THE County of Somerset, ⌈called by the Saxons ; (as the Inhabitants were called , , and ; now⌉ commonly Somersetshire,) is a large and plentiful country. On the north, the Severn-sea beats upon it, to the west it bounds upon Devonshire, to the south upon Dorsetshire, and to the east upon Wiltshire, and part of Glocestershire. The soil is very rich, and chiefly employ’d in grain and pasturage; it is very populous, and tolerably well furnish’d with harbours. Some think, this name was first given it, because the air is gentle and as it were a summer-air, in those parts; in which sense the Britains at this day call it Glad-arhaf, translating the word out of our language. But the truth is, as in summer-time it may really be term’d a summer-country, so no less may it in the winter-season be call’d a winter-country : so wet, moist, and marshy it is for the most part; which makes it very troublesom to travellers. However, I shall not scruple to affirm that this name was certainly given it from Somerton, formerly the chief and most celebrated town of the County; since Asser, a very ancient Author, calls it every where, the County of Somertun.
Upon the Severn-sea (where this County borders on the Danmonii) the two first places we meet with, are Porlock,Porlock. in Saxon ; and Watchet,Watchet. formerly Wecedpoort; two harbours, which in the year 886. suffer’d very much from the fury of the Danes. *⌈Watchet* Chron. Sax. was again harras’d by them ann. 997. and amongst the rest of the neighbours in those westerly parts, suffer’d whatever fire and sword could inflict. Porlock was the place where Harold landed from Ireland, (ann. 1052.) who, being oppos’d by the inhabitants and neighbouring people, slew great numbers of them, and carry’d off a large booty.⌉ Between these two, lies Dunstor-castle,Dunstor. in a low ground, every way shut up with hills, except on that side which faces the sea. It was was built by the Moions or Mohuns,The family of the Mohuns, or Moions. from whom it came, by bargain, to the Luterells. This family of the Mohuns was for a long time very famous and powerful, and flourish’d from the days of William the Conqueror (under whom the castle was built) to the reign of Richard 2. Of the same Family, were two Earls of this County, William, and Reginald who was depriv’d of that honour in the Barons wars. From that time, their posterity were in the number of Barons, the last whereof, John, left three daughters, Philippa wife of Edward Duke of York, Elizabeth marry’d to William de Monte-acuto or Montacute, second Earl of Salisbury of that name, and Mawd to the Lord Lestrange of Knokyn. The mother of these (as the story goes) obtain’d of her husband, below this town, so much ground for a * * Compascuus ager.Common to the inhabitants, as she could go about barefoot in one day. ⌈Near this Castle, is Minhead,Minhead. which was, with many other Lordships, given by William the Conqueror to Sir William de Mohun; from whose Family it came to that of Luterell. It is one of the most frequented passages to Ireland, and is of late improved by the catching of Herrings, which come up the Severn about Michaelmas, in mighty Shoals, and being caught and cured, are sent hence to Markets up the Mediterranean, with great advantage. In the 12th year of WilliamCap.9. the 3d, a Statute was made, for the recovering, securing, and keeping in repair, this harbour, for the benefit and support of the navigation and trade of this kingdom. On the rocks and pebbles, where the Severn washes them, more especially near Old-Cleve,Old-Cleve. between Dunstor and Watchet, grows the Lichen MarinusLichen Marinus. (Sea-Liverwort) commonly called Laver. Hither, when the Tide is out, the Inhabitants come and gather it, and, when cleansed and pickled, send it to a great distance; being of a pleasant taste, very nourishing, a good antiscorbutick, and of excellent use by way of diet and medicine. In this vale, lies Orchard-Wyndham,Orchard-Wyndham. once belonging to the Orchards, who had formerly great possessions in this Country. From them it came to the Sydenhams, and from them by marriage to the Wyndhams. Near which place, at Nettlecomb, was a seat of the Rawleighs, whose Monuments are still to be seen in the Parish-Church; and who were succeeded by the Trevelyans, of Cornish extraction, enriched afterwards by marriages, with great estates in Devonshire and this County, particularly in and near this place. In this neighbourhood, is Quantocks-head,Quantocks-head. for many years one of the Seats of the ancient family of Luterell; of whom, Robert was summoned to Parliament among the Barons of this Realm in the 23d year of Edward the first. From East-Quantock head, runs a ridge of hills (of the same name) through a rich Countrey, southward, as far as the vale of Taunton-Dean; affording a prospect, extremely pleasing to the eye, by reason of it’s great variety of sea and land, of barrenness and fruitfulness. At the south-end of which hills, is Cothurston, the ancient seat of the family of Stawel, which is of great antiquity in this County; but the house was, in the Civil wars, brought to a heap of Ruins.⌉
Near the castle of Dunstor aforesaid, are two small villages, dedicated to two of their Country-Saints:
CarentonCarenton. is the name of the one, from Carentocus the Britain; the
other, S. Decombes,S. Decombes. from Decumanus, who setting sail out of
South-Wales, landed here (as we find it in an ancient Agonal) in a horrid desert full of shrubs and briars, the
woods thick and close, stretched out a vast way both in length and breadth, strutting up with lofty mountains, sever’d
wonderfully by the hollow vallies. Here, having bid farewell to the vanities of the world, he was stab’d by an
Assassin, and so got the reputation of a Saint among the common people. Stoke-Curcy,Stoke-Curcy. a Barony so nam’d from the Lords of it,Family of the Curcies. lies at
a little greater distance from the sea; the seat of William de Curcy, Butler to King Henry 1. Of which family,
was that John de CurcyJohn de Curcy. who subdued Ulster in Ireland, a person design’d
by nature to be great and honourable, endu’d with a brave Spirit and a majesty of Soul; whose signal valour must be
learnt from the Irish Histories. ⌈More eastward from hence, at some distance from the sea, is
Cannington,Cannington. at or about which place, in the year 1010. we find the Danes
practising their old methods of burning and plunder. The present name agrees well with the ancient * *
Chron. Sax. MS. , and
the situation of it, with the Marches of that army. Nor does the (the marshes) which is added to it, less confirm the opinion, it being, as hath
been said (especially in the winter) extreme wet and fenny. This place was given by King Charles the
2d, to the Lord Clifford of Chudleigh.⌉ From the adjoyning coast to the Stertpoint, the shore
shoots out by little and little, where two of the largest rivers in the whole County meeting together, empty themselves
at one mouth, call’d by Ptolemy the aestuaryæstuary of Uzella,The
æstuary of Uzella. from the river Ivell, which leaves that name before it comes hither. It
rises in Dorsetshire, and at it’s first coming into Somersetshire, gives name to a well-frequented market-town call’d
Evell,Evell. and receives a little river, upon which is Camalet,Camalet. a steep mountain,Vid. Stow’s Annals, pag.60.
Drayt. Polyolb. p.54. of a very difficult ascent, on the top whereof are the plain footsteps of an old decay’d Camp, and a triple rampire of earth cast up, including 20 acres. The inhabitants call it Arthur’s palace; but that it was really a work of the Romans, is plain from the Roman Coins daily dug-up there. ⌈† † Leland’s Itinerar. Vol.2.The hill is a mile in compass at the top, four trenches circling it, and between each of them an earthen wall. On the very top of the hill, as hath been said,Selden’s Notes upon Polyolb. is an Area of 20 acres or more, where in several places, as Leland observes, might be seen the foundations of walls. And there was much dusky blew stone, which the people of the adjoyning villages had in his time carry’d away. Besides the coins, Stow tells us of a silver horse-shoe, there dug-up, in the memory of that age; and Leland describes it in a kind of extasie; Good Lord, what deep ditches, what high walls, what precipices are here! In short, I look upon it as a very great wonder both of Art and Nature.⌉ What the Romans might call it, I am altogether ignorant; unless it be that Caer Calemion which we meet with in Ninnius’s Catalogue, by a transposition of letters for Camelion. Cadbury,Cadbury. the adjoining little village, may probably enough be thought that Cathbregion, where Arthur (as Ninnius has it) routed the Saxons in a memorable Battle. Another town of the same name, North-Cadbury, was given by King Henry 3, to Nicholas de Moeles,Moeles. who had marry’d Hawisia one of the two Co-heirs of James de Novo mercatu, or New-market. This man’s posterity liv’d a long time in great splendour, till John, in Edward 3d’s time, dying, left only issue 2 daughters, Muriela, and Isabel; this marry’d to William Botereaux, and the other to Thomas Courtney. ⌈A funeral Inscription upon the northern wall of St. Margaret’s Westminster, mentions one John Mulys of Halmston in Devonshire, familiâ oriundum sui nominis, quæ insignita erat olim titulo de North-Cadbury, i.e. descended from a family of that name, which was formerly distinguished by the title of North-Cadbury. It continu’d in the family of the Botereaux, till the death of William the last Lord Botereaux, who dying 2 Edward 4. without issue-male, this Lordship, with a very great inheritance, descended to Margaret his daughter and sole heir, marry’d to Robert Lord Hungerford, from whom it descended to Mary Lady Hungerford their great Grand-daughter, who was marry’d to Edward Lord Hastings and Hungerford, father to George the first of that sirname Earl of Huntingdon; in which family it continu’d to the reign of King James 1. that Sir Francis Hastings, younger son to Francis Earl of Huntingdon being possess’d of the same, and having no children, did alienate it.⌉
From hence, the river Ivell runs to Ischalis,Ischalis. mention’d by Antoninus, now Ivelcester,Ivelcester. call’d (if I mistake not) in Ninnius’s Catalogue Pontavel-coit, for Pont-Ivel Coit, i.e. a bridge over the Ivel in a wood; and by Florence of Worcester, Givelcester. It is now famous for nothing but the market, and the antiquity of the place; for now and then they dig-up Coins of the Roman Emperours, of gold, brass, and silver. That it was formerly large, and encompass’d with a double wall, is evident from the ruins. ⌈Leland says, it is one of the most ancient Towns in all that quarter; and that it had had 4 Parish-Churches; the ruins of two of them were standing in his time, the third was quite demolished, and one used.⌉ About the coming-in of the Normans it was a populous place, having in it a hundred and seven * * Burgenses.Burghers. And at that time it was a place of strength, and well fortify’d; for in the year of Christ 1088. when the Nobility of England had form’d a wicked Conspiracy to depose William Rufus, in order to advance Robert his Brother Duke of Normandy to the throne, Robert Moubray a warlike man, after he had burnt Bathe, vigorously assaulted this place; but in vain. However, time has done what he could not do; having at last as it were storm’d and taken it.
A little more inward, the confluence of Ivell and Pedred form a river-Island call’d Muchelney,Muchelney. i.e. the large Island, wherein are some Remains of the walls of an old Monastery, which Historians tell us was built by King Athelstan. Pedred,Pedred riv. commonly Parret, rises in the very south-bound of the County, and, with a winding chanel runs by Crukerne, in Saxon ; ⌈east from whence, lies Chard,Chard. which stands so high, as to have in it a stream of water, that by being turned (as it easily may be) north or south, will run, as is affirm’d, either into the Severn, or the South-Sea. Near which, lies Whitlakington,Whitlakington. the seat of the Spekes, in a rich and healthy soil; who have, for many Centuries, flourished in Devonshire and this County; there being reckoned, in the genealogy thereof, from Richard le Espec to the present heir, no less than 20 descents.
Below Crook-horne, is Hinton St. George,Hinton St. George. on a plain, raised higher than the rich feeding Country adjacent, and much lower than the neighbouring hills; from which plain, in a clear day, there is a vast prospect, extended wide, to both the Seas. This excellency of the situation by nature, has been greatly improved by new-modelling of the Park, and adorning it with Plantations; and by spacious and beautiful Gardens. It is the seat of John Earl Powlet; whose family, being of the ancient Gentry of this County, and of great figure in it, was by King Charles the 1st, made noble, under the title of Baron Powlet of Hinton; which Q. Anne changed into that of Baron Hinton St. George, with the addition of two other titles, viz. Viscount of the same place, and Earl Powlet.
Then the Pedred runs near East-Chenock,East-Chenock. where is a Salt-spring, above 20 miles from the Sea;Philosoph. Trans. N.56. and so⌉ by Pedderton,Pedderton. to which it gave the name; formerly Pedridan, the palace of King Ina, now famous only for a Market and Fair, procur’d of Henry 6. by Henry Daubeney. Then the Parret runs into the Ivell, and robs it of it’s name. Three miles hence, to the East, it salutes Montacute,Montacute, in Domesday Montagud. so nam’d by the Earl of Moriton brother by the mother’s side to William 1. ( † † Leland says, he had this by hear-say.who built a castle on the very top of the hill, and a Religious house at the bottom of it,) because it rises by degrees into a sharp point; whereas, before that time, it was nam’d ¦ ¦ Annals of Glassenbury.Logoresburg ⌈or Logaresburch⌉ and Bischopeston. But the castle has been quite destroy’d and gone, these many years, and the stones carry’d off, to build the Religious house, and other things. Afterwards, on the very top of the hill, was a Chapel erected, and dedicated to S. Michael; the arch and roof curiously built of hard stone, and the ascent to it round the mount, up stone-stairs, for near half a mile. Now, that the Monastery and Chapel are both demolish’d, the greatest ornament it has, is a beautiful house, which the worthy Sir Edward Phelips Knight, Serjeant at Law ⌈(whose grandson Sir Edward Philips, dying some years since, left no issue-male;)⌉ built at the foot of the mountain. ⌈This is one of the most remarkable buildings in the west of England, being of freestone squared, very large, with a beautiful and magnificent Front.⌉ The place gave name to the honourable family of the Montacutes,Lords of Montacute. descended from Drogo * * Juvene.the Young. Of this family, there were four Earls of Salisbury; the last left issue one only daughter, who by Richard Nevil, had the famous Richard Earl of Warwick (that † † Turbinem.Whirlwind of England,) and John Marquess of Montacute; both kill’d in the battle of Barnet, in the year 1472. But the title of Baron Montacute was conferr’d upon Henry Poole (Son of Margaret, daughter of George Duke of Clarence by a daughter of the said Richard Nevil Earl of Warwick) in the time of King Henry 8, who presently after beheaded him. Queen Mary bestow’d the title and honour of Viscount Montacute upon Anthony Brown, whose grandmother was daughter of John Nevil Marquess of Montacute; ⌈¦ ¦ His grandchild, by a Son, now enjoys it. C.and this Honour still continues in the same Family.⌉
Next to this, is Odcombe,Odcombe. which, tho’ but a very small town, must not be omitted, because it has had it’s Baron, William de BriewerBarons Briewers. (for so his father was call’d, as being born * * In ericeta.in a heath;) who having great interest at Court, and being a particular Favourite of Richard 1, was respected and caressed by all; and so got a very large estate, with which, by the marriage of his daughters (for his son dy’d without issue) he made a great accession to the estates of the Brees, Wakes, Mohuns, La-ferts, and Percys. ⌈And hard by, is Brimpton,Brimpton. the habitation of Sir Philip Sydenham, Baronet; whose family hath lived for many Centuries in this County, with great repute.⌉ Below Odcombe, at a little distance, is Stoke under Hamden,Stoke. where the Gornays had their castle, and built a College. This family, surnam’d de Gornaico, and commonly Gornay, was very ancient and illustrious, descended from the same stock with the Warrens Earls of Surrey, and the Mortimers. But † † The last, C.in the last age save one, it was extinct, and part of that estate came by the Hamptons, to the Knightly family of the Newtons, who value themselves upon a Welsh extraction, and that, not long ago, they were call’d Caradocks. Nor must we forget to mention, that Matthew Gornay was bury’d here, a stout soldier in the time of Edward 3. who ¦ ¦ Sept. 26. ann. 1406.dy’d in the 96th year of his age, after he had been (as the Inscription ⌈in French⌉ witnesseth) at the siege of D’algizer against the Saracens, and at the battles of Benamazin, Scluse, Cressie, Ingenos, Poictiers; and Nazara, in Spain.
Next, the Parret waters Martock,Martock. a little market-town, which formerly William of Bologne son to King Stephen, gave to Faramusius of Bologne,Faramusius of Bologne. whose only daughter and heir Sibill, was marry’d to Ingelram de Fienes,Fienes. and from them are descended the Fienes Barons of Dacre, and the Barons of Say and Zele. From hence, the Parret cuts it’s way into the north through a muddy plain, by Langport,Langport. a market-town pretty well frequented: and by Aulre,Aulre. a little village of a few small hutts; which yet seems to have been once a town of better note. For when Alfred had shatter’d the Danes, and, straitening them in a siege, had forced them to surrender, and to take an Oath to depart out of his dominions with all expedition, and * * Godrus, C.Godrun their King (as Asser tells us) had promis’d to embrace Christianity; then Alfred in this place was his Godfather, and lifted him out of the sacred font of Regeneration, with great Solemnity.
The Parret, running from hence, receives the river Thone;Thone. which, rising at a great distance in the western part of the County, next Devonshire, passes through pleasant fields, ⌈near Wivelscomb,Wivelscomb. where was found, not long since, an Urn full of Roman Coins;⌉ to Wellington,Wellington. which, in the reign of Edward the Elder, was the ground of six Mansion-houses; at which time he gave this, together with Lediard.Lediard, which was of twelve Mansion-houses, to the Bishop of Shirbourn. It is now a little market-town, receiving it’s greatest glory from an honourable Inhabitant (for persons eminent for virtue, and good services to their country ought never to be forgotten) John Popham,J. Popham. memorable, as for the antiquity of his noble descent, so for his strict Justice, and unwearied Diligence. This person, being Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, administer’d with so much Evenness, and such a temper’d severity, that England, for a long time, was mostly indebted to him, for it’s domestick peace and security. ⌈He built, in this place, a large, strong, and beautiful house, which in the time of the great Civil War was turned into a Garrison, and was held against the King, not by any of the Founder’s name (as hath, without just reason and contrary to fact, been affirmed,) but by Bovet of Taunton; who, getting possession of the House by Stratagem, did (together with his Accomplices) defend it for some time against Sir Richard Greenvil; by which means, it was turned to ruins.⌉
The Thone going from hence, with a gentle and easie course, washes Thonton or Taunton,Taunton. and gives it the name. It is a neat town, delicately seated, and in short, one of the Eyes of this County. Here Ina King of the West-Saxons built a castle, which Desburgia his wife levell’d with the ground, after she had driven Eadbricth King of the East-Saxons out of it, who had got possession, and made it a kind of Curb to a conquer’d Country. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it gelded (so it is in Domesday-book) for 54 hides, had 63 Burgers, and was held by the Bishop of Winchester, whose Pleadings were here kept thrice a year. Those Customs belong to Taunton; Burgheriste, robbers, breach of the peace, hannifare, pence of the hundred, and S. Peters pence, to hold thrice a year the Bishops pleadings without admonition, to go into the army with the Bishops men. ⌈Let me observe here, that what is render’d Peter-pence, is in the Text Denarii S. Petri circieti; which the learned Selden thinks, ought to be read Circseti; but I am rather of opinion, that the true reading is Circsceati, from the Saxon , Revenues or Riches, implying Peter-pence to be the revenues of the Church. In the 10th year of the reign of King William, an Act passed for the making and keeping the river Thone navigable from Bridgwater to this place.⌉ The country all about is beautify’d with green meadows, and abounds in delightful gardens and orchards, which, with the thickness of the villages, does wonderfully charm the eyes of the Spectator. Among the villages, those of most note, are, Orchard,Orchard. which had it’s Lords of the same name; from whom it descended, by inheritance, to the Portmans Knights. ⌈But that family being extinct in the late Sir William Portman, he left it to the Seymours, his Cousin-germans by the mother’s side, who now enjoy it, and have their residence here; taking the name of Portman.⌉ Next, is Hach-Beauchamp,Hach-Beauchamp. and then Cory-Mallet; the latter part whereof is added from the name of it’s Lords. For it was the Seat of the Mallets,Mallet. who were of Norman extraction, and from whom it came in a short time, by an heiress, to the Pointzies.Pointzies. Of which family, Hugh, in the time of Edward 3, was among the Parliamentary Barons; and some others of it are * * Ann. 1607.at this day Knights of great figure and splendor. But as to the Beauchamps,Barons Beauchamps. otherwise call’d de Bello campo, they flourish’d in great honour from the time of Henry 2; especially after Cecil de Fortibus, descended from the Earls de Ferrariis, and from that famous Mareschal of England William Earl of Pembroke, married into this family. But in the reign of Edward 3, the estate came to be divided by sisters, between Roger de S. Mauro or Seimore, and J. Meriet, both of them descended from ancient and honourable Ancestors.seymour AEthelingey This was the cause why Henry 8. after he had marry’d Jane Seimor, mother of Edward the sixth, created Edward Seimor her brother, Viscount Beauchamp;Viscount Beauchamp. whom Edward 6. afterwards advanc’d to the honour of Duke of Somerset. ⌈On the south of Taunton, is Trull,Trull. which gave birth to Sir George Bond (Lord Mayor of London in the year 1588;) from whose daughter descended the great General of this age, John Duke of Marlborough.⌉
Where Thone mixes with the Parret,Parret. there is made a River-Island formerly call’d Æthelingey, i.e. an Island of Nobles, now commonly Athelney,Athelney. which to us is no less remarkable for King Alfred’s absconding there, when the Dane over-ran all before him; than are those Minturnensian fenns to the Italians, for being a hiding-place to Marius.
For to that King (as an ancient Poet writ of him,)
Gaudia semper erant, spes semper mixta timori.
Si modo victor erat, ad crastina Bella pavebat,
Si modo victus erat, ad crastina Bella parabat.
Cui vestes sudore jugi, cui sica cruore
Tincta jugi, quantum sit onus regnare probârunt.
Allay’d with grief the cautious joys appear’d,
And when he hop’d the most, the most he fear’d.
Conqu’ring, he expected still the rallying foe;
O’ercome, he fitted for a second blow.
Whose sweaty hands and garments stain’d in blood,
Shew that a crown is but a noble load.
And truly, this Island is very well made for a Place of Refuge; for the standing pools and inundations (which Asser call’d by a Latin-Saxon word Gronnas)Gronnes. make it inaccessible. It had formerly a bridge between two towers, which were built by King Alfred; also, a very large set of alders, full of goats and deer; but the firm ground not above two acres broad. Upon this he built a monastery; the whole structure whereof (Malmesbury here speaks for me) is supported by four posts fasten’d in the ground, with four arch’d chancels round it. ⌈Near Athelney, some years since, was found a most remarkable curiosity, belonging formerly to King Alfred, and lost by him (in all likelyhood) when he absconded at this place, after he was defeated by the Danes:
AElfred The Inscription plainly shows, that it was King Alfred, who caused this Picture to be made; the language being Saxon, and thus English’d, Ælfred commanded me to be made. And it is the opinion of a very † † Dr. Hickes, Philosoph. Transact. N.260. Vid. Thesaur. Septentr. p.142.learned person, that the occasion of it, was the Vision of St. Cuthbert, which William of Malmsbury speaks of, appearing to him and his mother the same night (after he had been beaten by the Danes, and retir’d into Athelney) and assuring him that he should be a great King. In memory whereof, we may well suppose, that the Image upon it is St. Cuthbert’s (to whose merit he was wont to ascribe his future Successes over the Danes;) and not only so, but being plainly made, on purpose to hang on a string, it is very probable that himself constantly wore it, in honour to this his tutelar Saint.⌉
The Parret, after it has got again into one chanel, does not go far alone, before it is joyn’d by another river from the East, which runs by SomertonSomerton. ⌈(in Saxon, )⌉ formerly the chief town of the County, as giving name to the whole. It had a castle belonging to the West-Saxon Kings, which Ethelbald King of the Mercians possess’d himself of, by storm; but now it has yielded to Time, so that nothing of it appears: and the Town would scarce support that name, were it not for a great Beast-fair kept there from Palm-Sunday to the middle of June; for those parts make Grazing their great employment. ⌈It gives the title of Baron to the chief of the Family of the Stawels; in consideration of whose loyalty, King Charles the second advanced Ralph Stawel to the title of a Baron of England, by the name of Lord Stawel Baron of Somerton. North of the same river, lies Sedgemoor,Sedgemoor. where the forces of King James 2, engaged and defeated the Duke of Monmouth and his party; and, with the loss of eighteen Men (for no more were killed on the King’s side) put a timely end to an Insurrection, which might otherwise have drawn on a Civil War. In the 10th year of William the third, it was provided by a Statute then made, that the ancient water-courses of this moor shou’d be open’d, and new ones made, for rendring it more healthful and profitable to the Inhabitants.⌉
After the Parret has receiv’d this river, it ⌈runs at some distance from Enmore,Enmore. a seat of the Mallets: the last Gentleman of which name, owner of this seat, having no issue-male, left one only daughter Elizabeth; by whose marriage with John Wilmot Earl of Rochester, this great Estate was carried into that Family, and afterwards, for want of an heir male, was divided among her three daughters and co-heirs. Buckland Sororum,Buckland. in these parts, was anciently a Nunnery, but of late years hath been the seat of the Lords Hawley of Dunamore in Ireland. Somewhat lower, the Parret⌉ visits a large and populous town, commonly call’d Bridgewater,Bridgewater. as ’tis thought from the bridge and the water; but the ancient Charters refute that conjecture, which always call it expressly Burgh-Walteri; and it is highly probable, that it took the name from Walter de Doway, who was a soldier under William the Conqueror, and had many Lands bestow’d on him in this County. Nor is it otherwise call’d in that Charter, wherein Fulk Paynel Lord of Bampton gave possession of this place to William de Briewer, to ingratiate himself with that Gentleman, who was a particular favourite of King Richard the first. The son of this William, of the same name with the father, having Licence granted him by King John to fortifie a castle, built one here, which now time has destroy’d; and began a bridge, which was finish’d at great expence by Trivet * * Nobilis è Cornubiâ.a noble-man of Cornwall. But when William de Briewer the younger dy’d without issue, this by partition fell to Margaret his sister; by whose daughter which she bore to William de la Fert, it came to the family of the Chaworths or de Cadurcis, and from them by inheritance to the Dukes of Lancaster. But the greatest honour it ever had, was, it’s being made a County by King Henry 8, upon his creating Henry Daubeney, Earl of Bridgewater;Earl of Bridgewater. ⌈which Henry dying without issue-male, this title lay dead till the 15th of Jac. 1. when it was conferr’d upon John Egerton, Baron of Ellesmere, Viscount Brackley, and son to the Lord Chancellor Egerton. He was succeeded by his son John; and this John by a son of the same name; who is also since succeeded by the Right Honourable Scroop Earl of Bridgewater, his Son. Near this place, is Chidley-mount,Chidley-mount. where Roman Coins have been found; and out of the ruins of which, as some think,Aubr. MS. the town of Bridgewater sprang. Westward from the same river, near Stogursy, is Fair-field,Fair-field. which formerly belong’d to a branch of the Verneys, but came by marriage to the Sussex-family of Palmer, in which having continued near two Centuries, it has produc’d great Ornaments to this County. And, on the east-side of the river, a little lower, is Pawlet,Pawlet. a Lordship, from which two great and ancient Families took their sirname. For Sir John Pawlet dying in the second year of Richard 2, left issue two sons, Sir Thomas Pawlet, his son and heir, from whom is descended the present Earl Pawlet; and William, from whom is descended the present Duke of Bolton.⌉
Below, at a few miles distance, the Parret rolls into the Severn-Sea out of a wide mouth; call’d (as we observ’d before) the Æstuarie UzellaUzella. by Ptolemy, and by some at this day Evelmouth, but by the ancient English, : ⌈and by the Saxon-Annals ;⌉ where (as Marianus tells us) about the year 845. Ealstan Bishop of Shirburn utterly routed the dispersed army of the Danes. At the same Æstuarie, we meet with another river, which some call Brius,Brius. rising out of that spacious wood in the east part of this County (call’d by the Britains Coitmaur, by the Saxons Selwood,Selwood. i.e. as AsserV. Flor. Wigorn. p.317. interprets it, a great wood) not far from Pen, an inconsiderable village, where the God of war seems to have conspir’d the extirpation of the British name, and also the utter ruin of the Danes. For Keniwalch, the West-Saxon, gave the Britains such an entire defeat in this place, that they were never able to make head against the Saxons: and many ages after, in the same place, Edmund Ironside gain’d a memorable victory over the Danes, whilst he pursu’d Knute the Dane, who had possess’d himself of the kingdom; ⌈tho’ they were too hard for Etheldred, when he encounter’d them in this very place, ann. 1001. In the adjoyning Parish of MereMere. are still the Remains of these Engagements, namely, four Camps; one whereof, particularly, having a double ditch, appears to have been a Danish work.⌉ This river first visits BruitonBruiton., and gives it that name; a place famous for the tombs of the Moions, who built a Monastery there: ⌈and for being the seat of the Lord Fitz-harding, a younger branch of the family of Berkley. Not far from which, is Charlton-Musgrave;Charlton-Musgrave. so called (to distinguish it from the several other Charltons in this County) from a Family of that name, in whose possession it remain’d for many years. John Musgrave, of this place, was by virtue of the Estate he had in Wiltshire, Sheriff of that County, in the second year of Richard the 3d, from whose second son John (the eldest dying without issue-male, and the Estate going with daughters into other Families) are descended all of this sirname, in this County, and Devonshire: The chief of whom at present is Musgrave of Nettlecomb in this County. Lower, upon the foresaid river, lies Alford;Alford. where arises a mineral water, of a purging nature, no way inferior to Epsom, or any other of the purging kind; and is of great benefit to these Western parts of England, being carried hence to places very remote.⌉ Then the river, running a long way thro’ nothing but small villages, with the encrease of a few rivulets, waters many fruitful fields; till, meeting with a softer soil, it in a manner stagnates, and makes an Island, call’d formerly Avalon, in British, from the apples there; afterwards Inis-Witrin, i.e. a glassy Island, and in the same sense , in Latin Glasconia. A Poet of pretty good antiquity has these verses concerning it,
Insula pomorum quæ fortunata vocatur,
Ex re nomen habet, quia se singula profert.
Non opus est illi sulcantibus arva colonis,
Omnis abest cultus, nisi quem natura ministrat,
Ultro fœcundas segetes producit, & herbas,
Nataque poma suis prætonso germine sylvis.
The isle of Apples, truly fortunate,
Where unforc’d goods and willing comforts meet.
Not there the fields require the rustick’s hand,
But nature only cultivates the land.
The fertile plains with corn and herbs are proud,
And golden apples smile in ev’ry wood.
⌈King Charles the 2d conferr’d upon John Mordaunt, second son of John Earl of Peterborough, the title of Lord Mordaunt of Rygate, and Viscount Avalon; who marrying Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cary, second son to Robert Earl of Monmouth, had by her the present Earl of Peterborough and Monmouth.⌉
In this island stood the monasteryWilliam of Malmesbury’s Antiquities of Glassenbury. of
Glastenbury, which is very ancient; deriving its original from Joseph of Arimathea, the same who
bury’d Christ’s body, and whom Philip the Apostle of the Gauls sent into Britain to preach the Gospel. Usser. Ant. p.53. fol.
See the title, Romans in Britaine.For this is attested by the most ancient Histories of this Monastery, and also by an Epistle of S. Patrick the Irish Apostle, who led a monastick life here for 30 years together; ⌈(if it be indeed true that he wrote the account of Avalonia ascrib’d to him, which Dr. Ryves, in his discourfe relating to that Saint, denies.)⌉ From hence, this place was by our Ancestors call’d, The first ground of God, The first ground of the Saints in England, The rise and fountain of all Religion in England, The burying-place of the Saints, The mother of the Saints; and they said of it, that it was built by the very Disciples of our Lord. Nor is there any reason why we should call this in question, since I have before shewn, that the Christian Religion, in the very infancy of the Church, was preach’d in this Island; and since Freculphus Lexoviensis has told us, that this Philip brought barbarous nations, bordering upon darkness, and living upon the Ocean, to the light of knowledge, and haven of faith. But let us return to the Monastery, and describe it out of Malmesbury’s little treatise upon that subject. When that small ancient Church founded by Joseph was wasted with age, Devi Bishop of S. David’s built a new one in the place. And when time had worn out that too, twelve men coming from the north of Britain repair’d it; but at length King Ina (who founded a school at Rome for the education of the English youth, and to maintain that, as also for the distribution of alms at Rome, tax’d every single house in the kingdom at one penny) pull’d this down, and built a stately ChurchAn. 698. dedicated to Christ, S. Peter, and S. Paul, ⌈afterwards the See of Savaricus Bishop of Bathe.⌉ Just under the roof whereof, round it, he order’d these verses to be written:
These verses, with a very little alteration, are in the 4th book of Venantius
Fortunatus his Poems; partly in praise of the Church at Paris, and partly of that of Nantes.Syderei montes,
speciosa cacumina Sion,
A Libano geminæ flore comante cedri;
Cœlorum portæ lati duo lumina mundi,
Ore tonat Paulus, fulgurat arce Petrus:
Inter Apostolicas radianti luce coronas,
Doctior hic monitis, celsior ille gradu,
Corda per hunc hominum referantur, & astra per illum:
Quos docet iste stylo, suscipit ille polo.
Pandit iter cæli hic dogmate, clavibus alter,
Est via cui Paulus, janua fida Petrus.
Hic Petra firma manens, ille Architectus habetur,
Surgit in his templum quo placet ara Deo.
Anglia plaude lubens, mittit tibi Roma salutem,
Fulgor Apostolicus Glasconiam irradiat.
A facie hostili duo propugnacula surgunt,
Quod fidei turreis urbs caput orbis habet.
Hæc pius egregio Rex Ina refertus amore,
Dona suo populo non moritura dedit.
Totus in affectu divæ pietatis inhærens,
Ecclesiæque juges amplificavit opes.
Melchisedech noster merito Rex, atque Sacerdos,
Complevit veræ relligionis opus.
Publica jura regens, & celsa palatia servans,
Unica Pontificum gloria, norma fuit.
Hinc abiens, illinc meritorum fulget honore,
Hic quoque gestorum laude perennis erit.
The two fair tops that lofty Sion grace,
Cedars of Libanus that all surpass!
The world’s great lights, and the two gates of heav’n,
Thunder from one, from one is light’ning giv’n.
Among the blest Apostles they excel,
Peter in honour, and in learning Paul.
One ope’s mens hearts, and one the starry sphere,
One guides to heav’n, and one receives us there:
One’s doctrine shews our journey, and one’s keys;
One is the way, and one the gate of bliss.
The builder one, one the foundation laid;
By both a temple for kind heav’n is made.
England be glad, and pay just thanks to Rome,
Eternal health to Glastenbury’s come.
Against our foes two fortresses are shown,
That all the world the Faith’s great tow’rs shall own.
Blest Ina, faithful servant of his God,
These lasting gifts upon his realm bestow’d.
Virtue and goodness all his thoughts possest,
The Church’s old revenues he encreast,
Our great Melchisedech, our prince and priest.
His equal care of piety and state,
To Crowns and Mitres an example set.
In heav’n his Works their blest reward receive,
And here his worthy praise shall ever live.
In those early times, Religious persons devoted themselves here to the service of God; and especially the Irish: who were maintain’d at the King’s charge, and instructed the youth in Religion and the liberal sciences. For they made choice of a solitary life, that they might attend divine studies with greater quiet and retirement, and inure themselves to a severe course of life to prepare them for the Cross. But at length, Dunstan, a man of excellent wit and judgment, after his reputation of sanctity and learning had given him free access to the conversation of Princes, instead of these brought in Monks of a newer Order, namely, Benedictines, and was himself first made Abbot over that large body settl’d there: and these, by the bounty of good and pious Princes, got so much wealth as even exceeded that of Kings. After they had, for about 600 years together, reign’d as it were in great abundance (for all their neighbours were at their beck,) they were driven out by Henry 8; and the Monastery, which by degrees had grown into a little city, was demolish’d, and laid level with the ground: how large and how stately it has been, may be learnt from the ruins.
Praeconem glastonbury I shall be reckon’d among the Credulous of our age, if I speak any thing of the Wallnut-tree here, which never * * Buds. C.budded before the feast of S. Barnabas, and on that very feast-day shot out leaves in great abundance: or the † † Cornus, C.Hawthorn-tree, which ¦ ¦ Buds. C.budded on Christmas-day as if it were in May: Oxyacantha.And yet (if men may be trusted) these things are affirm’d by several credible persons. ⌈The Hawthorn-tree has been cut down these many years; yet there are some still growing in the County from branches of that; as particularly, one in the garden * * W. Stroud.of the possessor of the ground, where the other stood; and another in a garden now belonging to an Inn there. Mr. RayHist. Plant. L.25. c.1. & l.26. c6. thinks, the former of these is what is commonly called Nux Sancti Johannis, which shoots out about Midsummer or the Nativity of St. John, but 12 days after the feast of St. Barnabas; and that the Haw-thorn, so much talk’d of here, differs but accidentally from the Frutex commonly so call’d; ascribing this singular effect, either to Chance or Art.⌉ Before I leave this head, take in short what Giraldus Cambrensis, an eye-witness, has deliver’d at large concerning Arthur’s Grave in this Church-yard.
When Henry 2. King of England had learn’d from the songs of the British Bards, that ArthurThe warlike Arthur. the most noble heroe of the Britains, whose Valour had so often discomfited the Saxon forces, was bury’d at Glassenbury between two Pyramids, he order’d search to be made for the body; and they had scarce dug seven foot deep, when they light upon a * * Cippus.cross’d-stone, or a stone in the back-part whereof was fasten’d a rude leaden Cross, of good breadth. This being drawn out, appear’d to have an Inscription upon it; and under it, almost nine foot deep, they found a Coffin made of hollow’d oak, wherein were deposited the bones of the famous Arthur. As to the Inscription, which was taken from the original, and was formerly written and preserv’d in the monastery of Glassenbury, I thought it proper to subjoyn a draught of it, because of the Antiquity of the letters. They have a sort of barbarous and Gothick appearance; and are a plain evidence of the barbarity of that age, which was overspread with an Ignorance so gross and fatal, that it afforded not one Pen to celebrate the name of King Arthur. A subject, without all dispute, worthy the Parts and Invention of the most learned; who by praising so great a Prince, might have also procur’d to themselves an immortal Name. That mighty Bulwark of the British Government may justly reckon this among his greatest misfortunes, that the age did not afford a † † Præconem.Panegyrist equal to his Virtues. But now take a view of the Cross and Inscription.
Nor will it be improper to subjoyn what our Countryman Josephus Iscanus, no mean or ordinary poet, has said of Arthur, in his Antiocheis.
Hinc celebri fato fœlici claruit ortu
Flos Regum Arthurus, cujus cùm facta stupori,
Non micuere minùs, totus quòd in aure voluptas,
Et populo plaudente favus. Quemcunque priorum
Inspice, Pelæum commendat fama tyrannum,
Pagina Cæsareos loquitur Romana triumphos,
Alcidem domitis attollit gloria monstris.
Sed nec pinetum coryli, nec sydera solem
Æquant: Annales Latios, Graiósque revolve,
Prisca parem nescit, æqualem postera nullum
Exhibitura dies. Reges supereminet omnes,
Solus præteritis melior, majórque futuris.
From this blest place immortal Arthur sprung,
Whose wondrous deeds shall be for ever sung;
Sweet musick to the ear, sweet honey to the tongue.
Look back, turn o’re the great records of fame,
Proud Alexander boasts a mighty name.
The Roman Annals Cæsar’s actions load,
And conquered monsters rais’d Alcides to a God.
But neither shrubs above tall pines appear,
Nor Phœbus ever fears a rival star;
So would our Arthur in contest o’recome
The mightiest heroes bred in Greece or Rome.
The only Prince that hears this just applause,
Greatest that e’re shall be, and best that ever was.
This Heroe (to observe it by the way out of Ninnius, if it be worth our notice) was call’d Mab-Uter, i.e. a horrible son, because from his childhood he was of a cruel temper; and Arthur, which signifies in British a horrible bear, or an iron hammer to break the † † Molæ.grinders of Lyons.
Take also, if you please, some other monuments of this place, tho’ not altogether so ancient, out of William of Malmsbury. What is a mystery to all mankind, I would willingly set down, if the truth might possibly be sifted out; i.e. what those PyramidsPyramids at Glassenbury. mean, some feet distant from the old Church, and facing the Monks Church-yard. The higher, and that nearer the Church, has five stories, and is 26 foot high. This, tho’ it is ready to fall for age, has yet some monuments of antiquity plainly legible, but not so plainly intelligible. For in the uppermost stories, there is an image of an Epicopal figure. In the second, an image showing something of a King-like pomp, and these letters, HER. SEXI. and BLISWERH. In the third too are these names, WEMCHESTE. BANTOMP. WINEWEGN. In the fourth, HATE. WVLFREDE. and EANFLEDE. In the fifth (which is the lowermost,) an Image, and this writing, LOGWOR. WESLIELAS, and BREGDENE. SWELWES. HWINGENDES. BERNE. The other Pyramid is 18 foot high, and has four stories, in which are written HEDDE bishop, and BREGORRED, and BEORWALDE.
What these may signifie, I dare not rashly determin; but only make a probable conjecture, that the bones of those men whose names are written on the outside, may be laid in hollow stones within. As for LOGWOR, he is positively affirm’d to be the person from whom the place now call’d * * Mons acutus.Montacute was formerly nam’d LOGWERESBEORH. ⌈From BREGDEN, is BRENTAKNOLLE, now called Brentemers: ⌉ And BEORWALDE too was Abbot after HEMGISELUS.
To give a list of the West-Saxons Kings bury’d here, would be beside my business. Yet I cannot but mention EdgarEdgar the Peaceful. the Peaceful (if it were upon no other account, but that he always labour’d after Peace,) and subjoyn his Epitaph, penn’d very well for that age:
Auctor opum, vindex scelerum, largitor honorum,
Sceptriger Edgarus regna superna petit.
Hic alter Salomon, legum pater, orbita pacis,
Quòd caruit bellis, claruit inde magis.
Templa Deo, templis monachos, monachis dedit agros:
Nequitiæ lapsum, Justitiæque locum.
Novit enim regno verum perquirere falso,
Immensum modico, perpetuúmque brevi.
He that good actions did with honours crown,
Enrich’d the realm, the daring vice put down,
Edgar to heaven, which he deserv’d, is gone.
Our Solomon in laws and lasting peace,
Yet honour’d more than with a conqueror’s praise,
While bold oppression fell, and justice kept her place.
Churches to God, to Churches Monks he gave,
To Monks possessions they should never leave.
Thus for a short, a false, a bounded reign,
He knew a vast, a true, an endless one to gain.
AEstuary caesar ore molae Below Glassenbury, the three rivers meeting there, make a fenn; and afterwards discharging themselves together at one little mouth, run westward in one chanel to the Æstuary of Uzella, by Gedney-moore;Gedney-moore. or (as others will have it call’d) Godney-moore, affirming it to import as much as God’s Island, and that it was granted to Joseph of Arimathea: Then, past WeadmoreWeadmore. a Village of King Alfred’s, which he gave by his last Will to his son Edward:Aubr. MS. ⌈and, at the like distance on the other side, by Edington,Edington. where, about fifty years since, were found several hundreds of moulds of fine clay, for Coining; and near them, a floor of Chequer-work: ⌉ and then through that fenny spacious tract, Brentmersh,Brentmersh. which the Monks of Glassenbury have interpreted a country of fenn-frogs, and it’s little town * * See Glassenbury.Brentknol, a little hill of frogs.
From hence to the East, Mendippe-hillsMendippe-hills. run out a great way both in length and breadth. Leland calls them Minerary-hills, and, I think, not amiss, since in old Records they are nam’d Muneduppe; abounding with lead-mines, and affording very good pasture. ⌈In these, it is free for any English-man to work, except he has forfeited his right by stealing any of the oar, or tools, of others. And their law or custom in that case, is very remarkable. The Groviers (for so the Miners are call’d, as the pits they sink are call’d Groves) living at some distance, leave their tools, and the oar they have got, sometimes open upon the hill, or at most only shut-up in a slight hutt. Whoever among them steals any thing, and is found guilty, is thus punish’d: He is shut up in a hutt, and then dry fearn, furzes, and such other combustible matter, is put round it, and fire set to it. When it is on fire, the Criminal who has his hands and feet at liberty, may with them (if he can) break down his hutt, and, making himself a passage out of it, get free and be gone; but he must never come to work, nor have to do any more, on the hill. This they call Burning of the hill. There is lead also dug on Broadwell-down,Broad-well. and other parts thereabouts, lying between Wrinton and Blackwell. About the west-end of Mendippe-hills is found plenty of † † Philos. Trans. N.193. Lapis Calaminaris, lying near the surface of the earth. This, calcin’d, and mix’d with copper, makes brass. Here are also some veins of Magnesia or Mangonesse, and of Yellow Oker.⌉ In these Hills, there is a cave of a vast winding length, wherein are discover’d some wells and rivulets. OchieholeOchie-hole. is the name of it; and the inhabitants thereabouts have broach’d as many wild fanciful Strabo.Stories concerning it, as the Italians have of their Sibyll’s cave in the Apennine Alps. But without doubt it had the name from Ogo, a British word signifying a cave; as the Island EubœaEuboea, from a cave of the same nature, was call’d by a name like this, OCHA. ⌈By others it is call’d Wockey-hole; and derived from , which signifies crooked, or creeky; from whence the British Ogo might also come. From a very narrow entrance, it opens into a large vault, the roof whereof (either by reason of it’s height, or the thickness of the air) they who go in, cannot discover by the light of the candles which they carry with them. After having clamber’d over several rough and unequal passages among the moist rocks, you come at last to a stream of very clear cold water; which did, in all likelyhood, heretofore discharge it self by the mouth of the Cave that now is; but, changing its course, and breaking out by an under-current, was the cause that the Cave, of consequence, came to be as we now see it. In several places of this Cave, one may perceive that the droppings of water encrease the rock, and are turn’d into stone; in some places hanging down like icicles.⌉ Not far from this Cave, in the reign of Henry 8, in plowing they cast up an oblong plate of lead, which had been erected for a Trophy, with this Inscription:
TI. CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG. P.M.
TRIB. P. VIIII. IMP. XVI. DE. BRITAN.
This ninth Tribuneship of Claudius, fell-in with the year 802. from the building of Rome, and with the Consulship of Antistius and M. Suillius; at which time great disturbances happen’d under P. Ostorius ProprætorPropraetor of Britain. From the circumstances of this time, give me leave to infer some Conjectures. That, this same year, Claudius had two signal victories over the Britains, is attested by an ancient Coin of that Emperour, the best evidence that can be. On one side of it is this Inscription, TI. CLAVD. CAESAR AVG. P.M. TR. P. VIIII. IMP. XVI. PP. On the reverse, DE BRITAN. with a triumphal arch, the figure of an horseman at full speed, and two trophies. Now, who these Britains were that he conquer’d, Tacitus informs us; for he says, that Claudius, by the conduct of Ostorius, subdu’d two of the British PeopleCangi, a people of Britain. this year, namely, the Iceni and the Cangi.
But seeing the Iceni are at a great distance, and as it were in another Hemisphere; what if we should say,
that this Trophy was erected in memory of a victory over the Cangi, a small people comprehended under our
Belgæ, and that those Cangi were seated here? For not far from hence is the Irish-sea, Annal. l.12. c.32.near which he places the Cangi; and there seem to be remains of the name
Cangi in some places hereabouts, as in the hundreds of Cannington and Canings, in
Wincaunton, which is sometimes call’d Cangton; and Kaingsham, as much as to say, the
mansion of the Cangi. But let the reader judge of these matters; for my own part (as I said) I do not go
beyond conjecture, but only endeavour to trace out the Cangi, * * So, Camd.
Camd. Ep. p.24.
Still. Orig. p.32.
Plot, Stafford. c.10.which I still hope to meet with in another place. ⌈And yet (if we consider two or three reasons more, that may still be added to strengthen the foregoing) we may possibly see sufficient Inducements to rest here, without searching further. For, 1. The whole course of Ostorius’s march seems to convince us, that the Cangi liv’d in this part of the Island; especially if the Iceni may, upon the authority and reasons of a late * * Plot’s His. of Staffordshire, cap.1. sect.3.Author, be brought to those parts where the Ikenild-street pass’d. After he had quell’d the Iceni, he immediately march’d against the Cangi; but before he had finish’d his Conquests over them, the commotions of the Brigantes requir’d his presence in their Country, and brought back the General, as the Historian says. Now if the Cangi had inhabited Cheshire, they had almost lain in his way to the Brigantes, who therefore could not be said to bring back the General. But after they were subdu’d, he comes back, and settles a Colony at Camulodunum, which (if the resemblance of the name, the nature of the place, and all the signs of a Roman station be of any force) we may place at † † See the description of it, below.Camalet in this County. Besides, it must needs be in those parts, because the Romans march’d from thence to subdue the Silures, from whom they march’d against the Ordovices. And can we imagin that any prudent General (as Ostorius no doubt was) would harrass his Soldiers with such a needless march, from Cheshire or Staffordshire into South-Wales, and so leave enemies behind him in North-Wales; into which they would first have bent their course, if Camulodunum had been so near it, as * * Plot’s Hist. of Staffordshire.some endeavour to prove? Caesar 2. Lipsius’s conjecture, of reading (instead of the Cenimagni of Cæsar) Icen, Cangi, confirms this opinion; for if that be allow’d, then from Cæsar’s own words those Iceni and Cangi, must be plac’d in the south parts of Britain, near the Bibroci (in Barkshire,) and the Segontiaci (in Hamshire;) so that the situation of the Cangi will in all probability fall in North-Wiltshire and Somersetshire. 3. The memory of these people, preserv’d in several names of places besides those already mention’d: Such are, in the Saxon Chronicle; which are undoubtedly the marshes in Somersetshire. In Wiltshire, there is the Hundred of Canings; and in it a town of the same name, call’d in old Writings Caningas; as in another Hundred is Alcannings (as much, possibly, as old, or old Cannings.) And that ancient town of Caln (especially if spell’d as we find it in Domesday, Cauna, or, as at this day, Caun) seems to retain something of the name. 4. Why may not the Severn-sea be that which Tacitus says looks towards Ireland, near which the Cangi liv’d; and Avon in those parts, the Antona of Tacitus, on the banks whereof Ostorius, before the rebellion broke out, had made several garrisons? But this, by the way.⌉
Amongst the hills, is Chuton,Chuton. the seat (if I mistake not) of William Bonvill,Baron Bonvill. whom Henry 6. by the name of William de Bonvill and Chuton, summon’d to Parliament among the Barons, and made him Knight of the Garter, and enrich’d his son by marriage with Baron Harrington’s only daughter, who was then but young. But when he, very ungratefully, sided with the house of York in the Civil wars; as if some Fury had haunted him for revenge, he was an eye-witness of the untimely death of that his only son, and of Baron Harrington his grandchild by him, slain in the battle of Wakefield. And presently after, to make his old age as miserable as it could be, whilst he was in some hope and expectation of better Days, himself was taken in the second battle at S. Albans, and, when his glass had well-nigh run out, was beheaded, leaving behind him Cecilia his grand-daughter and heir, then very young, but afterward marry’d to Thomas Grey Marquess of Dorset, to whom she brought a large estate. Notwithstanding, this Gentleman’s Honour was in some measure restor’d to him, by an1 Edward 4. Act of Parliament declaring him innocent. ⌈The said William, and his Wife, lie interr’d in the Chancel of the Church; and it is now the Manour, as well as title, of the Lord Waldgrave, which Family, by K. James 2, were created Barons Waldgrave of Chuton. Towards the north is Chue MagnaChue Magna or Bishops Chue. or Bishops-Chue, where is dug-up a red bolus, call’d by the country-people Reding, from thence distributed all over England for the marking of sheep, and such other uses: it is also often us’d by Apothecaries instead of Bolus Armenus. And at Stowey,Stowey. on the side of a hill above the Church, rises a large spring, that is never dry. The water coming from thence as it runs through Stowey, covers the things that it meets in it’s course, with a stony crust. This effect it has not, in the very source, nor within 20 yards where it rises: the place where it works most, is about forty or fifty yards from the rising, at a fall higher than a man’s length. There it sheaths every thing with stony cases, and makes the sides of the bank, a hard rock; and from thence all along it’s stream, it covers sticks, &c. with a crust.†† Mr. Locke’s Letter in Boyle’s Hist. of Air, p.140.⌉
Under Mendippe-hills to the north, is the little village Congersbury,Congersbury. so call’d from one Congarus a person of great sanctity (Capgrave tells us, he was the son of an Emperour of Constantinople,) who here liv’d a hermit; and Harpetre,Harpetre. formerly a castle belonging to a family of the same name, which descended hereditarily to the Gornaies, and from them to the Ab-Adams who (as I have read) restor’d it to the Gornaies, ⌈to whom ¦ ¦ Newtons.the present Possessors are related. To the north-west from these Hills, lies Churchil;Churchil. which gave sirname to the family, that happily produced the celebrated Heroe of this age, John Duke of Marlborough. WroxhallWroxhall. (in some old writings call’d Wrokeshale) hath been for a long time the seat of the Gorges; of which ancient Family, Ralph de Gorges was in the 47th year of Henry 3, made Governour of Shirburn-Castle, and, a little after, of the Castle of Exeter; from whose time, the Family hath been continued here, and is lately reduced to an issue-female.⌉ But to return. Southward, not far from the famous Cave, at the bottom of Mendippe-hills, is a little city (built upon a rocky soil) and an Episcopal See. Leland tells us (upon what grounds I know not) that it was formerly call’d Theodorodunum; the name of it now is Welles,Welles. so call’d from the Wells which spring up in all parts of it; so * * This, rather from , a Lily: Stephanus in his Book De Urbibus; and Barletius.Susa in Persia, Croia in Dalmatia, and Pagase in Macedonia, had their names from wells or fountains: from whence also this Church is call’d The Church of Wells. It may justly challenge the pre-eminence in this County, both for populousness, and stateliness of buildings. It has a Church and a College built by King Ina to the honour of St. Andrew; which was presently endow’d with large revenues by several great men. Among the rest, King Kinewulph gave to it a great many neighbouring places, in the year 766. For thus his Charter runs: I Kinewulph King of the West-Saxons, for the love of God, and (which shall not be here particularly mention’d) some vexations of our Cornish enemies, do by the consent of my Bishops and Noblemen, humbly make-over by gift a certain parcel of ground to the Apostle and servant of God, S. Andrew, i.e. xi Mansions near the river call’d Welwe, towards the increase of the Monastery, situate near the great fountain call’d Wielea. Which I set down here, both on account of it’s Antiquity, and because some are of opinion that the place took it’s name from this river. The Church indeed is exceeding beautiful, and nothing can be finer than it’s frontispiece towards the West, which is one entire pile of statues curiously wrought out of stone, and of great antiquity.
The Bishop’s palace is very splendid, and towards the south looks like a Castle, as it is fortify’d with walls and a ditch; and the Prebendaries houses on the other side, are exceeding neat. For there are 27 Prebends, with 19 petty-Canons, besides a Dean, a Precentor, ⌈ a Treasurer,⌉ a Chancellor, and 3 Arch-deacons, that belong to this Church. ⌈In the 34th year of Henry the 8th, an Cap.15.Act of Parliament passed for the Dean and Chapter of Wells to be one sole Chapter of it self.⌉ A Bishop’s See was settl’d here in the time of Edward the Elder. For when the Pope had Excommunicated this Edward, upon pretence that the discipline of the Church was quite neglected in this westerly part of his kingdom; he, knowing himself notwithstanding to be a nursing father of the Church, erected three new Bishopricks,905. Kirton, Cornwall, and this of Wells, where he made Eadulph first Bishop. History of Bath. Not many years after, Giso was set over this Diocese, whom Harold Earl of the West-Saxons and of Kent (gaping after the revenues of the Church) did so persecute, that this See was almost quite destroy’d. But William the first, after he had conquer’d Harold, lent a helping hand to Giso, then in exile, and to this distressed Church: at which time (as is evident from Domesday-book) the Bishop held the town it self, which gelded for 50 hides. Afterwards, in the reign of Henry 1. John de Villula a French-man of Tours was elected Bishop, and translated the See to Bath, by which means these two grew into one, and the Bishop has his title from both; so that the same person is styl’d Bishop of Bath and Wells:See in the Decretals, against making innovations whilst the See is vacant. Which occasion’d some hot disputes between the Monks of Bath and the Canons of Wells, about the election of the Bishops. ⌈But yet it is observable, that almost 200 years after John, the Bishops were called Bishops of Bath only, and sometimes of Glaston, but not of Wells. For, ⌉ in the mean time † † Savanaricus, C.Savaricus Bishop of Bath, being also Abbot of Glassenbury, translated his See thither, and was styl’d Bishop of Glassenbury, but that title dy’d with him: and the difference between the Monks and the Canons was at last compos’d 1193.by that Robert who divided the revenues of his Church into so many Prebends, and settl’d a Dean, a Sub-dean, &c. Bishop Jocelin also, about the same time augmented the Church with new buildings; and in the memory of † † So said, ann. 1607.our Grandfathers, Ralph de Shrowsbery (as some call him) built a very neat College for the Vicars and singing-men adjoyning to the north part of the Church; and also ⌈as is said by some⌉ enclos’d the Bishop’s palace with a wall. ⌈But that was certainly done by Ralph Erghum (the fourth Bishop after Shrowsbery) who finish’d this work and his life together, 10 Apr. A.D. 1400. whereas Shrowsbery dy’d 14 Aug. An. 1336. The truth of this is evident from a Record made by a Monk of Bath who liv’d at the same time, and not long after in a Menology to the 10th of April, wrote as follows: Obiit Dominus Radulphus Episcopus Bathon. & Well. isto die Sabbati; qui vallavit muris & fossis palatium Episcopi apud Wells, & jacet ibidem, Anno Dom. MCCCC. litera Dominicali C. i.e. On that Sabbath, dy’d Ralph Bishop of Bath and Wells, who made a wall and a trench about the Bishop’s Palace at Wells, where he lies bury’d, A D. MCCCC. the Dominical Letter C. This Book was writ by the Monk, An. 1428.⌉ In the way from the palace to the market, Thomas Bekington, Bishop, built a very beautiful gate, and 12 stately stone houses of the same height hard-by in the market-place: In the middle whereof is a market-house supported by seven outer pillars and a curious arch, built by Bishop William Knighte and Dean Woollman for the use of the market-people. ⌈It is commonly call’d The Cross; and beside that, there has been built a fair market-house of late years between the said Cross, and the gate which leads to the palace.⌉ All these are in the east part of the town. In the west is a Parish-Church dedicated to S. Cuthbert; and near it, an Hospital built by Nicholas Bubwith Bishop, for 24 poor people. ⌈West of Wells, just under Mendippe-hills, lies Cheddar,Cheddar. famous for the excellent and prodigious great Cheeses made there, some of which require more than one man’s strength to set them on the table, and are of a delicate taste; equalling, if not exceeding that of the Parmesan. Above this place, is a gap as it were cut into the hill, which affords a narrow passage for travellers between, and has stupendous high rocks on both sides, famous in this Country, under the name of Cheddar-Cliffs. Cheddar-Cliffs. At the foot of these rocks, rises a great and clear spring, which, within a quarter of a mile of the source, drives 12 mills.⌉
Out of the Mineral-mountains before-mention’d, arises the river Frome,Frome. which ⌈(springing at some distance from Stratton,Stratton. from whence Sir John Berkley, was, for his eminent Services to the Crown, created by King Charles 2, Lord Berkley of Stratton,)⌉ hastens eastward by those pits of coal, that are made use of by smiths as most proper to soften iron; and before it has run any great way, wheeling towards the north, it is the boundary between this County and Gloucestershire; and washes Farley,Farley. ⌈once⌉ a castle on a hill ⌈(but now pulled down,)⌉ belonging not many years since to the Hungerfords, where formerly Humphrey Bohun built a monastery; at a little distance from Philips-Norton,Philips-Norton. a famous market-town, taking it’s name from the Church, dedicated to St. Philip; ⌈and not far from Wellow,Wellow. in which manour, was discovered,Aubr. MS. ann. 1685. a Roman chequer’d pavement; Gale, p.88, 89.as was also another at Bathford,Bathford. in a room which was found under-ground in digging; the Pavement whereof was chequer’d-work of white, blue, and red; and a third, near Knoll-hillKnoll-hill. in this County.⌉
Lower down, is Selwood Selwood.before-mention’d, a wood that spreads it self a long way both in length and breadth, and is thick set with trees. From this (as Ethelwerd tells us) the neighbouring Country was call’d Selwoodshire,Lib.2. c.11. ⌈(his words are, Sealwudscire, Episcopatus Scireburnensis, the Bishoprick of Shirburn;)⌉ and a town near it is to this day call’d Frome-Selwood, supported mostly by the woollen manufacture. Scarce two miles from hence to the west, is a small but pretty neat castle, built by the De la Mares, and thence call’d Nonney de la Mare,Nonney de la Mare. which by inheritance descended from them to the Powletts. Not far from whence is Witham,Witham. where King Henry 3. built a Nunnery. ⌈After the Dissolution of Religious Houses, it came into the Family of Hopton, and was the possession of the famous Lord Hopton, whose fidelity and Services to the Crown, in the most perilous times, deservedly raised him to that honour.⌉
And now Frome, encreas’d by some little rivers out of this wood, at last throws it self into the noble river Avon,Avon. which with a winding course presently runs to that ancient City, call’d by Ptolemy, from the Baths, , i.e. Hot waters; and by Antoninus,Aquæ solis. Waters of the Sun; by the Britains, Yr ennaint Twymin, as also Caer Badon; by the Saxons, , and (from the concourse of sick people) ⌈ ,⌉ Ackmanchester, as much as a City of Valetudinarians; ⌈and by Florence of Worcester, Acamanni Civitas.⌉ * * De urbibus.Stephanus calls it Badiza; we at this day Bathe;Bathe. and the modern Latin Bathonia. It lies low in a plain not very large, and is as it were fortify’d on every side with hills of an equal height, which send down many springs into the City, to the great advantage of the citizens. In the city it self, The baths.arise three hot springs, of a blewish and sea-colour, which exhale a thin sort of mist, and something of † † Mephitis.an ill savour, proceeding from corrupt water mix’d with earth and brimstone; (for the water it self has a sulphur, and bituminous matter, incorporated with it.) They are an effectual remedy to such bodies, as by reason of ill humours are dull and heavy; for by virtue of their heat they cause sweating, and by that means the strength of the humour is abated. But it is not at all hours that they are wholsom; for from eight in the morning till three in the afternoon they are extream hot, and boyl up violently, by which they are mudded, and throw up a filthy sort of stuff from the bottom: so that at these times they ⌈¦ ¦ Are, C.used formerly to be⌉ shut up; nor * * Do, C.did any go into them, till by their sluices they had eas’d themselves of that stuff, and were purg’d. ⌈But now the Bath may be enter’d without danger at any time; and in the hot weather when the scum arises, the guides of the bath take some time to cleanse the water, (which they generally do at their coming-in;) and many bathers are in the morning in bath till dinner-time, without any prejudice from the scum.⌉ Of these three, that which is call’d The Croß-bath, from a Cross formerly erected in the middle of it, is very gentle, and moderately warm. Upon the side of it are * * 12, C.16 stone seats; and it is enclos’d with a wall. The second, † † Scarce 200, C.58 foot and a half distant, is much hotter, whereupon it is called Whot-bath, or Hot-bath. Near these, is an Hospital built by Reginald Bishop of Bathe, to relieve the necessities of the sick; and those two are in the midst of a street on the west-side of the City. The third, which is largest, is in the very heart of the City, and is call’d, the King’s or Royal bath; it is near the Cathedral Church, and enclos’d also with a wall. It is accommodated with ¦ ¦ 32, C.28 seats arch’d over, ⌈and with other stone-benches,⌉ on which the men and women sit apart; and both of them, when they go into the water, put on linnen drawers. Where the Cathedral Church now stands, a Temple is said to have been formerly dedicated toTemple of Minerva. Minerva. It is out of all doubt, that Solinus Polyhistor means these baths, when he says, In Britain there are hot springs, richly accommodated with all conveniences for the service of mankind; their tutelar Deity is Minerva, in whose Temple those perpetual fires never turn to embers, but when they go out, are converted into round pieces of hard stone. Notwithstanding which, AthenæusAthenaeus affirms, that all hot baths naturally springing out of the earth, are sacred to * * , in Diogeniano, Cent. 5.Hercules; and indeed, amongst other old monuments almost quite defac’d by age, there is here upon the walls something of an ancient image of Hercules, holding a Serpent in his hand. But rather than any difference should arise upon this head, we are willing to grant, that Baths were dedicated both to Hercules and Minerva. For the Greeks have told us, that Minerva was the first who furnish’d Hercules with a bath after he had finish’d his labours. It is enough, if I am allow’d to conclude, upon Solinus’s authority, that since (as he says) Minerva was the tutelar Goddess of those springs, this must be the same city which the Britains call’d Caer Palladdur,Caer Palladdur. that is in latin Urbs Palladiæ aquæ, or, the city of Pallas’s water. For the thing, name, and meaning do exactly answer.
The finding of these springs, is by our fabulous traditions referr’d to a British King call’d Bleyden † † Cloyth, C.Doyth, i.e. Bleyden the sooth-sayer; with what show of truth, I leave others to determin.
However,Britains very skilful in Art-Magick. Pliny assures us, that this Art-Magick was in such wonderful esteem among the Britains, that even the Persians seem’d to have derived it from hence; but as to these baths, I dare not attribute their original to that art. Caesar Some of our own nation, too supinely, affirm that Julius Cæsar first found them out. But I cannot but think, that it was late before the Romans came to know them, since Solinus is the first that makes any mention of them. The Saxons indeed about the * * Ann. 520. and so more than 44.44th year after their landing in Britain, by a breach of Articles renewing the war, laid siege to this city, but being surpriz’d by the warlike Arthur, they betook themselves to Badon-hillBadon-hill., where (tho’ in a desperate condition,) they fought it out to the last, and were slain in great numbers. This seems to be the same hill with that we now call Lannesdown, hanging over a little village near the city, nam’d Bathstone,Bathstone. and showing at this day it’s bulwarks, and a rampire. I know there are some who seek for it in Yorkshire; but let Gildas himself restore it to this place. For in an old Manuscript-Copy of his History, in the Cambridge-Library, where he treats of the victory of Aurelius Ambrosius, he says; To the year of Badon-hill siege, which is not far from the mouth of Severn. But if this will not convince them, let them understand farther, that the adjoyning vale lying along the river Avon for a great way together, is call’d in British Nant-Badon, i.e. the vale of Badon; and where to seek Badon-hill but near Badon-valley, I cannot tell. For a long time after this, the Saxons, discouraged from making any more attempts upon this City, left it quiet to the Britains. But in the year of Christ 577. after Ceawlin King of the West-Saxons had defeated the Britains at Deorham, this city being both besieg’d and storm’d, first surrender’d to the Saxons; and † † Not till about 930, as some say.in a few years, recovering it self, took the new name of Akmancester, and grew up to a good degree of splendor. For Osbrich, ⌈(or rather Osrick, a petty King of the Wiccii,)⌉ in the year 676. built a Nunnery; and presently after, when it came into the hands of the Mercians, King Offa built another Church; but both were destroy’d in the Danish Wars. Out of the ruins of these, there grew up another Church dedicated to S. Peter, to which Edgar (sirnam’d the Peaceful) because he was here Inaugurated, granted several Immunities; the memory whereof the inhabitants still keep up by certain anniversary sports. ⌈But yet it is said to be found, upon an accurate search into the records of the place, that the Church wherein Edgar was crown’d, was the very building rais’d by Offa, which stood some years after; and that after Offa’s time there was no new Church built till the year 1010. when Elphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, founded one.⌉ In the time of Edward the Confessor (as we read in Domesday-book) it gelded for 20 Hides, when the Shire gelded. There were 64 Burgesses of the King’s, and 30 of others. But this flourishing condition lasted not long; for presently after the Norman Conquest, Robert Mowbray nephew to the Bishop of Constance, who rais’d a warm rebellion against William Rufus, plunder’d and burnt it. But it recover’d in a short time, by the assistance of John de Villula born at Tours in France, who being Bishop of Wells, did (as Malmesbury informs us) for five hundred ¦ ¦ Marks, C.pounds purchase the city of Henry 1. whither he translated his See, tho’ ⌈as some say⌉ still retaining the name of Bishop of Wells, and built him here a new Cathedral. ⌈But as to the retaining of the name, it must be observ’d, that Bishop Godwin affirms the contrary; and a Dr. Guidot.curious person, who examin’d the Records, affirms, in his History of Bathe, that he subscribed himself only Joannes Bathon.⌉ The said Cathedral, not long ago, being ready to drop down, Oliver King, Bishop of Bath, laid the foundation of another near it, exceeding large and stately; which he well-nigh finish’d. And if he had quite finish’d it, without all doubt it had exceeded most Cathedrals in England. But the too early death of that great Bishop, with the publick disturbances, and the avarice of some persons, who (as it is said) converted the money gather’d thro’ England for that end, to other uses, envy’d the place this glory. ⌈It is probable, that in memory of him, were engraven these two verses, which are still to be seen on the west-end of this Church.
The trees goeing to cheese a King,
Said, be to us thou, Oliver, King.⌉
However, from that time forward, Bath has been a flourishing place, both for the woollen manufacture, and the great resort of strangers; and it is encompass’d with walls, wherein they have fix’d some ancient Images and Roman Inscriptions, to evidence the Antiquity of the place: but age has so worn the Letters, that they are scarce legible. And lest any thing should be wanting to the Dignity of Bath,Earls of Bath. it has honour’d divers of our Nobility with the title of Earl. For we read that Philebert de Chandew, born in Bretagne in France, had that title conferr’d upon him by King Henry 7. Afterward, King Henry 8. in the 28th year of his reign, created John BourchierInquis. 31 Hen. 8. Lord Fitz-Warin, Earl of Bath; who dying in the 31st year of the same King, was succeeded by John his son, who dy’d in the third year of Queen Elizabeth. He, before the death of his father, had a Son, John Lord Fitz-Warin, from whom descended * * The present Earl, C.William, who greatly improv’d the nobility of his birth by the ornaments of learning. ⌈William, dying 12 July 1623. left this honour to Edward his only son then living, who having no issue-male that surviv’d him, the title, upon his death, came to Sir Henry Bourchier, as son to Sir George Bourchier (who was third son to John, the second of that name, Earl of Bathe.) This Henry dying without issue, An 1654. the title lay vacant till King Charles the 2d’s Restoration, when, among other honours, it was conferr’d (together with the titles of Baron of Kilkhampton and Biddiford, and Viscount Grenevil of Lansdown) upon John Grenevil, for his eminent Services to that Prince, and his being particularly instrumental in bringing about that happy change.⌉ Geographers make the Longitude of this City to be 20 degrees, and 56 minutes; the Latitude 51 degrees and 21 minutes. For a conclusion, take, if you please, those Verses, such as they are, concerning Bathe; made by Necham, who flourish’d † † So said, ann. 1607.400 years ago.
Bathoniæ thermas vix præfero Virgilianas,
Confecto prosunt balnea nostra seni.
Prosunt attritis, collisis, invalidisque,
Et quorum morbis frigida causa subest.
Prævenit humanum stabilis natura laborem;
Servit naturæ legibus artis opus.
Igne suo succensa quibus data balnea fervent,
Ænea subter aquas vasa latere putant.
Errorem figmenta solent inducere passim.
Sed quid? Sulphureum novimus esse locum.
Scarce ours to Virgil’s Baths the preference give,
Here old decrepit wretches find relief.
To bruises, sores, and ev’ry cold disease,
Apply’d, they never fail of quick success.
Thus human ills kind nature does remove;
Thus nature’s kindness human arts improve.
They’re apt to fansy brazen stoves below,
To which their constant heat the waters owe.
Thus idle tales deluded minds possess;
But what? we know that ’tis a sulph’ry place.
Take also (if you think them worth your reading) two ancient Inscriptions lately dug-up near the high-way below the city in Waldcot-field; and remov’d by Robert Chambers a great admirer of Antiquities, into his gardens; where I transcrib’d them.
I saw likewise these † † Vid. Musgrav. Belg. Brit. p.70, 212.Antiquities fasten’d on the inner side of the wall, between the north and west gates: Hercules holding up his left hand, with his Club in the right: In a broken piece of stone, is this writing in large and beautiful letters,
Amalthaean Filiae Karissimae Next, leaves folded in, Hercules bending two snakes; and in a sepulchral table between two little images, one whereof holds an Amalthæan horn, there is written in a worse character, and scarce legible,
A little below, in a broken piece of stone, and large letters, is,
Between the west and south gates, Ophiucus enfolded by a serpent: two men’s heads with curl’d locks, within the copings of the walls: a hare running, and joyn’d to this, in a great stone, in letters a-cross,
A naked man as it were laying hands upon a soldier; also, between the battlements of the walls, leaves, two lying kissing and embracing each other; a footman brandishing his sword, and holding forth his shield; another footman with a spear; and these letters a-cross on a great stone.
And Medusa’s head with her snaky hairs.
⌈ To these, we will add another Monument, which was found, a mile from this place in the year 1708, in repairing the Fosse-way.
To be read thus: Julius Vitalis, Fabriciensis Legionis Vicesimæ Valerianæ Victricis, Stipendiorum novem, Annorum
viginti novem, Natione Belga, ex Collegio Fabriciensium elatus, hic situs est.Dodwelli Not. Crit.
Musgrave, Comment. Upon which Inscription, some Critical Notes and Explications, together with a Commentary,
were published, not many years since. As also upon the fragment of an Equestrian Statue, with a Hasta
Pura in the right hand, and a Parma in the left; which was found near this City, and is to be seen there;
and which the Learned AnnotatorPhilos. Trans. p.283.–ann. 1711.
Musgrave, Geta Brit.
Philos. Trans. p.385. N.29. is willing to determin to Geta, as well from a similitude that he hath observ’d between the face of this Statue and the Coins of Geta; as from the particular fondness which that Emperor is known to have had for Horses.
The soil, for some miles about Bathe, especially to the westward, as at CostonCoston. and thereabouts, is so very stony, that when it is newly plough’d, one would rather take the ridges for so many pitch’d Causeys to walk on, than for a plough’d land to sow corn in; so little of earth is to be seen among those stones which the ploughshare turns up. Yet here, they have excellent wheat; tho’, perhaps, not altogether so much as in deeper land. The Countrymen attribute their good crops, mostly, to the stones; and if those were carry’d off, the earth left upon the hard rock would be so little, that it would not cover their corn; and so light, that the wind would blow it away.
Between Bath and Bristol, a little river runs into theStanton-Drew. Avon, * * Aubr. MS.upon which is Stanton-drew, the latter part whereof might seem to point out some relation to the old Druids (but that Drew is the name of an ancient family in the western parts;) and the monument there, call’d the Wedding, would strengthen such a conjecture. The occasion of the name Wedding, is a tradition which passes among the common people, That as a Bride was going to be married, she and the rest of the company were chang’d into these stones. They are in a circular form, 5 or 6 foot high; and the whole monument is bigger than Stonehenge, the Diameter here being 90 paces; tho’ no appearance of a ditch. On the top of a hill between Bath and Cainsham, is a great Camp called Stanton-bury;Stanton-bury. the works whereof are large and double, and they are estimated at about thirty Acres.⌉
Upon the river Avon (which is the bound here between this County and Glocestershire,) and on the western bank of it, is CainshamCainsham. aforesaid, so nam’d from Keina a devout British Virgin, ⌈from whom the Keines of this County have thought themselves descended; and⌉ whom many of the ¦ ¦ The last, C.last age save one, through an over-credulous temper, believ’d to have chang’d serpents into stones,Serpents of stones. because they found in the quarries thereabouts, some such little sporting miracles of Nature. fossils coal And I have seen a stone brought from thence, like a serpent, in a round, the head whereof, tho’ but imperfect, jetted out ⌈as it seemed⌉ in the circumference, and the end of the tail was in the center; but most of them want the head. ⌈And indeed all our Naturalists now agree, that such stones are form’d in Nautili shells, and that there are no heads belonging to them. Indeed, many of them have rough and broken pieces of stone issuing from them beyond the moulded wreath at the broad end; which may lead one to imagine, that those pieces were imperfect heads; but really they are not so. Such kind of snake-stones of all sizes, from above a foot to an inch or two diameter, are found frequently in their quarries.⌉ In the neighbouring fields, and other places hereabouts, the herb PercepierPercepier. grows naturally all the year round. It is a plant * * Is peculiar to England, C.which hath been supposed peculiar to England; ⌈but Mr. RayHist. Plant. l.4. c.14. affirms, that the same is often met with in foreign Countries:⌉ one tastes in it a sort of tartness and bitterness; it is never higher than a span, and grows in bushy flowers without a stalk. It provokes urine strongly and quickly; and there is a water distill’d from it, of great use; as P. PœnaPoena in his Miscellanies upon Plants has observ’d. ⌈Between this place and Bristol, upon the Avon, is Bristleton, abounding in the same sort of Cole that is brought from New-castle. From BristletonBristleton. in several places of the adjacent Country, as far as Stratton and Mendippe-hills, as also Northward in Glocestershire, are found veins of this cole, which afford a strong and cheap firing to all those parts. These veins are cover’d with a shell of a black hard stony substance, call’d Wark, which will split like blue slate, but is much more brittle, and not near so hard. Upon dividing this Wark,Wark. there is often found, upon one of the separated surfaces, the perfect shape of a fearn-leaf, as if it had, by a skilful hand, been engraven; which, as an exact mould or case, receives the protuberant figure of the like leaf standing out on the other side.⌉
Scarce five miles from hence, the river Avon parts BristolBristol. in the
middle, call’d by the Britains Caer Oder Nant Badon, i.e. the City Odera in Badon-valley. In the Catalogue of
Ancient Cities it is nam’d Caer Brito, and in Saxon , i.e. a famous place. But they who have * * Leland.
Comm. in Cygn. Can.affirm’d it to be the Venta Belgarum, have impos’d both upon themselves and the world. This City is plac’d partly in Somersetshire and partly in Glocestershire, but does not belong to either, having distinct Magistrates of it’s own, and being a county incorporate by it self. It stands upon a pretty high ground, between the Avon and the little river Frome; and what with walls and rivers, is guarded very well: for it was formerly enclos’d with a double wall. It makes such a beautiful show, both of publick and private buildings, that it answers it’s name; and there are what they call Goutes (in Latin CloacæCloacae) built in the subterraneous caverns of the earth, to carry off and wash away the filth; so that nothing is wanting here, either for neatness or health. But by reason of these, Carts are not us’d here, but only Sledges, ⌈which do not endanger the arches of the Goutes.⌉ It is also so well furnish’d with the necessaries of life, and is so populous, that next to London and York, it may justly claim the pre-eminence over all the cities in Britain. For the trade of many nations is drawn hither by the convenience of Commerce, and of the harbour, which receives vessels under sail into the very heart of the city. And the Avon swells so high by the coming-in of the tide, that ships upon the shallows are born up 11 or 12 fathoms. The citizens drive a rich trade throughout Europe, and make voyages to the remotest parts of America. At what time, and by whom, it was built, is hard to say: but it seems to be of a late date, since in all the Danish Wars, it is not so much as mention’d in our Histories. For my part, I am of opinion it rose in the declension of the Saxon government, since it is not any where taken notice of before the year of our Lord 1063, when Harold (as Florence of Worcester has it) set sail from Brystow to invade Wales.Praedium In the beginning of the Norman times, BertonBerton. an adjoyning † † Prædium.farm, and this Bristow, paid to the King (as it is in Domesday-book) 110 marks of silver; and the Burgesses return’d, that Bishop G. had 33 marks, and 1 mark of gold. ⌈Who this Bishop was, is not express’d in Domesday, nor have we any more than the bare initials, either of his name or See. If we durst say that G. were instead of S. (for those two letters are not unlike) Sherborn or Salisbury (under whose jurisdiction it seems to have formerly been) would solve the difficulty; but if that will not do, I find none of the Bishop’s names about that time beginning with G. If we preserve the reading, Glevum or Glocester offers it self fairest; which tho’ annexed at times to Litchfield, and Worcester, seems, notwithstanding, to have had the title of a Bishop’s See.⌉ But this by the way. Afterwards, ¦ ¦ Robert, C. Geoffry Bishop of Constance, raising a Rebellion against William Rufus,William of Wircester. chose this for the seat of war, and fortify’d the little city with that inner wall (I suppose,) part of which remains to this day. But a few years after, the Suburbs began to enlarge on every side; for on the south, RadcliffRadcliff. (where were some little houses belonging to the suburbs) is joyn’d to the rest of the city by a stone-bridge, which is so thick-set with houses, that you would not think it a bridge, but a street. This part is included within the walls, and the inhabitants have the privileges of citizens. There are hospitals built in all parts for the poor, and elegant Churches to the honour of God. Among the rest, the most beautiful by far is S. Mary’s of Radcliffe without the walls, into which is a noble ascent by a great many steps. So large is it, and the workmanship to exquisite; the roof so artificially vaulted with stone, and the tower so high; that in my opinion it far surpasses all the Parish-Churches in England, that I have yet seen. In it, the founder William Canninges has two honorary monuments; one in the habit of a Magistrate, for he was five times Mayor of this City; the other in the habit of a Clergy-man, for in his latter days he took Orders, and was Dean of the College which himselfWestbury. founded at Westbury. Hard by it is also another Church call’d Temple, the tower whereof as often as the bell rings, moves to and again, so as to be quite parted from the rest of the building; and there is such a chink from top to bottom, that the gaping is three fingers wide when the bell rings, growing first narrower and then again broader. Nor must we omit S. Stephen’s Church; the stately tower whereof was in the memory of * * So said, ann. 1607.our Grandfathers built by one Shipward, a citizen and merchant, with great charge and curious workmanship. On the east and north parts also, it was enlarg’d with very many buildings, and those included within the walls, being likewise defended by the river Frome; which, after it has pass’d by these walls, runs calmly into the Avon, making a safe harbour for ships, and a creek convenient to load and unload wares; which they call the Kay. Below this,The Marsh. between the confluence of Avon and Frome, is a champain ground, which is set round with trees, and affords the Citizens a pleasant walk. Upon the south-east, where the rivers do not encompass it, Robert, natural son to King Henry 1. (commonly call’d Robert Rufus Consul of Glocester, because he was Earl of Glocester) built a large and strong Castle for the defence of his city; ⌈(which is now quite demolished and built into a street;)⌉ and out of a pious principle, set aside every tenth stone for the building of a Chapel near the Priory of S. James, which he had also erected just under the City. He took to wife Mabil, daughter and sole heir of Robert Fitz-Hamon, who held this city in fealty of William the Conqueror. This castle, being yet scarce finish’d, was besieg’d by King Stephen; but he was forc’d to draw-off his forces without effecting any thing; and the same person, not many years after, being a prisoner therein, was a fair instance how uncertain the Events of War are. Beyond the river Frome, over which at Frome-gate is a bridge, one goes obliquely up a high hill of a steep and difficult ascent, from whence there is a pleasant prospect of the City, and of the haven below it. This, on the top, spreads into a large and green plain, shaded all along the middle with a double row of trees; among which is a pulpit of stone, and a Chapel, wherein they say, that Jordan, Companion to St. Austin the English Apostle, was bury’d; but it is now a free-school. This place, not to mention the private houses, is beautify’d on all sides with publick and stately buildings: On one side with a Collegiate Church call’d Gaunts,Gaunts. from its founder Sir Henry Gaunt Knight, who quitting the world, did here dedicate himself to the service of God; † † But now—it is, C.but by the munificence of T. Carre, a wealthy citizen, it was converted into a Hospital for Orphans. On the other side over-against it, are two Churches dedicated to S. Austin; the one but small and a Parish-Church; the other larger, and the Bishop’s Cathedral, adorn’d by King Henry 8. with six Prebendaries. Now the greatest part of it is pull’d down, and the College-gate, which indeed is curiously built, has this Inscription,
REX HENRICVS II. ET DOMINVS ROBERTVS FILIVS HARDINGI FILII REGIS DACIAE, HVIVS MONASTERII PRIMI FVNDATORES EXTITERVNT.
King Henry 2. and Lord Robert, the son of Harding, son to the King of Denmark, were the first founders of this Monastery.
This Robert, Harding’s son, of the blood-royal of Denmark, was a Principal man in Bristol, and so much belov’d by King Henry, that (by his favour) Maurice his son marry’d the daughter of the Lord de Barkley:Barons of Barkley. from whence, his posterity, who have flourish’d in great state, are to this day stil’d * * Earls.Barons of Barkley; some whereof were Register of the Monastery.bury’d in this Church. ⌈The honour of this place hath been encreas’d, by giving the title of Earl to John Lord Digby of Shirburn, created 20 Jac. 1. to whom succeeded in the same honour George his son, and John his grandson, who died without Issue; and the same title hath been conferr’d upon the Right Honourable John Harvey, who had before been created Baron Harvey of Ickworth.⌉
Where the Avon passes from hence, are high rocks on both sides the river, as if Nature had industriously contriv’d them. One of these, which hangs over the river on the east-side, is call’d S. Vincent’s, and is so stock’d with Diamonds,British Diamonds. that one may gather whole bushels of them. Nothing but the great plenty lessens their value among us: for besides that in transparency they even vie with those from the Indies, they do not yield to them in any other respect, save hardness: but their being smooth’d and fil’d by nature into six or four corners, does in my mind, render them more admirable: ⌈however, if we may trust our Naturalists, they assure us, that very often Crystals, and Berills, and even sometimes the common Sparrs, in many parts of England as well as elsewhere, are of that figure.⌉ The other rock on the western bank is likewise full of Diamonds, which by a wonderful contrivance of nature are contain’d in hollow reddish flints (for the ground here is red,) as if these were big with young. The Avon, after it has pass’d by these rocks, is at last with a full chanel discharg’d into the Severn-Sea; ⌈furnishing Bristol (at the vernal equinox, or then-abouts) with a dish perhaps not to be met with but in this County; which they call Elvers.Elvers. Some time in the spring, the river about Cainsham is yearly cover’d over and colour’d black with millions of little Eels scarce so big as a goose-quill, tho’ some would have them a particular species. These, with small nets, they skim up in great numbers, and by a peculiar way of ordering them, make them scowre off their skins. Being thus stripp’d, and looking very white, they make them up into little Cakes, which they fry, and so eat them.⌉
It remains now, that I give a Catalogue of the EarlsEarls and Dukes of Somerset. and Dukes of this County of Somerset. The first Earl of Somerset is said to have been William de Mohun or Moion, the same probably that * * M. Par. Hist. Min.Maud the Empress in her Charter (whereby she created William de Mandevil Earl of Essex) makes use of as a witness, under the name of Comes W. de Moion, i.e. Earl W. de Moion. From this time we meet with no distinct mention of the Earls of Somerset, unless it be in this RescriptPatents an. 1 Hen. 3. of King Henry 3. to Peter de Mawley, which I will set down in order to invite others to spend their judgment upon it. Know ye, that we have receiv’d the homage of our beloved Uncle, William Earl of Sarum, for all the lands which he holds of us, especially for the County of Somerset, which we have given to him with all the Appurtenances, for homage and service, reserving still to our selves the Royalty: and therefore we command you, that you grant him full seisin of the said County with all it’s Appurtenances, and for the future not to intermeddle with any thing belonging to the said County, &c. And we charge all our Earls, Barons, Knights, and Free-tenants of the County of Somerset, that they do Fealty and Homage to the said Earl, with a reserve only of fidelity to the King; and that for the future they be odedient and answerable to him as their Lord. Whether one may from hence conclude, that he was Earl of Somerset, as also of Devonshire (for the King wrote in the same words to Robert Courtney also concerning this William,) I leave to the judgment of others. Under the same Henry 3. (as we read in a Book in French belonging to the family of the Mohuns Knights) it is said that Pope Innocent on a solemn festival made Reginald Mohun, Earl of Este, i.e. (as our Author interprets it) of Somerset, by the delivery of a golden Rose, with the grant of an annual pension to be paid at the altar of S. Paul’s in London. So that he seems not to have been strictly and properly an Earl, but an Apostolical Earl;An Apostolical Earl. for so such were term’d in that age, who were created by the Pope (as those created by the Emperor, were call’d Imperial Earls,) having a power of licensing Notaries and Scribes, making Bastards legitimate, &c. under some certain conditions. A considerable time after, John de Beaufort,See the Earls of Dorset. natural son to John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster by Catherine Swinford, (being, with his brothers and sister, made legitimate by King Richard 2, with the assent of Parliament,) was advanc’d to the honour of Earl of Somerset, and afterwards created Marquess of Dorset; but was presently depriv’d of that honour by Henry 4, and had only the title of Somerset remaining. He had three sons, Henry Earl of Somerset, who dy’d young; John, created by King Henry 5, first Duke of Somerset, who had an only daughter Margaret, mother to King Henry 7; and Edmund, who succeeded his brother in the Dukedom, and was for some time Regent of France. But being recall’d, he was accused of having lost Normandy, on which account he suffer’d many indignities from the people; and in that lamentable war between the houses of Lancaster and York, he was slain in the first battle of S. Albans. Henry his son succeeded him, who being a Time-server (one while siding with the house of York, and another with the house of Lancaster) was by the York-party taken prisoner in the battle of Hexam, and was punish’d for his Inconstancy with the loss of his head. And his brother Edmund who succeeded him in this honour, the last Duke of Somerset of this family, after the defeat of the Lancastrian party at Tewksbury, was dragg’d (being all over blood) out of the Church wherein he had taken Sanctuary, and beheaded. The legitimate heirs male of this family being thus extinct, first Henry 7. honour’d Edmund his young son with this title, who soon after dy’d: and next, Henry 8. his natural son Henry Fitz-Roy. He dying without issue, Edward 6. invested Edward de Sancto Mauro, commonly call’d Seimor, with the same; who being full of Honours, and as it were loaded with Titles (for he was Duke of Somerset, Earl of Hertford, Viscount Beauchamp, Baron of S. Maur, Uncle to the King, Governour to the King, Protector of his Kingdoms, Dominions, and Subjects, Lieutenant of his forces by sea and land, Treasurer and Earl Marshal of England, Governour of the Islands of Guernsey and Jarsey, &c.) was, as if he had been fortune’s foot-ball, all on a sudden kick’d down, for a very slight crime, and that too contriv’d by the treachery of his enemies; and depriv’d of his honours and life together. ⌈By the attainder of Edward Duke of Somerset, this title lay vacant for a long time; only Sir Robert Carr, Knight of the Bath, was by the favour of King James 1. created Earl of Somerset; who falling under disgrace upon the account of Sir Thomas Overbury’s death, and having only a daughter, that Honour was again extinct. Upon the restoration of King Charles 2, William Seymour, Marquess of Hertford, was for his eminent services restor’d to the title of Duke of Somerset, and was succeeded by William, grand-child by Henry his third son (William and Robert the two elder brothers dying unmarry’d:) William also dy’d unmarry’d, and had for his successor John Lord Seymour his Uncle, who dy’d without issue. Whereupon, this title devolv’d upon the heirs of Sir Francis Seymour (third son to Edward Lord Beauchamp, son and heir to Edward Earl of Hertford;) descending first to Francis, grandson of the said Francis; who being basely murdered in Italy, the title descended to Charles his brother, the present Duke of Somerset.⌉
There are in this County 385 Parishes.
More rare Plants growing wild in Somersetshire.
Aria Theophrasti Ger. Alni effigie lanato folio major C. B. Sorbus Alpina J. B. Sorbus sylvestris, Aria Theophrasti dicta. Park. White-Beam-tree. On the rocks over-against St. Vincent’s rock near Bristol, and in many other places on hilly and rocky grounds among other shrubs and trees.
Asplenium sive Ceterach, J. B. Ger. Park. Asplenium sive scolopendra, Ceterach Officinarum C. B. Ceterach, Spleenwort, Miltwast. On the stone walls about Bristol, plentifully.
Carduus tomentosus Anglicus Lob. Ad. Park. English woody-headed Thistle. Observ’d by Lobel in many barren fields of this County, particularly near one Mr. Saintloo’s house. This plant is without doubt the same with Carduus tomentosus, Corona fratrum dictus of Parkinson. Carduus capite tomentoso of J. B. eriocephalus Ger. emac. capite rotundo tomentoso C. B. And so C. Bauhine and Parkinson deceived by Lobel, who in his Icons gives two figures of the same Thistle, make two species of one. This is found in several other Counties of England, but not very frequent.
Cistus humilis Alpinus durior, Polii nostratis folio candicante Plukenet. Phytograph. Tab. 22. Dwarf Cistus or Sunflower with Poley-mountain leaves. Found by Dr. Plukenet on Brent-downs in this County, near the Severn-sea.
Colchicum commune C. B. Anglicum purpureum Park. Ger. Colchicum J. B. Meadow-Saffron. In some meadows about Bath. It is also found in many meadows in Glocester and Worcester shires, and elsewhere in the West of England.
Equisetum sive Hippuris lacustris foliis mansu arenosis. On a bog by Smochall a wood nigh Bath. Phyt. Brit. See the Synonyma in the Kentish Catalogue.
Ferrum equinum Germanicum siliquis in summitate C. B. Ger. emac. equinum comosum Park. Ornithopodio affinis, vel potius Soleæ aut Ferro equino herba. J. B. Tufted Horseshoe-vetch. On the hills about Bath, and between Bath and Marleborough. Phyt. Brit.
Hedera terrestris saxatilis Lobelii Park. p. 677. Saxatilis Ger. emac. saxat. magno flore C. B. Asarina aut Hederula saxatilis Lob. item Asarina Savenae Dodonaei forte Sphaericeo belgae sterilis Savenæ & Narbonensis agri ejusdem. Stone Alehoof. In some places of Somersetshire, as Parkinson saith, he found it quoted among Lobel’s papers which came to his hands. I do not much rely upon Lobel’s memory as to the places of plants, and fear there will be no such herb found in this Country; yet for the authority of so great a Botanist, I would not omit it.
Lunaria minor Ger. Park. botrytis J. B. racemosa minor vel vulgaris C. B. Moonwort. About the Bath, especially at a place call’d Carey, two miles from Bruiton, in the next close to the Churchyard. Ger. p.406. Scarce a County in England but this plant may somewhere or other be found in it; yet because it is not common, and the knowledge of it desired by many, I thought fit to mention a particular place for it, but upon Gerard’s authority, not my own knowledge.
Ornithogalum angustifolium majus, floribus ex albo virescentibus C. B. Asphodelus bulbosus Ger. bulbosus Galeni, seu Ornithog. majus flore subvirescente Park. Asphodelus bulbosus Dodonæi, seu Ornithogalum spicatum flore virente J. B. Spiked Star of Bethlehem with a greenish flower. Observed by Thomas Willisel on a hill three miles on this side Bristol in the way to Bath. It may be the same place mention’d with that in Phyt. Brit. viz. in the way between Bath and Bradford, not far from little Ashley.
Polygonum maritimum longiùs radicatum nostras, Serpylli folio circinato crasso nitente, fortè Polygonum lentifolium C. B. 282. & Prod. 131. Polygonum minus Monspeliense Park. 446. Found by Dr. Plukenet on the Severn-shore near Weston super mare.
Polygonatum Hellebori albi folio, caule purpurascente D. Bobert. Solomon’s seal with white Hellebore-leaves and a purplish stalk. In the woods on the north-side of Mendippe-hills.
Rapunculus Corniculatus montanus Ger. flore globoso purpureo J. B. folio oblongo, spica orbiculari C. B. Alopecuroides orbicalatus Park. Horned Rampions. Between Selbury-hill and Beacon-hill in the way to Bath. Phyt. Brit. Upon the credit of which book I do not at all rely: only because the place makes it probable, I have put it down.
Scorodoprassum primum Clusii Ger. emac. Allium Sphæriceo capite, folio latiore, sive Scorodoprassum alterum C. B. Great round-headed Garlick of the Holms Island. Found growing plentifully there by Mr. Newton.
Vermicularis frutex minor Ger. fruticosa altera Park. Sedum minus fruticosum C. B. An Cali species seu vermicularis marina arborescens J. B. Shrub-stone-crop or Glass-wort. Found on the Holms Island in the Severn-sea by Lobel plentifully.
Vicia sylvatica multiflora maxima P. B. perennis multiflora spicata major Moris. hist. Great-tufted wood-vetch. In a wood nigh Bath. Phyt. Brit. This is also found in many places in the North and West parts of England.
Virga aurea maxima radice repente D. Bobert. aurea serrata latifolia C. B. aurea serratis foliis Park. aurea Arnoldi Villa-novani Ger. emac. aurea sive solidago Saracenica latifolia serrata J. B. Broad-leaved indented Golden-rod. Found plentifully by the side of a small river between Wells and Glastenbury, by Mr. Bobert.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48