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did not let this pleasing circumstance escape him. He says, in his “Summer,"
"A various group the herds and flocks compose ;
----on the grassy bank
The circling surface." Wolmer Pond, so called, I suppose, for eminence' sake, is a vast lake for this part of the world, containing, in its whole circumference, 2,646 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 sixtysix acres, exclusive of a large irregular arm at the northeast 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 ali birds of the night) to feed in the brooks and meadows; returning again with the dawn of the morning. 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 meer so remarkable as the great quantity of coins that were found in its bed about forty years ago. But, as such discoveries more properly belong to the antiquities of this place, I shall suppress all particulars for the present, till I enter professedly on my series of letters respecting the more remote history of this village and district.
By way 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.
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 Hughes ; a Mr. Mordaunt, of the Peterborough family, who married a dowager Lady Pembroke; Henry Bilson Legge and lady; and now Lord Stawell, their son.
The lady of General Howe lived on 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, † 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.
* " In Rot. Inquisit. de statu forest. in Scaccar. 36 Edw. 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 Glossary.
+ This prince was the inventor of mezzotinto.
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 reddeer 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 in spite of the efforts of numerous keepers, and the severe penalties that have been put in force against them as often as they have been detected, and rendered 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 Stawell. 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. Fortyfive 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.
distance, in the Thamarriage vizi,
August 4th, 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 my childhood.
As to swallows (Hirundines rustico) being found in a torpid state during the winter in the Isle of Wight or any part of this country, I never heard any such account worth attending to. But a clergyman, of an inquisitive turn, assures me, that when he was a great boy, some workmen, in pulling down the battlements of a church tower early in the spring, found two or three swifts (Hirundines apodes) among the rubbish, which were, at first appearance, dead, but on being carried towards the fire, revived. He told me, that out of his great care to preserve them, he put them in a paper bag, and hung them by the kitchen fire, where they were suffocated.
Another intelligent person has informed me, that while he was a schoolboy at Brighthelmstone, in Sussex, a great fragment of the chalk cliff fell down one stormy winter on the beach, and that many people found swallows among the rubbish ; but on my questioning him whether he saw any of those birds himself, to my no small disappointment, he answered me in the negative ; but that others assured him they did.
Young broods of swallows began to appear this year on July 11th, and young martins (Hirundines urbicoe) were then fledged in their nests. Both species will breed again once. For I see by my fauna of last year, that young broods came forth so late as September 18th. Are not these late hatchings more in favour of hiding than migra. tion ? Nay, some young martins remained in their nests last year so late as September 29th; and yet they totally disappeared with us by the 5th October.
How strange it is that the swift, which seems to live exactly the same life with the swallow and house-martin, should leave us before the middle of August invariably ! while the latter stay often till the middle of October; and once I saw numbers of house-martins on the 7th November. The martins and red-wing fieldfares were flying in sight together, an uncommon assemblage of summer and winter birds !
A little yellow bird (it is either a species of the alauda