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TOLOMONG the singularities of this place the
A two rocky hollow lanes, the one to Alton, 1990 and the other to the forest, deserve our U w 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 ap
# This is the first peculiarity of the district, which strikes the visitor on approaching Selborne from Alton. Having traversed an interesting country, consisting of meadows and arable land, the traveller finds himself descending into a hollow lane just wide enough for a cart. In a wort time the road sinks some eighteen or twenty feet below the level of the adjoining fields, from which it is divided by a hedge on each side some five or six feet high, and an occasional tree. The hedges and trees send their gnarled roots down the steep sides of the soft rock, and numerous wild plants grow at its base. This lane terminates in the main road from Emshott to Selborne and Wolmer forest.-ED.
pearances, from the tangled roots that are twisted among the strata, and from the torrents rushing down their broken sides; 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 horsemen shudder while they ride along them ; but delight the naturalist with their various botany, and particularly with the curious filices with which they abound.
The manor of Selborne, was 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 plentiful. 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, may 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, but 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. 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
33 71 From Jan. 1, 1784, to Jan. 1, 1785
38 80 From Jan. 1, 1785, to Jan. 1, 1786
31 55 From Jan. 1, 1786, to Jan. 1, 1787
The village of Selborne, and the large hamlet of Oakhanger, with the single farms, and many scattered houses along the 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 corn; 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, the 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.
* According to the population returns for 1861, Selborne, including the hamlets of Norton, Oakhanger, and Temple, contains 8506 statute acres, 217 inhabited houses, and 1118 inhabitants, 610 being males, and 508 females.-ED.
3M HOULD I omit to describe with some ex
actness the Forest of Wolmer, of which
three-fifths perhaps lie in this parish, my Se 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 north east, to south west, 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 consists entirely of sand covered with heath and fern; but is somewhat diversified with hills and dales, without having one standing tree in the whole extent. In the bottoms, where the waters stagnate, are many bogs, which formerly abounded with subterraneous trees; though Dr. Plot says positively, * that “there never were any fallen trees hidden in the mosses of the southern counties.” But he was mistaken: for I myself have seen cottages on the verge of this wild district, whose timbers consisted of a black hard wood, looking like oak, which the owners assured me they procured from the bogs by probing the soil with spits, or some such instruments; but the peat is so much cut out, and the moors have been so well examined, that none has been found of late. Old people, however, have assured me, that on a winter's morning they have discovered these trees in the bogs by the hoar frost, which lay longer over the space where they were concealed, than on the surrounding morass. Nor does this seem to be a fanciful notion, but consistent with true philosophy.t Besides the oak, I have also been shown pieces of fossil wood of a paler colour, and softer nature, which the inhabitants called fir: but, upon a nice examination, and trial by fire, I could discover nothing resinous in them;
# See his “ Hist. of Staffordshire."
+ The explanation of this phenomenon is probably found in the fact that moist air is a rapid, and dry air a slow, conductor of heat; not a drop of water can be evaporated from the surface of the earth until it has been rendered buoyant by means of heat absorbed from the surrounding air. The facts stated by Dr. Hales, and quoted in all previous editions of this work, namely, “that a little snow having fallen on the night of the 29th of November, 1731, it was mostly melted away by eleven the next morning, except in several places in Bushy Park, where there were drains or elm pipes covered with earth, more than four feet deep, on which the snow continued to lie," are consistent with this explanation. The greater the evaporation at the earth's surface, in fact, the colder the surface becomes, and evaporation going on less rapidly in moist than in dry air, in undrained land than in that which is drained, the phenomenon here stated naturally resulted.-ED.