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of the Pyes, to whom the manor belonged. The laureate Pye has sung (in his way) the beauties of the locality. Among the odd feudal customs of the middle ages, Faringdon had one that was not the least singular: when a young lady misbehaved, she was bound either to pay a fine of forty pence— a serious sum for a young lady to possess in the time of Henry III , when this law was made—or to walk on a given day to the Lord's cross, carrying a black sheep on her back, and saying aloud as she went, "Ecce porto pudorem poslerioris mei." (Note, The manor belonged to the clergy.)
Faringdon church is large and—barring some adornings—handsome; and it contains a few interesting monuments. One is to the memory of Sir Edward Upton, ambassador to France from Queen Elizabeth, who was celebrated in his own day for a challenge he sent whilst there to the Duke of Guise, who had spoken disrespectfully of his Queen. Another is to the memory of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon, the gallant defender of Faringdon House.
The neighbourhood of Faringdon has several objects worth visiting; one of the nearest is Badbury Hill, a large earthwork, said to be Danish, but which is probably Roman. The prospects from it are extensive and beautiful. If he have time, the visitor will do well to make a short excursion from Faringdon to the lofty range of downs he will see a few miles southwards. This is the famous range of the White Horse, and a walk along it will afford him the opportunity of contemplating not only a series of magnificent views, but a succession of relics of ancient days.
Along the top of the range there runs one of the old British roads, Ickleton Street, here called the Ridge-way, which leads past most of the more interesting objects. There are vast encampments or earthworks, (castles they are commonly called in the neighbourhood, a title, no doubt, derived directly from the Roman castellum,~) of which the peasantry will tell you many wonderful things, and learned antiquaries others quite as wonderful; there are also several barrows, and some druidical i emains. One of these (though a little distant from the Ridge-way, and not exactly on the White Horse range) is the cave wherein Wayland Smith shod horses so cleverly, as is fully described in 'Kenilworth.' But the tradition does great injustice to the memory of the smith, and it has not been im • proved in passing through the hands of Sir Walter Scott. The real Weland was one of the most important personages in Teutonic mythology.' He was a matchless fabricator of every martial weapon, a most skilful artificer in all kinds of smith's work, and the contriver of an impenetrable labyrinth—in short, both in His art and his adventures, a sort of northern Daedalus. He is the hero of Saemund's Edda, is mentioned in the poem of Beowulf, also by our Alfred, and under the name of Weland, Velant, or Volundr, is frequently introduced in ancient northern poetry and romance. He received "a local habitation " in this place probably from some northern tribe having settled in the neighbourhood, when in the course of a few generations their favourite myth would become connected with their new abode, and the hero be associated with the most remarkable object in the vicinity. The "cave" is a sort of cromlech formed by a large stone placed on the top of three others, while several more are scattered irregularly about. It has been thought by Mr. Gough and some other antiquaries to mark the burial-place of a Danish chief, but, of course, that is a mere conjecture, though Gough has not hesitated to name the person—Baereg. The explosion that Sir Walter has recorded to have been caused by Flibbertigibbet did not disturb the slonework, but it destroyed every vestige of the vault underneath. Every trace too of the marsh that Tressilian feared to venture upon has disappeared, and the visitor will a little wonder how a marsh could ever have existed on this hard chalk down. While alluding to the novel it may be added that the peasantry in these parts no longer speak in an Anglo-Scottish dialect.
Another of the objects referred to is the Blowing Stone, in the estimation of Berkshire men the next great wonder to their White Horse. This Blowing Stone is a huge sort of natural trumpet, which some fancy was used by the Druids as a call to the sacred rites; others-, that it was a war-signal. It is a great block of stone about a yard high and nearly as thick, and pierced in a curious manner. You blow into a hole in the top, and a sound is produced of a singular character—varying, however, according to the skill of the performer and the strength of his lungs. Its compass is from a something louder and more musical than Lablache's loudest swell down to the bellow of a calf or the bleat of a sheep. In fact, it has properties almost as marvellous as the magic horn that Orlando won from the giant Jatmund, which might be heard twenty miles off. This, when skilfully played, may be heard at some five miles' distance; and connoisseurs, it is said, can tell by the note where the player comes from. Essex men are betrayed at the first breath. Londoners "roar you an' 't were any nightingale." Americans are known by the twang.
A celebrated politician once blew into it, and the milk in all the dairies around turned sour. Some years ago the stone was removed from its original position; it now stands in front of a little publichouse called after it," The Blowing Stone." Should the visitor be diffident of his musical powers, any one at the public-house will play him a voluntary. Indeed, if there be no one else in the way, Mrs. Willis, the good-natured landlady, will, with a little persuasion, apply her own lips to the instrument. She is quite a proficient. I have heard her " Force sweet music from the old batter'd stone" in a most masterly style.
But the White Horse, which gives its name to the range, is after all the wonder, and the rambler should not be at Faringdon without going to see it. It is an extraordinary animal, standing some four hundred hands high, and visible (to those who can see so far) fifteen miles off. Judges say that it is necessary to be at least a mile distant to see its points to perfection. But it must be looked at from the right station, or, like an old picture, it will not be distinguishable at all.—The reader, I suppose, knows that the White Horse is the rude figure of a horse cut out of the side of a chalk-hill. It has been supposed to mark the site of a victory over the Danes; but Mr. Thorns, in a paper published in the recent vol. (xxxi.) of the 'Archaeologia,' suggests that it had probably a religious origin—in fact, was a representation of - the Sacred Horse of the Celts. Once in three years the peasantry assemble and carefully remove any of the turf that has encroached on the figure, or, as they say, "rub down the horse." On these occasions a fair is held on the hill-top, at which there is commonly horse-racing, jumping in sacks, and even more than the usual amount of rustic merriment. UfHngton Castle is on the hill above the White Horse; there is a barrow near the base of it; and the Blowing Stone is little more than a mile distant: they are all about four miles from Faringdon—except Wayland Smith's Cave, which is nearly six miles. The Vale of the White Horse is one of the most fertile tracts in England.