The fashionable Weymouth of to-day is the Melcombe Regis of the past, and quite a proportion of visitors to Melcombe never go into the real Weymouth at all. The tarry, fishy and beery (in a manufacturing sense only) old town is on the south side of the harbour bridge and has little in common with the busy and popular watering place on the north and east. Once separate boroughs, the towns are now under one government, and Melcombe Regis has dropped its name almost entirely in favour of that of the older partner.

How many towns on the coast claim their particular semicircle of bay to be "the English Naples"? Douglas, Sandown and even Swanage have at some time or other, through their local guides, plumed themselves on the supposed resemblance. It is as inapplicable to these as it is to Weymouth, though the latter seems to insist upon it more than the rest. Apart from the bay, which is one of the most beautiful on the coast, boarding-house Weymouth is more like Bloomsbury than anywhere else on earth, and a very pleasant, mellow, comfortable old Bloomsbury, reminiscent of good solid comfortable times, even if they were rather dowdy and dull. Not that Weymouth is dull. In the far-off days of half-day excursions from London at a fare that now would only take them as far as Windsor, the crowds of holiday-makers were wont to make the front almost too lively. But away from such times there are few towns of the size that make such a pleasant impression upon the chance tourist, who can spend some days here with profit if he will but make it the headquarters for short explorations into the surrounding country and along the coast east and west, but especially east.

The first mention of Weymouth in West Saxon times is in a charter of King Ethelred, still existing, that makes a grant of land "in Weymouth or Wyke Regis" to Atsere, one of the King's councillors. Edward Confessor gave the manor to Winchester, and afterwards it became the property of Eleanor, the consort of Edward I. The large village slowly grew into a small town and port.

Wool became its staple trade, and in 1347 the port was rich enough to find twenty ships for the fleet besieging Calais. At this time Melcombe Regis began to assume as much importance as its neighbour across the harbour. The only communication between the two was then a ferry boat worked hand over hand by a rope. Henry VIII built Sandsfoot Castle for the protection of the ports, and while Elizabeth was Queen the harbour was bridged and the jealousy between the towns brought to an end by an Act passed to consolidate their interests. Soon after this the inhabitants had the satisfaction of seeing the great galleon of a Spanish admiral brought in as a prize of war, the towns having furnished six large ships toward the fleet that met the Armada.

During the reign of the seventh Henry a violent storm obliged Philip of Castile and his consort Joanna to claim, much against their will, the hospitality of the town. The Spanish sovereigns, who were not on the best terms with England, were very ill, and dry land on any terms was, to them, the only desirable thing. They were met on landing by Sir Thomas Trenchard of Wolveton with a hastily summoned force of militia. King Philip was informed that he would not be allowed to return to his ship until Henry had seen him, and in due course the Earl of Arundel arrived to conduct the unwilling visitors to the presence of the king. As we saw while at Charminster, this incident led to the founding of a great ducal family.

It is to George III that Weymouth owes its successful career as a watering place, although a beginning had been made over twenty years before the King's visit by a native of Bath named Ralph Allen, who actually forsook that "shrine of Hygeia," to come to Melcombe, where "to the great wonder of his friends he immersed his bare person in the open sea." Allen seems to have been familiar with the Duke of Gloucester, whom he induced to accompany him. So pleased was the Duke with Melcombe, that he decided to build a house on the front - Gloucester Lodge, now the hotel of that name - and here to the huge delight of the inhabitants, George, his Queen and three daughters came in 1789. An amusing account of the royal visit is given by Fanny Burney. The King was so pleased with the place that he stayed eleven weeks, and by his unaffected buorgeois manner and approachableness quickly gained the enthusiastic loyalty of his Dorset subjects. Miss Burney's most entertaining reminiscence of the visit is the oft-repeated account of the King's first dip in the sea. Immediately the royal person "became immersed beneath the waves" a band, concealed in a bathing machine struck up "God save Great George our King." Weymouth is in possession of a keepsake of these stirring times in the statue of His Hanoverian Majesty that graces(?) the centre of the Esplanade. It is to be hoped that the town will never be inveigled into scrapping this memorial, which for quaintness and unconscious humour is almost unsurpassed. A subject of derisive merriment to the tripper and of shuddering aversion for those with any aesthetic sense, it is nevertheless an interesting link with another age and is not very much worse than some other specimens of the memorial type of a more recent date. It has lately received a coat of paint of an intense black and the cross-headed wand that the monarch holds is tipped with gold. The contrast with the enormous expanse of white base, out of all proportion to the little black figure of the King, is strangely startling.

Not much can be said for St. Mary's, an eighteenth-century church in St. Mary's Street which carries the Bloomsbury-by-Sea idea to excess. The church has a tablet, the epitaph upon which seems quite unique in the contradictory character it gives to the deceased:


The artist was unfortunate in his choice of abbreviations and strangers are sometimes sorely puzzled; some, indeed, never guess that "worst" has any connexion with "worthiest." The altar piece, difficult to see on a dull day, was painted by Sir James Thornhill, a former representative of the borough in Parliament. Sir Christopher Wren was also for a time member for Weymouth, and portraits of both, together with the Duke of Wellington and George III, adorn the Guildhall, a good building at the west end of St. Mary's Street. The twin towns were unique in their choice of members; in addition to the great architect and famous painter, a poet - Richard Glover, author of Leonidas - of no mean repute in his own day, was chosen and the original Winston Churchill, father of the great Duke of Marlborough, also sat for Weymouth.

Within the Guildhall is to be seen a chest from the captured Armada galleon and an old chair from Melcombe Friary, of which some poor remnants existed in Maiden Street almost within living memory. On the other side of the harbour is Holy Trinity Church, built in 1836. This has another fine altar painting of the Crucifixion, thought by some authorities to be by Vandyck.

Certain portions of old Weymouth are very picturesque, with steep streets and comfortable old bow-windowed lodging-houses patronized almost exclusively by the better class of seafarer; merchant captains, pilots and the like. A few of the lanes at the upper end of the harbour may be termed "slums" by the more fastidious, but it is only to their outward appearance that the word is applicable. Some of these cottages are of great age and a number have been allowed to fall to ruin. In Melcombe Regis at the corner of Edmund and Maiden Streets may be seen, still embedded in the wall high above the pavement, a cannon ball shot at the unfortunate town during the Civil War, in which unhappy period much damage was done, the contending parties successively occupying the wretched port to the great discomfort of the burgesses.

Radipole Lake is the name given to the large sheet of water at the back of Melcombe, formed by the mouth of the Wey before it becomes Weymouth Harbour. The name is actually "Reedy Pool," so that "lake" is a tautology reminding one of a similar blunder, often made by folks who should know better, in speaking of "Lake" Winder_mere. Radipole is spoilt by an ugly railway bridge and some sidings belonging to the joint railways that lie along the eastern bank for some distance. The water is enlivened by a large colony of swans and also in the summer by boating parties, who prefer the quietude of the pool to the possible discomforts of the bay. But the bay is the reason for holiday Weymouth, not only for the beauty of its wide sweep and the remarkable colouring of the water, but for the firm sands with occasional patches of shingle that lie between shore and sea from the harbour mouth almost to Redcliff Point.

The chief excursion from Weymouth is to Portland, and of course every one must take it, but there are other and finer ways out of the town, most of which show the "island" at its best - as an imposing mass of rock in the middle distance.

A ferry plies between the steamer quay, just beyond Alexandra Gardens and the Nothe, the headland extremity of the peninsula upon which old Weymouth is built. This is one of the best points from which to view the bay. Portland is also well seen "lying on the sea like a great crouching anumal" (Hardy). The commanding parts of the Nothe are heavily fortified and the permanent barracks are always occupied by a strong force. On the south are Portland Roads, usually interesting for the number of warships congregated there. There are exceedingly powerful defences at the ends of the breakwaters and the openings can be protected from under-water attack by enormous booms. The first wall took twenty-three years to build by convict labour and it explains the origin of the prison at Portland, which was not established as some think, because of the difficulty of escape, but solely for the convenience of "free labour." It is said that the amount of stone used in the oldest of the breakwaters was five million tons.

If the road is taken into Portland the village of Rodwell, at which there is a station, is at the parting of the ways, that to the left leading to the shore at Sandsfoot Castle, one of Henry's block houses that played a part in the Civil War. It is not a particularly picturesque ruin, though its purchase by the Weymouth corporation will prevent any more of the wanton damage it has suffered in the past. The other route goes direct to Wyke Regis, upon the hill above East Fleet and the Chesil Bank. Wyke is the mother church of Weymouth and is a fine Perpendicular structure in a magnificent position. Its list of rectors starts in 1302, so that the church must be on the site of an earlier building. The churchyard is the resting place of a large number of shipwrecked sailors who have met their death in the dread "Deadman's Bay," as this end of the great West Bay is termed.

The road into Portland is across a bridge built in 1839, the first to connect the island-peninsula with the mainland. Then follows a long two miles of monotony along the eastern end of Chesil Beach, and the most ardent pedestrian will prefer to take to the railway at least as far as Portland station if not to the terminus at Easton. The lonely stretch of West Bay, in sharp contrast to the animation of the Roads, cannot be seen unless the high bank of shingle on the right is ascended. Portland Castle is on the nearest point of the island to the mainland. This also was built by Henry VIII and is in good repair and inhabited by one of the officers of the garrison.

The road ascends to Fortune's Well, as uninteresting a "capital" as could well be imagined and for the sheer ugliness of its buildings and church probably unsurpassed. Its only claim to notice is the extraordinary way in which its houses are built on the hillside, one row of doorsteps and diminutive gardens being on a level with the next row of roofs, so steep is the lie of the land. Above the village is the great Verne Fort occupying fifty acres on the highest point of the island and commanding all the approaches to the Roads.

The route now bears right and soon reaches a high and desolate plateau littered with the debris of many years quarrying. The only saving grace in the scenery is the magnificent rearward view along the vast and slightly curving Chesil Bank which stretches away to Abbotsbury and the highlands of the beautiful West Dorset coast. The prison is still farther ahead to the left. There would be fewer visitors to Portland were it not for a morbid desire to see the convicts. Parties are often made up to arrive in time to watch the men as they leave the quarries in the late afternoon. Soldiers and warders mount guard along the walls and the depressing sight should be shunned as much for one's own sake as for that of the prisoners. Good taste, however, is a virtue that usually has to give way before curiosity.

The road now descends to Easton, a place of remarkably wide streets and a number of well-built churches, not all of the Establishment, however. The solid old houses, consisting entirely of the local stone, are not uninteresting and are in keeping with the dour and bleak scenery of the island. The mistake of importing alien red bricks of a most aggressive hue has not been made here. Those that flame from the hill slope above Portland station only succeed in emphasizing the general bleakness of their surroundings. At Easton clock tower a street called "Straits" turns left and east and presently a broad road leads downhill to the right to the gates of Pennsylvania Castle, built, it is said, at the suggestion of George III by John Penn, Governor of Portland, and a descendant of the great Penn in whose honour it was named. A narrow passage by the castle wall brings us to Rufus, or "Bow and Arrow" Castle, to which the third name of "Red King's Castle" has been given by Hardy in The Well Beloved. Its picturesque ivy-clad shell is perched on a crag at the head of Church Hope Cove, really "Church Ope" or opening. In the grounds of Pennsylvania Castle, shown on application, are the ruins of an ancient church, destroyed by a landslip. The disaster brought to light the foundations of a far older building. Near the ruins is a gravestone with the following mysterious epitaph:


Gravestones of the twelfth century, thought to be the oldest headstones in England, were brought to light in excavations consequent on the landslip.

The Cove will possibly be considered the only pleasant place in Portland. It is well wooded, of perfect outline, and with a miniature beach where shingle, rocks and greenery mingle in picturesque confusion and a remarkably crystalline sea laves the milk-white stones and gravel. Cave Hole, near by, is a fine sight in rough weather.

The road continues to the small hamlet of Southwell and paths lead onward amid rather tame surroundings to the flattened headland known to the world as Portland Bill, but to all Portlanders as the "Beal." This headland is crowned by a lighthouse which has replaced two older and discarded buildings. In wild weather the scene at the Beal is magnificent, in spite of the low altitude of the cliff. Pulpit Rock is the quite appropriate name given to the curiously shaped block of limestone which stands close to the water. The "Shambles" lightship, about three miles from the Beal, warns the mariner off the long and dangerous sandbank known by that ominous name on which so many good ships have perished. Around the bank, in February, 1653, the Dutch and English fleets under van Tromp and Blake, circled and fought for three days until the Hollanders had lost eleven ships of war and thirty merchantmen.

To return on foot to Portland station or the mainland, the best way is to keep along the edge of the western cliffs for the sake of the grand forward views. The tall tower in the centre of the island in sight from the higher parts of the roads is Reforne, the chief parish church, built in 1706. Near the prison is St. Peter's Church crowned by a dome and built by convict labour. The fine mosaics in the chancel were worked by a female convict. As a rule the domestic architecture is as dour as the huge rock upon which the cottages are built, though a few of the older dwellings are picturesque with their heavy stone roofs clothed in gold and green moss, but as the quarries have grown in size and importance most of them have been swept away. As uncompromising as their island are the Baleares - the Slingers - who kept invaders, Roman, Saxon and Dane, for long at a respectful distance with the ammunition that lay close at their feet. Underground habitations of the British period were found about forty years ago and ancient trackways of prehistoric time were to be seen in those days when the island was merely a great sheep-walk and before gunpowder and chisel obliterated them. The Romans named the island Vindilis. Many traces of their occupation have been found, including several sarcophagi.

Insular customs and prejudices among the islanders are various and strange. Intermarrying until quite lately was the rule, and it must be annoying to eugenists to find that the natives are such a hardy and vigorous race. The "Kimberlin," as all foreigners from the mainland are called, is still looked upon with a certain amount of suspicion, and oftener than not advances are met with a surliness that must be understood and so forgiven. Heredity is stronger in remote and insular districts than in those where the channels of communication are free, but the long story of brave and self-sacrificing endeavour to save life on their inhospitable shores more than counterbalances any lack of manners in this ancient race, which is probably very nearly identical with that of the old men who lived in the rock chambers under Verne. That stain on the honour of so many dwellers on the coast - a strange and unaccountable throwback - the crime of wrecking, has never been charged against the Portlander.

One of the most fearful storms ever recorded on this shore was that of November, 1824, when Weymouth esplanade was practically destroyed, and cutters and fishing boats were tossed into the main streets, one of 95 tons being washed right over the Chesil Bank. On Portland Beach in November, 1795, several transports, with troops for the West Indies on board, were stranded, and two hundred and thirty-four men drowned.

Dissent is strong in the island as the several squarely plain meeting-houses testify. The constant repetition of three names on the stones in the burying grounds - Attwooll, Pearce and Stone - will bring home to the stranger the insularity of the "Isle of Slingers."

The royal manor of Portland antedates the Conquest. It then included Wyke, Weymouth and Melcombe. It is semi-independent of Dorset, being governed by a Reeve, who is appointed by male and female crown tenants from among themselves. The "Reeve-Staff" is an archaic method of recording the payments of rates, and is similar to the old Exchequer tallies, to the burning of the many years' stores of which, and consequent conflagration, we owe our present Houses of Parliament. The Reeve Court is still held at the old "George Inn" in Reforne. Among the old customs to be mentioned is that of the "Church-gift," in which the parties to a sale of property meet in the church and in the presence of two witnesses hand over deeds and purchase money. The transaction is then as complete as it is legal.

Inigo Jones first discovered the virtues of Portland stone and built Whitehall with it. Sir Christopher Wren was so struck with its good qualities that he decided to use it for the new St. Paul's and many of the city churches and public buildings. It is now the most widely used building stone in this country, and though it lacks the beautiful colouring of West of England sandstone, to "Bath" stone and the rest it is immeasurably superior in wearing qualities. Apart from the crown quarries, where convict labour is employed, the stone is worked by a kind of guild, very similar to that in operation near Swanage; the employment being handed down from father to son.

To make a brief exploration of the country east of Weymouth the road should be taken that keeps close to the shore until the coastguard station at Furzy Cliff is reached. Here a path, much broken in places, ascends the cliff, and continues to Osmington Mills, the usual goal of the summer visitor in this direction. Not far away is the great fort on Upton Cliff, built to command the Eastern approaches to Portland Roads. Holworth Cliff was, in the twenties of the last century, the scene of a curious outbreak of fire. The inflammable nature of the strata caused the miniature Vesuvius to smoulder for a long time, with dire effect upon the atmosphere for many miles around. It is possible for the pedestrian to proceed to the beautiful coast that culminates in the lovely region about Lulworth Cove. About eight miles from Weymouth the path reaches one of the several Swyre Heads in Dorset. This commands wide views over a remote and seemingly deserted countryside. From this point one may penetrate inland by bridle-ways, in two miles, to the village of Chaldon Herring, situated in a pleasant combe to the North of Chaldon Down. The church is remarkable for the new fittings, all designed by and for the most part the work of, a former incumbent. The Saxon font and Norman chancel arch are also of much interest.

The highroad from Wareham to Dorchester makes a wide loop southwards from the railway at Wool and approaches Chaldon a mile away to the north. Between the village and the turnpike is a ridge upon which are the remarkable tumuli called "The Five Maries." From this spot is another wide and beautiful view embracing the greater part of Dorset, and in its absence of habitations emphasizing the loneliness of the central portion of the county. The highroad may now be taken by Overmoigne to Warmwell Cross on the return to Weymouth, but a better way, covering about nine miles in all, is, for those who can sustain the fatigue of "give and take" roads with rather indifferent surface, to take the hill top to near Poxwell. This is a delightful village with a very beautiful Manor House dating from 1654. The situation of this house, backed by the smooth Down, is exquisite, and the building reminds one of many fine old houses that stand just below the escarpment of the Sussex Downs. On the hill beyond the village is a small prehistoric circle of fifteen stones within a miniature wall and ditch; from this point there is a good marine view toward Weymouth and Portland. The direct road to these places now passes through Osmington, rapidly becoming suburban, although three miles from the town centre. The rebuilt church is of little interest, but its immediate surroundings are very pleasant. In the churchyard is a small portion of the wall of the old Manor House. An inscription on the church wall should be noticed, it runs thus:


Beyond the village, a startling apparition breaks upon the view to the right. This is the hero of Weymouth on his white Hanoverian horse. "Although the length is 280 feet and its heighth 323 feet, yet the likeness of the King is well preserved and the symmetry of the horse is complete." The fact that the horse is galloping away from Weymouth has often been remarked; this was a blunder on the part of "Mr. Wood, bookseller, who carried the great work to a successful conclusion."

Sutton Poyntz, in a charming situation between spurs of the hills, has been spoilt by the erection of the Weymouth Waterworks. This is the "Overcombe" of Hardy's Trumpet Major. Chalbury Camp, to the west of the village, is a prehistoric hill fort with traces of pit-dwellings within the entrenchment. To the south-east of the camp, on a spur of the hill and in the direction of Preston, is a remarkable and extensive British cemetery, from which numbers of cinerary urns and other relics have been excavated. It is to be hoped that this sort of curiosity has now exhausted itself and that these resting places of dead and gone chieftains will be allowed to remain unmolested in the peaceful solitudes which their mourners chose for them.

Preston is a little over two miles from Weymouth. There are still a number of old thatched cottages here and a Perpendicular church with a Norman door. The visitor will notice the ancient font; also a hagioscope and holy water stoup. At the foot of the village is an old one-arched bridge over the brook that comes down from Sutton Poyntz. It is said to be of Norman date and was even supposed at one time to be Roman. Not far from the church is a Roman villa with a fine pavement, unearthed in 1842. Breston is supposed to be on or near the site of Clavinium.

The monotonous line of the Chesil Beach that has been seen from Portland is, in its extreme length, from Chesil Bay under Fortune's Well to near Burton Bradstock, where it may be said to end, more than eighteen miles long and the greatest stretch of pebbles in Europe, ranging from large and irregular lumps at Portland to small polished stones at the western extremity. It is said that a local seafarer landing on the beach in a fog can tell his whereabouts to a nicety by handling the shingle. For about half the distance, that is to Abbotsbury, the Fleet makes a brackish ditch on the landward side. Behind this barrier is a country of low hills and quite out-of-the-world hamlets seldom visited or visiting. Chickerell, the nearest of them to Weymouth, has a manufactory of stoneware and a golf-course, so that it is not so quiet and remote as Fleet, Langton Herring and the rest, which depend almost entirely on the harvest of the sea for a livelihood.

The first place of any importance west of Weymouth is Abbotsbury. The best method of getting there is by the branch railway from Upwey Junction, which for some occult reason is at Broadwey, leaving Upwey itself a mile away to the north. Here is the "Wishing Well" beloved of the younger members of the char-a-banc fraternity who come in crowds from Weymouth to drink part of a glass of very ordinary water and throw the remainder, at the instance of the well keeper, over the left shoulder. As far as the writer is aware there is no particular history attached to this spring. The arch and seats have been erected for the benefit of the visitor. But there are less harmless ways of spending a summer afternoon, and for those who have no "wish" to make, a visit to the sixteenth-century church will be appreciated. Here is some ancient woodwork, a pulpit dating from the early seventeenth century, and three carved figures of the apostles in quaint medieval costumes.

Nottington, a mile to the south of Broadwey, was once a spa, first resorted to as far back as the reign of George I. The well house, visited by the third George, is now a residence and the pleasant surroundings are made picturesque by an old water mill.

The railway penetrates a lonely stretch of country with one wayside "halt" on the way to Portesham (indifferently "Porsham" or "Posam"). This is a convenient station from which to visit the Blackdown district. The large village was the birthplace of Admiral Hardy, whose ugly monument upon the hill does not improve the landscape. The Norman and Early English church has a fine tower with a bell turret. A good Jacobean pulpit and panelled ceiling are among the details of the interior. The brook that runs down the street gives a pleasant individuality to a village otherwise uninteresting.

Blackdown is 789 feet above the sea, and the Hardy column, 70 feet high, is a conspicuous landmark over a wide circumference. This hill and its outliers are a museum of stone circles and dolmens, the best known of which is the "Helstone," or Stone of the Dead. On Ridge Hill, north of Abbotsbury, are the five large stones, almost lost in a tangle of nettles and undergrowth, called the "Grey Mare and her Colts."

Abbotsbury is famous for its Abbey, St. Catherine's Chantry, and the Swannery. The latter is probably the most attractive of the sights to the majority of visitors, and it is certainly worth seeing. Application must be made, during the afternoon as a rule, to the keeper. On a board near the gate is a record of the great sea flood during the storm of 1824, when the country around was inundated to a depth of 22 feet. Besides the sight of the long lines of white swans on the Fleet, there is an interesting decoy for trapping wild duck, the procedure being explained by the courteous attendant. The history of the Swannery takes us back to Elizabeth's days, when one John Strangeways was in possession not only of the swans but of the abbey and much else besides. It is still in the possession of his descendant, Lord Ilchester, to whom the new Abbotsbury Castle belongs. This was destroyed by fire about nine years ago and has since been rebuilt. The original "Castle" is a small prehistoric entrenchment west of St. Catherine's Chapel. The grounds of Lord Ilchester's mansion are very fine, the sub-tropical garden being of especial interest, and contains many rare plants and trees. Admission is granted at certain times, and advantage should, if possible, be taken of the permission.

The sixteenth-century church with its sturdy embattled tower is interesting. In the doorway will be noticed the lid of a sarcophagus that has the presentment of an abbot carved upon it, but nothing to show who the one-time occupant was. Some old stained glass still remains in the windows and an archaic carving of the Trinity may be seen upon the wall of the tower. It is conjectured that this was removed from the abbey at the time of the Dissolution.

A skirmish took place within the church during the Civil War and marks are pointed out in the Jacobean woodwork of the pulpit as those of bullets fired during the fight. Doubts have been thrown upon this, and the damage placed to the account of amateur decorators at the time of harvest festivals! The writer prefers the more romantic explanation, but is open to correction. The sounding board over the pulpit is contemporary with the base and is a fine piece of work.

Close to the churchyard is Abbey Farm. Portions of the buildings include remains of the once famous Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, founded about 1040 by Orc, a one-time steward of Canute and afterwards in the service of Edward the Confessor. At the Dissolution the abbey came into the possession of an ancestor of the Strangeways who owned the Swannery when that first became known to history. The abbey, like many others, is said to have been built on the site of an older religious house, dating from very ancient days. There is a gatehouse, with an arch of later date, remaining, besides the fragmentary portions in the farmhouse. Many houses in Abbotsbury have pieces of ecclesiastical stonework or carving built into their heavy walls, and arched windows seem to have been transplanted bodily from the dismantled abbey to the dwellings in the village.

By far the most notable building in Abbotsbury is the fifteenth-century Monastic Barn, a fine structure 276 feet long. Its plan is as perfect as its simple but imposing architecture; the ecclesiastical appearance is heightened by the lancet windows between the heavy buttresses and the slight transeptal extensions that give the structure the form of a cross. The abbey fish pond, fed by the stream that runs through Portesham street, till remains below the tithe barn, and though its farmyard surroundings are very different to those it had when the brethren gathered around the banks on Thursdays of old, it is still, with its island centre of old trees, a picturesque finish to the scene.

St. Catherine's Chapel on the hill above the sea is an erection in a situation similar to that of the far older building on St. Aldhelm's Head. Its appearance, however, is quite different, and it is Perpendicular in style. The turret at the north-west corner, the two porches and clerestory, are very evidently of another age to the heavy Norman of St. Aldhelm's, though St. Catherine is solidly built and has weathered many a fierce storm without suffering any apparent damage. The walls are nearly four feet thick and the buttresses are sturdy in proportion. The fine stone roof is greatly admired and is a wonderful piece of work. The turret was probably used as a beacon, and the chapel seems to be identical in everything but style with St. Aldhelm's. On the east side of the south door are three curious depressions in the stonework said to be "wishing holes," one for the knee and the higher ones for the hands.

The views of the Dorset seaboard during the climb to this exposed eminence are as fine as one would imagine. The contrast between the hilly country to the west and the long sweep of the Chesil Beach backed by the "fleets" is very striking. From our vantage point the stretch of coast immediately to the west is shown to be quite bare of hamlet or settlement of any kind beyond a few isolated houses. Puncknoll, which we shall reach in the next chapter, is the nearest village, fully four miles from St. Catherine's and nearly half that distance from the sea.

Winding lanes, solitary also of human kind and delightful to wander in for the sake of their treasures of flower and insect life, meander across White Hill and its sister ridge. One of them passes within a short distance of the "Grey Mare" and her children and, farther on, another group of mysterious stones. This way would take us to Little Bredy, a village which, of no interest in itself, has been made a scene of much beauty by the artificial widening of the little Bride just below its source as it passes through the grounds of Bridehead. The last resting places of our Neolithic ancestors are scattered in great numbers about the heights that enfold the narrow cleft of the infant stream.