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THE DORSET COAST
By Charles G. Harper - 1905.
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' The church of East Lulworth stands beside the castle, in the old manorial proprietary style when it was the private chapel of the lord in the first instance, and then, by favour, the place of worship of his serfs his tenants as we should say nowadays. Of course, the present owners, the Welds, being Roman Catholics, they do not worship in this building ; but its position, in keeping with that ancient manorial use, reminds one of the trenchant saying of Walter Bagehot, on looking upon a church so situated. "Ah ! " said he, satirically, " they have got the church in the grounds. I like that; it is well that tenants should not be quite sure that the landlord's power ends with this world !
West Lulworth village is losing much of its old, thatched Dorset rusticity, and gaining a considerable addition of modern cottages and villas, built in the red brick that is nothing less than an outrage in a district such as this, where chalk, rubble, or Portland stone is the native building material. This is the penalty of being situated upon the famous and romantic Cove. What a place of delight it is—that cliff-girt pool, and what memories of sunny days there come back to the traveller who espies, as his train passes Wool station, four miles away, the legend, "Wool. For Lulworth Cove." For there is, even yet, no railway communication nearer than that, but the retired beauty of the place is so well known that even such a discouragement to family holiday-makers does not prevent large parties from descending upon Lulworth and making its shadeless beach and downs their summer resort. This is Lulworth's sole point of contact with a place not otherwise to be mentioned in the same breath with it—Brighton. In all other respects no two places could be so unlike ; but in their treeless, shadeless condition they are fellows. There is scarce a tree nearer than a mile away, and no considerable number closer than Lulworth Castle. The immense semicircle of grassed chalk downs in whose lap the village of West Lulworth lies grows nothing not very nutritious sheep-bite, the road by wind-swept hedges, the country-folk call the great which shuts the sea-pool of Lulworth on the east, while as "Bindon it is known to the maps. Bindon Hill obtains its name from the hollow beneath it having been the original site of Bindon Abbey, before it waxed rich and migrated to the more fertile country inland, by the green pastures and still waters of the river Frome ; and the old Gothic buildings of the so-called " Little Bindon Abbey," now put to secular farming use, are still to be seen on that original foothold. It is from this point that one obtains one of the less hackneyed and most impressive views of the Cove, with the Gibraltar-like mass of the western headland..... '
' PORTLAND CASTLE - FORTUNE'S WELL - CHESIL VILLAGE
The railway to Portland ends at Chesilton, at the very foot and margin of the craggy Isle, just beyond the muddy shallow called the Mere, inside the point where Portland Castle stands. The Mere is some day to be a torpedo-boat harbour : a kind of hornet's nest for that foreign foe who may seek at any time to put his hand in here. The castle itself is the picturesque survival of a range of low buildings built by Henry the Eighth for the protection of the harbour against an invader ; a part in which it was to be aided by Sandsfoot Castle, on the mainland. Henry, coming back from France, where, on the famous Field of the Cloth of Gold, he had embraced his " dear cousin and trusty ally," the King of France, on both cheeks and the two had vowed friendship, immediately busied himself in protecting the whole southern coast of England with forts, lest his dear friend should seek to surprise him. Kings, who should be the best judges of kingly protestations of good faith, do not trust one another, and when alliances are made prepare to fight or defend themselves against their allies. King Henry's castles were, in the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth, hurriedly garrisoned against the Spanish Armada, but had no occasion to prove their worth ; but in the troubled times of King Charles they were taken and retaken by foes whom the builder of them had certainly never contemplated. Civil war did not come within King Henry's calculations. In the beginning of that struggle in 1643, the Parliament men seized Portland, both isle and castle, but had not long held them when the castle garrison were surprised by an ingenious ruse. One day a flying squadron of horse came plunging along the beach road, with every appear ance of fleeing from pursuit. They carried the Parliamentary colours, and pressing at the rear of them came another body of horse, flying the King's standard. The gates were flung open, to admit the fugitives, who no sooner were inside than they turned upon the garrison and overpowered them ; being, after all, Royalists acting the part.
It is not a strong place, but it held out for four months against a siege by the Parliamentary party in 1644, and even then did not fall, but was relieved. It may thus be shrewdly suspected that it was the half-hearted nature of the siege, rather than the stoutness of the defence, or the possibilities of the position, which accounted for this failure of the investing force. It was at last surrendered in April, 1646. It has long been, as a castle, a mere name, and is now the residence of the commanding officer of the Engineers stationed on the island. '
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