SURREY LANDSCAPES

ORIGINAL ETCHINGS

BY

PERCY ROBERTSON
A.R.E.

Works by Percy Robertson
rule
Click here to view a larger image. Farnham

Farnham, like Guildford, owes its position to the peculiar configuration of the Hog's Back. A long, steep-sided ridge of chalk runs for ten miles east and west between these towns, barring all convenience of traffic from northward or southward. In the gap at either end of this barrier is a meeting place of roads, decreed by nature to be the site of a town, and occupied from the earliest times. Farnham, it is supposed, was the Roman Vindomis ; and in the troubled reign of Stephen it seemed to Henry of Blois, the King's episcopal brother of Winchester, a likely spot for building a castle to dominate the neighbourhood. The castle was occupied by the barons who fought for our liberties against John ; and consequently demolished by Henry III. Rebuilt, we find the castle again in the possession of the Bishop of Winchester, to whom indeed Farnham had belonged not merely from the time of Domesday Book, but from that of Ethelbald, king of the West Saxons. Captured by Sir William Waller in the Civil War, the castle was finally dismantled by the Parliament, and only rebuilt after the Restoration as a Bishop's palace for the see of Winchester.

That Farnham is celebrated for its hops, most people know; but it has another industry too little known to the world. Hard by is the village of Wrecclesham, the Vallauris of England, where really beautiful green pottery is made. An ancient manufacture this, for among the Loseley manuscripts is a letter to Sir William More, constable of the castle under Queen Elizabeth, which runs as follows :-

After my hartie commendacions &c. Wheras in tymes past the bearer hereof hath had out of the parke of Farnham, belonging to the Bishopprick of Winchester, certaine white clay for the making of grene potts usually drunk in by the gentlemen of the Temple. And nowe understandinge of some restraint thereof, and that you, (amongst others), are authorized there in divers respects during the vacancye of the said Busshoppricke, my request therefore unto you, is, & the rather for that I am a member of the said house, that you would in favor of us all p'mytt the bearer hereof to digge and carie awaye so muche of the said claye as by him shalbe thought sufficient for the furnishings of the said House with grene potts as aforesaid, paying as be hath heretofore for the same. In accomplishement whereof myself, wth the whole societie, shall acknowledge orselves muche beholden unto you, and shalbe readie to requite you at all tymes wth the like pleasure. And so I bid you moste hartelie farewell. Innr Temple, this xixth of August, 1594.
Yr assured friend, Jul. Cæsar.
To the right worshipful Sr W'm Moore,
        knight, geve these.

Start not, reader, at the signature of Julius Cæsar. It has long been a good Surrey name. Not all of the name have been so distinguished as the Sir Julius aforesaid, whose eminence in the law King James rewarded with Knighthood ; but in recent years old Julius the cricketer, a retired ' pro,' was long a familiar figure in south-western Surrey.


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