Britannia, by William Camden


Big TTHE County of Dorset is bounded on the North by Somersetshire and Wiltshire, on the West by Devonshire, on the East by Hantshire; and Southward (on which side it is of the largest Extent) it is all Sea-coast, lying ( as I just now observ’d ) some 50 miles together upon the British Ocean, ⌈which supplies it with great plenty of the best Fish, and gives it an opportunity to improve it self by Trade. The Inhabitants reckon it much for their honour, what they affirm King Charles 2. to have declared, ‘That he never saw a finer Country, either in England, or out of it.’⌉ The Soil is fruitful, and in the North part it has woods and forests scatter’d here and there; whence, with several green hills that feed great flocks of sheep, and with pleasant pastures, and fruitful Vales, it comes down to the sea-shore; which I shall follow in my description, knowing no better method or guide.

At the very entrance into this County from Devonshire, the first place that appears upon the sea-coast, is Lyme,Lyme. a little town standing upon a steep hill, and so call’d from a rivulet of that name gliding by it. This [formerly ] * * Can. C.could scarce be call’d a sea-port town, tho’ it † † Is. C.was frequented by fishermen, and hath a kind of harbour below it, which they call the Cobbe; well secur’d against Storms, by rocks and lofty trees. ⌈But since, it is much improv’d; having very considerable Merchants; and the Peer, for the nature and largeness of it, being one of the best in England, tho’ very chargeable. It is also a Burrough, consisting of 16 Capital Burgesses and a Recorder; whereof, there is a Mayor, and two Justices. The Mayor, the next year after his Mayoralty, is a Justice of the Peace, and the year following, Justice and Coroner.⌉ We scarce meet with the name in ancient books; only I have read, that King Kinwulf, in the year of our Lord 774, gave the land of one mansion to the Church of Scireburn, near the western banks of the river Lim, not far from the place where it falls into the sea; that salt might be boil’d there to supply the necessities of that Church. ⌈But, in our time, it is made more remarkable, for being the landing-place of the unfortunateJun.11.1685. Duke of Monmouth, when he asserted his pretended right to the Crown. He brought with him but one Man of War of about 30 guns, and two other small Vessels, with Arms for about 4000 men; not above 100 coming over with him. But, notwithstanding the great increase of his Forces, in a very short time he was routed in a pitch’d battel, and his attempt prov’d fatal to him and his followers.⌉

Dorset Shire map, left. Note overlap. Dorset Shire map, right. Note overlap.

Dorset Shire

AEthelwulf Hard by, the river Carr empties it self into the sea; where stands CarmouthCarmouth. ⌈commonly Charmouth,⌉ a little village, at which the pirating Danes had the fortune to beat the English in two Engagements; first, conquering King Egbert in the year of our Lord 831; and then King Æthelwulf, eight years after. Next, is Burtport,Burtport famous for hemp. or rather Birtport, ⌈and Bridport, and of some, saith Leland, written Bruteport; ⌉ seated between two small rivers meeting there, in a soil which produces the best hemp. In this town, an hundred and twenty houses were computed in Edward the Confessor’s time; but in William the Conqueror’s reign (as appears by Domesday-book) there were no more than an hundred. It was heretofore so famous for making ropes and cables for ships, that it was provided by a † Privata lege.special Law which was made to continue for a certain time, that such tackle, for the use of the English Navy, should be made no where else. Nor can this Place bear out the name of a Port; tho’ at the mouth of the river that runs by it, which is enclos’d with hills on both sides, Nature has projected a very commodious place for an harbour, and seems to call upon Art and Industry to finish it. ⌈And these, it was believ’d, wou’d have effected it, till the Inhabitants of late years made the attempt, and fail’d in the undertaking: the Tydes perpetually barring it with Sand, against which they could not find any remedy. North-east from hence, is Wingford-Eagle,Wingford-Eagle. * * Aubr. Mon. Brit. MS.near which, in a ground call’d Ferndown, upon the road to Bridport, is a barrow (among many others thereabouts,) which was search’d and open’d some years since. Upon the first removing of the earth, they found it full of large flints, and at length came to a place perfectly like an Oven, curiously clay’d round; and in the midst of it a fair Urn full of very firm bones, with a great quantity of black ashes under it. And, what is most remarkable; one of the diggers putting his hand into the Oven when first open’d, pull’d it hastily back, not being able to endure the heat; and several others doing the like, affirm’d it to be hot enough to bake bread. † † Dr. Jorden of Baths, c.14. p.106.The same natural heat is often found by our Mineral-men in their Mines, so as, sometimes, they are not able to touch them. Digging further, they met with 16 Urns more, but not in Ovens; and in the middle, one with ears: they were all full of sound bones and black ashes. Not far from hence is Winterborne;Winterborne. ¦ ¦ Aubr. Mon. Brit. the Parish whereof, within an inclosure near the great road to London, stand certain stones, nine in number, in a circular form. The highest is seven foot, the next highest, almost six; the rest are broken, and now not above a yard high. And upon the same road, half a mile further, stand three stones which are four foot high. The stones of both these Monuments seem to be petrify’d lumps of flint.⌉

From Bridport, the shore winding very much, runs out into the sea; where * * A heap of sand. C. a bank of gravel and pebbles thrown up, and call’d ChesilChesil. (with a narrow Sea running between it and the shore) continues for † † Seven Lel.nine miles together; which, when ¦ ¦ South-east. Lel.the south wind rises, gives, and commonly cleaves asunder; but the * * North-west. Lel.north wind binds and consolidates it. By this shelf of sand, Portland,Portland. formerly an Island, is now joyn’d to the Continent. As for the etymology of the name, I know it not; unless it be call’d Portland, because opposite to the Port call’d Weymouth; but it seems the better conjecture of the two, that it took it’s name from one Port, a gallant Saxon, who about the year of our Lord 523. annoy’d this coast. This Portland, towards the decline of the Saxon Government (for no mention is made of it by Writers, before,) suffer’d as much by the Danes, as any place whatever. But, after that war was at an end, it came to the Church of Winchester.Histor. Winton. For when Emma, the mother of King Edward the Confessor (having been accus’d of incontinency with Alwin Bishop of Winchester, and her reputation at stake) clear’d her self from the guilt in the Cathedral Church of Winchester, by passing, bare-foot and unhurt, over nine red-hot plough-Shares (which was a common way of tryal in those days, call’d Ordale,)Tryal call’d Ordale. so as the miracle of her deliverance prov’d the memorial of her chastity to succeeding generations; she, in memory of it, gave nine farms to that Church:V. Somner’s Glossar. to Dec. Script. and her son Edward, repenting that he had accus’d his mother wrongfully, laid this whole Island, with other revenues, to it. ⌈After which donation of Edward, the Island continu’d in the Church of Winchester to the time of Edward 1; in whose reign Gilbert de Clare Earl of Hertford and Gloucester (probably looking upon it as an impregnable place,) gave other Lands to the Church in exchange for it; through whose heirs it came to the Crown.⌉ It is scarce seven miles round; ⌈but, saith Leland, if a man should compass it by the very roots, and the deepest shore, it would amount to ten.⌉ A ridge of rocks round it raises it higher there, than in the middle, where it is flat and low: it is here and there inhabited, and affords good plenty of corn, with commodious pasture for sheep; but so little wood, that they are forc’d to make use of cow-dung dry’d in the Sun, for fewel. trial ordeal fuel ⌈In the year 1632. it gave the title of Earl, to Richard Lord Weston of Neiland, Lord High Treasurer of England, who was succeeded by several of the same family. And in the reign of King William the 3d, William Bentinck was advanced to the honour of Earl of Portland, in consideration of his great and faithful Services to that Prince; and was succeeded therein by Henry his son and heir; now advanced to the further dignity of Duke of Portland.⌉

The inhabitants are the most famous of all the English, for slinging of stones. Among the sea-weeds they often meet with Isidis Plocamon, that is, Isis’s hair,Isidis Plocamon, Isis’s hair. which (as Pliny has it from Juba,) is a sort of shrub produced by the sea, not unlike Coral; it has no leaves, and when cut, it changes colour, growing black and hard; and the least fall breaks it. To the East, it has one only Church, and a few houses adjoyning;Itinerar. MS. Vol.3. ⌈(in Leland’s time, the Island had about 80 in number, and there had been as many more, as appeared by the ruins:)⌉ to the North, it has a Castle built by K. Henry 8, commanding the mouth of the port call’d Weymouth.Weymouth. This is a small town at the mouth of the little river Wey; ⌈which gave the title of Viscount to the Right Honourable Thomas Thynne of Longlete; created in the 34th year of King Charles the second, Baron Thynne of Warminster, and Viscount Weymouth.⌉ The Wey sees upon the opposite bank, Melcombe,Melcombe. call’d Melcombe Regis, that is, King’s Melcombe, and parted from Weymouth only by the harbour. The privileges of a Port were taken from it by Act of Parliament;11 Hen. 6. but afterwards recover’d. These (standing, formerly, upon their distinct Immunities, and rivalling each other,) are now united by Act of Parliament, (it is to be hop’d to the benefit of both,) and having communication, by a Bridge * * So said, ann. 1607.lately made, are very much enlarg’d in buildings.

From thence, the shore lies strait, to the Isle of Purbeck,Purbeck. which is full of heath, woods, and forests, † † Not so now.well stock’d with Fallow-deer and stags; ⌈(but the South part is very good land,)⌉ and under ground, here and there it has veins of marble ⌈and many sorts of good stone; from which (as Tradition informs us) the Cathedral Church of Salisbury was supply’d; and large quantities thereof are still carried to London, to the great advantage of the Inhabitants.⌉ In the middle of it there stood an old Castle call’d Corffe,Corffe. a very ancient ruin, and at last consum’d by Age; but it is a notable memorial of the spite of Mothers-in-law.The ill-will of Step-mothers. For Ælfrith (to make AElfrith way for her own son Etheldred to the Throne) having a Visit paid her here, by her son-in-law Edward, King of England, as he came from hunting, set certain Ruffians upon him, who slew him; while his impious step-mother glutted her eyes with that bloody Scene. Which Impiety she afterwards us’d her utmost endeavours to expiate, by taking the habit of a Nun, and building of Religious houses. ⌈The first foundation of this Castle is not distinctly clear’d by any history; though there are some circumstances that seem to justifie a conjecture, of it’s being built by King Edgar. For by an Inquisition taken 54 Henry 3. concerning the Abbess of Shaftsbury’s claim of Wreck in her manour of Kingston in Purbeck, it is thus mention’d; Juratores dicunt, &c. i.e. The Jurors say, that before the building of the Castle of Corffe, the Abbess and Nuns of St. Edward at Shaston had the wreck of the Sea within their manour of Kingston, without lett or molestation. Now, the Nunnery of Shaston was founded An. 941. by King Edmund; after which time the castle must have been built: and it is probable, this was not done in either of the two succeeding Reigns, which were but short; till Edgar (the peaceable, the rich, and the great builder too, for he founded and repair’d 47 Monasteries,) came to the Crown. After the strength and safety of the Realm began to consist in Castles, this was one of the chief, belonging to the Crown; and in the 42 of Hen. 3. when Simon Montfort had taken the King prisoner, it was the third Castle requir’d to be deliver’d up to that party; and was afterwards by Mortimer look’d upon as the fittest place, wherein to secure his prisoner Edward 2. It was repair’d by King Henry 7. and in the late Civil Wars was a garrison for the King, and defended by the owner of it, the Lord Chief Justice Banks: nor did it come into the Enemies hands, otherwise, than by the treachery of one, who pretending to have brought relief, let in the besiegers. The town is one of the nine burroughs of the County, which send Burgesses to Parliament; and, what is remarkable, the principal members of it, (especially as many of them as have born the Office of Mayor) are call’d Barons; as the Chief citizens of London anciently were, and the governing part of all the Cinque-ports still are.⌉ This Purbeck is call’d an Island, though it be but a Peninsula; being every way wash’d by the sea, except westward, ⌈(on which side also, the river Frome, and another little river, do almost make it an Island:)⌉ To the East, the bank of the sea winds very much inward, and finding a narrow inlet or passage (opposite to which, within, is an Island with a block-house call’d Brenksey ⌈now gone to decay,⌉) widens itself into a bay of great breadth. ⌈In this Island, there is one family of the name of Clavil,Clavil. recorded in Domesday-book to have been here, in the time of the Conqueror.⌉

North of Purbeck, in a peninsula hard by, is Poole,Poole. a small town surrounded every way with water, but to the north, where it is joyn’d to the continent, and has only one gate. It is not unlikely, that it took the name from a bay below it, which, in a calm, looks like a standing water, such as we call a Pool. This, in the last age ⌈save one,⌉ was improv’d from a Sedge-plat with a few Fishermens huts, to a well frequented market-town, and grew exceedingly in wealth, and in fair buildings. ⌈Leland attributes the rise of this Town to the decay of Warham;Warham. imagining, that while the Ships could go up so far, and there unlade, it was in a prosperous condition; but when for want of depth of water they lost that road, they took up at Poole, and so by little and little enriched it. And yet it should seem to have been formerly also a town of some note, and of good antiquity. For it appears by Records, that in the 2 of Edward 2, the Free-Burgesses of Poole (Thomas Plantagenet Earl of Lancaster being then Lord of it in right of his wife) paid to the said Lord the sum of 8 l. 13 s. (equal to about 80 l. now,) for the farm of their Liberties; and in 14 Edward 3, they sent Burgesses to Parliament.⌉ King Henry 6. by Act of Parliament transferr’d the franchises of the port of Melcombe, which he had disfranchis’d, to this place; and gave leave to the Mayor to enclose it with walls, which were afterwards begun at the harbour by Richard 3, who deservedly bears the character of one of the worst of men, and best of Kings. But from that time (by I know not what ill destiny, or rather negligence of the Inhabitants,) it has been decaying; so that now the houses, for want of inhabitants, are dropping down.

Into the west-corner of this bay, FromeThe river Frome. a famous river of this County discharges it self; for so it is commonly call’d, tho’ the Saxons (as we learn from Asserius) nam’d it Saxon: Frau; and because this bay was formerly call’d Fraumouth,Fraumouth. later ages have probably imagin’d, that the river was call’d Frome. It has its rise at Evarshot, near the western bounds of the shire, from whence it runs Eastward by Frompton,Frompton. to which it gave the name; and is joyn’d by a rivulet from the north that flows by Cerne Abby,Cerne Abby. which was built by AustinMalmesb. Gest. Pont. fol. 142. b. the English Apostle, when he had dash’d to pieces the Idol of the Pagan Saxons there, call’d Heil, and had deliver’d them from their superstitious Ignorance. A little beneath this, Frau or Frome (call it which you please) dividing it self, makes a kind of Island; and first visits that ancient town which in the Itinerary of Antoninus is call’d Durnovaria,Dorchester. that is, the passage over the river. Ptolemy, according to different Copies, calls it erroneously Durnium, and Dunium. This has the name of the principal town of the County; and yet it is neither large nor beautiful, the walls having been pull’d down by the Danes, who have thrown up several Barrows about the town. ⌈It has very wide streets, and is delicately situated on a rising ground, opening at the south and west-ends, into sweet fields and spacious downs. It is a Corporation, formerly govern’d by two Bailiffs and Burgesses; but it was, in the 5 Cha. 1, incorporated a-new by the name of Mayor, Bailiffs, Aldermen, and Burgesses; with an enlargement of Privileges, Franchises, and Immunities. It appears, that in the 29 Henry 8, it contain’d 349 houses.⌉ This place daily discovers very visible tokens of Antiquity; such are, the Roman military or consular way, with brass and silver coins of the Roman Emperors, which the common people call King Dorn’s pence, whom they fondly believe from the name to have been the Founder of the town. ⌈In the time of the Romans, it was one of the two winter Stations of their Legions, mention’d in those parts; Vindogladia (now Winburne,) being the other.⌉ And a mile off, there is a ditch with a Bulwark on the top of an hill, pretty large in circumference, and call’d Maiden-castle,Maiden-castle. which one may easily see was a Summer-Camp of the Romans. ⌈They who have curiously view’d the place, have trac’d-out the particular uses of each part: as, that the western part of it, facing the Prætorium, was for the foot, and it could not contain less than three Legions, i.e. about 18000 Soldiers: that the east part, behind the Prætorium, was for the Horse and Carriages: and that, between both, on each side the Prætorium, the Tribunes and other Officers were seated. On the south side of this work, is a place Praetorium seemingly the mouth of a hollow cave, which some nice Observers will have to be artificial; but for what use it should be contriv’d, is altogether uncertain.⌉ This Town suffer’d most, when the cruel and barbarous Sueno renew’d the Danish Wars; and when Hugh the Norman, a man of treacherous principles, and Governour of these parts, suffer’d the Country to be plunder’d and destroy’d. But in what condition it was, about the beginning of the Norman times, learn, if you please, from Domesday-book. In King Edward’s reign, there were 170 houses in Dorchester; these defended themselves for all the King’s services, and paid geld for ten hides, but to the work of * * Buthsecarles, i.e. Clastiarii, Hov. f.257.Huscarls one mark of silver, excepting those customs which† Ad firmam noctis.were for one night’s entertainment. There were in it two mint-masters. There are now only 82 houses; and 100 have been totally demolish’d, since Hugh was Sheriff. If this language be obscure and unintelligible, as Sextus Cæcilius said in a case of the like nature, it is not to be imputed to want of Skill in the Writer, but to want of Capacity in the Reader. ⌈From this place, Henry Lord Pierpoint, Earl of Kingston, Viscount Newark, and Baron of Holme, was created Marquiss of Dorchester in the 20th year of King Charles the first; who dying, without issue-male surviving, this title lay dead; till Queen Anne, in the fifth year of her reign, advanc’d the right Honourable Evelyn, Earl (and since, Duke) of Kingston, to the title of Marquiss of Dorchester.⌉

Caecilius basin From hence the river Frome runs by Woodford,Woodford. where formerly Guido * * Brient. Brien, a martial hero, had a small castle; afterwards the habitation of Humphrey Stafford of Suthwick, by whose Coheir it descended (as I have been told) to ⌈Sir Edmund Cheney, of Brook; and by his daughter to⌉ T. Strangwaies,Strangwaies. a native of Lancashire, who came to a fair estate in this country; and whose Posterity built a very fine Seat at Milbery. From hence it runs by Byndon,Byndon. call’d by the Saxons Saxon: Beandun (which likewise had its monastery,) where Kinegilse in the year 614, ⌈as is commonly said⌉ with great difficulty overcame the Britains. ⌈But, it is observable, that in all the Copies of the ancient Saxon Annals, the place of that Victory is called Saxon: Beamdune, and not Saxon: Beandun. And I see no reason why this Action may not very well be remov’d to Bampton, upon the borders between Somersetshire and Devonshire. The march of the Britains, and all other circumstances, do no less agree to this; and the old name does much better suit it, it being usual for after-ages to add the ( p ) after ( m ) to strengthen (as it were) the pronunciation. Unless one should suppose that Beamdune was the ancient name of Byndon, and that those works upon a hill south of it (namely a double-form’d camp) were done by one of those two People.⌉ † † So said, ann. 1607.Some time since, it was the seat of the Lord of Marney : and afterwards gave the honorable title of Viscount to Thomas Howard Knight of the Garter, whose father nam’d Thomas (second son of Thomas Howard, the second Duke of Norfolk of that name) Q. Elizabeth created Viscount Howard of Byndon, when by marrying ⌈Elizabeth⌉ daughter and heir of Baron Marney, he came to the great estate of the NewboroughsNewborough. in these parts. ⌈And in the 5th year of Queen Anne, Henry Howard, Lord Walden, eldest Son to the Earl of Suffolk, was created Baron of Chesterford and Earl of Bindon.⌉ The Family just now mention’d, who are called de Novoburgo, commonly Newborough, ⌈(to whose Estate the Family of Marney came by John Lord Marney, father of the said Elizabeth, marrying the daughter and heir of Sir Roger Newborough,)⌉ derive their pedigree from a younger son of Henry, the first Earl of Warwick of the Norman race; and held here WinfrottWinfrott. with the whole Hundred, (the gift of King Henry 1.) by service of Chamberlain in chief of our Lord the King, as it is in the Inquisition. But I have read, that in Edward the 3d’s reign, it was held in Sergeanty,Grand Sergeanty. by holding the bason for the King to wash on his Coronation-day. Ralph Moien likewise held the adjoyning manour of Owres by service of Sergeanty in the kitchin (the gift also of King Henry 1); ⌈(and since, the possession of the Lord Stourton, as being descended of William de Stourton, who in the time of Richard 2, married Elizabeth, the daughter, and, afterwards heir, of Sir John Moigne;)⌉ and R. de Welles held the manour of Welles adjoyning, ever since the conquest of England, by the service of being Baker. But this, by the way.

Where Frome discharges it self into the bay on which Poole is seated, near the mouth of it stands Warham,Warham. by the Saxons call’d Saxon: Weareham, very strong and secure on all sides but the west; being every way else encompassed, by the river Trent, the Frome, and the sea; ⌈and fortified on the west-side, as also on the east, with earthen walls, both strong and high.⌉ In Edward the Confessor’s time (as it is recorded in Domesday-book) it had 148 houses, and two mint-masters; but in William the Conqueror’s days, there were but 70 houses. Afterwards, it re-flourish’d, and was in great prosperity (fortify’d with walls quite round, had a mint-office, was full of inhabitants, and had a very strong castle, built by William the Conqueror,) till the reign of Henry the second. But from that time, it suffer’d much by the wars and the casualties of fire, together with the sea’s robbing them of their haven, and so is well-nigh run to ruin; and the ground that was in the very heart of the ancient town, produces great quantities of garlick. ⌈It is probable enough, that this arose out of the ruins of a little poor place call’d Stowborough, (in the same manner, as the present Salisbury has risen out of the ruins of the old;) for Stowborough,Stowborough. tho’ but a mean place, is still govern’d by a Mayor; which shews, that it has formerly been much more considerable: and the natural strength of Warham, among other things, might invite them, in those troublesome times, to remove thither. At present, there are not the least remains of the Castle beforemention’d; only, the ground upon which it was built, is call’d Castle-hill. An Argument of it’s once flourishing condition, is the number of Churches, which they reckon were in all 8; but now only three are us’d. The east part also of the town, and much of the west, is now turn’d to gardens; but the principal streets remain still.⌉

The little river TrentTrent. has likewise it’s mouth here, named so by Asser, tho’ the inhabitants call it now Piddle; from whose northern bank, scarce three miles off, I saw the ruinous walls of an old Abby call’d Middleton,Middleton. which King Athelstan founded by way of atonement for taking away both the life and Crown of his brother Edwin. For when his ambitious desire of government had overcome the principles of natural justice, he put the poor youth who was heir apparent to the Crown, with his little page, into a * * Actuariola.small skiff without any tackle, that he might charge the Sea with his own guilt: And Edwin, helpless, and distracted with grief, threw himself headlong into the sea.

⌈The greatest part of the Abby is still standing, as having been the seat of the Tregonwells from the time of the Dissolution; from whom it came (by the marriage of the daughter and turbida villa heir of John Tregonwell) to the Luterells of Dunster-castle; and from them, by marriage, to the family of Banks.⌉ * * On the west-side of the Church. Beneath this Middleton, another little river rises, which runs by a small market town call’d Bere,Bere. where for a long time the ancient and famous family De turbidâ villâ, commonly call’d Turbervill,Turbervill. had their seat.

But to return to the west part of the shire. At the rise of Frome where the soil is exceeding fruitful, Blackmore-forest (once well wooded, now more naked,) affords very good hunting.

It is commonly call’d The forest of white-hart,Forest of White-hart. ⌈tho’ long since disforested.⌉ The Inhabitants have a tradition, concerning the occasion of the name, That King Henry 3. hunting here, and having run down several Deer, spar’d the life of a milk-white hart, which afterwards T. de la Linde, a gentleman of this County, and his company, took and kill’d; but they were soon made sensible, how dangerous it is to provoke a Lyon. For the King, being highly incens’d at it, fin’d them severely, and the very Lands they held, do to this day pay into the Kings Exchequer annually a pecuniary acknowledgment by way of fine,White-hart-silver. call’d † † This seems to have been only Leet-money.White-hart-silver. Shirburn,Shirburn. which is likewise call’d Shirburn-castle, borders upon this forest; formerly Saxon: Scireburn, that is, a spring of clear water; ⌈and accordingly, as Leland saith, in some old Evidences termed Fons Clarus.⌉ It is plac’d on the decline of a hill; and is very pleasant (as Malmsbury writes)Fons limpidus. by reason of the multitude of inhabitants, and a delightful situation: It is at present the most frequented town in this County, their woollen manufacture turning to great account. ⌈Leland saith, in his time, it was about two miles in compass; and subsisted partly by making of Cloath, but mostly by all manner of Trades, joyntly.⌉ In the year of our Lord 704. an Episcopal See was erected here; and Aldelm was consecrated the first Bishop. Afterwards, in the reign of King Etheldred, Herman, Bishop of Sunning, being advanc’d to this Bishoprick, transferr’d his Episcopal See hither, and annext the Bishoprick of Sunning to it, which in William the Conqueror’s reign he remov’d to Salisbury, reserving Shirburn to his successors for a retiring place; to whom it belong’d for many ages; and one of them, nam’d Roger, built a fortify’d castle in the East part of it, beneath which was a large marsh, and many fish-ponds; but these being fill’d up, are converted into fruitful meadows. ⌈And as all the old Bishopricks have been cruelly lopp’d; so Salisbury has lost this (the chief rents only reserv’d,) to the Crown. The main use it hath serv’d, has been to gratifie great Favourites; none of whom having long enjoy’d it, a remark hath been made, from this and other like instances, That Church-lands will not stick by Lay-owners.⌉

The Cathedral Church, immediately upon the translation of the See, was converted into a monastery, and seems very ancient; though * * Not many. C.many years ago, in an uproar between the townsmen and the monks, it was set on fire; the signs of which appear plainly at this day in the † Adustus color.blackness of the stones. ⌈This quarrel (as Leland tells us) was occasioned by the Monks taking the liberty to Baptise in the Chapel of All-hallowes; the Font-stone whereof, one of the Townsmen defaced.⌉ Below this, the river IvellIvell. riv. (of which we shall speak elsewhere,) with many turnings and windings, runs westward, to Clifton, formerly the seat of the family of ¦ ¦ Maulbauch. C.Clifton.Malbanch, from which it descended by Inheritance to the family of the Horseies, Knights, ⌈and from them, by purchase, to the Heles; and now it belongs to the Hervies;⌉ and here the Ivell enters Somersetshire.

More to the East, the famous river Stoure (rising out of six Springs in Wiltshire, and yielding great plenty of Tench and Eel) flows to Stourton,Stourton. the seat of the Barons of Stourton. When it first enters this County, it runs by Gillingham-forest,Gillingham. where Edmund sirnam’d Ironside defeated the Danes in a memorable battle; and then, visits ShaftsburyShaftsbury. three miles off, seated on the top of a high hill; by the Britains call’d Caer Paladur (as the common people falsly imagin) and Septonia; by the Saxons Saxon: Sceaftesbyryg, perhaps from the remarkable Church-spire, which they call a Scheaft. A little before the Normans came in, it had 104 houses, and three mint-masters, as I have read in Domesday-Book, so often cited. It was afterwards more famous for a Nunnery founded by the pious Lady Elfgiva, wife to Edmund great * * Pronepos.Grandson of King Alfred; and had in it about ten Parish-Churches. But it is most remarkable, for what our Historians say of one Aquila, who prophesy’d concerning the change of the British government. Some think it was the bird call’d Aquila,The Prophecy of Aquila. an Eagle; others, that it was a person of that name, who foretold that the government of Britain, after having been in Saxon and Norman hands, should return at length to the ancient Britains: And these would have the town to be older than time it self; tho’ it was undoubtedly built by King Alfred. For Malmsbury the historian has told us, that there was an ancient stone in his time, remov’d out of the ruins of the walls into the Chapter-house of the Nuns, which had this lnscription:


King Alfred built this city in the year of our Lord DCCCLXXX, and the eighth year of his reign.

I was the more willing to insert this Inscription for clearing of the truth, because it is wanting in all the Copies I have seen, except one which belongs to the Lord Burghley, Lord Treasurer of England. ⌈This place gave the title of Earl to Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Ashley of Winburn St. Giles, in the twenty fourth year of King Charles the second; in which year he was also made Lord Chancellor of England.⌉

From thence the Stoure,Stoure. running by Marnhill (from which Henry Howard had his title of Baron Howard of Marnhill,Baron Howard of Marnhill. before he was created Earl of Northampton ⌈and which is now the possession of the Hussies,)⌉ makes to Stourminster, that is, a monastery or minster upon the Stoure, a very mean town, and of a low situation; to which Newton-castle is joyn’d by a stone bridge, where there is a mole of earth rais’d with no small pains, ⌈and cut-off by a deep and wide ditch from the high land behind it;⌉ but nothing remains of the Castle, save the name. Nor is there any thing of greater Antiquity relating to this place, than that King Alfred by Will gave StourminsterStourminster. to his younger son; ⌈and that 100 years after, King Edgar gave it (being 30 Hydes) to the Abby of Glassenbury; as King Edmund Ironside gave Newton-Castle (being 17 Hydes) to the same Abby: both which are now part of the possessions of the Frekes.⌉ In the neighbourhood, at Silleston, are two pretty high hills; one call’d Hameldon, with a * * Both with treble, C.treble rampire; the other, Hodde, ⌈only with a single rampire; and it may seem to have been a Camp, where the enemies to the more settled garrison in Hameldon, lodged. By whom it was cast up, is hard to determine; however, we may more safely conclude it to have been a work of the Danes, than of the Romans, both because of it’s irregularity, and it’s being omitted by Antoninus. The place where these hills are, is at present call’d Shillingston; and more anciently Aukford-Eskilling, as having been the possession of the family of Eskilling.⌉

Not far off (I cannot be particular in the place) was Okeford,Okeford. ⌈which, in the reign of K. Stephen or before, was the inheritance of the great Family de Lincolnia (call’d by the French de Nichol,) and Alured being an usual name in that family, it was sometimes nam’d Auckford Alured, as in the 9 Edw. 1; and sometimes Auckford Nichol, as in the 10 Edward 1; when the Lord thereof procur’d it a Fair and Market. The difference and reason of the name, is the more worthy of observation, because it secures us against an error, that these might be distinct places.⌉ Afterwards, it was the chief Barony of Robert the son of Pagan, commonly call’d Fitz-Payne: he married the daughter of Guido de† Brient. C.Brien, who also had his Barony in these western parts in EdwardDugd. Bar. par.1. p.572. the 3d’s reign; but for want of heirs male of the family of Fitz-Payne, ⌈(from whom the common people, to this day, corruptly call the place Fipenny Okford,)⌉ the titles of Baron Fitz-Payne, and * * Brient. C.Brien,Barons Fitz-Payne, Barons Brien, Barons Poynings. coming first to the Poynings (Barons also in that age,) did by a daughter of their family, in the reign of Henry 6, center (together with the Poynings) in the Percies Earls of Northumberland. But within the memory of the † † The last, C.last age save one, by the favour of Henry 8, the dignity of Baron Poynings reviv’d in Thomas Poynings, a warlike-man, who had many illegitimate children; and, with him, it soon expir’d.

From hence, the Stoure passes by Brienston,Brienston. that is, Brientius’s town, the seat of the ancient and Knightly family of the Rogers. ⌈In which family it continu’d, till Sir William Portman purchas’d it, who left it to Henry Portman, his adopted heir; and he, by buildings and otherwise, much adorn’d and improv’d it. This was held in Grand Sergeanty by a pretty odd jocular tenure; viz. By finding a man to go before the King’s army for forty days when he should make war in Scotland (some Records say in Wales,) bare-headed and bare-footed, in his Shirt and Linnen-drawers, holding in one hand a bow without a string, in the other, an arrow without feathers.⌉ Next it goes to Blandford,Blandford. a Market-town; which, having been by an accident burnt down in the * * The last, C.last age save one, was rebuilt, with great advantage, in point of beauty and number of inhabitants. ⌈This is an ancient burrough, which in the 22 Edward 3. and the 33 Edward 3. sent Burgesses to Parliament. In the 34 Edward 1. Henry Lacy Lord of the manour of Kingston-Lacy, had divers Burgesses in it, belonging to that manour, paying in all 40s. a year, rent; and of late years, it hath been honour’d, by giving the Title of Marquiss to the Illustrious General, John Duke of Marlborough.⌉ From thence, flowing by Tarrent ⌈(part of the large possessions of Henry Portman)⌉ where Richard Poor Bishop of Salisbury founded a little Nunnery; it hastens to that ancient town, call’d Vindogladia,Vindogladia. and mention’d by Antoninus; by the Saxons call’d Saxon: Wynburnham, now commonly Winburne,Winburne. and from its Monastery, Winburnminster: From hence it is just 16 miles to Dorchester; the same distance that Antoninus makes between Vinogladia and Durnovaria. I suppose, it took the name from its situation between two rivers ⌈the StoureStoure. and Alen;⌉Alen. for Windugledy in British signifies between two swords; and, that the Britains call’d their Rivers peculiarly by the name of swords, is plain from Aberduglediau (the British name of Milford-haven,) that is, the mouth of two swords, because two rivers call’d Glediau, that is, swords, run into it. The modern name also seems to be taken from Rivers; for Winburne is a compound of Vin a piece of the old word, and the Saxon Burne,Burne, what among the Saxons. signifying a river; by the addition of which word, they were wont to express the names of places that stood by the water-side. The town is seated at the foot of a hill; being large, and very well inhabited. It was of great reputation in the Saxon times; I believe, upon no other account, but for the Remains of the Roman magnificence. In the year 713,The Saxon Annals. when Cuthburg, sister to Ina King of the West-Saxons, being weary of a marry’d life, had procur’d a divorce from her husband the King of the Northumbrians; she founded a Nunnery here, which being consum’d by Age, a new Church was erected in the place, with a fair vault under the Choir, and a very high spire (besides the steeple,) ⌈which is now fal’n, and nothing remains, but the fine Tower on which it stood.⌉ Into this, Prebendaries were introduc’d, instead of Nuns; where, in the memory of the * * The last, C.last age save one, Reginald Poole was Dean, who afterwards was made Cardinal, and Archbishop of Canterbury; adding to the nobility of his Birth (for he had royal blood in his veins) the Ornaments of piety, wisdom, and eloquence. ⌈He was son to Margaret Poole, Countess of Salisbury and daughter to George Duke of Clarence, who was brother to King Edward the fourth.⌉ King Etheldred (one of the best of Princes, and brother of Alfred) who was slain in a battel with the Danes at Wittingham, lies buried in this Church; upon whose tomb († † So said, ann. 1607.not long since repair’d) this Inscription is to be read:


i.e. In this place rests the body of S. Etheldred King of the West-Saxons, Martyr, who in the year of our Lord DCCCLXXII. on the XXIII of April, fell by the hands of the Pagan Danes.


Near whom, lies buried Gertrude Marchioness of Exeter, and mother of Edward Courtney, the last Earl of Devonshire of that family; and on the other side of the Choir, John de Beaufort Duke of Somerset, with his wife; whose daughter Margaret Countess of Richmond, Mother of Henry 7. a Princess of extraordinary piety, founded a school in this place for the education of youth; ⌈which hath since been considerably improved, by the bounty of Queen Elizabeth.⌉ But to shift the scene from the Church to the Town. When the Danes endeavour’d to raise a civil War among the English, and had broken the alliance between King Edward the elder, and Æthelwald his kinsman; Æthelwald, highly ambitious of Government, and out of an inveterate hatred to his Prince, fortified this place with the strongest Works he could contrive. But assoon as Edward approach’d with his Army, and had encamp’d at Baddan- Saxon: byrig, now call’d Badbury,Badbury. he fled to his Confederates the Danes. This Badbury is a hill scarce two miles off, entrench’d with a triple ditch, where, they say, a Castle stood, formerly the seat of the West-saxon Kings. But if ever there was such a one, it is now so entirely destroy’d, that I could not discover the least footsteps of it. ⌈It is probable, that this was a summer-Station of a Legion, or part of a Legion, which might have their winter-Station at Winburne. But, however this may be; that it belong’d to the Romans, is evident from their coins found there; where also a Roman Sword, and divers Urns, have been lately dug-up: and, what puts it beyond all dispute, is, a Fosse-way beginning there, which leads to Sorbiodunum or old Salisbury.⌉

In the neighbourhood, I saw Kingston, a little village, call’d Kingston-Lacy,Kingston-Lacy. because it belong’d to the Lacys Earls of Lincoln, together with Winburn; to whom it came by bargain and sale, thro’ the hands of Quincie Earl of Winchester, from the Earls of Leicester; (for King Henry 1. gave it to Robert Earl of Mellent and Leicester;) and at last, both places came to the house of Lancaster, who (as I have said) had a particular favour for Winburn. ⌈It is now called Kingston-hall, and the possession of the family of Banks, of whom Sir Ralph Banks built upon it a stately house; and his Grandfather Sir John Banks bought it of the adopted Son of Charles Blunt Earl of Devonshire, to whom it was given by King James 1; having come to the Crown by Henry 4, Son to John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster.⌉ At a little distance from Winburn, the Stoure receives a small river call’d Alen;Alen. upon which stands St. Giles Winburn, the seat of the honourable and ancient Family of Ashley, Knights.Ashleys, Knights. ⌈It came by descent to the Earl of Shaftsbury, from Sir Anthony Ashley (who was in several publick Employments, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth;) he having given his only daughter and heir in marriage to Sir John Cooper of Rockbourn in Hampshire, who had issue by her, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper; who in the year 1661. was made a Peer of this Realm by the title of Baron Ashley of Winburn St. Giles; having chosen that title pursuant to an Article in the aforesaid Marriage, That if Sir John Cooper or his Heirs should come to be honoured with the degree of Peerage, they should take that for their title.⌉ Upon the same river, stands Wickhampton, once the patrimonial estate of the Barons of Maltravers;Maltravers. the last of whom, in the reign of Edward 3. left only two daughters; one, marry’d to John de Arundel, the grandfather of John Earl of Arundel, who left to his heirs the title of Baron of Maltravers; the other, to Robert le Rous, and afterwards to John Keynes Knight. From hence the Stoure passes by Canford;Canford. below which, James Baron of Montjoy (a great Virtuoso, particularly in Metals,) began to make CoperasCoperas. and AlumAlum.. It was from this place also, that John Earl of Warren forcibly took away Alice Lacy the wife of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, to his own great shame, and no less damage to all England; as appears at large by our Chronicles. Here, the river Stoure leaves Dorsetshire, and running thro’ some parts of Hantshire, discharges it self into the Ocean; having first receiv’d a little river which runs by Cranborne,Cranborne. a * * Aquis irriguum.Town very well water’d; where in the year of our Lord 930. ÆilwardAEilward a nobleman (sirnam’d Meaw from his fair complexion,) founded a little Monastery, which Robert Fitz-Haimon a Norman (to whom the Estate of Æilward descended) remov’d to Tewkesbury; leaving only a Monk or two here. From Æilward, it came through the hands of the Clares Earls of Glocester, and Burhs Earls of Ulster, to Lionel Duke of Clarence, and by him to the Crown. Robert Cecil was Viscount of Cranborne;Viscount Cranborne. whom King James ⌈the 1st⌉ in the first year1604. of his reign, did, in consideration of his great Wisdom, honour with the title of Baron Cecil of Essendon; in his second year, with that of Viscount Cranborne; and in his third, with the title of Earl of Salisbury. ⌈On Hambledon-hill,Aubr. Mon. Brit. MS. at the end of Cranborn-chase, is an ancient Camp; and another near it on Hod-hill; in, or near the first of which, Roman Coins are said to have been dug-up.⌉

Touching the Earls and MarquessesEarls and Marquesses of Dorset. of this County; William the Conquerour, assoon as he had got the Crown, made Osmund,The Life of Osmund, MS. Matt. Par.1189. who was Earl of Seez in Normandy, Bishop of Salisbury, and first Earl of Dorset, and also his own Chancellour; having a great opinion of his piety, wisdom, and Abilities. A long time after, Richard 2.See the Dukes of Somerset. in the 21st year of his reign advanc’d John de Beaufort, son to John of Gaunt and Earl of Somerset, to be Marquess of Dorset; of which honour he was afterwards deprived by Henry the 4th, out of spite to Richard 2. And when, in full Parliament, the House of Commons (with whom he was much in favour) did earnestly intercede, that his dignity of Marquess might be restor’d; he utterly refus’d it, as an upstart title, never known in the world before; and his younger Brother Thomas de Beaufort was created Earl of Dorset, who afterwards, for his great valour, was honour’d by Henry 5. with the title of Duke of Exeter, and the Government of the County of Harcourt.Harcourt. For he gallantly defended Harflew in Normandy against the French, and defeated the Earl of Armeniac in a pitch’d battel. After his decease without issue, Henry 6. created Edmund, of the same house of Lancaster, first Earl, and then Marquess, of Dorset, and at last Duke of Somerset; whose sons being all cut-off in the Civil Wars, and the House of Lancaster quite routed, Edward 4. created Thomas Grey of the family of Ruthin, who was his son-in-law (for the King had marry’d Grey’s mother,) Marquess of Dorset, when in right of his wife he was come to the great estate of the Bonvils in this and the neighbouring Counties. Thomas his son, and Henry his grandson by the said Thomas, succeeded him; which last was created Duke of Suffolk by Edward 6, upon his marriage with Frances, daughter of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, and Neice to King Henry 8, by his sister. He suffer’d for High-Treason in Queen Mary’s reign;1553. having had too late Experience, how dangerous a thing it is to marry into Royal Families, and to encourage one’s self, or others, in that kind of Ambition.

From this time, the title of Dorset was conferr’d on none; till King James ⌈the first⌉ in the beginning of his reign, advanc’d Thomas Sackvil, Baron of Buckhurst, Lord Treasurer of England (a person of great Wisdom and Application) to the Earldom of Dorset; as a just reward of his extraordinary merit, and eminent services to the Publick. ⌈Who dying of an Apoplexy, April 19. 1608, was succeeded by Robert his son and heir; whose second son Richard succeeded his father; Thomas the eldest son dying before, and unmarry’d. This Richard dying without issue, his younger brother Sir Edward Sackvil succeeded him in his honours, who, first, was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Mary, wife of King Charles 1, and afterwards Lord Chamberlain to the King. His son Richard was next Earl, and was succeeded by Charles his son by the Lady Frances, daughter to Leonel Earl of Middlesex, and at length heir to James Earl of Middlesex her brother; upon which account the said Charles was created Earl of Middlesex by Letters Patents bearing date April 14. 27 Car. 2; in which honours, he was succeeded by his only Son Lionel-Cranfield Sackvil, the present Earl.⌉

There are in this County 248 Parishes.

More rare Plants growing wild in Dorsetshire.

Calamogrostis sive Gramen tomentosum Park. Gramen tomentosum, Calamograstis quorundam, & vulgi Gramen plumosum Lob. Belg. Gr. arundinaceum paniculâ molli spadicea majus C. B. The soft or woolly Reed-grass. This groweth in the borders of dry fields in many Countries of this Kingdom, especially in Dorsetshire Park. p.1182. I am suspicious, there will be no such grass found in this or any other County of England: neither am I satisfied what sort of Grass Lobel meant by this title. See his description of his own translation out of his Dutch Herbal, in Parkinson.

Carduus stellatus luteus foliis Cyani C. B. Solstitialis G. R. Spina Solstitialis J. B. Cardui stellati varietas, jacea lutea clusii Lob. S. Barnaby’s Thistle. By the hedges not far from Cirencester in Glocestershire. Mr. Bobert.

Cyperus longus Ger. longus odoratus Park. odoratus radice longa, seu Cyperus Officinarum C. B. paniculâ sparsa speciosa J. B. The ordinary sweet Cyperus grass or English Galingale. Found by Mr. Newton in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorsetshire.

Gale frutex odoratus Septentrionalium, Elæagnus Cordi J. B. Myrtus Brabantica, sive Elæagnus Cordi Ger. Rhus myrtifolia Belgica C. B. Sylvestris sive Myrtus Brabantica vel Anglica C. B. Gaule, sweet Willow or Dutch Myrtle. In a low level marsh-ground near Wareham in this County, plentifully.

Malva arborea marina nostras Park. English Sea Tree-mallow. About the cottages of the Village call’d Chissel in Portland Island.

Sedum Portlandicum Ad. Lob. majus marinum Anglicum Park. Portland Sengreen. Lobel writing so ambiguously of this plant, and we having not seen nor heard of it at Portland; I should not have thought it worth mentioning, but that I find it in some Catalogues of Gardens.

Vermicularis frutex minor Ger. fruticosa altera Park. Sedum minus fructicosum C. B. An Cali species seu Vermicularis marina arborescens J. B. Shrub-Stonecrop, or rather Glasswort. On the stone baich running from the shore of Dorsetshire almost to Portland Island.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52