Miscellanies upon Various Subjects
John Aubrey

Part 3 out of 3

was the eve of Low-Sunday, they carried him to Crediton to be let
blood; which being done, and the company having left him for a little
while, returning they found him in a fit, with his forehead all
bruised and swoln to a great bigness, none able to guess how it came,
till he recovered himself, and then he told them, that a bird flew in
at the window with a great force, and with a stone in its mouth flew
directly against his forehead. The people looked for it, and found on
the ground just under where he sat, not a stone, but a weight of brass
or copper, which the people were breaking, and parting it among
themselves. He was so very ill, that he could ride but one mile or
little more that night, since which time I have not heard of him, save
that he was ill handled the next day, being Sunday. Indeed Sir, you
may wonder that I have not visited that house, and the poor afflicted
people; especially, since I was so near, and passed by the very door:
but besides that, they have called to their assistance none but
nonconforming ministers. I was not qualified to be welcome there,
having given Mr. Furze a great deal of trouble the last year about a
conventicle in his house, where one of this parish was the preacher.
But I am very well assured of the truth of what I have written, and
(as more appears) you shall hear from me again.

I had forgot to tell you that Fry's mother came to me, grievously
bewailing the miserable condition of her son. She told me, that the
day before he had five pins thrust into his side. She asked; and I
gave her the best advice I could. Particularly, that her son should
declare all that the spectre, especially the woman gave him in charge,
for I suspect, there is "aliquid latens"; and that she should remove him
thence by all means. But I fear that she will not do it. For I hear
that Anne Langdon is come into my parish to her mother, and that she
is grievously troubled there. I might have written as much of her, as
of Fry, for she had been as ill treated, saving the aerial journey.
Her fits and obsessions seem to be greater, for she screeches in a
most hellish tone. Thomasin Gidley (though removed) is in trouble I

Sir, this is all my friend wrote. This letter came inclosed in
another from a clergyman, my friend, who lives in those parts. He
tells me all the relations he receives from divers persons living in
Spreyton and the neighbouring parishes, agree with this. He spake
with a gentleman of good fashion, that was at Crediton when Fry was
blooded, and saw the stone that bruised his forehead; but he did not
call it copper or brass, but said it was a strange mineral. That
gentleman promised to make a strict inquiry on the place into all
particulars, and to give him the result: which my friend also promises
me; with hopes that he shall procure for me a piece of that mineral
substance, which hurt his forehead.

The occasion of my friend's sending me this narrative, was my
entreating him sometime since, to inquire into a thing of this nature,
that happened in Barnstable, where he lives. An account was given to
me long since, it fills a sheet or two, which I have by me: and to
gratify Mr. Glanvil who is collecting histories for his "Sadducismus
Triumphatus". I desired to have it well attested, it being full of very
memorable things; but it seems he could meet only a general consent as
to the truth of the things; the reports varying in the circumstances.

Sir, Yours.

**A Copy of a Letter from a learned Friend of mine in SCOTLAND, dated
March 25, 1695.


I RECEIVED yours dated May 24th, 1694, in which you desire me to
send you some instances and examples of Transportation by an Invisible
Power. The true cause of my delaying so long, to reply to that letter,
was not want of kindness; but of fit materials for such a reply.

As soon as I read your letter of May 24, I called to mind, a story
which I heard long ago, concerning one of the Lord Duffus, (in the
shire of Murray) his predicessors of whom it is reported, that upon a
time, when he was walking abroad in the fields near to his own house,
he was suddenly carried away, and found the next day at Paris in the
French King's cellar, with a silver cup in his hand; that being
brought into the King's presence and questioned by him, who he was ?
and how he came thither ? he told his name, his country, and the place
of his residence, and that on such a day of the month (which proved to
be the day immediately preceding) being in the fields, he heard the
noise of a whirl-wind, and of voices crying Horse and Hattock, (this
is the word which the fairies are said to use when they remove from
any place) whereupon he cried (Horse and Hattock) also, and was
immediately caught up, and transported through the air, by the fairies
to that place, where after he had drank heartily he fell asleep, and
before he awoke, the rest of the company were gone, and had left him
in posture wherein he was found. It is said, the King gave him the cup
which was found in his hand, and dismissed him.

This story (if it could be sufficiently attested) would be a noble
instance for your purpose, for which cause I was at some pains to
enquire into the truth of it, and found the means to get the present
Lord Duffus's opinion thereof; which shortly is, that there has been,
and is such a tradition, but that he thinks it fabulous; this account
of it, his Lordship had from his father, who told him that he had it
from his father, the present Lord's grandfather; there is yet an old
silver cup in his Lordship's possession still, which is called the
Fairy Cup; but has nothing engraven upon it, except the arms of the

The gentleman, by whose means I came to know the Lord Duffus's
sentiment of the foregoing story, being tutor to his Lordship's eldest
son, told me another little passage of the same nature, whereof he was
an eye witness. He reports, that when he was a boy at school in the
town of Torres, yet not so young, but that he had years and
capacity, both to observe and remember that which fell out; he and his
school-fellows were upon a time whipping their tops in the church-yard
before the door of the church; though the day was calm, they heard a
noise of a wind, and at some distance saw the small dust begin to
arise and turn round, which motion continued, advancing till it came
to the place where they were; whereupon they began to bless
themselves: but one of their number (being it seems a little more
bold and confident than his companions) said, Horse and Hattock with
my top, and immediately they all saw the top lifted up from the
ground; but could not see what way it was carried, by reason of a
cloud of dust which was raised at the same time: they sought for the
top all about the place where it was taken up, but in vain; and it was
found afterwards in the church-yard, on the other side of the church.
Mr. Steward (so is the gentleman called) declared to me that he had a
perfect remembrance of this matter.

The following account I received, November last, from Mr. Alexander
Mowat, a person of great integrity and judgment, who being minister at
the church at Lesley, in the shire of Aberdene, was turned out for
refusing the oath of test, anno 1681. He informs, that he heard the
late Earl of Caithness, who was married to a daughter of the late
Marquis of Argyle, tell the following story, viz. That upon a time,
when a vessel which his Lordship kept for bringing home wine and other
provisions for his house, was at sea; a common fellow, who was reputed
to have the second-sight, being occasionally at his house; the Earl
enquired of him, where his men (meaning those in the ship) were at
that present time ? the fellow replied, at such a place, by name,
within four hours sailing of the harbour, which was not far from the
place of his Lordship's residence: the Earl asked, what evidence he
could give for that ? the other replied, that he had lately been at
the place, and had brought away with him one of the seamen's caps,
which he delivered to his Lordship. At the four hours end, the Earl
went down himself to the harbour, where he found the ship newly
arrived, and in it one of the seamen without his cap; who being
questioned, how he came to lose his cap ? answered, that at such a
place (the same the second-sighted man had named before) there arose a
whirl-wind which endangered the ship, and carried away his cap: the
Earl asked, if he would know his cap when he saw it ? he said he
would; whereupon the Earl produced the cap, and the seaman owned it
for that, which was taken from him.

This is all the information which I can give at present concerning
Transportation by an Invisible Power. I am sorry that I am able to
contribute so little to the publishing of so curious a piece as it
seems your collection of Hermetick Philosophy will be. I have given
instructions to an acquaintance of mine now living at Kirkwall, and
took him engaged when he left this place, to inform him concerning the
old stone monuments, the plants and cures in the Orcades, and to send
me an account. But I have not heard from him as yet, though I caused a
friend that was writing to him, to put him in mind of his promise; the
occasions of correspondence betwixt this place and Orkney are very

Your faithful affectionate friend
And servant,
J. G.


'Tis very likely my Lord Keeper, [North] (if an account of a thing so
considerable, hath not been presented to him by another hand) will
take it kindly from you. I would transcribe it for Dr. Henry More, to
whom, as I remember, I promised some time since an account of the
Barnstable apparition; but my hands are full of work. May I beg of you
to visit Dr. Whitchcot, minister of St. Laurence church, and to
communicate a sight of this letter from Barnstable: probably he will
be willing to make his servant transcribe it, and to convey it to Dr.
More. Pray present my humble service to him, as also my affectionate
service to our friends Mr. Hook and Mr. Lodwick. I ever rest, SIR,

Your most faithful
And affectionate servant,


THERE was in Scotland one --- (an obsessus) carried in the air several
times in the view of several persons, his fellow-soldiers. Major
Henton hath seen him carried away from the guard in Scotland,
sometimes a mile or two. Sundry persons are living now, (1671) that
can attest this story. I had it from Sir Robert Harley (the son) who
married Major Henton's widow; as also from E. T. D. D.

A gentleman of my acquaintance, Mr. M. was in Portugal, anno 1655,
when one was burnt by the inquisition for being brought thither from
Goa, in East-India, in the air, in an incredible short time.


BERYL is a kind of Crystal that hath a weal tincture of red; it is one
of the twelve stones mentioned in the Revelation. I have heard,* that
spectacles were first made of this stone, which is the reason that the
Germans do call a spectacle-glass (or pair of spectacles) a Brill.

*Dr J. Pell

Dr. Pocock of Oxford, in his Commentary on Hosea, hath a learned
discourse of the Urim and Thummim; as also Dr. Spenser of Cambridge.
That the priest had his visions in the stone of the breast plate.

The Prophets had their seers, viz. young youths who were to behold
those visions, of whom Mr. Abraham Cowley writes thus.

With hasty wings, time present they out-fly,
And tread the doubtful maze of destiny;
There walk and sport among the years to come,
And with quick eye pierce every causes womb.

The magicians now use a crystal sphere, or mineral pearl, as No. 3,
for this purpose, which is inspected by a boy, or sometimes by the
querent himself.

No. 3. {Illustration}

There are certain formulas of prayer to be used, before they make the
inspection, which they term a call. In a manuscript of Dr. Forman of
Lambeth, (which Mr. Elias Ashmole had) is a discourse of this, and the
prayer. Also there is the call which Dr. Nepier did use.

James Harrington (author of Oceana) told me that the Earl of Denbigh,
then Ambassador at Venice, did tell him, that one did shew him there
several times in a glass, things past and to come.

When Sir Marmaduke Langdale was in Italy, he went to one of those
Magi, who did shew him a glass, where he saw himself kneeling before a
crucifix: he was then a Protestant; afterwards he became a Roman
Catholick. He told Mr. Thomas Henshaw, E.S.S., this himself.

I have here set down the figure of a consecrated Beryl, as No. 4, now
in the possession of Sir Edward Harley, Knight of the Bath, which he
keeps in his closet at Brampton-Bryan in Herefordshire, amongst his
Cimelia, which I saw there. It came first from Norfolk; a minister had
it there, and a call was to be used with it. Afterwards a miller had
it, and both did work great cures with it, (if curable) and in the
Beryl they did see, either the receipt in writing, or else the herb.
To this minister, the spirits or angels would appear openly, and
because the miller (who was his familiar friend) one day happened to
see them, he gave him the aforesaid Beryl and Call: by these angels
the minister was forewarned of his death.

No. 4. {Illustration}

This account I had from Mr. Ashmole. Afterwards this Beryl came into
some-body's hand in London, who did tell strange things by it;
insomuch that at last he was questioned for it, and it was taken away
by authority, (it was about 1645).

This Beryl is a perfect sphere, the diameter of it I guess to be
something more than an inch: it is set in a ring, or circle of silver
resembling the meridian of a globe: the stem of it is about ten
inches high, all gilt. At the four quarters of it are the names of
four angels, viz. Uriel, Raphael, Michael, Gabriel. On the top is a
cross patee.

Sam. Boisardus hath writ a book "de Divinatione per Crystallum".

A clothier's widow of Pembridge in Herefordshire, desired Dr.
Sherborne (one of the canons of the church of Hereford, and Rector of
Pembridge) to look over her husband's writings after his decease:
among other things he found a call for a crystal. The clothier had his
cloths oftentimes stolen from his racks; and at last obtained this
trick to discover the thieves. So when he lost his cloths, he went out
about midnight with his crystal and call, and a little boy, or little
maid with him (for they say it must be a pure virgin) to look in the
crystal, to see the likeness of the person that committed the theft.
The doctor did burn the call, 1671.


ABOUT the latter end of the reign of King James I. one --- a taylor in
London, had several visions, which he did describe to a painter to
paint, and he writ the description himself in an ill taylor-like hand,
in false English, but legible: it was at least a quire of paper. I
remember one vision is of St. James's park, where is the picture of an
altar and crucifix. Mr. Butler'of the toy-shop by Ludgate, (one of the
masters of Bridewell) had the book in anno 1659; the then Earl of
Northampton gave five pounds for a copy of it.


DR. RICHARD NEPIER was a person of great abstinence, innocence, and
piety: he spent every day two hours in family prayer: when a patient
or querent came to him, he presently went to his closet to pray: and
told to admiration the recovery, or death of the patient. It appears
by his papers, that he did converse with the angel Raphael, who gave
him the responses.

Elias Ashmole, Esq. had all his papers, where is contained all his
practice for about fifty years; which he, Mr. Ashmole, carefully bound
up, according to the year of our Lord, in --- volumes in folio; which
are now reposited in the library of the Musseum in Oxford. Before the
responses stands this mark, viz. R. Ris. which Mr. Ashmole said was
Responsum Raphaelis.

In these papers are many excellent medicines, or receipts for several
diseases that his patients had; and before some of them is the
aforesaid mark, Mr. Ashmole took the pains to transcribe fairly with
his own hand all the receipts; they are about a quire and a half of
paper in folio, which since his death were bought of his relict by
E. W. Esq. E.S.S.

The angel told him if the patient were curable or incurable.

There are also several other queries to the angel, as to religion,
transubstantiation, &c. which I have forgot. I remember one is,
whether the good spirits or the bad be most in number ? R. Ris. The

It is to be found there, that he told John Prideaux, D.D. anno 1621,
that twenty years hence (1641) he would be a bishop, and he was so,
sc. bishop of Worcester. '

R. Ris. did resolve him, that Mr. Booth, of --- in Cheshire, should
have a son that should inherit three years hence, [sc. Sir George
Booth, the first Lord Delamere] viz. from 1619, Sir George Booth
aforesaid was born, December 18, anno 1622.

This I extracted out of Dr. Nepier's Original Diary, then in
possession of Mr. Ashmole.

When E. W. Esq. was about eight years old, he was troubled with the
worms. His grand father carried him to Dr. Nepier at Lynford. Mr. E.
W. peeped in at the closet at the end of the gallery, and saw him upon
his knees at prayer. The Doctor told Sir Francis that at fourteen
years old his grandson would be freed from that distemper; and he was
so. The medicine he prescribed was, to drink a little draught of
Muscadine in the morning. 'Twas about 1625.

It is impossible that the prediction of Sir George Booth's birth could
be found any other way, but by angelical revelation.

This Dr. Richard Nepier was rector of Lynford in Bucks, and did
practise physic; but gave most to the poor that he got by it. 'Tis
certain he told his own death to a day and hour; he died praying upon
his knees, being of a very great age, April 1, 1634. He was nearly
related to the learned Lord Nepier, Baron of M-- in Scotland: I have
forgot whether his brother. His knees were horny with frequent
praying. He left his estate to Sir Richard Nepier, M.D. of the college
of physicians, London, from whom Mr. Ashmole had the Doctor's picture,
now in the Musseum.

Dr. Richard Nepier, rector of Lynford, was a good astrologer, and so
was Mr. Marsh of Dunstable; but Mr. Marsh did seriously confess to a
friend of mine, that astrology was but the countenance; and that he
did his business by the help of the blessed spirits; with whom only
men of great piety, humility and charity, could be acquainted; and
such a one he was. He was an hundred years old when my friend was with
him; and yet did understand himself very well.

At Ashbridge in Buckinghamshire, near Berkhamsted, was a monastery,
(now in the possession of the Earl of Bridgewater) where are excellent
good old paintings still to be seen. In this monastery was found an
old manuscript entitled Johannes de Rupescissa, since printed, (or
part of it) a chymical book, wherein are many receipts; among others,
to free a house haunted with evil spirits, by fumes: Mr. Marsh had
it, and did cure houses so haunted by it. Ovid in his festivals hath
something like it. See "Thesaurus Exorcismorum" writ by --- e Societate
Jesu. Oct. Wherein are several high physical and medicinal things.

Good spirits are delighted and allured by sweet perfumes, as rich
gums, frankincense, salts, &c. which was the reason that priests of
the Gentiles, and also the Christians used them in their temples, and
sacrifices: and on the contrary, evil spirits are pleased and allured
and called up by suffumigations of Henbane, &c. stinking smells, &c.
which the witches do use in their conjuration. Toads (saturnine
animals) are killed by putting of salt upon them; I have seen the
experiment. Magical writers say, that cedar-wood drives away evil
spirits; it was, and is much used in magnificent temples.

Plinii Natural Hist. lib. 12, cap. 14.
"Alexandra Magno in pueritia sine parsimonia thura ingerenti aris,
paedagogus Leonides dixerat, ut illo modo, cum devicisset thuriferas
gentes, supplicaret. At ille Arabia potitus; thure onustam navim
misit ei, large exhortatus, ut Deos adoraret".

i. e. As Alexander the great, in the time of his minority, was
heaping incense upon the altars, even to a degree of religious
prodigality, his preceptor Leonidas told him, that he should prefer
his supplications to the Gods after that free manner, when he had
subdued the nations, whose produce was frankincense. And he, as soon
as he had made himself master of Arabia, sent him accordingly a ship
laden with incense, and with it ample exhortations to adore the Gods.

One says, why should one think the intellectual world less peopled
than the material? Pliny, in his Natural History, lib. --- cap. -
tells us that in Africa, do sometimes appear multitudes of aerial
shapes, which suddenly vanish. Mr. Richard Baxter in his Certainty
of the Worlds of Spirits, (the last book he writ, not long before his
death) hath a discourse of angels; and wonders they are so little
taken notice of; he hath counted in Newman's Concordance of the Bible,
the word angel, in above three hundred places.

Hugo Grotius in his Annotations on Jonah, speaking of Niniveh, says,
that history has divers examples, that after a great and hearty
humiliation, God delivered cities, &c. from their calamities. Some did
observe in the late civil wars, that the Parliament, after a
humiliation, did shortly obtain a victory. And as a three-fold chord
is not easily broken, so when a whole nation shall conjoin in fervent
prayer and supplication, it shall produce wonderful effects. William
Laud, Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, in a sermon preached before the
Parliament, about the beginning of the reign of King Charles I.
affirms the power of prayer to be so great, that though there be a
conjunction or opposition of Saturn or Mars, (as there was one of them
then) it will overcome the malignity of it. In the life of Vavasor
Powel, is a memorable account of the effect of fervent prayer, after an
exceeding drought: and Mr. Baxter (in his book aforementioned) hath
several instances of that kind, which see.

**St. Michael and all Angels.
The Collect.

0 everlasting God, who hast ordered and constituted the services of
men and angels, after a wonderful manner: mercifully grant, that as
thy holy angels always do thee service in Heaven: so by thy
appointment, they may succour and defend us, through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen.


**Part of a Letter to MR. BAXTER.


I AM to give you the best satisfaction I can touching those fiery
apparitions* (Corps Candles) which do as it were mark out the way for
corpses to their {Greek text: Koimeterion} and sometimes before the
parties themselves fall sick, and sometimes in their sickness. I could
never hear in England of these, they are common in these three
counties, viz. Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke, and as I hear in
some other parts of Wales.**

* Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits, p. 137.
** And Radnor.

These {Greek text: Phantasmata} in our language, we call Canhwyllan
Cyrph, (i.e.) Corps Candles; and candles we call them, not that we
see any thing besides the light; but because that light doth as much
resemble a material candle-light as eggs do eggs, saving, that in
their journey these candles be "modo apparentes, modo disparentes",
especially, when one comes near them; and if one come in the way
against them, unto whom they vanish; but presently appear behind and
hold on their course. If it be a little candle pale or bluish, then
follows the corps either of an abortive or some infant; if a big one,
then the corps of some one come to age: if there be seen two, or
three, or more, some big, some small together, then so many and such
corpses together. If two candles come from divers places, and be seen
to meet, the corpses will the like; if any of these candles are seen
to turn, sometimes a little out of the way, or path, that leadeth to
the church, the following corps will be forced to turn in that very
place, for the avoiding some dirty lane or plash, &c. Now let us fall
to evidence. Being about the age of fifteen, dwelling at Lanylar, late
at night, some neighbour saw one of these candles hovering up and down
along the river bank, until they were weary in beholding it, at last
they left it so, and went to bed. A few weeks after came a proper
damsel from Montgomeryshire, to see her friends, who dwelt on the
other side of that river Istwith, and thought to ford the river at
that very place where the light was seen; being dissuaded by some
lookers on (some it is most likely of those that saw the light) to
adventure on the water, which was high by reason of a flood: she
walked up and down along the river bank, even where, and even as the
aforesaid candle did, waiting for the falling of the water; which at
last she took, but too soon for her, for she was drowned therein. Of
late my sexton's wife, an aged understanding woman, saw from her bed,
a little bluish candle on her tables-end; within two or three days
after, came a fellow enquiring for her husband, and taking something
from under his cloak, claped it down upon the tables-end; it was a
dead born child.

Another time, the same woman saw such another candle upon the end of
the self same table; within a few days after a weak child newly
christened by me, was brought to the sexton's house, where presently
he died: and when the sexton's wife, who was then abroad, came home,
she found the child on the other end of the table, where she had seen
the candle.

Some thirty or forty years since, my wife's sister, being nurse to
Baronet Rudd's three eldest children, and (the Lady mistress being
dead) the Lady comptroller of the house going late into the chamber
where the maid servants lay, saw no less than five of these lights
together. It happened a while after, that the chamber being newly
plaistered, and a grate of coal fire therein kindled to hasten the
drying of the plaister, that five of the maid servants went to bed as
they were wont (but as it fell out) too soon; for in the morning they
were all dead, being suffocated in their sleep with the steam of the
new tempered lime and coal. This was at Langathen in Carmarthenshire.
--- Jo. Davis. See more.---

Generglyn, March 1656.

To this account of Mr. Davis, I will subjoin what my worthy friend and
neighbour Randal Caldicot, D.D. hath affirmed to me many years since,
viz. When any Christian is drowned in the river Dee, there will
appear over the water where the corps is, a light, by which means they
do find the body: and it is therefore called the Holy Dee. The
doctor's father was Mr. Caldicot, of Caldicot in Cheshire, which lies
on the river.


HIERONIMUS Cardanus, lib. 3, "Synesiorum Somniorum", cap. 15,
treats of this subject, which see. Johannes Scotus Erigena, when he was in
Greece, did go to an Oracle to enquire for a Treatise of Aristotle,
and found it, by the response of the oracle. This he mentions in his
works lately printed at Oxford; and is quoted by Mr. Anthony a Wood in
his Antiquities of Oxon, in his life. He lived before the conquest,
and taught Greek at the Abby in Malmesbury, where his scholars stabbed
him with their penknives for his severity to them. Leland mentions
that his statue was in the choir there.


Cardanus, lib. 2. Synes. Somniorum, cap. 8.

"IN Ecstasin multis modis dilabuntur homines, aut per Syncopen, aut
animi deliquium, aut etiam proprie abducto omni sensu externo, absque
alia Causa. Id vero contingit consuetis plerunque, & nimio affectu
alicujus rei laborantibus; --- Ecstasis medium est inter vigiliam &
somnium, sicut somnus inter mortem & vigiliam, seuvitam --- Visa in
Ecstasi certiora insomniis: Clariora & evidentiora --- Ecstasi
deprehensi audire possunt, qui dormiunt non possunt".

Men fall into an Ecstacy many ways, either by a syncope, by a
vanishing and absence of the spirits, or else by the withdrawing of
every external sense without any other cause. It most commonly happens
to those who are over sollicitous or fix their whole minds upon doing
any one particular thing. An Ecstacy is a kind of medium between
sleeping and waking, as sleep is a kind of middle state between life
and death. Things seen in an Ecstacy are more certain than those we
behold in dreams: they are much more clear, and far more evident.
Those seized with an Ecstacy can hear, those who sleep cannot.

Anno 1670, a poor widow's daughter in Herefordshire, went to service
not far from Harwood (the seat of Sir John Hoskins, Bart. R.S.S.) She
was aged near about twenty; fell very ill, even to the point of death;
her mother was old and feeble, and her daughter was the comfort of her
life; if she should die, she knew not what to do: she besought God
upon her knees in prayer, that he would be pleased to spare her
daughter's life, and take her to him: at this very time, the daughter
fell into a trance, which continued about an hour: they thought she
had been dead: when she recovered out of it, she declared the vision
she had in this fit, viz. that one in black habit came to her, whose
face was so bright and glorious she could not behold it; and also he
had such brightness upon his breast, and (if I forget not) upon his
arms. And told her, that her mother's prayers were heard, and that her
mother should shortly die, and she should suddenly recover; and she
did so, and her mother died. She hath the character of a modest,
humble, virtuous maid. Had this been in some Catholick country, it
would have made a great noise.

'Tis certain, there was one in the Strand, who lay in a trance a few
hours before he departed. And in his trance had a vision of the death
of King Charles II. It was at the very day of his apoplectick fit.

There is a sheet of paper printed 16 ... concerning Ecstacies, that
James Usher, late Lord Primate of Ireland, once had: but I have been
assured from my hon. friend James Tyrrell, Esq. (his Lordship's
grandson) that this was not an ecstacy; but that his Lordship upon
reading the 12, 13, 14, &c. chapters of the Revelation, and farther
reflecting upon the great increase of the sectaries in England,
supposed that they would let in popery, which consideration put him
into a great transport, at the time when his daughter (the Lady
Tyrrel) came into the room; when he discoursed to her divers things
(tho' not all) contained in the said printed paper.


"AMOR ex Oculo": Love is from the eye: but (as the Lord Bacon saith)
more by glances than by full gazings; and so for envy and malice.

Tell me dearest, what is Love ?
'Tis a Lightning from above:
'Tis an Arrow, 'tis a Fire,
'Tis a Boy they call Desire.*

* Mr. Fletcher in Cupid's Revenge.

'Tis something divine and inexplicable. It is strange, that as one
walks the streets sometimes one shall meet with an aspect (of male or
female) that pleases our souls; and whose natural sweetness of nature,
we could boldly rely upon. One never saw the other before, and so
could neither oblige or disoblige each other. Gaze not on a maid,
saith Ecclus. 9, 5.

The Glances of envy and malice do shoot also subtilly; the eye of the
malicious person, does really infect and make sick the spirit of the
other. The Lord Bacon saith it hath been observed, that after
triumphs, the triumphants have been sick in spirit.

The chymist can draw subtile spirits, that will work upon one another
at some distance, viz. spirits of alkalies and acids, e.g. spirits
coelestial (sal armoniac and spirits of C. C. will work on each other
at half a yard distance, and smoke;) but the spirits above mentioned
are more subtile than they.

"Non amo te Sabati, nece possum dicere quare,
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te".

Fellow, I love thee not, I can't tell why,
But this, I'll tell thee, I could sooner die.

But if an astrologer had their nativities, he would find a great
disagreement in the schemes. These are hyper-physical opticks, and
drawn from the heavens.

Infants are very sensible of these irradiations of the eyes. In Spain,
France, &c. southern countries, the nurses and parents are very shy to
let people look upon their young children, for fear of fascination. In
Spain, they take it ill if one looks on a child, and make one say, God
bless it. They talk of "mal de ojos". We usually say, witches have
evil eyes.


**In Two Letters from a learned friend of mine in Scotland.


**To Mr. JOHN AUBREY, Fellow of the Royal Society.


FOR your satisfaction I drew up some queries about the second-sighted
men, and having sent them to the northern parts of this kingdom, some
while ago, I received answers to them from two different hands,
whereof I am now to give you an account, viz.

Query 1.

If some few credible, well attested instances of such a knowledge as
is commonly called the second-sight, can be given ?


Many instances of such knowledge can be given, by the confession of
such who are skilled in that faculty: for instances I refer you to
the fourth query.

Query 2.

If it consists in the discovery of present or past events only ? or if
it extend to such as are to come ?


The second-sight relates only to things future, which will shortly
come to pass. Past events I learn nothing of it.

Query 3.

If the objects of this knowledge be sad and dismal events only; such
as deaths and murders ? or, joyful and prosperous also ?


Sad and dismal events, are the objects of this knowledge: as sudden
deaths, dismal accidents. That they are prosperous, or joyful, I
cannot learn. Only one instance I have from a person worthy of credit,
and thereby judge of the joyfulness, or prosperity of it, and it is
this. Near forty years ago, Maclean and his Lady, sister to my Lord
Seaforth, were walking about their own house, and in their return both
came into the nurse's chamber, where their young child was on the
breast: at their coming into the room, the nurse falls a weeping; they
asked the cause, dreading the child was sick, or that she was scarce
of milk: the nurse replied, the child was well, and she had abundance
of milk; yet she still wept; and being pressed to tell what ailed her;
she at last said Maclean would die, and the Lady would shortly be
married to another man. Being enquired how she knew that event, she
told them plainly, that as they both came into the room, she saw a
man with a scarlet cloak and a white hat betwixt them, giving the Lady
a kiss over the shoulder; and this was the cause of weeping. All which
came to pass after Maclean's death; the tutor of Lovet married the
Lady in the same habit the woman saw him. Now by this instance, judge
if it be prosperous to one, it is as dismal to another.

Query 4.

If these events which second-sighted men discover, or foretel, be
visibly represented to them, and acted, as it were before their eyes ?


Affirmatively, they see those things visibly; but none sees but
themselves; for instance, if a man's fatal end be hanging, they will
see a gibbet, or a rope about his neck: if beheaded, they will see
the man without a head; if drowned, they will see water up to his
throat; if unexpected death, they will see a winding sheet about his
head: all which are represented to their view. One instance I had
from a gentleman here, of a Highland gentleman of the Macdonalds, who
having a brother that came to visit him, saw him coming in, wanting a
head; yet told not his brother he saw any such thing; but within
twenty-four hours thereafter, his brother was taken, (being a
murderer) and his head cut off, and sent to Edinburgh. Many such
instances might be given,

Query 5.

If the second-sight be a thing that is troublesome and uneasy to those
that have it, and such as they would gladly be rid of?


It is commonly talked by all I spoke with, that it is troublesome; and
they would gladly be freed from it, but cannot: only I heard lately of
a man very much troubled in his soul therewith, and by serious begging
of God deliverance from it, at length lost the faculty of the second-

Query 6.

If any person, or persons, truly godly, who may justly be presumed to
be such, have been known to have had this gift or faculty ?


Negatively, not any godly, but such as are virtuous.

Query 7.

If it descends by succession from parents to children ? or if not,
whether those that have it can tell how they came by it ?


That it is by succession, I cannot learn; how they came by it, it is
hard to know, neither will they tell; which if they did, they are sure
of their strokes from an invisible hand. One instance I heard of one
Alien Miller, being in company with some gentlemen, having gotten a
little more than ordinary of that strong liquor they were drinking,
began to tell stories and strange passages he had been at: but the
said Alien was suddenly removed to the farther end of the house, and
was there almost strangled; recovering a little, and coming to the
place where he was before, they asked him, what it was that troubled
him so ? He answered he durst not tell; for he had told too much

Query 8. How came they by it ?


Some say by compact with the Devil; some say by converse with those
daemons we call fairies. I have heard, that those that have this
faculty of the second-sight, have offered to teach it to such as were
curious to know it; upon such and such conditions they would teach
them; but their proffers were rejected.

This is all I could learn by tradition of that faculty, from knowing
and intelligent men. If this satisfy not these queries aforesaid,
acquaint me, and what can be known of it shall be transmitted.

I cannot pass by an instance I have from a very honest man in the next
parish, who told me it himself. That his wife being big with child
near her delivery, he buys half a dozen of boards to make her a bed
against the time she lay in. The boards lying at the door of his
house, there comes an old fisher-woman, yet alive, and asked him,
whose were those boards ? He told her they were his own; she asked
again, for what use he had them ? He replied, for a bed; she again
said, I intend them for what use you please, she saw a dead corps
lying upon them, and that they would be a coffin: which struck the
honest man to the heart, fearing the death of his wife. But when the
old woman went off, he calls presently for a carpenter to make the
bed, which was accordingly done; but shortly after the honest man had
a child died, whose coffin was made of the ends of those boards.

Sir, the original, whereof this that I have writ, is a true copy, was
sent by a minister, living within some few miles of Inverness, to a
friend of mine whom I employed to get information for me; as I
insinuated before: I have other answers to these queries from another
hand, which I purposed to have communicated to you at this time; but I
find there will not be room enough for them in this sheet; howbeit, in
case you think it fit, they shall be sent you afterward.

In the mean time, I shall tell you what I have had from one of the
masters of our college here (a north country man both by birth and
education, in his younger years) who made a journey in the harvest
time into the shire of Ross, and at my desire, made some enquiry
there, concerning the second-sight. He reports, that there they told
him many instances of this knowledge, which he had forgotten, except
two. The first, one of his sisters, a young gentlewoman, staying with
a friend, at some thirty miles distance from her father's house, and
the ordinary place of her residence; one who had the second-sight in
the family where she was, saw a young man attending her as she went
up and down the house, and this was about three months before her
marriage. The second is of a woman in that country who is reputed to
have the second-sight, and declared, that eight days before the death
of a gentleman there, she saw a bier or coffin covered with a cloth
which she knew, carried as it were, to the place of burial, and
attended with a great company, one of which told her it was the corps
of such a person, naming that gentleman, who died eight days after.
By these instances it appears that the objects of this knowledge are
not sad and dismal events only, but joyful and prosperous ones also:
he declares farther, that he was informed there, if I mistake not, by
some of those who had the second-sight, that if at any time when they
see those strange sights, they set their foot upon the foot of another
who hath not the second-sight, that other will for that time see what
they are seeing; as also that they offered, if he pleased, to
communicate the second-sight to him. I have nothing more to add at
present, but that I am, Sir, Your faithful friend,

And humble servant.


**To Mr. JOHN AUBREY, Fellow of the Royal-Society at
**Gresham-College, London. Honoured Sir,

SINCE my last to you, I have had the favour of two letters from you:
to the first, dated February 6, I had replied sooner, but that I
wanted leisure to transcribe some farther accounts of a second-sighted
man, sent me from the north, whereof (in obedience to your desire) I
give here the doubles.

May the 4th. 1694.

**A Copy of an Answer to some Queries concerning Second-
sighted Men, sent by a Minister living near Inverness, to a
Friend of mine.

Query 1.

THAT there is such an art, commonly called the second-sight, is
certain, from these following instances.

First, in a gentleman's house, one night the mistress considering why
such persons whom she expected were so late, and so long a coming, the
supper being all the while delayed for them; a servant man about the
house (finding the mistress anxious) having the second-sight, desires
to cover the table, and before all things were put on, those persons
she longed for would come in; which happened accordingly.

The second instance, concerning a young Lady of great birth, whom a
rich Knight fancied and came in sute of the Lady, but she could not
endure to fancy him, being a harsh and unpleasant man: but her friends
importuning her daily, she turned melancholy and lean, fasting and
weeping continually. A common fellow about the house meeting her one
day in the fields, asked her, saying Mrs. Kate, What is that that
troubles you, and makes you look so ill ? she replied, that the cause
is known to many, for my friends would have me marry such a man by
name, but I cannot fancy him. Nay, (says the fellow) give over these
niceties, for he will be your first husband, and will not live long,
and be sure he will leave you a rich dowry, which will procure you a
great match, for I see a Lord upon each shoulder of you: all which
came to pass in every circumstance; as eye and ear witnesses declare.

A third instance, of a traveller coming in to a certain house, desired
some meat: the mistress being something nice and backward to give him
victuals; you need not, says he, churle me in a piece of meat; for
before an hour and half be over, a young man of such a stature and
garb will come in with a great salmon-fish on his back, which I behold
yonder on the floor: and it came to pass within the said time.

A fourth instance, of a young woman in a certain house about supper-
time, refused to take meat from the steward who was offering in the
very time meat to her; being asked why she would not take it ?
replied, she saw him full of blood, and therefore was afraid to take
any thing of his hands. The next morning, the said steward offering to
compose a difference between two men, at an ale-house door, got a
stroak of a sword on the forehead, and came home full of blood. This
was told me by an eye witness.

Query 2.

Those that have this faculty of the second-sight, see only things to
come, which are to happen shortly there-after, and sometimes foretel
things which fall out three or four years after. For instance, one
told his master, that he saw an arrow in such a man through his body,
and yet no blood came out: his master told him, that it was
impossible an arrow should stick in a man's body, and no blood come
out, and if that came not to pass, he would be deemed an impostor. But
about five or six years after the man died, and being brought to his
burial-place, there arose a debate anent his grave, and it came to
such a height, that they drew arms, and bended their bows; and one
letting off an arrow, shot through the dead body upon the bier-trees,
and so no blood could issue out at a dead man's wound. Thus his sight
could not inform him whether the arrow should be shot in him alive
or dead, neither could he condescend whether near or afar off.

Query 3.

They foresee murthers, drownings, weddings, burials, combats, man-
slaughters, all of which, many instances might be given. Lately (I
believe in August last, 1695) one told there would be drowning in the
river Bewly, which come to pass: two pretty men crossing a ford both
drowned, which fell out within a month. Another instance; a man that
served the Bishop of Catnes, who had five daughters in his house, one
of them grudged, that the burthen of the family lay on her wholly: the
fellow told her that ere long she should be exonered of that task, for
he saw a tall gentleman in black, walking on the Bishop's right-hand,
whom she should marry: and this fell out accordingly, within a quarter
of a year thereafter. He told also of a covered table, full of varieties
of good fare, and their garbs who set about the table.

Query 4.

They see all this visibly acted before their eyes; sometimes within,
and sometimes without-doors, as in a glass.

Query 5.

It is a thing very troublesome to them that have it, and would gladly
be rid of it. For if the object be a thing that is so terrible, they
are seen to sweat and tremble, and shreek at the apparition. At other
times they laugh, and tell the thing chearfully, just according as the
thing is pleasant or astonishing.

Query 6.

Sure it is, that the persons that have a sense of God and religion,
and may be presumed to be godly, are known to have this faculty. This
evidently appears, in that they are troubled for having it, judging it
a sin, and that it came from the Devil, and not from God; earnestly
desiring and wishing to be rid of it, if possible; and to that effect,
have made application to their minister, to pray to God for them that
they might be exonered from that burden. They have supplicated the
presbytery, who judicially appointed publick prayers to be made in
several churches, and a sermon preached to that purpose, in their own
parish church, by their minister; and they have compeired before the
pulpit, after sermon, making confession openly of that sin, with deep
sense on their knees; renounced any such gift or faculty which they
had to God's dishonour, and earnestly desired the minister to pray for
them; and this their recantation recorded; and after this, they were
never troubled with such a sight any more.

**A Copy of a Letter, written to myself by a Gentleman's Son in
Straths-pey in Scotland, being a Student in Divinity, concerning
the Second-sight.


I AM more willing than able to satisfy your desire: as for instances
of such a knowledge, I could furnish many. I shall only insert some
few attested by several of good credit yet alive.

And, first, Andrew Macpherson, of Clunie in Badenoch, being in sute of
Lord of Gareloch's daughter, as he was upon a day going to Gareloch,
the Lady Gareloch was going somewhere from her house within kenning to
the road which Clunie was coming; the Lady preceiving him, said to her
attendants, that yonder was Clunie, going to see his mistress: one
that had this second-sight in her company replied, and said, if yon be
he, unless he marry within six months, he'll never marry. The Lady
asked, how did he know that ? he said, very well, for I see him, saith
he, all inclosed in his winding-sheet, except his nostrils and his
mouth, which will also close up within six months; which happened even
as he foretold; within the said space he died, and his brother Duncan
Macpherson this present Clunie succeeded. This and the like may
satisfy your fourth query, he seeing the man even then covered all
over with his dead linens. The event was visibly represented, and as
it were acted (before his eyes) and also the last part of your second
query, viz. that it was as yet to come. As for the rest of the
questions, viz. That they discover present and past events, is also
manifest, thus: I have heard of a gentleman, whose son had gone
abroad, and being anxious to know how he was, he went to consult one
who had this faculty, who told him, that that same day five o'clock in
the afternoon his son had married a woman in France, with whom he had
got so many thousand crowns, and within two years he should come home
to see father and friends, leaving his wife with child of a daughter,
and a son of six months age behind him: which accordingly was true.
About the same time two years he came home, and verified all that was

It is likewise ordinary with persons that lose any thing, to go to
some of these men, by whom they are directed; how, what persons, and
in what place they shall find it. But all such as profess that skill,
are not equally dexterous in it. For instance, two of them were in Mr.
Hector Mackenzie, minister of Inverness, his father's house; the one a
gentleman, the other a common fellow; and discoursing by the fire
side, the fellow suddenly begins to weep, and cry out, alas ! alas!
such a woman is either dead, or presently expiring. The gentlewoman
lived five or six miles from the house, and had been some days
before in a fever. The gentleman being somewhat better expert in that
faculty, said; no, saith he, she's not dead; nor will she die of this
disease. 0, saith the fellow, do you not see her all covered with her
winding-sheet; ay, saith the gentleman, I see her as well as you; but
do you not see her linen all wet, which is her sweat ? she being
presently cooling of the fever. This story Mr. Hector himself will
testify. The most remarkable of this sort, that I hear of now, is one
Archibald Mackeanyers, alias Macdonald, living in Ardinmurch, within
ten or twenty miles, or thereby, of Glencoe, and I was present myself,
where he foretold something which accordingly fell out in 1683; this
man being in Straths-pey, in John Macdonald of Glencoe his company,
told in Balachastell, before the Lord of Grant, his Lady, and several
others, and also in my father's house; that Argyle, of whom few or
none knew then where he was, at least there was no word of him then
here; should within two twelve months thereafter, come to the West-
Highlands, and raise a rebellious faction, which would be divided
among themselves, and disperse, and he unfortunately be taken and
beheaded at Edinburgh, and his head set upon the Talbooth, where his
father's head was before him; which proved as true, as he fore-told
it, in 1685, thereafter. Likewise in the beginning of May next after
the late revolution, as my Lord Dundee returned up Spey-side, after he
had followed General Major Mac Kay in his reer down the length of
Edinglassie, at the Milatown of Gartinbeg, the Macleans joined him,
and after he had received them, he marched forward, but they
remained behind, and fell a plundering: upon which Glencoe and some
others, among whom was this Archibald, being in my father's house, and
hearing that Mac Leans and others were pillaging some of his lands,
went to restrain them, and commanded them to march after the army;
after he had cleared the first town, next my father's house of them,
and was come to the second, there standing on a hill, this Archibald
said, Glencoe, if you take my advice, then make off with your self
with all possible haste, ere an hour come and go you'll be put to it
as hard as ever you was: some of the company began to droll and say,
what shall become of me ? whether Glencoe believed him, or no, I
cannot tell; but this I am sure of, that whereas before he was of
intention to return to my father's house and stay all night, now we
took leave, and immediately parted. And indeed, within an hour
thereafter, Mac Kay, and his whole forces, appeared at Culnakyle
in Abernethie, two miles below the place where we parted, and hearing
that Cleaverhouse had marched up the water-side a little before, but
that Mac Leans and several other straglers, had stayed behind,
commanded Major AEneas Mac Kay, with two troops of horse after them;
who finding the said Mac Leans at Kinchardie, in the parish of Luthel,
chased them up the Morskaith: in which chase Glencoe happened to be,
and was hard put to it, as was foretold. What came of Archibald
himself, I am not sure; I have not seen him since, nor can I get a
true account of him, only I know he is yet alive, and at that time one
of my father's men whom the red-coats meeting, compelled to guide
them, within sight of the Mac Leans, found the said Archibald's horse
within a mile of the place where I left him. I am also informed, this
Archibald said to Glencoe, that he would be murdered in the night time
in his own house three months before it happened.

Touching your third query, the objects of this knowledge, are not only
sad and dismal; but also joyful and prosperous: thus they foretell of
happy marriages, good children, what kind of life men shall live, and
in what condition they shall die: and riches, honour, preferment,
peace, plenty, and good weather.

Query 7.

What way they pretend to have it ? I am informed, that in the Isle of
Sky, especially before the gospel came thither, several families had
it by succession, descending from parents to children, and as yet
there be many there that have it in that way; and the only way to be
freed from it is, when a woman hath it herself, and is married to a
man that hath it also; if in the very act of delivery, upon the first
sight of the child's head, it be baptized, the same is free from it;
if not, he hath it all his life; by which, it seems, it is a thing
troublesome and uneasy to them that have it, and such as they would
fain be rid of. And may satisfy your ninth query. And for your farther
contentment in this query, I heard of my father, that there was one
John du beg Mac Grigor, a Reanach man born, very expert in this
knowledge, and my father coming one day from Inverness, said by the
way, that he would go into an ale-house on the road, which then would
be about five miles off. This John Mac Grigor being in his company,
and taken up a slate stone at his foot, and looking to it, replied;
nay, said he, you will not go in there, for there is but a matter of a
gallon of ale in it even now, and ere we come to it, it will be all
near drunken, and those who are drinking there, are strangers to us,
and ere we be hardly past the house, they will discord among
themselves: which fell out so; ere we were two pair of butts past the
house, those that were drinking there went by the ears, wounded and
mischieved one another. My father by this and several other things of
this nature, turned curious of this faculty, and being very intimate
with the man, told him he would fain learn it: to which he answered,
that indeed he could in three days time teach him if he pleased; but
yet he would not advise him nor any man to learn it; for had he once
learned, he would never be a minute of his life but he would see
innumerable men and women night and day round about him; which perhaps
he would think wearisome and unpleasant, for which reason my father
would not have it. But as skilful as this man was, yet he knew not
what should be his own last end; which was hanging: And I am
informed, that most, if not all of them, though they can fore-see what
shall happen to others: yet they cannot foretell, much less prevent,
what shall befal themselves. I am also informed by one who came last
summer from the Isle of Sky, that any person that pleases will get it
taught him for a pound or two of tobacco.

As for your last query. For my own part, I can hardly believe they
can be justly presumed, much less truly godly. As for this Mac Grigor,
several report that he was a very civil discreet man, and some say he
was of good deportment, and also unjustly hanged. But Archibald
Mackenyere will not deny himself, but once he was one of the most
notorious thieves in all the Highlands: but I am informed since I
came to this knowledge which was by an accident too long here to
relate, that he has turned honester than before.

There was one James Mac Coil-vicalaster alias Grant, in Glenbeum near
Kirk-Michael in Strathawin, who had this sight, who I hear of several
that were well acquainted with him was a very honest man, and of right
blameless conversation. He used ordinarily by looking to the fire, to
foretell what strangers would come to his house the next day, or
shortly thereafter, by their habit and arms, and sometimes also by
their name; and if any of his goods or cattle were missing, he would
direct his servants to the very place where to find them, whether in a
mire or upon dry ground; he would also tell, if the beast were already
dead, or if it would die ere they could come to it; and in winter, if
they were thick about the fire-side, he would desire them to make room
for some others that stood by, though they did not see them, else some
of them would be quickly thrown into the midst of it. But whether this
man saw any more than Brownie and Meg Mullach, I am not very sure;
some say, he saw more continually, and would often be very angry-like,
and something troubled, nothing visibly moving him: others affirm he
saw these two continually, and sometimes many more.

They generally term this second-sight in Irish Taishi-taraughk, and
such as have it Taishatrin, from Taish, which is properly a shadowy
substance, or such naughty, and imperceptible thing, as can only, or
rather scarcely be discerned by the eye; but not caught by the hands:
for which they assigned it to Bugles or Ghosts, so that Taishtar, is
as much as one that converses with ghosts or spirits, or as they
commonly call them, the Fairies or Fairy-Folks. Others call these men
Phissicin, from Phis, which is properly fore-sight, or fore-knowledge.
This is the surest and clearest account of second-sighted men that I
can now find, and I have set it down fully, as if I were transiently
telling it, in your own presence, being curious for nothing but the
verity, so far as I could. What you find improper or superfluous you
can best compendise it, &c,

Thus far this letter, written in a familiar and homely stile, which I
have here set down at length. Meg Mullach, and Brownie mentioned in
the end of it, are two ghosts, which (as it is constantly reported) of
old, haunted a family in Straths-pey of the name of Grant. They
appeared at first in the likeness of a young lass; the second of a
young lad.

Dr. Moulin (who presents his service to you) hath no acquaintance in
Orkney; but I have just now spoken with one, who not only hath
acquaintance in that country, but also entertains some thoughts of
going thither himself, to get me an account of the cures usually
practised there. The Cortex Winteranus, mentioned by you as an
excellent medicine, I have heard it commended as good for the scurvy;
if you know it to be eminent or specific (such as the Peruvian Bark
is) for any disease, I shall be well pleased to be informed by you.

Thus, Sir, you have an account of all my informations concerning
second-sighted men: I have also briefly touched all the other
particulars in both your letters, which needed a reply, except your
thanks so liberally and obligingly returned to me for my letters, and
the kind sense you express of that small service. The kind reception
which you have given to those poor trifles, and the value which you
put on them, I consider as effects of your kindness to myself, and as
engagements on me to serve you to better purpose when it shall be in
the power of

Your faithful friend,

and servant, &c.


DIEMERBROECK in his book de Peste (i.e. of the Plague) gives us a
story of Dimmerus de Raet, that being at Delft, where the pestilence
then raged, sent then his wife thirty miles off. And when the doctor
went to see the gentleman of the house, as soon as he came in, the old
chair-woman that washed the cloathes fell a weeping; he asked her why?
said she, my mistress is now dead; I saw her apparition but just now
without a head, and that it was usual with her when a friend of hers
died, to see their apparitions in that manner, though never so far
off. His wife died at that time.

Mr. Thomas May in his History, lib. 8, writes, that an old man (like
an hermit) second-sighted, took his leave of King James I. when he
came into England: he took little notice of Prince Henry, but
addressing himself to the Duke of York (since King Charles I.) fell a
weeping to think what misfortunes he should undergo; and that he
should be one of the miserablest unhappy Princes that ever was.

A Scotch nobleman sent for one of these second-sighted men out of the
Highlands, to give his judgment of the then great favourite, George
Villers, Duke of Buckingham; as soon as ever he saw him, " Pish," said
he, he will come to nothing. I see a dagger in his breast;" and he was
stabbed in the breast by Captain Felton.

Sir James Melvil hath several the like stories in his Memoirs. Folio.

A certain old man in South-Wales, told a great man there of the
fortune of his family; and that there should not be a third male

In Spain there are those they call Saludadores, that have this kind of
gift. There was a Portugueze Dominican fryar belonging to Queen
Katherine Dowager's chapel, who had the second-sight.


**Concerning Predictions, Fatality, Apparitions, &c. From the
various History of AELIAN. Rendered out of the Greek Original. By

THE wisdom of the Persian Magi was (besides other things proper to
them) conversant in prediction: they foretold the cruelty of Ochus
towards his subjects, and his bloody disposition, which they collected
from some secret signs. For when Ochus, upon the death of his father
Artaxerxes, came to the crown, the Magi charged one of the Eunuchs
that were next him, to observe upon what things, when the table was
set before him, he first laid hands; who watching intentively, Ochus
reached forth both his hands, and with his right, laid hold of a knife
that lay by, with the other, took a great loaf, which he laid upon the
meat, and did cut and eat greedily. The Magi, hearing this, foretold
that there would be plenty during his reign, and much blood shed. In
which they erred not.

It is observed, that on the sixth day of the month Thargelion, many
good fortunes have befallen not only the Athenians, but divers others.
Socrates was born on this day, the Persians vanquished on this day,
and the Athenians sacrifice three hundred goats to Agrotera upon this
day in pursuit of Miltiades's Vow: on the same day of this month was
the fight of Plataea, in which the Grecians had the better; for the
former fight which I mentioned was at Artemisium, neither was the
victory which the Greeks obtained at Mycale on any other day; seeing
that the victory at Plataea and Mycale happened on the self-same day.
Likewise Alexander the Macedonian, Son of Philip, vanquished many
myriads of the Barbarians on the sixth day, when he took Darius
prisoner. All which is observed to have happened on this month. It is
likewise reported that Alexander was born and died on the same day.

Some Pythian relations affirm, that Hercules, son of Jupiter and
Alcmena, was at his birth, named Heraclides; but that afterwards
coming to Delphi to consult the oracle about some business, he
obtained that for which he came, and received farther privately from
the God, this oracle concerning himself.

Thee Hercules doth Phoebus name,
For thou shalt gain immortal fame.

The Peripateticks assert, that the soul in the day-time is inslaved
and involved in the body, so that she cannot behold truth; but in the
night, being freed from this servitude, and gathered together, as it
were, in a round about the parts that are in the breast, she is more
prophetick, whence proceed dreams.

Socrates said of his daemon to Theages Demodocus, and many others, that
he many times perceived a voice warning him by divine instinct, which,
saith he, when it comes, signifieth a dissuasion from that which I am
going to do, but never persuades to do any thing. And when any of my
friends, (saith he) impart their business to me, if this voice
happens, it dissuades also, giving me the like counsel: whereupon, I
dehort him who adviseth with me, and suffer him not to proceed in what
he is about, following the divine admonition. He alledged as witness
here of Charmides son of Glauco, who asking his advice, whether he
should exercise at the Nemean games; as soon as he began to speak, the
voice gave the accustomed sigh. Whereupon Socrates endeavoured to
divert Charmides from this purpose, telling him the reason. But he not
following the advice, it succeeded ill with him.

Aspasia a Phocian, daughter of Hermotimus, was brought up an orphan,
her mother dying in the pains of child-birth. She was bred up in
poverty, but modestly and virtuously. She had many times a dream which
foretold her that she should be married to an excellent person. Whilst
she was yet young, she chanced to have a swelling under her chin,
loathsome to sight, whereat both the father and the maid were much
afflicted. Her father brought her to a physician: he offered to
undertake the cure for three staters; the other said he had not the money.
The physician replied, he had then no physic for him. Hereupon
Aspasia departed weeping ! and holding a looking-glass on her knee,
beheld her face in it, which much increased her grief. Going to rest
without supping, by the reason of the trouble she was in, she had an
opportune dream; a dove seemed to appear to her as she slept, which
being changed to a woman, said, "Be of good courage, and bid a long
farewel to physicians and their medicines: take of the dried rose of
Venus garlands, which being pounded apply to the swelling." After the
maid had understood and made trial of this, the tumour was wholly
assuaged; and Aspasia recovering her beauty by means of the most
beautiful goddess, did once again appear the fairest amongst her
virgin-companions, enriched with graces far above any of the rest. Of
hair yellow, locks a little curling, she had great eyes, some what
hawk-nosed, ears short, skin delicate, complexion like roses; whence
the Phocians, whilst she was yet a child called her Milto. Her lips
were red, teeth whiter than snow, small insteps, such as of those
women whom Homer calls {greek text: lisphurous}. Her voice sweet and
smooth, that whosoever heard her might justly say he heard the voice
of a Syren. She was averse from womanish curiosity in dressing: such
things are to be supplied by wealth. She being poor, and bred up under
a poor father, used nothing superfluous or extravagant to advantage
her beauty. On a time Aspasia came to Cyrus, son of Darius and
Parysatis, brother of Artaxerxes, not willingly nor with the consent
of her father, but by compulsion, as it often happens upon the taking
of cities, or the violence of tyrants and their officers. One of the
officers of Cyrus, brought her with other virgins to Cyrus, who
immediately preferred her before all his concubines, for simplicity of
behaviour, and modesty; whereto also contributed her beauty without
artifice, and her extraordinary discretion, which was such, that Cyrus
many times asked her advice in affairs, which he never repented to
have followed. When Aspasia came first to Cyrus, it happened that he
was newly risen from supper, and was going to drink after the Persian
manner: for after they have done eating, they betake themselves to
wine, and fall to their cups freely, encountering drink as an
adversary. Whilst they were in the midst of their drinking, four
Grecian virgins were brought to Cyrus, amongst whom was Aspasia the
Phocian. They were finely attired; three of them had their heads
neatly drest by their own women which came along with them, and had
painted their faces. They had been also instructed by their
governesses how to behave themselves towards Cyrus, to gain his
favour; not to turn away when he came to them, not to be coy when he
touched them, to permit him to kiss them, and many other amatory
instructions practised by women who expose their beauty to sale. Each
contended to out-vie the other in handsomeness. Only Aspasia would not
endure to be clothed with a rich robe, nor to put on a various
coloured vest, nor to be washed; but calling upon the Grecian and
Eleutherian gods, she cried out upon her father's name, execrating
herself to her father. She thought the robe which she should put on
was a manifest sign of bondage. At last being compelled with blows she
put it on, and was necessitated to behave herself with greater liberty
than beseemed a virgin. When they came to Cyrus, the rest smiled, and
expressed chearfulness in their looks. But Aspasia looking on the
ground, her eyes full of tears, did every way express an extraordinary
bashfulness. When he commanded them to sit down by him, the rest
instantly obeyed; but the Phocian refused, until the officer caused
her to sit down by force. When Cyrus looked upon or touched their
eyes, cheeks and fingers, the rest freely permitted him; but she
would not suffer it; for if Cyrus did but offer to touch her, she
cried out, saying, he should not go unpunished for such actions. Cyrus
was herewith extreamly pleased; and when upon his offering to touch
her breast, she rose up, and would have run away, Cyrus much taken
with her native ingenuity which was not like the Persians, turning to
him that brought them, "This maid only saith he, of those which you
have brought me is free and pure; the rest are adulterate in face, but
much more in behaviour." Hereupon Cyrus loved her above all the women
he ever had. Afterwards there grew a mutual love between them, and
their friendship proceeded to such a height that it almost arrived at
parity, not differing from the concord and modesty of Grecian
marriage. Hereupon the fame of his affection to Aspasia was spread to
Ionia and throughout Greece; Peloponnesus also was filled with
discourses of the love betwixt Cyrus and her. The report went even to
the great King [of Persia,] for it was conceived that Cyrus, after his
acquaintance with her, kept company with no other woman. From these
things Aspasia recollected the remembrance of her old apparition, and
of the dove, and her words, and what the goddess foretold her. Hence
she conceived that she was from the very beginning particularly
regarded by her. She therefore offered sacrifice of thanks to Venus.
And first caused a great image of gold to be erected to her, which she
called the image of Venus, and by it placed the picture of a dove
beset with jewels, and every day implored the favour of the goddess
with sacrifice and prayer. She sent to Hermotimus her father many rich
presents, and made him wealthy. She lived continently all her life, as
both the Grecian and Persian women affirm. On a time a neck-lace was
sent as a present to Cyrus from Scopas the younger, which had been
sent to Scopas out of Sicily. The neck-lace was of extraordinary
workmanship, and variety. All therefore to whom Cyrus shewed it
admiring it, he was much taken with the jewel, and went immediately to
Aspasia, it being about noon, finding her asleep, he lay down gently
by her watching quietly while she slept. As soon as she awaked, and
saw Cyrus she embraced him after her usual manner. He taking the neck-
lace out of a box, said, "this is worthy either the daughter or the
mother of a King." To which she assenting; "I will give it you, said
he, for your own use, let me see your neck adorned with it." But she
received not the gift, prudently and discreetly answering, "How will
Parysatis your mother take it, this being a gift fit for her that bare
you ? send it to her, Cyrus, I will shew you a neck handsome enough
without it." Aspasia from the greatness of her mind acted contrary to
other royal Queens, who are excessively desirous of rich ornaments.
Cyrus being pleased with this answer, kissed Aspasia. All these
actions and speeches Cyrus writ in a letter which he sent together
with the chain to his mother; and Parysatis receiving the present was
no less delighted with the news than with the gold, for which she
requited Aspasia with great and royal gifts; for this pleased her
above all things, that though Aspasia were chiefly affected by her
son, yet in the love of Cyrus, she desired to be placed beneath his
mother. Aspasia praised the gifts, but said she had no need of them;
(for there was much money sent with the presents) but sent them to
Cyrus, saying, "To you who maintain many men this may be useful: for
me it is enough that you love me and are my ornament." With these
things, as it seemeth she much astonished Cyrus. And indeed the woman
was without dispute admirable for her personal beauty, but much more
for the nobleness of her mind. When Cyrus was slain in the fight
against his brother, and his army taken prisoners, with the rest of
the prey she was taken, not falling accidentally into the enemies
hands, but sought for with much diligence by King Artaxerxes, for he
had heard her fame and virtue. When they brought her bound, he was
angry, and cast those that did it into prison. He commanded that a
rich robe should be given her: which she hearing, intreated with
tears and lamentation that she might not put on the garment the King
appointed, for she mourned exceedingly for Cyrus. But when she had
put it on, she appeared the fairest of all women, and Artaxerxes was
immediately surprised and inflamed with love of her. He valued her
beyond all the rest of his women, respecting her infinitely. He
endeavoured to ingratiate himself into her favour, hoping to make her
forget Cyrus, and to love him no less than she had done his brother;
but it was long before he could compass it. For the affection of
Aspasia to Cyrus had taken so deep impression, that it could not
easily be rooted out. Long after this, Teridates, the Eunuch died, who
was the most beautiful youth in Asia. He had full surpassed childhood,
and was reckoned among the youths. The King was said to have loved
him exceedingly: he was infinitely grieved and troubled at his death, and
there was an universal mourning throughout Asia, every one
endeavouring to gratify the King herein; and none durst venture to
come to him and comfort him, for they thought his passion would not
admit any consolation. Three days being past, Aspasia taking a
mourning robe as the King was going to the bath, stood weeping, her
eyes cast on the ground. He seeing her, wondered, and demanded the
reason of her coming. She said, "I come, 0 King, to comfort your
grief and affliction, if you so please; otherwise I shall go back."
The Persian pleased with this care, commanded that she should retire
to her chamber, and wait his coming. As soon as he returned, he put
the vest of the Eunuch upon Aspasia, which did in a manner fit her;
and by this means her beauty appeared with greater splendour to the
King's eye, who much affected the youth. And being once pleased
herewith, he desired her to come always to him in that dress, until
the height of his grief were allayed: which to please him she did.
Thus more than all Hs other women, or his own son and kindred, she
comforted Artaxerxes, and relieved his sorrow; the King being pleased
with her care, and prudently admitting her consolation.

**GEORGE BUCHANAN in his History of SCOTLAND, reciteth of one of
their Kings, James IV. the following very remarkable Passages.

THE presence of this King being required to be with his army, whither
he was going, at Linlithgo, whilst he was at Vespers in the church,
there entered an old man, the hair of his head being red, inclining to
yellow, hanging down on his shoulders; his forehead sleek through
baldness, bare-headed, in a long coat of a russet colour, girt with a
linen girdle about his loins; in the rest of his aspect, he was very
venerable: he pressed through the crowd to come to the King: when he
came to him, he leaned upon the chair on which the King sat, with a
kind of rustic simplicity, and bespoke him thus; "0 King," said he, "I
am sent to warn thee, not to proceed in thy intended design;
and if thou neglectest this admonition, neither thou nor thy followers
shall prosper. I am also commanded to tell thee, that thou shouldest
not use the familiarity, intimacy, and council of women; which if thou
dost, it will redound to thy ignominy and loss." Having thus spoken,
he withdrew himself into the croud; and when the King inquired for
him, after prayers were ended, he could not be found which matter
seemed more strange, because none of those who stood next, and
observed him, as being desirous to put many questions to him, were
sensible how he disappeared; amongst them there was David Lindsey of
Mont, a man of approved worth and honesty, (and a great scholar too)
for in the whole course of his life, he abhorred lying; and if I had
not received this story from him as a certain truth, I had omitted it
as a romance of the vulgar.

On Tuesday, July 26, 1720, at a sale of the copies belonging to Mr.
Awnsham Churchill, of London, Book-seller, which were sold at the
Queen's Head tavern, in Pater Noster Row, there was among them a
printed copy of these Miscellanies, corrected for the press by Mr.
Aubrey, wherein were many very considerable alterations,
corrections, and additions, together with the following letter to Mr.
Churchill, written upon the first blank leaf, concerning the then
intended second edition.


THERE is a very pretty remark in the Athenian Mercury, concerning
Apparitions, which I would have inserted under this head, it is in
vol. 17, numb. 25. Tuesday, June 1695.

Mr. Dunton, at the Raven in Jewin-Street, will help you to this
Mercury, but yesterday he would not, his wife being newly departed.

J. A.

June 1, 1697.
**The Passage referred to by Mr. AUBREY, in his Letter

* The passage referred to in this letter is now here inserted: the other
additions are incorporated in the text. Ed.

Two persons (Ladies) of quality, (both not being long since deceased,)
were intimate acquaintance, and loved each other entirely: it so fell
out, that one of them fell sick of the small-pox, and desired mightily
to see the other, who would not come, fearing the catching of them.
The afflicted at last dies of them, and had not been buried very long,
but appears at the other's house, in the dress of a widow, and asks
for her friend, who was then at cards, but sends down her woman to
know her business, who, in short, told her, "she must impart it to
none but her Lady", who, after she had received this answer, bid her
woman have her in a room, and desired her to stay while the game was
done, and she would wait on her. The game being done, down stairs she
came to the apparition, to know her business; "madam," says the
ghost, (turning up her veil, and her face appearing full of the small-
pox) "You know very well, that you and I, loved entirely; and your not
coming to see me, I took it so ill at your hands, that I could not
rest till I had seen you, and now I am come to tell you, that you have
not long to live, therefore prepare to die; and when you are at a
feast, and make the thirteenth person in number, then remember my
words" and so the apparition vanished.

To conclude, she was at a feast, where she made the thirteenth person
in number, and was afterwards asked by the deceased's brother,
"whether his sister did appear to her as was reported?" she made him
no answer, but fell a weeping, and died in a little time after. The
gentleman that told this story, says, that there is hardly any person
of quality but what knows it to be true. (From the Athenian Mercury.)




**Printed in "Miscellanies on several curious subjects."
London, E. Curll, 1714.

AT a meeting of gentlemen at the Devizes, for choosing of Knights of
the Shire in March 1659, it was wished by some, that this County
(wherein are many observable antiquities) was surveyed, in imitation
of Mr. Dugdale's illustration of Warwickshire; but it being too great
a task for one man, Mr. William Yorke (Councellor at Law, and a lover
of this kind of learning) advised to have the labour divided: he
himself would undertake the Middle Division; I would undertake the
North; T. Gore, Esq., Jeffrey Daniel, Esq., and Sir John Erneley would
be assistants. Judge Nicholas was the greatest antiquary, as to
evidences, that this County hath had in memory of man, and had taken
notes in his Adversariis of all the ancient deeds that came to his
hands. Mr. York had taken some memorandums in this kind too, both now
dead; 'tis pity those papers, falling into the hands of merciless
women, should be put under pies. I have since that occasionally made
this following Collection, which perhaps may some-time or other fall
into some antiquary's hands, to make a handsome Work of it. I hope my
worthy friend Mr. Anthony Wood of Oxford will be the man. I am
heartily sorry I did not set down the antiquities of these parts
sooner, for since the time aforesaid, many things are irrecoverably

In former days the churches and great houses hereabouts did so abound
with monuments and things remarkable, that it would have deterred an
antiquary from undertaking it. But as Pythagoras did guess at the
vastness of Hercules' stature by the length of his foot, so among
these ruins are remains enough left for a man to give a guess what
noble buildings, &c. were made by the piety, charity, and
magnanimity of our forefathers.

And as in prospects, we are there pleased most where something keeps
the eye from being lost, and leaves us room to guess; so here the eye
and mind is no less affected with these stately ruins, than they would
have been when standing and entire. They breed in generous minds a
kind of pity, and sets the thoughts a-work to make out their magnifice
as they were taken in perfection. These remains are "tanquam Tabulata
Naufragii", that after the revolution of so many years and
governments, have escaped the teeth of Time, and (which is more
dangerous) the hands of mistaken Zeal. So that the retrieving of these
forgotten things from oblivion, in some sort resembles that of a
conjurer, who make those walk and appear that have lain in their
graves many hundreds of years, and to represent, as it were to the
eye, the places, customs, and fashions that were of old time.

Let us imagine then what kind of country this was in the time of the
ancient Britains, by the nature of the soil, which is a soure,
woodsere land, very natural for the production of oaks especially;
one may conclude, that this North-Division was a shady, dismal wood;
and the inhabitants almost as salvage as the beasts, whose skins were
their only raiment. The language, British (which for the honour of it,
was in those days spoken from the Orcades to Italy and Spain). The
boats on the Avon (which signifies river) were baskets of twigs
covered with an ox-skin, which the poor people in Wales use to this
day, and call them curricles.

Within this shire I believe that there were several Reguli, which
often made war upon one another, and the great ditches which run on
the plains and elsewhere so many miles, were (not unlikely) their
boundaries, and withall served for defence against the incursion of
their enemies, as the Picts' Wall, Offa's Ditch, and that in China; to
compare small things to great. Their religion is at large described by
Csesar; their priests were the Druids. Some of their temples I pretend
to have restored; as Anbury, Stonehenge, &c., as also British
sepulchres. Their way of fighting is livelily set down by Caesar. Their
camps, with those of their antagonists, I have set down in another
place. They knew the use of iron; and about Hedington fields, Bromham,
Bowdon, &c. are still ploughed up cinders (i. e. the scoria of melted
iron). They were two or three degrees I suppose less salvage than the
Americans. Till King John's time wolves were in this island; and in
our grandfathers' days more foxes than now, and marterns (a beast of
brown rich furr) at Stanton Park, &c. the race now extinct thereabout.

The Romans subdued and civilized them; at Lekham (Mr. Camden saith)
was a colony of them, as appears there by the Roman coin found there.
About 1654, in Weekfield, in the parish of Hedington, digging up the
ground deeper than the plough went, they found, for a great way
together, foundations of houses, hearths, coals, and a great deal of
Roman coin, silver and brass, whereof I had a pint; some little
copper-pieces, no bigger than silver half-pence (quaere if they were
not the Roman Denarii) I have portrayed the pot in which a good deal
was found, which pot I presented to the Royal Society's Repository, it
resembles an apprentice's earthen Christmas-box.

At Sherston, hath several times been found Roman money in ploughing. I
have one silver piece found there (1653) not long since, of
Constantine the Great. Among other arts, that of architecture was
introduced by them; and no doubt but here, as well as in other parts,
were then good buildings, here being so good stone: I know not any
vestigia now left in this country, except the fragments of the Castle
of Salisbury, which takes its name from Caesar, Caesarisburghum, from
whence Sarisburgh, whence Salisbury.

At Bath are several Roman inscriptions, which Mr. Camden hath set
down, and by the West Gate a piece of a delicate Corinthian freeze,
which he calls wreathed leaves, not understanding architecture; and
by in a bass relieve of an optriouch. At Bethford, about 1663, was
found a grotto paved with Mosaic work, some whereof I have preserved.

The Saxons succeeding them, and driving away to Ireland, Cornwal, &c.
these Britains were by Romans left here; for they used the best of
them in their wars, (being their best soldiers) here was a mist of
ignorance for 600 years. They were so far from knowing arts, that they
could not build a wall with stone. They lived sluttishly in poor
houses, where they eat a great deal of beef and mutton, and drank good
ale in a brown mazard; and their very kings were but a sort of
farmers. After the Christian Religion was planted here, it gave a
great shoot, and the kings and great men gave vast revenues to the
Church, who were ignorant enough in those days. The Normans then came
and taught them civility and building; which though it was Gothick (as
also their policy "Feudalis Lex") yet they were magnificent. For the
Government, till the time of King Henry VIII. it was like a nest of
boxes; for copyholders, (who, till then were villains) held of the
lords of the Manor, who held of a superior lord, who perhaps held of
another superior lord or duke, who held of the king. Upon any occasion
of justing or tournaments in those days, one of these great lords
sounded his trumpets (the lords then kept trumpeters, even to King
James) and summoned those that held under them. Those again sounded
their trumpets, and so downward to the copy-holders. The Court of
Wards was a great bridle in those days. A great part of this North
Division held of the honour of Trowbridge, where is a ruinated castle
of the dukes of Lancaster. No younger brothers then were by the custom
and constitution of the realm to betake themselves to trades, but were
churchmen or retainers, and servants to great men rid good horses (now
and then took a purse) and their blood that was bred of the good
tables of their masters, was upon every occasion freely let out in
their quarrels; it was then too common among their masters to have
feuds with one another, and their servants at market, or where they
met (in that slashing age) did commonly bang one another's bucklers.
Then an esquire, when he rode to town, was attended by eight or ten
men in blue coats with badges. The lords (then lords in deed as well
as title) lived in their countries like petty kings, had "jura
regalia" belonging to their seigniories, had their castles and
boroughs, and sent burgesses to the Lower House; had gallows within
their liberties, where they could try, condemn, draw and hang; never
went to London but in parliament-time, or once a year to do their
homage and duty to the king. The lords of manours kept good houses in
their countries, did eat in their great Gothick halls, at the high
table; (in Scotland, still the architecture of a lord's house is
thus, viz. a great open hall, a kitchen and buttery, a parlour, over
which a chamber for my lord and lady; all the rest lye in common, viz.
the men-servants in the hall, the women in a common room) or oriele,
the folk at the side-tables. (Oriele is an ear, but here it signifies
a little room at the upper end of the hall, where stands a square or
round table, perhaps in the old time was an oratory; in every old
Gothic hall is one, viz. at Dracot, Lekham, Alderton, &c.) The meat
was served up by watch-words. Jacks are but an invention of the other
age: the poor boys did turn the spits, and licked the dripping-pan,
and grew to be huge lusty knaves. The beds of the servants and
retainers were in the great halls, as now in the guard-chamber, &c.
The hearth was commonly in the middle, as at most colleges, whence the
saying, "Round about our coal-fire." Here in the halls were the
mummings, cob-loaf-stealing, and a great number of old Christmas plays
performed. Every baron and gentleman of estate kept great horses for a
man at arms. Lords had their armories to furnish some hundreds of men.
The halls of justices of the peace were dreadful to behold, the
skreens were garnished with corslets and helmets, gaping with open
mouth, with coats of mail, lances, pikes, halberts, brown bills,
batterdashers, bucklers, and the modern colivers and petronils (in
King Charles I.'s time) turned into muskets and pistols. Then were
entails in fashion, (a good prop for monarchy). Destroying of manors
began temp. Henry VIII., but now common; whereby the mean people live
lawless, nobody to govern them, they care for nobody, having no
dependance on anybody. By this method, and by the selling of the
church-lands, is the ballance of the Government quite altered, and put
into the hands of the common people. No ale-houses, nor yet inns were
there then, unless upon great roads: when they had a mind to drink,
they went to the fryaries; and when they travelled they had
entertainment at the religious houses for three days, if occasion so
long required. The meeting of the gentry was not then at tipling-
houses, but in the fields or forest, with their hawks and hounds, with
their bugle horns in silken bordries. This part very much abounded
with forests and parks. Thus were good spirits kept up, and good
horses and hides made; whereas now the gentry of the nation are so
effeminated by coaches, they are so far from managing great horses,
that they know not how to ride hunting-horses, besides the spoiling of
several trades dependant. In the last age every yRoman almost kept a
sparrow-hawk; and it was a divertisement for young gentlewomen to
manage sparrow-hawks and merlins. In King Henry VIII.'s time, one Dame
Julian writ The Art of Hawking in English verse, which is in Wilton
Library. This country was then a lovely champain, as that about
Sherston and Cots-wold; very few enclosures, unless near houses: my
grandfather Lyte did remember when all between Cromhall (at Eston) and
Castle-Comb was so, when Easton, Yatton and Comb did intercommon
together. In my remembrance much hath been enclosed, and every year,
more and more is taken in. Anciently the Leghs (now corruptly called
Slaights) i. e. pastures, were noble large grounds, as yet the Demesne
Lands at Castle Combe are. So likewise in his remembrance, was all
between Kington St. Michael and Dracot-Cerne common fields. Then were
a world of labouring people maintained by the plough, as yet in
Northamptonshire, &c. There were no rates for the poor in my
grandfather's days; but for Kington St. Michael (no small parish) the
church-ale at Whitsuntide did the business. In every parish is (or
was) a church-house, to which belonged spits, crocks, &c., utensils
for dressing provision. Here the house-keepers met, and were merry,
and gave their charity. The young people were there too, and had
dancing, bowling, shooting at butts, &c., the ancients sitting gravely
by and looking on. All things were civil and without scandal. This
church-ale is doubtless derived from the {Greek text: agapai}, or
love-feast, mentioned in the New Testament. Mr. A. Wood assures me,
that there were no alms-houses, at least they were very scarce before
the Reformation; that over against Christ Church, Oxon, is one of the
ancientest. In every church was a poor man's box, but I never
remembered the use of it; nay, there was one at great inns, as I
remember it was before the wars. Before the Reformation, at their
vigils or revels, sat up all night fasting and praying. The night
before the day of the dedication of the church, certain officers were
chosen for gathering the money for charitable uses. Old John
Wastfield, of Langley, was Peter-man at St. Peter's Chapel there; at
which time is one of the greatest revels in these parts, but the
chapel is converted into a dwelling-house. Such joy and merriment was
every holiday, which days were kept with great solemnity and
reverence. These were the days when England was famous for the " grey
goose quills." The clerk's was in the Easter holidays for his benefit,
and the solace of the neighbourhood.

Since the Reformation, and inclosures aforesaid, these parts have
swarmed with poor people. The parish of Cain pays to the poor (1663)
L500 per annum; and the parish of Chippenham little less, as appears
by the poor's books there. Inclosures are for the private, not for the
public, good. For a shepherd and his dog, or a milk-maid, can manage
meadow-land, that upon arable, employed the hands of several scores of

In those times (besides the jollities already mentioned) they had
their pilgrimages to Walsingham, Canterbury, &c. to several shrines,
as chiefly hereabouts, to St. Joseph's of Arimathea, at his chapel in
Glastonbury Abbey. In the roads thither were several houses of
entertainment, built purposely for them; among others, was the house
called "The Chapel of Playster" near Box; and a great house called
....... without Lafford's Gate, near Bristol.

Then the Crusado's to the Holy War were most magnificent and glorious,
and the rise, I believe, of the adventures of knights errant and
romances. The solemnities , of processions in and about the churches,
and the perambulations in the fields, besides their convenience, were
fine pleasing diversions: the priests went before in their
formalities, singing the Latin service, and the people came after,
making their good-meaning responses. The reverence given to holy men
was very great. Then were the churches open all day long, men and
women going daily in and out hourly, to and from their devotions. Then
were the consciences of the people kept in so great awe by
confession, that just dealing and virtue was habitual. Sir Edwyn
Sandys observed, in his travels in the Catholic countries, so great
use of confession as aforesaid, that though a severe enemy to the
Church of Rome, he doth heartily wish it had never been left out by
the Church of England, perceiving the great good it does beyond sea.
Lent was a dismal time, strictly observed by fasting, prayer, and
confessing against Easter. During the forty days, the Fryars preached
every day.

This country was very full of religious houses; a man could not have
travelled but he must have met monks, fryars, bonnehommes, &c. in
their several habits, black, white, grey, &c. And the tingle tangle of
their convent bells, I fancy, made very pretty musick, like the
college bells at Oxford.

Then were there no free-schools; the boys were educated at the
monasteries; the young maids, not at Hackney schools, &c. to learn
pride and wantonness, but at the nunneries, where they had examples of
piety, humility, modesty, and obedience, &c. to imitate and practise.
Here they learned needle-work, and the art of confectionary,
surgery, physick, writing, drawing, &c.

Old Jaques (who lived where Charles Hadnam did) could see from his
house the nuns of the priory of St. Mary's (juxta Kington) come forth
into the nymph-hay with their rocks and wheels to spin, and with their
sewing work. He would say that he hath told threescore and ten; though
of nuns there were not so many, but in all, with lay-sisters, as
widows, old maids, and young girls, there might be such a number. This
was a fine way of breeding up young women, who are led more by example
than precept; and a good retirement for widows and grave single
women, to a civil, virtuous, and holy life.

Plato says, that the foundation of government is, the education of
youth; by this means it is most probable that that was a golden age. I
have heard Judge Jenkins, Mr. John Latch, and other lawyers, say, that
before the Reformation, one shall hardly in a year find an action on
the case, as for slander, &c. which was the result of a good

It is a sarcasm, more malicious than true, commonly thrown at the
church-men, that they had too much land; for their constitution being
in truth considered, they were rather administrators of those great
revenues to pious and publick uses, than usufructuaries. As for
themselves, they had only their habit and competent diet, every order
according to their prescribed rule; from which they were not to vary.
Then for their tenants, their leases were almost as good to them as
fee simple, and perchance might longer last in their families. Sir
William Button (the father) hath often told me, that Alton farm had
been held by his ancestors from the Abbey of Winchester, about four
hundred years. The powers of Stanton Quintin held that farm of the
Abbey of Cirencester in lease 300 years: and my ancestors, the
Danvers, held West Tokenham for many generations, of the Abbey of
Broadstock, where one of them was a prior. Memorandum, that in the
abbies were several corrodies granted for poor old shiftless men,
which Fitzherbert speaks of amongst his writs. In France, to every
parish church is more than one priest, (because of the several masses
to be said) which fashion, Mr. Dugdale tells me, was used here, and at
some churches in London, in near half a dozen.

In many chancels are to be seen three seats with niches in the wall
(most commonly on the south side) rising by degrees, and sometimes
only three seats, the first being for the bishop, the second for the
priest, and the third for the deacon. Anciently the bishops visited
their churches in person. This I had from Mr. Dugdale; as also that in
many churches where stalls are, as at cathedrals, (which I mistook for
chauntries) and in collegiate churches. This searching after
antiquities is a wearisome task. I wish I had gone through all the
church-monuments. The Records at London I can search gratis. Though of
all studies, I take the least delight in this, yet methinks I am
carried on with a kind of oestrum; for nobody else hereabout hardly
cares for it, but rather makes a scorn of it. But methinks it shows a
kind of gratitude and good nature, to revive the memories and
memorials of the pious and charitable benefactors long since dead and

Eston Pierse, April 28, 1670.



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