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rian pursuits, and consequent inattention to his private affairs, and died in 1760, at the age of 78*.
About two miles south-east of Blandford, near the village of Spetisbury, is an ancient Encampment, by some writers attributed to the Romans, and by others to the Saxons; the latter conjecture appears to be confirmed by several coins of that people having been found within its area; it is of a circular form, and has thence obtained the name of Spetisbury Ring.
BRIDPORT, A considerable borough, and sea-port, is situated in a vale about a mile from the sea, and between two branches of the river Brit, which unite below the town, and form the Harbour, lately much improved in consequence of an Act of Parliament obtained for that purpose in 1822. This town is 135 miles from London, is well-built, and contained, in 1821, a population of 3742 persons, many of whom are employed in manufacturing sail-cloth, cordage, and netting; and small vessels, of excellent construction, are built here. Bridport is a place of considerable antiquity, and is mentioned in Domesday Book as containing 120 houses, and having a mint for the coinage of silver. It received its first Charter from Henry III, and its privileges were confirmed or increased by succeeding sovereigns, until the time of Charles II, who granted the Charter under which it is at present governed by two Bailiffs, who are annually chosen, thirteen capital Burgesses, a Recorder, and other officers. It first sent two Members to Parliament in 1295, and has retained that privilege to the present time, the Corporation, and all inhabitant householders paying scot and lot, being the electors; their number is about 300. During the Civil War, this town was alternately in the session of Charles and the Parliament; and in Monmouth's rebellion, some excesses were committed here, which were severely punished by the execution of twelve persons in the town at one time.
The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious and venerable edifice, built in the form of a cross, with a central tower, adorned with pinnacles, and
* A portrait, with a very amusing account of Dr. Browne Willis, will be found in the second volume of Hone's Every Day Book.
pos72 feet high. Here are also several places of worship for Dissenters; a handsome Town Hall, and Market-house, erected in the centre of the town, at an expense of £3000; a Charity School; neat Almshouses; and a Gaol. The Market-days are Wednesday and Saturday, and three annual Fairs are held here.
· CERNE ABBAS is a small town, 127 miles from the metropolis, and stands in a pleasant valley, surrounded by lofty chalk-hills. Here was formerly a splendid Abbey, founded before the Conquest, whose revenues, at the Dissolution, were valued at upwards of £600. Very few relics of this magnificent and extensive pile now remain; the principal vestiges are the great entrance, or Gatehouse, and a large Barn; some fragments of the walls are also observable, but not a trace of the Abbey Church can be discovered. St. Mary's, the parish Church, is a plain but handsome edifice, in the pointed style of architecture, with a lofty tower, surmounted by four pinnacles; it is spacious, and is supposed to have been built about 1450. The population of this town is 1060 persons, some of whom are employed in the silk manufacture, and others in making malt and brewing: Here is a good Market, granted by King John, and held on Wednesday; and three annual Fairs.
Near this town is a lofty eminence, on the summit of which is an oblong Entrenchment, called Trendle Hill; and on the side is traced a gigantic figure, 180 feet high, representing a man holding a club in his right hand, and extending his left. Some shapeless letters and cyphers are cut between the legs of this figure; the person represented by it is not known, but some antiquaries suppose it to be Cenric, son of Cutbred, King of Wessex, who was slain in battle near this place in the eighth century.
CHARMOUTH, a small villages about two miles from Lyme, with 607 inhabitants, derives its name from its situation near the mouth of the Char, and is supposed to occupy the site of the Roman station of Carixa. Its Church is dedicated to St. Matthew, and does not possess any thing remarkable. In this neighbourhood the Danes defeated the Saxons under
Egbert, in 833, and again under Ethelwolf, in 840; but in both instances they suffered so much in the contest as to be unable to pursue the advantage they had gained, and retreated to their ships without the plunder which was the great object of their enterprises. Charles II, in attempting to escape to the Continent after the battle of Worcester, narrowly missed detection in this village, in consequence of a blacksmith observing, while shoeing the horse of oue of his attendants, that it had been previously shod in the north, whereas the rider stated the party to have come from the west. In 1531, after heavy rain, succeeding very hot weather, the cliffs near this place emitted smoke, and in a short time began to burn; the flame, however, was seldom visible except at night; on examination, the earth, for a considerable depth, was found to be impregnated with pyrites, bitumen, sulphur, and other inflammable matter.
CORFE CASTLE. This ancient borough is situated nearly in the centre of the island or peninsula of Purbeck, 116 miles from London, and stands on a rising ground, at the foot of a range of hills. It probably owes its origin to the Castle, which was erected in the tenth century, but does not appear to have been a place of any importance, at the close of the following century, as it is not noticed in Domesday Book. The Manor and Castle have been the property of various distinguished persons, and at present belong to H. Bankes, Esq. in whose family they hare been vested from 1635. The first Charter of incorporation was granted to this town by Queen Elizabeth, in 1576, when the inhabitants were invested with the same privileges as those of the Cinque Ports; and this Charter being confirmed by James I, and Charles II, the town is now governed by a Mayor and eight Barons. In 1572, two Parliamentary Representatives were first sent from hence; the right of election is vested in the burgage-holders, whose number is about 40. Corfe Castle at present consists principally of two streets, built chiefly of stone. The Church, dedicated to St. Edward the Martyr, is a spacious and ancient fabric, consisting of a nave, chancel, and two aisles, with an embattled tower;
its architecture shows it to have been erected at different periods. The poor children of this town receive the rudiments of education in the Sunday Schools set on foot by W. M. Pitt, Esq. which are among the first established in this country, and are supported by subscription. The population, in 1821, was 1465 persons, many of whom are employed in the stone-quarries, and clay-pits; and the women and children iu knitting stockings. The market-day is Thursday, and two annual Fairs are held.
stands to the north of the town, on a steep rocky hill, and although now commanded by the neighbouring eminences, it must, previously to the invention of artillery, have been almost impregnable, as its structure was so strong as to defy, any other means of attack. It is separated from the town by a deep moat, now dry, which is crossed by a strong bridge of four high and narrow arches. At the extremity of the bridge is a gate, between two round towers, leading into the first of the four Wards into which the Castle is divided; this Ward has several circular towers, and is separated from the second by a ditch, over which is a bridge of one arch; this division is also entered by a gateway, between two towers, and three other towers are placed in different parts of this court, which is believed to be the most ancient part of the Castle. The third Ward is situated on the summit of the hill; it was the principal part of the edifice, and contained the Great or King's Tower, which was about 80 feet high, 72 by 60 square, and the walls 12 feet thick; it is now in a state of great dilapidation; the Queen's Tower, and the Chapel of St. Mary, were also included in this Ward, which seems to have been appropriated to the residence of the lords of the Castle, as its remains show it to have been erected with more attention to elegance and convenience than the other buildings. The fourth Ward is the smallest, and lies to the north of the third; its ruins do not present any thing remarkable.
The foundation of this Castle is attributed to King Edgar, and here his widow Elfrida resided, when the barbarous murder of her son-in-law Edward was committed *. It appears to have continued in the
* The following account of this atrocious deed is given by William of Malmsbury, and its correctness is borne out by a comparison with the relations of other annalists. " King Edward being hunting in a forest near the sea, upon the south-east coast of the county of Dorset, and in the Isle of Purbeck, came near unto a fair and strong Castle, seated on a little river called Corfe, wherein his mother-in-law, Elfrida,' with her son Ethelred, then lived: the King, ever bearing a kind affection to them, being so near, would needs make known so much by his personal visitation; which having resolved, and being either of purpose, or by chance, , singled from his followers, he rode to the Castle gate. The Queen, who long had looked for an opportunity; that, by making him away, she might make way for her own son to the Crown, was glad the occasion now offered itself; and therefore, with a modest and humble behaviour, she bade him welcome, desiring to enjoy his presence that night. But he, having performed what he purposed, and doubting his company might find him missing, told her, that he now intended on horseback to drink to her and his brother in a cup of wine, and so leave her; which being presented unto him, the cup was no sooner at his mouth, but a knife was at his back, which a servant, appointed by this treacherous woman, struck into him. The King, finding himself hurt, set spurs to his horse, thinking to recover his company; but the wound being deep, and fainting through the loss of much blood, he fell from his horse, which dragged him by one foot hanging in the stirrup, until he was left dead at Corfe gate, Anno Dom. 979." According to some of these chronicles, the body of the murdered Prince was dragged into the wood, and being found by the Queen's servants, was, by her orders, buried in a marshy place, or thrown into a well, where, in the following year, it was discovered " by warning from heaven,” a pillar of fire indicating the place where it was concealed. It was then removed to Wareham, and three years afterwards carried to Shaftesbury, where it was interred near the high altar. A spring burst forth from the place where the body had lain, which was called St. Edward's Fountain, and at which the usual number of miracles was performed; the murdered King, on account of his youth and innocence, (much better titles' than some saints