What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
New Forest, Hampshire
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo. L. and S.W. Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Lyndhurst Road Station (3 miles). =Distance from London.=–85-1/4 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 14s. 2d. 9s. 0d. 7s. 1d. Return 24s. 10d. 15s. 8d. 14s. 2d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Grand Hotel,” Lyndhurst; “Crown Hotel,” Lyndhurst; “Rose and Crown,” Brockenhurst, etc.
The popular story as to the creation of what was then the “New” Forest by William the Conqueror has been probably much exaggerated, although we all believed in our school days the old chroniclers, who averred that the king destroyed fifty or so churches and numerous villages, and exterminated their inhabitants. The fact is that the harsh feudal forest laws were rigidly enforced by the Conqueror, who no doubt in some places swept away the villages and churches of rebellious foresters, but the very qualities of the forest soil disprove the fact that the land was once all “smiling pastures and golden cornfields,” as some of the old historians would have us believe.
The New Forest of the present day forms a triangle about 20 miles long and 12 broad, of which the base is a line drawn westward from the mouth of the Beaulieu river to within a mile or two of the Avon, the apex reaching to the confines of Wiltshire. The forest scenery is extremely diversified, but always very beautiful; glades and reaches of gentle park and meadow, and open heath-like stretches, contrast wonderfully with the actual masses of huge beeches, under some of which daylight never penetrates.
Lyndhurst, the little capital of the New Forest, is situated in its centre, and is one of the best points from which to explore the beauties of the district. The church at Lyndhurst is modern, rebuilt in 1863; but it should be visited in order to see the large altar-fresco of the Ten Virgins executed by the late Lord Leighton. A little way beyond the church is the Queen’s House, built in Charles II.’s reign. Here resides the Deputy-Surveyor, who administers under the Crown, while six elected Verderers, in their courts of Swain-mote, represent the Commoners. In the hall is kept what is known as William Rufus’s stirrup-iron.
Close to the village of Minsted is Malwood Lodge, Sir William Harcourt’s New Forest seat. From a ridge near this there are grand views of the forest, till one comes to the Compton Arms Hotel, a completely isolated inn, near the Rufus Stone, which marks the spot where William II. fell by the arrow of Walter Tyrell.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. THE RUFUS STONE IN THE NEW FOREST.
Marking the spot where William II. fell by Walter Tyrell’s arrow.]