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and still remains an interesting monument of ancient architecture; but a few disjointed fragments of walls are all that now exist of the once extensive conventual buildings.
The Church is a spacious structure, built in the form of a cross, and has a low tower, rising from the intersection of the transepts with the nave. It still exhibits much of the architecture of the tenth century, but has been altered, in many places, to the pointed style. Several monumental inscriptions in memory of the ancient Abbesses yet remain, and here is also an elegant tablet in memory of Lady Palmerstone, who died in 1769; a fine monument of J. St. Barbe, Esq. who represented the county in Parliament in 1654, ornamented with busts of himself and his wife, and full length figures of their four sons, with a curious anagrammatical inscription ; and a flat stone denoting the place of interment of Sir William Petty. A very ancient sculpture, on the outer wall of the south transept, represents the Crucifixion; and at a short distance is a highly ornamented Saxon arch, which communicated with the Cloisters *. Beside the Church, Romsey has a large Meeting-house for Presbyterians; here are also an Almshouse for six widows; and three Schools. The Town Hall is a plain building; the Audit Hall, erected in 1744 by Lord Palmerstone, is a large edifice, near the centre of the town, with an open space beneath, in which a Market is held on Saturday; and three annual Fairs. The Corporation consists of a Mayor, Recorder, six Aldermen, twelve Burgesses, &c. A considerable woollen trade was formerly carried on here; but the only remnant of it now left consists in a small manufacture of shalloons. Some paper mills, and a sacking manufactory, however, still afford employment to a portion of the inhabitants, whose number, in 1821, was 5128.
Sir William Petty was born in this town in 1623; after the usual course of classical education, to which he added a knowledge of those branches of mathema
* On the outside, near the top of the tower of this Church, formerly grew an apple tree, which for many years produced excellent fruit of two kinds, viz. red-streaks and golden pippins; it was supposed that a kernel must have fallen into a crevice of the wall, and in course of time occasioned this phenomenon.
tics which relate to navigation, and a very extensive acquaintance with mechanical science, he went to France, where he studied medicine, surgery, and anatomy. On his return to England he obtained a command in the navy, and paid great attention to shipbuilding; shortly afterwards we find him, with a singular versatility, teaching chemistry at Oxford, from which University he obtained the degree of M.D., and was appointed, in 1650, its Professor of Anatomy; he also became a Member of the College of Physicians in London, and in 1652 was appointed Physician to the Army in Ireland, where he remained until 1661, when, having acquired a very considerable fortune, he came to England, and was knighted by Charles II. He died in 1687, at the age of 64, leaving property amounting nearly to £15,000 per annum, an immense sum at that time, and which shows that his literary and scientific pursuits did not so exclusively occupy his mind as to prevent his attention to his private affairs. His most celebrated publication is the well-known Treatise on Taxes and Contributions, one of the first works on what is now called political economy; he left a large collection of books and manuscripts, which are still in the possession of his descendant the Marquis of Lansdowne.
Giles Jacob, who was born at Romsey in 1686, and was educated as an attorney, wrote two comedies, which not being very successful, he had the good sense to abandon dramatic composition, and to employ his pen on subjects connected with his profession; of his works, which are numerous, the Law Dictionary, in a folio volume, has gone through many editions, and is still in repute. He also published the Poetical Register, containing lives of the English dramatic writers, which was tolerably successful. He died in 1744.
SELBORNE, a village with about 800 inhabitants, is situated on the western border of Woolmer Forest, and had a Priory of Augustine Friars, founded in 1232, and considerably enlarged by the benefactions of Sir Adam Gurdon, a celebrated outlaw, and partisan of the Barons in their wars with Henry III, and whose castle was near this place. Being taken prisoner by Prince Edward, the lenity with which he was treated converted him into a loyal subject, and he was employed and confided in by his generous conqueror until the day of his death. The Priory flourished until about 1480, when it was deserted, and its possessions granted to Magdalen College, Oxford; not a vestige of its buildings now remains.
A Church existed here as far back as the period of the Domesday survey; and the massive pillars which support the roof of the present building probably formed a part of the ancient edifice. It has an embattled tower, is low and plain, but the altar-piece is adorned with a fine painting of the Offering of the Magi, by Albert Durer, presented by the Rev. Mr. White, author of the excellent and instructive “ Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne.”
SILCHESTER, now an obscure village, on the border of Berkshire, was once a considerable Roman city, and exhibits undoubted specimens of its occupation by that people. The walls are stillin many places perfect, 24 feet in thickness, from 15 to 20 feet high, and enclosing an area of nearly a mile and a half in circumference. The foundations of the streets may also be traced; the four principal ones communicated with the entrances, which were at the cardinal points; and in the centre was an open space, supposed to have been the site of the Forum. 'Numerous relics of antiquity have been found in every part of the enclosure, consisting of mutilated statues, fragments of pillars, inscribed stones, coins, urns, rings, swords, necklaces of beads, &c. The area enclosed by the walls is now cultivated, and divided into several fields. It also contains the parish Church, (a plain edifice), the Churchyard, a farm-house, &c.; and as severa springs rise here, the fosse which surrounds it is partially filled with water.
About 450 feet from the walls is the Amphitheatre, the elevation of which consists of high and steep banks of clay and gravel intermixed, with five rows of seats, one above another, having an interval of about six feet between them. At the bottom this bank' or wall is about 60 feet in thickness, but gradually decreases to 12 feet at the summit; on the south side is the cavea or den, in which the wild beasts were confined until they were admitted into the arena, to tear each other to pieces for the amusement of the polished spectators. The area is now usually covered with water.
About a mile and a half from Silchester, near a little village called Soak, are the remains of a Roman camp; and several Roads, evidently formed by that people, extend in various directions, one leading to Winchester, a second by Andover to Old Sarum, and a third, running to the north, over Mortimer Heath, crosses the Bath road, and has several tumuli, barrows, and traces of encampments, in its neighbourhood; this Heath is traditionally reported to have been the scene of a battle fought by the Saxons under Alfred against the Danes; two small farms in the vicinity still bear the names of Alfred's Acres and Danes' Acres, and a singularly formed wooden cottage, of great antiquity, is called Danes' House.
This town is finely situated on a gentle ascent at the head of the beautiful bay called Southampton Water, into which the river Itchin falls on its eastern, and the Test on its western side; it is 12 miles from Winchester, and 75 from London. This is a place of considerable antiquity; but there does not appear sufficient evidence for allowing it a British, or even a Roman origin: the first mention of it in authentic history occurs under the date of 838, when the Danes landed here, and committed their usual devastations; they were, however, shortly after defeated, and driven to their ships. In 860 they repeated their outrages, which they now extended to Winchester, but were again routed with great slaughter on their return. In 928 Athelstan established two mints in this town, a proof of its importance, as few places had more than one.
Towards the close of this century Southampton, in common with the rest of the country, suffered greatly from the Danish incursions; but when Canute had established himself on the English throne, he appears to have occasionally resided here, and his reproof of the servile adulation of his courtiers is believed to have been given on the beach at this place*.
From Domesday Book it appears that Southampton was then of some importance as a sea-port; from Henry II it received a charter of incorporation, which has been confirmed by several subsequent monarchs. King John sold the customs of this place, together with those of Portsmouth, to the burgesses for an annual payment of £200; and it appears that, towards the close of his reign, the merchants of this town were, next to those of London, the greatest importers of wine in England. During the next century Southampton continued to increase in prosperity; but iu 1338 a large body of men landed from a fleet consisting of 50 French, Spanish, and Genoese
* Canute, who ruled at once over England, Denmark, and Norway, and was at the head of the most warlike people in Europe, might properly be considered as the greatest sovereign of his time; and as he possessed the largest naval force ia existence, he might also, with some show of reason, be styled “ Lord of the Sea." But when the parasites who surrounded him, in their boundless adulation, attempted to persuade him that this title was his, not metaphorically, but literally, the pious and sensible prince took the following method of exposing their folly, and reproving their impiety. He ordered his chair to be placed on the sea-shore when the tide was rising, and as the waters approached, he commanded them to retire, and obey the voice of “ the Lord of the Ocean.” He sat some time in feigned expectation of their submission; but when the sea still advanced, and the billows began to assail him, he arose, turned to his abashed courtiers, and bade them observe, that all men are alike feeble and impotent in the eyes of that great Being who alone commands the elements of nature, and who only can say to the ocean, “ Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.” To give an additional proof of his humility, be then put off his crown, and ever after refused to wear it, but offered it up at the high altar of Winchester Cathedral.