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_Beautiful England_



_Described by_ SIDNEY HEATH




* * * * *


One of the most picturesque of the many "chines" or openings in the
coast. Branksome Chine was formerly the landing-place of the famous
smuggler Gulliver, who amassed a fortune.]

* * * * *

_Blackie & Son's "Beautiful" Series_

_Price 2s. net per volume, in boards._

Beautiful England


Beautiful Ireland


Beautiful Switzerland


* * * * *


Branksome Chine, Bournemouth _Frontispiece_

Bournemouth Pier and Sands from Eastcliff 6

Bournemouth: The Square and Gardens, from Mont Doré 10

The Winter Gardens, Bournemouth 14

In the Upper Gardens, Bournemouth 18

Boscombe Chine 24

Bournemouth: The Children's Corner, Lower Gardens 28

Talbot Woods, Bournemouth 32

Poole Harbour from Constitutional Hill 38

Christchurch Priory from Wick Ferry 46

Priory Ruins, Christchurch 52

Christchurch Mill 60



The scenery which impresses most of us is certainly that in which Nature
is seen in her wild and primitive condition, telling us of growth and
decay, and of the land's submission to eternal laws unchecked by the
hand of man. Yet we also feel a certain pleasure in the contemplation of
those scenes which combine natural beauty with human artifice, and
attest to the ability with which architectural science has developed
Nature's virtues and concealed natural disadvantages.

To a greater extent, perhaps, than any other spot in southern England,
does Bournemouth possess this rare combination of natural loveliness and
architectural art, so cunningly interwoven that it is difficult to
distinguish the artificial from the natural elements of the landscape.

To human agency Bournemouth owes a most delightful set of modern
dwelling-houses, some charming marine drives, and an abundance of Public
Gardens. Through Nature the town receives its unique group of Chines,
which alone set it apart from other watering-places; its invigorating
sea-breezes, and its woods of fir and pine clustering upon slopes of
emerald green, and doing the town excellent service by giving warmth and
colour to the landscape when winter has stripped the oak and the elm of
their glowing robes.

Considerably less than a century ago Bournemouth, or "Burnemouth",
consisted merely of a collection of fishermen's huts and smugglers'
cabins, scattered along the Chines and among the pine-woods. The name
"Bournemouth" comes from the Anglo-Saxon words _burne_, or _bourne_, a
stream, and _mûtha_, a mouth; thus the town owes its name to its
situation at the mouth of a little stream which rises in the parish of
Kinson some five or six miles distant.

From Kinson the stream flows placidly through a narrow valley of much
beauty, and reaches the sea by way of one of those romantic Chines so
characteristic of this corner of the Hampshire coast, and of the
neighbouring Isle of Wight.


Besides offering the usual attractions, Bournemouth Pier is the centre
of a very fine system of steamship sailings to all parts of the coast.]

A century ago the whole of the district between Poole on the west and
Christchurch on the east was an unpeopled waste of pine and heather, and
the haunt of gangs of smugglers. So great had the practice of smuggling
grown in the eighteenth century, that, in 1720, the inhabitants of Poole
presented to the House of Commons a petition, calling attention to "the
great decay of their home manufacturers by reason of the great
quantities of goods run, and prayed the House to provide a remedy". In
1747 there flourished at Poole a notorious band of smugglers known as
the "Hawkhurst Gang", and towards the close of the same century a famous
smuggler named Gulliver had a favourite landing-place for his cargoes at
Branksome Chine, whence his pack-horses made their way through the New
Forest to London and the Midlands, or travelled westward across Crichel
Down to Blandford, Bath, and Bristol.

Gulliver is said to have employed fifty men, who wore a livery, powdered
hair, and smock frocks. This smuggler amassed a large fortune, and he
had the audacity to purchase a portion of Eggardon Hill, in west Dorset,
on which he planted trees to form a mark for his homeward-bound vessels.
He also kept a band of watchmen in readiness to light a beacon fire on
the approach of danger. This state of things continued until an Act of
Parliament was passed which made the lighting of signal fires by
unauthorized persons a punishable offence. The Earl of Malmesbury, in
his _Memoirs of an Ex-Minister_, relates many anecdotes and adventures
of Gulliver, who lived to a ripe old age without molestation by the
authorities, for the reason, it is said, that during the wars with
France he was able to obtain, through his agents in that country,
valuable information of the movement of troops, with the result that his
smuggling was allowed to continue as payment for the services he
rendered in disclosing to the English Government the nature of the
French naval and military plans.

Warner, writing about 1800, relates that he saw twenty or thirty wagons,
laden with kegs, guarded by two or three hundred horsemen, each bearing
three tubs, coming over Hengistbury Head, and making their way in the
open day past Christchurch to the New Forest.

On a tombstone at Kinson we may read: -

"A little tea, one leaf I did not steal;
For guiltless blood shed I to God appeal;
Put tea in one scale, human blood in t'other,
And think what 'tis to slay thy harmless brother".

The villagers of Kinson are stated to have all been smugglers, and to
have followed no other occupation, while it is said that certain deep
markings on the walls of the church tower were caused by the constant
rubbing of the ropes used to draw up and lower the kegs of brandy and
the cases of tea.

That many church towers in the neighbourhood were used for the storage
of illicit cargoes is well known, and the sympathies of the local clergy
were nearly always on the side of the smugglers in the days when a keg
of old brandy would be a very acceptable present in a retired country
parsonage. Occasionally, perhaps, the parson took more than a passive
interest in the proceedings. A story still circulates around the
neighbourhood of Poole to the effect that a new-comer to the district
was positively shocked at the amount of smuggling that went on. One
night he came across a band of smugglers in the act of unloading a
cargo. "Smuggling," he shouted. "Oh, the sin of it! the shame of it! Is
there no magistrate, no justice of the peace, no clergyman, no minister,
no - - "

"There be the Parson," replied one of the smugglers, thinking it was a
case of sickness.

"Where? Where is he?" demanded the stranger.

"Why, that's him a-holding of the lanthorn," was the laconic reply.

It was early in the nineteenth century that a Mr. Tregonwell of
Cranborne, a Dorset man who owned a large piece of the moorland, found,
on the west side of the Bourne Valley, a sheltered combe of exceptional
beauty, where he built a summer residence (now the Exeter Park Hotel),
the first real house to be erected on the virgin soil of Bournemouth. A
little later the same gentleman also built some cottages, and the
"Tregonwell Arms", an inn which became known as the half-way house
between Poole and Christchurch, and so remained until it was pulled down
to make way for other buildings.

These, however, were isolated dwellings, and it was not until 1836 that
Sir George Gervis, Bart., of Hinton Admiral, Christchurch, commenced to
build on an extensive scale on the eastern side of the stream, and so
laid the foundations of the present town. Sir George employed skilful
engineers and eminent architects to plan and lay out his estate, so that
from the beginning great care was taken in the formation and the
selection of sites for the houses and other buildings, with the result
that Bournemouth is known far and wide as the most charming, artistic,
and picturesque health resort in the country. This happy result is due,
in a large measure, to the care with which its natural features have
been preserved and made to harmonize with the requirements of a large
residential population. It is equally gratifying to note that successive
landowners, and the town's Corporation, following the excellent example
set by Sir George Gervis, continue to show a true conservative instinct
in preserving all that is worthy of preservation, while ever keeping a
watchful eye on any change which might detract from the unique beauty of


The town is situated on the curve of a large and open bay, bounded by
lofty if not precipitous cliffs, which extend as far west as Haven
Point, the entrance to Poole Harbour, and eastwards to Hengistbury Head,
a distance of fourteen miles from point to point.

In addition to its splendid marine drives, its retiring vales, its
pine-woods, and its rustic nooks and dells, the town is splendidly
provided with Public Gardens, excellently laid out, and luxuriously
planted in what was once mere bog and marsh land. The Gardens contain a
liberal supply of choice evergreens, and deciduous shrubs and trees,
while it is noticeable that the _Ceanothus azureus_ grows here without
requiring any protection. The slopes of the Gardens rise gradually to
where the open downs are covered with heaths, gorse, and plantations of
pines and firs.

It was not long after the first houses had been built that the true
source of Bournemouth's attractiveness was realized to be her climate,
her salt-laden breezes, and her pine-scented air. Since then she has
become more and more sought, both for residential and visiting
purposes. Year by year the town has spread and broadened, stretching out
wide arms to adjacent coigns of vantage like Parkstone, Boscombe,
Pokesdown, and Southbourne, until the "Queen of the South" now covers
many miles in extent.

It is one of those favoured spots where Autumn lingers on till
Christmas, and when Winter comes he is Autumn's twin brother, only
distinguishable from him by an occasional burst of temper, in the form
of an east wind, soon repented of and as soon forgotten. Thus it is that
a large number of holiday visitors are tempted to make their stay a long
one, and every winter brings an increasingly greater number of
new-comers to fill the places of the summer absentees, so that, taking
the year through, Bournemouth is always full.

Contrast is one of the charms of the place; contrast between the shade
and quietude of the pine-woods, and the whirl and movement of modern
life and luxury in its most splendid and pronounced development.

It is a town whose charm and whose reproach alike is its newness; but
unlike many an ancient town, it has no unlovely past to rise up and
shame it. The dazzle and glitter of the luxury which has descended upon
her wooded shores does not frighten Bournemouth, since she was born in
splendour, and the very brightness of her short life is compensation
enough for the lack of an historical, and perhaps a melancholy past.

With the exception of the soil on which she stands, and the growths of
that soil, everything in Bournemouth is modern - churches, houses, and
shops - but all are as beautiful as modern architects and an unlimited
supply of money can make them. There are hundreds of costly houses,
charming both within and without; their gardens always attractive in the
freshness of their flowers, and in the trimness of their tree-lined
lawns. On every side there is evidence of a universal love and culture
of flowers, due, no doubt, to the wonderful climate. Nowhere are
geraniums larger or redder, roses fairer or sweeter, or foliage beds
more magnificently laid out; while in few other parts of the country can
one find so many large houses, representative of the various schools of
modern architectural art, as in Bournemouth and her tree-clad parks.

Another factor that has played a large part in the rapid development of
the town is the excellence of the railway services from all parts of the
country, and particularly from London. During the summer months several
trains run daily from Waterloo to Bournemouth without a stop, doing the
journey in two hours; so that if the London and South Western Railway
Company are fortunate in having a monopoly of this traffic, the town is
equally fortunate in being served by a railway company which has made it
almost a marine suburb of London.

Bournemouth West Railway Station, situated on Poole Hill, was completed
and the line opened in the summer of 1874. In 1884-5 the Central
Station, or Bournemouth East as it was then called, was built, and the
two stations connected by a loop-line.

The whole of the Bournemouth district lies in the western part of the
great valley or depression which stretches from Shoreham, in Sussex, to
near Dorchester, occupying the whole of South Hampshire and the greater
part of the south of Sussex and Dorset. The valley is known as the chalk
basin of Hampshire, and is formed by the high range of hills extending
from Beachy Head to Cerne Abbas. To the north the chain of hills remains
intact, whilst the southern portion of the valley has been encroached
upon, and two great portions of the wall of chalk having been removed,
one to the east and one to the west, the Isle of Wight stands isolated
and acts as a kind of breakwater to the extensive bays, channels, and
harbours which have been scooped out of the softer strata by the action
of the sea. Sheltered by the Isle of Wight are the Solent and
Southampton Water; westward are the bays and harbours of Christchurch,
Bournemouth, Poole, Studland, and Swanage. The great bay between the
promontories of the Needles and Ballard Down, near Swanage, is
subdivided by the headland of Hengistbury Head into the smaller bays of
Christchurch and Bournemouth.


The famous Winter Gardens and spacious glass Pavilion where concerts are
held are under the management of the Corporation. Bournemouth spends a
sum of _£_6000 annually in providing band music for her visitors.]

The site of the town is an elevated tableland formed by an extensive
development of Bagshot sands and clays covered with peat or turf, and
partly, on the upland levels, with a deep bed of gravel.

The sea-board is marked with narrow ravines, gorges, or glens, here
called "Chines", but in the north of England designated "Denes".

For boating people the bay affords a daily delight, although
Christchurch and Poole are the nearest real harbours. At the close of a
summer's day, when sea and sky and shore are enveloped in soft mist,
nothing can be more delightful than to flit with a favouring wind past
the picturesque Chines, or by the white cliffs of Studland. The water in
the little inlets and bays lies still and blue, but out in the dancing
swirl of waters set up by the sunken rocks at the base of a headland,
all the colours of the rainbow seem to be running a race together.
Yachts come sailing in from Cowes, proud, beautiful shapes, their
polished brass-work glinting in the sunlight, while farther out in the
Channel a great ocean liner steams steadily towards the Solent,
altering her course repeatedly as she nears the Needles.

And yet, with all her desirable qualities and attractive features,
Bournemouth is not to everyone's taste, particularly those whose
holidays are incomplete without mediæval ruins on their doorsteps. The
town, however, is somewhat fortunate even in this respect, since,
although she has no antiquities of her own, she is placed close to
Wimborne and Poole on the one hand, and to Christchurch, with its
ancient Priory, on the other. Poole itself is not an ideal place to live
in, while Wimborne and Christchurch are out-of-the-way spots,
interesting enough to the antiquary, but dull, old-fashioned towns for
holiday makers. The clean, firm sands of Bournemouth are excellent for
walking on, and make it possible for the pedestrian to tramp, with
favourable tides, the whole of the fourteen miles of shore that separate
Poole Harbour from Christchurch. By a coast ramble of this kind the bold
and varied forms of the cliffs, and the coves cutting into them, give an
endless variety to the scene; while many a pretty peep may be obtained
where the Chines open out to the land, or where the warmly-coloured
cliffs glow in the sunlight between the deep blue of the sea and the
sombre tints of the heather lands and the pine-clad moor beyond.

The clays and sandy beds of these cliffs are remarkable for the
richness of their fossil flora. From the white, grey, and brownish clays
between Poole Harbour and Bournemouth, no fewer than nineteen species of
ferns have been determined. The west side of Bournemouth is rich in
Polypodiaceæ, and the east side in Eucalypti and Araucaria. These,
together with other and sub-tropical forms, demonstrate the existence of
a once luxuriant forest that extended to the Isle of Wight, where, in
the cliffs bounding Alum Bay, are contemporaneous beds. The Bournemouth
clay beds belong to the Middle Eocene period.

Westwards from the Pier the cliffs are imposing, on one of the highest
points near the town being the Lookout. A hundred yards or so farther on
is Little Durley Chine, beyond which is a considerable ravine known as
Great Durley Chine, approached from the shore by Durley Cove. The larger
combe consists of slopes of sand and gravel, with soft sand hummocks at
the base; while on the western side and plateau is a mass of heather and
gorse. Beyond Great Durley Chine is Alum Chine, the largest opening on
this line of coast. Camden refers to it as "Alom Chine Copperas House".

The views from the plateaux between the Chines are very beautiful,
especially perhaps that from Branksome Chine, where a large portion of
the Branksome Tower estate seems to be completely isolated by the deep
gorges of the Chine. This estate extends for a considerable distance to
where a Martello tower, said to have been built with stones from
Beaulieu Abbey, stands on the cliff, from which point the land gradually
diminishes in height until, towards the entrance to Poole Harbour, it
becomes a jumbled and confused mass of low and broken sand-hills. These
North Haven sand-hills occupy a spit of land forming the enclosing arm
of the estuary on this side. Near Poole Head the bank is low and narrow;
farther on it expands until, at the termination of North Haven Point, it
is one-third of a mile broad. Here the sand-dunes rise in circular
ridges, resembling craters, many reaching a height of fifty or sixty
feet. Turning Haven Point, the view of the great sheet of water studded
with green islands and backed by the purple hills of Dorset is one of
the finest in England. From Haven Point one may reach Poole along a good
road that skirts the shores of the harbour all the way, and affords some
lovely vistas of shimmering water and pine-clad banks.

Poole Harbour looks delightful from Haven Point. At the edge of Brownsea
Island the foam-flecked beach glistens in the sun. The sand-dunes
fringing the enclosing sheet of water are yellow, the salt-marshes of
the shallow pools stretch in surfaces of dull umber, brightened in
parts by vivid splashes of green. On a calm day the stillness of utter
peace seems to rest over the spot, broken only by the lapping of the
waves, and the hoarse cries of the sea-birds as they search for food on
the mud-banks left by the receding tide. With such a scene before us it
is difficult to realize that only a mile or two distant is one of the
most popular watering-places in England, with a throng of fashionable
people seeking their pleasure and their health by the sea.


These Gardens are contained within the Branksome estate, and are
consequently thrown open to visitors only by the courtesy of the owner.]

It is well worth while to take a boat and pull over to Brownsea. The
island, which once belonged to Cerne Abbey, is elliptical in shape, with
pine-covered banks rising, in some places, to a height of ninety feet.
In the centre of the isle is a valley in which are two ornamental lakes.
In addition to a large residence, Brownsea Castle, and its extensive
grounds, there is a village of about twenty cottages, called Maryland,
and an ornate Gothic church, partly roofed and panelled with fine old
oak taken from the Council Chamber of Crossby Hall, Cardinal Wolsey's
palace. The island once had a hermit occupier whose cell and chapel were
dedicated to St. Andrew, and when Canute ravaged the Frome Valley early
in the eleventh century he carried his spoils to Brownsea. The Castle
was first built by Henry VIII for the protection of the harbour, on
condition that the town of Poole supplied six men to keep watch and
ward. In 1543 the Castle was granted to John Vere, Earl of Oxford, who
sold it to John Duke. In the reign of Elizabeth it was termed "The
Queen's Majestie's Castell at Brownecksea", and in 1576 the Queen sold
it, together with Corfe Castle, to Sir Christopher Hatton, whom she made
"Admiral of Purbeck". In the early days of the Great Rebellion the
island was fortified for the Parliament, and, like Poole, it withstood
the attacks of the Royalists. In 1665, when the Court was at Salisbury,
an outbreak of the plague sent Charles II and a few of his courtiers on
a tour through East Dorset. On 15th September of that year Poole was
visited by a distinguished company, which included the King, Lords
Ashley, Lauderdale, and Arlington, and the youthful Duke of Monmouth,
whose handsome face and graceful bearing were long remembered in the
town. After the royal party had been entertained by Peter Hall, Mayor of
Poole, they went by boat to Brownsea, where the King "took an exact view
of the said Island, Castle, Bay, and Harbour to his great contentment".

Little could the boyish Duke of Monmouth have then foreseen that fatal
day, twenty years later, when he crossed the road from Salisbury again
like a hunted animal in his vain endeavour to reach the shelter of the
New Forest; and still less, perhaps, could his father have foreseen that
Antony Etricke, whom he had made Recorder of Poole, would be the man
before whom his hapless son was taken to be identified before being sent
to London, and the Tower.

The next owner of Brownsea was a Mr. Benson, who succeeded Sir
Christopher Wren as first surveyor of works. When he bought the island,
he began to alter the old castle and make it into a residence. The
burgesses of Poole claimed that the castle was a national defence, of
which they were the hereditary custodians. Mr. Benson replied that as he
had paid _£_300 for the entire island the castle was naturally
included. In 1720 the town authorities appealed to George II, and in
1723 Mr. Benson and his counsel appeared before the Attorney-general,
when the proceedings were adjourned, and never resumed, so that the
purchaser appears to have obtained a grant of the castle from the Crown.

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