Edric Holmes

There are three obvious ways of approaching Salisbury from Shaftesbury and the west: by railway from Semley; by the main road, part of the great trunk highway from London to Exeter via Yeovil; and by a kind of loop road that leaves this at Whitesand Cross and follows the valley of the Ebble between the lonely hills of Cranborne Chase and the long line of chalk downs that have their escarpment to the north, overlooking the Exeter road.

The direct route from Salisbury to Amesbury is (or was) the loneliest seven miles of highway in Wiltshire. No villages are passed and but one or two houses; thus the road, even with the amenities of Amesbury at the other end is, under normal conditions, an ideal introduction to the Plain. The parenthesis of doubt refers to that extraordinary and, let us hope, ephemeral transformation which has overtaken the great tract of chalk upland encircling Bulford Camp.

Marlborough is in Wiltshire, but it will be legitimate to start a slight exploration of the middle course of the Kennet from the old Forest town. Here the clear chalk stream, fresh from the highlands of the Marlborough Downs, runs as a clear and inviting little river at the foot of the High Street gardens. For Marlborough is a flowery and umbrageous town in its "backs," however dull it may appear to the traveller by the railway, from which dis-vantage point most English towns look their very worst.

An Exploration of the Southern Realm from Itchen to Otter

by Edric Holmes

The following brief notes will assist the traveller who is not an expert in arriving at the approximate date of ecclesiastical buildings.

SAXON 600-1066. Simple and heavy structure. Very small wall openings. Narrow bands of stone in exterior walls.

NORMAN 1066-1150. Round arches. Heavy round or square pillars. Cushion capitals. Elaborate recessed doorways. Zig-zag ornament.

TRANSITION 1150-1200. Round arched windows combined with pointed structural arch. Round pillars sometimes with slender columns attached. Foliage ornament on capitals.

The kingdom of Wessex; the realm of the great Alfred; that state of the Heptarchy which more than any other gave the impress of its character to the England to be, is to-day the most interesting, and perhaps the most beautiful, of the pre-conquest divisions of the country.

The foundations of the ancient capital of England were probably laid when the waves of Celtic conquest that had submerged the Neolithic men stilled to tranquillity. The earliest records left to us are many generations later and they are obscure and doubtful, but according to Vigilantius, an early historian whose lost writings have been quoted by those who followed him, a great Christian church was re-erected here in A.D. 164 by Lucius, King of the Belgae, on the site of a building destroyed during a temporary revival of paganism.

Bitterne is now a suburb of Southampton on the opposite side of the Itchen, but it may claim to be the original town from which the Saxon settlement arose. It is the site of the Roman Clausentium, an important station between Porchester and Winchester, and when the Saxons came up the water and landed upon the peninsula between the two rivers they probably found a populous town on the older site.

The South of England generally is wanting in that particular scenic charm that consists of broad stretches of inland water backed by high country. The first sight of Poole harbour with the long range of the Purbeck Hills in the distance will come as a delightful revelation to those who are new to this district. The harbour is almost land-locked and the sea is not in visual evidence away from the extremely narrow entrance between Bournemouth and Studland.

The railway from Wareham to Dorchester runs through the heart of that great wild tract that under the general name of Egdon Heath forms a picturesque and often gloomy background to many of Mr. Hardy's romances. These heath-lands are a marked characteristic of the scenery of this part of the county. Repellent at first, their dark beauty, more often than not, will capture the interest and perhaps awe of the stranger.

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