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the bank, in a darkish sort of marl ; and are usually very small and soft; but in Clay's Pond, a little farther on, at the end of the pit, where the soil is dug out for manure,
I have occasionally observed them of large dimensions, perhaps fourteen or sixteen inches in diameter. But as these did not consist of firm stone, but were formed of a kind of terra lapidosa, or hardened clay, as soon as they were exposed to the rains and frost, they mouldered away. These seemed as if they were a very recent production. In the chalk-pit, at the north-west end of the Hanger, large nautili are some times observed.
In the very thickest strata of our freestone, and at considerable depths, well diggers often find large scallops, or pectines, having both shells deeply striated, and ridged and furrowed alternately. They are highly impregnated with, if not wholly composed of, the stone of the quarry.
TO THE SAME.
As, in last letter, the freestone of this place has been only mentioned incidentally, I shall here become more particular.
This stone is in great request for hearth-stones, and the beds of ovens, and in lining of lime-kilns it turns to good account; for the workmen use sandy loam instead of mortar; the sand of which fluxes,* and runs, by the intense heat, and
over the whole face of the kiln with a strong vitrified coat like glass, that it is well preserved from injuries of weather, and endures thirty or forty years. When chiselled smooth, it makes elegant fronts for houses, equal in colour and grain to the Bath stone; and superior in one respect, that, when seasoned, it does not scale. Decent chimney-pieces are worked from it, of much closer and finer grain than Portland; and rooms are floored with
* There may, probably, be also in the chalk itself, that is burnt for lime . proportion of sand; for few chalks are so pure as to bave none.
st; but it
rather too soft for this purpose. It is a freestone, cutting in all directions ; yet has something of a grain parallel with the horizon, and therefore should not be surbedded, but laid in the same position that it grows in the
On the ground abroad this fire-stone will not succeed for pavements, because, probably, some degree of saltness prevailing within it, the rain tears the slabs to pieces. Though this stone is too hard to be acted on by vinegar, yet both the white part, and even the blue rag, ferment strongly in mineral acids. Though the white stone will not bear wet, yet in every quarry, at intervals, there are thin strata of blue rag, which resist rain and frost, and are excellent for pitching of stables, paths, and courts, and for building of dry walls against banks, a valuable species of fencing, much in use in this village ; and for mending of roads. This rug is ragged and stubborn, and will not hew to a smooth face; but is very durable : yet, as these strata are shallow, and lie deep, large quantities cannot be procured but at considerable
expense. Among the blue rags turn up some blocks tinged with a stain of yellow, or rust colour, which seem to be nearly as lasting as the blue ; and every now and then balls of a friable substance, like rust of iron, called rust balls.
In Wolmer Forest, I see but one sort of stone, called by the workmen sand, or forest stone. This is generally of the colour of rusty iron, and might probably bs worked as iron ore; is very hard and heavy, and of a firm, compact texture, and composed of a small roundish crystalline grit, cemented together by a brown, terrene, ferruginous matter; will not cut without difficulty, nor easily strike fire with steel. Being often found in broad flat pieces, it makes good pavement for paths about houses, never becoming slippery in frost or rain; is excellent for dry walls, and is sometimes used in buildings. In many parts of that waste, it lies
• To surbed stone is to set it edgewise, contrary to the posture it had in the quarry, says Dr. Plot.— Oxfordsh. p. 77. But surbedding does not succeed in our dry walls; neither do we use it so in ovens, though he says it is best for Teynton stone.
* “ Firestone is full of salts, and has no sulphur ; must be close grained, and have no interstices. Nothing supports fire like salts ; saltstone perishes exposed to wet and frost.”—Plot's Staff. p. 152.
scattered on the surface of the ground; but is dug on Weaver's Down, a vast hill on the eastern verge of that forest, where the pits are shallow, and the stratum thin.
This stone is imperishable.
From a notion of rendering their work the more elegant, and giving it a finish, masons chip this stone into small fragments about the size of the head of a large nail, and then stick the pieces into the wet mortar along the joints of their freestone walls. This embellishment carries an odd appearance, and has occasioned strangers sometimes to ask us pleasantly, “Whether we fastened our walls together with tenpenny nails ?”
TO THE SAME.
Among the singularities of this place, the two rocky hollow lanes, the one to Alton, and the other to the forest, deserve our attention. These roads, running through the malm lands, are, by the traffic of ages, and the fretting of water, worn down through the first stratum of our freestone, and partly through the second ; so that they look more like water-courses than roads; and are bedded with naked rag for furlongs together. In many places they are reduced sixteen or eighteen feet beneath the level of the fields; and, after floods, and in frosts, exhibit very grotesque and wild appearances, from the tangled roots that are twisted among the strata, and from the torrents rushing down their broken
and especially when those cascades are frozen into icicles, hanging in all the fanciful shapes of frost-work. These rugged gloomy scenes affright the ladies when they peep down into them, from the paths above, and make timid ħorsemen shudder while they ride along them; but delight the naturalist with their various botany, and particularly with their curious filices, with which they abound.*
* The deep lanes in this part of Hampshire and Sussex are truly charming: from the roots of trees twisting themselves, as they do, in fantastic shapes
The manor of Selborne, were it strictly looked after, with all its kindly aspects, and all its sloping coverts, would swarm with game: even now, hares, partridges, and pheasants, abound; and in old days, woodcocks were as plentifu There are few quails, because they more affect open fields than enclosures; after harvest some few land-rails are seen.
The parish of Selborne, by taking in so much of the forest, is a vast district. Those who tread the bounds are employed part of three days in the business, and are of opinion that the outline, in all its curves and indentings, does not comprise less than thirty miles.
The village stands in a sheltered spot, secured by the Hanger from the strong westerly winds. The air is soft, but rather moist from the effluvia of so many trees; yet perfectly healthy, and free from agues. The quantity of rain that falls on it is very considerable,
be supposed in so woody and mountainous a district. As
my experience in measuring the water is but of short date, I am not qualified to give the mean quantity.* I only know that
Inch. Hund. From May 1, 1779, to the end of the year, there fell 28 37! From Jan. 1, 1780, to Jan. 1, 1781
27 32 From Jan. 1, 1781, to Jan. 1, 1782
30 71 From Jan. 1, 1782, to Jan. 1, 1783
50 26! From Jan. 1, 1783, to Jan. 1, 1784
39 57 The village of Selborne, and large hamlet of Oakhanger, with the single farms, and many scattered houses along the
among the rocky strata,—the quantity of wild flowers,—the pretty mosses covering the rocks and roots,—the trickling water over head, and the shade afforded by overhanging trees and shrubs.-ED.
* A very intelligent gentleman assures me, (and he speaks from upwards of forty years' experience), that the mean rain of any place cannot be ascertained till a person has measured it for a very long period." If I had only measured the rain,” says he, "for the four first years from 1740 to 1743, I should have said the mean rain at Lyndon was 164 inches for the year; if from 1740 to 1750, 18] inches. The mean rain before 1763 was 201; from 1763 and since, 25%; from 1770 to 1780, 26. If only 1773, 1774, and 1775 had been measured, Lyndon mean rain would have been called 32 inches,-increasing from 16.6 to 32.
verge of the forest, contain upwards of six hundred and seventy inhabitants.
We abound with poor; many of whom are sober and industrious, and live comfortably, in good stone or brick cottages, which are glazed, and have chambers above stairs ; mud buildings we have none. Besides the employment from husbandry, the men work in hop gardens, of which we have many;
and fell and bark timber. In the spring and summer the women weed the com; and enjoy a second harvest in September by hop-picking. Formerly, in the dead months, they availed themselves greatly by spinning wool, for making of barragons, a genteel corded stuff, much in vogue at that time for summer wear; and chiefly manufactured at Alton, a neighbouring town, by some of the people called Quakers. The inhabitants enjoy a good share of health and longevity, and the parish swarms with children.
TO THE SAME,
SHOULD I omit to describe with some exactness the Forest of Wolmer, of which three-fifths perhaps lie in this parish, my account of Selborne would be very imperfect, as it is a district abounding with many curious productions, both animal and vegetable; and has often afforded me much entertainment, both as a sportsman and as a naturalist. *
The royal Forest of Wolmer is a tract of land of about seven miles in length, by two and a half in breadth, running nearly from north to south, and is abutted on-to begin to the south, and so to proceed eastward—by the parishes of Greatham, Lysse, Rogate, and Trotton, in the county of Sussex ; by Bramshot, Hedleigh, and Kingsley. This royalty
* Wolmer Forest has partly been enclosed and planted by the Crown, and the shooting over it, with the large pond, so often mentioned by Mr. White, leased to Sir Charles Taylor, Bart., of Hollycombe. Ed.