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a vast lake for this part of the world, containing in its whole circumference, 2640 yards, or very near a mile and a half. The length of the north-west and opposite side is about 704 yards and the breadth of the south-west end about 456 yards. This measurement, which I caused to be made with good exactness, gives an area of about sixty-six acres, exclusive of a large irregular arm at the north-east corner, which we did not take into the reckoning.
On the face of this expanse of waters, and perfectly secure from fowlers, lie all day long, in the winter season, vast flocks of ducks, teals, and widgeons, of various denominations; where they preen, and solace, and rest themselves, till towards sunset, when they issue forth in little parties—for in their natural state they are all birds of the night—to feed in the brooks and meadows: returning again with the dawn of the morming! Had this lake an arm or two more, and were it planted round with thick covert (for now it is perfectly naked), it might make a valuable decoy.
Yet neither its extent, nor the clearness of its water, nor the resort of various and curious fowls, nor its picturesque groups of cattle, can render this mere so remarkable, as the great quantity of coins that were found in its bed about forty years ago.*
TO THE SAME.
of supplement, I shall trouble you once more on this subject, to inform you that Wolmer, with her sister forest Ayles Holt, alias Alice Holt, as it is called in old records, is held by grant from the crown for a term of years.
* Some of these coins came afterwards into the possession of the author. They were all copper, part were of Marcus Aurelius, and the Empress Faustina, his wife, the father and mother of Commodus.-W.J.
+ “In Rot. Inquisit. de statu forest. in Scaccar. 36 Ed. III.,” it is called Aisholt. In the same, “ Tit. Woolmer and Aisholt Hantisc. Dominus Rex habet unam capellam in haia suâ de Kingesle." Haia, sepes, sepimentum, parcus : a Gall. haie and haye.”—Spelman's Hossary.
The grantees that the author remembers, are,—BrigadierGeneral Emanuel Scroope Howe, and his lady, Ruperta, who was a natural daughter of Prince Rupert, by Margaret Hughs; a Mr. Mordaunt, of the Peterborough family, who married a dowager Lady Pembroke; Henry Bilson Legge and lady; and now Lord Stawel, their son.*
The lady of General Howe lived to an advanced age, long surviving her husband; and, at her death, left behind her many curious pieces of mechanism of her father's constructing, who was a distinguished mechanic and artist,t as well as warrior: and, among the rest, a very complicated clock, lately in possession of Mr. Elmer, the celebrated game painter at Farnham, in the county of Surrey.
Though these two forests are only parted by a narrow range of enclosures, yet no two soils can be more different; for the Holt consists of a strong loam, of a miry nature, carrying a good turf, and abounding with oaks that grow to be large timber ; while Wolmer is nothing but a hungry, sandy, barren waste.
The former, being all in the parish of Binsted, is about two miles in extent from north to south, and near as much from east to west, and contains within it many woodlands and lawns, and the Great Lodge where the grantees reside, and a smaller lodge called Goose Green; and is abutted on by the parishes of Kingsley, Frinsham, Farnham, and Bentley, all of which have right of common.
One thing is remarkable, that, though the Holt has been of old well stocked with fallow-deer, unrestrained by any pales or fences more than a common hedge, yet they were never seen within the limits of Wolmer; nor were the red deer of Wolmer ever known to haunt the thickets or glades of the Holt.
At present the deer of the Holt are much thinned and reduced by the night-hunters, who perpetually harass them,
* At Lord Stawel's death, the property reverted to Heneage Legge, Esq., afterwards to the Hon. Henry Legge and the Hon. and Rev. Augustus Legge, at whose death it was inherited by his eldest son.—ED.
+ Prince Rupert has long been the reputed inveutor of mezzotinto, but it 18 proved on sufficient authority that he was merely the introducer of the art into this country. The invention was made in 1642, by a Dutchman named Ludwig von Siegen, who communicated it to Prince Rupert about the year 1654. See full particulars in Bohn's edition of Walpole's Anecdotes of l’ainter: and Engravers, vol. iii. p.: 23.--Ed.
in spite of the efforts of numerous reepers, and the severe penalties that have been put in force against them, as often as they have been detected, and rencered liable to the lash of the law. Neither fines nor imprisonments can deter them; so impossible is it to extinguish the spirit of sporting, which seems to be inherent in human nature.*
General Howe turned out some German wild boars and sows in his forests, to the great terror of the neighbourhood; and, at one time, a wild bull, or buffalo : but the country rose upon them, and destroyed them.
A very large fall of timber, consisting of about one thousand Oaks, has been cut this spring (viz. 1784), in the Holt Forest; one-fifth of which, it is said, belongs to the grantee, Lord Stawel. He lays claim also to the lop and top; but the poor of the parishes of Binsted and Frinsham, Bentley and Kingsley, assert that it belongs to them; and, assembling in a riotous manner, have actually taken it all away One man, who keeps a team, has carried home for his share, forty stacks of wood. Forty-five of these people his lordship has served with actions. These trees, which were very sound, and in high perfection, were winter cut, viz. in February and March, before the bark would run. In old times, the Holt was estimated to be eighteen miles, computed measure, from water carriage, viz. from the town of Chertsey, on the Thames ; but now it is not half that distance, since the Wey is made navigable up to the town of Godalming, in the county of Surrey.
TO THE SAME.
August 4, 1767. It has been my misfortune never to have had any neighbours whose studies have led them towards the pursuit of natural knowledge; so that, for want of a companion to quicken my industry and sharpen my attention, I have made but slender progress in a kind of information to which I have been attached from
* There are now no deer in either Holt or Woolmer Forest.—ED