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- John Keble's Parishes - 20/32 -

The church stands on the hillside just where the upward road to Cranbury begins to branch off. The churchyard is full of crosses, a large granite cross in memory of John Keble as rector in the midst, and there is a splendid Wellingtonia, or more properly a Sequoia, now about fifty years old, and overtopping the bell-turret. And the outside space on this side is scattered with horse chestnuts and elms.

Below are the schools, and the irregular curving street of houses, thatched, tiled, or slated, in gardens or close to the road. Here stands Otterbourne House, and, after two large fields, more cottages, and the vicarage, like the schools, with the fancy brick chimneys moulded at Hursley.

Not far beyond, the little stream that had crossed the meadows from the church is spanned by another bridge, belonging to the high-road from Winchester. Thence may be seen the source of the stream, in Pool Hole, said to be fed from Merdon well, and now forced to spread into a bed of watercresses.

And here begins Compton, Silkstede is in sight, and the round of the parishes is completed with King's Lane, turning to the west from the high road to Winchester.


Before entirely quitting the parish, a few of the older words and forms of expression may be recorded, chiefly as remembered from the older generation, for "the schoolmaster" and the influx of new inhabitants have changed much that was characteristic of the genuine West Saxon. Nor, indeed, was there any very pronounced dialect, like a separate language. The speech is slow, and with a tendency to make o like aa, as Titus Oates does in Peveril of the Peak. An Otterbourne man going into Devonshire was told, "My son, you speak French." No one ever showed the true Hampshire south-country speech and turn of expression so well as Lady Verney in her Lettice Lisle, and she has truly Hampshire characters too, such as could once easily be matched in these villages.

The words and phrases here set down are only what can be vouched for by those who have grown up to them


Caddle, untidy condition. "In he comes when I'm all of a caddle." To stabble, to walk about aimlessly, or in the wet. "Now, Miss, don't you come stabbling in and out when I am scouring." Or, "I can't come stabbling down that there dirty lane, or I should be all of a muck." Want, mole. Chiselbob, woodlouse; also called a cud-worm, and, rolled in a pill, put down the throat of a cow to promote the restoration of her cud, which she was supposed to have lost. Gowk, cuckoo. Fuzz-Buzz, traveller's joy. Palmer, caterpillar. Dish-washer, water-wagtail. Chink, chaffinch. Long-tailed caper, long-tailed tit. Yaffil, green woodpecker. "The yaffil laughed loud."--See Peacock at Home. Smellfox, anemone. Dead men's fingers, orchis. Granny's night-cap, water avens. Jacob's ladder, Solomon's seal. Lady's slipper, Prunella vulgaris. Poppy, foxglove. To routle, to rummage (like a pig in straw). To terrify, to worry or disturb. "Poor old man, the children did terrify him so, he is gone into the Union." Wind-list, white streak of faint cloud across a blue sky, showing the direction of the wind. Shuffler, man employed about a farmyard. Randy go, uproar. "I could not sleep for that there randy go they was making." Pook, a haycock. All of a pummy, all of a moulter, because it was so very brow, describing the condition of a tree, which shattered as it fell because it was brow, i.e. brittle. Leer, empty, generally said of hunger.--See German. Hulls, chaff. The chaff of oats; used to be in favour for stuffing mattresses. Heft, Weight. To huck, to push or pull out. Scotch (howk). Stook, the foundation of a bee hive. Pe-art, bright, lively, the original word bearht for both bright and pert. Loo (or lee), sheltered. Steady, slow. "She is so steady I can't do nothing with her." Kickety, said of a one-sided wheel-barrow that kicked up (but this may have been invented for the nonce). Pecty, covered with little spots of decay. Fecty, defective throughout--both used in describing apples or potatoes. Hedge-picks, shoes. Hags or aggarts, haws. Rauch, smoke (comp. German and Scotch). Pond-keeper, dragon-fly. Stupid, ill-conditioned. To plim, to swell, as bacon boiled. To side up, to put tidy. Logie, poorly, out-of-sorts.


Cure for Epilepsy

To wear round the neck a bag with a hair from the cross on a he- donkey.


To wear a ring made of sixpences begged from six young women who married without change of name.

Cure for Whooping Cough

An infusion of mouse ear hawkweed (Hieracium Pilosella), flavoured with thyme and honey. This is really effective, like other "yarbs" that used to be in vogue.

Cure for Shingles

Grease off church bells.

For Sore Throat

Rasher of fat bacon fastened round the neck.

For Ague

To be taken to the top of a steep place, then violently pushed down.


To have gunpowder in bags round the wrists set on fire.

Powdered chaney (china), a general specific.


Singing psalms to a dead horse, exhorting a stolid subject.

Surplice, smock-frock.

"Ah! sir, the white surplice covers a great deal of dirt"--said by a tidy woman of her old father.

"And what be I to pay you?"

"What the Irishman shot at," i.e. nothing--conversation overheard between an old labourer and his old friend, the thatcher, who had been mending his roof.

"Well, dame, how d'ye fight it out?"--salutation overheard.

CURATE. Have you heard the nightingale yet?

BOY. Please, sir, I don't know how he hollers.

Everything hollers, from a church bell to a mouse in a trap.

A tenth child, if all the former ones are living, is baptized with a sprig of myrtle in his cap, and the clergyman was supposed to charge himself with his education.

If possible, a baby was short-coated on Good Friday, to ensure not catching cold.

The old custom (now gone out) was that farmers should send their men to church on Good Friday. They used all to appear in their rough dirty smock frocks and go back to work again. Some (of whom it would never have been expected) would fast all day.

The 29th of May is still called Shick-shack day--why has never been discovered. There must have been some observance earlier than the Restoration, though oak-apples are still worn on that day, and with their oak sprays are called Shick-shack.

On St. Clement's Day, the 23rd of November, explosions of gunpowder

John Keble's Parishes - 20/32

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