distinct races that go to make up that
mixed nation, which has among its divergent types some of the most
primitive, both in a physical and mental sense, in Europe.

In the ninth century the Kingdom of Wessex had assumed a compact
shape, its boundaries well defined and capable of being well defended.
The valley of the Thames between Staines and Cricklade became the
northern frontier; westwards Malmesbury, Chippenham and Bath fell
within its sphere, and Bristol was a border city. To the east of
Staines the overlordship of Wessex extended across the river and
reached within twenty miles of the Ouse at Bedford. These districts
were the remnants of the united state of the first King of the
English--Egbert, whose realm embraced not only the midland and
semi-pagan Mercia, but who claimed the fealty of East Anglia and
Northumbria and for a few years made the Firth of Forth the north
coast of England. To the south-west the country that Alfred was called
upon to govern reached to the valley of the Plym, and so "West Wales"
or Cornwall became the last retreat of those Britons who refused to
bow to the Saxon.

It will be seen how difficult a matter it is to define the district
this book has to describe, so the southern boundary of the true Wessex
must be taken as the coast line from the Meon river on the east side
of Southampton Water to the mouth of Otter in Devon. On the north, the
great wall of chalk that cuts off the south country from the Vale of
Isis and the Midlands and that has its bastions facing north from
Inkpen Beacon to Hackpen Hill in the Marlborough Downs. East and west
of these summits an arbitrary line drawn southwards to the coast
encloses with more or less exactitude the older Wessex.

Outside the limits here set down but still within Alfred's Kingdom is
a land wonderful in its wealth of history, gracious in its English
comeliness, the fair valleys and gentle swelling hills of South-west
Devon, wildly beautiful Dartmoor and the coloured splendour of Exmoor,
the patrician walls of Bath, and the high romance of ancient Bristol.
Under the Mendip is that gem of medieval art at Wells, one of the
loveliest buildings in Europe, and the unmatched road into the heart
of the hills that runs between the most stupendous cliffs in South
Britain. Not far away is Avalon, or Glastonbury if you will, the
mysteries of which are still being mysteriously unfathomed. From the
chalk uplands of our northern boundary we may look to the distant vale
in whose heart is the dream city of domes and spires--Oxford, and
trace the trench of England's greatest river until it is lost in the
many miles of woodland that surge up to the walls of Windsor. East and
south is that beautiful and still lonely country that lies between the
oldest Wessex and the sister, and ultimate vassal, kingdom of Sussex;
the country of the Meonwaras, a region of heather hills and quiet pine
combes that stretch down to the Solent Sea and the maritime heart of

Across the narrow bar of silver sea is an epitome of Wessex in
miniature, Vectis, where everything of nature described in these
following chapters may be found, a Lilliputian realm that contains not
only Wessex but morsels of East Anglia and fragments of Mercia and
Northumbria, combined with the lovely villages and pleasant towns that
only Wight can show.

All this storied beauty is without the scope of this book but within
the greater Wessex that came to the King who is the really
representative hero of his countrymen. The genius of the West Saxon
became for a time, and to a certain extent through force of
circumstance, a jealous and rather narrow insularity, without wide
views and generous ideals, but to this people may be ascribed some of
the higher traits that go to redeem our race. That their original
rough virtues were polished and refined by their beautiful environment
in the land that became their heritage few can doubt. That their
gradual absorption and amalgamation with the other races who fought
them for the possession of this "dear, dear land" has resulted in the
evolution of a people with a great and wonderful destiny is manifest
to the world, and is a factor in the future of mankind at which we can
but dimly guess.


The scenery of Inner Wessex is as varied as the materials that go to
make it up, from the bare rolling chalk downs of Salisbury Plain to
the abrupt and imposing hills around the Vale of Blackmore. To most
who travel in search of the picturesque and the beautiful, the Dorset
coast and the country immediately in the rear, will make the greatest
appeal. The line of undulating cliffs, often towering in bold,
impressive shapes, that commences almost as soon as Dorset is entered
and continues without a dull mile to the eastern extremity of
Weymouth, is to some minds the finest stretch of England's shore
outside Cornwall, a county that depends entirely on its coast line for
its claim to beauty. To some eyes, indeed, the exquisite and varied
colouring of the Dorset cliffs is more satisfying than that of the
dour and dark rocks of Tintagel and the Land's End. And if Wessex
cannot boast the sustained grandeur of the stern face that England
turns to the Atlantic waves, the romantic arch of Durdle Door, the
majestic hill-cliff that rises above the green cleft of Arish Mel, and
the sombre precipices of St. Aldhelm's, with the smiling loveliness of
the Wessex lanes and hamlets behind them, will be sufficient

Hampshire has been given the character of having the least interesting
shore of all the southern counties. This is a matter of individual
taste. The surf that beats on the sands from Bournemouth to
Southampton Water washes the very edge of the "Great Wood." Again, the
long pebble wall of the Chesil Bank and the barrier "fleets" of middle
Wessex are a real sanctuary of the wild. This is almost the longest
stretch in England without bathing machine or bungalow. Remote and
little visited also is the exquisite sea country that begins at the
strange little settlement of Bridport Quay and ends in Devonshire. To
the writer's mind there is nothing more lovely in seaward England than
the scenery around Golden Cap, that glorious hill that rises near
little old "Chiddick," and no sea town to equal Lyme, standing at the
gate of Devon and incomparably more interesting and unspoilt than any
Devon coast town.

But the traveller in search of something besides the picturesque will
not be contented until he has explored the wonderful region that
enshrines the most unique of human works in Britain, belonging to
remotely different ages and widely dissimilar in aspect and
purpose--Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge. No one can claim to know
Wessex until some hours of quiet have been spent within the walls of
the ancient capital, and no one can know England until the spirit of
the English countryside, the secluded and primary village of the
byways with its mothering church, rich with the best of the past, has
been studied, known and loved. This is the essential England for which
the yeoman of England, whose memorials will be seen in almost every
Wessex hamlet, have given their lives.

[Illustration: ST. CROSS.]



The foundations of the ancient capital of England were probably laid
when the waves of Celtic conquest that had submerged the Neolithic men
stilled to tranquillity. The earliest records left to us are many
generations later and they are obscure and doubtful, but according to
Vigilantius, an early historian whose lost writings have been quoted
by those who followed him, a great Christian church was re-erected
here in A.D. 164 by Lucius, King of the Belgae, on the site of a
building destroyed during a temporary revival of paganism. The Roman
masters of Lucius called his capital, rebuilt under their tuition,
"Venta Belgarum." The British name--Caer Gwent--belonged to the
original settlement. The size and boundaries of both are uncertain.
Remains of the Celtic age are practically non-existent beneath
Winchester, though the surrounding hills are plentifully strewn with
them, and if Roman antiquities occasionally turn up when the
foundations of new buildings are being prepared, any plan of the Roman
town is pure conjecture. The true historic interest of Winchester, and
historically it is without doubt the most interesting city in England,
dates from the time of those West Saxon chiefs who gave it the
important standing which was eventually to make it the metropolis of
the English.

The early history of Winteceaster is the history of Wessex, and when
Cerdic decided to make it the capital of his new kingdom, about 520,
it was probably the only commercial centre in the state, with
Southampton as its natural port and allied town. As the peaceful
development of Wessex went on, so the population and trade of the
capital grew until in a little over a hundred years, when Birinus came
from over seas bearing the cross of the faith that was soon to spread
with great rapidity over the whole of southern England, he found here
a flourishing though pagan town. After the conversion of King Cynegils
the first Wessex bishopric was founded at Dorchester near the banks of
the Thames, but by 674 this was removed to the capital where there had
been built a small church dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, probably on
the site now occupied by the cathedral and originally by the church of
Lucius and its predecessor.

The great structure we see to-day is remarkable in many ways. It is
the longest Gothic building in the world, and is only exceeded by St.
Peter's in Rome. In spite of the disappointment the stranger
invariably experiences at his first sight of the squat tower and
straight line of wall, its majestic interior, and the indefinable
feeling that this is still a temple and not a mere museum, will soon
give rise to a sense of reverent appreciation that makes one linger
long after the usual round of "sights" has been accomplished. The war
memorial, dignified and austere, that was placed outside the west
front in the autumn of 1921, is a most effective foil to the
singularly unimposing pile of stone and glass behind it. But, however
it may lack the elegance of the usual west "screen," this end of
Winchester Cathedral has the great merit of being architecturally


Of the first Saxon building nothing remains. In this Egbert was
crowned King of the English in 827. It was strongly fortified by St.
Swithun, who was bishop for ten years from 852. At his urgent request
he was buried in the churchyard instead of within the cathedral walls.
Another generation wishing to honour the saint commenced the removal
of the relics. On the day set aside for this--St. Swithun's day--a
violent storm of rain came on and continued for forty days, thus
giving rise to the old and well known superstition of the forty days
of rain following St. Swithun's should that day be wet.

Under Bishop Swithun's direction the clergy and servants of the
cathedral successfully resisted an attack by the Danes when the
remainder of the city was destroyed. Soon after this, in the midst of
the Danish terror, Alfred became king and here he founded two
additional religious houses, St. Mary's Abbey, the Benedictine
"Nunnaminster;" and Newminster on the north side of the cathedral. Of
this latter St. Grimald was abbot. Nearly a hundred years later, in
Edgar's reign, the cathedral itself became a monastery, with Bishop
Athelwold as first abbot. He rebuilt the cathedral, dedicating it to
St. Swithun; it had been originally dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul.
Within this fabric Canute and his wife were buried; that earlier
Conqueror of the English having made Winchester his imperial capital.
A few years later, on Easter Day, the coronation of St. Edward took
place with great pomp. Soon after the advent of William I, who made
Winchester a joint metropolis with London and was crowned in both, the
building of the great Norman church by Bishop Walkelyn was begun; the
consecration taking place on St. Swithun's day 1093. Of this structure
the crypt and transepts remain practically untouched. The nave, though
Norman at its heart, has been altered in a most interesting way to
Perpendicular without scrapping the earlier work. Walkelyn's tower
fell in and ruined the choir in 1107, legend says as a protest against
the body of Rufus being placed beneath it. The present low tower
immediately took its place. Bishop de Lucy was responsible for
rebuilding the Early English choir about 1200. The famous Bishop
Wykeham completed the work of his predecessor, Edyngton, in rebuilding
the west front, and he it was who beautified the nave. The great east
window dates from about 1510; the lady chapel being rather earlier in


The extreme length of the cathedral is 556 feet; the breadth of the
transepts being 217 feet, and as the nave is entered the majestic
proportions of the great church will be at once appreciated.
Particular notice should be taken of the black font brought from
Tournai; it has the story of St. Nicholas carved upon it. The
situation of this and the tombs and other details will be quickly
identified by reference to the plan. On the south side is the chantry
of Bishop Wykeham, now fitted up as a chapel. Farther east is a
modern effigy, much admired, of Bishop Harold Browne, who died in
1891. A very beautiful iron grille that once protected the shrine of
St. Swithun now covers a door on the north side of the nave. Certain
of the piers in the nave were repaired in 1826-7 and the "restorer,"
one Garbett, inserted _iron_ engaged columns on the face of that
one nearest to Bishop Edyngton's chantry, it is said for the sake
of economy and strength! Some of the stained glass in the nave,
according to Mr. Le Coutier, dates from the time of Bishop Edyngton,
and that representing Richard II is a work contemporary with Bishop
Wykeham. This part of the building has been the scene of many
progresses--magnificent and sad--from the coronation processions of
the early kings and the slow march of their funerals to that of the
wedding of Mary I, when the queen blazed with jewels "to such an
extent that the eye was blinded as it looked upon her." But the most
unforgettable of all was on that dreadful day when the troops of
Waller marched up the nave, some mounted and all in war array, to
despoil the tombs of bishop and knight of their emblems of piety and
honour and to destroy anything beautiful that could be reached with
pike or sword.

On the right of the choir steps is Bishop Edyngton's chantry and on
the left the grave of the last Prior, Kingsmill, who afterwards became
first Dean. In the centre of the choir stands the reputed tomb of
William Rufus. This part of the building forms a mortuary chapel for
several of the early English Kings, including Canute. Their remains,
with those of several bishops, rest in the oak chests that lie on the
top of the choir screen. They were deposited here by Bishop Fox in
1534. This prelate was responsible for the beautiful east window; a
perfect specimen of old stained glass. The fine pulpit dates from
1520. In the choir, the scene of Edward Confessor's coronation in
1043, Mary I and Philip of Spain were married. The fine carvings of
the stalls date from 1296 and their canopies from 1390. They are among
the earliest specimens of their kind in Europe.


The magnificent reredos was erected by Cardinal Beaufort; it is, of
course, restored. "The wretches who worked their evil will with this
beautiful relic of piety had actually chiselled the ornament down to a
plane surface and filled the concavities with plaster." It bore at one
time the golden diadem of Canute; behind it stood the splendid silver
shrine of St. Swithun, decorated with "the cross of emeralds, the
cross called Hierusalem" and who shall say what other gifts of piety
and devotion, all to become the spoils of that arch-iconoclast--Thomas

Bishop Fox's chantry was built during his lifetime. It is on the south
side of the reredos, Gardiner's being on the north. Behind the reredos
are the chantries of Bishop Waynflete and of the great Cardinal
Beaufort. The latter claims attention for its graceful beauty and the
peculiarities of character shown in the face of the effigy within. He
is termed by Dean Kitchin, who draws attention to the "money-loving"
nose, the "Rothschild of his day." Beaufort was the representative of
England among the judges that condemned St. Joan of Arc to the flames
and, at the time of writing, a memorial to the Maid is in course of
preparation, to be set up near the Cardinal's tomb; an appropriate act
of contrition and reparation. Beyond the space at the back of the
reredos is the Early English Lady Chapel with an interesting series of
wall paintings depicting the story of our Lady. Here is the chair used
by Mary I at her wedding. Although it is unusual to praise anything
modern, the beautiful stained glass in this part of the cathedral,
forming a complete design, must be admired by the most confirmed

It is in the transepts that the earlier architecture can be seen at
its best. This is nearly all pure Norman work, as is that of the
crypt. It has been suggested that the latter antedates the Conquest so
far as the base of the walls is concerned. Here is an ancient well
which may have served the defenders during the Danish siege.

On the wall of the north transept is a large painted figure of St
Christopher. The chapel of the Holy Sepulchre (about 1350) stands
between the transept and the choir. In the south transept Izaak Walton
rests beneath a black marble slab in Prior Silkstede's chantry.

The epitaph, written by Bishop Ken, may be quoted:


Near by is an old oak seat used by the monks between the services, and
a modern effigy of Bishop Wilberforce which strikes a Victorian note
in its general effect. The cathedral treasury was once the repository
of Domesday Book, also known as The Book of Winton.

Just before the Great War commenced, the costly operation of
underpinning the cathedral was brought to a successful conclusion.
Much alarm had been felt after the architect's report was made public.
There is little doubt that a more or less general collapse of the
structure would have occurred had this very necessary operation been
long deferred. Large sums were spent in the closing years of the
nineteenth century in the repair of the roof and walls. A tablet
recording the particulars is placed at the west end of the nave.

On leaving the cathedral some time may be spent in exploring the
interesting precincts and in endeavouring to reconstruct the medieval
aspect of this part of the city. The narrow "Slype," or public right
of way between the south transept and the site of the ancient
chapter-house, was probably made to replace a passage through the
interior, an intolerable nuisance at all times, but especially during
service hours. The old circuit wall of the monastery is still
standing, and the entrance to the deanery should be seen; this dates
from about 1220. The cloisters were destroyed for some unknown reason
in 1570. The ruins of Wolvesley Castle erected by Bishop de Blois
about 1150 are close to the cathedral on the south-east. It was the
residence of the Bishops, and part of the buildings formed an angle of
the city defences. The name Wolves _ey_ or _island_ is said to be a
survival from early Saxon days when the tributary Welsh here made an
offering of wolves' heads to their masters.


There are some very scanty and doubtful remains of the New Minster on
the north of the cathedral. This was pulled down at the dissolution of
the monasteries. Nunnaminster was also swept away during this woeful

The College of St. Elizabeth stood near St. Mary's. Founded by Bishop
John de Pontissara in 1301 it was dedicated to St. Elizabeth of
Hungary. After the Dissolution it was sold to the Warden of St. Mary's
for three hundred and sixty pounds, subject to the condition that the
church should become a grammar school for seventy-five students, or
that it should be pulled down. This fate befell the building, which
had three altars and a total length of 120 feet as was shown in the
dry summer of 1842 when the outline of the walls was distinct in the
grass of the meadows on the south-east of Winchester College.


Winton is now as famous for St. Mary's College as for the cathedral
itself, and though not the earliest foundation of all the great
schools, it can claim to having taught Eton the rules of good
pedagogy. Henry VI came here to ask advice and obtain experience for
his new college on the banks of the Thames. The school was founded by
Wykeham in 1387 for "seventy poor scholars, clerks, to live college
wise and study grammar," and its roll contains a goodly proportion of
England's great men. Here students were taught rather more than is
stated above, and "Manners Makyth Man" became the watchword of the

It was appropriate that the first of the great schools should be
established in the city of the warrior-student Alfred, the first of
that semi-barbarian race of monarchs to turn to the higher things of
the mind, and without losing the leadership of the nation and the love
of his people in so doing. On the contrary, he gained his niche in the
world's history as much for this virtue as for the heroic side of his
character. The King's palace stood not far from the river bank and
probably the college buildings cover part of the site. Like most Saxon
domestic structures, it was of wood, and no visible traces remain,
though the recent interesting discoveries at Old Windsor lead one to
wonder what may lie hidden beneath the turf here.

[Illustration: STATUE OF ALFRED.]

The Hero-King was buried, first in the cathedral, and then in the
Newminster. After the destruction of this building by fire, his
remains were removed to Hyde Abbey on the north of the city. This met
the fate of most other monasteries at the Dissolution, and the site of
the final interment and, according to some accounts, the actual
sarcophagus itself, were desecrated by eighteenth-century vandals in
order to build a lock-up!

The bronze figure of Alfred, standing with sword held aloft as a
cross, on its colossal block of granite at the bottom of High Street,
is an inspired work by Hamo Thornycroft. It was erected in 1901 to
commemorate the millenary of the king's death and is the most
successful statue in the kingdom, imposing in its noble simplicity.

High Street is still quaint and old fashioned, though it has few
really ancient houses. "God-Begot House" is Tudor and the old "Pent
House" over its stumpy Tuscan pillars is very picturesque. Taking the
town as a whole it can hold its own in interest with the only other
English medieval city worthy of comparison--Chester. The visitor must
have a fund of intelligent imagination and a blind eye for
incongruities and then his peregrinations will be a remembered
pleasure. The beautiful gardens belonging to the houses around the
close and the black and white front of Cheyney Court will be
recollected when more imposing scenes have faded.

The "George Hotel," though it but modestly claims to be "old
established," is said by some authorities to stand on the site of an
hostelry called the "Moon" that was very ancient in the days of
Richard II. The new title was given about the time of Agincourt when
the battle cry--"St. George "--had made the saint popular.

The City Cross is graceful and elegant fifteenth-century work, much
restored of course, and in a quaint angle of some old houses that
rather detract from its effectiveness. The exact site of the inhuman
execution of Mrs. Alicia Lisle in September, 1685, is unknown, but it
was probably in the wider part of the High Street. This gentle old
lady, nearly eighty years of age, had given shelter to two men in all
innocence of their connexion with Sedgemoor, but the infamous Jeffreys
ordered her to be burnt; a sentence commuted by James II to beheading.

The City walls were almost intact down to 1760. Now we have but the
fine West Gate and the King's Gate, over which is St. Swithun's
church. The churches of Winchester are little more than half their
former number. St. Maurice has a Norman doorway and St. Michael a
Saxon sundial. St. John Baptist and St. Peter, Cheesehill, are of the
most general interest. The former has a screen and pulpit over four
hundred years old; transitional arches; and an Easter sepulchre. The
latter is a square church mostly in Perpendicular style but with some
later additions more curious than beautiful. Visitors to St.
Lawrence's should read the inscription to Martha Grace (1680). St.
Bartholomew's, close to the site of Hyde Abbey, shows some Norman
work. In 1652 the Corporation petitioned Parliament to reduce the
several city parishes into two, deeming a couple of ministers, one for
each church, sufficient for the spiritual requirements of the city. In
connexion with this a tract was issued describing the ghastly
condition of the churches, one, St. Mary Kalendar being a garbage den
for butcher's offal, another, St. Swithun's, Kingsgate, was let by the
corporation as a tenement and had a pigsty within it!


The ancient castle and residence of the Kings of England is now
represented only by the Great Hall, dating from the early part of the
thirteenth century. It is used for county business and is a good
specimen of the domestic architecture of the time. The great interest
of the hall is the reputed Round Table of King Arthur, placed at its
west end. Experts have decided that it cannot be older than 1200. The
painted names upon it are those of Arthur's Knights. These were
executed in the reign of Henry VIII and replaced earlier inscriptions.
The Hospital of St. John Baptist is in Basket Lane. Established by
John Deverniche, one of the city fathers, in 1275 for the succour of
aged wayfarers, it was suppressed at the Reformation, but reverted to
its original purpose in 1829, and is thus one of the oldest living
foundations of its kind in the kingdom.

Charles II desired to revive the royal glories of Winton and
commissioned the erection of a palace which was unfinished when he
died. After being used as a barracks, the fine building was
practically destroyed in 1894 by a disastrous fire. This element was
almost as great an enemy of old Winchester as the reformers
themselves. On one occasion the town was fired by a defender, Savaric
de Mauleon, on the approach of a French army under Louis the Dauphin.
When the other, and junior, capital was receiving its cleansing by
fire in 1666, Winchester was being more than decimated by the plague,
which was as direful here as anywhere else.

The city is 1,025 years old as a corporate town. Its staple business
in medieval times was the sale of wool or its manufacture into cloth.
Standing midway between two great tracts of sheep country, it was the
natural mart for this important trade and therefore prospered and
became rich. St. Giles' Fair, once famous and of great importance to
cattle and sheep farmers, finally expired about the middle of the last
century. In its prime it was of such a nature that the jurisdiction of
the Mayor and the City Courts was in abeyance for sixteen days from
the twelfth of September. It was held on St. Giles' Hill just without
the town. The fair was under the patronage of the Bishop, who
appointed a "Justice of the Court of Pavilion" during the period of
the fair.

[Illustration: WEST GATE, WINCHESTER.]

The chief excursion that every one takes, and that every one should
take, from Winchester is to St. Cross. The beautiful old Norman church
and its equally beautiful surrounding buildings almost rival
Winchester Close itself in their interest and charm. A short walk
southwards through the suburb of Sharkford leads direct in a little
over a mile to this goal of the archaeologist. A slightly longer but
pleasanter route goes by the banks of the Itchen.

St. Cross is the oldest charity, still living its ancient life, that
remains to us. Its charter is dated 1151, but it was founded nearly
twenty years earlier by Bishop Henry de Blois. The document set forth
that thirteen "poor men, so reduced in strength as to be unable to
raise themselves without the assistance of another" should be lodged,
clothed and entertained, and that one hundred other poor men of good
conduct should dine here daily. The munificent charity of the founder
was soon abused and the funds had the common habit of disappearing
into the capacious pockets of absentee masters. William of Wykeham and
his immediate successor, Beaufort, caused reforms in the
administration and added to the foundation, the latter instituting an
almshouse of "Noble Poverty," which was partly carried out by Bishop
Waynflete in 1486. The brethren of this newer foundation wear a red
gown; those of the old, a black gown bearing a silver cross. Even
within living memory scandals connected with the administration were
perpetuated; an Earl of Guildford taking over L1,000 annually during a
period of fifty years for the nominal mastership. This peer was a
nephew of Bishop Brownlow North. It was in 1855 that the Hospital was
put on its present footing and the charity of the hundred diners
finally became the maintenance of fifty poor people of good character
in the vicinity.

To the average tourist the chief interest seems to be the dole of
bread and beer which must be given to whoever claims it until the two
loaves and two gallons of liquor are exhausted. The well-clothed
stranger who has the temerity to ask for it must not be surprised at
the homoeopathic quantity which is handed to him. I am informed that
the genuine wayfarer receives a more substantial dole.

The beautiful church of the Holy Cross measures 125 feet in length,
and 115 feet across at the transepts. The choir is a fine example of
Transitional Norman with a square east end. The ancient high altar is
of Purbeck marble. The Early English nave and the Decorated west front
show the centuries through which the church grew. It is said that it
was originally thatched, the lead roof being placed by Bishop Edyngton
in 1340. A fine screen which now divides the chancel from the north
aisle came from St. Faith's church, as did the old Norman font. The
fine old woodwork and ancient tiles (some having upon them the words
"Have Mynde.") are noteworthy. The chancel contains the magnificent
brass of John de Campeden who was Wykeham's Master of the Hospital and
who was responsible for raising the church and domestic buildings from
a ruinous state to one of comeliness and good order. The mid-Victorian
restorations, though fairly successful, included a detestable colour
scheme which goes far to spoil the general effect of the interior and
should be removed, as was done after much agitation, some years ago in
St. Paul's Cathedral. It is a great pity that any attempt should be
made to imitate this seemingly lost art. Far better to leave the walls
of our churches to the colouring that time gives than to wash or paint
them with the tints that seem to be inevitably either gaudy or dismal.

The buildings inhabited by the brothers form two quadrangles. The
outer court has the "Hundred Men's Hall" on the east side, the gateway
tower and the porter's lodge being on the south. From this runs an
ambulatory and overhead gallery to the church. The hall porch bears
the arms of Cardinal Beaufort over the centre and inside are various
relics of his time, such as candlesticks, pewter dishes, black leather
jacks, etc., and in the centre of the hall is the old hearth. The
actual dwellings of the brethren are in the inner court on the west
and part of the north side. The buildings erected by Beaufort have
disappeared; they were on the south of the church.

No description can give any adequate idea of the beautiful grouping of
these old grey walls, which must have been the inspiration of one who
was artist as well as architect. In June and through the summer months
the beautiful garden and its fish pond belonging to the master's house
is a sight not easily forgotten.

[Illustration: THE CHURCH, ST. CROSS.]

Winchester does not make a particularly good picture from any of its
surrounding hills. Its crown--the cathedral--lacks that inspiring
vision of soaring, pointing spire that causes the wayfarer leaving
Salisbury to turn so many times for a last glimpse of its splendour
against the setting sun. Its square and sturdy tower lacks the grace
of those western lanterns whose pinnacles are reflected in the waters
of Severn and Wye. But the town, with the long leaden roof of the
cathedral among its guardian elms, makes a pleasant and very English
picture as we ascend the long road to St. Catherine's Hill, which
rises directly east of St. Cross. This hill may be the true origin of
Winchester as a settlement. It is an ideal spot for a stronghold,
either for those whom the Romans displaced or for the Conquerors
themselves. Its great entrenchments look down directly upon the river
flowing in its several meandering channels beneath. On the other side
of the hill from the river valley the Roman highway comes in a great
curve from its straight run off Deacon Hill to distant Porchester,
though by far the greater portion of that course has been lost. The
bold clump of trees on the summit, so characteristic of the chalk
hills, is visible for miles and takes the place of towers and spires
to the returning Wykehamist, eager for his first glimpse of Winton.
Paths may be taken to the southward across Twyford Down that
eventually lead into the Southampton highways, by which a return can
be made to the city.

Among the more interesting near-by villages, that will repay the
traveller for the walk thither, are the "Worthy's":--Headbourne,
King's, Abbot's and Martyr's. To reach the church at Headbourne Worthy
from the road one crosses a running stream by a footbridge. The little
building is Saxon in part and won the enthusiastic regard of Bishop
Wilberforce. It is exceedingly quaint and, although restored, unspoilt
in appearance. Over the porch was once a hermit's cell. The clipped
and much maltreated stone Rood at the west door is Saxon work and the
most interesting item in the church.

A little further away is King's Worthy, with an uninteresting and
rebuilt Perpendicular church in a pretty spot on the banks of the
Itchen. At the far end of the village the Roman road to Basingstoke
leaves the way taken by the pilgrims from Winchester to Canterbury at
Worthy Park, and the straggling houses on its sides soon become the
hamlet of Abbot's Worthy, a name reminiscent of the time when the
countryside was parcelled out among the great religious houses. This
village was once in the possession of Hyde Abbey and afterwards became
the property of that Lord Capel who defended Colchester for the King
during the Civil War. Martyr's Worthy, a mile farther, has a Norman
arch to the doorway of its church, but is otherwise unremarkable.
"Martyr," by the way, is a misspelt abbreviation for "Mortimer."
Itchen Abbas, the goal of this short journey, is not five miles from
the centre of Winchester and is a great resort of fishermen. Here
Charles Kingsley came to stay at the "Plough" and, I am told, wrote a
good part of _Water Babies_ between spells upon the trout stream
near-by. Possibly these charming chapters were planned while the
author watched the placid waters before him.

The main road winds on to pleasant Alresford, where Mary Russell
Mitford was born. The principal attraction of the town is a large
lake, made by Bishop de Lucy in the twelfth century as an aid to the
navigation of the Itchen. Not so far as this, and in the same
direction, is Titchborne, quiet and remote among its trees with an old
church that boasts a Saxon chancel and with memories of the
Titchbornes, whose separate aisle and secret altar for the celebration
of mass indicate their devotion to the old faith. But our return route
passes Abbas church and crosses the river to Easton, a rambling and
pleasant river-village full of mellow half-timbered houses and with a
church that boasts a Norman apse and fine chancel arch. There is a
unique monument in this church to the widow of William Barton, Bishop
in turn of St. Asaph, St. David's, Bath and Wells, and Chichester,
whose five daughters _married five bishops_! The walk across the
meadows to Winnal and the city is one of the best near Winchester, but
is hardly pleasant after wet weather. The hilly road, about three
miles long, direct from Martyr's Worthy, affords pretty glimpses of
the Itchen valley and the low Worthy Downs beyond. Just before the
last descent toward Winnal there is a fairly good view of Winchester

The straight, dusty and rather wearisome Roman road to Southampton
runs up to a spur of Compton Down, a once lonely hill but now
unsightly with the red-brick and plate glass of suburban Winchester.
Near the conspicuous roadside cross--a memorial to fallen
heroes--there is a distant view of the city, veiled in blue smoke, to
the rear. Compton church, in the combe beyond, has made good its place
in history by recording its ancient past in the porch of the building
erected in 1905. The old church is actually one of the aisles of the
new, and here may be seen an ancient wall painting and two piscina. A
little over a mile to the south-east is picturesque Twyford on the
wooded banks of the Itchen. Here Pope went to school for a time, and
in the chapel of Bambridge House close by Mrs. Fitzherbert was married
to the future George IV.

Twyford Church was believed by Dean Kitchen to be built on the site of
a Stone circle. Two large "Sarsens" or megaliths lie by the side of
the building, and a magnificent yew stands in the churchyard. Shawford
Downs, that rise above the river and village, are scored with
"lynchets" or ancient cultivation terraces and there is no doubt that
the neighbourhood has been the home of successive races from a most
remote age.

The high-road continues over hill and down dale to Otterbourne, with
its memories of a celebrated Victorian writer, Miss Charlotte M.
Yonge. The Rood in the rebuilt church was erected to her memory nearly
twenty years ago. The tall granite cross in the pretty churchyard
commemorates the incumbency of Keble, the author of the _Christian
Year_, who was also vicar of Hursley, three miles away to the
north-west, where a beautiful church was erected through his efforts
on the site of an eighteenth-century building, and, it is said, paid
for by royalties on his famous book. At Hursley Park Richard Cromwell
resided during the Protectorate of his father. He is buried with his
wife and children in Hursley church.

[Illustration: ROMSEY ABBEY.]

A road runs westwards from near the summit of Otterbourne Hill through
the beautiful woods of Hiltingbury and Knapp Hill to the valley of the
Test at Romsey. There are a couple of inns and a few scattered houses,
but no village on the lonely seven miles until the parallel valley is

Romsey Abbey dates from the reign of Edward the Elder, and his
daughter, St. Alfreda, was first Abbess. Another child of a
king--Mary, daughter of Stephen--became Abbess in 1160, and her uncle,
Henry de Blois of Winchester, built the greater part of the present
church about 1125, the western portion of the nave following between
1175 and 1220. The building is 263 feet long and 131 feet broad across
the transepts. The interior is an interesting study in Norman
architecture and the change to Early English is nowhere seen to better
advantage. Portions of the foundations of the Saxon church were laid
bare during repairs to the floor in 1900. A section is shown beneath a
trap door near the pulpit.

A peculiar arrangement of the eastern ends of the choir aisles is
noteworthy. They are square as seen from the exterior, but prove to be
apsidal on entering. At the end of the south choir aisle, forming a
reredos to the side altar, an ancient Saxon Rood will be seen; the
Figure is sculptured in an archaic Byzantine style. The Jacobean altar
in the north choir aisle was once in the chancel and had above it
those old-fashioned wooden panels of the Lord's Prayer and Ten
Commandments that may still be met with occasionally. When these were
removed an ancient painted reredos was found behind them. It is now
placed in the north choir aisle. The subject is the Resurrection and
the painting is dated at about 1380. In a glass case is the Romsey
Psalter which, after many vicissitudes, has become once more the
property of the Abbey.

In 1625, for some unknown reason, the two upper stages of the tower
were pulled down and the present wooden belfry erected. Outside the
"nuns door" is a very fine eleventh-century Rood that owes its
preservation to the fact that for many years it was covered by a
tradesman's shed!

Nothing remains of the conventual buildings but a few scanty patches
of masonry. The history of the Abbey was not a very edifying one and,
although every effort was made to save the house at the Dissolution,
chiefly by the exhibition of the imposing royal charters of foundation
and re-endowment, the many scandals recorded gave the despoilers an
additional, and possibly welcome, excuse for their work.

A great amount of careful and reverent restoration was carried out
some years ago by the late Mr. Berthon, a former vicar; but he will
probably be remembered by posterity as the inventor of the portable
boat that bears his name and which is still made, or was till
recently, in the town. Romsey (usually called _Rumsey_) is not a good
place in which to stay and, apart from the Abbey, is quite
uninteresting. In the centre of the town is a statue of Lord
Palmerston, who lived at Broadlands, a beautifully situated mansion a
short distance away to the south.

A pleasant journey by road or rail can be taken up the valley of the
Test between the low chalk hills of Western Hampshire to Stockbridge
(or even farther north to Whitchurch or Andover, but these districts
must be left until later). At Mottisfont, four miles from Romsey, was
once a priory of Augustinians. Remnants of the buildings are
incorporated with the present mansion. In the church perhaps the most
interesting item, by reason of the alien touch in this remote corner
of Hampshire, is an heraldic stone of the Meinertzhazen family brought
here from St. Michael's, Bremen, at the end of the nineteenth century.
The square font of Purbeck marble is of the same date as the Norman
arch in the chancel. Just to the south of the village a branch line of
railway follows a remote western valley to its head and then drops to
the Avon valley and Salisbury. To the east is another lonely stretch
of country through which the ridge of Pitt Down runs to the actual
suburbs of Winchester. At the western end of this ridge, and about
three miles up the Test from Mottisfont, are the villages of
Horsebridge and King's Somborne on the southern confines of what was
once John of Gaunt's deer park. The present bridge is higher up the
stream, but the railway-station is on the actual site of the ancient
road between Winchester and Old Sarum and the "horse bridge" was then
lower down stream and almost immediately due west of the station.
Somborne gets its prefix from the fact that an old mansion usually
called "King John's Palace" formerly stood here, it may be that it
belonged to John of Gaunt. Certain mounds and small sections of wall
are pointed out as the remains of this house; they will be found to
the south-west of the church; a much restored, but still interesting,
thirteenth-century building. The font, of Purbeck marble, is very
fine; of interest also are the late Jacobean chancel rails and certain
crosses and monograms on the north doorway.

A road runs for six miles north-westwards up into the chalk hills by
the side of the Wallop brook to the euphoniously named villages of
Nether, Middle, and Over Wallop. The first and last have interesting
churches, but the excursion, if taken, should be as an introduction to
perhaps the most remote and unspoilt region of the chalk country.
Although the Wallop valley is fairly well populated, the older people
are as unsophisticated as any in southern England. The scenery is
quietly pleasant, the hills away to the southwest exceeding, here and
there, the 500 feet contour line. One of them, near the head of the
valley, is named "Isle of Wight Hill." It is only upon the clearest of
days that the distant Island is seen over the shoulder of the
neighbouring Horseshoe Hill and across the long glittering expanse of
Southampton Water.

Proceeding up the fertile valley of the Test, Stockbridge is reached
in another three miles. This sleepy old country town and one-time
parliamentary borough occasionally wakes up when sheep fairs and other
rural gatherings take place in its spacious High Street, but on other
days it is the very ideal of a somnolent agricultural centre; it is,
therefore, a pleasant headquarters from which to explore the
north-western part of the county. The long line of picturesque roofs
and broken house-fronts, in all the mellow tints that age alone can
give, makes as goodly a picture as any in Hampshire. On the right-hand
side, going down the street, is the Grosvenor Inn with its projecting
porch. Next door is the old Market House and across the way stands the
turreted Town Hall.

Alone in a quiet graveyard at the upper end of the town is the chancel
of old St. Peter's church, now used as the chapel of the burying
ground. Most of the removable items were taken to the new church
erected in High Street in 1863, including certain fine windows and the
Norman font of Purbeck marble. In a neglected corner of the old
churchyard is the tombstone of John Bucket, one-time landlord of the
"King's Head" in Stockbridge. It bears the following oft-quoted

And is, alas! poor Bucket gone?
Farewell, convivial honest John.
Oft at the well, by fatal stroke
Buckets like pitchers must be broke.
In this same motley shifting scene,
How various have thy fortunes been.
Now lifting high, now sinking low,
To-day the brim would overflow.
Thy bounty then would all supply
To fill, and drink, and leave thee dry,
To-morrow sunk as in a well,
Content unseen with Truth to dwell.
But high or low, or wet or dry,
No rotten stave could malice spy.
Then rise, immortal Bucket, rise
And claim thy station in the skies;
'Twixt Amphora and Pisces shine:
Still guarding Stockbridge with thy sign.

The main street crosses the Test by two old stone bridges and from
these, glancing up and down the street, one has a charming view of the
surrounding hills which fill the vista at each end. The road out of
the town to the east runs over the shoulder of Stockbridge Down on
which is a fine prehistoric entrenchment called Woolbury Ring. Thence
to Winchester is a long undulating stretch of rough and flinty track
with but few cottages and no villages on the way until tiny Wyke,
close to the city, is reached. One welcome roadside inn, the "Rack and
Manger," stands at the cross roads about half way, and occasional
ancient milestones tell us we are on the way to "Winton."

Our itinerary through west-central Hampshire has not included that
little known fragment of the county that lies to the west of Romsey
and is a district of commons and woods, part of the great forest-land
that we shall hurriedly explore in the next chapter. The chief
interest here, apart from the natural attractions of the secluded
countryside, is a simple grave in the churchyard of East Wellow, a
small by-way hamlet about four miles from Romsey. Here is the last
resting place of Florence Nightingale who lies beside her father and
mother. The supreme honour of burial at Westminster, offered by the
Dean and Chapter, was refused by her relatives in compliance with her
own wish. So East Wellow should be a pilgrim's shrine to the rank and
file of that weaponless army whose badge is the Red Cross.




Bitterne is now a suburb of Southampton on the opposite side of the
Itchen, but it may claim to be the original town from which the Saxon
settlement arose. It is the site of the Roman Clausentium, an
important station between Porchester and Winchester, and when the
Saxons came up the water and landed upon the peninsula between the two
rivers they probably found a populous town on the older site. This
conjecture would account for the name given to the new colony--_Southhame
tune_--ultimately borne by the county-town and the origin of the shire
name. It is as the natural outlet for the trade of Winchester and Wessex,
standing at the head of one of the finest waterways in Europe, that
Southampton became the present thriving and important town.

To-day its commercial prestige, if not on a par with Liverpool, Hull
or Cardiff, is sufficiently great for the town to rank as a county
borough. The magnificent docks are capable of taking the largest
liners, and as the port of embarkation for South Africa its
consequence will increase still more as that great country develops.
On the banks of the Itchen many important industries have been
established during the last quarter of a century and, as a result of
this and the inevitable disorder of a great port, Southampton's
environs have suffered. But more than any other town in England of the
same size, have the powers that give yea or nay to such questions
conserved the relics of the past with which Southampton is so richly
endowed. The most famous of these is the Bargate (originally "Barred"
Gate), once the principal, or Winchester, entrance to the town. It
dates from about 1350, though its base is probably far older. The
upper portion, forming the Guildhall, bears on the south or town side
a quaint statue of George III in a toga, that replaced one of Queen
Anne in stiff corsets and voluminous gown. The various armorial
bearings displayed are those of noble families who have been connected
with the town in the past. Within the upper chamber are two ancient
paintings said to represent the legendary Sir Bevis, whose sword is
preserved at Arundel, and his squire Ascupart. Sections of the town
wall may be found in several places, but the most considerable portion
is on the north side of the Westgate, where, until the middle of the
last century, when Westernshore Road was made, high tides washed the
foot of the wall. The arcading of this portion is much admired, and
deservedly so. So far as the writer is aware, no other town in England
has medieval defences of quite this character remaining. The
picturesque Bridewell Gate is at the end of Winkle Street and not far
away is all that remains of "God's House" or the Hospital of St.
Julian, "improved" out of its ancient beauty. The chapel was given to
the Huguenot refugees by Queen Elizabeth; a portion of the original
chancel still exists and within the Anglican service continues to be
said in French. The house known as "King John's House," close to the
walls near St. Michael's Square, dates from the twelfth century and is
therefore one of the oldest in England. Another old building in Porter
Lane called "Canute's House" is declared by archaeologists to be of
the twelfth century, but Hamptonians, with some degree of probability,
claim that the lower walls are certainly Saxon, so that the
traditional name may be right after all. In that part of the town
nearest to the docks are several stone cellars of great age upon which
later dwellings have been erected, in some cases two buildings have
appeared on the same sturdy base. A particularly fine crypt is in
Simnel Street, with a window at its east end. At the corner of Bugle
Street is the "Woolhouse," said to belong to the fourteenth century;
very noticeable are the heavy buttresses that support this fine old
house on its west side. Another old dwelling in St. Michael's Square
may have been built in the fifteenth century. Tradition has it that
this was for a time the residence of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.


The reference to Canute's House brings to mind the tradition, stoutly
upheld by Hamptonians, that it was at "Canute's Point" at the mouth of
the Itchen, and not at Bosham or Lymington, that the king gave his
servile courtiers the historic rebuke chronicled by Camden. By him,
quoting Huntingdon, we are told that "causing his chair to be placed
on the shore as the tide was coming in, the king said to the latter,
'Thou art my subject, and the ground I sit on is mine, nor can any
resist me with impunity. I command, thee, therefore, not to come up on
my ground nor wet the soles of the feet of thy master.' But the sea,
immediately coming up, wetted his feet, and he, springing back, said,
'Let all the inhabitants of the earth know how weak and frivolous is
the power of princes; none deserves the name of king, but He whose
will heaven, earth, and sea obey by an eternal decree.' Nor would he
ever afterwards wear his crown, but placed it on the head of the
crucifix." There is little doubt that Southampton was one of the
principal royal residences during the reign of the great Northman, and
nearly a hundred years before, in Athelstan's days, it was of
sufficient importance to warrant the setting up of two mints.

The only medieval church remaining to Southampton is St. Michael's,
which has a lofty eighteenth-century spire on a low Norman tower. Here
is another of those black sculptured Tournai fonts one of which has
been noticed in Winchester. The interior must have presented a curious
appearance in the early years of Queen Victoria. During her
predecessor's reign the incumbent placed the pulpit and reading-desk
at the west end and reversed all the seats so that the congregation
sat with their backs to the altar. The purpose of this is beyond
conjecture. St. Mary's, designed by Street, was erected on the site of
the old town church in 1879 as a memorial to Bishop Wilberforce. All
Saints' in High Street is a classic building standing on the ground
occupied by a very ancient church. Isaac Watts was deacon of Above Bar
Chapel, noteworthy for the fact that the immortal hymn "Oh God, our
help in ages past" was first sung within its walls from manuscript
copies supplied to the congregation by the young poet. Among other
famous men who were natives of Southampton may be mentioned Dibdin and

As might be expected from its geographical position and the many
centuries it has been a gate to central England, Southampton has had a
chequered and eventful history. Before the days of those supposedly
impregnable forts in Spithead which bar to all inimical visitors a
passage up the Water, the town was not immune from attack from the sea
and in 1338 an allied French, Genoese and Spanish fleet sailed up the
estuary and attacked the town to such good purpose that the burgesses
were forced to fly and from a safe distance saw their homes burned to
the ground. Another assault was made by the French in 1432, but
profiting by bitter experience, the citizens had by now constructed
such defences and armed them so well that this attack was an
ignominious failure.

The port was the scene of several great expeditions overseas before it
gave its quota to that greatest of all crusades in 1914. It saw the
start of Richard Lion-Heart's transports, filled with the chivalry of
England, on their way to challenge the power of Islam. The town
records show that 800 hogs were supplied by the citizens for feeding
the army _en route_. Perhaps the most famous of the sailings was that
of the twenty-one ships that carried the English army to the victory
of Crecy. Again seventy years later there was another great sallying
forth to the field of Agincourt, nearly frustrated by the machinations
of Richard, Earl of Cambridge. This scion of the Plantagenets and his
fellow conspirators were beheaded and afterwards buried, as recorded
on a tablet there, in the chapel of God's House. From Southampton the
_Mayflower_ and _Speedwell_ sailed in 1620: the latter being discarded
at Plymouth.

The modern aspect of Southampton's streets is that of the bustle and
activity of a midland town, and the narrow pavements of Below and
Above Bar have that metropolitan air which a crowd of well-dressed
people intent on business or pleasure gives to the better class
provincial city. It would seem that the inevitable accompaniment of
such prosperity is the meanness of poorly-built and squalidly-kept
suburbs. When the superb situation of Southampton is considered one
can but hope that some day, in the new England that we are told is on
the way, a great transformation will take place on the shores of
Itchen and Test.

The excursion that every visitor should take is down the Water to
Cowes. Few steamer trips in the south are as pleasant and interesting.
In consequence of the double tides with which Southampton is favoured,
the chance of having a long stretch of ill looking and worse smelling
mud flats in the foreground of the view is almost negligible. Unless a
very thorough knowledge of the shore is desired, the view from the
deck will give the stranger an adequate idea of the surrounding
country. The passing show of shipping, of all sorts, sizes and
nationalities, is not the least interesting item of the passage. The
writer's most vivid recollection of Southampton Water in the early
summer of 1918 is not of the beautiful shores shimmering in the June
sun, but of an extraordinary line of "dazzle ships" in the centre of
the waterway, moored bow to stern in a long perspective, or it would
be more correct to say, want of perspective, the brain and the eye
being so much at variance that the ends of the line could scarcely be
believed to consist of ships at all.

[Illustration: NETLEY RUINS.]

The ruins of Netley Abbey can best be seen by taking the pleasant
shore road from Woolston and Weston Grove. The distance is a little
over two miles from the Itchen ferry. The so-called Netley Castle was
once the gate-house of the Abbey, converted into a fort when Henry
VIII devised the elaborate scheme of coast defence that has dotted the
southern seaboard with a more scattered (and more picturesque) series
of Martello towers.

The ruins of the Cistercian Church which once graced this shore and
raised above the trees its lighthouse tower, a seamark by day and a
beacon by night, are among the loveliest in Wessex. Though perhaps
these relics of a former splendour, when they consist of more than a
few bits of broken masonry, should rather be said to be heartrending
in their reminder of what we have lost.

Not so beautiful is the great pile, a mile to the south, built during
the Crimean war for the invalid warriors and named after their Queen.
A short distance away is another great building, or series of
structures, erected during the Great War, to further our claim to the
empire of the air.

[Illustration: ON THE HAMBLE.]

The Hamble river is the only considerable stream before the barrier
spit of Calshot Castle is reached. This comes down from historic
Bishop's Waltham with its considerable remains of the "palace" of the
earlier Bishop of Winchester. After passing Botley, an ancient market
town, the river widens into an estuary haven altogether out of
proportion to the stream behind it, and at Bursledon, where it is
crossed by the Portsmouth highway, it becomes really beautiful: the
curving banks are in places embowered in trees that descend to the
water's edge. When the tide is full the scene would hold its own with
many more favoured by the guide books. The fields around are devoted
to the culture of the strawberry for the London market, and the crops
are said to be finer than those of the better-known Kentish districts.

Two finds from the stream bed are in Botley market hall, a portion of
a Danish war vessel and an almost entire prehistoric canoe.


A name better known to the majority of our readers will be that of the
Meon, a further reference to which district will be found in the
concluding chapter. The waters of this longer stream rise on a western
outlier of Butser Hill and, draining a remote and beautiful district
served by the Meon Valley Railway, reach Titchfield Haven over three
miles below the Hamble. Titchfield, two miles as the crow flies from
the sea (for we are now on the open waters of the Solent), is a
pleasant old town with an interesting church and the gatehouse remnant
of a once famous abbey of Premonstratensians. Part of the tower and
nave of the church are Saxon, and the remainder is in a whole range of
styles. A chapel on the south was once the property of the abbey and
is called the Abbot's Chapel, this has a fine tomb of the first and
second Earls and first Countess of Southampton. Perhaps of more
interest to some visitors will be the flag hung near the opening to
the chancel. This was the first to fly over Pretoria after the British

The western shore of Southampton Water may be accepted as the eastern
boundary of the New Forest, as the straight north and south valley of
the Salisbury Avon is its western barrier. From the sea at
Christ-church Bay to the Blackwater valley west of Romsey is about
twenty miles and all this great district partakes more or less of the
character of the country seen from the Bournemouth express after it
leaves Lyndhurst Road. To attempt to describe in detail this unique
corner of England would be beyond the possibilities of this book or
its author, and only the barest outline will be attempted.

One authority claims 95,000 acres as the extent of the Forest. The
present writer would increase this estimate considerably. About
two-thirds of the more central portion are crown lands, and as will be
seen by the most superficial view (from the afore-mentioned express
train for instance) much of the central woodland is interspersed with
farms and arable land and a large extent of open heath, as are those
outlying fringes in the Avon valley and elsewhere. It is unaccountable
that the word "forest" should have so altered in meaning during the
course of centuries that its earlier significance has almost become
lost. The word is associated in every one's mind with the density of
tropical foliage or the dark grandeur of northern fir woods. Forest as
a topographical suffix denotes a wild uncultivated tract of hilly or
common land, more often than not quite bare of trees. The great
expanse of Radnor Forest is well known to the writer and not even a
thorn bush comes to the mind in picturing its miles of fern-clad
billowy uplands.

The "New" Forest was first so called by the Conqueror. He brought
within its bounds certain tracts that had been preserved by his
predecessors, but that he "burnt and razed whole villages, and
converted a smiling countryside into a wild place devoted to the
king's pleasure" is extremely improbable, unless we may credit William
with an altruistic care for the sport of his great-grandchildren at
the expense of whatever little popularity he may have had in his own
time. Undoubtedly the folk of this part of Hampshire felt aggrieved at
losing their rights over a great stretch of wild common where the more
democratic Saxon kings had taken their pleasure without interfering
with the privileges of the churl. That certain small settlements were
at some time abandoned is attested by names such as Bochampton,
Tachbury, Church Walk, etc., and it is said that Rufus established
certain dispossessed peasantry in far-off portions of his kingdom. The
Conqueror's immediate successors made cruel and arbitrary laws, in
connexion with the preservation of the deer, that were much mitigated
by the Forest Charter of 1217 which provided that death should no
longer be the penalty for killing the King's deer, but merely a fine,
or imprisonment in default.

The wild life of the Forest is much the same as that of the remoter
parts of rural England, apart from the ponies and the deer. Of the
latter only a few still roam the glades. An Act was passed in 1851 for
their removal, when the number was reduced from nearly 4,000 to about
250 of two kinds--fallow deer and red deer. Latterly roe deer have
appeared, adventurers from Milton Abbey park. The New Forest pony was
a distinct breed and the writer has been told that it was the
descendant of a small native horse, but its characteristics have been
lost through scientific crossing with alien breeds. A legend used to
be current in the Forest that the ponies were descended from those
landed from the wrecked ships of the Spanish Armada, but there is a
limit to what we may believe of this wonderful fleet. Most villages
along the south coast having rather more than the usual proportion of
dark-haired folk have been claimed as asylums for the castaway sailors
and soldiers of Spain by enthusiastic amateur anthropologists.

Before breaking-in, the Forest pony is a wild and often vicious little
beast--more so, perhaps, than its cousins of Wales and Dartmoor--and a
"drive," when the little horses are corralled, is an exciting and
interesting affair, human wits being pitted against equine, not always
to the advantage of the former.

Small companies of rough-coated donkeys may occasionally be seen, in
an apparently wild state, roaming about the more open parts of the
Forest. Some years ago the breeding of mules for export was a
recognized local concern, but this seems to have fallen into

Badgers and otters are common, as is the ubiquitous squirrel. The
badger, however, is seldom seen by the chance visitor by reason of its
nocturnal habits, but it is said to be more numerous than in any
similar wild tract in the south. The smaller wild mammals, carnivorous
and herbivorous, and a truly representative family of birds, including
one or two rare visitors, have here a perfect sanctuary. The forest is
obviously a happy hunting ground for the lepidopterist and botanist.
The latter will find many of the rarer British orchids in the central
"dingles" and on the more remote western borders. During the Great War
a large number of trees were felled and the usually silent woods
re-echoed with the noises of a Canadian lumber camp. About this time
great flocks of migratory jays from central Europe were noticed in the
eastern parts of the Forest. For the pedestrian who toils over the
Forest roads in the height of summer there is one form of wild life in
evidence that claims his whole attention, and that is the virulent and
audacious forest fly. Only the strongest "shag" and gloved hands can
keep this horrible creature at bay.

The observant stranger will notice a large proportion of small, dark
folk among the inhabitants of the Forest. It is a fascinating matter
for conjecture that these may be remnants of the Iberians that once
held south Britain or even, perhaps, of a still older people left
stranded by the successive races that have swept westwards by way of
the uplands to the north.

The western shore of Southampton Water has little of interest to
detain the visitor. The small town of Hythe, almost opposite Netley
Abbey, has nothing ancient about it, though it is a picturesque and
pleasant little place. Fawley, nearly opposite the opening of the
Hamble, has a fine late Norman church with much Early English
addition. Calshot Castle is another of those forts of Henry VIII
already mentioned, and once round the corner of this spit we are in
the Solent at Stanswood Bay. A few miles farther and the beautiful
estuary of the Beaulieu river runs into the recesses of the Forest.
Small steamers sometimes bring holiday-makers from Southampton to the
port of Beaulieu, called Bucklershard, where, over a hundred years
ago, there was an attempt to make a new seaport. It is difficult to
believe that this quiet creek was, during the second half of the
eighteenth century, the birthplace of many "wooden walls of old
England." Here among other famous ships was launched the _Agamemnon_,
commanded by Nelson at the siege of Celvi, where he lost his right
eye. An unfortunate disagreement between the shipbuilders and the
Admiralty, in which the former were so ill advised as to seek the help
of the law, led to the abandonment of the yards. At St. Leonards,
nearer the mouth of the estuary, is the ruin of a chapel belonging to
the Cistercians of Beaulieu and also portions of their great barn,
said to be the largest in England (209 feet by 70 feet). The great
Abbey church, nearly four miles off, was entirely swept away during
the Demolition. It was here that the wife of the King Maker took
refuge after the death of her husband at the battle of Barnet. A few
days before, on the actual day of the fight, arrived Margaret of Anjou
with reinforcements for Henry VI. Some years later, after his repulse
at Exeter, Perkin Warbeck sought sanctuary, the right of which had
been granted to the monastery by Pope Innocent IV. The monks'
refectory is now the parish church and a very fine and interesting one
it makes. Considerable portions of the domestic buildings remain.
Palace House, the residence of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, was once the
gatehouse of the abbey.

A return must now be made to Southampton, and the Christchurch road
taken through Totton to Lyndhurst. The station for the latter town is
over two miles away on the Southampton road, where the railway makes a
wide detour to Beaulieu Road and Brockenhurst. The absurd title given
to Lyndhurst by local guide-books, "Capital of the New Forest," is
uncalled for. Certainly it is nearly the centre of the district and is
within convenient distance of some of the most beautiful woodlands,
but nothing could be a greater contrast to the surroundings than this
new-looking brick excrescence. It has one fine old Jacobean
building--the "King's House," where the Forest Courts are held. The
Verderers, of whom there are six, are elected by open ballot. They
must be landowners residing in or near the Forest and may sit in
judgment upon any offence against Forest laws. These Verderers Courts
have been held since Norman days and the old French terms "pannage,"
"turbary" and so on, are still used. Further, the old name for the
court, "Swain Mote," indicates a Saxon origin for this seat of
greenwood justice.


The spire of Lyndhurst church can be seen for miles wherever high
ground and a break in the woods render this possible. It surmounts a
mid-Victorian erection of variegated bricks in about the worst
possible taste for its situation. The one redeeming feature is a wall
painting of the Ten Virgins by Lord Leighton.

A little over two miles away, and on the road to the Rufus Stone, is
Minstead church, which will make a different appeal to the
understanding stranger. This is (or was lately) a charming survival
from the days of our grandfathers with a three-decker, old room-like
pews, and double galleries. Malwood Lodge, close by, is a seat of the
Harcourt family, and not far away, about a mile and a half from
Minstead church, is the spot where William Rufus was killed by that
mysterious arrow which by accident or design, relieved England of a
tyrannical and wicked king. The "Rufus Stone," as the iron memorial is
called, with its terse and non-committal inscription was placed here
by a former Lord de la Warr. The body was conveyed to Winchester in
the cart of a charcoal-burner named Purkiss, and descendants of this
man, still following his occupation, were living within bow-shot of
the memorial one hundred years ago. The family "enjoyed for centuries
the right to the taking of all such wood as they could gather _by hook
or by crook_, dead branches, and what could be broken, but not cut by
the axe." It is said that the train of accidents that befell the
Conqueror's family in the Forest was considered by Hampshire folk to
be a just retribution for his iniquity in "making" it. His grandson
Henry, his second son Richard, and lastly his third son Rufus, all met
a violent death within its glades.

A short distance westwards we reach the "Compton Arms Hotel" and
Stoney Cross, from which an alternate route through beautiful
Boldrewood can be taken back to Lyndhurst or a long and lonely but
good road followed all the way to Ringwood, nine miles away on the
Avon. The traveller who would explore the recesses of the forest
remote from the beaten track should make his way north and west from
Stoney Cross through the sandy heaths of Eyeworth Walk and the
mysterious depths of Sloden with its dark yews of great and unknown
age. Not far from Stoney Cross on the way to Fritham, are a number of
prehistoric graves clustered closely together, and an interesting
relic of the Roman occupation exists at Sloden where there are mounds
of burnt earth, charcoal, and broken pottery. The locality has long
been known as "Crock Hill" and is evidently the site of an earthenware
factory. The road going south and west by Broomy Walk leads to
Fordingbridge on the Avon. Here is a beautiful and interesting old
church, a typically pleasant Hampshire town, and a quiet but
delightful stretch of the river.

The straight high road, that runs south from Lyndhurst through the
thick woodlands of Irons Hill Walk and the giant oaks of Whitley Wood,
reaches Brockenhurst in four miles. This small town, to the writer's
mind, is pleasanter and less sophisticated than Lyndhurst, though
boarding-houses are as much in evidence and the railway station is
close to the main street. The church stands on a low hill among the
trees of the actual forest. Here was recently to be seen, and possibly
is still, a quaintly ugly survival in the squire's pew, placed as a
sort of royal box at the entrance to the chancel. The building is of
various dates and contains a Norman font of Purbeck marble. The
enormous yew of great age will at once be noticed in the churchyard.

The main road continues over Whitley Ridge to Lymington nearly five
miles from Brockenhurst, passing, about half-way on the left, Boldre,
with an old Norman church among the thickly-set trees on the hill above
Lymington River. The village and inn are at the bottom of the valley
near a bridge that carries the Beaulieu road up to the great bare
expanse of Beaulieu Heath.

After passing the branch railway, and about half a mile short of
Lymington, is a fine circular prehistoric entrenchment called Buckland
Rings. The road now drops to the one-time parliamentary borough and
ancient port of Lymington, now only known to the majority as the point
of departure by the "short sea route" to the Isle of Wight, and those
who make the passage when the tide is out do not usually regret the
shortness of their stay on this particular bit of coast. But their
self-congratulation is wasted, Lymington itself is a very pleasant and
clean town, even if its shore is a dreary stretch of salt marsh, grey
and depressing on the sunniest day. There are some fine old houses in
the picturesque High Street, though none of them remember the day in
1154 when Henry II landed on the way to his coronation. The much
restored church will be best appreciated for the picture it makes from
the other end of High Street.

Though a fashionable resort in those days when any seaside town was a
possible future Brighton, Lymington is never likely to become crowded
with visitors again, but artists find many good studies on the river
and in the town and even on the "soppy" flats themselves, and there are
salt baths at high tide for those unconventional holiday-makers who
favour the place.

To resume the main route through the forest from Lyndhurst the western
road must be taken. It presently turns sharply towards the south and
penetrates the fastnesses of the woods lining the Highland Water. Here
we find the celebrated Knightwood Oak and the grand beeches of Mark
Ash, nearly two miles away in the depths to the right, but worth the
trouble of finding. In less than six miles from Lyndhurst the traveller
reaches the cross-roads at Wilverley Post on the top of Markway Hill,
and in another long mile Holmsley station on the Brokenhurst-Ringwood
railway. Then follows an undulating and lonely stretch of four and a
half miles of mingled wood and common and occasional cultivated land to
the scattered hamlet of Hinton Admiral, that boasts a station on the
South Western main line to Bournemouth. There is now but an
uninteresting three miles to the outskirts of Christchurch.

[Illustration: LYMINGTON CHURCH.]

The one-time Saxon port of Twyneham and present borough of Christchurch
(the change of name, like several others in the country, was due to the
over-whelming power of the ecclesiastical as opposed to on the secular)
has a similarity to Southampton in its situation on a peninsula between
two rivers before they form a joint estuary to the sea. But, alas,
although the waterways of the Avon and Stour are considerable,
Christchurch Harbour long ago silted up and the long tongue of land
that runs eastward across the mouth effectually bars ingress to
anything in the nature of a trading vessel.

The town, though pleasant enough in itself, has but one real
attraction for the visitor and, judging by the crowds of
holiday-makers brought in every day by motor, tram and train from the
huge pleasure town on the west, the study of ecclesiastical
architecture must be gaining favour with the British public. Or is it
that the uncompromising modernity of Bournemouth, without even the
recollection of a Hanoverian princess to give it antiquity, drives its
visitors in such swarms to the one-time Priory, and now longest parish
church in England.

The old Saxon minster, after passing through many vicissitudes
(including a particularly humiliating one at the hands of William
Rufus, whose creature, Flambard, made slaves of its clergy and ran the
church as a miracle show!), became in the middle of the twelfth
century an Augustinian priory and the choir of the new building was
finished just before 1300. At the crossing of nave and transepts the
usual low and heavy Norman tower had been built with the usual
result--it collapsed and brought some of the choir down with it. This
was again rebuilt during the fifteenth century, which period also saw
the rise of the western tower that graces every distant view of the
town. The transepts have beneath them Norman crypts, though the
structure immediately above is of varying date, with a good deal of
original work remaining, including an apsidal chapel. The Lady Chapel
was built in the fifteenth century; over it is a room known as "St.
Michael's Loft." This served for years as Christchurch grammar school.


Every one will admire the beautiful rood screen, well and carefully
restored in the middle of the last century, and the unusual reredos
which represents the Tree of Jesse and the Adoration of the Wise Men.
On the left of the altar is the Salisbury chantry and in front a stone
slab to Baldwin de Redvers (1216). There are several fine tombs in
other parts of the church including that of the last Prior, who has a
chapel to himself at the end of the south choir aisle. The fine
monument to Shelley at the west end of the church is as much admired
for its beauty as it is criticized for its "unfitness for a position
in a Christian church" (Murray). The female figure supporting
Shelley's body represents his wife. Mr. Cox in his _Little Guide to
Hampshire_ draws attention to the fact that the conception is "an
obvious parody of a Pieta, or the Virgin supporting the Dead Christ"
and therefore in the worst possible taste. The poet had no personal
connexion with Christchurch. His son lived for some years at Boscombe

The custodian shows, when requested, a visitors' book where, on one and
the same page are the signatures of William II and Louis Raemaekers!

Comparatively few old buildings remain in the vicinity of the great
church and the visitor will not need to make an exhaustive exploration
of its environs, but before leaving Christchurch the fine collection
of local birds brought together and mounted by a resident of the town
should not be missed.

Embryo watering places, the conception of the "real estate" fraternity
whom Bournemouth has set by the ears, line the low shore of
Christchurch Bay between Hengistbury Head and Hurst Castle. First
comes Highcliffe, this has perhaps the most developed "front," then
Barton, nearly two miles from New Milton station, and lastly
Milford-on-Sea, the most interesting of them all, but suffering in
popularity by reason of the long road, over four miles, that connects
it with the nearest stations, Lymington or New Milton; possibly its
regular habitues look upon this as a blessing in disguise. Milford is
well placed for charming views of the Island: it has good firm sands
and a golf links. An interesting church stands back from the sea on
the Everton road. The thirteenth-century tower will at once strike the
observer as out of the ordinary; the Norman aisles of the church were
carried westwards at the time the tower was built and made to open
into it through low arches. The early tracery of the windows should be
noticed. The addition of transepts and the enlargement of the chancel
about 1250 made the church an exceptionally large structure for the
originally small village.

Southbourne, one and a half miles south-west of Christchurch, will
soon become a mere outer suburb of Bournemouth. It almost touches
Boscombe, that eastern extension of the great town that has sprung
into being within the last fifty years. Southbourne is said to be
bracing; it is certainly a great contrast to the bustle and glitter of
its great neighbour. There is a kind of snobbishness that strikes to
decry any large or popular resort, seemingly because it _is_ large and
popular, but surely there must be some virtue in these huge watering
places that attract so many year after year, and if Southbourne
pleases only Tom, and Bournemouth Dick and Harry _and_ their friends,
well, good health to them! That their favourite town does not start
off a new chapter may offend the latter, but they will perhaps admit
that although it is on the west side of the Avon the town among the
pines forms, with its sandy chines and the trees that gave it its
first claim to popular favour, an extension and outlier of the great
series of heath and woodland that has just been traversed and that it
makes a fitting geographical termination to south-western Hants.

Though the pines themselves have not been planted much longer than a
hundred years, they now appear as the only relics of a lonely and
rather bare tract of uncultivable desert. Local historians claim that
the beginnings of Bournemouth were made in 1810, but it would appear
that only two or three houses existed by the lonely wastes of sand in
the first few years of the Victorian era. One of these was an adjunct
to a decoy pond for wild fowl. The parish itself was not formed until
1894, and although fashionable streets and fine churches and a
super-excellent "Winter-garden" had been erected when the writer first
saw the town, not much more than twenty years ago, the front was
extremely "raw" and the only shelter during a shower was a large tent
on the sands that, on one never-to-be-forgotten occasion, collapsed
during a squall upon the crowd of lightly-clad holiday-makers
beneath. But this is a very dim and distant past for Bournemouth, the
"Sandbourne" of the Wessex novels. The town is now as well conducted
as any on the English coast. It is large enough and has a sufficient
permanent population to justify its inclusion in the ranks of the
county boroughs. It is becoming almost as popular as Ventnor with
those who suffer from weak lungs, though it can be very cold here in


Bournemouth will be found a convenient centre, or rather starting
point, for the exploration of the beautiful Wessex coast. From the
pier large and comfortable steamers make the passage to Swanage,
Weymouth, Lyme and further afield. Another advantage which these large
towns have for the ordinary tourist is that he may generally count
upon getting some sort of roof to cover him when in the smaller coast
resorts lodgings are not merely at a premium but simply unobtainable
at any price.

[Illustration: CORFE CASTLE.]



The South of England generally is wanting in that particular scenic
charm that consists of broad stretches of inland water backed by high
country. The first sight of Poole harbour with the long range of the
Purbeck Hills in the distance will come as a delightful revelation to
those who are new to this district. The harbour is almost land-locked
and the sea is not in visual evidence away from the extremely narrow
entrance between Bournemouth and Studland. A fine excursion for good
pedestrians can be made by following the sandy shore until the ferry
across the opening is reached and then continuing to Studland and over
Ballard Down to Swanage.

Poole town is a busy place of small extent but containing for its size
a large population. The enormous development of industry in the
surrounding districts during the Great War must have brought the
number of folks in and around Poole to nearly 100,000, thus making it
the most populous corner of Dorset. This figure may not be maintained,
but a good proportion of the work concerned with the waste of
armaments has been transformed into the commerce of peace. One cause
for the modern prosperity of this old town is its position as regards
the converging railways from the west and north as well as from London
and Weymouth.

[Illustration: POOLE.]

Poole, like a good many other places with as much or as little cause,
has been claimed as a Roman station. There seems to be no direct
evidence for this. The first actual records of the town are dated
1248, when William de Longespee gave it its first charter. This Norman
held the manor of Canford, and Poole church was originally a chapel of
ease for that parish. The present building only dates from 1820 and
for the period is a presentable enough copy of the Perpendicular
style. Poole was a republican town in the Civil War and sent its
levies to help to reduce Corfe Castle. The revenge of the other side
came when, at the Restoration, all the town defences were destroyed,
though the king was not too unforgetful to refuse the hospitality of
the citizens during the Great Plague.

The only remarkable relics in Poole are the Wool House or "Town
Cellar" and an old postern dating from about 1460. The Town Hall, with
its double flight of winding steps and quaint high porch was built in
1761. Within, as a commemoration of the visit recorded above, is a
presentment of the monarch who must have had "a way with him," since
his subjects' memories apparently became as short as his own.

But Poole's most stirring times were in the days when Harry Page,
licensed buccaneer and pirate, made individual war on Spain to such
good purpose that the natives of Poole were astounded one morning to
see upwards of one hundred foreign vessels dotted about the waters of
the harbour, prizes taken by the redoubtable "Arripay," as his
captives termed him. Nothing flying the Spanish flag in the Channel
seemed to escape him, until matters at last became so humiliating that
the might of both countries was brought to bear on Poole, and the town
underwent a severe chastisement, in which Page's brother was killed.
This spirit of warlike enterprise descended to the great grandchildren
of these Elizabethans, for in Poole church is a monument to one
Joliffe, captain of the hoy _Sea Adventurer_, who, in the days of
Dutch William, drove ashore and captured a French privateer. In the
following year another bold seaman, William Thompson, with but one man
and a cabin-boy to help him, took a Cherbourg privateer and its crew
of sixteen. Both these heroes received a gold chain and medal from the
King. Another generation, and the town was fighting its own masters
over the question of "free imports." In spite of the usually accepted
fact that smuggling can only prosper in secret, Poole became a sort of
headquarters for all that considerable trade that found in the nooks
and crannies of the Dorset coast safe warehouses and a natural
cellarage. So bold did the fraternity become that in 1747, when a
large cargo of tea had been seized by the crown authorities and placed
for safe keeping in the Customs House, the free traders overpowered
all resistance and triumphantly retrieved their booty, or shall we
say, their property? and took it surrounded by a well-armed escort to
various receivers in the remoter parts of the wild country north-west
of Wimborne. The leaders of this attack were afterwards found to be
members of a famous Sussex band and the incident led to tragedy. An
informer named Chater, of Fordingbridge, and an excise officer--William
Calley--were on their way to lay an information, when they were seized
by a number of smugglers and cruelly done to death. For this six men
suffered the full penalty and three others were hanged for the work
done at Poole.

The waters of Poole Harbour are salt as the sea outside though fed by
the rivers Frome and Puddle, and so of course its best aspect is when
the tide is full. The erratic ebb and flow is more pronounced here
than at Southampton and there are longer periods of high than low
water. Brownsea Island, that occupies the centre of this inland sea,
with its wooded banks of dark greenery makes an effective foil to the
sparkling waters and long mauve line of the Purbeck Hills. There is
always deep water at the eastern extremity of the island, to which
boats can be taken. Here are Branksea (or Brownsea) Castle, an
enlarged and improved edition of one of Henry's coast forts, and a few
cottages. Other small islands, populated by waterfowl, lie between
Brownsea and the Purbeck shore, where on a small peninsula is the
pretty little hamlet of Arne, remote, forgotten and very seldom
visited by tourist or stranger, but commanding the most exquisite
views of the harbour and surrounding country. It is possible that in
the near future the amenities of Poole Harbour may disappear or at
least change their quiet aspect of to-day, for at the time of writing
a scheme is afoot to deepen the channels and render the harbour
capable of taking the largest ships within its sheltered anchorage.

Six miles north of Poole, in the valley of the Stour where that river
is joined by the Allen or Wim, stands Wimborne Minster surrounded by
the pleasant old town that bears the full name of its only title to
renown. This is another claimant for a Roman send-off to its history,
and with better grounds than Poole, though here again authorities
differ, some maintaining that Badbury Rings, the scene of the great
defeat of the West Saxons by the British, was the original
Vindogladia. A Roman pavement has been discovered within the area
covered by the Minster Church; whether this is a remnant of a
considerable station or only of a solitary villa is unknown.

[Illustration: WIMBORNE MINSTER.]

The beautiful Minster, one of the "sights" of Bournemouth, and,
although farther afield, almost as popular as Christchurch, was
founded at an early date in the history of Wessex, but the actual year
is unknown. It must have been very early in the eighth century that
the two sisters of King Ine, Cuthberga and Cwenburh, joined in forming
a sisterhood here. Both were buried in the original building and
eventually became enrolled in that long list of Saxon Saints whose
names have such a quaintly archaic sound and whose lives must have
been a matter of high romance, considering the experiences through
which they lived. St. Boniface asked for the help of the Wimborne
sisterhood to carry on his missionary labours among the benighted
tribes of Germany, and several establishments in the marshes and
woodlands along the shore of the Baltic Sea were the daughter houses
of this mid-Wessex abbey. The Saxon church was probably destroyed
during the Danish terror, but rebuilding commenced again before the
Conquest and the church became a college of secular canons.

As will be seen by a first glance at the central tower, Norman
workmanship is in evidence in the exterior. The pinnacles and
battlements that give the upper part such a curious and incongruous
appearance were added in 1608. Previous to this it had a spire that
was erected in the late thirteenth century, but in 1600, while a
service was being conducted, "a sudden mist ariseing, all the spire
steeple, being of very great height was strangely cast down; the
stones battered all the lead and brake much timber of the roofe of the
church, yet without anie hurt to the people." The other tower at the
western end was a 1450 addition, about which time several alterations
were made, including a new clerestory. The soft and beautiful tints in
the old stone are not the least charming feature of the exterior.
Before entering the church the "Jack," a figure in eighteenth-century
dress that strikes the hours on a bell, should be noticed. The medley
of architecture will be seen directly one enters by the north porch.
The arches of the nave are of three distinct types; those at the west
end being Decorated, the three in the middle late Transitional, and
that nearest the tower an earlier example of this style. The choir is
a mixture of late Norman and Early English. The altar is placed
unusually high and this adds much to the dignity of the church. The
east window is of great interest to archaeologists. Conjectured to
have been constructed about 1210-20 when the apsidal east end was
pulled down, it forms one of the earliest instances of "plate"
tracery. Some old Italian glass has been inserted in it. On the south
side of the chancel will be seen the fine tomb of John Beaufort, Duke
of Somerset, grandfather of Henry VII and grandson of John of Gaunt.
Above the tomb is suspended an old helmet weighing over 14 lbs. This
was found during some restorations, buried in the nave. It is supposed
to have belonged to the Duke. Beyond this are the canopied sedilia and
piscina. On the north side is a slab of Purbeck marble which may have
replaced the original memorial of King Ethelred, who was buried in the
older church. The tomb on this side of the chancel is that of
Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter, and wife of the Marquis beheaded by
Henry VIII. The oak benches that extend across the front of the
sanctuary were placed here when the church was in Presbyterian
keeping. They are usually covered with white wrappings, which, to the
casual visitor, have the appearance of decorators' dust-cloths, but
are really "houseling linen." The relics that once made the Minster
famous and a place of pilgrimage for the credulous were many and
various. Reputed fragments of our Lord's manger, robe and cross; some
of the hairs of His beard, and a thorn from His crown; a bottle
containing the blood of St. Thomas a Becket, and St. Agatha's

The fine old chest with its six different locks, one for each trustee,
in the St. George's or north choir aisle, will be remarked. This is
the receptacle for the deeds of Collett's Charity at Corfe Castle.
Beside another very ancient chest (possibly used for "relics"), is an
effigy of an unknown knight, conjectured to be a Fitz Piers, also a
monument to Sir Edmund Uvedale. In the south, or Trinity, aisle is the
Etricke tomb; here lies a recorder of Poole, the same who committed to
prison, after his capture on one of the wild heaths near Ringwood,
that one-time hope of protestant England, the unfortunate Duke of
Monmouth. This Anthony Etricke was buried half in and half out of the
church in pursuance of a curious whim that he should lie neither in
the open nor under the church roof. He caused the date of his death to
be carved upon the side of the sarcophagus but, as may be seen, the
date had to be advanced twelve years when he did demise. There is a
finely vaulted crypt under the altar and over the fourteenth century

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