Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Dorset squire at home

"The windows which were very large, served for places to lay his arrows, crossbows, stonebows, and other such like accoutrements; the corners of the room full of the best chose hunting and hawking poles; an oyster table at the lower end, which was of constant use twice a day all the year round, for he never failed to eat oysters before dinner and supper through all seasons: the neighbouring town of Poole supplied him with them.  The upper part of the room had two small tables and a desk, on the one side of which was a Church Bible, on the other the Book of Martyrs; on the table were hawks' hoods, bells, and such like, and two or three old green hats with their crowns thrust in so as to hold ten or a dozen eggs, which were of a pheasant kind of poultry he took much care of and fed himself; tables, dice, cards and boxes were not wanting.  In the hole of the desk were store of tobacco pipes that had been used.

....He lived to a hundred, never lost his eyesight, but always writ and read without spectacles,  and got to horse without help.  Until past fourscore he rode to the death of a stag as well as any."

Memoirs  Antony Ashley Cooper,  2nd Earl of Shaftesbury
PRO 30/24

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