THAT County which we call Barkshire, was term’d by the Latin writers Bercheria, and anciently by the English-Saxons . Which name, Asserius Menevensis derives from Berroc,Berroc. a certain Wood where Box grew in great abundance; others from an Oak disbark’d (so the word Beroke signifies) to which, when the State was in more than ordinary danger, the inhabitants were wont in antient times to resort, and consult about publick Affairs. ⌈However, it is certain, that in the most ancient Saxon Annals, the name is , melted by degrees into and , from whence the present name of Berkshire is immediately derived.⌉ The north-side of this County is wash’d by the winding, but pleasant and gentle streams of the Isis or Ouse († † See this notion confuted, in Wiltshire.which afterwards takes the name Thamisis, the Thames,) and first separates it from Oxfordshire, and then from Buckinghamshire. The south-side, towards Hamshire, is water’d by the river Kennet, till it runs into the Thames. Westward, where it touches upon Wiltshire, and is broader, as likewise in the middle parts, it is rich and fruitful, especially where it falls into a Valley, which they call the Vale of White Horse, from I know not what shape of a White Horse, fansy’d on the side of a whitish hill. But the east-side, which borders upon Surrey, is downright barren, or at best bears but little; and is very much taken up with woods and forests.
To the west, near the Ouse, stands Farendon,Farendon. on a high ground; now noted for it’s Market, but formerly for a certain Fortification built byGuil. Neubrigens. Robert Earl of Glocester, against King Stephen; who nevertheless took it at the expence of much blood and labour, and laid it so level with the ground, that nothing of it is now to be seen. But (as we find in the Chronicle of Waverley-Abbey) King John, in the year MCCII. mov’d by divine inspiration, granted the Site, with all it’s appurtenances, for the building of an Abbey, for the Cistercian Order.
From hence the Ouse, fetching a great compass, and making it’s way toward the North, waters several villages of little note; till winding inwards again, and dividing it’s stream, it arrives at Abbendon,Abbendon. a handsom town, well frequented; call’d first by the English-Saxons , then ;Abbandune. no doubt from the Abbey, rather than from Abbenus, I know not what Irish Hermit, as some have written. It was a place (as we have it in the old book of Abbendon) upon the plain of a hill, extreamly pleasant to the eye, a little beyond the village which is now call’d Suniggewelle, between two very fine rivulets, which enclosing within them the place it self (as it were a sort of bay) yield a delightful prospect to the beholders, and a convenient subsistence to the Inhabitants. It was in ancient times call’d Sheovesham, a famous City, goodly to behold, full of riches, encompass’d with very fruitful fields, green meadows, spacious pastures, and flocks of cattel abounding with milk. Here, the King kept his Court; hither the people resorted, while Consultations were depending about the greatest and most weighty affairs of the kingdom. ⌈For which reason, and its ancient name Sheovesham (written by Leland, whether from Record, or by mistake, I know not, Seukesham,) it is not unreasonable to think this the very place wherein two Synods were held, one in the year 742. and the other in 822, both said to be at . For tho’ it hath been AEthelbald settled in Kent, at a place calledCliff at hoo. Cliff at hoo, yet that conjecture is wholly founded upon the similitude of names, and doth by no means agree with what is supposed, that Cloveshoo was probably in Mercia: And Æthelbald King of the Mercians, had the greatest hand in it, because the Saxon Annals mention him particularly, as present; and Cliffathoo in Kent is too much in a corner, to answer the character of Cloveshoo, which is mention’d but twice in the Annals, and both times expresly said to be the place of a Synod. And in a Council at Hertford, in 672. we find it decreed, that there should be two Synods yearly; but because there were several incidental causes which might prevent them, it was unanimously agreed, however, that there should one meet yearly the first day of August, at the place call’d Clofeshoh.Clofeshoh. Which cannot be suppos’d, unreasonably, to point out a place so little for the convenience of most of the members; but may very rationally be meant of this place; a place, perhaps, by reason of its situation, as eligible by all parties, as could well be thought of.⌉ But to return. As soon as Cissa, King of the West-Saxons, had built the Abbey here, it began by degrees to lay aside it’s old name, and to be called Abbandun, and Abbington, that is, the Abbey’s Town. This Abbey had not flourish’d long, e’re it was thrown down, as it were in an instant, by the violent fury of the Danes. Yet it soon after recover’d it self, thro’ the liberality of King Edgar; and afterwards, by the industry of the Norman Abbots, it grew to that magnificence by degrees, as to stand in competition almost with any Abbey in Britain, for riches and grandeur, as it’s present ruins still declare. But the town, tho’ it had it’s dependance for a long time on the Abbey, yet since the year 1416.Henricus quintus quarto fundaverat anno, Rex pontem Burford super undas atque Culhamford. when King Henry 5. built Bridges over the Ouse (as appears by a distich in a window of S. Helen’s Church there) and turned the high-road hither for a shorter cut; it became so much frequented, as to be reckon’d among the principal towns of this County; having a Mayor, and much enriching it self by steep’d barley sprouting and chitting again, which the Greeks call Byne,Byne. and we Mault.Mault. It hath besides, a Cross of excellent workmanship in the middle of the Marketplace; erected, as they report, in the reign of King Henry 6, by the fraternity of St. Cross, which was instituted by him. ⌈At present, this is one of the Towns for the publick Business of the County, and is particularly honoured by affording to the Right Honourable Mountague Bertie the title of Earl; which was first confer’d upon his Father, James Lord Noris of Rycot, in the 34th year of King Charles the second.⌉
As Cissa was the founder of the foresaid Abbey, so Cilla sister of King Cedwalla (as I have it out of an old book) built a Nunnery at Helnestow near the Thames, where her self presided over the Virgins, who were afterwards translated to Witham. In the heat of the war between Offa and Kinulph, the Nuns, upon the building of a castle there, retired from thence. For after that Kinulph was overthrown, whatsoever lay under his jurisdiction, from the town of Wallingford in the south part from Ichenilde-street as far as * * Now Ashbury near Whitehorse-hill.Essebury, and in the north part as far as the River Thames, King Offa seiz’d. ⌈At the south part of Oxford, there begins a great Causey, going from Fryar-Bacon’s Study, for near two miles, towards Abingdon; † † Aubr. Mon. Brit.which one would imagin, at first sight, to have been a work of the Romans; but it appears by Records to have been made by Robert Doiley, in the time of William the Conqueror.⌉
Near Abingdon, to the north-west, lies Lee, which, by the daughter of a certain Knight sirnam’d de Lee, came to the family of the Besiles, and thence was call’d Besiles-Lee;Besiles-Lee. and from that family, in right of marriage, to Richard Fetiplace;Fetiplace. whose progenitor, Thomas, brought some honour to his posterity, by matching with Beatrix, natural daughter of John 1. King of Portugal, from whom they are descended. But now let us return. Hard by Abingdon, the little River Ock, which washes the south-side of the town, and over which Sir John St. Helens Knight did formerly build a bridge, falls gently into the Ouse. It hath it’s rise in the vale of White-horse, a mile or two from Kingston-Lisle,Kingston-Lisle. anciently the possession of Warin de Insula or L’isle, a renown’d Baron.Viscounts Lisle. John Talbot, a younger son of that famous Warriour John Earl of Shrewsbury, being by the mother’s side descended from that Baron, was first created Baron L’isle (as Warin de Insula was before, in regard of his being possess’d of this place; as if that honour were annex’d to it) and afterwards Viscount L’isle. This title, by the favour of our Kings, in a continu’d series remain’d in his posterity. For (to sum up all in short) when Thomas Talbot, son of John before-mention’d, dy’d without issue, being shot through the mouth with an arrow, as he was defending his estate in a skirmish against Baron Barkley; Edward Grey, who had marry’d his sister, receiv’d the same honour from King Richard, and had a son nam’d John, whose only daughter and heir being an infant, was contracted to Charles Brandon by K. Henry 8, and thereupon he became Viscount L’isle; but she dying before the solemnization of the marriage, this his title dy’d with her. Afterwards, the same King Henry confer’d this honour upon Arthur Plantagenet, a natural son of King Edward 4, who had marry’d Elizabeth the sister of John Grey Viscount L’isle, widow of Edmund Dudley. And upon his dying without issue-male, John Dudley son of Edmund Dudley by the same Elizabeth Grey, afterwards Duke of Northumberland, was honour’d by the same King with this title. But he being attainted, Queen Elizabeth restor’d in blood his son Ambrose; and, before she created him Earl of Warwick, did the same day create him Baron L’isle; and Robert Sidney his sister’s son, a person illustrious for his noble descent, and his own virtues, was honour’d with the title of Viscount L’isle, in the year 1605. by King James ⌈the first;⌉ who had before created him Baron Sidney of Pensherst, and made him Chamberlain to his Royal Consort Queen Ann. ⌈The same person was also advanced to the honour of Earl of Leicester in the 14th year of the same King; all which Honours have been continued down, and do still remain, in the same name and family.
Above the head of the river Ock, by Ashbury-park, * * Aubr. Monum. MS.is a Camp, of a figure as near round as square, the diameter above an hundred paces, and the works single; which seems to prove it Danish. But the works are now almost quite spoil’d and defac’d, by digging for the Sarsden-stonesSarsden-stones. (as they call them,) to build a House in the Park, belonging to the Lord Craven.
Above the same hill, is another Camp with single works, but very large; and at about two furlongs distance, is a barrow call’d Dragon-hill:Dragon-hill. but whether from hence one may conclude this to be the tumulus of Uther Pendragon, since the conjecture is not warranted by any direct testimony from history, I leave others to determine. As also, whether the White horse, on the side of the hill, was made by Hengist, since the Horse was the Arms or figure in his standard. About a mile from the hill, are a great many large stones, which, tho’ very confus’d, must have been laid there with design; some of them being plac’d edge-wise; but the rest indeed appear so disorderly, that one would imagine they had only been emptied out of Carts.⌉
From Kingston-Lisle, the river Ock, just now mention’d, runs between Denchworth,Denchworth. and PuseyPusey. (* * Now the, C.the possession of a Family of that Sirname, and held by a Horn given to their ancestors by King Canutus the Dane. ⌈Thus much the Inscription implies; but both the character and stile thereof are modern, many hundreds of years after the Conquest; so that of what antiquity soever the Horn it self may be, the Inscription must have been added long after the age of Canutus. canute Not but the tradition of Canutus’s giving it, may probably be very true, since there are so many instances of this kind, in many parts of England; and Ingulphus has expresly told us, that in those days it was common to make Grants of Lands by Horns, among other things.⌉ The two Denchworths are hard-by, where two noble and ancient Families did long flourish, Hide at South-Denchworth, and Fetiplace at North-Denchworth; both which seem to have sprung from the same stock, since they give the same Coat of Arms; ⌈and are now seated, the first at Kingston, and the second at Swinbrock.⌉ After this, the Ock receives a nameless rivulet; which flows out of the same Vale to Wantage,Wantage. call’d in Saxon , anciently a Royal Vill, and the birthplace of the famous King Alfred, which he bequeath’d at his death to Alfrith. It was made a Market-town, a long time after, by the interest of that valiant Soldier Foulk Fitzwarin, upon whom Roger Bigod, Earl Marshal of England, had bestow’d it, for his singular courage and conduct in War, and † † It now owns, C.afterwards it own’d for it’s Lords the Bourchiers Earls of Bath, descended from the race of the Fitzwarins; of which family some are bury’d here. ⌈A mile above Wantage,Aubr. MS. east from Ashbury, there is a very large Camp on the brow of a hill, of a quadrangular form, and single-work’d; from which it appears to be Roman. East from hence is Cuckamsley-hill,Cuckamsley-hill. called in Saxon , and by Florence of Worcester Cuiccelmeslawe; from whence, by degrees, the present name is melted, and the word hill added by a tautology, for want of knowing, that in the Saxon implies so much. ¦ ¦ Chron. Sax. An. 1006.Over this it was, that the Danes pass’d in their Depredations, after they had destroy’d Wallingford, in the year of our Lord 1006.⌉
The Ouse leaving Abingdon, presently receives the Tame out of Oxfordshire (of which river, elsewhere.) Now, by a compound word being call’d * * See this confuted in Wilts. Thamisis (the Thames,) it first makes a visit to Sinodun,Sinodun. a high hill, defended with a deep ditch, where it is certain that in ancient times there was a Roman fortification; for, when the ground is broken up with the Plough, Roman Coins (a certain sign of antiquity) are now and then found by the Ploughmen.
Beneath it, at Brettwell,Brettwell. there was a Castle (if it was not really upon this hill)Robert Montensis. which Henry 2. took by storm, a little before his making peace with King Stephen. From hence, the Thames bends it’s course to the once chief City of the Attrebatii, which Antoninus calls † † Placed by Dr. Gale, at Henley in Oxfordshire; which see. Galleva Attrebatum, and Ptolemy Galeva; both, through the carelesness of Copiers, instead of Gallena;Gallena. and these likewise in the Greek Copies obtrude upon us , by a transposition of the letters, for . For I have thought that it was so call’d in the British tongue, as it were Guall-hen, that is, the Old Fort. Which name being still kept, and Ford,Ford. from a shallow place in the river, added to it, the Saxons in ancient times call’d it and ; and we now-a-days by contraction, Wallingford;Wallingford. ⌈As it is also call’d in the Saxon Annals (according to the several ages) , , .⌉ In Edward the Confessor’s time, it was counted a Borough, and contain’d in it (as we find in Domesday-book) 276 * * Hagas.houses, yielding nine pound † † De Gablo.Tax; and those that dwelt there, did the King service on horse-back, or else ¦ ¦ Per aquam.by Sea. Of those houses, eight were destroy’d for the castle. It was formerly walled about, and, as may be seen by the track ⌈of the ditch and wall (beginning from the Castle; saith Leland,)⌉ was a mile in compass, ⌈or more.⌉ It hath a castle seated upon the river, very large, and so well fortify’d in former times, that the hopes of it’s being impregnable hath made some persons over-resolute. For when the flames of Civil War had set all England on fire, we read that King Stephen did ever now and then attempt it by siege, but always in vain. We much wonder’d at it’s greatness and magnificence, when we were boys, and retir’d thither from Oxford (for it * * Is now, C.was a retiring-place for the Students of Christ-Church at Oxford.) It is double-wall’d, and surrounded with two ditches; ⌈Leland says, with three dikes, large and deep, and well-watered.⌉ In the middle stands a tower, rais’d upon a very high mount; in the steep ascent whereof, which you climb by stairs, I saw a well of an exceeding great depth. The Inhabitants believe it was built by the Danes; but I should rather judge, that something was here erected by the Romans, and afterwards demolish’d by the Saxons and Danes, when Sueno the Dane harrass’d the Country, up and down in these parts. At length, it recover’d under William 1, as plainly appears by Domesday-Book, where it makes mention of eight * * Hagas.Houses being pull’d down for the Castle, as I observ’d but now. Yet William Gemeticensis takes no notice of this Castle, when he writes, that William the Norman, after Harold’s defeat, immediately led his army to this city (for so he terms it,) and passing the Thames at the ford, encamp’d here, before he march’d to London. At which time, Wigod an Englishman was Lord of Wallingford,Lords of Wallingford. who had one only daughter given in marriage to Robert D’Oily: by whom he had Maud his sole heir; married first to Miles Crispin, and after his death by the favour of King Henry 1, to Brient † † Filio Comitis.Fitz-Count; and he being bred a soldier, and taking part with Maud the Empress, stoutly defended this Castle against King Stephen (who had rais’d a Fort over-against it at Craumesh,) till the peace, so much wish’d for by England in general, was concluded in this place, and an end put to that terrible quarrel between King Stephen and King Henry 2. And then, the love of God did so prevail upon Brient and his wife, that, quitting the transitory vanities of this world, they wholly devoted themselves to Christ; and by that means this Honour of Wallingford fell to the Crown. Which appears by these words taken out of an old InquisitionOf the Honour of Wallingford in Testa de Nevil in the Exchequer. in the Exchequer, To his well beloved Lords, our Lords the King’s Justices and the Barons of the Exchequer, the Constable of Wallingford, ¦ ¦ Salutem.Greeting. Know ye that I have made diligent Inquisition by the Knights of my Spinae Bailywick, in pursuance of my Lord the King’s precept directed to me by the Sheriff; and this is the sum of the Inquisition thus taken: Wigod of Wallingford held the honour of Wallingford in King Harold’s time, and afterwards in the reign of King William 1; and had by his Wife a certain Daughter, whom he gave in marriage to Robert D’Oily. This Robert had by her a Daughter named Maud, which was his heir. Miles Crispin espous’d her, and had with her the aforesaid honour of Wallingford. After Miles’s decease, our Lord King Henry 1. bestow’d the aforesaid Maud upon Brient Fitz-Count, &c. Yet afterwards, in the reign of Henry 3, it belong’d to the Earls of Chester, and then to Richard King of the Romans and Earl of Cornwall, who repaired it; and to his son Edmond, who founded a Collegiate Chapel within the inner Court: but he dying without issue, it return’d to the Crown, and was annexed to the Dukedom of Cornwall; since when, it hath fallen much to decay. More especially,A terrible Plague. about the time when that plague and mortality which follow’d the conjunction of Saturn and Mars in Capricorn, raged over all Europe, in the year of our Lord 1348; this Wallingford was so exhausted, that whereas before it was very well inhabited, and had twelve Churches in it, ⌈(Leland says, fourteen, and that in his time several were living, who could show the Places where they stood;)⌉ now it has but one or two. But the inhabitants rather lay the cause of this their decay, upon the bridges built at Abingdon and Dorchester;See the like instance at Wilton, in Wilts. by which means the High-road is turn’d from thence. ⌈Notwithstanding which misfortunes, their Mault-trade, and the convenience of sending corn and other commodities by water to London, do still support it; so that of late years it is very much encreas’d both in buildings and number of inhabitants. It is a Corporation govern’d by a Mayor and six Aldermen, who are Justices of the Peace within the Burrough; and they have a Free-school, and a Market-house wherein the Mayor and Justices keep the Quarter-Sessions.⌉
From hence, Southward, the Thames glides gently between very fruitful fields on both sides, by Moulesford,Moulesford. which King Henry 1. gave to Girald Fitz-Walter; from whom the noble Family of the Carews are descended. A Family, that hath receiv’d the addition of much honour by it’s matches with the noble families of Mohun and Dinham, and others in Ireland, as well as England. Not far from hence is Aldworth,Aldworth. where are certain tombs, and statues upon them larger than ordinary, much wonder’d at by the common people, as if they were the pourtraictures of Giants; when indeed they are only those of certain Knights of the family of De la Beche, which had a Castle here, and is suppos’d to have been extinct for want of issue-male in the reign of Edward 3. And now at length the Thames meets with the Kennet,The river Kennet. which, as I said before, waters the south-side of this County, and at it’s first entrance, after it has left Wiltshire, runs beneath Hungerford,Hungerford. call’d in ancient times Ingleford Charnam-street, a mean town, and seated in a moist place; which yet gave both name and title to the honourable family of the Barons of Hungerford, first advanc’d to it’s greatness by Walter Hungerford ⌈Son of Sir Thomas, Speaker to the House of Commons 51 Edward 3, the first Parliament wherein they had a Speaker,)⌉ who was Steward of the King’s Houshold under Henry 5, and had confer’d upon him by that Prince’s bounty (in consideration of his eminent services in the wars) the Castle and Barony of Homet in Normandy,Prima pars dupl. Patent. Norman.
6 Hen. 5. to hold to him and his heirs males by homage and service, to find the King and his heirs at the Castle of Roan one Lance with a Fox’s tail hanging to it: which pleasant tenure I thought it not amiss to insert here, among more serious matters. The same Walter in the Reign of Henry 6, was Lord High Treasurer of England, and created Baron Hungerford;Barons Hungerford. and, by his prudent management, and his matching with Catharine Peverell (descended from the Moels and the Courtneys) much augmented his estate. His son Robert, who marry’d the daughter and heir of the Lord Botereaux, enrich’d the family much more; and afterwards Robert his son, who had to Wife Eleanor, daughter and heir of William Molines (upon which account he was honour’d, among the Barons of the Kingdom, by the name of Lord Molines, and during the Civil Wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster was beheaded at New-castle,) made great additions to it. Thomas his son, slain at Salisbury in his father’s life-time, left Mary an only daughter, married to Edward Lord Hastings, with whom he had a great estate. But Walter, brother to the said Thomas, begat Edward Hungerford, father of that Walter whom Henry 8. created Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury, and condemned afterwards for a very heinous crime: nevertheless, Queen Mary restor’d his children to every thing but the dignity of Barons. ⌈This Town is famous for the best Trouts; but tho’ situate upon a great road, neither its buildings nor market are grown considerable. The Constable (who is annually chosen) is Lord of the Manour, and holds it immediately of the King. They have a Horn, holding about a quart; the Inscription whereof affirms it to have been given by John of Gaunt, along with the Rial-fishing (so it is there express’d,) in a certain part of the river.⌉ Not far from hence, to the South, lies Widehay,Widehay. for a long time the seat of the Barons of St. Amand,Barons of St. Amand. whose estate by marriage came to Gerard Braybrok; and Elizabeth, his eldest grand-daughter by his son Gerard, transfer’d the estate by marriage to William Beauchamp, who being summon’d to Parliament by the name of William BeauchampBeauchamp of St. Amand. of St. Amand, was a Baron; as was also his son Richard, who had no issue that was legitimate.
From thence the river Kennet (taking it’s course between Hemsted Marshall,Hemsted Marshall. anciently held * * Per virgam Marescalliæ.by the Rod of the Marshalsea, and belonging to the Marshals of England, where Thomas Parry Treasurer of the Houshold to Q. Elizabeth built a very beautiful seat, ⌈and where now is the seat of the Lord Craven;⌉ and Benham Valence, so call’d, from it’s belonging to William Valence Earl of Pembroke;) comes to Spinæ,Spinæ. an old town mention’d by Antoninus; which, retaining it’s name to this day, is call’d Spene: but instead of a town, is now a poor little village; scarce a mile from Newbury, a noted town, that had it’s rise out of the ruins of it. For NewburyNewbury. with us, is as much as the New Borough, in regard to Spinæ the more ancient place, which is quite decay’d, but hath left the name in a part of Newbury, which is still call’d Spinham-lands.Spinham-lands. And if there were nothing else, it were enough to prove Newbury to have had it’s original from Spinæ, that the inhabitants of Newbury own the little village Spene for their mother, tho’ Newbury (compar’d with Spene) is in point of building and neatness a very considerable town, much enrich’d by cloathing, and commodiously seated upon a plain, with the river Kennet running through it. At the Norman Conquest, this town fell to the share of Ernulph de HesdinLib. Inquisitionum. Earl of Perch, whose great grandson Thomas Earl of Perch being slain at the siege of Lincoln, the Bishop of Chalons, his heir, sold it to William Marshall Earl of Pembroke, who likewise held the manour of Hempsted hard-by (and spoken of before,) as did his successors Marshals of England, till Roger Bigod by his obstinacy lost his honour of Earl Marshal and possessions too; which, notwithstanding, by much † † Precario.intercession he obtain’d again, for life. ⌈Of late years, it is better known in our Histories, on account of the Engagements there, between his Majesty King Charles 1, and the Parliament-Army, in the late Civil Wars.⌉
The Kennet continues it’s course from hence, and receives the little river Lamborn,Lamborn. which at it’s rise imparts the name to a small market-town, that in ancient times belong’d to Alfrith King Alfred’s Cousin, having been left him by the said King by Will; and afterwards it was the Fitzwarin’s, who obtain’d for it the privilege of a market from King Henry 3. * * Now it belongs, C.It also belong’d to the Knightly family of Essex, which ¦ ¦ Derives, C.derived it’s pedigree from William de Essex Under-Treasurer of England in Edward the 4th’s time, and from those of the same Sirname in Essex, who have liv’d in great repute and honour there. From thence this little river runs beneath Dennington, call’d also Dunnington,Dunnington-castle. a small but very neat castle, seated on the brow of a woody hill, having a fine prospect, and windows on all sides very lightsome; ⌈which in the late Civil Wars was a garrison for the King.⌉ They say it was built by Sir Richard de Abberbury Knight, founder also of God’s-House beneath it, for the relief of the poor. Afterwards, it was the residence of Chaucer, then of the De la Poles; and, within the memory of * * Our Fathers, C.the last age save one, of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. ⌈Here was an Oak, standing till within these few years, commonly called Chaucer’s Oak;Chaucer’s Oak. under which he is said to have penned many of his famous Poems. In the 37th year of King Henry 8, an Act of Parliament passed, to enable the King to erect this Castle into an Honour.⌉
And now the Kennet having run a long way, passes by Aldermaston,Aldermaston. which Henry 1. gave to Robert Achard, from whose posterity, by the De la Mares, it came at length by marriage to the Fosters, a Knightly family. At last it runs into the Thames, having first, with it’s windings, encompass’d a great part of Reading.Reading. This little city or town of Reading (call’d in Saxon , from Rhea, that is, the River, or from the British word Redin, signifying Fern, which grew in great plenty hereabouts; ⌈but by the Saxon Annals called , , and ;)⌉ for the neatness of it’s streets, and the fineness of it’s buildings, for it’s riches, and the reputation it * * Hath gotten, C.got for making of cloath; goes beyond all the other towns of this County. ⌈But of later years, the convenience of the river giving great encouragement to the Mault-trade, they apply themselves especially to that, and find it turn to so good account, that their employment about Cloath is in great measure laid aside. For whereas they have had formerly sevenscore Clothiers, now their number is but very small.⌉ And it hath lost it’s greatest ornaments, the beautiful Church, and a very ancient Castle. For, Asserius tells us, that the Danes kept possession of this Castle, when they drew a ditch between the Kennet and the Thames, and that they retreated hither, after King Ethelwolph had routed them at Inglefield,Inglefield. a little village in the neighbourhood which gives name to a noble and ancient family. But it was demolish’d by King Henry 2. (because it had been a place of refuge for King Stephen’s party) to such a degree, that nothing now remains of it, but the bare name in the next street. ⌈Where this Castle stood, * * Itinerar. MS.Leland says, he could not exactly discover; but imagines it might stand at the west-end of Castle-street. It is probable, that some part of the Abbey was built out of the ruins of it, and it might perhaps be upon the very spot where the Abbey was. Now, there is not so much as a tradition of any Castle, that ever was there: only about the precincts of the Abbey, are some signs of Fortifications; but those they affirm to have been cast-up no longer since, than the last Civil Wars; and the tracks also of the two Bastions are according to the modern way of fortification. However, the Coins found there are an evidence of the Antiquity of the place (one particularly of gold, and another of brass;) but of what People, I have not learn’d.⌉ Near the Castle, King Henry 1. having pull’d down a little Nunnery (founded formerly by Queen Alfritha, to expiate certain crimes,) built a most magnificent Abbey for Monks, and enrich’d it with great Revenues. Which Prince, to use the very words of his Charter of Foundation, because three Abbeys in the kingdom of England were formerly for their sins destroy’d, that is, Reading, Chelsea, and Leonminstre, and were long in Lay-mens hands; did by the advice of the Bishops, found a new Monastery at Reading, and endow it with Reading, Chelsea, and Leonminstre. In this Abbey, was inter’d the Founder himself King Henry, together with his daughter Maud,Maud the Empress. as appears by the private History of the place; tho’ some report that she was bury’d at Becc in Normandy. Lacedaemonian She, as well as that Lacedæmonian Lady Lampido, mention’d by Pliny, was a King’s Daughter, a King’s Wife, and a King’s Mother: that is, Daughter of this Henry 1. King of England, Wife of Henry 4, Emperor of Germany, and Mother of Henry 2, King of England. Concerning which, take here a Distich inscrib’d upon her tomb, in my judgment ingenious enough:
Magna ortu, majorque viro, sed maxima partu,
Hic jacet Henrici filia, sponsa, parens.
Great born, match’d greater, greatest brought to bed,
Here Henry’s Daughter, Wife, and Mother’s laid.
And she might well be counted greatest and most happy in her issue. For Henry 2. her son (as Joannes Sarisburiensis,De nugis Curial. l.6. c.18. who liv’d in those times, hath observ’d) was the best King of Britain, and the most fortunate Duke of Normandy and Aquitain; and as well in great actions, as conspicuous virtues, above all others. How valiant, how magnificent, how wise and modest he was, almost from his very infancy, Envy it self can neither conceal nor dissemble, since his actions are still fresh in our memory, and illustrious; since he hath extended the monuments of his Valour from the bounds of Britain to the Marches of Spain. And in another place, concerning the same Prince: Henry 2. the mightiest King that ever was in Britain, thunder’d it about Garumna, and besieging Tholouse with success, did not only strike terror into the inhabitants of Provence as far as the Rhosne and Alpes, but also by demolishing their strong-holds, and subduing the people, made the Princes of France and Spain to tremble, as if he threaten’d universal Conquest. I will add, if you please, a word or Pyrenaean aelfred two relating to the same Prince, out of Giraldus Cambrensis: from the Pyrenæan Mountains to the western bounds and farthest limits of the northern Ocean, this our Western Alexander hath stretched-forth his arm. As far therefore as nature in these parts hath enlarged the Land, so far hath he extended his victories. If the bounds of his Expeditions were sought for, sooner wou’d the globe of the earth fail, than they end; for where there is valour and resolution, Lands may possibly be wanting, but victories can never fail; matter for triumphs may be wanting, but triumphs themselves never. How great an addition to his glories, titles, and triumphs was Ireland! With how great, and how laudable Courage, did he pierce thro’ the very secret and unknown places of the Ocean! But take here an old verse upon his death, which fully expresses in short, both all this, and also the glories of his son King Richard 1.
Mira cano, sol occubuit, nox nulla secuta est.
Strange! the Sun set, and yet no Night ensu’d.
For RichardRichard 1. was so far from bringing night upon this our Nation, that, by his Victories in Cyprus and Syria, he enlighten’d it with brighter beams of glory. But this by way of digression. Let us now return from persons to places. This Monastery, wherein King Henry 1. lies inter’d, * * Is now, C.was converted into a Royal Seat; adjoyning to which, † † Stands, C.stood a very fine stable, stor’d with noble horses of the King’s; ⌈but all these are now demolished, probably in the late Civil Wars; the buildings which remain, being very far from answering such a Character.⌉ Concerning this place, take the Verses of a Poet, who, describing the Thames as running by it, says,
Hinc videt exiguum Chawsey, properatque videre
Redingum nitidum, texendis nobile pannis.
Hoc docet Ælfredi nostri victricia signa,
Begscegi cædem, calcata cadavera Dani:
Utque superfuso maduerunt sanguine campi.
Principis hic Zephyro Cauroque parentibus orti
Cornipedes crebris implent hinnitibus auras,
Et gyros ducunt, gressus glomerantque superbos,
Dum cupiunt nostri Martis servire lupatis.
Hæccine sed pietas? heu dira piacula, primum
Neustrius Henricus situs hic, inglorius urna
Nunc jacet ejectus, tumulum novus advena quærit
Frustra; nam regi tenues invidit arenas
Auri sacra fames, Regum metuenda sepulchris.
Thence little Chawsey sees, and hastens on
To Reading, fam’d for Cloth, an handsome Town.
Here Ælfred’s troops their happy valour show’d,
On slaughter’d Begsceg and his Pagans trod,
And drown’d the meadows in a purple flood.
Here too in state the royal coursers stand,
Proud to be govern’d by our Mars’s hand.
Full stretch’d for race they take their eager round,
And neighing fill the air, and trampling shake the ground.
But where, poor banish’d Virtue, art thou gone?
Here Henry lies without a single stone,
Equall’d, alas, with common dead too soon.
So fatal avarice to Kings appears,
It spares their Crowns more than their Sepulchres.
⌈From this Town, Sir Jacob Astley, for his eminent Services to King Charles the first, was by that Prince created Lord Astley of Reading. And in the year 1716, William Cadogan, who had greatly signaliz’d his Valour and Conduct, under our famous General John Duke of Marlborough, in the course of the French War, was advanced to the honour of Baron of Reading; and afterwards, in the year 1718, to the honour of Baron of Oakley, Viscount Caversham, and Earl Cadogan; the last mentioned Place, viz. Caversham or Causham, being the Place of his Lordship’s Residence, and not above two miles distant from Reading. Philosoph. Transact. Numb.261. Near which, some years since, was discover’d a large Stratum of Oyster-shells, lying on a bed of green Sand, and extending to five or six Acres of ground; with a bed of bluish Clay immediately above it. Among these, divers have been found, with both the valves or shells lying together; and tho’, in moving them, one of the valves hath frequently broke off from its fellow, it is plain, by comparing and joyning them, that they originally belonged to each other.⌉
Scarce half a mile from Reading, among fine green Meadows, the Kennet joyns the Thames; which, by the conflux being now broader, spreads it self towards the north, by Sunning,Sunning. a little village, that one would wonder should ever have been the See of eight Bishops, who had this County and Wiltshire for their Diocese; yet our Historians tell us it was. The same was afterwards translated by Herman to Sherburn, and at last to Salisbury; to which Bishoprick this place still belongs. Not far off, stands Laurence Waltham,Laurence Waltham. where the foundations of an old fort are to be seen, and Roman coins are often dug-up. Thence the Thames passes by ⌈Hurley,Hurley. from which place Sir Richard Lovelace, in the third year of King Charles the first, was advanced to the dignity of a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Lovelace of Hurley: then by⌉ Bistleham,Bistleham. contracted now into Bisham,Bisham. at first the Estate of the Knights-Templars, then of the Montacutes, who built a little Monastery here; afterwards, of that famous and worthy Knight Sir Edward Hobey,Sir Edward Hobey. a person to whom I owe a very particular respect, and whose more than ordinary obligations are, and always will be, so much the subject of my thoughts, that I can never possibly forget them.
The Thames, leaving Bisham, fetches a compass, to a little town call’d in former ages Southealington, now Maidenhead,Maidenhead. * * A cultu capitis, &c.from I know not what British Maiden’s head; one of those eleven thousand Virgins, who, as they returned home from Rome with Ursula their Leader, suffer’d Martyrdom near Cologne in Germany, from that scourge of God, Attila. Neither is the town of any great antiquity; for no longer ago than † † So said, ann. 1607.our great grandfathers time, there was a ferry, in a place somewhat higher, at Babham’s-end. But, after they had built here a wooden bridge upon piles, it began to have inns, and to be so frequented, as to outvie its neighbouring mother Bray; a much more ancient place, as having given name to the whole Hundred. I have long been of opinion, that the Bibroci,Bibroci. who Caesar terrace submitted themselves to Cæsar’s protection, inhabited these parts; and why shou’d I not think so? Here are very clear and plain remains of the name; also, Bibracte in France, is now contracted into Bray; and not far from hence Cæsar cross’d the Thames with his Army (as I shall shew in its proper place,) when these parts submitted to him. Certainly, should one seek for the Bibroci elsewhere, ever so diligently, he wou’d, I believe, hardly find them.
Among these Bibroci, flourishes Windesor,Windsor. in Saxon ⌈ , , , and⌉ , perhaps from the winding shore; ⌈ in that language signifying a bank or shore.⌉ It is term’d Windle-shora in King Edward the Confessor’s Charter; who in these very words made a Grant of it to Westminster: To the praise of Almighty God, I have granted as an endowment and perpetual inheritance, to the use of those that serve the Lord, Windleshora, with its appurtenances. And I have read nothing more ancient concerning Windsor. But the Monks had not held it long, when William the Norman, by exchange, brought it back to the Crown. For thus his Charter runs: With the consent and favour of the Venerable the Abbot of Westminster, I have enter’d into a composition about Windsor’s being in the possession of the Crown, because that place seems commodious for the King, by reason of the nearness of the river, and the forest for hunting, and many other conveniencies; being likewise a place fit for the King’s * * Perhendinationi.Retirement: in lieu whereof, I have granted them Wokendune and Ferings. Scarce any Royal Seat can have a more pleasant situation. For from an high hill, it hath a most delightful prospect all round. Its front overlooks a long and wide Vale, chequer’d with corn-fields and green meadows, clothed on each side with groves, and water’d with the calm and gentle Thames. Behind it, there arise hills every where, neither craggy, nor over-high; adorn’d with woods, and, as it were, consecrated by Nature to the Exercise of Hunting. The pleasantness of it hath drawn many of our Princes hither, as to a retiring-place; and here King Edward 3. (that potent Prince) was born, to conquer France: who built new from the ground a Castle, in bigness equal to a little City, fortified with ditches, and towers of square-stone; and, having presently after subdu’d the French and the Scots, he kept at the same time John King of France, and David King of Scots, Prisoners here. This Castle is divided into two Courts. The inner, which looks towards the East, contains in it the King’s palace; than which, if you consider the contrivance of the buildings, nothing can be more stately and magnificent. On the north-side, where it looks down to the river, Queen Elizabeth added a most pleasant Terrass-Walk. The outer Court hath at it’s entrance a stately Chapel, dedicated by King Edward 3, to the blessed Virgin Mary and St. George of Cappadocia; but it was brought to it’s present magnificence by King Edward 4. ⌈In our time, the Lodgings, Hall, Chapel, &c. have been, at vast expence, exceedingly adorned, and beautified with curious Paintings, and other noble Improvements.⌉
Here, King Edward 3.1350. (for the adorning and encouraging of military Virtue, with honours, rewards, and glory,) instituted a most noble society of Knights, which (as some report) from his own Garter, given for the Signal in a battle that prov’d successful, he stiled Knights of the Garter.Order of the Garter. They wear on their left leg, a little below the knee, a blue Garter, carrying this Motto embroider’d in letters of gold, and in French, HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE, and fasten the same with a buckle of gold, as a token of Concord and a tye of the strictest Amity, to the end there might be among them a kind of Consociation and community of Virtues. Others refer it to the Garter of the Queen, or rather of Joan Countess of Salisbury (a Lady of incomparable beauty) that fell from her as she was dancing, and was taken-up by the King: at which the Nobles that stood about him, laughing, the King told them, That the time should shortly come, when the highest honour imaginable should be paid to that Garter. This is the common report; neither need it seem a mean original, considering that, as one saith, Nobilitas sub amore jacet, i.e. Love carries in it a Nobleness of mind. There are some too, who make the Institution of this Order, much more ancient; ascribing it to King Richard 1, and persuading themselves that King Edward only reviv’d it; how truly, I know not. Yet in the very book of the first Institution, which William Dethick Garter Principal King at Arms gave me a sight of (a Gentleman very inquisitive after everything relating to Honour, and the Nobility,) we read thus: When King Richard led his Army against the Turks and * * Agarenos.Saracens, Cyprus and Acon, and was weary of such lingring delays, while the siege was carried on with a wonderful deal of trouble: at length, upon a divine inspiration ( by the apparition, as it was thought, of St. George,) it came into his mind, to draw upon the legs of some chosen Knights of his, a certain tach of leather, such as he had then ready at hand, whereby being minded of the future glory promised them if they conquer’d, they might be incited to behave themselves with courage and resolution: in imitation of the Romans, who had such variety of crowns, wherewith, upon several accounts, they presented and honour’d their soldiers; that, by instigations and allurements of this kind, cowardice might be shaken off, and valour and bravery might spring up, and show themselves with greater vigour and resolution.
However, the mightiest Princes of Christendom have reckon’d it among their greatest honours, to be chosen into this Order; and since it’s first institution, there have been already admitted into this Order (which consists of twenty-six Knights) * * 22, C.twenty-eight Kings or thereabouts, besides our Kings of England, who are term’d SovereignsSovereigns. thereof; not to mention a great many Dukes, and other persons of the greatest quality. And here, it will not be amiss, to set down the names of those who were first admitted into this Order, and are commonly call’d the Founders of the Order;Founders of the Order. for their glory ought never to be obliterated, who in those days had very few Equals in point of military Valour and Bravery, and were upon that account distinguished, and advanced to this honour.
Edward the third, King of England.
Edward his eldest Son, Prince of Wales.
Henry Duke of Lancaster.
Thomas Earl of Warwick.
Capdall de Buche.
Ralph Earl of Stafford.
William Montacute Earl of Salisbury.
Roger Mortimer Earl of March.
John de Mohun.
James de Awdeley.
* Walter Pavely.* William Paynel, C.
On the left-side of the Chapel, are the houses of the Warden or Dean, and the twelve Prebendaries. On the right-side, is a building, much of the nature of the Grecian Prytaneum, in which twelve aged soldiers, Gentlemen born, are maintained. These wear constantly a scarlet gown, reaching down to their ankles, with a purple mantle over it; and are bound to be at Divine Service, and to offer up their prayers to God daily for the Knights of the Order. Between the two Courts, there rises a high mount, on which the Round Tower stands; and hard by it, stands another lofty Tower, called Winchester-Tower, from William of Wickham Bishop of Winchester, whom King Edward 3. made overseer of the work. Some report, that Wickham,Wickham’s Apophthegm. after he had built the Tower, cut these words (which are not to be express’d with the same turn in Latin) on a certain inner wall, This made Wickham. Which sentence, in the English tongue, that seldom makes any distinction of cases, bears such a doubtful construction, as renders it uncertain, whether he made the Castle, or the Castle made him. This was carried to the King by some secret Backbiters, and so represented to his prejudice, as if Wickham did arrogantly challenge to himself all the honour of the building. Which when the King took ill, and sharply chid him for; he made this answer, that he had not arrogated to himself the honour of so magnificent and royal a Palace, but only accounted this piece of work the foundation of all his Preferments. Neither have I, (continued he) made this Castle, but this Castle hath made me, and, from a mean condition, hath advanc’d me to the Kings favour, and to riches, and honours. Under the castle towards the West and South, lies the town, indifferent large and populous: since King Edward the 3d’s time this hath been growing into repute; and the other, which stands further off, now call’d Old WindsorOld-Windsor., hath by little and little fallen to decay: in which (in the reign of William 1, as we read in his book) there were an hundred * * Hagæ.houses, whereof two and twenty were exempt from tax †† De Gablo.; out of the rest there went thirty shillings. Here is nothing else, worth the mentioning, except ⌈the beautiful seat of the Duke of St. Albans; and⌉ Eaton,Eaton. which lies over-against Windsor on the other side of the Thames, and is joyn’d to it by a wooden bridge. It hath a fine College, and a noted School for Humanity-learning, founded by King Henry 6; wherein, besides the Provost, eight Fellows, and the Choir, sixty Scholars are maintain’d, and taught Grammar, and in due time are prefer’d to the University of Cambridge. But this is reckon’d in Buckinghamshire. There remains nothing more to be said of Windsor, but that there is an honourable family of Barons,Barons of Windsor. sirnam’d de Windsor, who derive their original from Walter son of Other, Castellane of Windsor in the reign of King William 1; from whom likewise, Robert Glover Somerset-Herald (a person very industrious and skilful in the art of Heraldry) hath prov’d, that the Fitzgeralds in Ireland, Earls of Kildare and Desmond, are descended. And now let it not be thought troublesome to run over these verses upon Windsor, taken out of The Marriage of Tame and Isis, written some years since; in which Father Thames endeavours to celebrate the dignity of the place, and the Majesty of Queen Elizabeth, then keeping her Court there.
Jam Windesoræ surgunt in culmina ripæ
Turrigeræ, celso lambentes vertice cœlum.
Quas ubi conspexit doctæ † † Thamisis.gratatus Etonæ,
Quæ fuit Orbiliis nimium subjecta plagosis;
Cæruleum caput ille levans, ita farier infit.
Aerias moles, gradibus surgentia templa,
Ferratos postes, pinnas, vivaria, vere
Perpetuo lætos campos, Zephyróque colono
Florentes hortos, regum cunabula, regum
Auratos thalamos, regum præclara sepulchra,
Et quæcunque refers; nunc, Windesora, referre
Desine, Cappadocis quanquam sis clara Georgî
Militiâ, procerúmque cohors chlamydata nitenti
Cincta periscelidi suras, te lumine tanto
Illustret, tantis radiis perstringit & orbem;
Ut jam Phryxæum spernat Burgundia vellus,
Contemnat cochleis variatos Gallia torques,
Et cruce conspicuas Pallas, Rhodos, Alcala & Elba:
Soláque militiæ sit splendida gloria vestræ,
Desine mirari, lætari desine tandem.
Omnia concedunt uni, superatur in uno
Quicquid habes, tibi major honos, tibi gloria major,
Accola quod nostræ ripæ siet incola vobis
Elizabetha.Queen Elizabeth. (Simúlque suo quasi poplite flexo
Tamisis en! placidè subsidet, & inde profatur)
Elizabetha suis Diva & Dea sola Britannis,
Cujus inexhaustas laudes si carmine nostro
Complecti cuperem, Melibocco promptius Alpes
Imponam, numerémque meas numerosus arenas.
Si quasdam tacuisse velim, quamcunque tacebo,
Major erit; primos actus, veterésque labores
Prosequar? ad sese revocant præsentia mentem.
Justitiam dicam? magis at clementia splendet.
Victrices referam vires? plus vicit inermis.
Quòd pietas floret, quòd non timet Anglia Martem,
Quòd legi nemo, quòd lex dominatur & omni,
Quòd vicina truci non servit Scotia Gallo,
Exuit atque suos sylvestris Hibernia mores,
Criniger Ultonius quòd jam mitescere discit,
Laus sibi sola cadit, nil non debetur & illi;
Crimina quæ pellunt, tantâ quæ principe dignæ
Omnes templa sacro posuerunt pectore Divæ;
Relligio superos sancte monet esse colendos,
Justitia utilibus semper præponere justum
Edocet; ut præceps nil sit, prudentia suadet;
Temperies ut casta velit, cupiatque pudica
Instruit; immotam mentem constantia firmat.
Hinc EADEM SEMPER,Queen Elizabeth’s Motto. rectè sibi vindicat illa.
Proferat undoso quis tantas carmine laudes?
Sola tenet laudum quicquid numerabitis omnes.
Sit felix, valeat, vivat, laudetur, ametur;
Dum mihi sunt fluctus, dum cursus, dum mihi ripæ,
Angligenûm fœlix Princeps moderetur habenas,
Finiat una dies mihi cursus, & sibi vitam.
Now on the bank fam’d Windsor’s towers appear,
Mount their high tops, and pierce the utmost air.
At this (but first does Eaton’s walls salute,
Where stern Orbilius governs absolute,
And in proud state his birchen scepter shakes)
Thames lifts it’s azure head, and thus he speaks:
Windsor, no more thy ancient glories tell,
No more relate the wonders of thy hill;
Thy Forts, thy Fenns, thy Chapel’s stately pile:
Thy Spires, thy smiling Fields, thy happy Springs;
Thy Cradles, Marriage-beds, or Tombs of Kings.
Forget the Knights thy noble stalls adorn,
The Garter too by them in honour worn:
Tho’ that great Order found the first in fame,
And swells so high with mighty George’s name,
That Burgundy contemns her golden Fleece,
And the light French their scallop’d chains despise.
Rhodes, Alcala and Elbe with shame disown
The painted Crosses on their mantles shown.
These glories now are all eclips’d by one,
One honour vies with all thy old renown.
When on thy courts, and on my bank we see
Elizabeth (then Thames with bended knee
Stoops low to pay obeysance to her name;
And thus goes on, pleas’d with his mighty theme.)
Elizabeth, whom we with wonder stile
The Queen, the Saint, the Goddess of our Isle:
Whose praise should I endeavour to rehearse
Within the narrow bounds of feeble verse;
As soon huge Athos might on Atlas stand
Rais’d by my strength; as soon my weary hand
Might count the endless globules of my sand.
If any grace on purpose I’d conceal,
What I pass by will prove the greatest still.
If her past deeds inspire my joyful tongue,
Her present actions stop th’ imperfect song.
Should her strict justice fill my rising thought,
Her mercy comes between and drives it out.
Or was my subject her triumphant Arms,
Alas! more trophies grace her conqu’ring charms.
That virtues flourish, and the peaceful gown;
That all to laws are subject, laws to none:
That Scotland hath refus’d the Gallick yoak,
And Ireland all her savage arts forsook:
That Ulster’s sons at last reform’d appear,
To her they owe; the same belongs to her.
Virtues, that single make us thro’ly blest,
United, all adorn her princely breast.
To heaven her Godlike mind Religion bears,
Justice to profit honesty prefers.
Deliberate prudence cautious thoughts inspires,
And temp’rance guides her innocent desires.
Her settled constancy’s unshaken frame
Deserves the noble Motto, STILL THE SAME.
But ah! my numbers all are spent in vain,
And grasp at that they never can contain.
Should some wild fancy all th’ encomiums joyn
That worth could e’re deserve, or poet feign,
The Panegyrick would be still too mean.
O may her years increase with her renown,
May constant joys attend her peaceful Crown,
While I my streams or banks can call my own!
And when she dies (if Goddesses can die)
May I straight fail, and be for ever dry!
⌈Not far from Windsor, on a hill call’d St. Leonard’s-hill,St. Leonard’s-hill. have been discover’d great numbers of Antiquities, such as Coins, Instruments of War, and an ancient Lamp.⌉
The rest of Barkshire, southward from Windsor, and shadow’d with woods and groves, is commonly call’d Windsor-Forest,Windsor-Forest. and is but thinly planted with villages (of which OkinghamOkingham. is the most noted, for bigness, and it’s cloathing-trade;) but is well-stock’d every where with game. ⌈NorAubr. Mon. Brit. is there any other thing remarkable in this part, except a large Camp at East-hamstead,East-hamstead. commonly called Cæsar’s Camp.⌉ Now (since we have often spoke of ForestsA Forest what it is, and whence so called. already, and shall hereafter have occasion to speak of them;) if you desire to know what a Forest is, and whence the name comes, take it here out of the Black Book of the Exchequer. A Forest, is a safe harbour for beasts; not of every sort, but for such only as are wild: not in every place, but in some certain places fit for that purpose: whence it is call’d Foresta, quasi Feresta, that is, Ferarum statio. And it is incredible, how much ground the Kings of England have suffer’d every where to lie waste, and have set apart and enclos’d for Deer; or, as our writers term it, have afforested. Nor can I believe, that any thing was the cause, but an immoderate delight in * * Or for finding the Court in Venison.hunting (tho’ some attribute it to want of people;) for since the Danish times, they have continually afforested more and more places, and, for the preservation of the Game there, have imposed very strict laws, and appointed a Chief-RangerChief-ranger. or Forester, to take cognizance of all causes relating to the Forests; who might punish, with loss of life or limb, any one that should kill the Deer in any Chase or Forest. But Joannes Sarisburienis shall briefly relate these things, in his own words, out of his Polycraticon: That which will make you more admire; to lay gins for birds, to lay snares, to allure them with springs or pipe, or to entrap them any manner of way, is by proclamation often made a crime, punishable with forfeiture of goods, or loss of limb and life. You have heard, that the fowls of the air and fishes of the sea, are common. But these are the King’s, and are claimed, by the Forest-Law, where-e’re they fly. With-hold thine hand, and forbear, lest thou fall into the Huntsman’s hands, and be punish’d for Treason. The Husbandmen are debarr’d their Fallows, whilst the Deer have liberty to stray abroad; and, that their feedings may be enlarg’d, the Farmer is cut short of the use of his own grounds. What is sown or planted they keep from the Country-man, and pasturage from the Graziers; and throw the Bee-hives out of the Flowry Plots; nay, even the Bees themselves are scarce suffer’d to enjoy their natural liberty. Which courses, seeming too inhuman, had often been the occasion of great disturbances, till, by the Barons Elaeagnus galea fere vulgo Belgae revolt, the Charta de Foresta was extorted from Henry 3; wherein, having abrogated those rigorous laws, he granted others more equitable, to which they who live within the limits of the Forests, are at this day bound to be conformable. Afterwards, two JusticesJustices in Eyre. were appointed for these Causes, whereof one presides over all the Forests on this side the river Trent, the other over those beyond it as far as Scotland; and both, with great authority. Throughout all this County (as we find in the Survey-book of England) The Taine or King’s Knight holding of him as Lord, whensoever he died, left to the King for a Relief, all his Armour, one Horse with a Saddle, and another without a Saddle. And if he had either Hounds or Hawks, they were tendred to the King; that if he pleas’d, he might take them. When Geld was given in King † † The Confessor.Edward’s time throughout all Barkshire, an hide yielded 3 d. ob. before Christmas, and as much at Whitsuntide.
⌈Barkshire gave the title of Earl, first to Francis Norris, created Jan. 28, 1620; but he dying without issue-male, it was bestow’d upon Thomas Howard, Lord Howard of Charlton, and Viscount Andover; who was succeeded in this Honour by Charles his Son and heir; and Charles, by Thomas Howard his brother: Which Thomas dying without issue-male, the title of Earl of Barkshire descended to Henry-Bowes Howard, grandson of William, who was fourth son of Thomas the first Earl of Barkshire, of this Family.⌉
There are in this County 140 Parishes.
THE Countries we have been travelling over, that is, those of the Danmonii, Durotriges, Belgæ, and Attrebatii, while the Saxons had the Sovereignty here in Britain, belong’d to the Kingdom of the West-Saxons, which they in their language call’d * * West-Seaxna-ric is the true Saxon name. , as they called themselves , from Cerdic’s grandfather, who laid the foundation of this Kingdom: whence some call them, Geuissi, and others Visi-Saxones, from their western situation; as the Western Goths are nam’d Visi-Gothi. These at length, when the English Empire was grown to maturity, reduc’d the Saxon Heptarchy into a Monarchy, which nevertheless, afterwards, thro’ the laziness of their Kings, quickly grew as it were decrepit, and vanish’d. So that herein we daily see it confirm’d, that the race of the most valiant, and noblest Families, as the Shoots of Plants, have their first sprouting-up, their time of flowering, and maturity; and in the end, by little and little, fade and die.
More rare Plants growing wild in Barkshire.
Myrtus Brabantica sive Elæagnus Cordi Ger. Gaule or Dutch Myrtle. See the Synonymes in Dorsetshire. By old Windsor-park corner. Park. p. 1451.
Orchis galeâ & alis ferè cinercis J. B. Cynos orchis latifolia hiante cucullo minor C. B. latifolia minor Park. major altera Ger. The man Orchies. On Cawsham hills by the Thames-side, not far from Reading.
Polygonatum Ger. vulgare Park. latifolium vulgare C. B. Polygonatum, vulgò sigillum Solomonis J. B. Solomon’s Seal. In a field adjoyning to the Wash at Newberry, and in divers other places of Barkshire. Observ’d by my worthy friend Mr. George Horsnell Chirurgeon in London.
Hieracium Pulmonaria dictum angustifolium. Pulmonaria Gallica seu aurea angustifolia Ger. emac. Narrow-leaved golden Lung-wort. Found in an old Roman camp at Sidmonton near Newberry. Ger. emac. p.305.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52