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means of an intricate system of drainage, I can well understand that the presence of a single mole would be most undesirable, and I can appreciate the motive which prompts to an immediate hunt, only ending in his capture, whenever a wretched individual of this genus chances to wander into those tabooed regions: but in all other places where the drains are neither so numerous, nor so complicated, I unhesitatingly assert that the benefits which this little animal confers on man infinitely counterbalance the trifling injury of which he may occasionally be guilty, and that even in the lightest soil; whereas in stiff soils, such as are to be found generally throughout our districts in North Wilts, the more they loosen the earth and drain it with their subterranean galleries, the lighter and the more productive it will become: while even the unsightly hillocks may be very quickly and easily spread abroad on the land, and no top-dressing can be found at once so valuable and so cheaply procured, as the fine earth of which these hillocks are composed.
In short, I trust that the day is not far distant when the molecatcher or want-catcher-as we call him in Wiltshire-with his home-made wooden traps, his deliberate movements, his stealthy tread, and his oracular speech, will be a thing of the past; when the most conspicuous bush at the crossing of two rides in our woods, or near the field gate, shall not be adorned with bunches of this slaughtered innocent; but when all will alike combine to preserve this, which is at once the most harmless, the most useful, and I may truly add, the most persecuted of all our British quadrupeds.
VOL. XV.-NO. XLV.
Notes on Sppe Park and Bromham.
By C. H. TALBOT, Esq.
(Read before the Society at Devizes, September 9th, 1874.)
SN September 11th, 1868, I visited the old house of Spye Park, then in course of demolition. There was little in its appearance at first sight to make a visitor suppose that it could be of any antiquity; and I do not think that many persons were aware then, or perhaps are aware now, that it was other than a modern erection. However, what I saw on that occasion left no doubt on my mind that this was the house which Evelyn visited and described, and an older building in reality than by simply reading Evelyn's account we should have concluded.
Remains of two kinds came to light: first-the ancient features of the original building, which had long been concealed: secondlyornate fragments of another building, no doubt Bromham Hall, which were found re-used as walling material in the walls of the more modern part of the house.
Fortunately an old view of the front of the house towards the park is extant. It is dated May 1st, 1684,and was drawn by Thomas Dingley,'in his very interesting manuscript, in the possession of Sir Thomas Winnington, which has been published in fac-simile by the Camden Society under the title "Dingley's History from Marble." This shows the house as it must have been in Evelyn's time; and if it had been drawn for the express purpose of illustrating Evelyn's description, it could not have agreed with it more exactly.
Evelyn visited the house on the 19th of July, 1654. He says in
The paper contained a description of Brombam Church, the publication of which is postponed.
2 Dingley's History from Marble, part i., p. xxxvii. My thanks are due to the Council of the Camden Society for permission to reproduce this sketch in the illustration, which is prefixed to this paper.
his diary, "Went back to Cadenham, and on the 19th to Sir Ed. Baynton's at Spie Park, a place capable of being made a noble seate; but the humourous old Knight has built a long single house of 2 low stories on the precipice of an incomparable prospect, and landing on a bowling greene in the park. The house is like a long barne, and has not a window on the prospect side." Dingley's drawing shows the house with a partially sunk story—a principal story or first floor which had largish windows and in which was the main entrance up a few steps-a second floor with a range of lower windows extending, as in the floor below, along the whole front-and above this second floor, two gables with windows in them on the left of the view, and four dormer windows in the roof.
This agrees well with Evelyn's description. We have the "long single house "—that is, I presume, a simple rectangle in plan without wings; "of 2 low stories "-that is to say, he reckons the two principal floors only, omitting the sunk story and the attic story; "landing on a bowling greene in the park "-The view shows this bowling green with the bowls lying on it, rectangular, and enclosed by a wall which joined the house at its north-east corner where there appears to have been a doorway through the wall. The principal entrance to the green from the park was an arched doorway, apparently of the seventeenth century, nearly opposite the door of the house, surmounted probably by the shield of Baynton impaling Thynne which Dingley has placed above the sketch."
On the right of the view the enclosing wall returns, running parallel to the west end of the house, and terminating near the slope of the hill with a pavilion or summer-house of which I believe traces lately remained. On the left of the view appears part of the old stables which still remain.
Evelyn says that though "on the precipice of an incomparable prospect, the house is like a long barne, and has not a window on the prospect side." This is characteristic also of the old
1 Edition of 1871, p. 232.
2 This Sir Edward Baynton, whom Evelyn visited, married Stuarta, daughter of Sir Thomas Thynne.