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 BARFORD ST MARTIN TO TISBURY AND SHAFTESBURY And she is very small and very green
And full of little lanes all with flowers
That wind along and lose themselves between
Mossed farms, and parks, and fields of quiet sheep.
And in the hamlets, where her stalwarts sleep,
Low bells chime out from old elm-hidden towers.
Geoffrey Howard.
Starting from Salisbury, the pilgrim of the country, when he has passed through Barford St Martin and Burcome, might think it worth while to take the road to Tisbury when he arrives at Swallowcliff. The large village of Tisbury is on the north side of the River Nadder, on rising ground, and is about twelve miles west of Salisbury. There is much of interest to be seen, and the church, in the flat land at the bottom of the hill and close to the river, is well worth a visit. It contains several monuments to the Arundels, and on an iron bracket near the easternmost window is a good sixteenth-century helmet, which has been in places and is with a small band of scroll-work round the edges; there is an added for a . It is a real helmet, not a funeral one; the for the remain inside. Tradition says it belonged to the first Lord Arundel of Wardour, who died in 1639. All the seats are of oak and modern, but against the walls is some good linen-fold panelling of the seventeenth century or very late sixteenth century. In the sacrarium is a fine to Lawrence Hyde of West Hatch. He was the great-grandfather of Queen Mary, 1689, and Queen Anne, 1702. He is represented in a church in front of his six sons, facing his wife and four daughters. The is:
"Here lyeth Lawrence Hyde of West Hatch Esqr. who had issue by Anne his wife six sons and four daughters and died in the year of the incarnation of Our Lord God 1590. Beati qui moriuntur in domino."
The churchyard is a very large one, and the old causeway which was used in times of flood is most . Two massive black grave at once arrest the eye. In plain, square lead lettering one reads:
The village of Tisbury existed in the seventh century, the earliest extant spelling of the name being "Tissebiri" or "Dysseburg," and there was a over which an abbot named Wintra ruled about 647. Mr Paley Baildon, F.S.A., who has considerable time to the of the origin of place names, thinks that without doubt Tisbury is from Tissa's-burgh, Tissa or Tyssa being a personal name and owner of the estate; hence it came to be known as Tissa's-burgh.
It was at Tisbury that Rudyard Kipling wrote some of his stories after leaving India, and there can be little doubt that after some years of absence in the East the return to things dear and familiar and intimate exercised a strong effect upon his thoughts and writing, and prepared a way for his delicately fashioned pictures of the Old Country in Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies.
At Barford St Martin I had the misfortune to burst the back tube and tyre of my motor cycle, and that is the real reason I arrived at Tisbury. I wheeled my machine to the Green Dragon, hoping for a lift to a place where I could get up with a new tyre. A large was standing outside the inn, and as it bore the name, Stephen Weekes, Tisbury, upon it, I to the bar-parlour, thinking that I might induce the driver to take me with the machine into that village.
The owner of the wagon was sitting inside with two large bottles of before him. He was a burly fellow in shirt-sleeves and a broad straw hat. I saw he was fifty or thereabouts—not a wagoner, but a small farmer who would have answered to the description of Farmer Oak by Thomas Hardy in his opening to Far from the Madding Crowd. He was of a more type than most Dorset men I have met, and after submitting to his fire of questions I asked him gently, in jest, if he would require any assistance with his two bottles.
"Aye," he answered, quizzing at me with his merry eyes. "I shall require another bottle to assist me, I think."
He looked at me a moment with seriousness and then he laughed to the point of holding his sides. He slapped his knees, shouted, roared and almost rolled with merriment. I looked at the farmer, not without a feeling of . It was perhaps a very poor jest, you will say. But how well a simple jest became the fellow; how gloriously he laughed. Down in my heart I knew that no man could laugh as he did and at the same time possess a mean mind. He was as broad as the earth, and his laughter was just as limitless. Talk of good things: there may be something finer than a laugh—there may be—perhaps....
At this moment he called for two glasses, and explained to the landlord that now he would drink out of a glass, seeing that he was in company.
"Then tell me," I said, "why do you drink out of the bottle when you are alone?"
"Why, you don't get no out of the beer 'thout you drink it out of the bottle. No, fay! Half of the strength is gone like winky when you pour it into a glass."
"I believe you are right," I said, "and I especially commend you for drinking beer. Ale is a great and generous creature; it contains all health, induces sleep o' nights, the and imparts freshness to the palate."
"'Tis the only drink that will go with bread and cheese and pickling cabbage," dashed in the farmer.
"'Tis a pity," I said, "that so many workers in London take bread and cheese with tea and coffee, for there is no staying power in such a mixture."
"It can't be good," he shouted. "It can't be healthy."
The farmer's name was Mr Weekes—the same as it was painted on the wagon outside—and he said that he would be very glad to take me with my machine into Tisbury, where there was a motor garage. He made an noise with his mouth and a fine greyhound that had been sleeping beneath the table bounded up.
"This long-dog," said Mr Weekes, "is a wonderfully good dog—the best dog of his kind in the world."
Mr Weekes is never half-hearted about things. His enthusiasm is . He is like a human hurricane when he launches upon any of his pet subjects. At once he fell to explaining the points and final perfection of a perfect greyhound. I remember a rhyme he quoted, which is perhaps worth repetition here:
"The shape of a good greyhound is:—
A head like a snake, a neck like a drake;
A back like a beam, a like a bream;
A foot like a cat, a tail like a rat."
The farmer, then, I say, was not the kind of man to qualify any of his remarks, and he reasserted his claim that, in the concrete, in the existent state of things, his dog was the best that breathed.
This he said for the sixth time, drank up his stout, and after me to lift my machine into the wagon, climbed up on to his seat, I by his side. He then his horses gently with his whip and they began to along with the wagon. On the way to Tisbury the farmer talked with the greatest , and when we arrived at his farm he insisted on bringing me in to supper. He showed me his , barns and a very fine apple-tree of which he was enormously proud, and pulled me an armful of the finest apples he could find.
"Take these apples home," he said, watching me with his merry eyes; "they make the best apple pies in the world."
An armful of apples of prodigious size is not exactly the kind of thing one welcomes with a broken-down motor cycle two hundred miles from home, but I dared not refuse them, and so I stuffed them into all my pockets. Finally my good friend insisted on keeping me under his roof for the night.
After my machine had been repaired next morning I went on my way, thinking what a fine, merry, fellow the Dorset yeoman is—if you only approach him with a little caution.
I left my friend the yeoman farmer with regret, the main road and soon came into Shaftesbury, or Shaston, as it is commonly called. This town is very placed, on the narrow of a chalk hill which projects into the lower country, and rises from it with . Hence an extensive landscape is seen through the openings between the houses, and from commanding points the eye ranges over the greater part of Dorset and Somerset. To add to the beauty of the position, the scarped slope of the hill is curved on its southern side. Shaftesbury is one of the oldest towns in the kingdom. Its traditions go back to the time of King Lud, who, according to Holinshed, founded it about 1000 B.C. A more moderate writer refers its origin to Cassivellaunus. However, it is certain that Alfred, in the year 880, founded here a nunnery, which in aftertimes became the richest in England, and, as the of St Edward the Martyr—whose body was removed to this town from Wareham—the favourite resort of pilgrims. Asser, who wrote the Life of Alfred, has described Shaftesbury as consisting of one street in his time. In that of Edward the Confessor it three mints, sure evidence of its importance; and shortly after the Conquest it had no less than twelve churches, besides and chantries, and a Hospital of St John.
The view from the Castle Hill at the west end of the ridge is very extensive, and from all parts of the town you come unexpectedly upon narrow ravines which go tumbling down to the plain below in the most headlong fashion. The chief trouble in the olden days was the water supply. On this elevated chalk ridge the town was obviously far removed from the sources of spring water, and the supply of this necessary article had been from time out of mind brought on horses' backs from the parish of Gillingham. Hence arose a curious custom which was observed here for a great number of years. On the Monday before Holy Thursday the mayor proceeded to Enmore Green, near Motcombe, with a large, fanciful broom, or byzant, as it was called, which he presented as an acknowledgment for the water to the of the , together with a calf's head, a pair of gloves, a gallon of ale and two penny loaves of wheaten bread. This ceremony being concluded, the byzant—which was usually hung with jewels and other ornaments—was returned to the mayor and carried back to the town in procession.
About 1816 the Mayor of Shaftesbury refused to carry out the custom, and the people of Enmore were so put out by his in this respect that they filled up the wells. The Shastonians paid twopence for a horse-load of water and a halfpenny for a pail "if fetched upon the head." I heard a rather amusing story of the water-carrying days. A who had been working on the land all day in the rain came "slewching" up Gold Hill, feeling very unhappy and out of temper. At the summit of the hill he passed by the church of St Peter's, but did not pass the Sun and Moon Inn. Here he cheered his spirits with a measure of old-fashioned Shaftesbury XXX stingo, and, thus strengthened, he went on his way home, expecting to be welcomed with a warm, savoury supper. But the news of his call at the inn had reached his wife before he arrived home, and being rather an ill-natured person, she to punish him for loitering on his way. "Oh," she said to him, "as you are so wet already, just you take this steyan [earthenware pot] and fill it with water at Toute Hill spring, and don't go loafing at the Sun and Moon again." The rustic took up the without a word, filled it and returned to his sour housewife; but instead of putting the pitcher down, he the contents over her, saying: "Now you are wet too, so you can go to the spring and fetch the water."
Bimport is a wide and comfortable street which skirts the north crest of Castle Hill. It is a street of honest stone houses, and readers of Jude the Obscure will look here for Phillotson's school and the "little low drab house in which the wayward Sue the of her life." Their house, "old Grove's Place"—now called "Ox House"—is not difficult to find. As you come up from the Town Hall and Market House to the fork of the roads which run to Motcombe and East Stower, Bimport turns off to the left, and a hundred or so yards down is Grove's Place, with a projecting porch and mullioned windows. It was here that Sue in a panic jumped out of the window to avoid Phillotson. The name of the house from that of a former inhabitant mentioned in an old plan of Shaftesbury. Poor, highly strung Sue Bridehead, with her , could not throw off the oppressiveness of the old house. "We don't live in the school, you know," said she, "but in that ancient across the way, called old Grove's Place. It is so antique and that it depresses me dreadfully. Such houses are very well to visit, but not to live in. I feel crushed into the earth by the weight of so many previous lives there spent. In a new place like these schools there is only your own life to support."
The village of Marnhull is situated in the Vale of Blackmoor, six miles from Shaftesbury. It is the "Marlott" of Hardy's novel Tess, the village home of the Durbeyfield family. It contains little of interest. The Pure drop Inn, where "there's a very pretty in tap," may be the "Crown." Here John Durbeyfield kept up Tess's wedding day "as well as he could, and stood treat to everybody in the parish, and John's wife sung songs till past eleven o'clock." There is a Pure drop Inn at Wooten Glanville and another at Wareham; one of these most probably suggested the name. The fine church is of the eighteenth-century Gothic (1718), and it has often been regarded by strangers as being three hundred years earlier. The font bowl, late Norman, was in 1898, also the rood staircase and and the piscina. Some ancient , ascribed to the middle of the fifteenth century and representing a man in and two female figures, are placed on a cenotaph in the north . Some authorities claim that they represent Thomas Howard, Lord Bindon, and his wives, and are of a later date. Nash Court, a little to the north, is a fine Elizabethan , the seat of the Husseys.

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