The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832


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August 28. Shaftesbury. - Towns may be divided into three kinds: the most ancient, placed in situations not easily accessible to an enemy, as on the summits of hills, such as this town; in situations favourable to the commerce of the middle ages, as on the sea-shore or on rivers; or in situations favourable to modern commerce, or in flat countries which may be intersected by level roads. Whatever else of good the reform bill may have done, the disfranchisement, partially or wholly, of such towns as Shaftesbury cannot but be favourable to the morals and industry of the people; because it will oblige members of families who have hitherto lived upon bribes, to apply themselves to industry; and when this is the case, such an inaccessible site as Shaftesbury will soon be comparatively deserted. It is best fitted for forming a magnificent country seat; as there is a considerable portion of table-land, the views from which on every side are varied and extensive. It is curious to observe a remark in the road-book, that one half of the inhabitants live by carrying water ! At the inn where we stopped, the well was 120 ft. deep to the surface of the water; but, by sinking this well 50 ft. deeper, and employing a small steam-engine, the whole town, the population of which is between 2000 and 3000, might easily be supplied. We were glad to observe a number of fields at the bottom of the hill, subdivided into potato and cabbage grounds, for the people of the town.