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," he asks," of supposing that semi-savage Britons

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would go to the infinite trouble of dragging huge blocks of stone all across England to be used in a building close to quarries [sic] containing any quantity of stone just as good from the builder's point of view?" He goes on to maintain that uncivilised barbarians never could have erected the megalithic monuments of the world-such, for instance, as the cap stone of a dolmen at Constantine, in Cornwall, which, on the authority of Higgins, he tells us weighs 750 tons! The very idea he says is absurd. The only rational explanation of their origin is that they are the work of the inhabitants of the lost continent of Atlantis, to whom also the civilization of Yucatan on the one hand and Egypt on the other owe their existence. This, so far at least as Central America is concerned, has been, Mr. Sinnett tells us, put beyond doubt by the decipheringby an American savant, Mr. E. J. Howell-of "a certain Troano MS." in which " the submergence of the last piece of the now lost continent is said to have taken place 8,060 years before the writing of this book,' and the population sacrificed on that occasion is estimated as having been sixty-four millions." The thanks of all persons in want of new material for "theories” are certainly due to the writer of this article.

Salisbury Museum. The Antiquary for September has a well-written article, by Mr. J. Ward, F.S.A., on the Salisbury and South Wilts Museum, dealing with its archæological contents; this is followed in the October number by a second article from the same pen on the Blackmore portion of the Museum, calling attention to the excellence of its arrangement, as well as to the unique value of the collection of stone implements housed therein.

Castle Eaton. The August number of the Leisure Hour contains a good illustrated article, entitled "Upon the Upper Thames," by Miss E. Boyer-Brown, dealing with Castle Eaton and its neighbourhood and the dialect of that part of Wilts.

George Herbert and Bemerton. The sermon and lecture delivered on the occasion of the recent celebration at Bemerton of the tercentenary of George Herbert's birth, by Canons Kingsbury and Swayne, together with a short account of Bemerton by the late J. E. Nightingale, a paper on St. Andrew's Church, by C. E. Ponting, and a memoir of John Norris, Rector of Bemerton, by the Rev. J. H. Overton, have been collected and published lately in pamphlet form, making an interesting memorial of the tercentenary.

Truffle Hunting. The November number of the English Illustrated Magazine has an article entitled "A Painless Hunt," descriptive of truffle hunting on Salisbury Plain.

Marlborough College is described in the September and October numbers of the Ludgate Monthly Magazine, by W. C. Sargent, and the articles are excellently illustrated with views of the college buildings, portraits of the masters, and other subjects connected with the college.

Notes on Natural History.


Early in July, 1893, some specimens of pea-flowers, grown in the Broad Town allotments, were shown to me in which the whole inflorescence was altered. There were no coloured petals, the parts, though small and shrivelled, being of a healthy green. I sent a specimen to Kew, and it was decided there that the malformation was due to a microscopic mite of the genus Phytoptus. On reference to Miss Ormerod's standard work I find that this mite has been noted upon birch trees in Savernake Forest, and also upon black currants and nuts, causing abortive growth of the leaf-buds, but there is no mention of its occurence on the pea.

Wootton Bassett.


In the Western Gazette, Friday, July 8th, 1881, a curious incident of the severe storm of Tuesday, the 5th, is related :-"At Wincanton, about 2 o'clock, Mr. Galpin, of Horwood, was in a hayfield with a pitching fork, which he was holding with the prongs upwards, when he observed the interesting phenomenon known as St. Elmo's fire. A steady light, like the flame of a tiny candle, was seen on each point of the prong, and a cramping sensation, like that experienced on the reception of the electric current from an electrifying machine was felt in the hand which held the stem of the fork."

A somewhat similar phenomenon was observed by my brother, Ernest Baker, in 1869, and was described by him in Notes and Queries (February 6th, 1869, 4th Series, III.), as follows, asking for some satisfactory explanation of it, which he never received :-"On Friday, Dec. 18th, at about 6.45. p.m., I was riding over the downs to Mere, when there suddenly appeared on my horse's head five lights, one on each ear larger than the rest, about the size of the flame of a small taper, of a bluish colour; two on the left eyebrow, and one on the right; these were like glow-worms, or as if you had rubbed the parts with phosphorus. It was pitch dark, with a steady rain falling; yet, while the lights lasted (which was while I rode upwards of a quarter of a mile), I could see the buckles on the bridle. There had been thunder and lightning in the afternoon.

I rode steadily, trying to make out what it could be; when it disappeared as suddenly as it came. The horse was taken from the stable, and had only travelled half a mile; it did not perspire in the least."


Mere Down.


With reference to this, the Vicar of Broad Town writes :-"Several years ago my son brought from school a pair of white mice which he kept in his bedroom. To my joy they escaped. Some two or three years afterwards Mr. William Price was threshing a rick in his yard, at no great distance from the vicarage, and destroyed a large number of mice, amongst others a quantity of white ones. We always thought these were the descendants of my son's pair."



With reference to the gadwall (Anas strepera), which many Members of the Society saw at Stockton House, Mr. Ashley Dodd writes :- I shot the gadwall which you saw in the Justice Room at Stockton House, on the 7th January, 1893, within a quarter of a mile of the house. The bird was one of three, and one of the others was certainly an ordinary mallard, for I got him with the second barrel. The man who picked up the birds said I had got a duck and a drake, and it was not until I returned home that I knew that I had got a prize. Having shot several in Egypt of course I recognised it at once."


[Mr. Smith, in his Birds of Wilts, only mentions one specimen of this duck as having occurred in Wilts. This was shot at Amesbury in 1871.- ED.]


In the Devizes Gazette for November 30th Mr. J. M. Harris reports that a specimen of the Stormy Petrel (Thalassidroma pelagica) was shot on Rushall Down on November 27th.

Mr. Smith records four previous occurrences of this bird in Wilts-generally after stormy weather.

FLOCK OF PUFFINS (Fratercula arctica) AT CODFORD.

On November 20th, 1893, six or seven "strange birds" were seen flying about a field of swedes about 6ft. from the ground on Mr. Charles Notley's farm at Codford St. Mary. In the course of the same day a puffin was picked up by a beater in the course of a hare drive. It had apparently been shot by somebody (or had it flown against a barbed wire ?), but was still alive. Of course a puffin is a common enough bird at the right time of year in the right place, but it seems odd to find, not merely a chance bird, but a small flock, on November 20th— in the extreme south-west corner of Salisbury Plain-at the end of a three days' gale, mostly from the N.N.E., but varying to N.W., when one remembers that the birds are due to leave our shores in August.



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"Under these strata [the coral rag] we have one called Clunch clay with their laminae of coal [fossil wood]. The appearence of coal' in this bed has given rise to numerous trials, encouraged by ignorance or fraud. Among these, I remember one at the expense of Sir Edward Bayntun and the Marquis of Lansdowne, to the south-east of Tetherton. A much more rash adventure has, I understand, been set on foot near Horsham, in Sussex, in the same bed, at the expense of thirty thousand pounds."-The " Character of Moses," by the Rev. Jos. Townsend, M.A., Rector of Pewsey, 1813, p. 127.

"Sir Edward Bayntun was amused and flattered with the hope of an extensive colliery; and from time to time the workmen showed him infallible signs of coal, till the subscription funds and his patience were exhausted, and then they reluctantly departed."—Ibid, p. 427.

Additions to the Museum and Library,

June 1st-November 1st, 1893.


Presented anonymously:-Seventeenth Century Wilts tokens :

Freshford. John Curle Sen'.

Malmesbury. Edward Browne.

Wilton. Francis Wace.

Presented by THE BARONESS BRUININGK:-Polish and Russian coins.
Presented by Mr. J. W. BROOKE:-Marlborough Token, W. Crabbe.

Presented by the Rev. J. H. CARDEW :-Part of the skull of an animal, from

Presented by Mr. W. COWARD :-Fine specimen of Ammonites Peramplus, from Roundway.

Presented by Mr. B. H. CUNNINGTON :-Spindle-Whorl, found in Bishops Cannings Churchyard.

Presented by Miss CUNNINGTON :-Fragments of ancient Cloth, found in a barrow at Upton Lovel.

Presented by the Rev. E. H. GODDARD:-Spindle-Whorl, found in Clyffe Pypard Churchyard.

Presented by Mr. H. N. GODDARD:-Holed Stone (Spindle-Whorl ?), found in an interment at Clyffe Pypard.

Presented by Mr. W. J. KINGSTONE, by consent of the Trustees of Somerset Hospital:- Four Romano-British Urns, from Bromsgrove Farm, Pewsey. Presented by Mr. G. H. MEAD:-School-Children's Medals, Devizes; struck to commemorate the Duke of York's Marriage.

Presented by Mr. PORTER, Trowbridge :-Trowbridge Token (later series) J. B. & H. Gorham.

Presented by Rev. C. SOAMES:-Seventeenth Century Wilts Tokens, new to the Museum:

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Presented by Miss TANNER, Yatesbury :-A Pillion.

Presented by Miss PENRUDDOCKE:--Gold Touch Piece of Queen Anne, commemmorative of the touching by the Sovereign for the " King's Evil." Small Oval gold Medal or Pendant, the obverse bearing the head of King Charles I., the reverse the Royal Arms with the Garter round them.

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