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. A fine excursion for good pedestrians can be made by following the sandy shore until the ferry across the opening is reached and then continuing to Studland and over Ballard Down to Swanage.

Poole town is a busy place of small extent but containing for its size a large population. The enormous development of industry in the surrounding districts during the Great War must have brought the number of folks in and around Poole to nearly 100,000, thus making it the most populous corner of Dorset. This figure may not be maintained, but a good proportion of the work concerned with the waste of armaments has been transformed into the commerce of peace. One cause for the modern prosperity of this old town is its position as regards the converging railways from the west and north as well as from London and Weymouth.

Poole, like a good many other places with as much or as little cause, has been claimed as a Roman station. There seems to be no direct evidence for this. The first actual records of the town are dated 1248, when William de Longespee gave it its first charter. This Norman held the manor of Canford, and Poole church was originally a chapel of ease for that parish. The present building only dates from 1820 and for the period is a presentable enough copy of the Perpendicular style. Poole was a republican town in the Civil War and sent its levies to help to reduce Corfe Castle. The revenge of the other side came when, at the Restoration, all the town defences were destroyed, though the king was not too unforgetful to refuse the hospitality of the citizens during the Great Plague.

The only remarkable relics in Poole are the Wool House or "Town Cellar" and an old postern dating from about 1460. The Town Hall, with its double flight of winding steps and quaint high porch was built in 1761. Within, as a commemoration of the visit recorded above, is a presentment of the monarch who must have had "a way with him," since his subjects' memories apparently became as short as his own.

But Poole's most stirring times were in the days when Harry Page, licensed buccaneer and pirate, made individual war on Spain to such good purpose that the natives of Poole were astounded one morning to see upwards of one hundred foreign vessels dotted about the waters of the harbour, prizes taken by the redoubtable "Arripay," as his captives termed him. Nothing flying the Spanish flag in the Channel seemed to escape him, until matters at last became so humiliating that the might of both countries was brought to bear on Poole, and the town underwent a severe chastisement, in which Page's brother was killed. This spirit of warlike enterprise descended to the great grandchildren of these Elizabethans, for in Poole church is a monument to one Joliffe, captain of the hoy Sea Adventurer, who, in the days of Dutch William, drove ashore and captured a French privateer. In the following year another bold seaman, William Thompson, with but one man and a cabin-boy to help him, took a Cherbourg privateer and its crew of sixteen. Both these heroes received a gold chain and medal from the King. Another generation, and the town was fighting its own masters over the question of "free imports." In spite of the usually accepted fact that smuggling can only prosper in secret, Poole became a sort of headquarters for all that considerable trade that found in the nooks and crannies of the Dorset coast safe warehouses and a natural cellarage. So bold did the fraternity become that in 1747, when a large cargo of tea had been seized by the crown authorities and placed for safe keeping in the Customs House, the free traders overpowered all resistance and triumphantly retrieved their booty, or shall we say, their property? and took it surrounded by a well-armed escort to various receivers in the remoter parts of the wild country north-west of Wimborne. The leaders of this attack were afterwards found to be members of a famous Sussex band and the incident led to tragedy. An informer named Chater, of Fordingbridge, and an excise officer - William Calley - were on their way to lay an information, when they were seized by a number of smugglers and cruelly done to death. For this six men suffered the full penalty and three others were hanged for the work done at Poole.

The waters of Poole Harbour are salt as the sea outside though fed by the rivers Frome and Puddle, and so of course its best aspect is when the tide is full. The erratic ebb and flow is more pronounced here than at Southampton and there are longer periods of high than low water. Brownsea Island, that occupies the centre of this inland sea, with its wooded banks of dark greenery makes an effective foil to the sparkling waters and long mauve line of the Purbeck Hills. There is always deep water at the eastern extremity of the island, to which boats can be taken. Here are Branksea (or Brownsea) Castle, an enlarged and improved edition of one of Henry's coast forts, and a few cottages. Other small islands, populated by waterfowl, lie between Brownsea and the Purbeck shore, where on a small peninsula is the pretty little hamlet of Arne, remote, forgotten and very seldom visited by tourist or stranger, but commanding the most exquisite views of the harbour and surrounding country. It is possible that in the near future the amenities of Poole Harbour may disappear or at least change their quiet aspect of to-day, for at the time of writing a scheme is afoot to deepen the channels and render the harbour capable of taking the largest ships within its sheltered anchorage.

Six miles north of Poole, in the valley of the Stour where that river is joined by the Allen or Wim, stands Wimborne Minster surrounded by the pleasant old town that bears the full name of its only title to renown. This is another claimant for a Roman send-off to its history, and with better grounds than Poole, though here again authorities differ, some maintaining that Badbury Rings, the scene of the great defeat of the West Saxons by the British, was the original Vindogladia. A Roman pavement has been discovered within the area covered by the Minster Church; whether this is a remnant of a considerable station or only of a solitary villa is unknown.

The beautiful Minster, one of the "sights" of Bournemouth, and, although farther afield, almost as popular as Christchurch, was founded at an early date in the history of Wessex, but the actual year is unknown. It must have been very early in the eighth century that the two sisters of King Ine, Cuthberga and Cwenburh, joined in forming a sisterhood here. Both were buried in the original building and eventually became enrolled in that long list of Saxon Saints whose names have such a quaintly archaic sound and whose lives must have been a matter of high romance, considering the experiences through which they lived. St. Boniface asked for the help of the Wimborne sisterhood to carry on his missionary labours among the benighted tribes of Germany, and several establishments in the marshes and woodlands along the shore of the Baltic Sea were the daughter houses of this mid-Wessex abbey. The Saxon church was probably destroyed during the Danish terror, but rebuilding commenced again before the Conquest and the church became a college of secular canons.

As will be seen by a first glance at the central tower, Norman workmanship is in evidence in the exterior. The pinnacles and battlements that give the upper part such a curious and incongruous appearance were added in 1608. Previous to this it had a spire that was erected in the late thirteenth century, but in 1600, while a service was being conducted, "a sudden mist ariseing, all the spire steeple, being of very great height was strangely cast down; the stones battered all the lead and brake much timber of the roofe of the church, yet without anie hurt to the people." The other tower at the western end was a 1450 addition, about which time several alterations were made, including a new clerestory. The soft and beautiful tints in the old stone are not the least charming feature of the exterior. Before entering the church the "Jack," a figure in eighteenth-century dress that strikes the hours on a bell, should be noticed. The medley of architecture will be seen directly one enters by the north porch. The arches of the nave are of three distinct types; those at the west end being Decorated, the three in the middle late Transitional, and that nearest the tower an earlier example of this style. The choir is a mixture of late Norman and Early English. The altar is placed unusually high and this adds much to the dignity of the church. The east window is of great interest to archaeologists. Conjectured to have been constructed about 1210-20 when the apsidal east end was pulled down, it forms one of the earliest instances of "plate" tracery. Some old Italian glass has been inserted in it. On the south side of the chancel will be seen the fine tomb of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, grandfather of Henry VII and grandson of John of Gaunt. Above the tomb is suspended an old helmet weighing over 14 lbs. This was found during some restorations, buried in the nave. It is supposed to have belonged to the Duke. Beyond this are the canopied sedilia and piscina. On the north side is a slab of Purbeck marble which may have replaced the original memorial of King Ethelred, who was buried in the older church. The tomb on this side of the chancel is that of Gertrude, Marchioness of Exeter, and wife of the Marquis beheaded by Henry VIII. The oak benches that extend across the front of the sanctuary were placed here when the church was in Presbyterian keeping. They are usually covered with white wrappings, which, to the casual visitor, have the appearance of decorators' dust-cloths, but are really "houseling linen." The relics that once made the Minster famous and a place of pilgrimage for the credulous were many and various. Reputed fragments of our Lord's manger, robe and cross; some of the hairs of His beard, and a thorn from His crown; a bottle containing the blood of St. Thomas a Becket, and St. Agatha's thighbone.

The fine old chest with its six different locks, one for each trustee, in the St. George's or north choir aisle, will be remarked. This is the receptacle for the deeds of Collett's Charity at Corfe Castle. Beside another very ancient chest (possibly used for "relics"), is an effigy of an unknown knight, conjectured to be a Fitz Piers, also a monument to Sir Edmund Uvedale. In the south, or Trinity, aisle is the Etricke tomb; here lies a recorder of Poole, the same who committed to prison, after his capture on one of the wild heaths near Ringwood, that one-time hope of protestant England, the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth. This Anthony Etricke was buried half in and half out of the church in pursuance of a curious whim that he should lie neither in the open nor under the church roof. He caused the date of his death to be carved upon the side of the sarcophagus but, as may be seen, the date had to be advanced twelve years when he did demise. There is a finely vaulted crypt under the altar and over the fourteenth century vestry is an interesting library where the books were once chained to the shelves. It was instituted in the seventeenth century for the use of the laity of Wimborne as well as for the minster clergy and may thus claim to be one of the very earliest libraries in existence. It contains, among other curiosities, a copy of Raleigh's History of the World with a hole burnt through its leaves, through the carelessness of Matthew Prior, who was a resident of Wimborne. On the wall of the western tower is a brass to this worthy.

The town has the usual pleasant and comfortable air of an English agricultural centre, with few really old buildings, however, and a sad amount of mean and jerry-built streets in the newer part near the station that does not give the stranger a favourable first impression if he comes by rail. There are some picturesque alleys and "backs" around the Minster and the walks in the rural environs of Wimborne and up the valley of the Stour are most charming. On the north-west of the town is St. Margaret's Hospital, with a restored chapel that still retains some ancient portions. This was originally a leper's hospital and the foundation dates from about 1210.

A long mile east of Wimborne station is Canford Magna, the mother parish of a large district. The small church still retains a goodly portion of the original Norman structure. The fine modern stained glass is worthy of notice, but the recent additions are in poor taste and too florid a style. Near by is Canford Manor, an imposing pile belonging to Lord Wimborne and once the home of the Earls of Salisbury. The greater part of the present house was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament. The remainder dates from the early part of the nineteenth century, except "John O'Gaunt's Kitchen" - the only portion left of the ancient manor-house. Canford village is of the model variety, each house bearing the "seal" of the lord of the manor.

From quite near Wimborne station delightful walks may be taken across the park, which, under certain reasonable restrictions, is open to the public. To the south stretches the wide expanse of Canford Heath, which once upon a time extended to the sea at Canford Cliffs, now a fashionable part of Bournemouth. Eastwards, crossed by the Ringwood road, is another series of heaths, sparsely inhabited and known by the various names of Hampreston, Parley Common, St. Leonard's Common and Holt Heath. There are few parts of Southern England where is so much idle land, apart from the New Forest, as in eastern Dorset. These moors are beautiful for rambling and camping, but heartbreaking to any one with the mind of a Cobbett!

The direct Salisbury road climbs for ten miles gradually upwards, and passing Hinton Parva church on the right, and, about a mile farther, the site of a British village close to the road on the left, takes a lonely and rather dull course until it reaches the small hamlet of Knowlton, where there are the remains of a church built inside a round earthwork which has its walls outside the ditch, thus indicating, in all probability, a use religious rather than military and an unbroken tradition into Christian times. The way continues in a north-easterly direction until it winds past the conspicuous tumulus, said to be a temple or place of justice, on the summit of Castle Hill, just short of the one-time important, but now much decayed market town of Cranborne. The church here is an imposing and beautiful Early English erection, with some remains of an earlier Norman building. A priory of Benedictines was founded at Cranborne in Saxon times by Aylward, but nothing of this still earlier building can now be traced. The fine embattled tower dates from that era of fine towers - the Perpendicular. The west window is a memorial to the celebrated Dean of St. Paul's - Stillingfleet, a member of a family who once lived in one of the old cottages here. The ancient pulpit will be noticed; this bears the initials of an abbot of Tewkesbury, who died in 1421. Some wall paintings were discovered under a coat of distemper about twenty years ago, and there is a fine monument with recumbent figures to Sir Edward Hooper.

The little "Crane bourne" that comes down from the lonely chalk uplands between Cranborne Chase and Pentridge Hill gives its name to the town, which in turn gives a title to the Cecils. The manor is said to have as long a history as that of the church, but the present building dates mainly from about 1520. The Jacobean west wing was built by the first Cecil to take possession. The early Stuart kings were frequent visitors, and Charles I stayed in the house just before the fight at Newbury in 1644. At Rushay Farm, near the lonely hamlet of Pentridge, William Barnes, the Dorset poet, was born, and a forefather of Robert Browning was once footman and butler to the Banks family who lived at Woodyates. A tablet in Pentridge church commemorates his death in 1746, but, needless to say, it has only been erected since his great descendant became famous. A memorial to the poet has also been placed in the church inscribed with a line from Pippa Passes: "All service ranks the same with God."

Cranborne Chase, a lonely district of wooded hills that we shall approach again in our travels, is partly in Dorset and partly in Wilts. It is a remnant of the great deer forest that, originally in the possession of various feudal lords, became Crown property in the reign of the fourth Edward and remained in royal hands until the time of James I. During that long period, and for many years afterwards, it was a region where the scanty population, innocent as well as lawbreaker, lived in constant fear of the barbarous laws governing the chase. Mutilation, the dungeon or heavy fine, according to the rank of the offender, was the punishment for taking the deer. Ferocity often breeds ferocity, and the inhabitants of the forest were for long a dour and difficult race. The locality seemed destined to raise gentlemen of the road, and in the seventeenth century and during the next, the dim recesses of the woods were utilized for storing the vast quantities of goods landed free of duty at Poole and elsewhere. Wiltshire people say that the original "Moonrakers" were Wiltshire folk of Cranborne Chase, and the story goes that a party of horsemen crossing a stream saw some yokels drawing their rakes through the water which reflected the harvest moon. On being questioned they confessed that they were trying to rake "that cheese out of the river:" with a shout of laughter at the simplicity of the rustics the travellers proceeded on their way. The humour of the joke lies in the fact that the "moonrakers" were smugglers retrieving kegs of rum and brandy and that the horsemen were excise officials. But the folk-lore origin of "Moonraker" is said by the Rev. J.E. Field to belong to a very early period, probably before the day of the Saxon and to be contemporaneous with the "Cuckoo Penners" of Somerset, who captured a young cuckoo and built a high hedge round it; there they fed it until its wings had grown, when it quietly flew away, much to the astonished chagrin of the yokels. This is a widespread legend and belongs to other parts of England besides Somerset.

The road from Wimborne to Blandford, four miles from the former town, passes on the right an imposing hill crowned with fir trees. This is the famous Badbury Rings. Here the conquering West Saxon met his most serious set-back and almost his only real defeat. The camp is undoubtedly prehistoric and was not a permanent settlement, but rather a military post of great strength for use in time of war. The ramparts consist of three rings of "wall" with a ditch to each, the outer being a mile round. The hill is noteworthy for its extensive views, reaching in clear weather to the Isle of Wight. The Purbeck Hills appear far away over the beautiful park of Kingston Lacy, the seat of the Bankes, an old county family. The house contains a fine collection of pictures not usually shown to the public.

The road it is proposed to follow leaves this demesne to the left and in two miles reaches Sturminster Marshall on the banks of the Stour. The old church with its pinnacled tower was restored so carefully that its ancient character has to a large extent been retained. The church was originally Norman, but several additions of varying dates have been made to it. As the church is entered, two fifteenth-century coffin lids will be noticed in the porch. Within is a brass to a former vicar (1581) and a slab to Lady Arundel of Nevice. The memorial to King Alfred was presented to the church a few years ago by R.C. Jackson, the antiquary, to commemorate the supposed connexion of this Stour Minster with the great king.

Passing Bailey Gate, which is the station for Sturminster, the Poole road is reached in a few minutes; turning left and following this for a mile, the pedestrian may take a rough track uphill to the right that leads to Lytchett Matravers, an out-of-the-way village with a Perpendicular church and an unpretending inn. Two miles to the south-east on the Poole-Wareham road is Lytchett Minster, remarkable for the extraordinary sign of its inn, the "St. Peter's Finger." This has been explained by Sir Bertram Windle as a corruption of St. Peter ad Vincula. The inn unconsciously perpetuates the name of an old system of land tenure, Lammas-day (in the Roman calendar St. Peter ad Vincula) being one of the days on which service was done as a condition of holding the land. The pictured sign itself, however, is very literal in its rendering of the name. One of the finest views obtainable of Poole and its surroundings is from Lytchett Beacon, and in the opposite direction, the tower in Charborough Park is a conspicuous landmark.

The direct road from Lytchett Matravers goes by Sleeping Green (we are approaching the land of queer names) and reaches Wareham in five miles after passing over the lonely Holton Heath, an outlier of the Great Heath of Dorset, that wide stretch of moorland that Mr. Hardy has made world-famous under the general appellation of "Egdon Heath."

Wareham, pleasant and ancient, is, after the capital, the most interesting inland town in Dorset. Its position between the rivers Frome and Puddle, that unite just before reaching Poole Harbour, was of value as a strategical point and from very early times, possibly prehistoric, the town was strongly fortified by its famous "walls" or earth embankments that enclose to-day a much greater area than the town itself.

Roman antiquities have been found of such a character as to prove its importance at that period. It was one of the towns where Athelstan's coins were made. It was accounted a first-class port by Canute and proved a place of contention between Alfred and the Danes. At one time eight churches stood within the walls and a castle erected by the Conqueror overawed the inhabitants until the tussle between John and the Barons led to its destruction. The churches that remain are three in number, and two are of much interest. St. Martin's, on a high bank at the northern entrance to the town, is a restored Saxon building, the traditional resting place, until his body was removed to Tewkesbury, of Beohtric, King of Wessex, in 800. The characteristic work of this period may be seen in the chancel arch and windows and in the "long and short" work at the north-east angle of the church.

Our Lady St. Mary's is the large and handsome church on the banks of the Frome, here crossed by an old stone bridge that carries the Corfe road across the river. The first church on this site is supposed to have occupied the space now covered by St. Edward's Chapel. Here Edward the Martyr was brought after his murder at Corfe Castle, the body being afterwards transferred to Shaftesbury with great pomp and splendour. The temporary coffin of the king may be seen near the font. It is of massive stone with a place carved out for the head. The nave and chancel have been much altered and partially rebuilt. Over St. Edward's chapel, which dates from the thirteenth century, and is supposed to be built on the site of the Saxon chapel, are the remains of another chapel with a window looking into the church. The most interesting part of the building is the Chapel of St. Thomas a Becket on the south side of the east end. This forms a receptacle for various curiosities, including several brasses, a stone cresset, a Roman lamp and a stone bearing a Scandinavian inscription, besides the piscina and sedilia that belong to the structure itself. The chapel would appear to have been made in the buttressed wall of the church. On the north side of the chancel is an effigy of Sir Henry d'Estoke and on the south a figure of Sir William of that ilk. The embossed alms dish and old earthenware plate for the communion should be noticed. An historian of Dorset - John Hutchings, once rector here - has a monument to his memory. The figures in relief upon the leaden font represent the Apostles. Antiquaries are also interested in some ancient stones built into the old Norman doorway near the pulpit. The ancient sculpture of the Crucifixion was once outside over the north porch. The inscription is said to be: "Catug consecravit Deo," but it is almost impossible to make anything of it at a cursory examination.

Holy Trinity Church was for a long time in a state of ruin, but it has now been repaired and is used as a mission room. All the other old churches of Wareham have been swept away by fire or decay and with one or two exceptions their very sites are lost.

Wareham is built on the usual regular plan of a Roman town, though it is not certain that the thoroughfares follow the actual lines of the original Roman streets. Evidences of this period are too vague and uncertain to make any pronouncement. The streets to-day have the mellow cleanly look of the country town unspoilt by any taint of modern industrialism, but of actual antiquity there is none. This is due to the great fire that raged in 1762 and to all intents and purposes wiped the town out. During the Great War the narrow pavements were thronged with khaki. A great military encampment extended westwards along the north side of the Dorchester road for a considerable distance, and, judging from present appearances, part of this wooden suburb of Wareham appears of a permanent character.

The road over the old and picturesque Frome bridge passes at once into the so-called Isle of Purbeck and gradually rises toward the hills that cut across the "island." The views ahead, which include the striking conical peak called "Creech Barrow," are of increasing beauty, and when we approach the break between the long range of Knowle Hill and Branscombe Hill, the strikingly fine picture of Corfe Castle filling the gap makes an unforgettable scene. Just before reaching the hillock upon which the castle stands, and three and a half miles from Wareham, a road turns left, crossing the railway, and winds by the northern face of Nine Barrows Down to Studland.

The original name for Corfe was Corvesgate, or the cutting in the hills. This is its usual alias in the Wessex novels. The position was so obviously suited for a sentry post that it was probably entrenched in prehistoric times. Two small streams, the Byle brook and the Steeple brook, run northwards on each side of the mount, uniting just below it to form the Corve River. At first sight the mound appears to be artificial, so velvety smooth and regular are its green sides in contrast with the pile of ruin on its crown.

King Edgar is credited with the first fortified building; this was used as a hunting lodge by his second wife Elfrida, who perpetrated the cruel murder of her stepson Edward while he was drinking a cup of wine at her door. The horse he was riding, no doubt spurred involuntarily by the dying king, galloped away, dragging the body along the ground, until it stopped from exhaustion. The dead monarch was, as already related, buried at Wareham, but the real ruler of England, Archbishop Dunstan, had it exhumed and reburied with much solemn pomp at Shaftesbury Abbey.

During the Conqueror's reign, that great era of castle building, the keep was first erected; by the reign of Stephen it was so strong that he failed to take it from Baldwin de Redvers, who held it for Matilda. John kept the crown jewels here, good evidence of its solidity, also a few Frenchmen of high rank, of whom twenty-two were starved to death, or so tradition says. The Princess Eleanor, captive for forty years, was imprisoned here for a great part of that time by the same "Good King John" who, as a punishment for prophesying the king's downfall, had bold Peter, the hermit of Pontefract, incarcerated in the deepest dungeon and subsequently hanged.

During the de Montfort rebellion the castle was held against the king. Edward was kept here for a time by Isabella before his murder at Berkley. The castle then passed through several hands until the time of Elizabeth, when it was sold to Sir Christopher Hatton. During this long period, the fabric was added to and improved until little of the Norman structure remained. All the new buildings seem to have been constructed with but one purpose, that of making an impregnable fortress. The widow of Sir Christopher sold the castle to Attorney-General Sir John Banks, ancestor of the Bankes of Kingston Lacy, in whose occupation, or rather in that of his wife, it was to have its invincibility put to the test. Sir John was with the king's forces at York in 1643 when the army of the Parliament gathered upon the Knowle and East hills. During six weeks repeated attacks were made by the forces of Sir Walter Earle, but without success, and eventually the siege was raised. In 1646 treachery succeeded where honest warfare failed. Colonel Pitman, an officer of the royal garrison, admitted a number of Roundheads, who obtained possession of the King's and Queen's towers. The remainder of the building became untenable by the poorly armed defenders, who had parted with their ordnance long before as a matter of policy.

Months were spent by the victorious Parliamentary forces in mining the foundations and in the systematic destruction of the magnificent defences. As we see it to-day, the actual masonry is practically in the condition left by the explosions, so massive is the material and so indestructible the mortar.

The sketch which accompanies these brief notes will make the plan of the castle clear, but no description can give any adequate notion of the strange havoc wrought by the gunpowder. It speaks well for the good workmanship of the builders when one remembers that these leaning towers, that appear to be in immediate danger of collapse, have been in the same condition for nearly three centuries. The western tower has been carried down the hill nine feet from its original position, but is still erect and unshattered. Part of the curtain wall was completely reversed by the force of the explosive and now shows its inner face. Whoever superintended the work of demolition must have been one of the chagrined and disappointed attackers who was human enough to vent his feelings, at much expense and great risk of life and limb, on the stubborn old walls.

Corfe, small town or large village, is picturesque and pleasant enough in itself without the added interest of the castle and the beauty of the surrounding country. The church is dedicated to the martyred Edward. It was rebuilt in 1860, excepting the fourteenth century tower, with its quaint gargoyles, and the Norman south porch. From the tower, shot made from the organ pipes of the church was hurled at the castle during the siege. The clock was constructed while Elizabeth was queen and curfew is still rung daily from October to March at 8 p.m. Within the church may be seen the old altar frontal used prior to the Reformation, and the fifteenth-century font. Of much interest are the quotations from the churchwardens' accounts that are preserved in the church room.

The old market cross is gone. On its stump there was erected in 1897 a new Latin cross to commemorate the jubilee of Queen Victoria. "Dackhams," the Elizabethan manor standing back from the Swanage road, and now called Morton House, is a fine specimen of Tudor building. The architecture of Corfe, as in most of the inland villages of the "island," is most pleasing; a distinctive note being the pillared porch with a room above.

Corfe Castle retained a mayor and eight "barons" until 1883. The last to hold office (a Bankes) was also Lord High Admiral of Purbeck, a picturesque title over three hundred years old. It will come as a surprise to most readers to hear that Corfe was admitted to rank as a Cinque Port. The town returned the usual two members in pre-reform days.

A pleasant route out of Corfe is to take a path between cottages on the left of the lane leading to West Orchard, and, crossing several meadows, to pass over the breezy Corfe common to the Kingston road. This gives the traveller a series of beautiful views and an especially fine retrospect of Corfe Castle. In a short two miles Kingston, climbing up its steep hill, is reached. The church, a landmark for many miles, was built by Lord Eldon in 1880. It was designed by Street in Early English. With its severe and lofty tower the exterior has a coldly conventional aspect not altogether pleasing. Inside, the large amount of Purbeck marble employed gives a touch of colour which, to a certain extent, relieves the austerity. Not far away is the older church built in Perpendicular style by Lord Chancellor Eldon. The seat of the Eldon family is at Encombe, a lovely cup-shaped hollow opening to the sea about a mile and a half away, and not far from the lonely Chapman's (or perhaps Shipman's) Pool, a deep and sheltered cove on the west of St. Aldhelm's Head. A path can be taken that crosses the fields until the open common, which extends to the edge of the great headland, is reached. On the summit, 450 feet above the waves, is a little Norman chapel dedicated to the first Bishop of Sherborne, whose name the headland bears and not that of St. Alban, as erroneously given in so many school geographies and in some tourist maps. This chantry served a double purpose, prayers being said by the priest within and a beacon lit upon the roof without, for the succour and guidance of sailors. A cross now takes the place of the ancient beacon bucket. It is said that the chapel was instituted by a sorrowing father who saw his daughter and her husband drowned in the terrible race off the headland in or about the year 1140. It was restored by the same Earl of Eldon who built the Kingston church, and is looked after by the neighbouring coast-guard. The interior is lit by one solitary window in the thick wall and in the centre is a single massive column. Some authorities have questioned its original use as a place of prayer, but tradition, and a good deal of direct evidence, point to the ecclesiastical nature of the building.

The tale of wreck and disaster off this wild coast reached such a dreadful total that in 1881 after much agitation a light was erected on Anvil Point and declared open by Joseph Chamberlain, then President of the Board of Trade. Between the two heads, which are about four miles apart, is the famous "Dancing Ledge," a sloping beach of solid rock upon which the surf plays at high tide with a curious effect, possibly suggesting the quaint name. This section of cliff, like the whole of the Dorset coast, is of great interest to the geologist and the veriest amateur must feel some curiosity on the subject when it is apparent to him that the beautiful scenery of this shore is caused mainly by its being the meeting place of so many differing strata. The Kimmeridge clay will be noticed at once by its sombre colour, almost quite black when wet, and in times of scarcity actually used as fuel. This clay rings Chapman's Pool and extends westwards to Kimmeridge Bay. St. Aldhelm's Head is built up of differing kinds of limestone, the fine bastions of the top being composed of the famous Portland stone itself, the finest of all the limestones from a commercial point of view.

To walk from St. Aldhelm's along the cliff to Anvil Point and so into Swanage is possible but fatiguing, and perhaps not worth the labour involved. Winspit Quarry and Seacombe Cliff would be passed on the way; between the two are some old guns marking the spot where the East Indiaman Halsewell went down in a fearful storm in January, 1786. This tragedy was immortalized by Charles Dickens in "The Long Voyage." Out of 250 souls only eighty-two were saved by men employed at Winspit Quarry. Some of the passengers are buried in the level plot between the two cliffs.

Worth Matravers, a mile and a half from the Head and four from Swanage, is a village at the end of a by-way that leaves the Kingston road near Gallows Gore(!) cottages, a mile west of Langton Matravers. The name of both these villages connects them with an old Norman family once of much importance in south-east Dorset. It is said that one of them was the tool of Queen Isabella and the actual murderer of Edward.

Worth is famous for its fine early Norman church, also restored by the Earl of Eldon. The tower, of three stories, the nave, south door and chancel arch, all belong to this period. The chancel itself is Early English. The carved grotesques under the eaves of the roof are worthy of notice. Not the least remarkable thing about Worth is the tombstone of Benjamin Jesty, who is claimed thereon to be the first person to inoculate for smallpox (1774). Langton Matravers need not keep the stranger; its church was rebuilt nearly fifty years ago and the village is unpicturesque.

We now approach Swanage, a delightful little town, well known and much appreciated by those of the minority who prefer a restful and modest resort to the glitter and crowds of Bournemouth. That it will never attain the dimensions of its great neighbour to the north is fairly certain. Swanage is in a comparatively inaccessible position. Barely eight miles from Bournemouth as the crow flies, it is twenty-four miles by rail and about the same by road. So that during the five years of war, when the steamer service was suspended, Swanage had no day trippers and the quietness of the town was accentuated, and the camp on the southern slopes of Ballard Down did not interfere to any great extent with this somnolence. But now the steamers pant across to Swanage pier again and unload the curious crowd who make straight for the Great Globe and Tilly Whim and pause to "rest and admire" as they breast the steep slopes of Durlston.

The tutelary genius of Swanage is of stone and the two high priests of the idol were Mowlein and Burt. Some undeserved fun has been poked at the shade of the junior partner, who conceived the enormous open-air kindergarten that has been formed out of the wild cliff at Durlston. For the writer's part, while venturing to deplore certain incongruities such as the startling inscription that faces the visitor as he turns to survey the Tilly Whim cavern from the platform of rock outside, a feeling of respect for the wholehearted enthusiasm and industry of the remarkable man who was responsible for these marvels is predominant. Every guide to Swanage enumerates in exhaustive detail the objects which make the town a sort of "marine store" of stony odds and ends. The best of these cast-offs is the entrance to the Town Hall, once in Cheapside as the Wren frontage to Mercer's Hall. The "gothic" tower at Peveril Point at one time graced the southern approach to London Bridge as a Wellington memorial. The clock at the Town Hall is said to be from a "scrapped" city church and the gilt vane on the turret of Purbeck House on the other side of the way is from Billingsgate. Not the least surprising of these relics are the lamp-and-corner-posts bearing the names of familiar London parishes.

When Swanage was Danish Swanic (it was called Swanwick in the early nineteenth century) it witnessed the defeat of its colonizers in a sea fight with Alfred. The irresponsible partners commemorated this by erecting a stone column surmounted by four cannon balls. A queer way of perpetuating a pre-conquest naval victory, but possibly the projectiles were less in the way here than at Millbank. Not far away, attached to the wall of the Moslem Institute, is a coloured geological map of the district, another effort at the higher education of "the man on the beach." It is certainly a good idea, and may lead many to a further study of a fascinating science, for nowhere may the practical study of scenery be made to greater advantage than near Swanage.

Perhaps the most graceful curve of coast line in Dorset is Swanage Bay, and to see it at its best one should stroll across the rising ground of Peveril Point. To the right are the dark cliffs of Purbeck marble that encircle Durlston Bay; to the left across the half-moon stretch of water is the white chalk of Ballard Point guarded by "Old Harry's daughter," the column of detached chalk in front. At one time this was one of a family, but "Old Harry" and his "wife" have sunk beneath the waves and the sole remaining member of the family may disappear during the next great storm. Beyond, indistinct and remote during fine weather but startlingly near when the glass is falling, are the cliffs of Alum Bay in the Isle of Wight, and the guardian "Needles."

The picturesque High Street should be followed past the Town Hall with its alien Carolean front, and the long wall of Purbeck House that is said to be made up from the "sweepings" of the Albert Memorial at Kensington. Down a lane at the side of the civic building is the old "Lock Up," with an inscription as quaint as it is direct, for it tells us that it was erected "for the prevention of Wickedness and Vice by the Friends of Religion and Good Order." Farther up High Street is a cottage, creeper-clad and picturesque, where Wesley stayed while preaching to the quarrymen. The best part of this stroll is towards the end, where a space opens out on the right to St. Mary's Church and the mill pond which is surrounded by as extraordinary a jumble of queer old roofs and gables as may be seen in Dorset. The church has been rebuilt and much altered and enlarged, but the tower is as old as it looks and has seen several churches come and go beneath it. There is no door lower than the second story and it must have been reached by a ladder. It was undoubtedly built for, and used as, a fortress in case of need.

Although there is little of beauty in the quarries that honeycomb the hills to the west of Swanage, the industry that is carried on is of much interest as a surviving guild or medieval trades union. One of the laws of the "company," unbroken from immemorial time, is that no work may be given to any but a freeman or his son who, after seven years' apprenticeship, becomes a senior worker upon presenting to the warden a fee of 6_s. 8_d., a loaf of bread and a bottle of beer. The guild meet every Shrove Tuesday at Corfe to transact the formal business of the year. Each quarryman and his partner, or partners, hold the little independent working allotted to them apart from the remainder of the quarry. This obviously prevents blasting and each block of stone is cut out by manual labour.

Purbeck marble is famous all over southern England, and many historic buildings, from the Temple church in London to Salisbury and Exeter Cathedrals, are enriched by the beautifully polished columns of this dark-coloured limestone. The caves at Durlston, with their intriguing name, are simply abandoned quarries, although all sorts of fanciful legends have grown up about them. To any one familiar with the plan of the working of a quarry, the sloping tunnel that gives access to the cave will prove the origin to be artificial. Nevertheless, Tilly Whim is romantic enough to please the most fastidious of the steamer contingent and the scene from the platform of rock in front of the old workings is as wild and natural as could well be imagined. As for the open-air schoolroom above on Durlston Head a description is hardly necessary. That the pedagogic master mason was not without the saving grace of a sense of humour is proved by the once plain block of stone provided for those who would perpetuate their own greatness, now literally covered with names and initials. The staring red and white "castle" that crowns the cliff is a restaurant built to accommodate the day visitor, but if the evidence of discarded pastry bags and ginger-beer bottles that at times litter and disfigure the cliff and caves is to be regarded, the castle is not as well patronized as it should be. This unseemliness is kept under by what appears to be a daily clean up, though the writer has never met the public benefactor who makes all tidy in the early morning hours before the steamers have discharged their crowds. Possibly this is the same individual who keeps the tangle of blackberry and tamarisk pruned down so that while resting with "Sir Walter Scott" or "Shakespeare" we may duly admire the view across Swanage Bay.

No one should omit the glorious walk northwards across the fine expanse of Ballard Down to Studland. The coast road round the bay is taken to a path bearing to the right in the pleasant suburb of New Swanage. At the time of writing this leads through the before-mentioned, partly derelict, military camp and, after passing on the right the old Tudor farmhouse called Whitecliff, emerges on the open Down. The rearward views gain in beauty with every step, and when the summit is reached at the fence gate and the stone seat that seems to have strayed from Durlston, a magnificent and unforgettable view is obtained of Poole Harbour and the great heathland that stretches away to the New Forest. Every intricacy of the harbour can be seen as on a map, and its almost landlocked character is strikingly apparent as the eye follows the bright yellow arc of sand to the cliffs of Bournemouth. That town has most of its more glaring modernities decently hidden, and the pier and a few spires and chimneys seem to blend into the all-pervading golden brown of the Hampshire coast. In the near foreground Studland looks very alluring in its bowery foliage, but before descending the hillside the long and almost level Down should be followed to the right past the shooting range, provided the absence of a warning red flag gives permission. By a slight detour to the right as the ground slopes toward that extension of Ballard Down called Handfast Point, fearsome peeps may be had of the waves raging round Old Harry's daughter and the submerged ruins of her parents. Care must be taken here in misty weather, the cliffs are sheer, and unexpected gaps occur where nothing could save the unwary explorer in the event of an unlucky slip. Little is gained by following the cliff top all the way to the extreme edge of the Point, and a return may be made from hereabouts or a short cut made to the path leading to Studland.

Studland was until quite lately one of the most unspoilt of English villages. An unfortunate outbreak of red brick has slightly detracted from its former quiet beauty, but it is still a charming little place and claims as heretofore to be the "prettiest village in England," a claim as impossible of acceptance as some other of the challenges made by seaside towns. But it is unfair to class Studland with the usual run of such resorts; perhaps its best claims upon us are negative ones. It has no railway station, no pier, no bandstand, no parade, in fact the old village turns its back upon the sea in an unmistakable manner.

The foundations and lower parts of the walls of the church are probably Saxon. The building as we see it is primitive Norman without later additions or any very apparent attempts at restoration, though a good deal of legitimate repairing has been carried out during the last few years. The solemn and venerable churchyard yews lend an added air of great age to the building. Close to the church door is the tombstone of one Sergeant Lawrence, whose epitaph is a stirring record of military service combined with a dash of real romance, though probably the sergeant's whole life did not have as much of the essence of dreadful war as one twelve months in the career of a present-day city clerk.

A long mile west, on the northern slopes of Studland Heath, is the famous Agglestone "that the Devil while sulking in the Isle of Wight threw at the builders of Corfe Castle" or, according to another account, from Portland. Probably the confusion arose through the original reporter using the term "the Island." Natives would know that the definite article could only refer to their own locality! The stone is an effect of denudation and is similar to other isolated sandstone rocks scattered about the south of England, e.g., the "Toad" Rock at Tunbridge Wells and "Great upon Little" near West Heathly in Sussex. A short distance away is a smaller mass called the "Puckstone." The derivation of the larger rock is probably Haligstane - Holy Stone. So difficult is it to contemplate the ages through which gradual weathering would bring these stones to their present shape that scientists, as recently as the middle of the last century, were at variance as to their natural or artificial origin.

A by-road, a little over five miles long, runs under the face of Nine Barrows Down and Brenscombe Hill to Corfe. It is a picturesque route and has some good views, but a much finer way, and but little longer, is along the top of the Downs themselves culminating at Challow Hill in a sudden sight of Corfe, backed by the imposing Knowle Hill. This walk is even surpassed by that along the hills westwards from Corfe. In this direction a similar by-road also runs under the long line of the Purbeck Hills, here so called, but on the south side of the range through Church Knowle which has an old cruciform church pulled about by "restorers" as far back as the early eighteenth century and several times since. The village is pleasant in itself and beautifully situated. A short distance farther is an ancient manor house dating from the fourteenth century. Its name - Barneston - is said to perpetuate a Saxon landholder, Berne, so that the foundations of the house are far older than this period. Over three miles from Corfe is the small church hamlet of Steeple; here a road bears upward to the right, and if the hill top has not been followed all the way from Corfe it should certainly be gained at this point. Not far away and nearer Church Knowle is Creech Barrow, a cone-shaped hill commanding a most extensive and beautiful view, especially north-westwards over the heathy flats of the Frome valley to the distant Dorset-Somerset borderlands. The narrow Purbeck range now makes obliquely for the coast, where it ends more than six miles from Corfe in the magnificent bluff of Flowers' Barrow, or Ring's Hill, above Worbarrow Bay. This is without doubt the finest portion of the Dorset coast, not only for the striking outline of the cliffs and hills themselves but for the beautiful colouring of the strata and the contrasting emerald of the dells that break down to the purple-blue of the water. Neither drawing nor photograph can give any idea of this exquisite blend of the stern and the beautiful.

Eastwards, Gad Cliff guards the remote little village of Tyneham from the sea; certain portions of this precipice seem in imminent danger of falling into the water, so much do they overhang the beach. At Kimmeridge Bay the cliff takes the sombre hue seen near Chapman's Pool and the beach and water are discoloured by the broken shale that has fallen from the low cliff. It is thought that a sort of jet jewellery was made here in Roman times; quantities of perforated discs have been found about the bay - termed "coal money" by the fishermen. The greasy nature of this curious form of clay is remarkable. Naphtha has been obtained from it and various commercial enterprises have been started at Kimmeridge in connexion with the local product but all seem to have failed miserably because of the unendurable smell that emanates when combustion takes place.

The "Tout" forms the eastern extremity of Worbarrow Bay; this boldly placed and precipitous little hill forms a sort of miniature Gibraltar and is one of the outstanding features of this bewilderingly intricate shore. On the farther or western side of the bay is the exquisite Arish Mel Gap,[1] that, taking all points into consideration, particularly that of colouring, is probably the finest scene of its kind on the English coast. Picturesquely placed at the head of the miniature valley is Lulworth Castle, grey and stern, and making an ideal finish to the unforgettable picture. A spring in the recesses of the dell sends a small and sparkling stream down to the gap, the sides of which in spring and early summer are a blaze of white and gold, challenging the cliffs in their display of colour. A path climbs gradually by an old wind-torn wood up the landward side of Bindon Hill, with gorgeous rearward views across the fields of Monastery Farm to the northern escarpment of the Purbeck Hills. The path very soon reaches the top of Bindon that seems to drop directly to Mupe Bay and its jagged surf-covered rocks. In two miles from Arish Mel the path ends directly above the delectable Lulworth Cove, and of all ways of reaching that unique and lovely little place this is the most charming. Care must be taken on the steep side of Bindon. Several accidents have taken place here. One of them is perpetuated by an inscription on a board placed upon the hillside. The path must be followed until it drops into the road leading to the landward village.

[1] Correctly - Arish Mel. "Gap" and "Mel" are synonyms in Dorset.

Lulworth bids fair, or ill, to become a "resort" apart from the descents from Bournemouth or Weymouth, which are only of a few hours' duration. Before the Great War there was an extension of West Lulworth round the foot of Bindon Hill, but the railway at Wool is still a good five miles away and the great majority of seaside visitors seem to fight shy of any place that has not a station on the beach.

Lulworth has been described and photographed so many times that a description seems needless. It would want an inspired pen to do any portion of this coast full justice. Suffice it to say that the cove is almost circular, 500 yards across, and that the entrance is so narrow as to make it almost invisible from the open sea. The contortions of the cliff face within the cove would alone render the place famous.

More often sketched than Lulworth; perhaps because it is easier to draw, is Durdle Door or Barn Door, the romantic natural arch that juts out at the end of Barndoor Cove. The outline has all the appearance of stage scenery of the goblin cavern sort. So lofty is the opening that a sailing boat can pass through with ease. Behind it is the soaring Swyre Head, 670 feet high, and the third of that name in Dorset. Between this point and Nelson Fort on the west of Lulworth Cove is Stair Hole, a gloomy roofless cavern into which the tide pours with a terrifying sound, especially when a strong sou-wester is blowing.

East Lulworth is a charming old village, three miles from the cove and two from West Lulworth. Close to it is the castle that completes the picture at Arish Mel. The church, much altered and rebuilt, is Perpendicular, and in it are interesting memorials of the Welds to whom the castle has belonged since 1641. This family are members of the Roman church, and a fine chapel for adherents of that communion was built in the park at the end of the eighteenth century. It is said to be the first erected in England since the Reformation. The ex-king Charles X of France sought and found sanctuary at Lulworth Castle in August, 1830, as Duke of Milan. He was accompanied by his heir, the Duke of Angouleme, and the Duke of Bordeaux.