Picture of William Camden

William Camden

places mentioned

Wiltshire and Hampshire

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WILSHIRE, which also pertained to the Belgae, called in the English-Saxon tongue Wil-setta , in Latin commonly termed Wiltonia, taking that denomination of Wilton, somtime the chiefe towne, like as it is of the River Willy, is altogether a mediterranean or mid-land countrey. For enclosed it is with Somersetshire on the West, Berkshire and Hampshire on the East; on the North, with Gloucestershire; and on the south with Dorsetshire and a part of Hamshire. A Region which, as it breedeth a number of warlike and hardy men, who in old time with Cornwall and Denshire together challenged by reason of their manhood and martiall prowesse the prerogative in the English armie of that regiment which should second the maine battell (as saith John of Sarisburie in his Polycraticon ), so it is exceeding fertile and plentifull of all things, yea, and for the varietie thereof passing pleasant and delightsome.

2. The Northerne and upper part, which they call North-Wilshire, riseth up somewhat with delectable hils, attired in times past with large and great woods (which now beginne to grow thinne), and watered with cleere rivers. For Isis, the principall and, as it were, Prince of all the English Rivers, which afterwards taketh to him the name of Tamisis , that is, Thames, being now as yet but little and shallow, together with other Rivers of lesse name which I will speake of in their proper places, water it plentifully. The South part with large grassie plaines feedeth innumerable flocks of sheepe, having his Rivers, swelling Brookes, and rils of everliving fountaines. The middest of this shire, which for the most part also lieth even in plain, is divided overthwart from East to West with a Dike of wonderfull worke, cast up for many miles together in length. The people dwelling thereabout call it Handspike , which upon an errour generall received, they talke and tell to have been made by the Divill upon a Wednesday. For in the Saxon tongue it is called Wodensdic , that is to say, The Ditch of Wooden or Mercuie , and as it should seeme, of Woden that false imagined God and Father of the English-Saxons. But I have alwaies been perswaded that the Saxons made it as a limit to divide the two Kingdomes of the Mertians and West-Saxons asunder. For this was the verie place of battell between them, whiles they strove one with another to enlarge their Dominions. And neere unto this Dike standeth Wodensburge , a little Village where Ceauline, the most warlike King of the West-Saxons, in the yeere of grace 590, whiles he defended his Marches in a bloodie fight, received such a foile and overthrow by the Britans and Englishmen that hee was forced to flie his countrey, and to end his daies in exile, a piteous and lamentable spectacle even to his verie enemies. And at this dike, to say nothing of other accidents, Ina the West-Saxon and Ceolred the Mercian joyned battell and departed the field on even hand. Like to this was that ditch whereby King Offa kept the Britans off from his Mercians, called even at this day Offa-dike. Others also are still to be seene among the East-Angles in Cambridgeshire and Suffolke, wherewith they limitted their territory and defended themselves from the in-rodes and invasions of the Mercians.

3. In the North-part of Wilshire, which is watered with Isis or the Thames, there is a towne called Crecklade by Marianus, by others Greekelade of Greeke Philosophers, as some are readie to beleeve; who, as the historie of Oxford reporteth, began there an Universitie, which afterwards was translated to Oxford. West from that is Highbowrh highly seated, a well knowne Market, but south from Crekelad I saw Lediard Tregoze, the seat of the familie of Saint-John, Knights, of which Margaret de Bello Campo or Beauchamp, afterwards Duchesse of Somerset, gave to Oliver of Saint John her second sonne. For to her it came as an inheritance by Patishul, Grandison, and Tregoze, names of great honour. Wotton Basset bordereth hard upon this, having his primitive name from Wood: the addition doth prove that it belonged to the Noble house of the Bassets. But in the latter fore-going age it was (as I have heard say) the habitation of the Duke of Yorke, who made there a verie large Parke for to enclose Deere in. From thence Breden Wood, now Breden Forrest, stretched it selfe farre and wide, which in the yeere 905 by Ethelwald Clyto and the Daies that aided him was lade waste, and the inhabitants endured all calamities of warre. On the east side whereof the River Avon, above mentioned, gently runneth, which, breaking forth almost in the North limit of this shire, keepeth his course southward and (as Aethelwald noteth) was sometime the bound between the Kingdoms of the West-Saxons and the Mercians: upon which many great battels from time to time were fought. Whiles it is but smal, he slideth under Malmesbury hill, and, receiving another streame, well neere encloseth the place. A verie proper towne this is, and hath a great name for clothing, which (as wee read in the Eulogie of Histories) Cunwallo Mulmutius King of the Britans built together with Lacocke and Tetburie, two Castles, and named it Caer Bladon , which being at length by heat of warres destroied, out of the ruines thereof there arose, as writers record, a Castle which our Ancestors in their tongue called Ingelbore . At which time the Saxon petie Kings had their roiall palace at Caerdurburge , now Brokenbridge, a little village scarse a mile off. Neither verily was this towne for a long time knowen by any other name than Ingelborne, until one Maidulph, an Irish Scot, a man of great learning and singuler holinesse of life, taking delight to a pleasant grove that grew up here under a hill, loved for a time a solitarie Heremite there, and afterwards teaching a schoole and with his scholars betaking himselfe to a monasticall life, built him a little monasterie or Cell. From this time, of that Maidulph the towne began to be called Maidulfesburge for Ingleborne, termed by Beda Maidulphi Urbs , that is, Maidulphs Citie , and afterwards short, Malmesburie and in some of our Histories and antient Donations made unto this place, Meldunum, Malduburie , and Maldunsburg . Among the Disciples of this Maidulph flourished chiefely Adelme, who being elected his successour, by the helpe of Eleutherius, Bishop of the West-Saxons, unto whom the place of right belonged, built there a verie faire Monasterie, and was himselfe the first Abbot thereof: of whom also in a certaine manuscript this town is called Adelmesbirig. But this name soone perished, yet the memorie of the man continueth still: for canonized he was a Saint, and on his festivall day there was here kept a great Faire, at which usually there is a band of armed men appointed to keepe the peace among so many strangers resorting thither. And right worthy is he that his memorie should remaine fresh for ever, in regard not onely of his Holinesse, but of his learning also, as those times were. For the first he was of the English nation who wrote in Latine, and the first that taught Englishmen by the way how to make a Latine verse. The which in these verses he both promised of himselfe and performed:

I will be first, God lending life, that into countrey mine,
From Aon top at my returne, shall bring the Muses nine.

4. This Adelme, after his death, Athelstane that Noble Prince chose to be his peculiar protectour and tutelar Saint, and for that cause bestowed verie great immunities upon this towne, and enriched the monasterie with as large and ample endowments. In which he made choise to be buried, and his monument the inhabitants shew to this day. After Athelstane, this Monasterie flourished long in continuall wealth, and, among other famous Clerks and great scholars, brought forth William surnamed thereof Malmesburiensis , unto whom for his learned industry the Histories of England both civill and Ecclesiasticall are deepely indebted. The towne also, maintained and upholden, as it were, by the meanes of the Monasterie, was likewise fortified by Roger Bishop of Saliburie, who in the beginning of the warres betweene Henrie of Anjou and King Stephen strengthned it with walles and a Castle, which being once besieged by King Henrie the Second, defended it selfe. Moreover that magnificent Bishop, both here and at Salisburie, built houses, for receit verie large, for cost as sumptuous, and for shew right beautifull: so even and orderly were the stones couched and laid together that the joints could not be seene and the whole wall thorowout seemed to the eye one entire stone. But the Castle not many yeeres after by King Johns permission was pulled towne to the use of the Monkes (for enlarging their monasterie), who increased it still continually both in buildings, livings, and revenues, untill that fatall thunder-clap overthrew all the Monasteries of England. Then their lands, rents, and riches that had been so many yeeres in gathering and heaping up together, which were (as our Forefathers reputed them), the vowes of the faithfull, the raunsome and redemption of sinnes, and the patrimonies of poore people, were quite scattered, and the verie Minster it selfe should have sped no better than the rest, but been demolished, had not Thomas Stumpes, a wealthy clothier, by much suit but with a greater peece of money, redeemed and bought it for the townesmen his neighbours, by whom it was converted to a Parish-church, and for a great part is yet standing at this day.

5. From this Maidulphs Citie, or Malmesbury, as Avon runneth it cometh to Dantesey, that gave name unto the possessions thereof, worshipfull Knights in old time in this tract: from whom by the Easterlings, commonly called Stradlings, it came unto the familie of the Danvers. Out of which, Henrie Danvers, thorow the favour of King James, obtained of late the title and honour of Baron Danvers of Dantesey. Six miles from hence Avon taketh unto him from the East a Brooke which runneth thorow Calne, an old little towne situat upon a stony ground, having in it a faire Church to commend it: at which place when great adoe there was between the Monkes and Priests about single life, a frequent [crowded] Provinciall Councell or Synod was holden in the yeere of our redemption 977. But behold, whiles they were debating the matter, the Convocation house wherein the States sat, by breaking of the maine timber-worke and falling asunder of the floore, fell suddenly downe, together with the Prelates, Nobles, and Gentlemen there assembled: with the fall thereof many were hurt, and more slaine outright. Onely Dunstane, President of the said councell, and held with the Monkes, escaped without harme; which miracle (for so that age took it) is thought wonderfully to have credited the profession of Monkerie, and weakned the cause of married Priests.

6. From hence Avon, now growen greater, Chippenham, in Saxon Cyppanham , of note at this day for the market there kept, whereof it tooke the name. For cyppan in the Saxon tongue is as much as to say as to buy , and cyppman, a buyer , like was with us cheapen and chapman , and among the Germans Coppman {Kaufmann ]. But in those daies it was the Kings manour, and by King Aelfred in his testament bequeathed to a younger daughter of his. Nothing is there now worth the sight but the Church, built by the Barons Hungerford, as appeareth everywhere by their coats of Armes set up thereon. Directly over against this, but somewhat farther from the banke, lieth Cosham, now a little Village, but sometime King Etheldreds mansion house, and for that the Earles of Cornwall were wont to retire themselves and sojourne there, it was of good account: within view whereof is Castlecombe, an old Castle, ennobled sometime by the Lords of it, the Walters of Dunstavill, men of great renowme in their time; out of whose house the Writhoslaies Earles of Southampton are descended. Petronilla or Parnell, daughter and sole heire of the last Walter, was wedded unto Robert de Montfort, and bare unto him William his Sonne, who sold this castle with the rest of his lands and possessions unto Bartholomew Baldismer, from whom (as I have heard) it passed to the Scroopes, who ever since have held it. But no returne we unto the river, upon which are seated Leckham, the possession of the noble familie of the Bainards, where peeces of Romane money have oftentimes been found, and Lacocke, where the most godly and religious woman Dame Ela Countesse of Salisburie (being now a widdow) built a Monasterie (like as shee did another at Henton) in the yeere 1232, to the honour of the blessed Virgin Marie and Saint Bernard, in which her selfe devoutly dedicated both her bodie and soule to the service of God.

7. Avon from hence, shadowed with trees, holdeth on his course, not far from Brumham, an inhabitation (in times past) of the Baron Samond, or truly De Sanco Amando , Saint Amand, afterwards of the Baintons from them: before hee admitteth to him a little riverlet from the east that putteth forth his head neere unto the Castle De Vries, Devizes, or the Vies. Florentius of Worcester calleth it Divisio , and Neuburgentis, Divisae. Heretofore a stately place, I assure you, very strong as well by naturall situation as by mans hand, but through the injurie of time now decaied and defaced. This Castle, that it might disgrace and put downe all other Castles in England, Roger Bishop of Salisburie (whom from a poore masse- Priest Fortune had exalted unto the highest authoritie next the King) at his excessive charges built. But Fortune (as one saith) hath set no man so high but she threatneth to take from him as much as she hath permitted him to have. For King Stephen upon a displeasure wrung from him both this Castle and also that of Shreburne, together with all his wealth and riches as great as it was, yea, and brought the silly old man so low in prison, what with hunger and what with other miseries, that between the feare of death and torments oft his life had neither will to live nor skill to die. At which time was handled or canvased, rather tossed two and fro, this question, whether by the Canons and Decrees of Church, Bishops might hold castles, or if this bee by indulgence tolerated; whether they ought not in dangerous and suspected times surrender them up into the Kings hands.

8. Avon, having received this riverlet to beare him company, maketh way westward, and straight waies another brook from the South runneth into him, which hath given name to the house standing upon it, called likewise Barons Brooke, which as it afforded habitation in old time to John Pavely, Lord of Westburie Hundred,. so afterwards it gave the title of Baron to Robert Willoughby, because by the Chenies hee derived his pedigree from Pavely what time as King Henry the Seventh advanced him to a Barons dignitie, as being high in his favour, Steward of his house, and appointed (by report) for a while Admirall. Whereupon he used the Helme of a ship for a seale in his ring, like as Pompeie in times past, Governour of the Romane Navie, the stemme or Pro thereof in his coines. But this familie fading, as it were, and dying in the verie blade, quickly came to an end. For he left a sonne Robert Lord Brooke, who of a former wife begat Edward his sonne that died before his father, leaving a daughter married to Sir Foulk Grevil, and of a second wife two daughters, by whom a great inheritance and rich estate was conveighed to the Marques of Winchester and Lord Montjoy.

Neere unto this, Eastward lieth Edinton, in old time Eathandune , where King Alfred in as memorable a battell as any time else, most fortunatly vanquished the bold, insolent and outragious Danes, and drave them to this hard passe, that they swore in set forme of oath forthwith to depart out of England. In which place also William de Edindin, Bishop of Winchester, whom King Edward highly favoured, here borne and taking his name from hence, erected a College bonis hominibus, bon-homes , as they called them, that is, for good men. But at the little river aforesaid, somewhat higher, standeth upon a hill Trubridge, sometimes Truthabrig , that is, a sure and trusty bridge. But for what cause this name was set upon it, it is not for certaine knowen. In great name and prosperitie it is in these daies by reason of clothing, and sheweth the remaines of a castle which belongeth to the Duchie of Lancaster, and sometime to the Earle of Salisburie. Avon, thus increased by this riveret, watereth Bradford, in the foregoing times Bradanford (so named of a broad foord) situat upon the descent or fall of an hill, and built of all of stone: where Kenilwacuh King of the West-Britans embrued his sword with bloud in civill war against Cuthred his neere kinsman. Here Avon biddeth Wilshire farewell and entreth closely into the Countie of Somerset, minding to visit the Bathes.

9. The West limit of this shire goeth downe directly from hence southward by Long-leat, the dwelling place of the Thins (descended from the Bottevils), a verie faire, neat, and elegant house in a foule soile, which although once or twise it hath been burnt, hath risen eftsones more faire. Also by Maiden Bradley, so called of one of the Inheritances of Manasses Basset, a most noble personage in his time, who being her selfe a maiden infected with the leaprosie, founded an house heere for maidens that were leapers, and endowed the same with her owne Patrimonie and Livetide, living], like as her father before time had thereabout erected a Priorie. Likewise by Stourton, the seat of the Lords Stourton, whom King Henrie the Sixth raised to this dignitie after their estate had beene much bettered in lands and revenues by marriage with the Daughter and heire of the familie Le Moigne or Monke of Essex, and not of Mohun, as some hither have been falsely perswaded: and here upon it is that they have borne for their Creast a Demi-Monke, with a whip in his hand. The place tooke his name of the River Stour, that under this towne walmeth [wells] out of sixe fountaines, which the Sturtons Lords of the place have brought into their shield sables.

By Maiden Bardley abovesaid, glideth Dever-rill, a prettie small Rill, so called for that, like as Anas in Spaine and Mole in Surrey (which tooke their names thereupon), it diveth (as it were) under the ground, and a mile off rising up here againe, hasteneth toward Verlucio , a most ancient towne whereof the Emperor Antonine maketh mention in his Itineraria : which, having not quite lost the name, is called Werminster, compounded of that old name and the English Saxon word minster , which signifieth a Monasterie. In times past it enjoyed great immunities and freedomes. For as we read in the Booke of King Wiliam the Great, nec geldabit, nec hidata fuit , that is, it paid no tribute, nor was rated by the Hide. Now onely for a round Corn-market it is exceeding much frequented: for hardly a man would beleeve what a mightie deale of Corne is weekely brought hither and quickly sold. ‡ But for remnants of Roman Antiquities, I could discovere none here, onely on the East side are seene some trenches upon the hilles, and on the West a naturall round high copt hill called Clay-hill. ‡

10. Hereby beginneth North, South, and Eastward thorow the mids of the Shire the Plaines so wide and open that hardly a man can see from one side to another, and doe limit the Horizon, whereupon they are named The Plaines. They are but rarely inhabited, and had in late time a bad name for robberies there committed. On the South side thereof, there runne quietly two most still Rivers, Willeybourne, which Asserius nameth Guilou , and Nadder, commonly called Adderbourn. Willey-bourne, rising at Werminster, runneth neere Heitesburie or Hegtesburie, an antient mansion place of the Family of Hungerford, ‡ but in the Church, which hath beene Collegiate, there is seene but one defaced monument of them. The last Lord Hungerford, created by King Henrie the Eight, had his denomination of this place, but enjoyed that honour a short while before condemned of a crime not to bee uttered. ‡ Hence it hieth to Willy, a Village some few miles distant: over against it a very large warlike fence or hold, and the same fortified with a deepe and duple Ditch. The neighbour-dwellers call it Yanesburie Castle, And by the forme and maner of making, a man may easily know it was a Romane Campe. There are who verily thinke it was Vespasians Campe, considering that hee, being Lieutenant of the twentieth Legion under Claudius the Emperour, subdued unto the Romane Empire two nations in this tract, and they suppose that in the name Yanesburie there remaine some reliques still of Vespasians name. ‡ Opposit to this on the other side the water is another lesse camp-place singly ditched, called Dunshat, and about one mile and halfe from Yanesbury another likewise with a single trench named Woldsbury. I have noted the names as the country people terme them, that other may collect some matter thereby more than I can. ‡ As for Nadder, that springeth out of the South limit of the shire, it creepeth with crooked windings, like an Adder (whereof it may seeme to have been so called) not farre from Wardour, a proper fine Castle appertaining sometime to the Progenie surnamed Saint Martins. But (to say nothing of many owners between, and amongst them of the Lord Brooke, who repaired it and died at it) now it belongeth to Thomas Arundell, who being of late by King James created Baron Arundell of Wardour, is worthy to be with praise remembred for that, being a young Gentleman, he of a pious and godly mind, undertaking a journey to serve in the warres against the Turks, sworne enemies of Christendome, for his singular prowesse shewed at the winning of Strigonium in Hungarie, deserved by honourable Charter (from Rodolph the Second of that name, Emperour) to be made a Count of the Empire, the tenour of which Patent is thus: For that hee had borne himselfe valiantly and manfully in the field, and in assaults of Cities and Castles, and shewing good proofe of valor in forcing of the water tower neere Strigonium, tooke from the Turks with his owne hand their Baner, both himselfe and all and everie one of his children, heires and issue whatsoever of both sexes, descending from him lawfully, either borne alreadie, or that ever shall from generation to generation be borne, we have created, made, and named Counts and Countesses, have endowed and adorned, and with the title, honour, and dignitie of a Count imperiall. Over against it lieth Hach, a place at this day of small reckoning, but which in the time of King Edward the First had his Lord Eustach de Hach, summoned among the Peeres of the Realme for a Baron unto the high Court of Parliament. ‡ And a few miles from hence is Hindon, a quick market, and knowen for nothing else that I could see.‡

11. At the meeting of these two rivers, Willey giveth his name to Wilton, a place well watered, and sometime the head towne of the whole Shire, which thereof tooke the name. In antient times it was called Ellandunum , for so we are enformed by the testimonie of old parchment records which have in expresse terms Weolsthan Earle of Ellandunum, that is to say, of Wilton ; and in another place, that hee founded a little Monasterie at Ellandunum, that is, at Wilton. By this name Ellan I am partly induced to thinke that this is the river Alan which Ptolomee mentioneth in this coast of the Countrey. At this towne it was that in the yeere of our redemption 821 Egbert King of the West-Saxons obtained a victorie against Beor Wulf of Mercia, but so mortall a battell it was to both parties that the very river flowed commixt with the blood of those who were allied in bloud and dissevered in faction. At this towne also in the yeere of salvation 871 Aelfred, joyning battell with the Danes, had the better hand at first, but immediatly the alternative fortune of war comming about, he was put to the worst and driven to retire. In the Saxons time it flourished with the best in numbers of inhabitants, and King Eadgar, as our Chronicles beare witnes, beautified it with a Nunnery, whereof he made his owne daughter Edith Prioresse. But by the antient Charter of Eadger himselfe, bearing date anno 874, it appeareth certainly to bee of more antiquitie. For therein it is thus written: the Monasterie which by King Eadward my great Grandfathers Grandfather was founded in a well frequented and peopled place, that by a knowen name is by the Inhabitants called Wilton. And in the life of Saint Edward the Confessor we read thus, Whiles S. Edward went in hand with the building of the Monasterie of S. Peter in Westminster, Editha his wife began at Wilton (where she was brought up) a Monastery princely built of stone, in lieue of the Church, made of timber, following the Kings good affection with the like devotion of her owne. And albeit Sueno the Dane spoiled this towne most grievously in the raging heat of hostilitie, yet fell it not so greatly to decay untill the Bishops of Salisbury turned another way the common passage that lay before through it, into the West countries. For then by litle and little it fell to ruine, and is now, as it were, a small Village, having nothing to boast of but a Major for the head Magistrate, and in it a passing fine house of the Earles of Pembroks, raised out of the ruines of the old religious house. But most of all it was over-topped and shadowed first by Sorbiodunum , and now by Salisburie, that is risen out of the ruine thereof. For so Antoninus in his Itinerarie calleth that which the Saxons afterwards named Sarysburig and the vulgar Latinists Sarum, Sarisburia, and Salisburialia . Moreover, the account taken by miles of distant places from it, and the tracts remaining of the same, testifie no lesse, if I should say never a word. For who would ever make doubt that Saresbirig proceeded from Sorbiodunum by addition of the Saxon word byryg , which signifieth a Burg or town, in stead of dunum , which the Britans and Gaules both used to put into places seated on higher ground such as this Sorbiodunum was? In so much (as I have been told by one right skilful in the British tongue) that Sorviodunum is by interpretation as much as The dry hill , a conjecture surely more probable than theirs, who with much adoe have derived the name from one Saron in Berosus or from the Emperour Severus, and have named it, forsooth, Severia. For it mounted upon a high hill, and as our Historiographer of Malmesburie saith, In stead of the Citie, there was a Castle fensed with a wall of no small bignesse, indifferently well provided otherwise of necessaries, but so scant of water that it is good chaffer there, sold at a wonderful price. Whereupon these verses were made of old Sorbiodunum by one living in those daies:

No water there, but chalke yee have at will.
The winds there sound, but nightingales be still.

12. By the ruins yet remaining it seemeth to have beene a strong place sufficiently fortified, and to have contained in circuite some half mile. Kinric the Saxon, after he had wonne a most fortunate Victorie of the Britans, was the first of all the Saxons that forced it, in the yeere 553, and Canutus the Dane about the yeere 1003, by setting it on fire did much harme unto it. But it revived, when by the authority of a Synode and the ascent of William the Conqueror, Herman Bishop of Sirbune and Sunning translated his See hither: whose next successor Osmund built a Cathedrall Church. And King William the Conqueror, after he had taken the survey of England, summoned all the States of the Kingdome to swear unto him fealty, at which time (as it stands upon record in Domesday booke ), it payd after the rate of 50 hides. Of the third penny of Salisbury the King hath XX shil., ad pensum de cremento, IX libras ad pondus. Which I note therfore, because in our forefathers daies, like as among the old Romans, monie was wont to be paied as wel by the weight as tale. But not many yeeres after, in the raigne of Richard the First, partly for the insolencie and misrule of the garizon souldiers made there against the Church-men, and in part for want of water, the Churchmen first, and then the inhabitants began to leave it, and planted themselves in a lower ground scarse a mile off South-east from it, where there is a receit as it were of many riverlets, and where Aven and Nadder meet. Of this their removing Petrus Blesensis in his Epistles maketh mention. For thus of old Salisbury he wrote: A place that was open to the winds, barraine, dry, and desert, In it stood a towre like that of Siloem, which oppressed the townesmen with the burden of long servitude. And againe, The Church of Sarisburie was captive in that hill. Let us therefore in Gods name goe downe to the plaine countrie, where the valleies will yeeld store of wheat and other corne, where also the large fields are rich and fat in pasture. And the Poet aforesaid in verse thus:

What is Gods house in Castle pent, but like that Arke of blisse
In Balaams temple Captivate? Ech place a prison is.

And the place whereunto they descended he thus describeth:

Neere to a Parke well stor' d of game there lies in vale a ground
Where corne and fruits in plentie grow, where water-streames abound.
Such lodging long through the world, when nature daughter deere
Had for her Creatours mother sought, at last she found it heere.

13. When they were not come downe, because they would begin first with the house of God, Richard Poore the Bishop, in a most delectable place, named before Merifield, began to found a most stately and beautifull Minster. Which with an exceeding high speared steeple and double crosse yles on both sides, carrying with it a venerable shew as well of sacred hilarity as religious majestie, was with great cost finished forty yeeres after, and in the yeere of our Lord 1258 dedicated even in the presence of King Henrie the Third. Whereof the said old Poet hath these prety verses:

For why? This Church a Prelats zeale sets forth unto the sight,
The workmens trusty faithfulnesse, a princes power and might

But much more elegantly the most learned Daniel Rogers, as concerning the said Church:

Wonders to tell: how many daies in one whole yeere there beene,
So many windows in one Church (men say) are to be seene.
So many pillars, cast by Art, of marble there appeere
As houres doe flit and flie away throughout the running yeere.
So many gates doe entry give as monthes one yeere doe make,
A thing well knowen for truth, though most it for a wonder take.

14. For the windows, as they reckon them, answere just in number to the daies, the pillars great and small to the houres of a full yeere, and the gates to the twelve monthes. A cloister it hath beside on the South side, for largenesse and fine workmanship inferior to none. Whereunto joineth the Bishops pallace, a very faire and goodly house, and on the other side a high bell towre and passing strong withall, standing by it selfe apart from the Minster. Moreover, in short time it grew to be so rich in goods, and endowed with so great revenewes, that it well maintaineth a Deane, a Chaunter, a Chauncellor, a Treasurer, and three and thirty Praebendaries: of whom the Residents, as they terme them, have very goodly houses also adjoining to the Church, and all these buildings stand within the close wall severed from the Citie. As the Bishop was busied about erecting of Gods house, the Citizens likewise for their parts did their best to found the Citie. They established their civill government, derived rilles and servers of water into every street, and cast a deepe dich all along that side on which it is not fensed with the running river, having obtained licence of Simon the Bishop thus to strengthen and fortifie the same. And in such sort grew up this new Salisburie by little and little out of the ruins of old Sorbiodunum, that so soone as they by the Kings warrant had turned hither the high way that leadeth into the West parts, it became the second Citie in all this tract, passing well inhabited and frequented, plentifull of all things, especially of fish, adorned with a very stately marketplace, wherein standeth their common Hall of timberworke, a very beautifull edifice. But nothing is there whereof it may so much boast as of John Jewell, not long since Bishop there, a wonderfull great and deepe Divine, a most stout and earnest maintainer of our reformed religion against the adversaries by his learned books. Old Sarbiodunum from thence forward decaied more and more, and in the reigne of King Henrie the Seventh became utterly desolate, so as at this day there remaineth onely a towre or two of the Castle, which notwithstanding a long time after the departure of the townesmen from thence, was the dwelling house of the Earles of Salisburie, and about which in King Edward the Thirds time there arose a memorable controversie and suite. For Robert Bishop of Salisburie sturred William Monteacut Earle of Salisburie by vertue of a processe which our Lawyers terme breve de recto, that is, a write of right , for this Castle, and hee made answere that he would defend his right by combat. Whereupon at the day appointed the Bishop brought forth this champion to the railes or bars of the Lists, clad in a white garment reaching downe to his mid-leg, upon which he had a mandilian or cassocke garnished with the Bishops Armes: at whole heeles followed a Knight caryring a staffe, and a page wit a shield. Immediately after, the Earle brought in by the hand his own champion also, arraied in the like apparrell, accompanied with two Knights bearing white staves. Now when these Champions were to enter the Lists, commanded they were to withdrawe themselves a side, that their weapons of both parts might be viewed, ‡and they searched whether they had any Amulets or Enchantments about them ‡ But all on a suddaine, unlooked for, came the KIngs precept, to reprive and defer the matter to a further day, that the King might loose thereby none of his right. Meanwhile they grew to this composition, that the Earle for the summe of 2500 marks paied and received should yeeld up all his title and interest in the Castle to the Bishop and his successors for ever.

15. This Salisburie had long a goe Earles of that name, whose pedigree I will derive somewhat farther off and more truly out of the short reports of Lacock Historie. William Conqueror of his bounty and liberality assigned unto Gualter de Evereaux, Earle of Rosmar in Normandie, faire lands and large possessions in this shire, which hee left unto Edward named De Sarisburia, a younger sonne borne in England, like as to Walter his eldest sonne other lands in Normandie with the Title of Earle of Rosmar, whose issue within a while after was extinct. That Edward of sarisburie aforesaid flourished in the twentieth yeere of the Conquerors reigne, and is often times barely named in the Indiciarie booke of England without the title of EEarle. His sonne Walter built a little monasterie at Bradenstocke, and there in his old age tooke him to the habit of a Canon or Regular priest, after he had first begotten his sonne Patricke (the first Earle of Salisbury) upon Sibil de Cadurcis. This Patricke, I say, the first Earle, in his returned from his pilgramage at S. James of Compostella in Spain in the yeere of our Lord 1169, being slaine by one Guy of Lusigniam, left William his sonne to succeede: who died in King Richard the First his time. His onely daughter Ela, through the favour of the said King Richard, was married to William Long Espe, surnamed so of a long sword that he did usually weare, a base sonne of King Henrie the Second; and her marriage honored him with the title of Earle, and her owne coat of Armes be Azur adorned with six Lions rampant . This William had a sonne named likewise William Long-Espee, against whom King Henrie the Third conceaving great displeasure for that without licence obtained he was gone to serve in the holy land, taking the crosse (as they termed it upon him), tooke from both the title of Earle and also the Castle of Salisbury. But he, holdings till his purpose, went into Aegypt with S. Lewis King of France, and neere unto Damiata, which the Christians had wonne, caryring a brave and valorous minde, fighting manfully among the thickest troups of his enimies, died an honorable and glorious death, a little before that holy King was unfortunately taken prisoner. His sonne named likewise William lived without the title of Earle, and begat one onely daughter, Margaret, who neverthelesse being reputed Countesse of Salisburie, became the wife of Henrie Lacy Earle of Lincoln, unto whom she bare one onely daughter Alice, wedded to Thomas Earle of Lancaster. Who being attainted, King Edward the Second seized upon those possessions which she had granted and dimised unto her husband, out of which King Edward the Third gave away unto William Montacute Trowbridg, Winterbourn, Ambresbury, and other Lordships in these words: So fully and wholly as the Progenitours of Margaret Countesse of Salisbury at any time held the same. And even then he preferred the said William Mont-acute to be Earle of Salisbury, and by the cincture of a sword invested him with the said Earldome. This William became Lord of the Isle of Mann and begat two sonnes, William, who succeeded in his Fathers honor and died without issue, ‡ having unhappily slaine his onely sonne while hee trained him at Tiliting; ‡ and John, a Knight, who died before his brother, leaving behind him a sonne named John Earle of Salisburie, whom hee had by Margaret, daughter and heire of Thomas de Mont-Hermer: who being of an unconstant and changeable nature, and plotting the destruction of King Henrie the Fourth, was in the yeere of our Lord 1400 killed at Chicester, and attainted afterwards of high treason. Howbeit, his sonne Thomas was fully restored, a man worthy to be ranged with the bravest Captaines and Commanders, whether you respect paines taking in his affaires, industrie in action, or expedition in dispatch, who lying at the siege before Orleance in France, was with a bullet levelled out of a great peece of Ordinance wounded in the yeere 1428 and thereof died. Alice his onely daughter, being wedded unto Richard Nevill, augmented his honor with the title of Earle of Salisburie: who, siding with the house of Yorke, was in the battell fought at Wakefield taken prisoner and beheaded, leaving to succeede him Richard his sonne, Earle of Warwicke and of Salisburie: who, delighting in dangers and troubles, enwrapped his native country within new broiles of Civill warre wherein himselfe also left his life. The one of his daughters, named Isabell, was married unto George Duke of Clarence, brother to King Edward the Fourth, and she bare him a sonne called Edward Earle of Warwicke, who being a very child and innocent, was by King Henrie the Seventh beheaded, like as his sister Margaret suffered the same death under King Henrie the Eighth, an usuall pollicie and practise among suspicious princes, for the security of their owne persons and their posterity, by one occasion or other that evermore are soone offred and as quickly picked, to make away or keepe under the next of their bloud. Anne, the other daughter of Richard Nevill Earle of Warwick and Salisburie, became wife to Richard Duke of Glocester, brother to King Edward the Fourth, and brought him a sonne, whom his uncle King Edward in the 17 of his reigne created Earle of Salisburie, and Richard his father, usurping the kingdome, made Prince of Wales. But he departed this life in his tender yeres, about that time that his mother also died, not without suspition of poison. King Henrie the Eighth afterward, about the fift yeere of his reigne, in a full Parliament restored and enabled in bloud Margaret daughter to George Duke of Clarence to the name, stile, title, honor and dignity of Countesse of Salisburie, as sister and heire to Edward late Earle of Warwicke and Salisburie. And about the 31 yeere of the said King, she was attainted in Parliament with divers others, and beheaded when she was 70 yeeres old. Since which time that title of honor was discontinued untill in the yeere of Lord 1605 our soveraigne Lord King James honored therewith Sir Robert Cecill, second sonne of that Nestor of ours, William Cecill, upon who for his singular wisdome, great emploiments in the affaires of State to the good of Prince and Countrey, he had bestowed the honorable titles of Baron Cecill of Essendon and Vicount Cranburn. Thus much of the Earles of Salisburie.

16. Lower still and not far from this Citie is situated upon Avon Duncton or Donketon, a burrough (as they say) of great antiquity, and well knowen by reason of the house therein of Beavois of Southampton, whom the people have enrolled in the number of their brave worthies for his valour, commended so much in rhime to posterity.

This Salisburie is environed round about with open fields and plaines, unlesse it be Eastward, where lieth hard unto it Clarindon, a very large and goodly parke, passing fit for the keeping and feeding of wild beasts, and adorned in times past with an house of the Kings. Of which parke and of the twenty groves enclosed therein Master Michaell Maschert Doctor of the Civill lawes, hath pretily versified in this wise:

A famous Parke for Stag and hind neere Salisburie doth lie,
The name it hath of one faire downe or hill that mounts on hie.
Within the same stand twentie groves enclos' d with severall bound,
Of which in compasse every one a mile containes in ground.

‡Famous is this Clarindon for that heere in the yeere 1164 was made a certaine recognition and record of the customes and liberties of the Kings of England before the Clergie, Judges and Barons of the Realme which were called The Constitutions of Clarindon. Of the which so many as the Pope approoved have beene set downe in the Tomes of the Councels, the rest omitted, albeit Thomas Becket, then Archbishop of Canterburie and the rest of the Bishops approved them all. Heereby is Ivy Church, sometime a small Priory, where, as a tradition runneth, in our grandfathers remembrance was found a grave and therein a corps of twelve foote, and not farre of a stocke of wood hollowed, and the concave lined with lead with a booke therein of very thicke parchment, all written with Capitall Romane letters. but it had lien so long that when the leaves were touched they fouldered [crumbled] to dust. Sir Thomas Eliot, who saw it, judged it to be an Historie. No doubt hee that so carefully laied it up hoped it should be found and discover some things memorable to posteritie.‡

Toward the North, about six miles from Salisburie, in this plaines before named, is to be seene a huge and monstrous peece of work, such as Cicero termeth insanam substructionem. For within the circuit of a Ditch there are erected in manner of a Crowne, in three ranks or courses one within another certaine mighty and unwrought stones, whereof some are 28 foote high and seven foote broad, upon the heads of which others like overthwart peeces do beare and rest crossewise, with a small tenents and mortescis, so as the whole frame seemeth to hang, whereof we call it Stonehenge, like as our old Historians termed it for the greatnesse Chorea Gigantum, The Giants Daunce. The description or draught whereof such as it is, because it not so fitly be expressed in words, I have caused by the gravers helpe to be portraied heere underneath, as it now standeth weather beaten and decaied.

Picture of Stonehenge

17. Our countrie-men reckon this for one of our wonders and miracles. And much they marvaile: from whence such huge stones were brought, considering that in all those quarters bordering thereupon there is hardly to be found any common stone at all for building, as also by what meanes they were set up. For mine owne part, about these points I am not curiously to argue and dispute, but rather to lament with much griefe that the Authors of so notable a monument are thus buried in oblivion. Yet some there are that thinke them to be no naturall stones heawen out of the rocke, but artificially made of pure sand, and by some glewie and unctious matter knit and incorporate together, like as those ancient trophees or monuments of victorie which I have seene in Yorkshire. And what marvaile? Read we not, I pray you, in Plinie that the sand or dust of Puteoli, being covered over with water, becometh forthwith a very stone; that the cesternes in Rome of sand digged out of the ground and the strongest kind of lime wrought together grow so hard that they seeme stones indeed, and that Statues and images of marble chippings and small grit grow together so compact and firme that they are deemed entier and solide marble? The common saying is that Ambrosius Aurelianus or his brother Uther did reare them up by the Art of Merline that great Mathematician, in memorie of those Britans who by the treachery of Saxons were there slaine at a parley. Whereupon Alexander Necham, a Poet of no great antiquitie, in a poeticall fit but with no special grace and favour of Apollo, having his instructions out of Geffreys British historie, come out of these verses:

The Giants Daunce a famous stone-worke stands,
Art did her best in bringing it to passe,
Vaine prating fame reports by Merlins hands
In maner strange this worke effected was.
The stones (men say) in that land first did lie
Whence Cranes in flockes so many use to flie.
From thence conveied, as things of charie [expensive] price,
The Irish soile received them with joy.
For why? Their vertue in a wondrous wise
Oft cures the griefe that doth sicke folke annoy.
For waters cast and sprinkled on these stones
Their vertue take, and heale the grieved ones.
The noble Uther that Pendragon hight
Them over seas to Ambresburie brought;
Returning thence, where he by maritall might
Had quel' d his foes in battell fiercely fought.
O worthy Wights, how many on that plaine
Of you lie dead by Hengists treason slaine!
The Britans brave, that race of noble blood,
Entrap' d by little heed and too much trust,
Were kild, alas, in parley as they stood,
Through faithlesse fraud of enemies unjust.
But Eldol Earle his manhood excellent
Then shewed, to death who seventie persons sent.

18. Others say that the Britans erected this for a stately Sepulchre of the same Ambrose in the verie place were hee was slaine by his enemies sword, that hee might have of his countreys cost such a peece of worke and tombe set over him as should for ever be permanent as the Altar of his vertue and manhood. True it is that mens bones have many times been digged up heere, and the village lying now on Avons side is called Ambresburie, that is to say, Ambrose his towne , where certaine antient Kings, by report of the British Historie, lay interred. And the Booke called Eulogium saith that a Monasterie stood there of three hundred Monkes, which one Gurmundus (I wot not what Pagan and barbarian) spoiled and rifled. In that place afterwards Alfritha King Edgar his wife, by repentance and some good deed to expiat and make satisfaction for murdering of King Edward her sonne in Law, built a stately Nunnerie and endowed it with livings. In which Queen Aeleonor King Henrie the Thirds widdow, renouncing all roiall pompe and princely state, devoted her selfe unto God among other holy Nuns. The said Ambrose Aurelianus, who gave name unto the place when the Romane Empire drew now to an end, tooke upon him the imperiall purple Robe in Britain (as saith Paulus Diaconus), succoured his decaying country, and the aid of that warlike Arthur repressed the violent rage of the enemies, overthrew puissant armies consisting of the most couragious Nations in Germany, and at the last in a battell fought upon this plaine lost his life in the defence of his country. Now seeing both Gildas and Bede doe write that his Parents wore the purple Robe and were slaine, why may I not suppose him to be descended of that Constantine who in the Fourth Consulship of Theodosius the Younger, was elected Emperour heere in Britaine in hope of his luckie name, and afterwards slaine at Arles? ‡ I have heard that in the time of King Henrie the Eight there was found neere this place a table of mettall, as it had beene tinne and lead commixt, inscribed with many letters, but in so strange a Character that neither Sir Thomas Eliot nor Master Lilye Schoole-maister of Paules, coud read it, and therefore neglected it. Had it been preserved, somewhat happily might have been discovered as concerning Stoneheng, which now lieth obscured. ‡

Scarse foure miles from Ambresburie (on this side Aven) there is a Warren of hares, commonly called Everlie Warren, where there is great increase of hares for Gentlemen in the countrey there dwelling to disport themselves with game, yet not such store as that the neighbour inhabitants should require the helpe of souldiers in their defense against them, as the men of the Isles Baleares sometimes did by Plinies relation: albeit they did likewise much harme heere unto the Corne fields. And neere neighbour unto it is Lutgershall, where stood sometimes (as I read) the Castle of Geffrey Fitz-Peter, Lord chiefe Justice of England in his time and Earle of Essex, a man of exceeding great wealth. Not much higher is Wolfhall, which was the house of the Noble Familie of Seimor, now Earle of Hertford, or of Saint Maur, to whom by marriage accrewed a great inheritance of the Esturmies in this tract, who bare argent three Demy-Lions Gueules , and from the time of King Henrie the Second were by right of inheritance the Bailiffes and Guardians of the Forrest of Savenac lying hard by, which is of great name for plentie of good game, and for a kind of ferne there that yeeldeth a most pleasing savour. In remembrance whereof, their Hunters horne of a mightie bignesse, and tipt with silver, the Earle of Hertford keepeth unto this day as a monument of his progenitours.

19. More somewhat into the east the River Cunetio, in the Saxon tongue Cynetan , commonly Kenet, ariseth neere unto a litle Village of the same name, which some would have to bee that Cunetio mentioned by Antoninus, but the distance of both sides gain-sayeth it. Here Selburie, a round hill mounted up aloft to a great height, which by the forme of the hill it selfe and the outward setling of the earth, may seeme to have bene cast up by mans hand. And many of that sort, round and with sharpe toppes, are to bee seene in this tract: Burrowes they call them and Barrowes, raised happily in memoriall of Souldiers there slaine. For bones are found in them,a nd read I have how an usuall thing it was with the Northerne nations that everie souldier remaining alive after a foughten field should carrie his head-peece of earth toward the making of their fellowes tombes that were slaine. Although I am of opinion rather that this of Selburie was set there in stead of a limit, if not by the Romans, then certainly by the Saxons, like as that fosse called Wodensdike , considering that betweene the Mercians and the West-Saxons there was much bickering in this Shire many a time about their Marches, and both Boetius and the Gromaticall Writers have made mention of such Mounts raised for bounds. Within one mile of Selburie is Aiburie, an uplandish village built in an old Campe, as it seemeth, but of no large compasse, for it is environed with a faire trench and hath foure gappes as gates, in two of the which stand huge Stones as jambes, but so rude that they seeme rather naturall than artificiall, of which sort there are some other in the said village. The River Kenet runneth at the first Eastward thorow certain open fields, out of which there stand up aloft everywhere stones like rockes, and off them a little village there is, called Rockley, among which there breaketh out sometimes at unawares water in maner of a streame or sudden Land-flood, reputed the messenger, as it were, and forerunner of a dearth, and is by the rusticall people of the countrey called Hungerborne. From hence Kenet holdeth on his course to a towne bearing his name, called of Antoninus Cunetio, and is placed from Verlucio twentie miles. At which distance just from thence that antient towne called by a new name Marleborow, in old time Marleberge , standeth upon this river Cuneto, now Kenet, stretching out East and West on the pendant of an hill. Whether this name Marleborow came in latter ages of marga , which in our language wee call Marle and use in stead of dung to manure our grounds, I am not readie to affirme. Certes, it lieth neere a chaulkey hill which our Ancestours, before they borrowed this name Chaulke of the Latine word calx , named Marle. But the Etymologie thereof that Alexander Necham in his Booke of Divine Wisdome hath coined and drawen from Merlins Tombe (as appeareth by this Distichon of his making) is ridiculous:

O Merlebridge towne, of Merlins Tombe
thou had' st thy name.
Our English tongue will testifie
with me the same.

The fatall end of this towne Cunetio, and the name together, and the estate thereof with the ancient memorie also, from the comming in of the Saxons unto the Normans time, is utterly vanished and gone, for in all this space betweene our histories doe not so much as once name it. But in the age next ensuing wee read that John surnamed Sine terra , that is, Without Land (who afterwards was King of England) had a Castle here, which when hee revolted from his brother King Richard the First, Hubert Archbishop of Canterburie tooke by force, and which afterwards was most famous by reason of a Parliament there holden, wherein by a generall consent of the States of the Kingdome there assembled, a law passed for the appeasing of all tumults, commonly called the Statute of Marleborow. But now being daunted by time, there remaineth an heape of rammell [rubble] and rubbish witnessing the ruines thereof, and some few reliques of the walles remaine within the compasse of a dry ditch, and an Inne there is adjoyning thereto, which in stead of the Castle hath the signe of a Castle hanging out at it. The inhabitants of the place have nothing to make greater shew of than, in the church of Preshut hard by, of a Christning font, as it seemeth, of Touchstone, or of Obsidian stone, (by their report) certaine Princes (I wot not who) were in times past baptized and made Christians. Neither verily can I conceale that which I have read, that everie Burger heere admitted is, by an old order and custome among them, to present unto the Major a brace of hounds for the hare, a couple of white Capons, and a white Bull.

20. On the same River, and the same side thereof, is seated Ramesburie, a pretty village, having nothing now to commend it but pleasent meadowes about it, howsoever in old time famous it was for the Bishops Sea there, who had this Shire for their Diocesse; but that seat being by Herman the Eighth Bishop laid unto that of Shirburne, and at length (as I said before) translated to Salisburie, carried away with it all the name and reputation of the place, because at Ramesburie there was neither any Covent of Clerkes, nor ought for their maintenance. From the other side of the River more Eastward, Littlecot sheweth it selfe not long since a seat of the Darels, a place worthy to bee remembred for the late Lord thereof Sir John Popham, who being the chiefe Judge in the Kings Bench executed justice (as I have said alreadie) against malefactours, to his high praise and commendation. And here by runneth the limit betweene this Shire and Berkshire.

Thus farre forth have wee taken a slight view and survey of Wilshire, which (as wee find in the Domesday booke , and worth the noting it is) paid unto the King tenne pounds for an Hawke, twentie shillings for a strong Steed, for hey one hundred shillings, and five ores. Now what kind peece of money, and of what kind that Ore was, I wote not, but out of a Register of Burton Monasterie I have observed thus much, that twentie Ores are worth two Markes of silver.

21. This province can reckon out of divers and sundry houses but few Earles, besides those of Salisburie, whom I have named before: for to omit Woelsthan before the Normans Conquest, it had none unto my knowledge unto King Richard the Second his daies, who preferred William Le Scrope to that honour. But this mans good fortunes stood and fell together with his Prince. For when the one was deposed, the other lost his head. After whom, within short time succeeded James Butler Earle of Ormund, advanced to that dignitie by King Henrie the Sixth. Howbeit, when the Lancastrians were downe the winde and hee was attainted, his estate forfeited, and John Stafford, a younger sonne of Humfrey Duke of Buckingham, by the favour of King Edward the Fourth, received this title, whose sonne Edward succeeded him and died without issue. The same honour afterwards King Henrie the Eighth bestowed upon Henrie Stafford of the same house of Buckingham; who, having enjoyed it a little while, departed likewise, and left no children behinde him. In the end the favour of the said King brought it into the family of the Bullens: for Thomas Bullen Vicount Rochfort, Sonne to one of the Daughters and coheires of Thomas Butler Earle of Ormund, hee created Earle of Wilshire, whose Daughter Anne the King tooke to wife. A marriage this was to her selfe, and her brother unhappie and deadly, to her Parents wofull, but for all England right happie. For it brought forth to us Queene Elizabeth, a most gracious and excellent Prince, worthy of superlative praise for her most wise and politicke government of the Common-wealth, and for her heroicke vertues farre above that sexe. But when the said Thomas Bullen, overcome with the griefe and sorrow that hee tooke for the infortunte fall and death of his children, hee ended his daies without issue, this title lay still untill that King Edward the Sixth conferred it upon William Powlet Lord Saint John, whom soone after hee made Marquesse of Winchester and Lord Treasurer of England, in whose family it remaineth at this day.

This Countie containeth in it Parishes 304.


NEXT to Wilshire is that country which sometimes the Saxons called Hanteschyr , and is now commonly named Hantshire, of which one part that beareth farther within the land belonged, no doubt, to the Belgae, the other, which lieth upon the sea, appertained without question to the Regni, an ancient people of Britaine. On the West it hath Dorsetshire and Wiltshire, on the South the Ocean to bound it, on the East it joineth to Sussex and Surreie, and on the North it bordereth upon Barkshire. A small province it is, fruitfull in corne, furnished in some places with pleasant woods standing thicke and well growen; rich in plenteous pasture, and for all commodities of sea most wealthy and happie. It is thought that it was with the first brought under subjection to the Romans. For our Histories report that Vespasian subdued it, and very probable reasons there are inducing us to beleeve the same. For Dio witnesseth that Plautus and Vespasian, when they were sent by the Emperor Claudius against the Britaines, did give the attempt upon this Iland with an armie divided into three parts, least if they should have ventured to land in one place only they might have beene driven backe from the shore. Suetonius also writeth that in this expedition Vespasian fought thirtie battailes with the enemie, and subdued the Isle of Wight, which lieth against this country, and two other right puissant nations with it. For which his victories, as also for passing over the Ocean so safely, Valerius Flaccus speaketh unto Vespasian himselfe as one more fortunate than Julius Caesar, in this maner:

And thou for Seas discovery whose fame did more appeare,
Since that thy ships with sailes full spred in Northren Ocean were,
Which skornd ' before of Phrygian line the Julii to beare

And of the very same Vespasian Apollonius Collatius Noverienis, the poet, versified thus:

He verily of late by happie fight
Had won the field, and Britains put to flight.

But how in this war Titus delivered Vespasian his father, when he was very streightly besieged by the Britans, and how at the same time likewise an adder grasped him about and yet never hurt him (which he tooke as a lucky foretoken of his Empire) you may learne out of Dio and Forcatulus. I for my part (to come to my purpose), beginning at the West side of this province, will make my perambulation along the sea coast and the rivers that runne into the Ocean, and after that survey the more in-land parts thereof.

2. Hard by the Westerne bounds, the river Aven carrieth a still stream, and no sooner runneth into this shire but it meeteth with the fourd of Cerdicus, in old time Cerdicks-ford, afterward Cerdeford, and now, by contraction of the word, Cardford, so named of Cerdic that Warlicke English-Saxon. For heere the said Cerdic in a set battaile so daunted the Britains that not onely he enlarged the bounds of his Empire, but also delivered an easie warre unto his posterity, having before time in the yeere of our Salvation 508, after great conflicts in this tract, vanquished the most mighty King of the Britains Natenleod, called also Nazaleod by others, with many of his people. Of whose name likewise a small region reaching into this place was termed Natanleod, as we read in the Annales of the English-Saxons: which I sought very curiously for, but hitherto could not find so much as any small signe or sample of that name, neither can I guesse who that Natanleod should be. But most certaine it is that Aurelius Ambrose at the very same time skirmished otherwhiles with the Saxons in this tract with alternative fortune, and yet those Chronicles of the English Saxons no where make mention of him, as who (a thing that I have observed), being over much affectionate to themselves, reported only their owne fortunate battailes and victories, but never made words of their foiles [reversals] and overthrowes. From thence the said river runneth on by Regnewood or Ringwood, called in the Domesday booke of England Rincewood . Which, that it was the same Regnum, the chiefe towne of the Regni whereof Antoninus maketh mention, the accompt of the distance from other places, the remaines of the name, and the very signification thereof doe plainly prove. For Ring-wed by that Saxon addition seemeth to signifie The Wood of the Regni. A towne in ancient time of great fame, as may be gathered by the Hundred adjoining, which is named thereof, but now it is a well frequented mercate towne and no better. Aven, being departed from hence, entertaineth the river Stoure comming down out of Dorsetshire, where betweene the meeting of these two streames there standeth a pretty towne of trade and well peopled. At this day of a church there dedicated unto Christ named Christ-Church, but in old time Twinamburne, because it is situate betweene two rivers, right in the same sense that Interamna in Italie hath his name. It was fortified in times past with a Castle, and beautified with an ancient church of praebendaries, which being built in the Saxons time and after repaired by Raulph Flammard Bishop of Durham (who was Deane there) in the reigne of William Rufus, and by Richard De Ripariis Earle of Devonshire (whom King Henrie the First enfoeffed in this place) endowed also with great rents and revenewes, continued in very great name untill the daies of King Henrie the Eighth and that fatall and finall houre of the Monasteries of England. Under this towne Stoure and Aven joining together doe emptie themselves into the sea at one mouth, which Ptolomee called the mouth of the River Alaun, and rightly too. For I cannot resolve with my selfe to thinke that the river properly was named Aven, considering this is a common name and the Britans by that terme called all rivers. But I would take it that some time it was called Alaun, because there remaine yet some reliques (as it were) of that name in the villages upon it, to wit, in Allington, Allingham, &.

3. Along the East banke of this river in this Shire, King William of Normandie pulled downe all the townes, villages, houses, and Churches far and neere, cast out the poore inhabitants, and when he had so done brought all within thirty miles compasse or thereabout into a forrest and harbour for wild beasts, which the Englishmen in those daies termed Ytene , and we now call New Forrest. Of which Act of his, Gwalter Maps, who lived immediately after, wrote thus: The Conqueror took away land both from God and men, to dedicate the same unto wild beasts and Dogs-game, in which space he threw downe six and thirty Mother-churches, and drave all the people thereto belonging quite away. And this did he either that the Normans might have safer and more secure arrival into England (for it lieth over against Normandie), in case after that all his wars were thought ended any new dangerous tempest should arise in this Iland against him, or for the pleasure which he tooke in hunting, or else to scrape and rape money to himselfe by what meanes soever he could. For, being better affected and more favourable to beasts than to men, he imposed very heavy fines and penalties, yea and other more grievous punishments, upon those that should medle with his game. But Gods just judgement not long after followed this so unreasonable and cruell act of the King. For Richard his second sonne, and William Rufus King of England, another sonne of his, perished both in this Forrest: William by chance shot through with an arrow by Walter Tirell, the other blasted with a pestilent aire. Henrie likewise his grand child by Robert his eldest sonne, whiles hee hotely pursued his game in this Chase, was hanged amongst the bowghes and so died: that we may learne thereby how even childrens children beare the punishment of their Fathers sonnes. There goe commonly abroad certain verses that John White Bishop of Winchester made of this forrest, which, although they falsly make William Rufus to have ordained the same, yet because they are well liked of many, I am likewise well content heere to set them downe:

From God and Saint King Ruf did Churches take,
From Citizens town-court and mercate place,
From Farmer lands, New Forrest for to make
In Beaulew tract, where whiles the King in chase
Pursued the hart, just vengeance comes apace,
And King pursues. Tirrell him seeing not,
Unawares him slew with dint of arrow shot.

He calleth it Beauley tract, for that King John built hard by a prety Monasterie, for the pleasant situation called Beaulieu , which he continued ever unto our Fathers memorie, of great fame as being an unviolated sanctuarie and a safe refuge for all that fled to it, in so much that in times past our people heere thought it unlawfull and an hainous offense by force to take from thence any persons whatsoever, were they thought never so wicked murderers or traitours, so that our Ancestors when they erected such Sanctuaries or Temples (as they terme them) of Mercie every where throughout England seemed rather to have proposed unto themselves Romulus to imitate than Moses: who commanded that wilfull murderers should be plucked from the altar and put to death, and for them onely appointed Sanctuarie who by meere chance had killed any man.

4. But least the sea coast, for so long a tract as that forrest is heere, should lie without defense all open and exposed to the enimie, King Henrie the Eighth began to strengthen it with forts, for in that foreland or promontorie shooting far into the sea, from whence we have the shortest cut into the Isle of Wight, hee built Hurst Castle, which commandeth sea ward every way. And more toward the East he set up also another fortresse or blockhouse, they name it Calshot Castle for Caldshire, to defend the entrie of Southampton Haven, as more inwardly on the other are the two Castles of S. Andrew and Netly. For heere the shores, retiring as it were themselves a great way backe into the land, and the Isle of Wight also, butting full upon it, doe make a very good harbour, which Ptolomee calleth the mouth of the river Trisanton (as I take it) for Traith Anton , that is, Anton Bay. For Ninnius, an old writer, giveth it almost the same name when he termeth it Trahannon Mouth. As for the river running into it at this day is called Test, it was in the foregoing age (as wee read in the Saints lives) named Terstan, and in old times Ant or Anton, as the townes standing upon it, namely Antport, Andover, and Hanton in some sort doe testifie. So far am I of (pardon me) from thinking that it tooke the name of one Hamon, a Romane (a name not used among Romanes), who should be there slaine. And yet Geffrey of Monmouth telleth such a tale, and a Poet likewise his follower, who pretily maketh these verses of Hamon:

Whiles Hamon rusheth heere and there within the thickest ranke,
Arivagus encountreth him, and on the rivers banke
With sword in hand strikes of his head: the place of him thus slaine
Thence forth is named Hamons-Haven, and long shall so remaine.

5. But upon this Haven standeth Southhanton, a little Citie, neere unto which on the North-east there flourished in old time another of that name, which may seeme to be Antonine his Clausentum by the distance of it, as well on the one side from Ringwood as from Venta on the other. And as Trisanton in the British language signifieth The Bay of Anton , so Clausentum in the same tongue is as much as The Haven of Antum. For I have heard that claudh among the Britans is that which the Graecians call χυτὸς λειμών, that is, a forced Haven made by digging and casting up the earth. Now, that this place was called Hanton and Henton no man needs to doubt, seeing in that booke wherein King William the First made a survey of all England this whole shire is expressely named Hantscyre , and in some places Hentscyre , and the very towne it selfe for the South situation of it, South-hanton. What maner of town that Clausentum was it is hard to say, but seated it was in that place there the field is which now they call S. Maries, and reached even to the Haven, and may seeme also to have taken up the other banke or strand of the river. For a little above at Nattern over against it, Francis Mills, a right honest gentleman there dwelling, shewed unto me the rubbish, old broken wals and trenches of an antient castle, which carrieth halfe a mile in compasse, and at every tide is compassed for three parts of it with water a great breadth. The Roman Emperors ancient coines now and then are digged up doe so evidently prove the antiquitie thereof that, if it were not the Castle of old Clausentum, you would judge it to be one of those forts or fenses which the Romans planted upon the South coast of the Ocean to represse, as Gildas writeth, the piracies and depredations of the Saxons. When all became wasted by the Danish warres, old Hanton also was left as a pray in the yeere of our Lord 980 to be sacked and rifled by them, and King William the Conqueror in his time had in it but fourescore men and no more in his demaine. But above 200 years since, when Edward the Third King of England and Philip Valois bustled for the very Kingdome of France, it was fired by the French and burnt to the ground. Out of the ashes whereof presently sprung the towne which is now to be seene, but situate in a more commodious place betweene two rivers, for number of houses and those faire built much renowned, for rich inhabitants and concourse of merchants wealthy, fenced round about with a double ditch, strong wals, and turrets standing thicke betweene, and for defense of the Haven a right strong Castle it hath of square stone, upon a Mount cast up to a great height, built by King Richard the Second. And afterward King Henrie the Sixt granted to the Major, Baillives and Burgesses that it should be a Countie by it selfe, with other liberties. Memorable is that of the most puissant Canutus King of England and Denmark, by which he in this place repressed a flatterer who bare the King in hand that all things in the Realme were at his will and command. He commanded (saith Henrie of Huntingdon) that his chaire should be set to the shore, when the sea began to flow. And then in the presence of many said he to the sea as it flowed, "Thou art part of my Dominion, and the ground on which I sit is mine, neither was there ever any that durst disobey my commandement and went away free and unpunished. Wherefore I charge thee that thou come not upon my land, neither that thou wet the clothes or body of thy Lord." But the sea, according to his usuall course flowing still, without any reverence of his person, wet his feet. Then he retiring back said, " Let all the inhabitants of the world know that vaine and frivolous is the power of Kings, and that none is worthy the name of King but hee to whose command the heaven, earth and sea by bond of everlasting law are subject and obedient," and never after that time set hee the crowne upon his head &.

6. Of those two rivers betweene which this South-anton standeth, that in the West, now called Test and in times past Anton (as I suppose), springing out of the forest of Chute, goeth first to Andover, which in the Saxon tongue is Andeafaran , that is, The Passage or Ferry over And , where in the yeere of our Salvation 893 Aetheldred King of England, when the Danes harried and spoiled his Kingdome on every side, to the end that hee might at length refresh and cherish his weakened and wearied countries with sure and quiet peace, inserted into his owne familie by way of adoption Aulaf the Dane: which notwithstanding soone after tooke small or none effect. For this great honor done to the barbarous Dane could not reclaime and stay his minde from rapine and spoiling still. ‡ From thence it runneth downe and receaveth from the East a brooke passing by Bullingdon, in whose parish is a place called Tibury Hill, and containeth a square field by estimation of ten acres ditched about, in some places deeper than other, wherein hath beene found tokens of Wels, and about which the ploughmen have found squared stones and Romane coines, as they report, for the place I have not seene. ‡ This brooke entreth into Test neere Worwhell, where Queene Aelfrith built a Monasterie to expiate and make satisfaction for that foule and hainous fact wherewith so wickedly she had charged her soule by making away King Edward her husbands sonne, as also to wash out the murdering of her former husband Aethwold, a most noble Earle, with whom King Edgar trained forth hither a-hunting and then strake him thorow with a dart, because hee had deluded him in his love secrets, and by deceitfull and naughty meanes prevented him and gotten for himself this same Aelfrith, the most beautifull Ladie that was in those daies. After this, Test, having taken into it a little river from Wallop, or more truly Well-hope, that is by interpretation of our forefathers ancient language, A pretty well in the side of an hill , whereof that right worshipfull familie the Wallops of Knights degree dwelling hard by tooke name, seeketh for Brige or Brage, an ancient towne likewise placed by Antonine nine miles from Sorbiodunum, at which distance betweene Salisburie and Winchester he findeth not farre from his banke Broughton, a small countrie towne, which if it were not that Brage, I verily beleeve it was then utterly destroied when William of Normandie laid all even with the ground heereabouts to make that forrest before mentioned. Then goeth this river to see Rumsey, in Saxon spech Rumsey , a nunnery founded by King Edgar, the large Church whereof yet standeth, ‡ out of the which Marie daughter of King Stephen, being there Abbesse and his only heire surviving, was conveied secretly by Mathew of Alsace sonne to the Earle of Flaunders, and to him married. But after she had borne to him two daughters, was enforced by sentence of the Church to returne hither again according to her vow. ‡ Thence glideth this water streight into Anton Haven at Arundinis Vadum , as Bede called it and and interpreteth it himselfe Reedeford, but now of the bridge were the foord was named for Redeford, Redbridge, where at the first springing up of the English Saxon Church there flourished a Monasterie, the Abbat whereof Cymbreth, as Beda writeth, baptised the two brethren being very little ones of Arvandus the pety King of Wight, even as they were ready to be put to death. For when Cedwalla the Saxon set upon the Isle of Wight, these small children, to save their lives, fled to a little towne called Ad Lapidem and hid themselves there untill at length, being betraied, they were at Cedwallaes commandement killed. If you aske me what this litle town Ad Lapidem should be, I would say it were Stoneham, a small village next to Redebridge, which the very signification of the name may evidently prove for me. The other river that runneth forth at the East-side of Southampton may seeme to have beene called Alre. For the mercate towne standing upon the banke thereof, not farre from ponds out of which it issueth, is called Alres-ford , that is, The ford of Alre . This towne (to use the words of an old Record of Winchester) Kinewalce the religious King, instructed in the Sacraments of faith by the Bishop Birinus at the very beginning of Christian religion (in this tract), with great devotion of heart gave unto the Church of God at Wenta . In the yeere of grace 1120 Godfrey Lucy Bishop of Winchester made a new market place heere and called it Novum Forum , tht is, New Mercate , in regard haply of old Alresford adjoining thereto. But this new name continued not long with the people, who in the matter of speech carrie the greatest strok. Neere heereunto is Tichborne, which I must not omit, for that it hath given name to a worshipfull and ancient familie.

7. Upon the West banke of this river is situate the most famous Citie of the British Belgians, called by Ptolomee and Antoninus Venta Belgarum , by the Britans of Wales even at this day Caer Gwent , by the Saxons in old time Wintanceaster , in Latine commonly Wintonia , and by us in these daies of Winchester. Yet there be some which affirme this to be Venta Simenorum and doe grace Bristow with the name of Venta Belgarum. But that there were never any Simeni at all in this Iland I will prove when I come to the Iceni. In the meane season, though they should seeke all the townes that Antoninus placeth on every side of the way to or from Venta Belgarum as narrowly as Emmots [ants'] paths, yet shall they find nothing for their purpose to make good this their assertion.

The Etymology of this name Venta some fetch from ventus , that is, wind , others from vinum , that is, wine , and some againe from Wina a Bishop, who all of them be farre wide and should doe well to pray for better judgement. Yet like I rather the opinion of Leland, who hath derived it from the British word guin or cuen , that is, white , so that Caer Guin should signifie as much as The White Citie. And why not, seeing the old Latines named these their Cities Alba Longa et Alba Regia of whitnesse, yea and the Grecians also had their Leuca, Leucas, and other nations also many places taking the name of whiteness? For this Venta, like as the other two of the same name, to wit Venta Silurum and Venta Icenorum, are seated all three in a soile that standeth upon chalke and a whitish clay.

8. A Citie it was, no doubt, flourishing even in the Romans times, as in which the Emperours of Rome seeme to have had their sacred houses of weaving and embroidering peculiar to their own persons and uses, seeing among all the Ventas in Britaine it was both the chiefe and also neerest unto Italie. For in the booke of Notitiae mention is made of the procurator [Master or Governour] cynegii Ventensis or Bentensis in Britaine, where the onely flowre of Lawyers, James Cuisuis, readeth gynaecii and in his Paratitile upon the Code interpreteth it sacrum textrinum , that is, the sacred workhouse or shop of embroidering and weaving. And right of his minde is Guidus Pancirolus, who writeth that those gynaecia were instituted for the weaving of the Princes and souldiers garments, of Ship-sailes, of linnen sheets or coverings and such like cloths necessary for the furniture of mansions. But Wolfgangus Lazius was of opinion that the Procuratour aforesaid had the charge heere of the Emperors dogs. And to say truth, of all the dogs in Europe ours beare the name, in so much as Strabo witnesseth our dogges served as souldiers, and the ancient Galles made especiall use of them even in their wars. And of all others they were in most request both for those baitings in the Amphitheaters and also in all other publicke huntings among the Romanes. For, as the same Strabo writeth, they were εὐφυεῖς πρὸς τὰς κυνηγήσιας, that is, of a generous kind and framed naturally for hunting. Whereupon Nemesianus wrote thus:

Though Britaine from this world of ours doth ly secluded farre,
Swift hounds it sends which for our game most fitly framed are.

Gratius also, of their price and excellencie, saith thus:

If that to Calce-streights you goe,
Where tides uncertaine ebbe and flow,
And list to venture further more,
Crossing the seas to British shore,
What meede would come to quite your gaines,
What overdeale, besides, of gaines?

Yea, and that very dog with us, which of the old name agasaeus we call yet at this day a Gasehound, those ancient Greekes both knew and also had in great price. And this will Oppian in his first booke of his Cynegeticks tell you, in these Greek verses which may be Englished thus:

Stout hounds there [are] and those of Finders kind,
Of bodie small but doughtie for their deed.
The painted folke, fierce Britans, as we find,
Them Gasehounds call, for they with them doe bred.
In making [physique] like house dog or, at a word,
To lickerous curs that craven at our bord.

Claudian also, touching our Mastives, writeth in this sort:

And British mastives downe that puls,
Or breake the necks of sturdy bulls.

I have so far digressed about dogges, yet hope a favorable pardon.

9. In this Citie, as our owne Historiographers doe report, in the time of the Romans was that Constans the Monke, who by his father Constantine was first elected Caesar and afterwards Augustus, that Constantine, I say, upon who hope of this name had assumed the Imperiall purple robe, that is, usurped the Empire against Honorius. For long since (as Zosimus recordeth speaking of those times), as well in villages as in Cities, there were great colledges peopled (as it were) with Monks, who before time flying the light lived scattering heere and there among mountaines, woods and forests all solitary by themselves, whereof also they were so called. Now of this Colledge wherein the said Constans was, those old broken wals which are seene of that thicknesse and strength as the West-gate of the Cathedrall church, may seeme to be the ruines and reliques. But this imperiall monke, taken out from hence, suffered soone after condigne punishment, both for his fathers ambition and also for the contempt of his professed religion. During the heptarchie of the Saxons this Citie, albeit once or twice it suffered much calamity and miserie, yet it revived and recovered again, yea and became the seat roiall of the West-Saxon Kings, adorned with magnificent Churches and a Bishops Sea, furnished likewise with six mint houses by King Athelstane. In the Normans time also it flourished very much, and in it was erected an office for keeping of all publicke records and evidences of the realme. In which prosperous estate it continued a long time, but that once or twice it was defaced by misfortune of suddaine fires, and in the civill war betweene Stephen and Maude about the Kingdome of England, sacked by the unruly and insolent souldiers. Whereupon Necham our countriman, who lived in that age, writeth this:

Our ancestours knew Winchester, sometimes a goodly towne,
In treasure rich and plentifull, in name of great renowne.
But now for hunger after gold our men so greedy are,
That even such Cities excellent they know not how to spare.

But of these losses it recovered it selfe by the helpe of Edward the Third, who heere appointed the mart for woole and cloth which we commonly call the Staple. What was the face and outward shew of this Citie in these foregoing times a man can hardly tell, considering that, as the said Necham writeth,

So many times a nation strange
Hath fir' d this downe, and made such change,
That now her face and outward hue
Her griefe beray' s, and tels full true.

10. In these daies of ours it is indifferently well peopled and frequented, having water plentie by reason of the River turned and coveighed divers waies into it, lying somewhat in length from East to West, and containeth about a mile and a halfe in circuit within the wals, which open at six gates and have every one of them their suburbs reaching forth without a good way. On the Southside of the West gate there mounteth up an old castle, which oftentimes hath been besieged, but most sore and streightly above the rest what time as Mawd the Empresse held it against King Stephen, and at length by a rumour given out that she was dead, and causing her selfe to be caried out in a coffin like a coarse [corpse], deceived the enemy. As concerning that round table there hanging upon against the wall, which the common sort useth to gaze upon with great admiration as if it had beene King Arthurs table, I have nothing to say but this, that, as any man which vieweth it well may easily perceive, it is nothing so antient as King Arthur. For in latter times when for the exercise of armes and feats of warlike prowesse those runnings at tilt and martiall justlings [jousts] or torneaments were much practised, they used such tables least any contention or offence for prioritie of place should through ambition arise among Nobles and Knights assembled together. And this was a custome of great antiquitie, as it may seeme. For the antient Gaules, as Athenaeus writeth, were wont to sit about round tables, and their Esquiers stood at their backs holding their shields. About the mids of the citie, but more inclining to the South, Knelwalch King of the West-Saxons, after the subversion of that Colledge of Monkes which flourished in the Romans time (as William of Malmesburie saith), first founded to the glorie of God, the fairest Church that was in those daies, in which verie place the posteritie afterwards in building of a Cathedral seat for the Bishop, although it were more stately than the first, yet followed just in the verie same steppes. In this Sea there have sitten since Wina, whom the said Kenelwalch ordained the first Bishop there, many Bishops, some renowned for their wealth, and some for holinesse of life. ‡ But among other, Saint Swithen continueth yet of greatest fame, not so much for his sanctitie as for the raine which usually falleth about the Feast of his translation in July, by reason the Sunne then Coscmically with Praesepe and Aselli , noted by ancient writers to be rainie constellations, and not for his weeping, or other weeping Saints Margaret the Virgine and Marie Magdalen, whose feasts are shortly after, as some superstitiously credulous have beleeved. This by the way, pardon mee I praie you, for I digresse licentiously. ‡ Thus Bishops of Winchester have beene aunciently, by a certain peculiar prerogative that they have, Chancellours to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and for long time now Prelats to the order of the Garter, and they have from time to time to their great cost reedified this church, and by name, Edington and Walkelin, but Wickham especially, who built all the West part thereof downe from the quire, after a new kinde of worke, I assure you, most sumptuously. In the mids of which building is to be seene his owne tombe of decent modestie betweene two pillers. And these Bishops have ever and anon consecrated it to new Patrons and Saints, as to Saint Amphibalus, Saint Peter, Saint Swithin, and last of all to the holy Trinitie, by which name it is knowne at this day. The English Saxons also had this Church in great honour for the sepulture of certaine Saints and Kings there (whose bones Richard Fox the Bishop gathered, and, shrining them in certaine little gilded coffers, placed them orderly with their severall Inscriptions in the top of that wall which encloseth the upper part of the quire), and they called in times past Ealden Mynster , that is, The OId Minster , for difference from another more lately built, which was named Newan Mynsder , that is, The New Minster , which Aelfred founded, and for the building of houses office belonging to the same purchased of the Bishop a plot of ground, and for every foote of it paid him downe a marke after the publick weight. This monasterie, as also that other the older, was built for married priests, who afterwards, upon I know not what miracle of a Crosse that spoke, and disliked their mariage, were thrust out by Dunstane Archbishop of Canterbury, and Monkes put in their place. The walls of these two monasteries stood so neere and close together that the voices of those that sung in the one troubled the chanting of the other: whereupon there arose grudge and heart-burnings betweene these Monks, which afterwards brake out into open enmities. By occasion whereof, and because at this new monasterie there gathered and stood much water which from the Westerne gate came downe thither along the currant of the streets, and cast forth from it an unwholsome aire, the Minster Church two hundered yeares after the first foundation of it, was removed into the Suburbs of the cittie on the North part, which they call Hide, where, by the permission of King Henrie the First, the Monks built a most stately and beautifull monasterie: which a fewe yeares after, by the crafty practise of Henrie de Blois Bishoppe of Winchester (as the private historie of this place witnesseth) was pitiously burnt. In which fire, that Crosse also was consumed which Canutus the Dane gave, and upon which, as old writings beare record, he bestowed as much as his owne yeares revenewes of all England came unto. The monasterie neverthelesse was raised up againe and grew by little and little to a wonderfull greatnesse, as the verey ruines thereof even at this day doe shew, untill that generall subversion and finall period of over monasteries. For then was this monasterie demolished, and into that other of the holy Trinity, which is the Cathedrall church, when the monkes were thrust out, were brought in their stead a Deane, twelve Prebendaries, and there placed. At the East side of this Cathedrall church standeth the Bishops palace, called Wolvesey, a right goodly thing and sumptuous, which, being towred and compassed almost round with the streame of a prety river, reacheth even to the cittie walles, and in the South suburbes just over against it beholdeth a faire Colledge, which William Wickham Bishop of this See, the greatest father and Patron (of all Englishmen) of good literature, and whose praise for ever to the worlds end will continue, built for a schoole, and thereto dedicated it. Out of which, both for Church and common welth, there riseth a most plentifull encrease of right learned men. For in this Colledge one warden, ten fellowes, two schoolemaisters, and threescore and ten schoolers, with divers others are plentifully maintained. There have beene also in this cittie other faire and goodly buildings (for very many were heere consecrated to religion), which I list not now to recount, since time and avarice hath made an end of them. Onely that Nunnery or monasterie of vailed Virgins which Aelfwida, the wife of King Aelfred, founded, I will not overpasse, seeing it was a most famous thing, as the remainder of it now doth shew, and for that out of it King Henrie the First tooke to wife Mawde the daughter of Malcolne [sic] King of Scots, by whom the royall bloud of the auncient Kings of England became united to the Normans, and hee thereby wonne much love of the English nation. For nephew she was in the second degree of descent unto King Edmond Ironside by his sonne Edward the Banished, a woman as adorned with all other vertues meete for a Queene, so especially inflamed with an incredible love of true piety and godlinesse. Whereupon was this Tetrastich made in her commendation:

No prosp'rous state did make her glad,
Nor adverse chances made her sad.
If fortune frown' d, she then did smile,
If fortune smil' d, she feard the while,
If beauty tempted, she yet said nay.
No pride she tooke in scepters sway,
Shee onely high, her selfe debas' t,
A lady onely faire and chast.

Concerning Sir Guy of Warwick, of whom there goe so many prety tales, who in single fight overcame here that Danish giant and Golias, Colbrand, and of Waltleof Earle of Huntingdon that was here beheaded, where afterwards stood Saint Giles chappell, as also of that excellent Hospital of Saint Crosse there adjoyning, founded by Henrie of Blois brother of King Stephen and Bishop of this City, and augmented by Henrie Beaufort Cardinall, I neede not to speake, seeing every man may read of them in the common Chronicles.

11. As touching the Earles of Winchester, to say nothing of Clyto the Saxon, whom the Normans deprived of his auncient honour, King John created Saier Quency Earle of Winchester, who used for his armes a militare belt, they call it a Fesse, with a labell of seaven as I have seene upon his seales. Of him succeeded Roger his sonne, who bare Gueules seaven Mascles voided, or , but with him that honour vanished and went away, seeing hee died without issew male. For hee married the eldest daughter and one of the coheires of Alan Lord of Galloway in Scotland by a former wife, in right of whom hee was Constable of Scotland. Hee had by her three onely daughters, the first married to William de Ferrariis Earle of Derbie, the second to Alan de la Zouch, the third to Comine Earle of Bucqhanan in Scotland. A long time after Hugh le Dispencer, having that title bestowed upon him for terme of his life by King Edward the Second, whose minion he was and onely beloved, felt together with is sonne what is the consequence of Princes extraordinary favours: for both of them, envied by most, were by the furious rage of the people put cruelly to shamefull death. And long it was after this that through the bounty of King Edward the Fourth Lewis of Bruges, a Netherlander, Lord of Gruthuse, Prince of Steinhuse &, who had given him comfort and succour in the Netherlands when hee was fled his native country, received this honour with Armes resembling those of Roger Quincy, ‡in these words, Azur a dix Mascles D' or en orme ? un Canton de noslie proper Armes d' Engleterre, cest faveur, de Goul un Leopard passant d' or, arme? d' azur. ‡ All which, after King Edwards death, hee yeelded up into the hands of Henrie the Seventh. But lately within our memorie King Edward the Sixth honoured Sir William Powlet Lord Treasurer of England, Earle of Wilshire, and Lord Saint John of Basing, with a new title of Marquesse of Winchester: ‡ a man prudently pliable to times, raised not sodainly but by degrees in Court, excessive in vaste informous buildings, temperat in all other things, full of yeares, for he lived ninety seaven yeares, and fruitfull in his generation, for hee saw one hundred and three issued from him by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir William Capell, Knight. And now his grand-child William enjoieth the said honours. ‡ For the Geographicall position of Winchester, it hath beene observed by former ages to bee in longitude two and twenty degrees, and in latitude fiftie one.

12. From Winchester more Eastward the river Hamble at a great mouth emptieth it selfe into the Ocean. Beda calleth it Hemelea , which, as he writeth, by the lands of the Iutae entreth into Solente, for so termeth he that frith or narrow sea that runneth between the Isle of Wight and the maine land of Britaine: in which the tides at set houres rushing in with great violence out of the Ocean at both ends, and so meeting one another in the midds, seemed so strange a matter to our men in old time that they reckoned it among the wonders of Britaine. Whereof read heere the very words of Beda: The two tides of the Ocean which about Britaine breake out of the vast Northern Ocean daily encounter and fight one against another beyond the mouth of the river Homelea, and when they have ended their conflict, returne back from whence they came and run into the Ocean. Into this Frith that little river also sheadeth it selfe, which having his head neere Warnford, passeth between the Forrests of Waltham (where the Bishop of Winchester hath a goodly house) and of Bere, whereby is Wickham, a mansion of that auncient familie of Veudal, and then by Tichfield, sometime a little monasterie founded by Peter de Rupibus Bishop of Winchster, where the marriage was solemnized betweene King Henrie the Sixth and Margaret of Anjou, and now the principall seat of the Lord Writheosleies Earles of South-hampton. From thence forthwith the shore with curving crookes draweth it selfe in, and the Island named Portesey maketh a great creeke within the more inward nooke or corner, whereof sometimes flourished Port-peris (where by report Vespasian landed), an haven towne which our Auncestors by a new name called Portchester, not of Porto the Saxon, but of the port or haven. For Ptolomee tearmeth it Μέγας Λειμών, that is, The Great Haven, for the widenesse of it, like as that Portus Magnus also in Africk, as Plinie witnesseth. And verily there remaineth yet a great Castell which hath a faire and spatious prospect into the haven underneath. But when as the Ocean by with-drawing it selfe tooke away by little and little the commodity of the haven, the inhabitants flitted from thence into the Iland Portsey adjoining, which taketh in circuit much about foureteene miles, beeing at every full sea floated round about with salt-waters, out of which they boile salt, and by a bridge that hath a fortresse adjoining unto it is united to the Continent. This Island Athelflede King Eadgars wife had given to the New Monasterie of Winchester. And in it at the very gullet or mouth, where the sea entreth in, our fore-fathers built a towne and thereupon named it Portsmouth, that is, the mouth of the haven. A place alwaies in time of warre well frequented, otherwise little resort there is to it, as beeing more favourable and better affected to Mars and Neptune than to Mercurie, that is, to warre rather than to Traffique. A Church it hath of the old building, and an Hospitall (Gods House they call it) founded by Peter de Rupibus Bishop of Winchester. Fortified it is with a wall made of timber and the same well covered over with thicke bankes of earth, fensed with a platforme also or mount of earth in times past on the North-east, nere to the gate, and two block-houses at the entry of the haven made of new heawen stone. Which being by King Edward the Fourth begunne, King Henrie the Seaventh, as the Inhabitants report, did finish, and strengthened the towne with a garrison. But in our remembrance Queene Elizabeth, at her great cost and charges, so armed it (as one would say) with new fortifications, as that now there is nothing wanting that a man would require in a most strong and fensed place. and of the garrison-soldiers some keepe watch and ward both night and day at the gates, others upon the towre of the church, who by the ringing or sound of a bell give warning how many horse or foote are comming, and by putting forth a banner shewe from what quarter they come.

13. From hence as the shore stretcheth a compasse and windeth from Portes-bridge, wee had the sight of Havant, a little mercate towne, and hard by it, of Warblington, a goodly faire house belonging some-times to the Earles of Salisbury, but now to the family of the Cottons, Knights. Before which there lie two Islands, the one greate, named Haling, the other lesse, called Thorney of thornes there growing, and both of them have their severall parish church. In many places along this shore, of the sea waters flowing up thither is made salt of a palish or greene collour, the which by a certain artificious devise they boile until it bee exceeding white. And of this sea or Bay-salt, and not of ours made out of salt springs, is Saint Ambrose to be understood when hee writeth thus: Consider wee those things which are usuall with many very grace-full: namely, how water is turned into salt of such hardnesse and solidity that often-times it is hewed with axes. This in the salts of Britaine is no wonder, as which carrying a shewe of strong marble do shine and glitter againe with the whitenesse of the same metall, like unto snow, and bee holesome to the bodie &.

Farther within the land the Meanvari dwelt, whose country togither with the Isle of Wight Edilwalch King of the South Saxons received in token of Adoption from Wolpher King of Mercians, godfather unto him at the Font when hee was baptised. The habitations of these Meanvari, scarse changing the name, at this day is divided into three hundereds, to wit, Means-borow, Eastmean, and Weastmean, and amongst them there mounteth up an high Hill, invironed in the top with a large rampier, and they call it Old Winchester: at which, by report, there stood in old time a cittie, but now neither top nor toe, as they say, remaineth of it, so as a man would quickly judge it to have beene a summer standing campe and nothing els. Under this is Wamford seated, where Adam de Portu, a mighty man in this tract and of great wealth, in the reigne of William the First, reedified the church anew, as a couple of rude verses set fast upon the wall doe plainly shew.

14. Upon these, more high into the land, those Segontiaci who yeelded themselves unto Julius Caesar had there seat toward the North limite of this shire, in and about the hundred of Holeshot, wherein are to bee seene Mercate Aultun, which King Aelfred bequeathed by his will unto the keeper of Leodre; also Basingstoke, a mercate town well frequented. Upon the descent of an hill on the North side whereof standeth solitarie a very faire chappell consecrated unto the Holy Ghost by William the first Lord Sandes, who was buried there. In the arched and embowed roofe whereof is to bee seene the holy historie of the Bible painted most artificially, with lively portraicts and images representing the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Disciples of Christ. Beneath this Eastward lieth Basing, a towne very well knowne by reason of the Lords bearing the name of it, to wit, Saint John, the Poinings, and the Powlets. For when Adam de Portu Lord of Basing matched in marriage with the daughter and heire of Roger de Aurevall, whose wife was likewise daughter and heire to the right noble house of Saint John, William his sonne, to doe honour unto that familie, assumed to him the surname of Saint John, and they who lineally descended from him have still reteined the same. But when Edmund Saint John departed out of this world without issue in King Edward the Third his time, his sister Margaret bettered the state of her husband John Saint Philibert with the possessions of the Lord Saint John. And when shee was dead without children, Isabell the other sister, wife unto Sir Luke Poinings, bare unto him Thomas Lord of Basing, whose Neice Constance by his sonne Hugh (unto whom this fell for her childs part of inheritance) was wedded into the familie of the Powlets; from her descended that Sir William Powlet who, being made Baron Saint John of Basing by King Henrie the Eighth, and created by King Edward the Sixth first Earle of Wilshire, and afterward Marquesse of Winchester, and withall was Lord Treasurer of England, having in a troublesome time runne through the highest honours, fulfilled he course of nature with the satietie of this life, and that in great prosperity (a rare blessing among Courteours) after he had built a most sumptuous house heere, for the spatious largenesse thereof admirable to the beholders, untill for the great and chargeable reparations his successors pulled downe a good part of it. But of him I have spoken before.

15. Neere unto this house the Vine sheweth it selfe, a verie faire place, and Mansion house of the Barons Sands, so named of the vines there, which wee have had in Britaine since Probus the Emperours time, rather for shade than fruit. For hee permitted the Britains and others to have vines. The first of these Barons was Sir William Sands, whom King Henrie the Eight advanced to that dignitie, being Lord Chamberlaine unto him, and having much amended his estate by marrying Margerie Braie, daughter and heire of John Bray and cousin to Sir Reinold Bray, a most worthy Knight of the Order of the Garter and a right noble Baneret: whose Sonne Thomas Lord Sands was Grandfather to William Lord Sands that now liveth. Neighbouring hereunto is Odiam, glorious in these daies for the Kings house there, and famous for that David the Second King of Scots was there imprisoned: a borrough corporate belonging in times past to the Bishop of Winchester, the fortresse whereof in the name of King John thirteene Englishmen for fifteene daies defended most valiantly, and made good against Lewis of France, who with his whole armie besieged and assaulted it verie hotely.

16. A little above among these Segontiaci, toward the North side of the country, somtimes stood Vindonum, the chiefe citie of the Segontiaci, which casting off his own name hath taken the name of the Nation, like as Lutetia hath assumed unto it the name of the Parisians there inhabiting, for called it was by the Britans Caer Segonte , that is to say, the Citie of the Segontiaci, and so Ninnius in his catalogue of cities named it. Wee at this day called it Silcester, and Higden seemeth to clepe it of the Britans Britenden . That this was the antient Vindonum I am induced to thinke by reason of the distance of Vindonum in Antoninus from Gallena or Guallenford and Venta or Winchester, and the rather because between this Vindonum and Venta there is still to bee seene a causey or street-way. Ninnius recordeth that it was built by Constantius the sonne of Constantine the Great, and called sometime Murimintum , haply for Murt-vindum , that is, The wals of Vindon. For this word mur [wall] borrowed from the provinciall language the Britans retained still, and V the consonant they change oftentimes in their speech and writing into M. And to use the verie words of Asinnius, though they seeme ridiculous, the said Constantius sowed upon the soile of this citie three seedes, that none should be poore that dwelt therein at any time. Like as Dinocrates, when Alexandria in Aegypt was a-building, strewed it with meale or flower (as Marcellinus writeth) all the circular line of the draught, which being done by chance, was taken as a fore-token that the citie should abound with al maner of victuails. He reporteth also that Constantius died here, and that his Sepulcher was to be seene at one of the gates, as the inscription sheweth. But in these matters let Ninnius cleere his owne credit, for stuffed hee hath that little booke with many a pretty lie. Yet this I may be bold to affirme, that it flourished in great honour about that time, and I my selfe have lighted here upon verie many peeces of the coine of Constantine the younger sonne to Constantine the Great, which in their reverse have the portraict of an house with this inscription, PROVIDENTIA CAES. Now that this Constantius, whom he maketh the builder of this citie, died at Mopsuestia in Cilicia, and was interred in Constantinople in the Sepulcher of his Ancestours, it is knowen for certaine and confessed. Yet I will not denie but that he might have in this citie a monument erected in honour and remembrance of him. For many there were that had such monuments built, about which the souldiers were wont yeerely to just and keepe solemne turneaments in honour of the dead.

17. When the declining Romane Empire hastened to an end, and barbarous nations began everie where to waste and spoile the Provinces, their armies heere in Britaine, fearing least the flame of this fire, wherewith their next neighbours in France were consumed, would catch hold of them, set up and created Emperours to themselves: first Marcus, then Gratian, whom they soone slew, and last of all in the yeere after Christs birth 407 our Constantine, for his names sake, they forced wild he nild he to usurpe the empire and to put on the imperiall purple robe in citie Caer Segont , as both Ninnius and Gervase of Canterburie doe witnesse. This Constantine, putting to sea out of Britaine, landed at Bologne in France and drew all the Romane armes, even as farre as the Alpes, to side and joine with him in his warres. Hee stoutly defended Valentia in France against the power of Honorius the Emperour; the River Rhene, which long before had beene neglected, he fortified with a garrison. Upon the Alpes, where any passage was hee built fortresses. In Spaine, under the conduct of his sonne Constans, whom of a Monke he had declared Emperour, he warred fortunately, and afterwards, having sent his letters unto Honorius and craved pardon for suffering the souldiours to put upon him the purple perforce, whether hee would or no, he accepted at his hands the imperiall investure, which he freely gave him. Whereupon being puffed up with pride, after hee had passed the Alpes, his mind was wholly set upon a journey to Rome. But hearing that Alarichus the Gothe, who had favoured his part, was dead, hee returned to Arles, where hee setled his imperiall seat, caused the citie to bee called Constantina, and commanded the courts and assemblies of seven Provinces there to be holden. In the meane time Gerontus excited the souldiers against their Lord, and when he had treacherously slaine his sonne Constans at Vienna in France, besieged Constantine also himselfe within Arles. But after that one Constantius, sent by Honorius with a great armie, made head against him, Gerontius killed himselfe. And Constantine, being now streitly besieged, and by reason of the unhappie successe of his men past all hope, laid aside the purple and his great estate, entred into the Church, became a Priest, and streight-waies when Arles was yeelded up, and he carried into Italie, was himselfe together with his sonne Julian (unto whom he had given the title of Nobilissimus) and his brother Sebastian, beheaded. Thus much briefly of these occurrents (which before are discoursed more at large) out of Zosimus, Zosomenus, Nicephorus, Orosius, and Olympiodorus, to the end that Veritie may triumph over their vanitie, who have besprinkled this storie with most ridiculous and foolish lies of their owne devising.

18. Moreover, in this citie our Historiographers write that our warlike Arthur was invested and crowned King. But not long after it was rased quite, either in the Saxons warres or when Adelwolph, being offended with his brother King Edward upon a malicious mind, together with the helpe of the Danish rovers, wasted this countrey even to Basing-stoke. And now remaineth nothing save the wals, which although they want their battlements, curtain and coppe, yet they seeme to have been of a verie great height. for the earth is so growne up with the rubble that I could scarse with stoupling low passe through an old posterne which they call Onions Hole. These walles in some sort continue whole, but that they bee broken through in those places were the gates were, and out of the verie walles i saw grow oakes of that bignesse, and those seeming (as it were) bredde with the verie stones, with such huge boughes all about, that it would make the beholders to wonder thereat. These walles take in compasse about two Italian miles. Whereupon haply the Saxons called this citie Selcester, as one would say, The great citie , for sel may seeme to sound with them as much as Great , seeing Asserius hath interpreted the Saxon word Selwood The Great wood. And before the wals westward, where is a plaine, there lieth a banke of a great length, raised and cast up for a defense and fortification. The site of this old citie containeth about fourscore acres of ground within, which being a soile ploughed up and tilled, are divided into corne-fields, with a little grove in the West-side: but on the East, neere unto the gappe in the wall, there standeth a Farme-house and a pretty Church more lately built, in which, while I searched for ancient inscriptions, I found nothing, but onely in the windowes certaine armes, to wit, In a field sable, seven Fusils argent in Bend , likewise in a shield sable, a Fesse between to Cheverns , and in an Escutcheon or, an Eagle displaied with two heads, gules. This last, I have heard say, was the coat of the Blewets, unto whom this land came about the Conquerours time. The second belonged unto the ancient house of the Bainards of Leckham, but the first to the Cusanz, by whom from the Blewets it descended hereditarily to the said Bainards. But in the raigne of William the Conquerour it was the possession of William de Ow, a Norman, who being accused of high treason and desirous to prove his innocencie by combat, was overcome in fight, and by commandement of King William Rufus, had his two eies plucked out of his head and lost both his genetours [testicles]. This is found by continuall observation (as i have learned of the inhabitants of this place), that although the ground bee fertile and fruitfull inough, yet in certaine places crossing one another, the corne doth not thrive so well, but commeth up much thinner than else where, by which they suppose the streets of the citie went in old time. There are heere daily digged up bricks such as we call Britaine-bricks, and great store of Romane coine which they terme Onions pennies. For they dreame that this Onion was a Giant and dwelt in this citie. There are digged up also many times inscriptions, of which the unskilfull rurall people envie us the having. Onely one was brought from hence to London, which was to bee seene in the gardens of the right honourable Sir William Cecill Lord Burghley and high Treasurer of England, to wit:


That this Tombe was erected for that Victorina which was called mater castrorum , that is, The mother of the campe , and who against Gallienus the Emperour excited in Gaule and Britaine the two Victorini, her sonne and sonnes sonnes, Posthumus likewise, Lolllianus, Marius, and Tetricus Caesars, I would not with others affirme. Yet I have read that two of the Victors were in some place here in Britaine, and those at one and the selfe-same time, the one Maximus the Emperour his sonne, the other Praefectus praetorio to the same Emperour, of whom Saint Ambrose maketh mention in his Epistles, but I dare avouch that neither of these twaine reared this monument for his wife.

19. As one highway or street of the Romans went straight from hence southward to Winchester, so there was another ran west-ward through Pamber forrest, very full of trees, and other by-places now standing out of the way hard by Litchfield, that is, The field of dead bodies , to the Forrest of Chute, pleasant for coole shade of trees and plentifull game, in which the Hunters and Forresters themselves do wonder at the bank or ridge thereof, so evident to be seene, paved with stone but broken here and there.

More toward the North, in the verie edge and frontier of this Shire, we saw Kings-Cleare, a market towne in these daies well frequented, the residence in times past of the Saxon Kings; by it Fremantle in a parke where King John much haunted; also Sidmanton, the habitation of the Kingsmills, Knights; and Burgh-Cleare, situate under an high hill, in the top whereof a warlike rampire (such as our contreymen called a burgh ) hath a trench taking a great compasse about it: from whence, there being a faire and open prospect every way over the country lying underneath, there standeth a Beacon, that by light burning fire the enemies comming may bee shewed to all the neighbour-inhabitants round about. And verily such watches or signals as this we terme in common speech Beacons of the old word beacnian , that is, to shew by a signe , and for these many hundred yeeres they have been in right great request and much used among us: in some places, by heaping up a dale of wood, in others by barrels bull of pitch fastened to the top of a mast or pole in the highest places of the contrey, at which by night some doe ever more watch, and in old time there were set horsemen as posts in many places, whom our Ancestors called Hobelers , who in the day time should give notice of the enemies approch.

20. This shire, like as the rest which hitherto we have run over, belonged to the West-Saxon Kings, and when they had deposed Sigebert from his Kingdome for his tyrannie, evil intereating and lewd managing of his province, this countrey, as Marianus writeth, was assigned unto him least hee should seeme altogether a private person. Whom notwithstanding afterward, for his wicked deeds, they likewise expelled from hence, and so far was it off that this afflicted state of a King moved any man to take pitie of him, that a Swineheard in the end slew him in the wood Anderida, where he had lurked and hidden himselfe.

This shire can reckon by verie few Earles besides those of Winchester which I have alreadie named. In the first time of the Normans Bogo or Beavose, the Englishman who fought against the Normans in the battell of Cardiff in Wales, is reputed to have been Earle of South-hampton, a man for warlike prowesse much renowned, whom whiles the Monks laboured to set out with their fained fables, they have obscured his doughtie deeds in greater darknes. From which time unto the daies of King Henry the Eight, there was no Earle of South-hampton that I read of, but he created William Fitzwilliams, descended from the daughter of Marquesse Montacute, both Earle of Southampton and also Admiral of England, when he was now well stricken in yeeres. Who dying streight after without issue, King Edward the Sixth in the first yeere of his reigne conferred the said honor upon Thomas Wriotheosley Lord Chanceller, whose grand-child Henrie by his sonne Henrie enjoieth the same at this day, and in the prime and flowre of his age hath by good literature and militarie experience strengthend his honorable parentage, that in riper yeeres he might be more serviceable to his Prince and country.

There be found in this shire Parishes 253 and mercate townes 18.


TO this Countie of Southampton belongeth that Iland which lieth out in length over against the midst of it Southward, called by the Romanes in times past Vecta, Vectis, and Victesis, by Ptolomee Oὐικτήσις, by Britains Guith , by English-Saxons Wuitland and Wicth-Ea (for an Iland they termed ea ), and by us in these daies the Isle of Wight and The Wight, by so small a streit running through betweene, anciently called Solent. It is severed from the mainland, that it may seeme to have beene conjoined to it, whereof that British name of it Guith , which betokeneth a separation, as Ninnius saith, is thought to have been given, even as Sicilie also being broken off (as it were) and cut from Italie, got the name from secando , the Latin word (which signifieth cutting), as the right learned Julius Scaliger is of opinion. Whereupon (under correction alwaies of the Judicious Criticks) I would read in the sixt Quaestiones Naturales of Seneca thus, ab Italia Sicilia resecta , that is, Sicilie cut from Italie , whereas it is commonly read there reiecta . By this vicinity of site, and affinitie of name we may well thinke this Vecta to be that Icta which, as Diodorus Siculus writeth, seemed at every tide to be an Iland, but when it was ebbe, the ancient Britans were wont that way to carry tinne thither by carts, which should be transported into France. But yet I would not deeme it to be that Mictis in Plinie, which likewise commeth very neere unto Vecta, for that in it there was plenty of tinne, but in this of ours there is not to my knowledge any vaine at all of mettall.

2. This Isle betweene East and West in ovall forme stretcheth out twenty miles in length, and spreadeth in the mids, where it is broadest twelve miles, having the one side turning to the North, and the other Southward. The ground (to say nothing of the sea exceeding full of fish) consisteth of soile very fruitfull, and is thankfull to the husbandman, in so much as it does affoord corne to be carried forth, breeding everywhere store of conies, hares, partridges,, and phesants. One little forrest it hath likewise and two parks replenished with deere for game and hunting pleasure. Through the mids thereof runs a long tract or chaine of hils, yeelding plentie of pasture and forrage for sheepe. The wooll of which, next unto that of Lemster and Cotteswold, is esteemed best and in speciall request with clothiers, whereby there groweth unto the inhabitants much gaine and profit. The North part is all over greene with meddows, pastures, and woods; the south side lieth wholly in maner, bedecked with corne fields enclosed, where at each end the sea on the North side doth so inbosome, encroatch within it self, that it maketh almost two Ilands, and verily so the Ilanders call them, namely Fresh-water Isle, which looketh West, and Binbridge Isle, Eastward. In Bedas daies it was counted to containe a thousand two hundred hides, now it reckoneth upon 36 townes, villages and Castles, which for ecclesiasticall jurisdiction belong to the Bishop of Winchester, and for civill government to the County of South-hanton. The inhabitants of this Isle were wont merrily to make their boast that their case was happier than all others, because they had neither hooded monks, nor cavilling Lawyers, nor yet crafty foxes.

3. The places of greater name be these, Newport, the principall mercate towne of the whole Isle, called in times past Medena and Novus Burgus de Meden , that is, The new Burgh of Meden , whereof the whole country is divided into East Meden and West Meden, an ordering as to their situation East or West either way. Caeres-broke, an old Castle, so clepid and clipped short for Whitegaresburg , is in the very heart and mids of the Isle, taking the name of Whitgar the Saxon, of whom more heereafter, and of late magnificently reedified by the meanes of the Captaine, unto which Castle there belonged very many Knights Fees, and above all other places it hath heere the glorie for antiquity. Brading, another mercate Towne. Newton and Yarmouth, anciently called Eremue , which have their Majors and send Burgesses to the Parliament. This Yarmouth and Sharpnore have Castles in them, which together with Worsleys fort or Blockhouse (so named of a worshipfull familie) defend the Sea-shore at the North-west. Just over against it scarcely two miles off standeth Hurst, a fortification of South Hamptonshire, situate upon a little necke of land lying into the sea. Quarre, where was founded a Nunnerie in the yeere of our Lord 1132. Gods-Hill, in which John Worsley erected a schole for the training up of young wits. West Cowe and East Cowe, that is now ruinous, both of which King Henrie the Eight built at the very entrie of New port. And concerning them Leland wrote in this wise:

Two Cowes full opposite their stand,
At West and East, in all mens sight:
They flashen fire from either hand,
Where Newport entreth Isle of Wight.

Also on the North-east side Sandham Castle, furnishes as the rest with great ordinance. Neither are there wanting for the defence of this Isle natural fences. For encircled it is with a continuall ridge and raunge, as it were, of craggy clifts; there are under the waters likewise hidden stones, and every where there lie against it bankes and rockes perilous for sailers: but the most dangerous of all the rest are the Needles, so called because they are so sharpe, and the Shingles, which stand forth against the West angle of the Isle, as also the Owers and Mixon that lie before the East. Besides these, The Brambles, which are Shelves and perilous for Sailers, in the North coast. Moreover if there be any place that seemeth open and meete for a landing place, the same by an old order and custome among them is piled with strong stakes driven and pitched deepe into the ground.

4. But verily this Isle is neither with these rockes, nor with those fortresses above said so well fensed as with the very inhabitants themselves, who naturally being most warlicke, bold and adventurous, are through the diligence and care of the Captaine of the Isle confirmed so by continuall exercise in strength and militarie discipline that they exactly know before hand what accidents of service soever may happen in warre, namely, with their peeces to shoot point-blanke and not misse the marke, to keepe their rankes, to march orderly and in ray [array], to take paines, to runne and ride, to endure both Sunne and dust, and fully to performe whatsoever warfare doth require. Of these souldiers thus trained the isle it selfe is able to bring forth into the field 4000, and at the instant for all assaies appointed there be three thousand more of most expert and practised servitours out of Hamshire, and two thousand beside out of Wilshire, to be ever prest and in redinesse for the defense of the Isle. And to the end that all hostile forces whatsoever might be withstoode more speedily and with greater facility, the whole country is divided into eleven parts, and every of them hath their severall Centoner, as one would say Centurion, their Vintons also, leaders as it were of twenty, their great peeces of ordinance, their Sentinals and warders, who keepe watch and ward at the Beacons standing on the higher grounds: their posts also or runners, whom by an old name grown almost out of use they terme still Hoblers, who presently give intelligence of all occurrents to Captaine and governour of the Isle.

5. The first that brought in subjection to the Romans Vespasian, whiles he served as a private person under Claudius Caesar. For thus writeth Suetonius of him: Under the Emperour Claudius, by especiall favour of Narcissus, he was sent into Germanie as Lieftenant of a legion, and from thence being removed into Britaine, he fought thirty battailes with the enemie. Two most mighty nations and above twenty townes, together with the Isle of Wight lying next to the said Britaine, he subdued, under the conduct partly of Aulus Plautius a Consular Lieftenant, and in part of Claudius himselfe. For which service he received triumphall ornaments, and in short space two sacerdotall dignities, &. At this Isle also the navie of Allectus, after he had usurped the imperiall dignity in Britaine, lying in espiall and ambush, awaited the Romans comming against him, who notwithstanding by the happy meanes of a mist passed by their enemies undeskried, gat to land and set fire on their owne ships that there might be no refuge for them to escape unto by flight. Lord Cerdic was the first English-Saxon that subdued it, and he graunted it unto Stuffa and Whitgar, who jointly togither slew well-neare all the British inhabitants (for few there were of them remaining) in Whitgaraburge , a town so called of his name, and now by contraction shortned into Caresbroke. After, Wolpher King of the Mercians reduced the Isle of Wight under his obedience, and assigned it over to Edelwalch King of the South Saxons, together with the province of the Menuari, what time as hee became his Godfather and answered for him at his Baptisme. Then Caedwalla King of the West-Saxons, when the said Edelwalch was slaine and Arvandus the pety King of the Iland made away, annexed it to his Dominion, and in a tragicall and lamentable massacre killed every mothers child almost of the inborne inhabitants, and the fourth part of the Isle, to wit as much land as contained 300 Hides, he gave to Bishop Wilfred, the first that instructed the Ilanders in the knowledge of Christian religion. But these matters Beda will informe you best, writing as he doth in these words:

6. After than that Caedualla had obtained the kingdome of the Gevissi, hee wonne also the Isle of Wight, which unto that time had beene wholly given to Idolatrie; and then endevoured what he could to make a generall massacre and tragicall slaughter of all the native inhabitants thereof, and in steed of them to plant there people of his owne province, binding himselfe with a vow, although he was not yet regenerate and become Christened, that in case he won the Isle he would give unto God a fourth part of it and also of the whole bootie. Which vow he so payed as that he offered this Isle unto Wilfrid the Bishop (who being of his nation hapend then to come thither and be present) to the use and glory of God. The measure of the same Islands according to the Englishmens estimation is proportionable to one thousand and two hundred hides of land. Whereupon the Bishop had possession given him of so much Land as arose to three hundered Hides. But he commended that portion which hee received unto one of his Clarks named Bernwin, and his sisters sonne hee was, giving unto him a priest named Hildila for to minister unto all that were desirous of salvation the word and laver of life. where I thinke it not good to passe over in silence how for the first fruits (as one would say) of those who of the same Isle were saved by their beleife two young children, brethren, of the royall bloud, to wit the sonnes of Arvandus King of the Isle, were by the especiall favour of God crowned with martirdome. For when the enemies approached hard unto the Island, these children slipt secretly out of the Isle, and were remooved into the province next adjoining; where being brought to a place called Ad Lapidem, when they had committed themselves upon trust to be hidden from the face of the King that was conquerour, betrayed they were and commaunded to be killed. Which when a certaine Abbot and Priest named Cynbreth heard, who not farre from thence had his monasterie in a place named Reodford, that is the Ford of Reed, hee came unto the King, who then in those parts lay secretly at cure of those wounds which hee had received whiles hee fought in the Isle of Wight, and requested of him that, if there no remedy but that the children must bee murdered, they might yet bee first taught the Sacraments of Christian faith before their death. The King granted his petition, and he then having catechized them in the word of truth, and bathed them in the fount of salvation, assured them of their entrance into the everlasting Kingdome of heaven. And so within a while after, when the executioner called instantly for them, they joyfully suffered that temporall death of the body by which they made no doubt their passe into the eternall life of their soules. In this order and maner, therefore, after all the Provinces of Britaine had embraced the faith of Christ, the Isle of Wight also received the same: in which notwithstanding, for the calamity and trouble of forraine subjection, no man tooke the degree of Ministerie and Sea Episcopall before Daniell, who at this day is the Bishop of the West Saxons and the Gevisi. That much Beda.

7. From this time forward our writers for a great while have not one word of Wight unto the yeere of our Lord one thousand sixtie six, in which Tostie King Haralds brother with certaine men of warre and rovers ships out of Flanders in hatred of his brother invaded it, and after he had compelled the Ilanders to pay him tribute, departed. Some few yeeres after, as we read in the old booke of Caresbroke Priorie, which Master Robert Glover Somerset shewed me, who carried as it were the Sunne light of ancient Genealogies and Pedigrees in his hand. Like as , saith this booke, William the Bastard conquered England, even so William Fitz-Osbern his Mareschal and Earle of Hereford conquered the Isle of Wight, and was the first lord of Wight. Long after this, the Frenchmen in the yeere 1377 came suddenly at unawares under saile, invaded and spoiled it, and the same French in the yere 1403 gave the like attempt, but in vaine. for valiantly they were driven from landing even as in our fathers daies, when the French Gallies set one or two small cottages on fire and went their way.

8. As touching the Lords of this Isle, after that William Fitz-Osbern as forthwith slaine in the warre in Flanders, and his son Roger outlawed and driven unto exile, it fell into the Kings hands, and Henrie the First King of England gave it unto Richard Ridvers (otherwise called Redvers and de Ripariis) Earle of Denshire, and withall the Fee or inheritance of the Towne Christ-Church. Where, like as at Cares-broke, that Richard built certaine Fortresses. But Baldwin his sonne, in the troublesome time of King Stephen, when there were in England so many Tyrants as there were Lords of Forts and Castles, who tooke upon them every one to stamp money and challenged other rights of regall Majestie, was by Stephen disseized and expelled from hence. Howbeit, is posterity recovered their ancient right, whose Genealogie we have already put downe when we treated of the Earles of Denshire. But in the end, Isabell widow to William de Fortibus Earle of Albemarle and Holdernesse, sister and heire of Baldwin the last Earle of Devonshire of that house, after much intreaty was overcome to make over by charter all her right and interest, and to settle it upon King Edward the First, with the Manours of Christ-church and Fawkeshaul, &. for four thousand Markes. Ever since which time, the Kings of England held the Isle, and Henry de Beauchamp Earle of Warwicke was by King Henry the Sixt, unto whom hee was most deere, crowned king of Wight, and afterwards nominated The first or principall Earle of all England. but together with him this new and unusuall title died and vanished quite. Afterwards Richard Widevile Earle Rivers was by King Edward the Fourth stiled Lord of the Isle of Wight, and Sir Reginald Bray tooke it of King Henry the Seventh (with whom he was most inward) in Fee farme, for a rent chargd of three hundred markes yeerely to be paid. Also, besides these Lords, this Isle had a noble familie named de Insula or Lisle, out of which in the reigne of King Edward the Second one was summoned unto the Parliament by the name of Sir John Lisle of the Isle of Wight.

William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610) Copyright 2004 by Dana F. Sutton. This text was transcribed by Professor Sutton, of the University of California, Irvine, from Philemon Holland's 1610 translation [British Library Short Title Catalogue 4509, Early English Books reel 911:1]. For a full critical edition presenting Camden's original Latin text in parallel with Holland's translation, visit Professor Sutton's site at:


Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall.

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