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Monday, 4 September 2017

Coker's Survey of Dorsetshire, Thomas Gerard; Weymouth and Dorchester


A Survey of Dorsetshire, Containing the Antiquities and Natural History of that County. ... And a Copious Genealogical Account of Three Hundred of the Principal Families.
Free e-book version

Extract, on Weymouth:

"Weymouth as nowe it is is but little, consisting chiefelie of one Streete, which for a good space lieth open to the Sea ; and on the back of it riseth an Hill of such steepenesse, that they are forced to climbe up to their Chappell by 60 Steppes of Stone, from whence you have a faire Prospect: of the Towne and Haven lieing under: And from the other side you may see Weeke, the Mother Church of Weymouth Melcombe on the other side, though the River much surpasseth the other for Conveniencie of Scite ; for this standing on a Flatte affordeth roome for Buildings, with a Market Place and convenient Streetes, and alsoe Yardes for their Wares, by meanes wherof most of the Marchants have chosen this for their Habitation, which of late Yeares is fairelie newe built. There antientlie was placed the Woolle Staple, but King Henry the Sixth took it from them, and gave it to Poole, when hee granted to it the Priviledges of an Haven. These Townes nowe united gaine well by Traffique into Newfoundland, where they have had 80 Saile of Shippes and Barkes ; as alsoe by a nearer Cut into France opposite unto them, when they returne laden with Wines, Cloth and diverse other useful Commodities, with which they furnish the Countrie".

For Dorchester, see pages 67-72

"DORCHESTER, a Towne of great Antiquitie, which Antonin in his Timerarium calleth Durnovaria. Well knowne it was in the Romans time...The Saxons, who succeeded the Romans, called it Dorchester, compounding the Name of the British Worde Doure, which signifieth Water, and Chester, a Citie ; for soe certainelie it was, and of large Circuit, as the Walles (whose Ruines in some Places yet appeare) will testifie : But the Danes longe sithence threwe them to the grounde, who, under their Leader Sweno, harried all these Partes; and, for Memorie of their Siege, Maundbury and Poundbury, two trenched Fortes adjoineing to the Towne, remaine till this Daye".

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