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´╗┐Title: Old Times at Otterbourne
Author: Yonge, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Old Times at Otterbourne" ***

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Transcribed from the 1891 Warren and Son edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

{The Keble Cross--Otterbourne Churchyard: p0.jpg}

{Picture from title page: p1.jpg}



Old Times
at Otterbourne.


BY
CHARLOTTE M. YONGE.

[SECOND EDITION.]

Winchester:
WARREN AND SON, PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS, HIGH STREET.

London:
SIMPKIN AND CO., LIMITED, STATIONERS' HALL COURT.
1891



Old Times at Otterbourne.


Not many of us remember Otterbourne before the Railroad, the Church, or
the Penny Post.  It may be pleasant to some of us to try to catch a few
recollections before all those who can tell us anything about those times
are quite gone.

To begin with the first that is known about it, or rather that is
guessed.  A part of a Roman road has been traced in Otterbourne Park, and
near it was found a piece of a quern, one of the old stones of a hand
mill, such as was used in ancient times for grinding corn; so that the
place must have been inhabited at least seventeen hundred years ago.  In
the last century a medallion bearing the head of a Roman Emperor was
found here, sixteen feet beneath the surface.  It seems to be one of the
medallions that were placed below the Eagle on the Roman Standards, and
it is still in the possession of the family of Fitt, of Westley.

After the Roman and British times were over, this part of the country
belonged to Wessex, the kingdom of the West Saxons, of which Winchester
was the capital.  Lying so near the chief town, which was the Bishop's
throne, this place was likely soon to be made into a parish, when
Archbishop Theodore divided England in dioceses and parishes, just twelve
hundred years ago, for he died 690.  The name no doubt means the village
of the Otters, and even now these creatures are sometimes seen in the
Itchen, so that no doubt there were once many more of them.  The shapes
and sizes of most of our parishes were fixed by those of the estates of
the Lords who first built the Church for themselves and their households,
with the churls and serfs on their manor.  The first Lord of Otterbourne
must have had a very long narrow property, to judge by the form of the
parish, which is at least three miles long, and nowhere a mile in
breadth.  Most likely he wanted to secure as much of the river and meadow
land as he could, with some high open heathy ground on the hill as common
land where the cattle could graze, and some wood to supply timber and
fuel.  Probably all the slopes of the hills on each side of the valley of
the Otter were covered with wood.  The top of the gravelly hill to the
southward was all heather and furze, as indeed it is still, and this
reached all the way to Southampton and the Forest.  The whole district
was called Itene or Itchen, like the river.  The name meant in the old
English language, the Giant's Forest and the Giant's Wood.

The hill to the north was, as it still remains, chalk down.  The village
lay near the river and the stream that runs into it, upon the bed of clay
between the chalk and the gravel.  Most likely the Moathouse was then in
existence, though a very different building from what it is at present,
and its moat very deep and full of water, serving as a real defence.
There is nothing left but broad hedge rows of the woods to the
north-east, but one of these is called Dane Lane, and is said to be the
road by which the Danes made their way to Winchester, being then a
woodland path.  It is said that whenever the yellow cow wheat grows
freely the land has never been cultivated.

There was a hamlet at Boyatt, for both it and Otterbourne are mentioned
in Domesday Book.  This is the great census that William the Conqueror
caused to be taken 1083 of all his kingdom.  From it we learn that
Otterbourne had a Church which belonged to Roger de Montgomery, a great
Norman baron, whose father had been a friend of William I.

Well for the parish that it lay at a distance from the Giant's Wood,
where the King turned out all the inhabitants for the sake of his "high
deer," making it the New Forest.  He and his sons could ride through down
and heath all the way to their hunting.  We all know how William Rufus
was brought back from his last hunt, lying dead in the charcoal burner
Purkis's cart, in which he was carried to his grave in Winchester
Cathedral.  Part of the road between Hursley and Otterbourne, near
Silkstede, is called King's Lane, because it is said to have been the way
by which this strange hearse travelled.

Silkstede is a farm now--it was most likely a grange, or outlying house
belonging to some monastery--and there is a remnant of the gardens and
some fine trees, and a hollow called China Dell, where snowdrops and
double daffodils grow.  But this is in Hursley parish, as is also Merdon
Castle.

The green mounds and deep trenches, and the fragments of ruinous wall,
have a story reaching far back into the ages.

There is little doubt, from their outline, that once there was an
entrenched camp of the Romans on this ground, but nothing is known
thereof.  Merantune, as our Saxon ancestors called it, first is heard of
when in 755 Cynewolf, King of Wessex, was murdered there by his kinsman
Cyneheard, who was in his turn killed by the Thanes of the victim.  With
this savage story it first appears, but no more is known of its fate
except that it became the property of the Bishops of Winchester, some say
by the grant of Cynegyls, the first Christian King of Wessex, others by a
later gift.  It was then a manor, to which Hurstleigh, the woodland, was
only an appendage; and the curious old manorial rights and customs
plainly go back to these ancient prae-Norman times.  To go through all
the thirty customs would be impossible, but it is worth noting that the
tenure of the lands descended by right to the youngest son in a family
instead of the eldest.  Such "cradle fiefs" exist in other parts of
England, and in Switzerland, on the principle that the elder ones go out
into the world while their father is vigorous, but the youngest is the
stay of his old age.  The rents were at first paid in kind or in labour,
with a heriot, namely, the most valuable animal in stock on a death, but
these became latterly commuted for quit rent and fines.  The trees were
carefully guarded.  Only one good timber tree on each holding in the life-
time of a tenant might be cut by the Lord of the Manor, and the tenants
themselves might only cut old rotten trees!  But this is as much as you
will wish to hear of these old customs, which prove that the Norman
feudal system was kept out of this Episcopal manor.  It was not even
mentioned in Domesday Book, near as it was to Winchester.  There it lay,
peacefully on its island of chalk down, shut in by the well-preserved
trees, till Stephen's brother, Bishop Henry de Blois, of Winchester,
bethought him of turning the old Roman Camp into a fortified castle.  The
three Norman kings had wisely hindered the building of castles, but these
sprung up like mushrooms under the feeble rule of Stephen.

The tenants must have toiled hard, judging by the massiveness of the
small remnant, all built of the only material at hand, chalk to make
mortar, in which flints are imbedded.

This fragment still standing used to be considered as part of the keep,
but of late years better knowledge of the architecture of castles has led
to the belief that it was part of the northern gateway tower.  I borrow
the description of the building from one written immediately after the
comments of a gentleman who had studied the subject.

Henry de Blois, King Stephen's brother, Bishop of Winchester, probably
wished for a stronghold near at hand, during his brother's wars with the
Empress Maud.  He would have begun by having the nearly circular
embankment thrown up with a parapet along the top, and in the ditch thus
formed a stockade of sharp pointed stakes.  Within the court, the well,
300 feet deep, was dug, and round it would have been the buildings needed
by the Bishop, his household and guards, much crowded together.  The
entrance would have been a drawbridge, across the great ditch, which on
this side was not less than 60 feet wide and perhaps 25 deep, and through
a great gateway between two high square towers which must have stood
where now there is a slope leading down from the inner court, into the
southern one.  This slope is probably formed by the ruins of the gateway
and tower being pitched into the ditch.

The Castle was then very small, and did not command the country except
towards the south.  The next work therefore would be to throw out an
embankment to the south, with a ditch outside.  The great gap whence
Hursley House is seen, did not then exist, but there was an unbroken
semicircle of rampart and ditch, which would protect a large number of
men.  In case of an enemy forcing this place, the defenders could retreat
into the Castle by the drawbridge.

The entrance was on the eastern side, and in order to protect this and
the back (or northern side) of the Castle, an embankment was thrown up
outside the first moat, and with an outer moat of its own.  Then, as, in
case of this being carried by the enemy the defenders would be cut off
from the main southern gateway, a square tower was built on this outer
embankment exactly opposite to the ruin which yet remains, and only
divided from it by the great ditch.  On either side of the tower, cutting
the embankment across therefore at right angles, was a little ditch
spanned by a drawbridge, which, if the defenders found it necessary to
retire to the tower, could at any time be raised.  The foundations of the
tower and the position of the ditch can still be distinctly traced.

Supposing farther that it became impossible to hold the tower, the
besieged could retreat into the main body of the Castle by another
drawbridge across the great ditch.  This would lead them through the arch
which can still be seen in the ruin, though it is partially blocked up.
The room on the east side of this passage was probably a guard room.

These are all the remains.  The embankments to the south and west command
a great extent of country, and on the north and northwest, we trace the
precautions by the great depth of the ditch, and steepness of the
earthworks, though now overgrown with trees.  All this must have been
done between the years 1138 and 1154, and great part of the defences were
thrown down in the lifetime of the founder.  Merdon was not destined to
shine in sieges, in spite of its strength.  Henry II came in, and forbad
the multiplication of castles and Merdon seems to have been dismantled as
quickly as it had been built.

The Bishops of Winchester however still seem to have resided there from
time to time, though it gradually fell into decay, and was ruinous by the
end of the Plantagenet period.

After the younger Oliver's death, his sisters endeavoured to obtain the
Hursley property to which their father had succeeded as his son's heir.
He was past eighty and the judge allowed him to wear his hat at the trial
in court, an act of consideration commended by Queen Anne.

After his death, in 1708, the estate was sold to the Heathcote family.
The old house, whose foundations can be traced on the lawn, and which was
approached by the two avenues of walnut trees still standing, was then
pulled down, and the present one erected.

{Doorway of Old Church: p6.jpg}

Most likely the oldest thing in Otterbourne is the arch that forms the
doorway of the Boys' School, and which came from the door of the Old
Church.  By the carving on that arch, and the form of the little
clustered columns that support it, we can tell that it must have been put
up about the time of King Richard I or King John, somewhere about the
year 1200.  There was certainly a church before this date, but most
likely this was the first time that much pains had been taken about its
beauty, and carved stone had been brought from a distance.  It was a good
spot that was chosen, lying a little above the meadows, and not far from
the moated Manor House.  The east wall of the nave is still standing, but
it now forms the west wall of the small remnant that is still covered in.
It still has three arches in it, to lead to the old chancel, and above
those arches there were some paintings.  They came to light when the Old
Church was pulled down.  First, a great deal of plaster and whitewash
came off.  Then appeared part of the Commandments in Old English black
letter, and below that, again, were some paintings, traced out in red
upon the wall.  They have been defaced so much that all that could be
found out was that there was a quatrefoil shape within a square.  The
corners were filled up apparently with the emblems of the Four Cherubim,
though only the Winged Ox showed plainly.  There was a sitting figure in
the centre, with the hand raised, and it was thought to be a very rude
representation of our Blessed Lord in Judgment.  In another compartment
was an outline of a man, and another in a hairy garment, so that this
last may have been intended for the Baptism of our Blessed Lord.
Unfortunately, being on the outside wall, there was no means of
protecting these curious paintings, and, sad to say, one evening, I
myself saw a party of rough boys standing in a row throwing stones at
them.  There being a pathway through the churchyard, it was not possible
to keep them out, and thus these curious remains have been destroyed.

We may think of the people who resorted to the little Old Church as
wearing long gowns both men and women, on Sunday, spun, woven, and dyed
blue at home, most likely with woad, a plant like mignonette which still
grows in the lanes.  The gentry were in gayer colours, but most likely
none lived nearer than Winchester, and it was only when they plodded into
market that the people would see the long-hanging sleeves, the pointed
hoods, and the queer long-toed shoes of the young gentlemen, or the
towers that the ladies put on their heads.

The name of Otterbourne does not come forward in history, but, as it lies
so near Winchester, it must have had some share in what happened in the
Cathedral city.  The next thing we know about it is that Bishop Edyngton
joined it to Hursley.  William de Edyngton was Bishop of Winchester in
the middle part of the reign of Edward III, from 1357 to 1366.  Bishop de
Pontissara founded a College at Winchester called St. Elizabeth's, and to
assist in providing for the expenses, he decreed that the greater tithes
of Hursley, those of the corn fields, should be paid to the Dean and
Chapter, and that the rest of the tithe should go to the Vicar.  Then,
lest the Vicar should be too poor, Otterbourne was to be joined with
Hursley, and held by the same parish priest, and this arrangement lasted
for five hundred years.  It was made in times when there was little heed
taken to the real good of country places.  The arrangement was confirmed
by his successor, Bishop Edyngton, who lies buried in the nave of
Winchester Cathedral, not far from where lies the much greater man who
succeeded him.  William of Wykeham went on with the work Edyngton had
begun, and built the pillars of the Cathedral nave as we now see them.  He
also founded the two Colleges of St. Mary, one at Winchester for 70 boys,
one at Oxford to receive the scholars as they grew older, meaning that
they should be trained up to become priests.  It seems that the old name
of the field where the college stands was Otterbourne meadow, and that it
was bought of a Master Dummer.  Bishop Wykeham's College at Oxford is
still called New College, though there are now many much newer.  One
small estate at Otterbourne was given by him to help to endow Winchester
College, to which it still belongs.

Good men had come to think that founding colleges was the very best thing
they could do for the benefit of the Church, and William of Waynflete,
who was made Bishop of Winchester in 1447, founded another college at
Oxford in honour of St. Mary Magdalen.  To this College he gave large
estates for its maintenance, and in especial a very large portion of our
long, narrow parish of Otterbourne.  Ever since his time, two of the
Fellows of Magdalen, if not the President himself, have come with the
Steward, on a progress through the estates every year to hold their Court
and give audit to all who hold lands of them Till quite recently the
Court was always held at the Manor House, the old Moat House, which must
once have been the principal house in the parish, though now it is so
much gone to decay.  Old Dr. Plank, the President of Magdalen, used to
come thither in Farmer Colson's time.  What used to be the principal room
has a short staircase leading to it, and in the wainscot over the fire-
place is a curious old picture, painted, I fancy, between 1600 and 1700,
showing a fight between turbaned men and European soldiers, most likely
Turks and Austrians.  It is a pity that it cannot tell its history.  The
moat goes all round the house, garden, and farmyard, and no doubt used to
have a drawbridge.  Forty or fifty years ago, it was clear and had fish
in it, but the bridge fell in and choked the stream, and since that it
has become full of reeds and a mere swamp.  It must have been a really
useful protection in the evil times of the Wars of the Roses.

Most likely the Commandments were painted over the old fresco on the east
wall of the nave of the old Church either in the time of Edward VI, or
Elizabeth, for if they had been later, the letters would not have been
Old English.  The foreigners who meddled so much with our Church in the
latter years of Edward VI obtained that the Holy Communion should not be
celebrated in the chancels, but that the Holy Table should be spread in
the body of the Church, and many Chancels were thus disused and became
ruinous, as ours most certainly did at some time or other.  St.
Elizabeth's College was broken up and the place where it stood given to
the college of St. Mary.  It is still called Elizabeth Meadow.  The
presentation to the Cure of our two parishes went with the estate of
Hursley.

There was a very odd scene somewhere between Winchester and Southampton
in the year 1554.  Queen Mary Tudor was waiting at Winchester for her
bridegroom, Philip of Spain.  He landed at Southampton on the morning of
the 20th of July, and set out in a black velvet dress, red cloak, and
black velvet hat, with a splendid train of gentlemen to ride to
Winchester.  It was a very wet day, and the Queen sent a gentleman with a
ring from her, to beg him to come no farther in the rain.  But the
gentleman knew no Spanish, and the King no English.  So Philip thought
some warning of treachery was meant, and halted in great doubt and
difficulty till the messenger recollected his French, and said in that
tongue, that the Queen was only afraid of his Grace's getting wet.  So on
went Philip, and the High Sheriff of Hampshire rode before him with a
long white wand in his hand, and his hat off, the rain running in streams
off his bare head.  They went so slowly as not to reach Winchester till
six or seven o'clock in the evening, so that the people of Otterbourne,
Compton, and Twyford must have had a good view of the Spanish Prince who
was so unwelcome to them all.

Thomas Sternhold, who together with Hopkins put the Psalms into metre for
singing, lived in the outskirts of Hursley.

When the plunder of the Monasteries was exhausted, the Tudor Sovereigns,
or perhaps their favourites, took themselves to exacting gifts and grants
from the Bishops, and thus Poynet who was intended in the stead of
Gardiner gave Merdon to Edward VI, who presented it to Sir Philip Hobby.
It was recovered by Bishop Gardiner, but granted back again by Queen
Elizabeth.  Sir Philip is believed to have first built a mansion at
Hursley, and his nephew sold the place to Sir Thomas Clarke, who was
apparently a hard lord of the manor.  His tenants still had to labour at
his crops instead of paying rent, but provisions had to be found them.
About the year 1600, on the arrival of a hogshead of porridge, unsavoury
and full of worms, the reapers struck, and their part was taken by Mr.
Robert Coram, who then owned Cranbury, so hotly that he and Mr. Pye, Sir
Thomas Clarke's steward, rode at one another through the wheat with drawn
daggers.  Lady Clarke yielded, and cooked two or three bacon-hogs for the
reapers.

The old road from Winchester to Southampton then went along what we now
call the Old Hollow, leading from Shawford Down to Oakwood.  Then it
seems to have gone along towards the old Church, its course being still
marked by the long narrow meadows, called the Jar Mead and Hundred Acres,
or, more properly, Under an Acre.  Then it led down to the ford at
Brambridge, for there was then no canal to be crossed.  The only great
personage who was likely to have come along this road in the early 17th
century was King James the First's wife, Queen Anne of Denmark, who spent
a winter at the old Castle of Winchester, and was dreadfully dull there,
though the ladies tried to amuse her by all sorts of games, among which
one was called "Rise, Pig, and Go."

James I gave us one of the best of Bishops, Lancelot Andrewes by name,
who wrote a beautiful book of devotions.  He lived on to the time of
Charles I, and did much to get the ruins made in the bad days round
Winchester Cathedral cleared and set to rights.  Most likely he saw that
the orders for putting the altars back into their right places were
carried out, and very likely the chancel was then mended, but with no
attention to architecture, for the head of the east window was built up
anyhow with broken bits of tracery from a larger and handsomer one.  The
heir of the Clarkes sold the property at Hursley to Mr. Mayor, to whose
only daughter Oliver Cromwell married his son Richard.

What happened here in the Great Rebellion we do not know.  An iron ball
was once dug up in the grounds at Otterbourne House, which may have come
from Oliver's Battery; but it is also said to be only the knob of an old
pump handle--

            "When from the guarded down
   Fierce Cromwell's rebel soldiery kept watch o'er Wykeham's town.
   They spoiled the tombs of valiant men, warrior, and saint, and sage;
   But at the tomb of Wykeham good angels quenched their rage."

Colonel Nathanael Fiennes prevented harm from being done to the College
or the monuments in the Cathedral; but there was some talk of destroying
that holy place, for I have seen a petition from the citizens of
Winchester that it might be spared.  It is said that some loyal person
took out all the stained glass in the great west window, hid it in a
chest, and buried it; but when better times came, it could not be
restored to what it was before, and was put in confusedly, as we now see
it.

Stoneham had a brave old clergyman, who kept possession of his church and
rectory all through the war, and went on with the service till he died,
no man daring to meddle with him.  But Otterbourne was sure to follow the
fate of Hursley.  The King's Head Inn at Hursley is thought to have been
so called in allusion to the death of King Charles I.  A strange
compliment to the Cromwells.

Richard had a large family, most of whom died young, as may be seen on
their monument in Hursley Church.  It was at this time that the customs
of the Manor were put on record in writing.  The son, Oliver, lived till
1705, and was confounded in the country people's minds with his
grandfather.

There is an odd, wild story, that Cromwell sunk all his treasure in the
great well at Merdon Castle, in Hursley Park, 300 feet deep.  It was
further said, if it were drawn up again, that no one must speak till it
was safe, otherwise it would be lost.  A great chest was raised to the
mouth of the well, when one of the men said, "Here it comes!"  The rope
broke, it fell back, and no one ever saw it more.  Most likely this is an
old legend belonging to the Castle long before, and only connected with
Oliver Cromwell because he was an historical person.  Certain it is that
when the well was cleared out about 30 or 40 years ago nothing was found
but two curious old candlesticks, and a great number of pins, which had
been thrown down because they caused those curious reverberations in the
great depth.  Another legend is that Merdon Well is connected with the
beautiful clear spring at Otterbourne called Pole Hole or Pool Hole, so
that when a couple of ducks were thrown down the well, they came out at
Pole Hole with all their feathers scraped off.

It was in the time of the Commonwealth, in 1653, that our first parish
register begins.  Some parishes have much older ones, so, perhaps, ours
may have been destroyed.  The first entry in this old parchment book is
that Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Cox, of Otterbourne, and Anne, his
wife, was born ---.  A large stain has made the rest of this entry
illegible.  There are only three births in 1653, and seven in 1654, one
of these William, son of Mr. William Downe, of Otterbourne Farm, and
Joane, his wife, is, however, marked with two black lines beneath the
entry, as are his sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, 1656 and 1658, apparently
to do honour to the principal inhabitant.

It is to be observed that all the entries here are of births, not of
baptisms, departing from the general rule of Church registers, and they
are all in English; but in 1663 each child is recorded as baptized, and
the Latin language is used.  This looks much as if a regular clergyman, a
scholar, too, had, after the Restoration, become curate of the parish.  He
does not sign his registers, so we do not know his name.  In 1653 the
banns of William Downe and Jane Newman were published September 17th and
the two Lord's Days ensuing, but their wedding is not entered, and the
first marriage recorded is that of Matthew Dummer and Jane Burt, in 1663.
The first funeral was Emelin, wife of Robert Purser, in 1653.

Also, there was plenty of brick-making, for King Charles II had planned
to build a grand palace at Winchester on the model of the great French
palace of Versailles, and it is said that Dell copse was formed by the
digging out of bricks for the purpose.  It was to reach all over the
downs, with fountains and water playing in them, and a great tower on
Oliver's Battery, with a light to guide the ships in the Channel.  There
is a story that Charles, who was a capital walker, sometimes walked over
from Southampton to look at his buildings.  One of the gentlemen who
attended him let the people at Twyford know who was going that way.  So
they all turned out to look at him, which was what the King by no means
wished.  So he avoided them, and punished his indiscreet courtier by
taking a run and crossing one of the broad streams with a flying leap,
then proceeding on to Winchester, leaving his attendant to follow as best
he might.

After all only one wing of the intended palace was built.  For a long
time it was called the King's House, but now it is only known as the
Barracks.  The work must have led to an increase in the population, for
more baptisms are recorded in the register, though not more than six or
seven in each year, all carefully set down in Latin, though with no
officiating minister named.  There is an Augustine Thomas, who seems to
have had a large family, and who probably was the owner of the ground on
which the vicarage now stands, the name of which used to be Thomas's
Bargain.

There must have been a great quickening of activity in Otterbourne soon
after the Restoration, for it was then that the Itchen canal or barge
river, as it used to be called, was dug, to convey coals from
Southampton, and, of course, this much improved the irrigation of the
water meadows.  This canal was one of the first made in England, and was
very valuable for nearly two hundred years, until the time of railways.

In 1690, a larger parchment register was provided, and every two years it
appears to have been shown up to the magistrates at the Petty Sessions,
and signed by two of them.

At this time there seem to have been some repairs of the church.
Certainly, a great square board painted with the royal arms was then
erected, for it bore the date 1698, and the initials "W. M." for William
and Mary.  There it was, on a beam, above the chancel arch, and the lion
and unicorn on either side, the first with a huge tongue hanging out at
the corner of his mouth, looking very complacent, as though he were
displaying the royal arms, the unicorn slim and dapper with a chain
hanging from his neck.

Several of our old surnames appear about this time, Cox, Comley, Collins,
Goodchild, Woods, Wareham.  John Newcombe, Rector of Otterbourne, who
afterwards became Bishop of Llandaff, signs his register carefully, but
drops the Latin, as various names may be mentioned, Scientia, or Science
Olden, Philadelphia Comley, and Dennis Winter, who married William
Westgate.  Anne and Abraham were the twin children of John and Anne
Didimus, in 1741.

The first church rate book only begins in 1776, but it is curious as
showing to whom the land then belonged.  The spelling is also odd, and as
the handwriting is beautiful, so there is no doubt that it really is an
account of the Church _Raiting_, nor that the "rait" was "mead."  Walter
Smythe, Esquire, of Brambridge, appears, also John Colson John Comley,
and Charles Vine.  Lincolns belonged to Mr. Kentish and Gun Plot to
Thilman.

The expenditure begins thus:--April 9, 1776, "Pd. Short for 6 dozen sparw
heds," and the sparw heds are repeated all down the page, varied with
what would shock the H. H.--3_d._ for foxheads.  Also "expenses ad
visitation" 9_s._ 6_d._, and at the bottom of the page, the parish is
thus mentioned as creditor "out of pockets, 5_s._ 1_d._"  In 1777
however, though the vestry paid "Didums 1 badger's head, 1 polecat's
head; Hary Bell for 2 marten cats, and spares innumerable, and the clarck
warges, 1 pounds 5_s._, there was 1 pounds 3_s._ in hand."  The polecats
and marten cats were soon exterminated, but foxes, hedgehogs, and
sparrows continue to appear, though in improved spelling, till April
24th, 1832, when this entry appears:--"At a meeting called to elect new
Churchwardens, present the Rev. R. Shuckburgh, curate, and only one other
person present, the meeting is adjourned.  Mr. Shuckburgh protests most
strongly against the disgraceful custom of appropriating money collected
for Church rates towards destroying vermin on the farms."  And this put
an end to the custom.  However, there were more rightful expenses.  Before
Easter there is paid "for washan the surples" 4_s._  It would seem that
the Holy Communion was celebrated four times a year, and that the
Elements were paid for every time at 3_s._ 7_d._  In 1784, when there was
a great improvement in spelling, there were some repairs done--"Paid for
Communion cloth, 10 pence, and for washing and marking it, 6p."  In 1786
there was a new church bell, costing 5 pounds 5_s._ 10_d._  Aaron Chalk,
whom some of the elder inhabitants may remember, a very feeble old man
walking with two sticks, was in that year one of the foremost traders in
sparrow heads.  It gives a curious sense of the lapse of time to think of
those tottering limbs active in bird catching.

May 2, in 1783, we find the entry "paid for the caraidge of the old bell
and the new one downe from London, 11_s._ 10_d._  May 22--Paid William
Branding bill for hanging the new bell, 1 pounds 13_s._"  Altogether, at
the end of the year, it is recorded "the book in debt" 1 pounds 11_s._,
but "the disburstments," as they are spelt, righted themselves in 1784,
when we find "paid for musick for the use of the Church, 1 pounds 1_s._
To George Neal for whitewashing Church, 1 pounds 1_s._, George Neale, two
days' work, 5_s._ 3_d._, for work in the gallery, 19_s._ 4_d._, bill for
tiles, 3_s._ 4_d._"

The only connection Otterbourne has with any historical person is not a
pleasant one.  The family of Smythe, Roman Catholics, long held
Brambridge, and they endowed a little Roman Catholic Chapel at
Highbridge.  At one time, a number of their tenants and servants were of
the same communion, and there is a note in the parish register by the
curate to say that there were several families at Allbrook and Highbridge
whose children he had not christened, though he believed they had been
baptized by the Roman Catholic priest.  One of the daughters of the
Smythe family was the beautiful Mrs. Fitz-Herbert, whom the Prince of
Wales, afterwards George IV, was well known to have privately married.  He
never openly avowed this, because by the law made in the time of William
III, a marriage with a Roman Catholic disqualifies for the succession to
the crown; besides which, under George III, members of the royal family
had been prohibited from marrying without the King's consent, and such
marriages were declared null and void.  The story is mentioned here
because an idea has gone abroad that the wedding took place in the chapel
at Highbridge, but this is quite untrue.  The ceremony was performed at
Brighton, and it is curious that the story of it having happened here
only began to get afloat after the death of Mr. Newton, the last of the
old servants who had known Mrs. Fitz-Herbert.  Walter Smythe, her
brother, was one of the _detenus_ whom Napoleon I kept prisoners, though
only English travellers, on the rupture of the Peace of Amiens.  His
brother, Charles, while taking care of the estate, had all the lime trees
in the avenue pollarded, and sold the tops to make stocks for muskets.

{View near Hursley: p16.jpg}

In those days there was only a foot bridge across the Itchen at
Brambridge.  Carts and carriages had to ford the river, not straight
across, but making a slight curve downwards; this led to awkward
accidents.  There was a gentleman dining with Mr. Walter Smythe, who was
pressed to sleep at Brambridge, but declined, saying that he liked to
have all his little comforts about him.  When daylight came, the poor man
was found seated on the top of his chaise, the water flowing through the
windows below; for the post boy had taken a wrong turn, and, being afraid
to move, had been forced to remain in the river till the morning.  A far
worse disaster befel the Newton family on their way to a funeral.  It is
described by one of the bearers: "When the cart turned over, the corpse
was on the foot bridge.  It was a very wet day, and the wind was blowing
furiously at the time.  It had a great effect on the cart, as it was a
narrow cart with a tilt on, and there was a long wood sill at the side of
the river.  That dropping of the sill caused the accident.  I think there
were five females in the cart and the driver.  The water was as much as
4ft. deep and running very sharp, so myself and others went into the
water to fetch them out, and when we got to the cart they were all on the
top of the other, with their heads just out of the water.  They could not
go on to church with the corpse, and we had a very hard job to save the
horse from being drowned, as his head was but just out of the water."

All through the time of the long war with France there was here, as well
as everywhere else around the coast, fear of a landing of the French.  The
flat-bottomed boats to bring the French over were actually ready at
Boulogne, and the troops mustered to come across in them.  On our side,
volunteers were in training in case of need, and preparations were made
for sending off the women and children inland on the first news of the
enemy landing.  Not very many years ago there were still to be seen in a
barn at Hursley the planks prepared to fit as seats into the waggons that
were to carry them away.  And a family living here are said to have kept
everything packed up, even the fireirons, and to have stirred up the fire
with a stick during a whole winter.  However, by God's blessing and our
fleets and armies, the danger was kept from our doors.

With the activity that followed upon the peace came a great deal of road-
making.  The present high road between Winchester and Southampton was
then made, and the way cut through the hills--Otterbourne Hill and
Compton Hill on either side.  This led to the main part of the
inhabitants settling in the village street, instead of round the old
Church as before.  Another great road was made at the same time--that
which crosses Golden Common and leads ultimately to Portsmouth.  It used
to be called Cobbett's Road, because William Cobbett, a clever,
self-taught man, had much to do with laying it out.  Cobbett had a good
many theories which he tried to put into practice, some sensible, others
mistaken.  The principal traces we see of him now are in the trees that
he planted, chiefly introduced from America.  He thought the robinia, or
false acacia, would make good hedges, because of its long thorns and
power of throwing up suckers, and many people planted them, but they
proved too brittle to be of much use, though some are still growing.  He
was a friend of Mr. Harley, who then owned Otterbourne House, and planted
many curious trees there, of which two long remained--a hickory nut and a
large tree in the drive.  There was also an oak with enormous leaves, but
it was planted so near the house that it had to be moved, and died in
consequence.

These roads were for the coaches.  Young folks, who never saw anything
nearer approaching to a stage coach than the drags some gentlemen keep,
can hardly fancy what these stage coaches were--tall vehicles, holding
four inside passengers and at least twelve outside and quantities of
luggage.  They were drawn by four of the strongest and quickest horses
that could be procured, and these were changed about every five or six
miles, so as to keep up full speed.  The coachman, generally a big, burly
man, with a face reddened by exposure to the weather, and often by a
glass of ale at every stage, sat on the box in a drab coat, with many
capes one over the other.  The seat next to him was the favourite one
with the passengers, and gentlemen would sometimes bribe coachmen to let
them drive; nay, some gentlemen actually took to the trade themselves.
There was also a guard, who in mail coaches took care of the post bags,
and dropped them at the places where they were intended for.  In the days
when highwaymen infested the roads the guard had carried pistols, and
still the guard of the mail wore a red coat, and blew a horn on entering
any place to warn the people to bring out their post bags and exchange
them for others.

One or two coaches kept their horses at the White Horse, so as to be
fresh for going up the hill, others at the Cricketers, while others
changed at Compton and the New Hut.  Some of the stables still remain,
converted into cottages.  The horses were fine animals, beautifully kept;
but the habit of hanging about public-houses to attend to them was not
good for the ostlers and people concerned.  About fifteen coaches came
through this place in the morning, and their fellows in the evening, each
proprietor keeping two coaches, starting from the two opposite ends at
the same time.  There was the Mail, the Telegraph, the Independent, the
Red Rover, the Hirondelle, all London coaches, besides the Oxford coach
and some that only ran between Winchester and Southampton.  The driver
and owner of one, Mason's coach, was only a few years ago living here.
When people intended to go on a journey, they booked their places a day
or two beforehand, but for short journeys or going into Winchester they
would watch for a vacant space in a coach as it passed by.

It is odd to look back at an old article in a quarterly review describing
coach travelling as something so swift and complete that it could not be
surpassed in its perfection.  Yet accidents with the spirited horses and
rapid driving were not uncommon, and a fall from an overloaded coach was
a dangerous thing.

When the mail went by coach the sending of letters and parcels could not
but be expensive.  Heavy goods travelled by waggon, barge, or ship,
parcels went by carriers or by coaches, and nothing could be posted but
what was quite light.  So postage was very expensive, and it is strange
to look back on the regulations connected with it.  Our readers under
forty years old will hardly believe the rates that were paid for postage,
varying according to distance.  There was a company in London that
carried letters from one part of that town to another for twopence
apiece, and this was the cheapest post in England.  A letter from London
to Otterbourne cost eightpence, and one from Winchester either threepence
or fourpence, one from Devonshire elevenpence, and this was paid not by
the sender, but by the receiver.  It was reckoned impolite to prepay a
letter.  Moreover, the letter had to be on a single sheet.  The sheet
might be of any size that could be had, but it must be only one.  A small
sheet enclosed within another, or the lightest thing, such as a lock of
hair or a feather, made it a double letter, for which double postage had
to be given.  The usual custom was to write on quarto sheets twice the
size of what is used now, and, after filling three sides, to fold the
fourth, leaving a space for the direction and the seal, and then to write
on the flaps and in the space over "My dear ---," sometimes crossing the
writing till the whole letter was chequer work.  For if the letter was to
cost the receiver so much, it seemed fair to let him get as much as
possible.  Letters were almost always sealed, and it took neat and
practised hands to fold and seal them nicely, without awkward corners
sticking out.

Newspapers, if folded so as to show the red Government stamp, went for a
penny, but nothing might be put into them, and not a word beyond the
address written on them.  The reason of all this was that the cost of
carriage was then so great that it could only be made to answer by those
high rates, and by preventing everything but real letters and newspapers
from being thus taken.  As Government then, as now, was at the expense of
postage, its own correspondence went free, and therefore all Members of
Parliament had the privilege of sending letters freely.  They were
allowed to post eleven a day, which might contain as much as would weigh
an ounce, without charge, if they wrote the date at the top and their
name in the right hand corner.  This was called franking, and plenty of
letters by no means on public business travelled in that way.

There was no post office in Otterbourne till between 1836 and 1840; for,
of course there were few letters written or received, and thus it did not
seem to many persons worth while for village children to learn to write.
If they did go into service at a distance from home, their letters would
cost more than their friends could afford to pay.  This was a sad thing,
and broke up and cut up families very much more than any distance does
now.  It really is easier to keep up intercourse with a person in America
or even New Zealand now, than it was then with one in Scotland,
Northumberland, or Cornwall; for travelling was so expensive that visits
could seldom be made, and servants could not go to their homes unless
they were within such a short distance as to be able to travel by coach
or by carrier's cart, or even walking all the way, getting a cast now and
then by a cart.

People who did not travel by coaches, or who went where there was no
coach, hired post-chaises, close carriages something like flies.  Most
inns, where the coaches kept their horses, possessed a post-chaise, and
were licensed to let out post horses for hire.  Most of the gentlefolks'
families kept a close carriage called a chariot, and, if they did not
keep horses of their own, took a pair of post-horses, one of which was
ridden by a man, who, whatever might be his age, was always called a post-
boy.  Some inns dressed their post-boys in light blue jackets, some in
yellow ones, according to their politics, but the shape was always the
same; corduroy tights, top boots, and generally white (or rather drab-
coloured) hats.  It used to be an amusement to watch whether the post-boy
would be a blue or a yellow one at each fresh stage.  Hardly any one
knows what a post-boy was like now, far less an old-fashioned travelling
carriage or chariot and its boxes.

The travelling carriage was generally yellow.  It had two good seats
inside, and a double one had a second seat, where two persons sat
backwards.  The cushion behind lifted up and disclosed a long narrow
recess called the swordcase, because, when there were highwaymen on the
roads, people kept their weapons there.  There were sometimes two,
sometimes one seat outside, called the box and the dickey--much the
pleasantest places, for it was very easy to feel sick and giddy inside.  A
curved splashboard went up from the bottom of the chariot to a level with
the window, and within it fitted what was called the cap box, with a
curved bottom, so that when in a house it had to be set down in a frame
to hold it upright.  A big flat box, called the imperial, in which ladies
put their dresses, was on the top of the carriage, two more long, narrow
ones, generally used for shoes and linen, fitted under the seat, and
another square one was hung below the dickey at the back, and called the
drop box.  Such a mischance has been known as, on an arrival, a servant
coming in with the remains of this black box between his arms,
saying--"Sir, should not this box have a bottom to it?"  The chariot thus
carried plenty of goods, and was a sort of family home on a journey.  To
go to Plymouth, which now can be done in six or seven hours, then
occupied two long days, halting for the night to sleep at an inn.



The Old Church


Some of us can still remember the old Church and the old Sunday habits
prevailing before 1830.  The Churchyard was large and very pretty, though
ill kept, surrounded with a very open railing, and with the banks sloping
towards the water meadows clothed with fine elm trees--one with a large
and curious excrescence on the bark.  There was a deep porch on the south
side of the Church, with seats on each side.  Then, on red tiles, one
entered between two blocks of pews of old brown unpainted oak (their
doors are panels to the roof of the boys' school).  In the space between
them were two or three low benches for the children.  There were three
arches leading to the chancel, but that on the south side was closed by
the pulpit and reading desk, and that on the north by a square pew
belonging to Cranbury.  Within the chancel on the north side was a large
pew lined with red, belonging to Cranbury, and on the south, first the
clerk's desk, then a narrow seat of the clergyman's, and then a large
square pew.  Boys in the morning and men in the afternoon used to sit on
the benches placed outside these, and beyond was the rail shutting in the
Altar, which was covered with red cloth, and stood below a large window,
on each side of which were the Commandments in yellow letters on a blue
ground, and on the wall were painted the two texts, "The Cup of Blessing,
is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ?" and "The Bread which we
break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ?"  The vestry was
built out to the north, and was entered from the sanctuary.

Further space was provided by two galleries, one on the north side,
supported on iron poles, and entered from the outside by a step ladder
studded with large square-headed nails to prevent it from being slippery.
The other went across the west end, and was entered by a dark staircase
leading up behind the pews, which further led to the little square
weather-boarded tower containing two beautifully toned bells.  These were
rung from the outer gallery where the men sat.  There was a part boarded
off for the singers.  The Font was nearly under the gallery.  It was of
white marble, and still lines our present Font.  Tradition says it was
given by a former clerk, perhaps Mr. Fidler, but there is no record of
it.  An older and much ruder Font was hidden away under the gallery
stairs close to an old chest, where women sometimes found a seat, against
the west wall.

In those days, now more than half a century ago, when Archdeacon
Heathcote was Vicar, he or his Curate used to ride over from Hursley on
Sunday for the service at Otterbourne.  There was only one service,
alternately in the morning and afternoon, at half-past ten or at three,
or in the winter at half-past two.  The time was not much fixed, for on a
new comer asking when the service would take place, the answer was "at
half-past two, sir, or at three, or else no time at all," by which was
meant no exact hour or half-hour.  This uncertainty led to the bells
never being rung till the minister was seen turning the corner of Kiln-
lane, just where the large boulder stone used to be.  The congregation
was, however, collecting, almost all the men in white smocks with
beautifully worked breasts and backs, the more well-to-do in velveteen;
the women in huge bonnets.  The elder ones wore black silk or satin
bonnets, with high crowns and big fronts, the younger ones, straw with
ribbon crossed over, always with a bonnet cap under.  A red cloak was the
regular old women's dress, or a black or blue one, and sometimes a square
shawl, folded so as to make a triangle, over a gown of stuff in winter,
print in summer.  A blue printed cotton with white or yellow sprays was
the regular week day dress, and the poorest wore it on Sundays.  The
little girls in the aisle had the like big coarse straw bonnets, with a
strip of glazed calico hemmed and crossed over for strings, round
tippets, and straight print frocks down to their feet.  The boys were in
small smocks, of either white or green canvas, with fustian or corduroy
jackets or trowsers below, never cloth.  Gloves and pocket handkerchiefs
were hardly known among the children, hardly an umbrella, far less
parasols or muffs.  Ladies had pelisses for out-of-door wear, fitting
close like ulsters, but made of dark green or purple silk or merino, and
white worked dresses under them in summer.

Well, the congregation got into Church--three families by the step ladder
to one gallery, and the men into another, where the front row squeezed
their knees through the rails and leant on the top bar, the rest of the
world in the pews, and the children on benches.  The clerk was in his
desk behind the reading desk--good George Oxford, with his calm, good,
gentle face, and tall figure, sadly lame from rheumatism caught when
working in the brick kilns.  His voice was always heard above the others
in the responses, but our congregation never had dropped the habit of
responding, and, though there was no chanting, the Amens and some of the
Versicles used to have a grand full musical sound peculiar to that
Church.  People also all turned to the east for the Creed, few knelt, but
some of the elder men stood during the prayers, and, though there was far
too much _sitting down_ during the singing, every body got up and stood,
if "Hallelujah" occurred, as it often did in anthems.

There were eight or ten singers, and they had a bassoon, a flute, and a
clarionet.  They used to sing before the Communion Service in the
morning, after the Second Lesson in the afternoon, and before each
Sermon.  Master Oxford had a good voice, and was wanted in the choir, so
as soon as the General Thanksgiving began, he started off from his seat,
and might be heard going the length of the nave, climbing the stairs, and
crossing the outer gallery.  Sometimes he took his long stick with him,
and gave a good stripe across the straw bonnet of any particularly
naughty child.  In the gallery he proclaimed--"Let us sing to the praise
and glory of God in the Psalm," then giving the first line.

The Psalms were always from the New or Old Versions.  A slate with the
number in chalk was also hung out--23 O.V., 112 N.V., as the case might
be.  About four verses of each were sung, the last lines over and over
again, some very oddly divided.  For instance--

   "Shall fix the place where we must dwell,
   The pride of Jacob, His delight,"

was sung thus:--

   "The pride of Ja--the pride of Ja--the pride of Ja--" (at least three
   times before the line was ended).

But rough as these were, some of these Psalms were very dear to us all,
specially the old twenty-third:--

   "My Shepherd is the living Lord,
      Nothing, therefore, I need,
   In pastures fair, by pleasant streams
      He setteth me to feed.

   He shall convert and glad my soul,
      And bring my soul in frame
   To walk in paths of holiness,
      For His most Holy Name.

   I pass the gloomy vale of death,
      From fear and danger free;
   For there His guiding rod and staff
      Defend and comfort me."

Another much-loved one was the 121st:--

   "To Zion's hill I lift my eyes,
      From thence expecting aid,
   From Zion's hill and Zion's God,
      Who heaven and earth hath made.

   Sheltered beneath the Almighty's wings,
      Thou shall securely rest,
   Where neither sun nor moon shall thee
      By day nor night molest.

   Then thou, my soul, in safety rest,
      Thy Guardian will not sleep,
   His watchful care, that Israel guards,
      Shall Israel's monarch keep.

   At home, abroad, in peace or war,
      Thy God shall thee defend,
   Conduct thee through life's pilgrimage,
      Safe to thy journey's end."

Will the sight of these lines bring back to any one the old tune, the old
sounds, the old sights of the whitewashed Church, and old John Green in
the gallery, singing with his bass voice, with all his might, his
eyebrows moving as he sung?  And then the Commandments and Ante-Communion
read not from the Altar, but the desk; the surplice taken off in the desk
instead of the Vestry; Master Oxford's announcements shouted out from his
place, generally after the Second Lesson--"I hereby give notice that a
Vestry Meeting will be held on Tuesday, at twelve o'clock, to make a new
rate for the relief of the poo-oor."  "I hereby give notice that Evening
Service will be at half-past two as long as the winter days are short."
Well, we should think these things odd now, and we have much to be
thankful for in the changes; but there were holy and faithful ones then,
and Master Oxford was one of them.

In the days here described, from 1820 to 1827, few small villages had
anything but dame schools, and Otterbourne children, such as had any
schooling at all, were sent to Mrs. Yates's school on the hill, where she
sat, the very picture of the old-fashioned mistress, in her black silk
bonnet, with the children on benches before her, and her rod at hand.

Several families, however, did not send the children to school at all,
and there were many who could not read, many more who could not write,
and there was very little religious teaching, except that in the Sunday
afternoons in Lent, the catechism was said in Church by the best
instructed children, but without any explanation.

About the year 1819 Mrs. Bargus and her daughter came to live at
Otterbourne, and in 1822 Miss Bargus married William Crawley Yonge, who
had retired from the army, after serving in the Peninsula and at
Waterloo.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Yonge had clergymen for their fathers, and
were used to think much of the welfare of their neighbours.  It was not,
however, till 1823 that Mrs. Yonge saw her way to beginning a little
Sunday School for girls, teaching it all by herself, in a room by what is
now Mr. J. Misselbrook's house.  While there was still only one Service
on Sundays, she kept the school on the vacant half of the day, reading
the Psalms and Lessons to the children, who were mostly biggish girls.
This was when Archdeacon Heathcote was the Vicar of Hursley and
Otterbourne, and the Rev. Robert Shuckburgh was his Curate.  Archdeacon
and Mrs. Heathcote, who were most kind and liberal, gave every help and
assisted in setting up the Clothing Club.

Mrs. Yonge's first list of Easter prizes contains twenty names of girls,
and the years that have passed have left but few of them here.  A large
Bible bound in plain brown leather was the highest prize; Prayer Books,
equally unornamented, New Testaments, and Psalters, being books
containing only the Psalms and Matins and Evensong, were also given, and
were then, perhaps, more highly valued than the dainty little coloured
books every one now likes to have for Sunday.  Then there were frocks,
coarse straw bonnets, and sometimes pocket handkerchiefs, for these were
not by any means such universal possessions as could be wished, and only
came out on Sunday.  As to gloves, silk handkerchiefs, parasols, muffs,
or even umbrellas, the children thought them as much out of their reach
as a set of pearls or diamonds, but what was worse, their outer clothing
was very insufficent, seldom more than a thin cotton frock and tippet,
and the grey duffle cloaks, which were thought a great possession, were
both slight and scanty.

About 1826, Mrs. Yonge was looking at the bit of waste land that had once
served as a roadway to the field at the back of Otterbourne House, when
she said, "How I wish I had money enough to build a school here."  "Well,"
said Mrs. Bargus, "You shall have what I can give."  The amount was
small, but with it Mr. Yonge contrived to put up one room with two new
small ones at the back, built of mud rough cast, and with a brick floor,
except for the little bedroom being raised a step, and boarded.

The schoolroom was intended to hold all the children who did not go to
Mrs. Yates, both boys and girls, and it was sufficient, for, in the first
place, nobody from Fryern-hill came.  Mrs. Green had a separate little
school there.  Then the age for going to school was supposed to be six.
If anyone sent a child younger, the fee was threepence instead of a
penny.  The fee for learning writing and arithmetic was threepence, for
there was a general opinion that they were of little real use, and that
writing letters would waste time (as it sometimes certainly does).
Besides this, the eldest daughter of a family was always minding the
baby, and never went to school; and boys were put to do what their
mothers called "keeping a few birds" when very small indeed, while other
families were too rough to care about education so that the numbers were
seldom over thirty.

There were no such people as trained mistresses then.  The National
Society had a school for masters, but they were expensive and could only
be employed in large towns; so all that could be looked for was a kind,
motherly, good person who could read and do needlework well.  And the
first mistress was Mrs. Creswick, a pleasant-looking person with a pale
face and dark eyes, who had been a servant at Archdeacon Heathcote's, and
had since had great troubles.  She did teach the Catechism, reading, and
work when the children were tolerably good and obeyed her, but boys were
a great deal too much for her, and she had frail health, and such a bad
leg that she never could walk down the lane to the old Church.  So, after
Sunday School, the children used to straggle down to Church without
anyone to look after them, and sit on the benches in the aisle and do
pretty much what they pleased, except when admonished by Master Oxford's
stick.

Mr. Shuckburgh had by this time come to reside in the parish, in the
house which is now the post-office, and there was at last a double
Service on the Sunday.

The next thing was to consider what was to be done about the boys, who
could not be made to mind Mrs. Creswick.  A row of the biggest sat at the
back of the school, with their heels to the wall, and by constant kicking
had almost knocked a hole through the mud wall; so the Vicar, who was now
the Archdeacon's son, the Rev. Gilbert Wall Heathcote, gave permission
for the putting up another mud and rough cast school house near the old
Church, for the boys, in an empty part of the Churchyard to the north-
east, where no one had ever been buried.

However, there Master Oxford was installed as schoolmaster, coming all
the way down from his house on the hill (a pretty-timbered cottage, now
pulled down).  He and his boys had a long way to walk to their school,
but he taught them all he knew and set them a good example.  The boys
were all supposed to go to him at six years old, and most were proud of
the promotion.  One little fellow was known to go to bed an hour or two
earlier that he might be six years old the sooner!  But some dreaded the
good order enforced by the stick.  There was one boy in particular, who
had outgrown the girls' school, and was very troublesome there.  He would
not go to the boys', and his mother would not make him, saying she feared
he would fall into the water.  "Well," said Mrs. Bargus, who was a most
bright, kindly old lady of eighty, "I'll make him go."  So she took a
large piece of yellow glazed calico intended for furniture lining, walked
up to school, and held it up to the little boy.  She said she heard that
he would only go to the girls' school, and, since everybody went there in
petticoats, she had brought some stuff to make him a petticoat too!  The
young man got up and walked straight off to the boys' school.

Here are some verses, written by Mrs. Yonge in 1838, on one of the sights
that met her eye in the old Churchyard:--

   While on the ear the solemn note
   Of prayer and praises heavenward float,
   A butterfly with brilliant wings
   A lesson full of meaning brings,
            A sermon to the eye.

   There on an infant's grave it stands,
   For it hath burst the shroud's dull bands,
   Its vile worm's body there is left,
   Of gross earth's habits now bereft
            It soars into the sky.

   Thus when the grave her dead shall give
   The little form below shall live,
   Clothed in a robe of dazzling white
   Shall spring aloft on wings of light,
            To realms above shall fly!

Changes were setting in all this time.  The rick-burnings, in which so
many foolish persons indulged, was going on in 1831 in many parts of
Hampshire.  They were caused partly by dislike to the threshing machines
that were beginning to be used, and partly by the notion that such
disturbances would lead to the passing of the Reform Bill, which ignorant
men believed would give every poor man a fat pig in his stye.  There was
no rick-burning here, though some of the villagers joined the bands of
men who wandered about the country demanding money and arms at the large
houses.  But, happily, none of them were actually engaged in any
violence, and none of them swelled the calendar of the Special Assize
that took place at Winchester for the trial of the rioters.

One poor maid-servant in the parish, from the North of Hampshire, had,
however, two brothers, who were intelligent men of some education, and
who, having been ringleaders, were both sentenced to death.  The sentence
was, however, commuted to transportation for life.  At Sydney, being of a
very different class from the ordinary convict, they prospered greatly,
and their letters were very interesting.  They were wonderful feats of
penmanship, for postage from Australia was ruinously expensive, and they
filled sheets of paper with writing that could hardly be read without a
microscope.  If we had those letters now they would be curious records of
the early days of the Colony, but all now recollected is the account of a
little kangaroo jumping into a hunter's open shirt, thinking it was his
mother's pouch.

The Reform Bill, after all, when passed made no present difference in
Otterbourne life--nothing like the difference that a measure a few years
after effected, namely, the Poor-law Amendment Bill.  Not many people
here remember the days of the old Poor-law, when whatever a pauper family
wanted was supplied from the rates, and thus an idle man often lived more
at his ease on other people's money than an industrious man on his own
earnings.  It was held that if wages were small they might be helped out
of the rates, and thus the ratepayers were often ruined.  In the midst of
the street stood the old Poorhouse.  It had no governor nor anyone to see
that order was kept or work done there, and everybody that was homeless,
or lazy, or disreputable, drifted in there.  They went in and out as they
pleased, and had a weekly allowance of money.  Now and then there was a
great row among them.  One room was inhabited by an old man named Strong,
who was considered a wonder because he ate adders cut up like eels and
stewed with a bit of bacon.  Every now and then a message would come in
that old Strong had got a couple of nice adders and wanted a bit of bacon
to cook with them.  Then there was a large family whose father never
worked for any one long together, and lived in the Workhouse, with a wife
and six or seven children, supported by the parish.  These people were
pursuaded to go to Manchester, where there was sure to be work in the
factories for all their many girls.  The men in receipt of parish pay
were supposed to have work found for them on the roads, but there was not
much of this to employ them, and as they were paid all the same whether
they worked or not, some were said to hammer the stones as if they were
afraid of hurting them, or to make the wheeling a couple of barrows of
chalk their whole day's work.

A good deal depended on the vestry management of each parish, and there
was less of flagrant idleness supported by the rates here than at many
places.  There was also a well-built and arranged Workhouse at Hursley,
and the Poor law Commissioners consented to make one small Union of
Hursley, Otterbourne, Farley, and Baddesley, instead of throwing them
into a large one.

The discontinuance of out-door relief to help out the wages was a great
shock at first, but, when the ratepayers were no longer weighed down,
they could give more work and better wages, and the labourers thus
profited in the end, and likewise began to learn more independence.  Still
the times were hard then.  Few families could get on unless the mother as
well as the father did field work, and thus she had no time to attend
thoroughly to making home comfortable, mending the clothes, or taking
care of the little ones.  The eldest girl was kept at home dragging about
with the baby, and often grew rough as well as ignorant, and the cottage
was often very little cared for.  The notion of what was comfortable and
suitable was very different then.

The country began to be intersected by railways, and the South-Western
line was marked out to Southampton.  The course was dug out from Shawford
and Compton downs, and the embankment made along our valley.  It was
curious to see the white line creeping on, as carts filled with chalk ran
from the diggings to the end, tipped over their contents, and returned
again.  When the foundations were dug for the arch spanning the lane the
holes filled with water as fast as they were made, and nothing could be
done till the two long ditches had been dug to carry off the water to
Allbrook.  In the course of making them in the light peaty earth, some
bones of animals and (I believe) stags' horns were found, but unluckily,
were thrown away, instead of being shown to anyone who would have made
out from them much of the history of the formation of the boggy earth
that forms the water meadows.

{The Old Church, Otterbourne: p32.jpg}

It is amusing to remember the kind of dread that was felt at first of
railway travelling.  It was thought that the engines would blow up, and,
as an old coachman is reported to have said, "When a coach is overturned,
there you are; but when an engine blows up, where are you?"  He certainly
was so far right that a coach accident was fatal to fewer persons than a
railway accident generally is.

The railway passed so near the old Church that the noise of the trains
would be inconvenient on Sundays.  At least, so thought those with
inexperienced ears, though many a Church has since been built much nearer
to the line.  However, this fixed the purpose that had already been
forming, of endeavouring to build a new Church.  The first idea had been
of trying to raise 300 pounds to enlarge the old Church, but the distance
from the greater part of the parish was so inconvenient, and the railroad
so near, that the building of a new Church was finally decided on.  There
really was not room for the men and boys at the same time on the backless
forms they occupied between the pews in the chancel.  Moreover, if a
person was found sitting in a place to which another held that he or she
had a right, the owner never thought of looking for another place
elsewhere, and the one who was turned out went away displeased, and
declared that it was impossible to come to church for fear of "being
upset."  It is strange and sad that people are so prone to forget what
our Master told us about "taking the highest room," even in His own
House.

But besides the want of accommodation, the old Church was at an
inconvenient distance from the parish.  No doubt there had once been more
houses near, but when the cottage inhabited by old Aaron Chalk was pulled
down, nothing remained near but Otterbourne Farm and the Moat House.
Every one living elsewhere had to walk half a mile, some much more, and
though Kiln Lane was then much better shaded with fine trees than it is
now, it was hard work on a hot or wet Sunday to go twice.  Some of us may
recollect one constant churchgoer, John Rogers, who was so lame as to
require two sticks to walk with, and had to set out an hour beforehand,
yet who seldom missed.

Just at this time the Reverend John Keble became Vicar of Hursley, and
Otterbourne, and forwarded the plan of church building with all his
might.

Few new churches had been built at that time, so that there was
everything to be learnt, while subscriptions were being collected from
every quarter.  Magdalen College, at Oxford, gave the site as well as a
handsome subscription, and every endeavour was made to render the new
building truly church like.  It was during the building that Dr. Rowth,
the President of Magdalen College, coming to hold his court at the Moat
House, had the model of the church brought out to him and took great
interest in it.  He is worth remembering, for he was one of the wisest
and most learned men in Oxford, and he lived to be nearly a hundred years
old.  Church building was a much more difficult thing then than it is
now, when there are many architects trained in the principles of church
building, and materials of all kinds are readily provided.

The cross form was at once fixed on as most suitable; and the little bell
turret was copied from one at a place called Corston.  Mr. Owen Carter,
an architect at Winchester, drew the plans, with the constant watching
and direction of Mr. Yonge, who attended to every detail.  The white
stone, so fit for carving decorations, which had been used in the
Cathedral, is imported from Caen, in Normandy.  None had been brought
over for many years, till a correspondence was opened with the people at
the quarries, and blocks bought for the reredos and font.  Now it is
constantly used.

The panels of the pulpit, with the carvings of the Blessed Virgin, and
the four Latin fathers, SS. Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the
Great, were found in a shop for antiquities in London.  The shape was
adapted to a sounding board, which had been made for the Cathedral, but
was rejected there.  The altar-rail also was found in a shop.  It must
previously have been in a church, as it has the sacramental corn and
grapes.  It is thought to be old Flemish work, and represents a prince on
one side with a crown laid down, as he kneels in devotion, and some
ladies on the opposite side.  The crown is an Emperor's, and there is the
collar of the Golden Fleece round his neck, so that it is probably meant
for either the Emperor Maximilian or his grandson, Charles V.  One of the
gentlemen kneeling behind the Emperor has a beautiful face of adoration.

The building of the Church took about two years, the first stone being
laid at the north-east corner.  It was begun on the 16th of May, 1837,
and it was ready for consecration on the 30th of July, 1839.  The
building had been prosperous, the only accident being the crushing of a
thumb when the pulpit was set in its place.

The new boys' school was built at the same time, the archway of the south
door of the old Church being used for the doorway, so as to preserve the
beautiful and peculiar decoration, and the roof was lined with the doors
and backs of the old oak-pewing.  In the flints collected for the
building of this and of the wall round the churchyard there was a water
wagtail's nest in which a young cuckoo was reared, having, of course,
turned out the rightful nestling.  Probably it flew safely, for the last
time it was seen its foster parents were luring it out with green
caterpillars held a little way from the nest.

The expense of the building of the boys' school and of a new room for the
girls was defrayed chiefly by a bazaar held at Winchester.  There were at
that time no Education Acts nor Government requirements, and the
buildings would be deemed entirely unfit at this time even for the
numbers who then used them, and who did not amount to more than between
thirty and forty boys and fifty or sixty girls and infants, together
about a third of the present numbers at school in Otterbourne and
Allbrook.  Miss Tucker was then the mistress; Master Oxford still the
master.

The Church was consecrated on the 30th of July, 1839, by Bishop Sumner,
who preached a sermon on the text, "No man careth for my soul," warning
us that we could not plead such an excuse for ourselves, if we neglected
to walk in the right way.

One of the earliest funerals in the churchyard was that of good old
Oxford, old, as he was called, because he was crippled by rheumatism, but
he was only fifty-two.  He lies buried near the south gate of the
churchyard under a large slate recording his name.

He was followed in his office by Mr. William Stainer, who had hitherto
been known as a baker, living in the house which is now Mr. James
Godwin's.  His bread was excellent, and he was also noted for what were
called Otterbourne buns, the art of making which seems to have gone with
him.  They were small fair-complexioned buns, which stuck together in
parties of three, and when soaked, expanded to twice or three times their
former size.  He used to send them once or twice a week to Winchester.
But though baking was his profession, he did much besides.  He was a real
old-fashioned herbalist, and had a curious book on the virtues of plants,
and he made decoctions of many kinds, which he administered to those in
want of medicine.  Before the Poor Law provided Union doctors, medical
advice, except at the hospital, was almost out of reach of the poor.  Mr.
and Mrs. Yonge, like almost all other beneficent gentlefolks in villages,
kept a medicine chest and book, and doctored such cases as they could
venture on, and Mr. Stainer was in great favour as practitioner, as many
of our elder people can remember.  He was exceedingly charitable and
kind, and ready to give his help so far as he could.  He was a great
lover of flowers, and had contrived a sort of little greenhouse over the
great oven at the back of his house, and there he used to bring up lovely
geraniums and other flowers, which he sometimes sold.  He was a deeply
religious and devout man, and during Master Oxford's illness took his
place in Church, which was more important when there was no choir and the
singers sat in the gallery.  He was very happy in this office, moving
about on felt shoes that he might make no noise, and most reverently
keeping the Church clean and watching over it in every way.  He also
continued in the post of schoolmaster, which at first he had only taken
temporarily, giving up part of his business to his nephew.  But he still
sat up at night baking, and he also had other troubles: there was
insanity in his family, and he was much harassed.

His kindness and simplicity were sometimes abused.  He never had the
heart to refuse to lend money, or to deny bread on credit to hopeless
debtors; and altogether debts, distress, baking all night, and school
keeping all day, were too much for him.  The first hint of an examination
of his school completed the mischief, and he died insane.  It is a sad
story, but many of us will remember with affectionate regard the good,
kind, quaint, and most excellent little man.  By that time our
schoolmistress was Mrs. Durndell, the policeman's wife, a severe woman,
but she certainly made the girls do thoroughly whatever she taught,
especially repetition and needlework.

The examiner on religious subjects, Mr. Allen, afterwards an Archdeacon,
reported that the girls had an unusual knowledge of the text of
Scripture, but that he did not think them equally intelligent as to the
meaning.

Daily Service had been commenced when the new Church was opened, and the
children of the schools attended it.  There was also a much larger
congregation of old men than have ever come in later years.  At one time
there were nine constantly there.  One of these, named Passingham, who
used to ring the bell for matins and evensong, was said to have been the
strongest man in the parish, and to have carried two sacks of corn over
the common on the top of the hill in his youth.  He was still a hearty
old man at eighty-six, when after ringing the bell one morning as usual,
he dropped down on the hill in a fit and died in a few seconds.

There was not much change for a good many years.  In 1846, the Parsonage
House was built and given to the living by Mr. Keble.  The stained glass
of the south window of the Church was given by the Reverend John Yonge,
of Puslinch, Rector of Newton Ferrers, in Devonshire, in memory of his
youngest son, Edmund Charles, who died at Otterbourne House in 1847.
Thirteen years previously, in 1834, the eldest son, James Yonge, had
likewise died at Otterbourne House.  Both the brothers lie buried here,
one in the old churchyard, one in the new.  They are commemorated in
their own church at Newton by a tablet with the inscription--"What I do
thou knowest not now, but thou shall know hereafter."

In 1834 their father gave what made, as it were the second foundation of
the Lending Library, for there were about four-and-twenty very serious
books, given in Archdeacon Heathcote's time, kept in the vestry at the
old Church.  They looked as if they had been read but only by the elder
people who liked a grave book, and there was nothing there meant for the
young people.  So there were a good many new books bought, and weekly
given out at the Penny Club, with more or less vigour, for the next
thirty years or so.

The next public matter that greatly affected this place was the Crimean
War.  It was a large proportion of our young men who were more or less
concerned in it.  Captain Denzill Chamberlayne in the Cavalry, Lieut.
Julian B. Yonge, John Hawkins, Joseph Knight, James and William Mason,
and it was in the midst of the hurry and confusion of the departure that
the death of Mr. W. C. Yonge took place, February 26th, 1854.  Three of
those above mentioned lived to return home.  Captain Chamberlayne shared
in the famous charge of the Light Brigade, at Balaclava, when

   Into the jaws of death
   Rode the six hundred:
   Cannon to right of them,
   Cannon to left of them,
   Volleyed and thundered.

His horse, Pimento, was killed under him, but he escaped without a wound,
and on his return home was drawn up to the house by the people, and had a
reception which made such an impression on the children that when one was
asked in school what a hero was, she answered, "Captain Chamberlayne."

John Hawkins, Joseph Knight, and William Mason died in the Crimea.  A
tablet to commemorate them was built into the wall of the churchyard,
with the text--"It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth,"
for the discipline of the army had been very good for these youths, and,
therefore, this verse was chosen for them by Mr. Keble.

The next event that concerned the parish much was the death of the great
and holy man who had been our rector for thirty years.  Mr. Keble died at
Bournemouth on the 29th of March, 1866.  His manners and language were
always so simple, and his humility so great, that many of those who came
in contact with him never realized how great a man he was, not being able
to perceive that the very deepest thoughts might be clothed in the
plainest language.  Some felt, in the words of the poem,--

   "I came and saw, and having seen,
      Weak heart! I drew offence
   From thy prompt smile, thy humble mien,
      Thy lowly diligence."

But none who really knew him could fail to be impressed with the sense of
his power, his wisdom, his love, and, above all, his holiness; and his
_Christian Year_ will always be a fund of consolation, full of
suggestions of good and devotional thoughts and deeds.  Mrs. Keble, who
was already very ill, followed him to her rest on the 11th of May.  It
may be worth remembering that the last time she wrote her name was a
signature to a petition against licensing marriage with a deceased wife's
sister.

Sir William Heathcote then appointed the Reverend James G. Young as Vicar
of Hursley and Otterbourne.  A fresh tide of change began to set in.  As
times altered and population increased, and as old things and people
passed away, there were various changes in the face of the village.  The
Government requirements made it necessary to erect a new Girl's School,
and land was permanently secured for the purpose, and this was done
chiefly by subscription among the inhabitants, affording a room large
enough for parish meetings and lectures, as well as for its direct
purpose.  The subscription was as a testimonial to the Rev. William Bigg-
Wither, who had been thirty years curate of the parish, and under whom
many of the changes for the better were worked out.  The building was
provided with a tower, in case there should ever be a clock given to the
parish.

The clock was given in a manner worthy of remembrance.  Mr. William Pink,
as a thatcher, and his two sisters in service, had saved enough to
provide for their old age, and to leave a considerable overplus, out of
which the last survivor, Mrs. Elizabeth Pink, when passing away at a good
old age, bequeathed enough to provide the parish with the clock whose
voice has already become one of our most familiar sounds.

Allbrook was by this time growing into a large hamlet, and a school
chapel was then built, chiefly by Mr. Wheeler.  We must not forget that
we had for five years the great and excellent Samuel Wilberforce for our
Bishop, and that he twice held confirmations in our parish.  No one can
forget the shock of his sudden call.  One moment he was calling his
companion's attention to the notes of a late singing nightingale; the
next, his horse had stumbled and he was gone.  It was remarkable that
shortly before he had, after going over the hospital, spoken with dread
of what he called the "humiliation of a lingering illness"--exactly what
he was spared.

Bishop Harold Browne came from Ely to take the See of Winchester.  He
reconsecrated our church when the chancel was enlarged and the new aisle
added.  He carried on vigorously work only begun under Bishop
Wilberforce.  Under him Diocesan Synods, the Girls' Friendly Society, and
the Examination of Senior Scholars in Religious Knowledge have all shown
his diligent oversight as Shepherd of the flock.

In the year 1875 Sir William Heathcote succeeded in bringing about an
arrangement by which Otterbourne could be separated from Hursley and have
a Vicar of its own, the difference of income being made up to the Vicar
of Hursley.  This was done by the aid of a munificent lady, Mrs. Gibbs,
the widow of one of the great merchant princes, whose wealth was always
treated as a trust from God.  She became the patron of the living, and
the advowson remains in her family.

The first Vicar was the Reverend Walter Francis Elgie, who had already
been six years curate, and had won the love and honour of all his flock.
Deeply did they all mourn him when it was God's will to take him from
them on the 25th of February, 1881, in the 43rd year of his age, after
ten years of zealous work.

It was felt as remarkable that a young pupil teacher in consumption, whom
he had sent to the Home at Bournemouth, was taken on the same day, and
buried here the day after, and that the schoolmaster, Walter Fisher, a
man of gentle and saintly nature, followed him six weeks after.

   We left them in the Church's shade,
      Our standard-bearer true,
   And near at hand the gentle maid
      Who well his guidance knew.

   He fainted in the noon of life,
      Nor knew his victory won;
   She was fresh girded for the strife,
      Her battle scarce begun.

   Long had we known Death's angel hand
      The maiden's brow had seal'd;
   He fell, like chief of warrior band,
      Struck down on battle-field.

   So in God's acre here they meet
      As they have met above,
   Tasting beneath their Saviour's feet
      The treasures of His love.

   For what they learnt and taught of here
      Is present with them there;
   May we speed on in faith and fear,
      Then heavenly rest to share.

With the coming of our present Vicar, the Rev. H. W. Brock, our
Otterbourne story ends, as the times are no longer _old times_.  The
water works for the supply of Southampton are our last novelty, by which
such of us benefit, as either themselves or their landlords pay a small
contribution.  They have given us some red buildings at one end and on
the Hill a queer little round tower containing the staircase leading to
the underground reservoir, a wonderful construction of circles of brick
pillars and arches, as those remember who visited it before the water was
let in.  And, verily, we may be thankful that our record has so few
events in it, no terrible disasters, but that there has been peace and
health and comfort, more than falls to the lot of many a parish.  Truly
we may thankfully say, "The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground, yea,
I have a goodly heritage."

{Birds on fence: p42.jpg}



Old Remembrances.


{Bridges over river: p43.jpg}

I remember, I remember,
   Old times at Otterbourne,
Before the building of the Church,
   And when smock frocks were worn!

I remember, I remember,
   When railroads there were none,
When by stage coach at early dawn
   The journey was begun.

And through the turnpike roads till eve
   Trotted the horses four,
With inside passengers and out
   They carried near a score.

"Red Rover" and the "Telegraph,"
   We knew them all by name,
And Mason's and the Oxford coach,
   Full thirty of them came.

The coachman wore his many capes,
   The guard his bugle blew;
The horses were a gallant sight,
   Dashing upon our view.

I remember, I remember,
   The posting days of old;
The yellow chariot lined with blue
   And lace of colour gold.

The post-boys' jackets blue or buff,
   The inns upon the road;
The hills up which we used to walk
   To lighten thus the load.

The rattling up before the inn,
   The horses led away,
The post-boy as he touched his hat
   And came to ask his pay.

The perch aloft upon the box,
   Delightful for the view;
The turnpike gates whose keepers stood
   Demanding each his due.

I remember, I remember,
   When ships were beauteous things,
The floating castles of the deep
   Borne upon snow-white wings;

Ere iron-clads and turret ships,
   Ugly as evil dream,
Became the hideous progeny
   Of iron and of steam.

You crossed the Itchen ferry
   All in an open boat,
Now, on a panting hissing bridge
   You scarcely seem afloat.

Southampton docks were sheets of mud,
   Grim colliers at the quay.
No tramway, and no slender pier
   To stretch into the sea.

I remember, I remember,
   Long years ere Rowland Hill,
When letters covered quarto sheets
   Writ with a grey goose quill;

Both hard to fold and hard to read,
   Crossed to the scarlet seal;
Hardest of all to pay for ere
   Their news they might reveal.

No stamp with royal head was there,
   But eightpence was the sum
For every letter, all alike,
   That did from London come!

I remember, I remember,
   The mowing of the hay;
Scythes sweeping through the heavy grass
   At breaking of the day.

The haymakers in merry ranks
   Tossing the swaths so sweet,
The haycocks tanning olive-brown
   In glowing summer heat.

The reapers 'mid the ruddy wheat,
   The thumping of the flail,
The winnowing within the barn
   By whirling round a sail.

Long ere the whirr, and buz, and rush
   Became a harvest sound,
Or monsters trailed their tails of spikes,
   Or ploughed the fallow ground.

Our sparks flew from the flint and steel,
   No lucifers were known,
Snuffers with tallow candles came
   To prune the wick o'ergrown.

Hands did the work of engines then,
   But now some new machine
Must hatch the eggs, and sew the seams,
   And make the cakes, I ween.

I remember, I remember,
   The homely village school,
The dame with spelling book and rod,
   The sceptre of her rule.

A black silk bonnet on her head,
   Buff kerchief on her neck,
With spectacles upon her nose,
   And apron of blue check.

Ah, then were no inspection days,
   No standards then were known,
Children could freely make dirt pies,
   And learning let alone!

Those Sundays I remember too,
   When Service there was one;
For living in the parish then
   Of clergy there were none.

And oh, I can recall to mind,
   The Church and every pew;
William and Mary's royal arms
   Hung up in fullest view.

The lion smiling, with his tongue
   Like a pug dog's hung out;
The unicorn with twisted horn
   Brooding upon his rout.

Exalted in the gallery high
   The tuneful village choir,
With flute, bassoon, and clarionet,
   Their notes rose high and higher.

They shewed the number of the Psalm
   In white upon a slate,
And many a time the last lines sung
   Of Brady and of Tate.

While far below upon the floor
   Along the narrow aisle,
The children on then benches sat
   Arranged in single file

And there the clerk would stump along
   And strike with echoing blow
Each idle guilty little head
   That chattered loud or low.

Ah! I remember many things,
   Old middle-aged, and new;
Is the new better than the old,
   More bright, more wise, more true?

The old must ever pass away,
   The new must still come in;
When these new things are old to you
   Be they unstained by sin.

So will their memory be sweet,
   A treasury of bliss
To be borne with us in the days
   When we their presence miss.

Trifles connected with the love
   Of many a vanished friend
Will thrill the heart and wake the sense,
   For memory has no end!

{Flowers: p46.jpg}





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