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By John Aubrey
Edited and Elucidated by Notes By John Britton - 1847.

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[ IN Aubrey's time the mineral waters of Bath, Tonbridge, and other places, were very extensively resorted to for medical purposes, and great importance was attached to them in a sanatory point of view. The extracts which have been selected from this chapter sufficiently shew the limited extent of the author's chemical knowledge, in the analysis of waters; which he appears to have seldom carried beyond precipitation or evaporation. He mentions several other springs in Wiltshire and elsewhere, attributing various healing properties to some of them; but of others merely observing, with great simplicity, whether or not their water was adapted to wash linen, boil pease, or affect the fermentation of beer. The chapter comprises a few remarks on droughts; and particularly mentions a remarkable cure of cancer by an "emplaster " or "cataplasme" of a kind of unctuous earth found in Bradon forest. - J. B. ]

HOLY-WELL, in the parish of Chippenham, near Sheldon, by precipitation of one-third of a pint with a strong lixivium, by the space of twenty-four houres I found a sediment of the quantity of neer a small hazell nut-shell of a kind of nitre; sc. a kind of flower of that colour (or lime stone inclining to yellow); the particles as big as grosse sand. Upon evaporation of the sayd water, which was a pottle or better, I found two sorts of sediment, perhaps by reason of the oblique hanging of the kettle: viz. one sort of a deep soot colour; the other of the colour of cullom earth. It changed not colour by infusion of powder of galles. Try it with syrup of violettes.

Hancock's well at Luckington is so extremely cold that in summer one cannot long endure one's hand in it. It does much good to the eies. It cures the itch, &c. By precipitation it yields a white sediment, inclining to yellow ; sc. a kind of fine flower. I believe it is much impregnated with nitre. In the lane that leads from hence to Sapperton the earth is very nitrous, which proceeds from the rich deep blew marie, which I discovered in the lane which leads to Sapworth.

Biddle-well lies between Kington St. Michael and Swinley; it turnes milke. In the well of the mannour house (Mr. Thorn. Stokes) of Kington St. Michael is found talc, as also at the well at Priory St. Maries, in this parish; and I thinke common enough in these parts.

In Kington St. Michael parish is a well called Mayden-well, which I find mentioned in the Legeir-booke of the Lord Abbot of Glaston, called Secretum Domini [or Secretum Abbatis.] Let it be tryed. Alice Grig knows where about it is.

In the park at Kington St. Michael is a well called Marian's-well, mentioned in the same Legeir-book.

In the parish of North Wraxhall, at the upper end of ye orchard of Duncomb-mill at ye foot of ye hill ye water petrifies in some degree; which is the onely petrifying water that I know in this countie. [In subsequent pages Aubrey refers to other petrifying waters near Calne, Devizes, and elsewhere. - J. B. ] '

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